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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wheatbelt Casserole

This is my own recipe, a perfect hearty casserole for a cold day when you want something that is both easy and tasty. It brings together the tastes of the Western Australian wheatbelt and the surrounding bush (lamb and kangaroo, and wheat pasta), along with good old garden vegetables and herbs.

Of course, given that this is an international board, most of you won’t be able or inclined to cook with kangaroo meat (or, for that matter, with vegemite). Don’t worry, you can replace it with beef. But if you’re in Australia or can get hold of kangaroo where you live, I would thoroughly recommend it. It’s low in fat, low in kilojoules, high in iron and very tasty.

This much will feed two, three or four people depending on how hungry you are!


200g lean kangaroo fillet (or beef fillet), cubed
150g lean lamb fillet, cubed
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
375mL liquid stock (broth) – I used vegetable but beef would be fine
2x ~400g (1 pound) tins diced or crushed tomatoes
1 large brown onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 tsp mixed herbs (I used one tsp each of Lamb Herbs and Italian Herbs – just use whatever you like best!)
1 tsp vegemite (optional)
1 tsp red Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

180g dry pasta (I used spirals; shells or any other medium-sized shaped pasta would be good too)


1. Preheat oven to 180 C (356 F)

2. In a large freezer bag (or sealable plastic container) place 2 tbsp cornflour, a dash each of salt and pepper, and the diced meat. Seal the bag / container and shake to coat all of the pieces of meat in the flour. Continue shaking until all flour is taken up.

3. Dry-fry the meat in a hot frypan until the flour is browned.

4. Place the meat in a casserole dish (I used a stoneware casserole with a lid – the dish must be coverable) and add all other ingredients except pasta, including salt and pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly until ingredients are spread evenly throughout.

5. Place covered casserole in the pre-heated oven and cook for one hour.

6. After one hour, remove casserole from the oven and add pasta. Stir thoroughly and return covered casserole to oven.

7. Cook for another hour, then it’s done!

Remember that this will be *very* hot when it first comes out of the oven. Don’t burn your mouth out of enthusiasm to taste it! I recommend that you dish out the casserole into bowls or plates and then let it sit out for 5 minutes before tucking in. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Plum Cake

Very delicious, especially if you like tart fruit in cakes. Recipe from here. Cup = a standard American cup that holds 250 ml liquid.

Ingredients (for a 9-inch cake):

~ 1 lb plums (10 big ones or 20 small ones), we like it best with tarter varieties but any sort will do.
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
150 g (5 oz, 3/4 cup) butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
Set aside 1/4 cup sugar and 50 g (1/4 cup) butter.
Beat rest of the sugar with rest of the butter, baking powder and vanilla.
Add the eggs, milk and flour and mix well.
Cut plums in half and discard pits.
Put your baking dish on the stove (yes, the stove), and melt the 50 g butter in it.
Stir the 1/4 cup sugar in to caramelize it: how to caramelize sugar.
Watch it carefully, as caramel burns fairly quickly. It also burns fingers badly, but I assume you know better than I do and won't try to touch it :).
Arrange the plum halves, cut side down, on the caramel.
Pour batter on top.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Once baked, cover cake with a clean towel and let it cool for 15 minutes.
Flip on a serving plate (the plums should be on top) and let it cool completely before cutting.

Home-made Pesto

It's cheaper and more delicious than the store-bought stuff. East to make too :) Recipe from somewhere on the internet, but I haven't written down the source.

Ingredients (for about 1 cup pesto):
~ 2 cups fresh basil leaves (one bouquet of store-bought basil)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil


Separate basil leaves from stems.
Wash leaves in a collander under running cold water.
Put nuts, olive oil and garlic in food processor and chop them.
Add basil leaves, little by little and process them until you get a somewhat smooth paste.
Blend in the parmesan cheese.

You can store it in a glass jar in the fridge for 1-2 weeks (oil acts as a conservant), but better make as little as you need for one use.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mint Chicken Curry

This is a recipe that combines mint, yogurt and tomato flavors. It is not something I'd have every week, but it is definitely interesting. Recipe from my Indian recipe book.


1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint*
1 tablespoon grated ginger
3 tablespoons ghee
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 lb (~ 750 g) boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1/2 cup plain yogurt
6 oz (180 g) chopped tomatoes

*I cut up 4 peppermint teabags, which came up to about 4 tablespoons dried mint.


Place onion, garlic, mint and ginger in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste.
In a saucepan heat the ghee and gently fry the paste for about 5 minutes.
Add the garam masala and chili powder and fry for 1 more minute.
Add chicken, toss to cover with spice mix and cook for further 5 minutes.
Add yogurt and tomatoes, stir well.
Simmer, covered for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the cover and simmer for 30 more minutes to thicken the sauce.
Serve with steamed rice (or loads of bread :).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pitas With Veggies and Hummus

This was to die for. The original recipe is from a magazine, but I don't know which one. We find magazines when sorting, they come into the breakroom and then they disappear. This one disappeared before I could write the title down but thankfully not before I could get the recipe.

First, I made my own hummus using this recipe. Note: We used lime juice and extra garlic. It's by far the best hummus I've ever had.

Then the recipe:
  • - 1 medium garlic clove
  • 2 1/2 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup hummus
  • 1 tbs. Parmesan
  • 1/8 tbs salt
  • 1 cup chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, they're the same thing)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup cucumbers
  • 1/2 walnuts
  • 1/3 feta cheese
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • With food processor running, add garlic to proccessor. Then add 1 tbs of the oil. Add the hummus, cheese and salt, process.
  • Combine all remaining ingredients in meidum bowl Spread scant 3 tbs hummus in pita bread, then fill with veggie mixture.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I like to make those occasionally - they are more time-consuming than regular bread but oh-so-delicious :). Recipe from here.


1 cup (240 ml) water
2 1/2 cups (340 g) bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast


Place ingredients into bread machine pan in the order recommended by manufacturer.
Run the Dough cycle.
When the cycle has completed, place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until doubled.
* My machine has a french dough option, which takes care of the second rising too, so I just take out dough and proceed.

Split dough in half.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a rectangle that is about 8x12 inches.
Roll up each rectangle along the longer side, making sure to roll it tightly and to pound out any air bubbles as you go.
Taper ends.
Place the two baguettes on a greased cookie sheet.
Place them at least 3 inches apart or separate them with a wall of aluminum foil so they don't merge into each other while proofing
Make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches.
Cover, and proof in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled.
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
Mix 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water; brush over tops of loaves.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tomato Turmeric Rice

I made this to go with my dinner this evening, and it was rather yummy.

1/4 metric cup white rice
3/4 metric cup leukwarm water
1 fresh whole tomato, diced
1 teaspoon turmeric (ground)

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil on high, then turn right down and simmer on low for 15 minutes. The water should have completely evaporated.

I served this on top of a bed of lettuce with a couple of teaspoons of mayonnaise drizzled over it (you could use natural yoghurt instead), and with a 200g fillet of snapper on top. I coated the snapper in Masterfoods African Seasoning and dry-roasted inside foil in a 180 C oven for about 25 minutes.