Once again I have been in my Grandma’s ear, asking her for another of my favourite recipes; this time her beef pasties. Another classic Australian recipe, I’m sure many families enjoyed these at the peak of their popularity and even continue to do so now (despite pastry-wrapped meat having fallen from favour due to the rise of the nutritionally-savvy public). These are very basic, tasty pasties that will go down well at any picnic or anytime you’re asked to bring a plate. Best served hot with tomato sauce, this is simple fare for casual dining.
Faithful reader, I have a confession to make. I call myself a baker, but I had never made bread. I had only used yeast on a small handful of occassions to make a sweet dough, and lacked the confidence to bake. Yes, I called myself a baker, yet I hid away from bread.
It was only after watching The Great British Bake Off, and watching Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry’s guidance and tips, that I felt I could tackle it. I was further inspired by my friend Lauren, who helped steer me in the direction of a wonderful recipe for a white loaf. That I will share in the future. Today I share my Herb and Garlic
It was simple and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. When I took it out of the oven and tapped the bottom to find not only was it firm (no sign of a soggy bottom in my kitchen) but it also made a hollow sound when I tapped it – I danced around the kitchen in jubilation.
A weight was lifted as I confronted something I was long afraid to try. Would anyone else care to share their kitchen shame?
Working full time can have its disadvantages, one being I don’t have an afternoon to spend in the kitchen preparing dinner. Therefore, I often look to cook meals that I can prepare in advance. This recipe for African Drumsticks is one of those I turn to. I often prepare the chicken the night before and leave it to marinate overnight. The marinade produces a lovely sticky skin and the meat inside is juicy and tender. I like to serve it with fluffy cous cous.
I think I may have mentioned once or twice that I take pasta for granted. It’s something that I know will be served at least once or twice a week in my house. I’m never content with just an ordinary sauce (and it’s a sad, sad day when a store brought pasta sauce makes it into my kitchen!)
As Italian cooking is region based, I am always finding new pasta recipes in books, and blogs. One of my favourite sauces to whip up is Puttanesca. A rather unsavoury name, it was first made by the poor living on the streets.
The sauce cooks in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta. It is meant to have chilli in it, but as I was cooking for family members who cannot eat anything hot at the moment I didn’t.
There are many variations of this recipe (and some including vodka!) however I have used a Nigella recipe.
It’s quite amusing that Alex posted only recently a mouth watering recipe for Pho Bo. I say amusing, because like Alex, Asian cuisine is not my strong suit. I find it difficult to get the balance of flavours quite right, and often I find the list of ingredients daunting.
I was browsing my favourite spice store in Melbourne Gewurzhaus and came across their Laksa spice blend. Included on the packaging was a recipe that I knew I needed to try. I was glad I did. The dish was beautiful, fragrant and filling. While my presentation leaves a little to be desired, it’s something I know I’ll perfect soon, as I will be making it many times!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Asian cuisine is not my strong suit. I find it very difficult to get the balance of flavours just so and, frankly, this is one area where I am more than happy to leave it to the professionals and frequent my local noodle shop for dinner.
However, one of the (many) nuisances when moving house is that you lose all your favourite ‘around the corner’ take away shops. In our case, the loss most keenly felt was Chez Tessa. A hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place that makes the best Pho Bo in Brisbane. And a bowl as big as your head costs only $8.00. So, dying for Pho Bo but not wanting to drive half an hour across the city for a bowl, I decided to learn to make my own.
After much reading and research, I decided to first try a cheat’s version, using stock cubes instead of making my own stock. Mostly because I had beef stock but not beef bones to hand. And, to be honest, this recipe is so good I don’t think I’ll ever make the ‘real’ version. The key is in the spices and fresh herbs. Once you have those in order, the flavours just meld perfectly. In light of this I would say none of the spices or herbs are negotiable.
If you have a little beef stock in the cupboard and a steak in the fridge, I suggest you try this fantastic, spicy soup tonight to warm you up. You can have dinner on the table in half an hour.
I know it doesn’t sound like the most exciting soup and cauliflower isn’t the most glamorous vegetable, but believe me when I tell you, this soup is an absolute winner.
Although cauliflower isn’t your typical soup vegetable, many’s the time I’ve had half a cauliflower languishing in the fridge, having used the other in a gratin alongside its faithful companion, broccoli. So, here’s the perfect solution to use up your cauliflower, infuse your winter soups with a hit of flavour and provide a healthy meal for your loved ones all at once.
I found this recipe on the lovely le deliciuex blog, although I have made a couple of very minor changes, as noted below.
This is a recipe I grew up eating; that scented my childhood home through winter weekends and one that was always enjoyed with relish. As the days grew cold earlier this month, I rang Mum for a chat and asked her for this recipe. What she told me wasn’t a recipe in the traditional sense but rather a rough list of essential ingredients with the instructions to cook gently for many hours. Like the best stews, this is a dish that originally came from a recipe book but is now ingrained in my Mum’s head and, honestly, pretty well stuck in mine now too.
Winter is fast approaching here in Melbourne. As the temperature drops, the clouds darken and the kitchen becomes a welcome place of comfort and warmth. What better way to feed such desires than a cottage pie? I’ve been making this for many years and have yet to receive any complaints. It’s easy to increase the quantity and freeze the spare pie for rainy day!
From my understanding, Cottage Pie, similar in origins to Shepherds Pie, was first made to use up ingredients left over from the weeks roast. Cottage Pie uses beef, rather than lamb. It’s also called a pie, but there is no pastry involved in this version. The top is a lovely crust of mashed potatoes.
This recipe is inspired by Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros. What I love most about the cookbook is the recipes are categorised not by ingredient but rather by colour. As with any recipe I have taken some liberties with the ingredients! This is one of two recipes I use depending on what I have in the house (the other recipe uses stock, instead of tomatoes.). I intend on posting the other recipe eventually.
Using the quantities below this comfortably feeds 4 to 6 people. It can also be prepared the day before and kept in the fridge overnight.
Once again this recipe was first published by Nigella Lawson in Kitchen. It was always one of those recipes I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try but looked easy enough. I first made this in December. Mum was in hospital and I needed to make dinner for the rest of the week, without any preparation what so ever as I would go straight to the hospital from work. It was one of the recipes I selected because it could be made in advance, or alternatively looked like it would taste fine, if cooked and then reheated. It was a success, and made it quite regularly in a 3 month period.
I hadn’t made it in a while. I associate this dinner, along with African Drumsticks from the same book with that period. For anyone who has had a loved one in hospital would know the struggles, the trauma, the stress that stems from the worry. It can be physically and emotionally exhausting. I was also, trying to deal with a new job, and new responsibilities. I was fortunate to work for such an understanding employer (and I will be forever grateful to my manager for understanding and support).
Why is this important to this post? Because the post had been sitting in the drafts for quite a while. I photographed most of the images in January. I was about to leave for Hobart for 5 days and I needed to ensure there was dinner. I made this, knowing it would be filling for more than one meal. I never posted as I didn’t photograph the cooked lasagna. Then the recipe became a road block. It’s simple recipe but every-time I thought of making it, it seemed too difficult. So here I am, overcoming one such road block.
The Mexican lasagna is rewarding. It’s hearty and filling without requiring a lot of effort. It can be assembled the day before and left in the fridge (a step which I believe improved the flavour). It’s also excellent the next day and reheated.