Category Archives: Family favourites

Fruit and Nut breakfast bars

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I said this was the best breakfast bars I have ever baked.  I  picked up this recipe from an Aldi pamphlet.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried fruit roughly chopped ( I used dates, figs and apricots)
  • 1 cup trail mix 
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pepita seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 3 tbsp natural sweetener – Stevia or Equal
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • extra cranberries and pepita seeds to sprinkle on top.

Method

  • Preheat a fan forced oven to 180 deg C.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  
  • Add butter and honey to a saucepan and stir over low heat until the butter has melted and mixture has combined.
  • Pour mixture over the dry ingredients and stir.
  • Press mixture into a greased lined 18cm x 27cm slice tin.
  • Scatter and press extra cranberries and pepita seeds over the top.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. 
  • Allow to stand for 5 minutes before transferring to fridge and allowing to set.
  • Cut into bars or squares before serving.

 

 

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Manu Feidel’s Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine

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For those of you who don’t know –  Manu Feidel is a French chef who hosts a program called “My Kitchen Rules”  He is renowned for his love of copious amounts of sauce. This particular sauce has subtle layers of flavour but the hint of cinnamon just drives your palate crazy – well it drives mine crazy. Serve this with mash and heaven is created in your mouth.  Manu did use Veal Shanks in this recipe but I used Lamb Shanks.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 60g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 4 Lamb shanks (about 500g each)
  • 1 onion cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 1 carrot cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 1 leek white part only cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, bruised
  • 375ml red wine
  • 1 litre brown chicken stock
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 125 balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
  2. Heat the olive oil sand 20g of the butter in a large casserole pot over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the shanks and cook for 5 mins until browned all over.  Remove the shanks and add onion, garlic, carrots, leek and stir for 6-8 minutes or until golden.
  3. Return shanks to the pan, than add the wine and bring to the boil.  Ad the stock, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, juniper berries and balsamic vinegar.  Bring to the boil again, cover with a piece of baking paper (cartouche), then seal with a  lid and bake, turning the shanks once, for 2 hours or until the meat almost falls off the bone.
  4. Remove the shanks from the sauce, then strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve into a clean pan, pressing down on the solids with the back of a ladle to extract as much flavour as possible. Simmer the  sauce for 20 minutes or until it has reduced by half, then whisk in the remaining 40g of butter , one piece at a time.
  5. To serve, check the seasoning of the sauce and then pour it over the shanks. Serve with mash if desired.

TIP: After adding the wine and herbs and bringing it to the boil you can move this into a slow cooker and cook for 3-4 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.  Pick up the process from Step 4 once the meat is cooked

 

 

 

rogan josh

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Another Womens Weekly recipe – I love curry but I really loved this one.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did…

Ingredients
1 kg diced lamb
1 cup yoghurt
1 tbsp malt vinegar
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cm piece fresh ginger grated
2 tbsp ghee
4 car domain pods, bruised
3 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 medium brown onions, chopped finely
3 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground fennel
1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
3/4 tsp chilli powder
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp fresh mint

Method
Combine yoghurt, vinegar, half the garlic and ginger in a large bowl and mix well. Cover; refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
Heat ghee in a large frying pan, add cardamom,cinnamon, and cloves, cook stirring until fragrant.
Add onion, remaining garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add lamb mixture, stir to coat in spice mixture.
Add stock, bring to boil; reduce heat,simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and simmer for another 15 minutes or until is tender. Just before serving stir in garam masala. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve with basmati rice.

Caramelised Lemon grass Pork Chops

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This is an Adam Liaw recipe.  I loved this dish so much. My photo isn’t the best but I will be cooking this again soon so hopefully I remember to get a better picture to do the dish justice.

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Ingredients

4 boneless pork neck steaks ( sometimes called pork scotch fillet) about 200g each or 4 pork chops
1 tsp peanut oil or other vegetable oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Lemon grass Marinade
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only minced
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp peanut oil, or other vegetable oil

Nuoc Cham Sauce
1 clove garlic
2 red birds eye chilli
Juice of 1 lime (about 50ml)
1tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp water
11/2 tbsp fish sauce

Method

Place the pork on a chopping board and lightly beat with a meat mallet until about 1 cm thin. If using pork chops, carefully beat around the bone.  Mix together all the ingredients for the lemongrass marinade, pour it over the pork and ensure it is well coated. Marinate for at least 30 mins or preferably  overnight.  

Heat oil in a frypan over high heat.  seat the pork with salt and pepper and fry for about 2-3 minutes each side, or until cooked through.  Add a little lemongrass marinade a minute or two before you remove the pork to further caramelise in the pan.  Rest the pork for 3 minute in a warm place before serving.

For the nuoc cham sauce, pound the garlic and chilli together in a mortar and pestle to a rough paste. Mix together lime juice, sugar and water and taste – adjusting the sweetness and sourness to taste.  Add the fish sauce a little as you go, until the sauce is savoury but still pleasant, without being overpowered by the fish sauce.  Mix through chill it and garlic paste and set aside until ready to use.

Serve with rice.

Roast Chicken with garlic, lemon and parsley

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This dish has Moroccan influences. It is full of flavour is great for a Sunday Roast.  I served the chicken with potatoes and asparagus.

Ingredients

  • 1.2 kg chicken
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (if you like lemon add a bit more)
  • 2 teaspoons mince garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika

Method

Preheat the oven to 220 deg C.  Using kitchen scissors, cut along the backbone of the chicken and then press firmly on the breastbone and flatten it. Place chicken in a baking dish.  In a small bowl mix olive oil, garlic, chopped parsley and salt.  Pour of the chicken and give it a massage ensuring that the marinade covers all of the chicken. Sprinkle black pepper and paprika over the chicken.  Roast for 30 – 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  

 

 

 

 

devil’s food cake

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A client was telling me that whenever she typed my name into her phone the word devil would pop up.  That might just explain why I loved this sinful indulgence.  Just one tip – make the icing first.  It took a long time to set, and after an hour it was still very runny.  I rather liked the idea of serving it like that but for those that don’t, make the icing first and let it sit. This is a recipe by Annie Bell.  In the coming weeks I will make Nigella’s version just for comparison.

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Ingredients

For the cake

  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 370g light muscovado sugar
  • 180ml groundnut oil (I used grape seed oil)
  • 200g self-raising flour, sifted

For the Icing

  • 250g milk chocolate, broken into pieces 
  • 40 g unsalted butter, diced
  • 60g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 2 tbsp runny honey

Method

Whisk the cocoa with 200ml boiling water, whisk in the bicarbonate of soda and leave to cook for about 20 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 160 deg fan oven/180 deg electric oven.  Butter or oil two 20 cm non-stick cake tins with removable bases, at least 5cm deep, and line with baking paper.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar and oil in a large bowl until smooth, then stir in the flour, and then the cocoa solution. Pour two-thirds of the mixture into one tin and the a third into the other tin, making sure the mixture is evenly spread.  Give each tin a sharp tap on the work surface to bring up any air bubbles and bake for 40-50 minutes respectively, or until risen and firm and a skewer inserted into the centre  comes out clean.  Run a knife around the edge of  the cakes and leave to cool.

To make the icing, gently melt the chocolate and butter into a bow set over a pan with a  little simmering water in it, stirring until smooth.  At the same time, combine the cocoa, milk and honey in a small saucepan and heat almost to boiling point, whisking until smooth.  Pass the cocoa and milk through  sieve into the bowl with the melted chocolate and whisk to a thick, glossy icing.

Remove the deeper pan cake from the base, peel off the paper and slit into two equal layers using a bread knife.  Place the lower half on a cake stand or plate and spread with a quarter of the icing.  Remove the paper from the smaller cake, lay this on top of the base and spread with another quarter of the icing.  Lay the top layer in place and smooth the remaining icing over the top of the cake, taking it up to the sides and leaving it to drip down.  Set aside for a couple of hours for the icing to set.  

red velvet cake

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I baked this on valentine’s day for my husband, it is a recipe from Annie Bells book. The first time I baked this I used 1/2 tsp but I didn’t feel I got the right dusky red color. Since then I have found that I use a tad more than 1/2 tsp of red color paste to get the rich dusky red.  My suggestion would be to start with 1/2  teaspoon and see how you go.

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 For the cake

  • 120g unsalted butter diced
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 300g plain flour
  • 230g buttermilkOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 1 tsp find sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20g cocoa powder, sifted
  • Approx 1/2 tsp red food colour paste
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda

For the frosting

  • 180g unsalted butter softened
  • 150g icing sugar,sifted
  • 450g full fat cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method
Preheat the oven to 170 deg C fan forced. Butter two or three (if you have them) 20cm non stick cake tins. Line the bases with baking paper.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar together for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the flour in three batches alternating it with buttermilk so you start and end with flour. Next mix in the salt, vanilla and cocoa. Start to add the food coloring, a knife tip at a time, until the mixture is a dramatic dusky red. Mix the vinegar and bicarbonate soda together in a small bowl, they will fizz, and add to the batter.
If using three cake tins, divide the mixture between them, weighing them to ensure you get evenly thick sponges. (If using two tins, add a third of a mixture to each one, bake these and then bake the third one). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until shrinking  from the sides and firm when pressed in the centre. Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack, remove the paper and leave to cool top upwards.

Spinach Lasagne

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Last week I seemed to visit recipes from decades past. I have only ever cooked lasagne once before and that was 25 years ago.  It was such a disastrous experience that I never revisited it. Part of the reason my also be that I have an aunt that makes a mean lasagne so it was always easier to request her to make one. Anyway I decided to put aside my lasagne fears and attempt the same recipe and was I glad that I gave this recipe another shot.  It produced a lasagne full of flavour. Surprisingly it was very easy to make, thanks to freshly made pasta sheets. I used pork mince for this and went a bit easy on the cheese but the flavour of this lasagne was simply delish.

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Ingredients

  • 1 packet fresh lasagne sheets OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 250g packet frozen spinach
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 60g cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp oil extra

Meat Sauce

  • 500g mince steak or pork
  • 1 onion
  • 125g mushrooms sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes

Cheese Sauce

  • 60g butter
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • salt, pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 2 cups milk
  • 125g cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Method

Meat Sauce

Peel and finely chop onion, slice mushrooms finely. Place meat in a heavy based, shallow pan and brown, breaking any clumps of meat with a fork. Drain off any excess fat. Add onions, crushed garlic and mushrooms, cook until onion is transparent. Season with salt and pepper, add oregano, sugar and the tomato. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Uncover, simmer until sauce has thickened, approx 15 minutes.

Cheese Sauce

Melt butter in saucepan, add flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg, blend until smooth. Stir over heat for 1 minute, gradually add mil, stir until sauce boils and thickens, reduce heat, cook 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in grated cheeses, stir until cheese melts.

Place lasagne sheets over base of shallow ovenproof dish – 28cm x 18cm is ideal.   Pasta may have to be trimmed so it lies flat in the dish.  Spread half the meat sauce over the pasta and than cover with half the cheese sauce. (Both sauces are easier to handle if made the day before and refrigerated). Press as much liquid as possible from thawed spinach, speed evenly over cheese sauce. Top with two more pieces of trimmed pasta, spread with remaining half of meat sauce then cheese sauce. Top with remaining pasta. Sprinkle top with grated cheese, bake in moderate oven 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.  Remove from oven, let stand 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

Traditional Bolognese

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Lately I have been in the mood to reminisce.  Here is another golden oldie. The first time I cooked a Bolognese was about 25 years ago. This is the recipe I used. The original recipe uses mince steak, but I use pork, lamb or steak and pork combined.

Ingredients
725 g mince steak or pork
1 large onion
2 tbsp oil
400g can peeled tomato
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
4 cups water
Salt,pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

Method
Peel onion, chop finely. Cook in heated oil until onion is golden. Add mince, cook well, mashing with a fork to break up any lumps. Cook until mince browns well. Drain off any excess fat. Add tomatoes, herbs and tomato paste, water ,salt and pepper. 
When sauce comes to boil, reduce heat, cook very gently 1 1/2 to 2 hours, uncovered or until nearly all the liquid has evaporated.
Serve over spaghetti topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

Chocolate hazelnut muffins

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Ingredients
  • 21/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup Nutella
 
Method
Grease 12 hole( 1/3 cup capacity) muffin pan
Sift dry ingredients into large bowl, stir in butter, eggs and buttermilk
Spoon one-third of mixture into prepared pan, top with one level tbsp of Nutella. Top with remaining mixture. Bake in moderately hot oven for 20 minutes.