Month: June 2014

My favourite new pan


I found this new cast iron deep round pot at Aldi for $20 .Cast Iron pans are the best for that long slow braising that I love to do in winter.

Steve had been admiring a recipe, I had torn out of the paper for a beef braise flavoured with Ras el hanout . Remembering to slowly heat the pan before cooking , our house was soon smelling of those beautiful spices.

We left the lid off to allow the casserole to thicken up and in a couple of hours of long slow simmering we had a delicious dish,served with fried cauliflower and lots of fresh coriander.

My new pot worked a treat and will hopefully find a space in the cupboard – maybe even be tempted to throw out one that doesn’t work too well

Here is a recipe for a beef dish best cooked in a cast iron pot




Quick Sunday Curry


Today I bought home Steve from Hospital, and knew that he had taken one look at the fish for dinner the night before , it was cooked and reheated  and certainly looked horrible.

I knew Steve would want and need a comforting curry to fill his stomach and warm his body. Good food always makes us feel better.

I have been making really delicious curry pastes in the Thermomix and have been amazed at the speed and ease in which I have been able to quickly produce them.

This night I didn’t have the right ingredients for a fresh paste ,so made up a quick curry using curry powder and some bought madras curry paste. I also had some leftover lamb from a lamb roast. 

After sautéing some onion I added two different curry powders and some curry paste. I find combining a few different powders or pastes gives the curry a more complex flavour.I also like to add some root vegetables such as carrot and potato along with pumpkin. This gives the curry some body.

My finishing touches are fresh herbs and a good dollop of yoghurt and sweet tomato chutney.


One pot wonders

imagewinter has arrived and we escape to Maldon for a long weekend with friends Carey and Graeme and new Labrador puppy Sookie .we head off Friday night and I opt to make our dinners and leave breakfast for Carey and Graeme , with lunches out at local cafés. We had a delightful lunch at the flying wombat cafe in the Daylesford botanic gardens.

After a long hike out and a wonder around Maldon we, along with the dogs Sam and Sookie spent around three hours on our feet and were all looking forward to a shower, a hot fire and a nourishing but filling meal.

I had cut out of the paper one of Bill Grainger’s a recipe for Chicken,with capsicum and cannelloni beans – it is one of those one pot wonders and a delight to make. A girlfriend who had been paid at one stage to test Bills work before he was published had always told me his food is very tasty, so away I set to work .

It was a delightfully easy recipe and more importantly it was delicious and along with a salad and some crunchy bread we had a satisfying meal.

My only change would be to thicken after or dust the chicken with flour before to help thicken the sauce.

Here is Bill’s recipe
CChicken with Cannellini Beans and Capsicum
2 rosemary sprigs 2 x 400g can cannelloni beans drained
2 thyme sprigs 2 roasted red capsicums from a jar ,cut into strips
2 garlic cloves crushed 200g cherry tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes 1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup white wine
grated zest of one lemon

Place all ingredients into an oven dish and cook at 200c for 45 minutes

Cappuccino custard



Whilst playing around with custard in the steamer we tried these mini custards cooked in a small cappuccino cup – it is such a cute way of serving a desert or snack and gives that sweet hit without consuming so many calories !!

Custards should be cooked in a water bath to help insulate the egg mixture from direct heat in the oven. If the oven is too hot it will alter the texture and pitt the top, leaving little holes.

Using a steamer at 85c is the perfect cooking method as it gently cooks the custard.

A soft silky custard is not complete without a crunch, hence the popularity of cream brûlée – but I don’t own a bow torch so its very difficult to create that crunchy sugary top at home.

A topping with biscuit and chocolate or a crumble topping is a great way of finishing this desert. Topped with a chard of toffee and it looks simply wonderful

Here is a link to creating burnt white chocolate


A World of Cheese


Today I participated in a class taken by a delightful lady called Maryke who had the task of teaching a group of food retailers,waiters and chefs about the world of Cheese.

Over three hours she took us through the simple process of making cheese,giving us an understanding of the differences in the world of cheese made from the raw milk of cow, ewes,goats and buffalo and to cheese made in Australia from pasteurised milk.

Maryke also gave me a clearer understanding of soft cheeses such as Camambert and Brie that is effectively a similar cheese but can taste quite different,simply because they are made from milk harvested in different areas.

I left realising how important it is to select cheese made by small artisans using natural made product such as cultures,than mass produced cheeses from the supermarket shelf.

A tip to improve your cooking is when adding a feta cheese into a salad, beware of the cheaper danish or greek “saltier” style feta, but instead look for a soft marinated feta such as made by Meredith and it will transform those grain salads.