Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Caramel oat slice

OK, now don't be fooled by this recipe's title. Just because it says oats (which I am led to believe are a superfood) doesn't make it healthy or good for you. But by crikey it tastes good, and by that I mean really really good. So good, you sneak into the kitchen when no one is looking and take a slice. So good, you can stand over the sink and shove it in and then go eat more. Just have a salad for dinner. For two nights in a row. 


125g butter
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1 cup shredded coconut

60g butter
1 can condensed milk (410g)
2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 cup shredded coconut
½ cup rolled oats
60g butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup


Base: cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy. Add sifted flour and cocnut and mix well. Press evenly into a greased lamington tin. Bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes, remove and cool.

Filling: place all ingredients in a saucepan, and stir over low heat until butter melts. Increase heat, simmer gently, stirring all the time for about five minutes or until the mixture turns a lovely golden brown colour. Remove from heat and spread over the base.

Topping: combine coconut and rolled oats in a bowl. Put butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan, stir over a low heat until the butter has melted. Add to the coconut mixture and mix well. You might get a better result if you use your fingers here. Might help to take your rings off. Sprinkle the topping over the caramel filling.

Return the whole thing to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes on a moderate heat until golden brown. Allow to cool before slicing. Eat salad the next day.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Audrey's Kitchen

It's like Nigella meets Dawn French. In an Australian kitchen. It's produced by Working Dog, so, I guess, you're not dreamin'. Catch snippets of Audrey on the ABC

Monday, 29 July 2013

Mustard dill pikelets with smoked trout and avocado salad

I make these little cuties when I'm going to a picnic. I take the pikelets and the avocado/trout bit separately and assemble it while I'm sitting on the grass. I also make them when Alan and I have lunch by our pool (with an ice-cold bottle of Pinot Grigio). The recipe says creme fraiche but I use sour cream. 

I usually get 12-15 pikelets from this quantity. Depends on how big you make them.


1cup (150g) self-raising flour
1 egg
1 tbs wholegrain mustard
1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
2 tbs chopped dill
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
400g smoked ocean trout fillet, skin removed, coarsely flaked
2 small ripe avocados, halved, stoned, peeled, coarsely chopped
2 cups watercress sprigs
Creme fraiche, to serve


Firstly, make the pikelets. Sift the flour into a medium bowl and make a well in the centre. Whisk the egg, mustard, buttermilk and half the dill in a small jug. Season with salt and pepper. Gradually add egg mixture to flour and whisk until a smooth batter forms.

Combine the lemon juice, oil and remaining dill in a small jug. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the trout, avocado and watercress in a medium bowl and set aside.

Spray a medium non-stick frying pan with cooking spray or lightly oil and place over medium heat. Drop about ¼ cup measures of the batter into pan, allowing room for spreading. Cook for 20 seconds or until bubbles appear on the surface and base is golden - like you do for regular 1970s pikelets.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Chicken with fennel and orange

This is so yummy and so easy to make. It's from one of those Women's Weekly cookbooks. The fennel is aromatic and the orange gives it a real zing. Best bit is you only need one pot. Cheers to not washing up! 

Serves 4


1 tablespoon olive oil
20g butter
12 chicken drumsticks
4 baby fennel bulbs, trimmed and quartered
1 onion, chopped finely
2 gloves garlic, crushed
1 tableshoop finely grated orange rind
1 cup orange juice
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed


Heat oil and butter in a large deep pot and then cook the chicken in batches. Make sure it's well browned. Remove the chicken. Discard all but one tablespoon of the pan drippings. Reheat the pot
and cook the fennel until it is brown and caramelised. Remove the fennel.

Cook onion and garlic in the same pan, stirring, until onion softens. Return chicken and fennel to the pan with the rind, juice, wine,  stock and thyme. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Add the sweet potato, and leave the lid off. Cook for about another 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.

Discard the thyme and serve. It's great on its own, or you can serve it with fettuccine or tagliatelle.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Potato and anchovy chowder with garlic prawns

When I first read this recipe (in a little book called "Whizz It") I was excited. I can eat anchovies from the jar. Love 'em. But I know they can be polarising. When I cook this soup for friends, I don't tell them what it is until they finish. The usual reaction is, "What? Anchovies? I hate them!" This is said as they look at their empty bowl. Needless to say, this is a firm favourite. Note, however, I usually double the anchovy quantity. It's up to you.

Serves 4


2 garlic cloves
1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
16 green prawns, peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 bacon rashers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
80g (one jar) of anchovies, drained on paper towel
1 carrot
3 biggish potatoes, peeled and chopped
375ml of chicken stock
250ml milk (use full-fat)
125 pouring cream (not thickened)
some extra chopped parsley for sprinkling on top


To make the garlic prawns, put the garlic, chilli and parlsey in a mortar and pestle and grind away, then add the olive oil until it makes a paste. Transfer to a bowl, add the prawns and toss to coat. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over low-medium heat.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Let's marinade something

I pulled these marinades from, wait for it, the Weight Watchers website a while back. Super tasty, speedy, use
them to marinate or stir fry your vegies. 

Chilli and honey
Makes: ⅓ cup
Delicious with pork. Combine 1 chopped fresh red birdseye chilli, 2 tbs honey, ¼ cup fresh lime juice and 2 tsp grated fresh ginger.

Indian spice mix
Makes: ⅓ cup
Great on lamb, beef or chicken. Combine 2 tbs ground cumin, 2 tbs ground coriander, 1 tbs ground fennel, 2 tsp garam masala and 2 tsp ground chilli in an airtight container.

Lemon wasabi
Makes: ¼ cup
Try this marinade on prawns, fish or chicken. Combine 2 tbs fresh lemon juice, 1 tbs wasabi paste, 1 tbs fish sauce and 1 tsp sesame oil.

Minted yoghurt
Makes: ¾ cup
Will tenderise and add flavour to lamb, prawns or chicken. Combine 1 crushed garlic clove, 200g no-fat yoghurt and ¼ cup chopped fresh mint.

Rice vinegar and soy
Makes: ⅓ cup
A good match with tuna. Combine 2 tbs rice vinegar, 2 tbs soy sauce, 1 crushed garlic clove, 2 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and 2 tbs chopped fresh dill.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Fig bircher muesli

Breakfast being the most important meal of the day, blah blah blah... but sometimes we run late, we can't be bothered or we forget.
Make this little bircher number the night before and your morning is glorious! 


2 ½ cups natural muesli
1 ½ cups apple juice
1 cup reduced-fat plain yoghurt
¾ cup reduced-fat milk
¾ cup chopped dried figs
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 fresh figs, quartered


Combine muesli, apple juice, yoghurt, milk, dried figs and honey in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Spoon muesli mixture into bowls. Sprinkle with nuts. Top with fresh figs. Serve.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Noreen's sauce for chicken

Noreen was my step-mother-in-law from my first marriage. Confused much? Don't be. She is the most remarkable woman; generous, warm, motherly and a hug that went on forever. When you were with Noreen, nothing else mattered except that you were loved. She didn't judge, she didn't ask, she just loved. When that marriage ended, I would gladly have given up the house to keep her. As things go, I didn't get to keep her but her legacy remains with this amazing sauce. She made it for me one night at her home on Lake Munmorah, NSW. She roasted a chicken in her frypan and, dispensing with routine gravy, chose instead to pour this sweet dark brown syrup over it. I was hooked. I first made it in 1987, and it is full of 1980s ingredients. So as not to lose it, I hand-wrote it in the cover of my Common Sense Cookery Book. 

I also use it on meatballs, hamburgers and I usually lick the spoon. PS when I say "a dirty great dollop of butter" I'm not trying to be funny.

2 tablespoons of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 tablespoons of caster sugar
a dirty great dollop of butter

Put everything in a saucepan and heat slowly. Serve immediately. When I'm feeling lazy, I've been known to microwave it, but keep that between you and me.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Bacon, leek and gruyère tart with roasted tomatoes and rocket

Oh goodness but how I love the show My Kitchen Rules. There are a myriad of cooking shows on TV, Foxtel, DVD and iTunes, and none of them interest me. Just this one. I'll post my favourite recipes from all the seasons over time, but this one is simple for a Tuesday night, especially when one has been up all night waiting for a royal baby to be born! Or for breakfast... 


1 sheet puff pastry
8 cherry truss tomatoes
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper, to season
Dressed rocket leaves, to serve

40g butter
1 leek, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to season
4 rashers rindless bacon, chopped
150g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 eggs
120ml cream
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
40g Gruyère, grated


Preheat oven to 200C. Grease the base and sides of a 30cm x 15cm loose-based flan tin, then line with pastry. Line with baking paper and fill with baking weights or rice. Cook for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove baking weights or rice and set aside to cool. Reduce oven to 180C.

To make tart filling, melt half the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add leek and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer leek to a plate and set aside.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Mixed bean & pancetta soup

It never seems to get that cold during winter here in Brisbane that we need to immerse ourselves in perfecting the art of hearty fare. But regardless, even when the temperature drops below 12C, we like to think its snowing outside, the fire is lit and the soup is hearty. Today's top temp, by the way? 19C. That's how winter rolls in BrisVegas.  


Olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, ends trimmed, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100g pancetta, finely chopped
1 x 400g can low-salt diced tomatoes
750ml (3 cups) water
1 x 400g can four bean mix, rinsed, drained
100g baby spinach leaves
2 tbs chopped fresh continental parsley
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind


Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the pancetta is crisp.

Add tomato and water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Add beans and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes.

Add baby spinach and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Season with pepper.

Combine the parsley and lemon rind in a bowl. Ladle soup among serving bowls. Top with the parsley mixture to serve.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Egg tagliatelle by Jamie Oliver

This is the video that proved to me how easy it is to make your own pasta. I was always a bit nervous that I lacked any Italian heritage and therefore would be confined to packet pasta for eternity. Not so. Even though Jamie races through it like the pro he is, the technique is simple to follow. Give it a go! Buon appetito xx

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Bread & butter pudding (by Diana's personal chef)

While we wait for the newest royal baby to arrive, here's a recipe for Bread & Butter Pudding, from the personal chef of our adored Diana. A girl's got to have comfort food. Thanks to for the inspiration and the share. 
(PS this is my favourite pic of Diana, it was on the front page of The Courier-Mail, under the title "Unforgettable" the morning after she died)


3 ozs. raisins
¼ cup amaretto
12 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, melted
9 egg yolks
2 tsps. vanilla paste (see note)
¾ cup sugar
½ cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsps. granulated sugar, to dust the top of the pudding
3 ozs. sliced almonds, lightly toasted
2 tbsps. powdered sugar


Soak the raisins in the amaretto, and leave covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours or over-night.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Pearl barley & roast pumpkin salad

This amazing salad is courtesy of Cirque in New Farm. Great on its own with chicken, or omit the chicken and take it to your next bbq. Leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge, make sure you put them in a sealed container.


300g mixed salad leaves (spinach, rocket)
600g roasted pumpkin, cut into chunks
240g feta, roughly crumbled
120g spanish (red) onion, finely sliced
180g pearl barley, cooked
60g roasted pepitas
1 bunch dill
300g roasted chicken, shredded


Cook pearl barley as per packet instructions and set aside to cool.

Cut pumpkin into chunks (about 2cm) and remove seeds. Rub with olive oil and coat with dried oregano and basil. Roast in oven at 200C for approximately 35 minutes. Cut to desired size and set aside to cool.

Place salad leaves, pumpkin, pearl barley, spanish onion, pepitas, feta, dill, salt and pepper to taste.
Dress with vinaigrette to serve.

1/3 cup honey 
1/3 cup red wine vinegar 
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
Place in well sealed jar and shake vigorously to combine.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Bill Granger's twice-baked cheese souffles


60 g butter, plus extra for greasing
1 large leek, white part only, finely chopped
60 g plain flour
325 ml warm milk
4 eggs, separated
100 g wensleydale cheese, crumbled *
250 ml double cream
Grated parmesan or cheddar


Preheat the oven to 180C and lightly grease four ramekins with butter.

Heat the butter in a pan over medium-low heat and cook the leek for 3-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden. Slowly whisk in the milk and simmer, stirring, until thick. Leave to cool.

Stir in the egg yolks and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Gently stir in the wensleydale cheese. Beat the egg whites into firm peaks and then, using a metal spoon, gradually fold into the soufflé mixture. Spoon into the ramekins.

Sit the ramekins in a roasting tin and pour boiling water into the tin until it reaches halfway up the ramekins (this makes a bain-marie so that the soufflés cook gently).

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove the ramekins from the roasting tin and leave the soufflés to rest until cool.

Carefully turn out the soufflés into small gratin dishes, or other small ovenproof dishes. (You can refrigerate the soufflés at this point if you want to and then simply finish them off when you’re ready to serve.)

Pour a little cream over each soufflé so there is about 5mm cream in each dish. Sprinkle with parmesan or cheddar and return the soufflés to the oven for 10-12 minutes until they are bubbling and golden brown.

* you can use a really good Cheddar, even I couldn't find wensleydale!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Vegie pasta bake


400g penne
2 tbs olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
200g button mushrooms, thickly sliced
380g broccoli, trimmed, cut into small florets
400g butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded,cut into 1.5cm pieces
160g baby spinach leaves

Low-fat cheese sauce
  • 560ml (2 1/4 cups) low-fat milk
  • 35g (1/4 cup) cornflour
  • 240g (1 cup) fresh ricotta
  • 120g (1 1/2 cups) shredded light tasty cheese

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain. Transfer to a large bowl.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the leek, garlic and thyme, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Increase heat to high. Add the mushroom, broccoli and pumpkin. cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the spinach. Remove from heat.

To make the cheese sauce, place 500ml (2 cups) of milk in a saucepan over medium heat and bring almost to the boil. Combine the cornflour and remaining milk in a jug. Stir into the hot milk. cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the ricotta and 80g (1 cup) of cheese until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir the pumpkin mixture and sauce into the pasta. Transfer to a 3L (12-cup) capacity baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for a further 15 minutes or until golden.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Prawn, avocado and mango salad with rice noodles

The Salad:

Prawns (I used 1.5kg medium)
Mango x 3 cut into bite sized cubes
Avocado x 2 cut into bite sized cubes
Rocket (or green leaf salad mix)
Lebanese cucumber sliced thinly
Red onion sliced thinly
Red chilli x 1 (seeds optional)
Fresh Coriander
Fresh Mint
Rice stick noodles – half a packet

The Dressing:

Coconut milk or lite coconut milk (half a can)
Little bit of green curry paste
Kaffir lime leaves chopped really finely (6-7)
Lime juice (half a lime)
Lime zest (half a lime)
Red chilli (remove seeds if you wish)
Brown sugar (tablespoon or so) or you can use palm sugar
Fish sauce (a good shake)

The Method:

Put the noodles in a bowl of boiling water, leave for five minutes, then rinse under cold water, set aside in colander to drain.

Dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar (remember to keep tasting), shake well, put in the fridge for a few hours, shaking it every 30 minutes. When getting ready to serve, strain it, and serve in a jug on the side.

Salad: Get a massive platter (this looks fabulous on a platter, instead of a bowl). Starting with the green leaves, add all ingredients (including the noodles and the herbs) in a layer. Do this twice. Then give it a bit of a mix up using some tongs. Serve with dressing on the side, and let guests add their own dressing.

Will keep for a day or two in the fridge, so will the dressing.