Apr 142012

Every month I am excited to arrive home and see ABC’s “delicious” magazine poking out of our decidedly dodgy-in-need-of-an-upgrade letterbox.  I usually devour it that same night, dog-earring the recipes I simply have to try.  If I’m feeling particularly accomplished, I may also put together the shopping list for the week, based on the recipes I want to try.

The April 2012 issue currently has a lot of pages folded over, and I essentially used only the magazine to plan the week’s meals.  So I was a little dismayed when J came back from the shopping trip without two essential ingredients for my planned meals.  Apparently zucchini was in short supply, and beef mince from Coles/Woolies wasn’t good enough.  In his defence, I usually agree about the beef mince thing.

I stood, staring into the fridge, wondering what on earth I could cook now.  It was 10 past 5, surely our local butcher would be closed for the day?  Luckily, J is not as defeatist as me, and called the butcher to find out whether they were open.  I’m pleased to say they were open until 6pm.

We harnessed the dog (a relatively recent addition to our little household called Elmo) and set of at a brisk pace, determined to get to the butcher before closing.

All of this is a very long-winded way of saying, I went to a bit of effort to make this recipe.  I’m happy to say I think it was worth it.  And if you have beef mince on hand, it comes together quite easily and with minimal fuss.

Gingery beef and mushroom pie

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
From magazine Delicious


  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
  • 500g Lean beef mince
  • 1 Onion (diced)
  • 5cm pieces Ginger (grated)
  • 400g Mushrooms (I just used button but recipe says Asian)
  • 150ml Beef Stock
  • 2 cloves Star anise
  • 2 tablespoons Oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Light soy sauce
  • 1 bunch Bak choi (roughly chopped)
  • 1-1/2 cup Coriander leaves (chopped)
  • 1 sheet Puff pastry (thawed)


1 In a large frypan, heat the oil over a high heat.
2 Add the onion, beef, garlic, ginger and chillies.
Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often to break up the beef, until the onion is translucent and the beef browned all over.
3 Add mushrooms, stock, star anise, oyster sauce and soy sauce.
4 Cover and then simmer for 10-20 minutes (I was impatient)!
5 Preheat oven to 200*C.
6 Remove the frypan from heat and stir through the bok choy and coriander. Season to taste.
7 Set aside to cool (again, I was impatient)!
8 Spoon the filling into a pie dish.
9 Cover with the puff pastry, pressing down against the edges of the pie dish. Cut off any excess pastry.
10 Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the pastry is cooked and golden brown.
11 Serve with a side salad or vegetables.
Apr 012012

Sometimes the gods of cooking smile on you, or the stars align, or some other act of fate or kismet occurs and you have all the ingredients for a dish at the same time, in appropriate quantities and without requiring substitutions.  Or so I thought…

There were beef strips thawing in the fridge when I arrived home, and as I didn’t have a dish planned, I started perusing the contents of the crisper to see what else was on hand.  Half a red capsicum and half a green capsicum were crying out to be used.  I knew I had onions (what self respecting cooking doesn’t have a ready supply of onions?!).  Cumin is the most popular spice in my kitchen…The slow-moving cogs in my brain finally came up with beef fajitas.

I spent 10 minutes ransacking my cooking magazine collecting for the recipe for flour tortillas I knew I had earmarked only recently – I finally found it in Donna Hay magazine February/March 2012.  Amazingly, I had every ingredient required for that recipe as well.

Iset out my ingrediants and I went to work, chopping and measuring.  J came home to the smells of frying capscium and spices, and to see me rolling out tortillas.  When he asked what was for dinner, I  happily replied “beef fajitas”.

He left the room.   He came back.  “Wait – wasn’t that lamb in the fridge?”

Yes my friends, I made the ultimately rookie mistake and thought the lamb was beef.  I hang my food blogger head in shame.  Of course, once I tasted the meat, it was obvious.

For the record, this meal works well with lamb instead of beef.  But I have written it with beef as the main ingredient!

Chilli tortillas

Serves 8-10
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Meal type Bread, Side Dish
Region Mexican
From magazine Donna Hay Magazine


  • 2 cups plain flour (sifted)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
  • 25g cold butter (chopped)
  • 1 cup hot water


1 In a food processors combine the flour, salt and chilli.
2 Add the chopped butter and pulse in the processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
3 Add the water and pulse until it just comes together.
4 Turn out on to a floured surface and knead until smooth.
5 I let mine rest for about 20 minutes while I prepared other bits of the meal, but the recipe doesn't require this.
6 Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and roll each piece out to 20cm round with a rolling pin.
7 Heat a large frying pan over high heat.
8 Cook each tortilla for 30-60 seconds each side until lightly browned.
9 Stack the tortillas, covered, in a warm spot until ready to serve.

Beef fajitas

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Region Mexican


  • olive oil
  • 150g beef strips (lamb can also be used!)
  • 1 medium red capsicum (cut into strips)
  • 1 medium green capsicum (cut into strips)
  • 1 clove garlic (diced)
  • 1 medium onion (sliced)
  • 1-2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder


1 Add a splash of olive oil to a frypan and bring to a high heat.
2 Cook the beef strips in batches until browned.
3 Remove beef from frypan and set aside.
4 Add more olive oil to the pan and reduce heat to medium.
5 Add onion and capsicum and cook until soft.
6 Add garlic and spices and cook until fragrant.
7 Add the beef and cook until heated through.
8 Serve on tortillas with corn and tomato salsa, avocado and sour cream or natural yoghurt.


Jun 302011

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We are down to the last few meals from our portion of a cow from Bonnie Beef.  I’ve been a bit stumped about what to do with our y-bone steak. I wanted something more than just a fried steak.  Flicking through my Women’s Weekly “Pressure Cooking” cookbook I found a recipe for Hungarian Goulash.  I handed the book and the steak to J and in just over half an hour this is what I got back!  Having a husband who likes to cook is a definite advantage on those nights when I simply can’t be bothered (yes, I have those too!).

I believe J threw in the brussel sprouts at the same time as the capsicum.

[recipe-show recipe=hungarian-goulash]

Jun 262011

It was Saturday night and my Mum and her husband were coming over for dinner.  I had a 1.4kg piece of beef topside roast, a new pressure cooker and it was freezing cold.  Dinner was on the table with just over an hours work on my part.  The highlight, however, was the gravy.  It’s a bit of extra time and effort, but once you remove the beef and vegetables, crank up the heat and reduce the sauce down by about half until it’s thick, rich and delicious.

[singlepic id=235 w=500 h=333 mode=watermark float=left]

[recipe-show recipe=beef-pot-roast]

Jun 222011

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For our recent wedding, my Dad and his wife gave us a stove-top pressure cooker.  I have fond memories of corned beef cooked in one by my Mum and Nana when I was growing up.  The gift also came with the modern Women’s Weekly cookbook “Pressure Cooking” and I soon discovered that a pressure cooker has many more applications than I ever knew!  It’s also perfect for preparing dishes that normally require a longer cooking time when you are under weeknight time pressures.  So, over the next few weeks I thought I’d do a bit of a series on dishes I cook in my latest gadget – originally titled “Under pressure”!

First up is osso buco in a tomato sauce. I am aware that traditional osso buco is just done in a white wine sauce (blanc) but this was the recipe in the cookbook.  I was surprised by how easy this was – I must confess a bit of apprehension at my first trial with the pressure cooker.  In just half an hour, I had meltingly tender osso buco on the bone, and one happy husband!

[recipe-show recipe=osso-buco]

Oct 222010

[singlepic id=149 w=500 h=333 mode=watermark float=left]It’s still felt like winter the last few weeks in Brisbane (lots of rain and wind), so here’s one last winter warmer dish.

This is easy and simple, and is taken from the book “The CSIRO Heart Healthy Program”.  I know the CSIRO diet was very popular a few years ago, and despite its detractors I think most of the recipes are delicious.

We also made dumplings to throw on top for the last 30 minutes of cooking.  Dumplings are simply made by rubbing flour, a pinch of salt and butter together and then adding water until you have a reasonably firm dough.  You can also add herbs to taste – we added rosemary to these ones.  Roll them into little balls and place on top of the cooking stew.

[recipe-show recipe=beefguinness]