Apr 212014

The Easter long weekend was the perfect mix of fun, social and relaxing.  After a visit from some family and a chance to see Brisbane through a tourist’s eyes, I spent today puttering around the house, cooking for the week ahead and doing odd jobs.

Ethiopian chicken stew

Tonight’s dinner was this delicious Ethiopian-style chicken from Food 52.  I used chicken drumsticks instead of chicken pieces and served it with a simple side of green beans.  It was a delicious start to the week, after a weekend of indulgence and copious amounts of chocolate.

Jul 302012

To me, mushrooms should be treated simply – fry them in a little butter and garlic and maybe some sage or oregano if you’re feeling fancy.

This recipe takes this idea, and adds cheese and pastry.  Surely that can only be a good thing?

If you want to feel a little more virtuous, consider only having a small slice, and serving with a large salad.  Or don’t.







Mushroom quiche

Serves 4-6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish


  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 2 cups mushrooms (sliced thickly)
  • 20g dried porcini mushrooms (soaked in hot water for 20 mins)
  • 1 clove garlic (diced or minced)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I used provolone)
  • 1/2 cup cheese (I used a soft goat's cheese, sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon butter


1 Preheat oven to 190*.
2 Grease a pastry tin or pie tin with oil or butter.
3 Line pastry tin with sheets of puff pastry. Trim any excess.
4 Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium high.
5 Add the garlic and onion and saute over medium until soft.
6 Wring out the porcini mushrooms and dice.
7 Add all the mushrooms to the pan and saute until golden. Remove pan from heat.
8 Line the base of the tart with pieces of the goat or sheep cheese.
9 Whisk together milk and eggs and salt and pepper.
10 Spoon the mushroom mixture into the tart base.
11 Sprinkle half the grated cheese over the mushrooms.
12 Pour in the egg/milk mixture.
13 Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top.
14 Cook in the over for 30-40 minutes, until the egg mixture is set and the pastry is brown.
15 Serve with a rocket salad (if desired).




Jun 182012

Can I share something with you?

I don’t really warm to cauliflower.  It’s cruciferous cousin broccoli is close to my heart.  I’ve even come around to brussel sprouts and cabbage (preferably slow-cooked, with proscuitto).  But cauliflower leaves me cold.  I bypass it at the supermarket (I mean…farmers’ market…), I leave it in the fridge if J happens to buy it.

Eventually I decided, enough is enough.   Surely there is a way for me to enjoy it. It doesn’t all have to hark back to the oversteamed/boiled cauliflower of my childhood (sorry Mum!).

Consider this the first step in my education.











Spaghetti with cauliflower and proscuitto

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Website Citrus and Candy


  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • 1.2 heads cauliflower (cut into small florets)
  • 30g butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 slices proscuitto
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli (I used sambal but fresh chilli also works)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • zest of 1 lemon (Omitted because I didn't have it - but I recommend adding it)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (finger lime vinegar also works!)
  • flat leafed parsley (coarsely chopped)
  • parm (to taste)


1 Cook pasta according to packet directions.
2 Strain pasta, reserving about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
3 Toss the pasta with a little olive oil to prevent stocking and put to one side.
4 In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium high and add in the cauliflower.
5 Season and cook until the cauliflower is cooked and has caramelised.
6 Remove the cauliflower from the pan and set aside.
7 Heat the oil in the same frying pan and add the proscuitto and cook until crispy.
8 Reserve a few bits of prosuitto to crumble on top at the end.
9 Add the garlic and chilli to the remaining proscuitto int he pan and gently fry until the garlic starts to brown.
10 Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce.
11 Add the zest, lemon juice and cauliflower.
12 Add the cooked pasta into the frying pan and toss to combine.
13 Add pasta water if needed to coat the pasta and create a bit of sauce.
14 Season and toss through the parsley.
15 Top with crisp proscuitto and grated parmesan.
May 062012

This recipe is evidence that cooking doesn’t need to be complicated or fussy.  When I made this recipe (taken from the April/May 2012 issue of Donna Hay Magazine) one weeknight it came together so quickly I decided to have a bath while it cooked!

When we sat down to eat it (in front of the tv – I may be a food blogger but I never claimed I was classy ;) ) J turned to me after his first bite and proclaimed “this one needs to go into our high rotation list!”  I have to agree.  If I was organised, I would actually compile these quick, easy, high-rotation recipes somewhere…I guess that’s what the blog is for!

So, go forth and eat chicken!

Fennel chicken, tomato and bean bake

Serves 2
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
From magazine Donna Hay


  • 1 can tinned tomatoes (whole)
  • 1 can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 5 sprigs oregano or rosemary
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 4 chicken thighs (bone in if you like)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 drizzle olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon rind (finely grated)


1 Preheat your oven to 200*.
2 Line a deep baking dish with baking paper.
3 Combine and tomatoes, beans, brown sugar, garlic and rosemary in the dish.
4 Add salt and pepper.
5 Place the chicken thighs (skin side up if they have skin) on top of the tomato mixture.
6 In a mortar and pestle, grind the fennel seeds and extra salt.
7 Sprinkle over the chicken and then drizzle with a little olive oil.
8 Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes (depending on whether your chicken is bone-in). Chicken is cooked when the juices run clear.
9 Remove from the oven and sprinkle with lemon rind before serving.
10 Serve with green beans or salad, and perhaps a chunk of crusty bread.
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 042012

  This recipe came up as one of the most popular zucchini recipes on Taste.com, with a 5-star rating and over 500 people recommending it.

That seemed like a pretty good endorsement, and even better I had all the ingredients, and it didn’t take long to prepare.

This one will be going into the rotational recipes (recipes that I make on a semi-regular basis: see J’s mum’s spinach pie, spaghetti bolognese, chilli).  It was so easy, quite healthy (well, semi-healthy anyway), made plenty of leftovers and tasted even better the following day.  There are nights when that is all I want my dinner to be – gourmet, complex, rich and hearty is all well and good but not on a Thursday night after a big day/week and when all I have eaten is a salad for lunch.

I recommend you give this recipe a try, and don’t be surprised if it makes it into your rotational list as well!  I haven’t typed it out as the recipe on the site is really very clear and easy to follow – it’s not rocket surgery!

Zucchini slice