Tuesday, 31 May 2011

※ Asian Chicken meatballs

  • 500gsm  ground chicken breast (raw)
  • 1 (5 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled
  • 6 -8 green onions, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari soy sauce or 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes or fresh chill to taste. 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Thai basil / coriander / Vietnamese mint to taste.

  1. Coarsely chop ginger, garlic and green onions, Thai basil / coriander / Vietnamese mint (to taste).
  2. Place in bowl of food processor.
  3. Add water chestnuts to food processor.
  4. Grind until a thick paste forms.
  5. Remove paste, place in mixing bowl.
  6. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, broth and egg to water chestnut paste.
  7. Add chicken & chili
  8. Combine all ingredients until well blended.
  9. Heat large skillet, add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan (to help prevent sticking).
  10. Using hands, or a small scoop, form a ball of meat about the size of a golf ball, place in the hot skillet.
  11. The meat mixture is very wet and loose, it will not hold it's shape well, so keep the balls small or they will flatten as they cook.
  12. Saute meatballs about 2 minutes or until browned on bottom, turn gently to an uncooked side, and continue cooking.
  13. Keep turning the meatballs as they cook, so that all sides are browned evenly.
  14. Cut a meatball open to test that it is cooked through to the center.
  15. Remove cooked meatballs and keep warm until all are done.
  16. Serve plain, or with your favorite dipping sauce.

I served mine in clarified chicken stock with mixed vegetables and ramen noodles, garnished with fresh coriander.

※ Chocolate Cupcakes


INGREDIENTS (Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home)
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dutch cocoa powder

METHOD Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Butter-cream Icing

  • 55g butter, softened
  • 240g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 30ml (1 1/2 tablespoons) milk
METHOD Beat butter with an electric mixer or electric hand-held beaters until light and creamy. Sift icing sugar and cocoa together into a bowl. Gradually beat in half the icing sugar and cocoa. Add milk and remaining icing sugar and cocoa and beat until fluffy. If necessary, add a little extra milk to achieve a creamy consistency.

Friday, 27 May 2011

※ How would you like your steak?

I have found a lot of people don't know the terminology, what are the options and what does each of them mean?

Blue Rare No crust, grill marks only - raw 
Very Rare Very thin crust with a warm raw centre
Rare Medium crust with a warm red centre
Medium Rare Nice crust with a warm red centre
Medium Thick crust with a hot pink centre
Medium Well  Very thick crust, meat is cooked right through with some pink colouring & no juice
Well Done Very thick crust with no pink colour and no juice

Will be posting more on beef next week, have a great weekend everybody.

Els xo

※ Crepes

1 cup plain flour
2 eggs
280-300ml milk
20g butter,
Pinch salt
Olive oil, for cooking

1. Sift flour into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add eggs, whisk starting in the centre and drawing in the flour. Add the milk a little at a time whisking until batter is the consistency of thick cream.

2. Melt the butter until foamy and a little nutty then pour into the batter with a pinch of salt.

3. Heat (22cm base) crepe pan over medium heat, add a little oil to coat the base then ladle in crepe mixture, turning to coat the base completely. Cook 1-2 minutes until light golden and lacy. Turn over and cook for 10-15 seconds. Remove to plate and keep warm. Repeat using the remaining crepe batter.

※ Zucchini fritters


* 3 (about 400g) medium zucchini
* 75g (1/2 cup) self-raising flour
* 40g (1/2 cup) parmesan, finely grated
* 3 shallots, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
* 1 egg, whisked
* 1/4 cup fresh continental parsley, chopped
* 2 tsp dried oregano leaves
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp chillies ( ground or seeds)
* 4 tsp olive oil

Trim the ends from zucchini. Coarsely grate the zucchini. Place in a colander and squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in self-raising flour, Parmesan, shallots, egg, parsley, oregano, salt & chillies

Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Drop four 2-tablespoonful measures of zucchini mixture into pan. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. 

Repeat with 2 tsp olive oil and remaining zucchini mixture.

** I sometimes substitute 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup polenta 
Sometimes I use cheddar instead of Parmesan. 
Great served with chilli jam and or sour cream

※ Chocolate Self-saucing Pudding

There is no better way to warm up on a cold winter's night than a warm sticky chocolate pudding.
The secret to making this super rich chocolate heaven is to use a dutch cocoa.  

Simply, Dutch-process cocoa powder is made from cocoa beans that have been washed with a potassium solution, while the beans in natural cocoa powder have simply been roasted and ground into a fine powder.

The potassium wash, also known as ‘Dutching’, neutralizes the acidity in the powder. It also makes the product darker and can help mellow the flavour of the bean.
As well as reducing the bitterness and acidity of the chocolate, the Dutch-process increases the powder’s solubility and improves the stability of its reaction to baking powder.


* 1 cup self-raising flour
* 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 80g butter, melted, cooled
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1 egg, lightly beaten

* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
* 1 1/4 cups boiling water


Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease an 8-cup capacity ovenproof baking dish. Sift flour and cocoa into a large bowl. Stir in sugar.

Combine butter, milk and egg in a jug. Slowly add to flour mixture, whisking until well combined and smooth. Spoon into baking dish. Smooth top.

Make sauce: Sprinkle combined sugar and cocoa over pudding.

Slowly pour boiling water over the back of a large metal spoon to cover pudding. Place dish onto a baking tray. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until pudding bounces back when pressed gently in centre. Serve hot with cream or ice-cream, I served mine with a dash of butterscotch sauce. (will blog recipe later on)

※ Orange & poppy seed muffins


* Melted butter, to grease
* 1 tbs poppy seeds
* 185ml (3/4 cup) milk
* 375g (2 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
* 155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
* 125g butter, melted
* 2 eggs, lightly whisked
* 4 tsp finely shredded orange rind
* 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
* Icing sugar, to dust (if desired)
* 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 190°C. Brush twelve 80ml (1/3-cup) capacity non-stick muffin pans with melted butter to lightly grease. Combine the poppy seeds and 60ml (1/4 cup) of the milk in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Add the poppy-seed mixture along with remaining milk, butter, egg, orange rind and juice & vanilla. Stir with a metal spoon until just combined (do not overmix).

Spoon the batter among prepared muffin pans. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Remove from oven and turn onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature dusted with icing sugar.

※ Strawberry Buttercream Icing

※ Strawberry Buttercream Icing / frosting


* 1 cup butter, softened
* 2 (16-ounce) packages powdered sugar, sifted
* 1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
(food dye if so desired, I added 2 drops)


* Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 20 seconds or until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and chopped strawberries, beating at low speed until creamy. (Add more sugar if frosting is too thin, or add strawberries if too thick.)

※ The Best Cheese you will ever have.

Fromager des Clarines is made from Mountain milk, yielding a smooth, very creamy cheese that is a must to serve as close to room temperature as possible, to release it's fresh white truffle butter flavors.

Fromager des Clarines is packed in a woodchip box like L'Edel de Cleron but is less pungent and more appealing to the less trained palette.

Serve it right inside the box, lifting off the edible top rind with a spoon. Scoop out the gourmet cheese with a crisp bread stick or onto your favorite water cracker or baguette.

Baked Fromager des Clarines

* 1 Box Fromager des Clarines
* 2-3 garlic cloves, halved
* Chopped rosemary
* Freshly ground black pepper to season

1. Remove cheese from the box and all packaging material.
2. Soak wooden box in water for 2-3 minutes to prevent it from burning in the oven.
3. Place cheese back into the box and make small cuts into the surface, then push garlic cloves into the cuts. Drizzle with white wine and chopped rosemary.
4. Bake in the oven at moderate temperature for about 15 minutes.
5. Dip chunks of crusty bread or thin slices of pear into the deliciously soft and fragrant cheese. Enjoy with sparkling wine or a luscious glass of red.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

※ Beef Bourguignon Recipe

8 oz Beef stew meat
2 slices Bacon
1 Garlic Clove, chopped
2 oz Onion, rough chop
1 oz Carrot, rough chop
1 oz Celery, rough chop
5-6 Pearl Onions
1 tbl fresh thyme chopped roughly
1 tbl Thyme / lemon or normal chopped
2 -3 cloves of black garlic
4 oz Diced Canned Tomatoes
2 oz Domestic Mushroom, fluted
2 oz A.P. Flour
1 tbl Tomato Paste
4 oz Red Wine **
2 cups Brown Veal Stock / or beef stock
Black Peppercorn, ground (to taste)
3 Tbls Worcestershire Sauce

(I don't add salt at this stage as sometimes makes the final dish too salty. Wait till serving to see if needed.)

**There are approximately 3 cups in a 750 ml bottle of wine. The conversion formula I use is: 30 ml/oz, so 750/30=25; 25/8 oz=3.125.


1. Render the bacon, starting with a cold pan to render the bacon more fully. Reserve the bacon when browned and crisp.

2. Sauté the pearl onions and mushrooms in the bacon fat until cooked through and tender. Reserve the mushrooms and onions.

3. Toss the beef in seasoned flour and brown in the bacon fat. Reserve the beef.

4. Add the mirepoix* to the pan and sauté until browned.

5. Add the tomato paste and pincé thoroughly.

6. Deglaze * with red wine and reduce au sec.

7. Return the beef to the pan and add stock, rosemary & thyme

8. Bring the stock to the boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.

9. Simmer 45-50 minutes or until the beef is tender.

10. Strain the liquid into a sauce pan and reduce to a sauce consistency.

11. Remove the beef from the strainer and add it to the sauce pan, discarding the spent mirepoix.

12. Monte au beurre* the sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Monte au beurre
Ever wonder why the sauce in a restaurant is better than your sauce at home? The sauce in the restaurant just seems richer. Monté au beurre (1) is the answer. It is very east to do. When your sauce is finished just add a few pats of butter to it and wisk them in. Once dissolved they will add the richness your sauce has been missing (2).
(1) literally translated monté au beurre means mounted with butter.
(2) once you have added the butter if you continue to heat the sauce it may break (the butter separates from the sauce) which is bad so make sure the sauce is hot and you are ready to serve.

Deglaze Make sure that there is nothing burnt onto the pan you are going to deglaze—you are looking for deep brown bits, not blackened bits
Pour off most of the fat in the pan. Turn the heat up to high. Add cold liquid to the hot pan—the liquid will come up to boiling very quickly, bringing up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan Using a spoon or spatula, scrape up the fond as the liquid boils Once the fond is dispersed throughout the liquid, turn down the heat

Mirepoix is a combination of onions, carrots, and celery
either raw, roasted or sautéed with butter, is the flavor base for a wide number of dishes, such as stocks, soups, stews and sauces. The three ingredients are commonly referred to as aromatics.

Monday, 23 May 2011

※ Scalloped Potatoes With Cheese

Scalloped potatoes are baked with cheese, milk, butter, and chopped onion, along with seasonings and flour.


  • 4 cups sliced raw potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups milk


Place half the potatoes in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with half the salt, pepper, flour, onion, and cheese. Dot with bits of butter. Repeat layer then add milk to cover potatoes. Cover with foil or lid and bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender. Take the lid off near the end of cooking to brown, or put under the grill for a few minutes.
Serves 4 to 6.

I sometimes mix the milk with chicken stock for extra flavor (obviously non vegetarian recipe) All depends on what it is being served with.

※ Chewy Chocolate Brownies

These brownies are just what the recipe’s description touts: “dense, fudgy, and full of deep chocolate flavor.”
A couple of small bites were all I could handle, but they were all I needed.

8 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c.Lescure French Butter
1 c. cocoa powder (dark dutch cant be beaten for richness & taste)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 c. flour
1 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugars and butter until very creamy.
Add remaining ingredients.
Pour into a 13×9 inch pan and bake in an oven preheated to 200 degrees Celsius for 27-30 minutes.

Monday, 16 May 2011

※ Nutella Stuffed French Toast (photo)

And here is a big picture of it just because.

※ Nutella Stuffed French Toast

At first glance, this looks like your run-of-the-mill french toast, but when you dig in, you find a perfectly delicious layer of Nutella in the center.

I have made it quite a few times: here & here again.
It tastes like a hot cinnamon donut straight from the fryer..heavenly! But this time it is filled with chocolate....

Nutella Stuffed French Toast
(using the donut french toast recipe) adapted by me.
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup full fat milk
* 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 4 slices from a small white loaf or 2 slices from a large white loaf, each large slice cut in half
* 1-ounce butter, plus a drop flavourless oil, for frying
* 1/4 cup sugar
* Nutella

Beat the eggs with the milk and vanilla in a wide shallow bowl.
Spread bread with Nutella and sandwich another slice of bread ion the end.Soak the sandwiches in the eggy mixture for 5 minutes a side.
Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan/skillet, fry the egg-soaked bread until golden and scorched in parts on both sides.
Put the sugar onto a plate and then dredge the cooked bread until coated like a sugared doughnut.
(- Nigella Lawson Recipe)

(join my facebook cooking group here)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

※ Creme Caramel with berry coulis

Ingredients (serves 6)
* 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
* 300ml thickened cream
* 1 1/2 cups milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 6 eggs

Method Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1 cup cold water in a saucepan over low heat.
Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved.
Increase heat to high. Bring to the boil. Boil, without stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden.
Remove from heat.
Set aside for 2 minutes to allow bubbles to subside.
Pour sugar mixture into six 1 cup-capacity, ovenproof dishes.
Set aside to set.

Combine cream, milk and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat.
Cook, stirring,for 6 to 8 minutes or until small bubbles form at edge of pan. Remove from heat.

Whisk eggs and remaining sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy.
Slowly add cream mixture, whisking constantly.
Strain mixture into a jug.
Divide between dishes.

Place dishes in a large baking dish (see tip). Pour boiling water into baking dish until halfway up the sides of smaller dishes. Bake for 30 minutes or until just set. Remove baking dish from oven. Remove dishes from water. Set aside to cool. Refrigerate overnight. Run a thin knife around edge of each dish. Turn out onto 1cm-deep plates. Serve.

Raspberry coulis* 1 punnet fresh raspberries
* 2 tbs caster sugar
* Fresh raspberries, to serve
* 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice

Place the raspberries and sugar, lemon juice in a small saucepan and place over a low heat, simmer until the sugar has dissolved. I don't strain mine as I like it with all the rough bits.

* Tip: Place a folded tea towel in baking dish before adding dishes and boiling water. (This prevents over-cooking.)

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

※ Slow-cooked lamb shoulder

Slow-cooked lamb shoulder with roast vegetables

Serves 4

1.5 kg lamb shoulder
1 glass red wine
500 ml chicken stock
1 head garlic,
Some fresh thyme sprigs & rosemary
1 lemon, juice only
1 red onion2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce 
2 Teaspoons of Peter Watson Spice rub *

Season lamb shoulder with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large pan over high heat and cook lamb for 5 minutes, turning once, until browned. Transfer to a large roasting tin. Meanwhile, deglaze pan with red wine and stock then pour over lamb in roasting tin.
After seeing the recipe in Gourmet Traveler I decided I needed to add more flavours besides just stock and red wine to the meat.

Add garlic cloves to taste and more black pepper, (don't worry about adding salt as the flavours deepen over the four hours.)

Add the juice of a lemon, a red onion chopped roughly, roughly chopped herbs

Cook in a preheated oven at 220C for 20 minutes then reduce heat to 160C and cook for 3-4 hours until tender, (larger shoulder I cook for up to 6 hours) basting occasionally.

Served with gravy made from pan drippings. (will post recipe another day for that one)
Also made a batch of french bread, which was served straight from the oven to table.

* Spice rub can be easily made at home:
  • onion
  • garlic
  • black pepper
  • cinnamon
  • coriander
  • ginger
  • turmeric
  • clove,
  • allspice,
  • soumack
  • cardamon

RECIPE adapted from here  SOURCE: