Friday, 30 September 2011

※ Strawberry Vodka Cordial

  • 3  cups  ripe  strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 946.0 ml   vodka  


      Clean berries without washing; set aside in tall half-gallon jar.

      Mix sugar with 1 cup water and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.

      Increase heat; bring mixture to boil and set aside to cool.

      Mix cooled syrup with vodka and pour over strawberries.

      Cover tightly and store in a cool, dark place for 1 week.

      Pass liqueur through a fine mesh strainer

      Strain again through coffee filter into a bottle.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

※ Chocolate Muffins II


  • 1 3/4 cups self raising flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 125g butter or margarine, melted, cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 185ml can Carnation light & creamy evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate bits
  • cocoa, extra, to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line twelve 1/3-cup capacity muffin pans with large paper cases. Sift flour and cocoa into a bowl. Add sugar and stir until well combined. Whisk butter, eggs, evaporated milk and vanilla in a large jug.
  2. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold through chocolate bits (see tip). Spoon the mixture evenly into prepared paper cases. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve lightly dusted with cocoa.


  • These muffins are best eaten on the day they are made.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

※ Nachos

Nachos from Mexicali Fresh.

They were the best nachos I have ever had.
If ever In Auckland and you love Nachos, I highly recommend you pay them a visit.

137 Quay Street, CBD, Auckland
Phone: 09 307 2419 | Fax: 09 309 4126
Sunday - Thursday 11am - 9pm
Friday, Saturday 11am - 10pm

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

※ Published

Click for larger resolution.

I was asked to write a recipe to be featured in a magazine "Your Child in Manningham" that is distributed throughout Manninham. They loved it and want me to another for the Christmas edition.

Friday, 23 September 2011

※ Pasta with Tiny Meatballs

Pound ground beef 
✶ 1-2 Dried chillies  
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Oregano 
1/2 Nutmeg, grated 
3 Cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1 Large egg - He also points out this should be free range organic 
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
Zest of 1/2 lemon 
Salt and pepper
Fresh chopped parsley, I used Italian flat leaf

For the tomato sauce
Olive oil 
2-3 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped 
A Bunch of basil, leaves picked and stalks chopped 
1 Fresh red chili, pierced with the tip of a knife  
1 Onion
2 x 400g Tins of plum tomatoes 
Swig of red wine vinegar 
Salt and pepper

Combine the meatball ingredients, form small meatballs.  

Put garlic, basil stalks, and chili in olive oil in saucepan. 5 min later crush and add plum tomatoes. Simmer half hour or so.  

Fry meatballs just to brown edges. 

Let them finish cooking in the sauce for another 15 min or so. Cook fresh pasta, combine.

You can serve with a generous amount of Parmesan if so desired.


Simmering after frying off meatballs.
Left cooling in a container to be eaten the next day.
Just before serving, I tore up some more fresh basil = heaven

Adapted from a Jamie Oliver Recipe

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

※ Pasta Carbonara Sauce


2 teaspoons olive oil
200g sliced bacon roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 cup thickened cream
75g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup chicken stock

Garnish: Salt & pepper, fresh chives / parsley or spring onions.


Heat oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add bacon and garlic. 
Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Drain on paper towel.

Whisk egg yolks, eggs, cream, chicken stock and three-quarters of the Parmesan together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Add egg mixture and bacon mixture to pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Toss over low heat until well combined. Serve with remaining Parmesan.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

※ Shephards Pie

Photos are from 2008 when I made it for the inlaws. 


For the filling

    * 25 g beef dripping, or lard
    * 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
    * 1 carrot, peeled and diced
    * 450 g cooked lamb, minced
    * 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (optional)
    * 1 tbsp plain flour
    * 1 tsp tomato purée
    * 300ml beef stock
    * 1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
    * 1 tbsp chopped fresh Parsley, Rosemary, & Thyme

For the topping

    * 450g potatoes
    * 2 tbsp double cream
    * 115g unsalted butter
    * 1 pinch nutmeg, freshly grated


1. For the filling:melt the dripping in a large frying pan and add the onion and carrot. Cook for a few minutes until soft but not coloured.

2. Add the minced lamb and fry for 2 minutes, then add the tomato purée, garlic if using it, and flour, and mix well.

3. Add the stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the stew thickens but does not stick to the pan.

4. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, Parsley, Rosemary& Thyme and some salt and pepper, and remove from the heat. Put into a pie dish of about 850ml and leave to cool.

5. For the topping:peel the potatoes then cut them into even pieces and put into cold salted water. Bring to the boil and cook until tender, then drain and return to the pan. Put back on the heat to dry out carefully, stirring all the time.

6. Put the double cream and 85g of the butter into a clean pan and bring to the boil.

7. Mash the potatoes or pass them through a potato ‘ricer’ and add to the cream mixture. Stir well, season with salt and pepper and add some nutmeg. Allow to cool. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

8. Put the potato into a piping bag with a 2cm plain nozzle and pipe on to the meat mixture in the pie dish. Put the pie dish into the preheated oven for 10 minutes to set the potato topping.

9. Melt the remaining butter and carefully brush over the top of the pie. Put back in the oven for a further 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
This is essentially a leftover recipe, but you can make it with fresh lamb (or beef). Buy mince, and cook it with the vegetables for longer than above. Also, you don’t have to use a piping bag for the potato. Spoon it on evenly and level with a palette knife dipped in olive oil or melted butter, then scroll to make a pattern. For variations, try adding fried mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes to the filling, or grated cheese to the potato topping.

Friday, 16 September 2011

※ Home Made Pizza

It's all in the dough! 

Snapped some pictures with my iphone as my camera was charging.
All I need now is to get a pizza oven installed at home. Working on that one! (hopefully for Christmas)

The secret to great pizza dough is the flour. I’ve experienced with many different flours to get the perfect pizza dough. I am loving "Molini Pizza Flour" at the moment. 
(Italian Tipo "00" Flour Perfect for Pizza)

    * 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
    * 1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
    * 3 1/2 cups Italian 000 Flour, plus additional for rolling dough
    * 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
    * 1 scant tablespoon honey
    * 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, + some for coating the bowl/greasing the trays

In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. Stir to dissolve the yeast and allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes.

Using a sieve or strainer, "sift" about half of the flour over the yeast mixture and blend until smooth with your hands. Add the salt, pepper and honey and mix to blend. Sift in the remaining flour and mix to blend.

Lightly flour a cutting board or flat surface. Turn the pizza dough onto the floured area and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. The flour should feel smooth and the ingredients fully integrated. Place the dough inside a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place, about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume.

Press gently on the dough and turn it onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts, rolling each quarter into a loose ball. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest for an additional 15 minutes. Flatten each ball, 1at a time, and roll into a 6-inch round. Place each round in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Tip for topping the pizza: Brushing the dough with olive oil can create a barrier that will help to prevent the topping from making the crust soggy.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

※ Bloody Mary


A Bloody Mary is a popular cocktail containing vodka, tomato juice, and usually other spices or flavorings such as Worcestershire sauce, Peri-Peri Sauce, Tabasco sauce, beef consomme or bouillon, horseradish, celery, olive, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and celery salt. It has been called "the world's most complex cocktail.

Bloody Mary recipe (as taught by the New York School of Bar-tending)
* 1 oz. to 1½ oz. (30-45 ml) vodka in a highball glass filled with ice. 
* Fill glass with tomato juice 
* 1 dash celery salt 
* 1 dash ground black pepper 
* 1 dash Tabasco sauce 
* 2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce 
* 1/8 tsp. horseradish (pure, never creamed) 
* Dash of lemon or lime juice Garnish with celery stalk.

May be shaken vigorously or stirred lazily, as desired. Garnish with a celery stalk; a skewer of olives, pickles, carrots, mushrooms, or other vegetables; or even meat or fish (salami, shrimp, etc.) and cheese. Occasionally, pickled asparagus spears or pickled beans are also used.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

※ New Zealand

Food pictures snapped with my mobile. 
Will upload other pictures soon (they are on my hard drive at home.)

Tapas bar in the viaduct Auckland
Mexican Cantina Auckland A+++
Amazing Chocolate chip cookies
Lemon & passion fruit slice from Davenport
Coffee from Devonport
Strawberry macaroons from Sky Grand Hotel
Coffee @ Sky Grand Auckland foyer
Burger King Frypod Auckland
Even more coffee! Wellington coffee was the best.
Gladstones Ginger Beer.  So refreshing!
Mexicali Fresh Auckland, Margarita

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

※ Homemade Nutella


  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 6 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut oil

Roast hazelnuts in 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Put roasted hazelnuts in food processor and puree for 5 minutes, until very smooth.

Add cocoa powder, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla.

Puree for 15 seconds and then stream in hazelnut oil.

Strain and spoon into jars.

Store it in the refrigerator.  It thickens when cold, you will need to bring it to room temperature before using.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

※ From the Archives

Another photo from the archives. (This one is from November 2006.)

This used to be a favorite meal of mine, I hardly do it anymore, will have to give a go this weekend.

Breaded veal with asparagus on a bed of mashed potato, pumpkin with chives and tasty cheese. 
Served with a squeeze of lemon juice

Thursday, 1 September 2011

※ Strawberry Jam

  • 4 cups strawberries, hulled 
  • 3 cups sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice 

Combine the all ingredients in a large pot.
Under medium-low heat, allow the sugar to slowly dissolve stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Once the sugar has dissolved increase heat to medium to medium-high, allow the mixture to come to a slow boil.

Boil for about 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently once the mixture begins to thicken. When the mixture reaches 220 F turn off heat and let it cool.

Skim off any foam from the top of the jam.

Once the jam has completely cooled it can be canned or stored in the fridge. 

※ Muesli Recipe / Granola

Easy Homemade Muesli / Granola

Adapted from "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking" by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup whole almonds
  • 1/3 cup whole hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup muscatels or raisins
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots (cut roughly)

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup & vanilla.

Whisk until completely combined.

Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them: Gather up some of the mixture in each hand and make a fist. Repeat until all of the oats are coated with the honey mixture.

Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.

Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. Let cool completely. Sprinkle the raisins and dried apricots over the granola.

Package in an airtight container.

※ Canape Ideas

※ Canape & Finger Food Ideas

A storage place for ideas, will be updating this list from time to time. 

Duck liver parfait on brioche
Ricotta & pear crostini
Vietnamese rice paper rolls
Bruschetta of olive, tomato & buffalo mozzarella
Sushi selection
Tuna tartare
Smoked salmon blini with crème fraîche
Prosciutto Grissini
Gougères filled with blue cheese & walnut cream
Tomato gazpacho with roasted shellfish & avocado salsa
Carpaccio of beef on crostini with parmigiano

Lamb pinchos, tzatziki
Caramelised onions & anchovies pissaladière
Pumpkin & fetta arancini with herb aioli
Aged cheddar croquettes with Jamon
Chicken & ginger wonton
Mushroom & porcini tart
Cauliflower Fritters
Fish goujons with spicy tomato sauce / or Tartare
Stuffed zucchini flower
Sage & anchovy fritters
Kefalograviera Saganaki
Mini Hamburgers

Exotic mushroom risotto with truffle oil
Chicken San Choi Bao with sweet Thai chili
Italian meat balls in Napoli sauce
Salad of baby beets, feta and pomegranate
Moreton Bay Bug, crispy chicken, cabbage & chervil salad
Calamares & paella rice
Chorizo & herb salad
Greek lamb cutlets
Tortellini of duck with salsa verde

Mini Croque Monsieur
Spiced Beef Sausage Roll
Petite Quiche Lorraine

Crème brûlée
Chocolate Tart
Passionfruit granita
Chocolate Pots