Friday, August 20, 2010

Whatever's in the pantry

Can I just say that I threw this baby together this afternoon with just a few ingredients that had been sitting in my pantry. I was impressed.

All I had was rice noodles, pineapple and some nuts - who knew that could make for a seriously good meal? Just add whatever sauces you have, I used fish sauce, soy, lime juice and peanut oil, and whatever veggies you want (I only had onion and coriander) and there you go. Done!

What meal have you thrown together by just using whatever you have left in the pantry? Read more...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tofu Pad Thai

One of my lovely fellow bloggers gave me this recipe and it is definitely a one-pan wonder. Prepare all your ingredients beforehand, chuck everything in and bob's your nana, done! Super easy and really delicious.

{ Tofu Pad Thai }

200g rice stick noodles
1/4 cup (60ml) peanut oil
2 eggs, beaten lightly
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 small fresh red chillies, chopped finely
1/2 cup (45g) packaged Asian fried shallots (or onion)
150g marinated Thai-style tofu
150g snow peas, trimmed, sliced lengthways
1/4 cup (35g) roasted peanuts, chopped
3 cups (240g) bean sprouts
6 green onions (green shallots), sliced thinly
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl; cover with boiling water, stand until noodles just soften, drain.

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a wok; pour in egg, swirl wok to make a thin omelette. Cook until egg is just set. Remove from wok; roll omelette, cut into thin strips.

Heat remaining oil in wok; stir-fry garlic, chilli and fried onion until fragrant. Add tofu and snow peas, stir-fry for 1 minute. Add half the nuts, half the sprouts and half the green onion; stir-fry until sprouts are just wilted.

Add noodles, soy sauce and lime juice; stir-fry, tossing gently, until combined. Remove from heat; toss through omelette strips, coriander and the remaining nuts, sprouts and green onion.

Serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Two Dudes One Pan

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are the two dudes. They worked as chefs in Los Angeles before creating their own catering company Carmelized Productions. "We never really planned on becoming caterers," Vinny says in the book. "But the catering business took off." They were only 20 and 21 when that happened and then they quickly became known as the go-to guys when it came to throwing a dinner party. "We've cooked for every event imaginable, form all-out celebrity bashes to backyard pig roasts and making grilled cheese sandwiches for a family dinner!" Jon says. And in the beginning the pair cooked out of their clients' kitchens with produce they picked up at their local supermarket. And it seems their ethos comes from the simple yet delicious food they prepared for their clients. "Why use three pans (or more) when one will do?," Vinny says. And Jon agrees, "You don't need a a tricked-out kitchen to make a nice meal. The idea is to keep cooking easy. That's why the premise of this book is that you only need one pan for each dish."

Use three dudettes are going to give Jon and Vinny's recipes are go this week. We're thinking beef hamburgers and coffee cake. Just one pan? Stay tuned to see how it all pans out. (Get it?! Pans?!)


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Our Greek Dinner - Thanks George

{ Lamb and Olive Lady’s Fingers with Beetroot Tzatziki }

Serves 4


½ onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
Vegetable oil, to fry
200g lamb mince
¼ cup madeira
Pinch salt
½ cup chicken stock
30g green olives
100g butter
4 sheets filo pastry
1 tbsp icing sugar, to serve

Preheat oven to 180C. Finely dice onion and garlic. Add oil to saucepan and heat. Add onion and garlic, cook till translucent. Add lamb mince and cook until browned. Add the Madeira and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt. Add chicken stock and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Finely dice olives and add to lamb mixture. Melt butter by placing in a microwave for 1 minute or melt in saucepan. Take a sheet of filo pastry and brush with melted butter. Place a tablespoon of lamb mixture in the middle of the filo and roll to resemble a finger. Repeat with remaining mixture and filo sheets. Place fingers on a greased baking tray and cook for 8 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve whole with the beetroot tzatziki.

{ Beetroot Tzatziki }

4 large beetroots
200g thick greek yoghurt
½ garlic clove, minced
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon

Individually wrap beetroots in foil and bake on baking tray in a low oven, 120C, for 2 hours. Allow to cool, remove foil and peel the skin off. Dice beetroot into small cubes. In a mixing bowl combine yoghurt, beetroot, garlic, zest and mix. Season with salt.

{ Roasted Pork Cutlet, Dodoni Feta Crumble, Greek Coffee Jus }

Serves 4

4 x 300g pork rib eye
50g butter
1 tbsp sage leaves, chopped
1 tsp thyme leaves, chopped
4 portions dodoni feta crumble
¾ cup greek coffee jus
Pinch of salt

Season pork with salt then seal on the chargrill on either side. Cook to medium (approx 4 minutes each side, no oil) and allow to rest. Heat the butter, sage and thyme until it turns golden brown. Add the pork and coat for 30 second. Spook feta crumble evenly on top of the pork and place under grill until golden brown. To serve, place pork on serving plate and drizzle with greek coffee jus.

{ Dodoni Feta Crumble }

100g dodoni feta
300g baked beans
¼ red onion, diced
100g fresh breadcrumbs

Combine onion, feta and baked beans in a bowl. Mix well. Toss through breadcrumbs and refrigerate until ready to serve.

{ Greek Coffee Jus }

1 ½ tbsp sherry vinegar
30g brown sugar
15g greek coffee
1 ¼ cups lamb jus
20g butter

In a small saucepan combine the vinegar and sugar and heat over a low heat. Whisk in coffee until dissolved and the consistency is smooth. In a medium saucepan heat the lamb jus gently. Combine the liquids and finish the sauce by whisking through the butter to thicken.

{ Baklava Souffle, Smoked Chocolate Ice Cream }

Serves 4

¾ cup low fat milk
20g cornflour
45g caster sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks
6 egg whites
100g caster sugar
4 portions smoked chocolate ice cream

In a small saucepan bring milk to boil. While milk is warming, in a medium bowl mix the cornflour, sugar, eggs and egg yolk together to form a smooth paste. Pour the milk onto the paste and blend together. Return mixture to the saucepan, bring to a gentle simmer whilst whisking continuously for 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl, cover with cling film and allow to cool. Once cooled, beat in an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy and gradually add the sugar, whisking continuously until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the egg white mix into the cooled milk mixture and whisk vigorously then add the rest and gently fold in. Pour into buttered and sugared soufflé moulds (rameins) and bake in preheated moderately slow oven, 175C for 13 minutes or until the soufflé has risen to 2.5cm above the rim of its mould. Serve immediately.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I'm a bit obsessive with food. Once I like something I have to have it again and again until the obsession has turned into a repulsion. This can get really annoying as the foods I love often turn into foods I can no longer stomach. During summer I was addicted to a spinach salad I got from my local deli, but now that we're in winter I can't get my regular salad fix as I'm just too cold to munch on anything that isn't going to warm me up. I was craving something healthy the other night and found this vegetable casserole recipe which sounded pretty tasty. I gave it a go and was pretty happy with the outcome. I think I added a little too many liquids but see how you go. The egg makes this dish really hearty and great for winter. Enjoy!

{ Vegetable Casserole with Simmering Eggs }

1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, peeled, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
500g zucchinis, cut into 1cm pieces
1 1/2 cups tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3-4 free-range eggs
4 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
Crusty bread, to serve

Place oil in a frypan over low heat. Add onion, potato and carrot and cook until vegetables start to turn golden. Add the garlic and zucchini and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, oregano, vinegar and 3 cups of water. Season. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally or until thickened. Make 3-4 small indents in casserole and break in 3-4 eggs. Partially cover and cook for 10 minutes or until eggs have set. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve from pan at the table with lots of crusty bread. Serves 4.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Greek Month

The Greeks gave us more than democracy - they're also responsible for spanakopita, galaktoboureko and honeypuffs - those gloriously gooey honey-soaked balls of goodness. It's Greek month, so to prepare for 30 whole days of Greek-inspired cuisine, we headed to Paniyiri - Brisbane's annual Greek Festival. It's better than Christmas. Really.


Thursday, June 3, 2010


For all you cupcake lovers, here is a bit of a treat for you.

{ Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes }


1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Vanilla Buttercream (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing. Ice the cupcakes.

{ Vanilla Buttercream }

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food colouring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.