Garlic and Red Wine Infused Beef with Chestnut Sauce


After spending a day harvesting dried old leaves, twigs and old cicada shells for the kids to make their canvas, I was ravenous! I was craving a hearty meal,  so with my head stuck in the fridge, I found a beef fillet, some chestnuts, a half open bottle of wine and some frozen gnocchi I made from the mushroom medley dish … so I decided to re-create the dish I made my in laws the other day on their birthday. Just as yummy the second time round!

Estimated Cooking Time – 45 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients;

  • 300g of beef fillet
  • 1 cup of wine
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 2/3 cup of cream
  • 2 Tbsp of chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup of sliced chestnut ( fresh is best, but they come frozen, in cans or if you can’t find any then chick peas are a great alternative)
  • 1 Tbsp of salt
  • 2 Tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg
  •  Handful of rocket
  • Sprig of parsley for garnish
  • Olive oil for searing
  • 2 cups of cooked gnocchi (for gnocchi recipes, go to Potato Gnocchi and Mushroom Medley). Alternatively, you can buy the frozen gnocchi and boil it up.

Method;

  1. Crush the garlic and juniper berries together to form a paste.
  2. Stab the beef fillet with small holes and stuff the garlic paste into these holes.
  3. Put the beef fillet into a bag and pour in the wine and marinade for 1 hour.
  4. After an hour,preheat eh oven to 180C or 350F.
  5. Take the beef fillet out and sear in a pan for a minute on each side.
  6. Pop into the oven and roast for 20 – 30 minutes or longer depending on the size of your fillet and how rare yo like your fillet.
  7. In the same pan that you seared your fillet, drizzle a tsp of oil in, add the chestnut and onions and till the onions are tender.
  8. Add the cream and reduce to a slow simmer till the sauce as reduced by half.
  9. Take the fillet out of the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. In the mean time, warm the gnocchi and arrange on a plate. Add a handful of rocket, followed by the sliced roast, drizzle with the chestnut sauce and garnish with a bit of chopped parsley.

 



Chilli Prawns on Crispy Wonton Skins


My aunt and cousin Dungie  are visiting us today and I wanted to make something special for them. The menu was originally going to be asparagus speared prawns on creamed parsnip, but the parsnips at the markets weren’t very fresh today so I opted for a different dish instead. Glad the parsnips were’t fresh, cos this dish really hit the spot on a Saturday afternoon! Thanks for visiting ladies, as always we love having you around!!!

Estimated Cooking Time – 30 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients;

  • 12 wonton skins
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter and oil combined in equal portions
  • 12 prawns, de-shelled and veined
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped coriander
  • 1/4 cup of finely choped ginger
  • 1/4 finely diced onions
  • 2 Tbps of sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 Tbsp of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of freh soya beans (you can buy them frozen and then steam/ boil them)
  • 1/2 sweet potato chopped
  • 1 chopped potato

Method;

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.
  2. Drizzle the oil into a pot and sweat the onions till they are translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and coriander and sautee for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, sugar, salt and canned tomato and bring to boil. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes and place on the low heat to keep warm.
  3. While the sauce s cooking, cook and mash the potatoes.
  4. With a pastry brush, brush the butter and oil over both sides of the wonton skins and place on a roasting rack. Repeat this process till you have glazed allof the wonton skins and placein the oven for 3 miutes, or till you can see the skins puff up like a con chip.
  5. While the wonton skins are cooking, sautee your prawns in a hot pan and season with salt and pepper to your taste.
  6. To serve, put the crispy skin wonton onto a plate, top with the mash potatoes, soya beans, the prawns and a spoonful of the delicious sauce.

 



Fig and Chocolate Slice


My poor little Jake has somehow contracted ringworm. Not a dangerous or threatening condition, but rather an uncomfortable rash that keeps my little man up at night. So to keep me alive during the day, I’ve been surviving on sugar hits in one form or another. Today’s sugar rush is brought to you by figs and chocolates!

Estimated Cooking Time – 30 minutes

Serves 6

Ingredients;

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate buttons
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 4 Tbsp of sugar
  • 4 ripe figs cut into slices

Method;

  1. In a bowl, roughly mash the banana and pour the chocolates buttons in to combine well.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk, 2 Tbps of sugar and beat well till the egg mixture goes from a dark yellow to a light fluffy yellow shade.
  3. Add the wholemeal flour and oats and fold in the banana and chocolate combo. Mix well and pour into a baking dish.
  4. Add the fig slices on top and sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar over the figs. Pop into the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes (depending on the size of your baking tin/dish). The slice is ready when you put a skewer into the middle of the slice and it comes out clean.
  5. Serve warm with either ice-cream or a bed a dried coconuts.


Oven Bake Mackeral Parcels


 

It’s been a really good weekend with a fun hen’s night, followed by Natalia’s birthday one of Bell’s friends. Mary and Tim have this really awesome little outdoor room in their backyard overlooking the pool, and in the extreme 30C + weather, it was so refreshing to be able to sit back, have a catch up with our friends and just go  ”ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”. Before we went to Natalia’s though, my family were over to enjoy a nice little brunch.

Estimated Cooking Time – 40 minutes

Serves 6

Ingredients;

  • 10 mackeral fillets
  • 2 sweet potatoes cubed
  • 4 potatoes cubed
  • 400g of steamed green beans
  • 1 cup of scallion/spring onions
  • 1 tsp of butter
  • 1/2 cup of diced red peppers/capsicum
  • 1 cup of roasted peppers/capsicum (in a jar is perfectly fine)
  • 2 Tbsp of barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup of roughly chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 Tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup of semi sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 sardines finely mashed to a paste
  • 1 sprig of lemon thyme chopped
  • 1 Tbsp of cumin
  • 1/2 a fresh tomato
  • 2 Tbsp of mince garlic
  • 3 Tbsp of Olive oil
  • 1 tsp of pepper

Method;

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the macadamia nuts, semi sun-dried tomatoes, lemon thyme, sardines, 1 tsp of salt, honey and mix to form a paste/pesto.
  3. Layer the mackerel fillets out, scoop the pesto on and roll the mackerels into parcels. You can use butcher’s twine to hold it in place.
  4. In a food processor, combine the fresh and roasted capsicum, cumin, garlic, tomato and bbq sauce and whizz till it liquifies.
  5. Pour the 1/2 capsicum sauce into a roasting dish and spread evenly, add the mackerel parcels on top and then pour the remaining sauce on the fish.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and pop in the oven. The fish should take about 25 – 30 minutes to cook, they will be ready when the fish becomes tender.
  7. While the fish is in the oven, boil your potato and sweet potatoes. Once cooked, blend the potatoes with the milk, butter till you get a smooth paste. Add in the scallions/spring onions and mix well.
  8. Stem/Boil the green beans according to your preference, although I prefer my beans crunchy so 2 minutes in rapid boiling water should do the trick.
  9. To serve, layer the potato mash on a plate, top with the mackerel parcel, green beans and roasted capsicum sauce.


Orange and Elder Flower Mocktail


My little girl and I love making fruity drinks and today Bella decided she just didn’t want orange juice, it will have to be fancy orange juice to match with her fancy dress she got over the weekend. So I introduced Bells to Elderflower syrup and this is now her new favorite drink. Being a bouncing toddler at 4, “my favorite drink forever: usually has a life expectancy of 48 hours. 

Estimated Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients;

  • 4 Valencia Orange
  • 1/4 cup of Elderflower syrup
  • 1 cup of crushed ice
  • Basil Leaves for garnish (optional)

Method;

  1. Juice the oranges and pour into a jug.
  2. Add the Elderflower syrup and mix well.
  3. Serve with crushed ice and basil leaves as a garnish. Beware though, it may send the kids on a sugar rush in 1/2 hour though.