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.

 



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.


Seafood Tagine


You know you’ve been to a great party when your 4 year old tells you that she had the best day of her life! We attended Josh’s Ben10 birthday party today and Bell’s wasn’t exaggerating when she said it was the best. Clive and Ali (Josh’s parents) planned everything to the very detail, from the gift bags to the scrumptious cake. We were in Ben10 wonderland and all had a blast. After the party, Bells just crashed and hubby and I decided to have a light seafood meal to finish of what Bella considered was a great day! 

Estimated Cooking Time – 45 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients;

  • 1 small red snapper cut into 4
  • 200g of mussels
  • 200 g of peeled prawns
  • 4 baby octopus
  • 250g of grilled capsicum
  • 2 stalks of chopped celery
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbps of ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1 chilli
  • 1 cup of chopped coriander/cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1/2 cup of green lentils
  • 3 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 Tbps of sugar
  • 1Tbsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 1/2 cup of chopped mint for garnish

Method;

  1. Pre-soak the lentils for 1 hour before cooking.
  2. Ina rice cooker, add the pre-soaked lentils, rice and water. This will make your lentil rice. If you didn’t have a rice cooker, you could simply put it into a pot, bring to boil and simmer till the rice and lentils become tender.
  3. In a bowl, add the chopped garlic, coriander, lemon juice and oil and whisk well. Add the seafood and marinade for 1 hour.
  4. In a food processor, combine the chopped celery, grilled capsicum, tomatoes, chilli, cumin and ground coriander and blend till a smooth consistency. This is the sauce of your tagine.
  5. In a pot, drizzle some oil and sweat the onions till they become translucent. Add the tagine sauce and bring to a slow simmer for 5 minutes, or till you can see the liquid form a loose paste.Add the sugar, salt and grounded pepper.
  6. Add the prawns, fish, octopus. Cover with the lid and cook on simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Add the mussels, cover the lid and cook again for another 5 minutes. When the flesh of the fish changes color from transparent grey to a dense white.
  8. To serve, scoop the lentil rice on the plate, pour over the seafood and garnish with freshly chopped mint.


Roast Beef with Parsnip and Carrot Duo


It’s Valentine’s Day and the way to my hubby’s heart is a hearty home cooked roast with lots and lots of gravy! The 12th Valentine’s day celebrations for us and it still feels like our very first one!

Estimated Cooking Time – 90 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients;

  • 400g of A grade scotch fillet
  • 1 bunch of dutch carrots sliced in half
  • 1 parsnip sliced to the size of the carrots
  • 1 cup of chopped parsley
  • 3 potatoes, Desiree is best, but any other form of waxy potato will do
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 Tbsp of butter
  • 4 Tbsp of flour
  • 3 cups of beef stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for pan fry

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C or 400F.
  2. Drizzle the oil onto the fillet and massage. Sprinkle the crushed juniper berries, rosemary, lemon thyme, salt and pepper onto a board and roll the fillet into this herb mix covering every bit of the fillet.
  3. Bring a pan up to high heat and pop the fillet in to sear for 1 minute on each side.
  4. Pop the seared fillet into a roasting dish and roast for 35 – 50 minutes depending on how you like your roast. I prefer my roasts medium rare, so I usually leave in therefore for 35 minutes.
  5. Cook the potatoes till the flesh is tender. Peel the cooked potatoes and  pour in the milk, butter, grated salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Pop the carrots and parsnip into a bowl, pour over some hot water and cover with cling wrap for 5 minutes.
  7. Bring a fry pan up to medium heat, drizzle some oil, add the garlic, parsley and vegetable duo and stir fry for 2-5 minutes. The vegetables are ready when they are just about to reach tenderness, yet still remain a bit of bite. ground in some salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Once the meat is completed, take the meat out of the oven and allow to rest. Pour any excess fat from the meat out leaving only about a tablespoon of fat behind.
  9. Pop the pan onto the stove and bring to a high heat. Add in the flour and combine the pan juices with the flour by whisking together until the flour mixture turns brown.
  10. Take this off the heat and add in the beef stock and whisk again till the clumps dissolves into the liquid.
  11. Put this mixture back on the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or till you have achieved a smooth silky consistency.
  12. To serve, pour the desired amount of gravy onto a plate, top with the mash, roast beef and the vegetable duo. It will sure to impress any man’s socks off!

 



Chicken Hainan



After bouts of extremely hot Sydney weather, it’s so nice to experience a cool change… a rather cold snap at times. Cold weather always equates to comfort food in my family, and one of our favourites is the good old Hainan Chicken served with aromatic rice and smothered with ginger, scallions and gooey sweet soy!

Estimated Cooking Time – 60 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients;

  • 1 chicken chopped up into pieces (size of your preference)
  • 5 cups of boiling water
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 6 peppercorn
  • 1 knob of ginger
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 3 cups of jasmine rice
  • 2 Tbps of Olive oil
  • 1 bunch of asian greens (I used chinese broccoli but you can use bok choy or choy sum)
  • Kecap Manis or sweet soy to serve
  • Chopped chilli for garnish and heat (optional)

Ginger and Scallion Sauce

  • 2 cups of chopped scallions or spring onions
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced ginger
  • 2 Tbsp of sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of salt
  • 2 Tbps of olive oil

Method;

  1. Wash the chicken pieces with a bath of hot water for 3 minutes. This will clean the chicken and will allow you to have a clear broth to cook with, without the coagulated chicken blood.
  2. Pour 4 cups of boiling water into a pot and add the peppercorns, ginger,carrot and onion. Submerge the chicken into the pot and put on a simmer for 30 minutes to form a soup base. If you didn’t want to make your own chicken stock, you could always buy pre-packed chicken stock and steam your chicken separately.
  3. While you’re waiting for your stock to cook, steam the bunch of greens and set aside to serve with the dish.
  4. Once the stock is ready and the chicken is cooked, leave the stock on low simmer to keep warm.
  5. Bring a fry pan to medium heat and add the oil, crushed garlic cloves and rice. Pan fry for 10 minutes or till you can see the rice grains go from dense white to a translucent colour.
  6. Pour the semi cooked rice into a rice cooker and add in 4 cup of the chicken stock and allow the rice cooker to cook your rice. This is the best part as your house will be filled with a wonderful, warm and spiced aroma! If you didn’t have a rice cooker, you could pour the stock straight into the pan, bring to the boil for 2 minutes and then cover the pan with a lid and allow to simmer for another 15 -20 minutes.

Ginger and Scallions Sauce

  1. In a bowl, add the olive oil, salt, sugar, ginger and scallions and mix well. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and pop this into the microwave on the high setting for 60 seconds. 
  2. Take the sauce out of the microwave and mix again to ensure everything has emulsified.
  3. To serve, layer the cooked rice onto a bowl, top with the asian steamed greens, followed by the chicken pieces, the sauce, chopped chilli (optional) and smother everything with the sweet soy.