March 5th, 2012
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
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.
- 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.
- While the sauce s cooking, cook and mash the potatoes.
- 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.
- While the wonton skins are cooking, sautee your prawns in a hot pan and season with salt and pepper to your taste.
- 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.
February 21st, 2012
My mother in law loves all things mushrooms … so I decided to marry her old favorite with a something she’s never tried before. I introduced mum to potato gnocchi and she loves it! It’s like a a fluffy potato cloud, according to my mother in law. Hehehe gotta love the way old Asian people describe things that are new to them, it’s like they’ve entered back into their toddler years… it’s so adorable!!!
Estimated Cooking Time – 90 minutes
- 1 kg of small potatoes
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 kg of cheap cooking salt
- 1 kg of assorted mushrooms of your choice (sliced up)
- 2 sprigs of parsley
- 2 Tbsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of ground pepper
- 1tsp of salt
- 3 slices of prosciutto
- Sprig of lemon thyme
- Sprig of rosemary
- 1 Tbps of Olive oil
- Handful of rocket
- Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.
- In a roasting pan, pour a layer of the cooking salt onto the pan and put the potatoes on top. Using a fork, puncture holes into the potato. The layer of salt will draw the moisture out of the potatoes and you will end up with a fluffy mash, which will lead to a fluffy gnocchi.
- Pop into the oven and cook till the potatoes are soft. This should take anywhere between 45 minutes – 60 minutes depending on the size of your potato.
- While the potatoes are cooking, you can now make your mushroom medley. In a pan, drizzle the oil and bring to medium heat. Add the lemon thyme, rosemary, mushroom medley and sautee for 3 minutes or till the mushrooms are slightly soft. Add the salt, pepper and sugar and sautee for another 2 minutes. Don’t worry too much if you can see liquid come out at this point, this forms the sauce and is delicious as you drench it onto the gnocchi.
- Once the medley is cooked, set aside and re-heat when serving.
- Once the potatoes are soft and cooked, take them out of the oven and allow to cool slightly. Peel off the skins, and mash finely using a potato ricer. If you didn’t have a ricer, you could push the mash through a sieve to get a fine textured mash. This is important if you want a velvety, melt in your mouth gnocchi.
- Add the flour, eggs and salt to the mash and knead well to form a dough.
- Cut into 5 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log. Cut each log into individual bite size pieces.
- To each bite size pieces, roll into a ball and press each piece with the back of a fork to form the gnocchi shape. This shape will allow any sauce to stick to the gnocchi.
- Once you have made all your gnocchi, pop them into rapid boiling water in small batches so you don’t over crowd the pot. The gnocchi is cooked when they come to the surface. Fish them out and serve immediately.
- To serve, layer a bed of the potato gnocchi on a plate, top with the warm mushroom medley, handful of rocket and finely sliced prosciutto. You could also drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil on top if you’re not on a diet!
February 17th, 2012
Aunty Dungie came over today with scrumptious cake from her cake decorating classes, she had spent three long days learning the art of making a circus cake. Bella was rewarded with a large cupcake with a glossy cherry on top… so that’s dessert covered, it’s now time to make use of that roast chicken I brought yesterday!
Estimated Preparation Time – 15 minutes
- 2 pre-bought roast chicken breast (or you could roast your own, but I really love the way Coles does it)
- Handful of rocket
- 2 Tbsp of macadamia nuts
- 3 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp of semi sun dried tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp of chopped capsicum
- 2 Tbsp of orange juice
- 1 Tbsp of Tabasco sauce
- 90g of cous cous
- 150 mls of boiling water
- Slice the chicken breast into thin strips.
- In a food processor, blend together the macadamia nuts, oil, semi sun dried tomatoes, Tabasco sauce, capsicum and orange juice. The pesto is ready when the consistency is smooth.
- Pour the cous cous into a bowl and pour in the boiling water to the level of the cous cous. Cover with cling wrap for 1 minute and mix the cous cous grains around. Cover the cous cous again and microwave for 1- 2 minutes till the grains are fluffy.
- To serve, layer a bed of rocket on the bottom, followed by the cous cous, pesto and roast chicken.
February 16th, 2012
After a full year of tender love and care and fending off the greedy birds from my fig branch, the investment paid off! The branch has yielded about 20 fruits, with three ripe and ready to go. Funny how the simplest things in life can give me such great joy! I hopped over to my rocket bed, chopped a few new sprouts and didn’t waste any time!
Estimated Preparation Time – 20 minutes
- Handful of rocket and spinach leaves (1 cup)
- 50g of cubed/crumbed Feta
- 6 rashes of prosciutto
- 1 Tbsp of ranch dressing
- 1 Tbsp of orange juice
- 1/2 tsp of crushed and finely chopped garlic
- 2-3 figs cut into quarters
- Preheat the grill to 180C or 350F.
- Place a piece of Feta inside a piece of quartered fig and wrap with the prosciutto. Repeat this step till you have used up all the fig, prosciutto and Feta.
- Grill the wrapped fig for 3 minutes under the grill or till the prosciutto and Feta have caramelized. Ensure you don’t over cook the the figs as they will become soggy and unpleasant to eat.
- In a small bowl, add the ranch dressing, crushed garlic and orange juice and whisk well.
- To serve, layer the grilled figs on the bed of spinach and rocket and drizzle over the dressing. I like to serve this with a grilled fish or smoked salmon.
February 13th, 2012
One of the sheer joys of being a mum is the pinnacle point between hysterical laughter and sheer horror when you discover piles and piles of silky black hair on the floor when they should be on your daughters head. Bella was playing quietly in her room this morning. Bathed in my naivety, I even commented on how good she was, unaware that my creative daughter was busy building a hair salon for herself and her many dolls. Good thing we had a relaxing lunch before we discovered one of Bella’s victim…. ahhh who said being a parent wasn’t fun!
Estimated Preparation Time – 10 minutes
- 2 large thick slices of sour dough bread or Ciabatta
- 1/4 wedge of brie, sliced into bite size pieces
- 2 Tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
- 100g of semi dried tomato
- 200g or rocket/arugula
- Handful of torn up basil leaves for garnish
- 1 tsp of Balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp of honey
- 3 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
- In a bowl, combine the vinegar, oil and honey. Whisk well and set the dressing aside.
- Divide the brie, semi sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese in half and top these ingredients onto your sliced bread.
- Pop this under the grill for 5 minutes, or till cheese forms a golden crust.
- Sprinkle the basil leaves on top.
- Serve the Bruschetta on a bed or rocket/arugula and drizzle the marinade on top.