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 20th, 2012
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
- 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
- Pre-soak the lentils for 1 hour before cooking.
- 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.
- In a bowl, add the chopped garlic, coriander, lemon juice and oil and whisk well. Add the seafood and marinade for 1 hour.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the prawns, fish, octopus. Cover with the lid and cook on simmer for 20 minutes.
- 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.
- To serve, scoop the lentil rice on the plate, pour over the seafood and garnish with freshly chopped mint.
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.
February 11th, 2012
With four days apart from one another, my adorable in-laws have always shared birthday celebrations on the same day. Traditionally, we would take mum and dad out for dinner, followed by cake and pressies with the kids. This year however, mum wanted to have a nice night in and as she rightly put it … “hey dad is four days behind, he should have his own celebrations” hehheheh.
Estimated Cooking Time – 30 minutes
- 1/2 cup of skinless cubed cucumber
- 1/2 cup of de-seeded and cubed tomato
- 1/2 cup of cubed capsicum/red peppers
- 1/2 cup of cubed honeydew
- 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
- 4 sprigs of lemon thyme
- 6 cloves of freshly minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp of Masterfoods Mexican Chilli Powder ( If you couldn’t get this then 1 tsp of each of the following;cumin, paprika, pepper and oregano)
- 2 Tbps of Tabasco
- 1 Tbsp of salt
- 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
- 2 cups of vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp of sugar
- 1/2 cup of Olive oil
- Cucumber Salsa (1/2 cup of finely cubed cucumber and 2 Tbps of chopped parsley)
- 12 – 20 peeled prawns marinade
- 1 Tbsp of olive oil
- 2 Tbsp of dry white wine
- 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
- In a bowl, combine the prawns, garlic, oil and wine. Mix well and allow to marinade while you make the soup.
- With the exception of the stock, combine all the soup ingredients together in a food processor and whizz till you get a fine velvety consistency. Traditional Gazpacho will have bread in it, however as I’m serving this with a dense sourdough bread, the bread has been omitted. If you wanted a thicker consistency, you could add 1 cup of cubed bread.
- Pour the stock into a pan and bring to boil. Add the processed soup and whisk well for a minute on the high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer a continue to cook the soup for another 10 minutes.
- Bring a fry pan to high heat and pop the prawns in. Toss around the pan and saute for about 3-5 minutes depending on the size of the prawns. The prawns are cooked when they curl up and the colour of the prawns becomes bright orange.
- To serve, ladle some some soup into a bowl, top with the garlic prawns and cucumber salsa. I like to serve this with a dense crusty bread, either a sour dough or a Ciabatta would be ideal.
December 28th, 2011
Christmas lunch at my house is always loud and filled with the sound of pork crackling in the oven and the aroma of apple and brandy sauce simmering throughout the house. This year however, we decided to go all out with a seafood feast. With the amount of dishes we had consumed by 2pm Xmas day, I couldn’t help but feel like we all had a piece of the ocean floor swimming around in our swelling bellies. After lunch, everyone went for a power nap and woke up to the dish above …the Moroccan Salad was the perfect dish to restore the culinary balance and prep everyone up again for the Xmas dinner!
Estimated Cooking Time – 1 hour
Serves 10 -12
- 1 Large Kumera/sweet potato (300g)
- 3 Large Beetroot (300g)
- 2 sticks of Spring Onions or Scallions
- 3 Tbsp of good quality Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp of toasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp of ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp of ground tumeric
- 1/2 tsp of ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
- 2 Tsp of Honey
- Sprig of Coriander
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 18 C or 350F.
- Peel and cut the Beetroot and Kumera into the same bite size pieces and place evenly onto a baking dish.
- To the vegetables, slice the spring onions into 3cm pieces and sprinkle on top.
- Combine the ginger, tumeric, coriander and cumin spices together and sprinkle over the vegetables.
- Drizzle the honey and oil over the top of the spiced vegetables and mix thoroughly with your hands.
- Once combined, please the tray in the oven and cook for about 35 – 45 minutes (depending on the size of your vegetable pieces).
- The vegetables are ready when the Kumera is soft and creamy in the middle, although the beetroot will still have a slight crunch. As beetroot takes longer to cook than the Kumera, it was important to cut the vegetables the same size.This way you will achieve the right texture of a sweet crunch followed by a velvet feel of the Kumera as you go through the dish.
- Once cooked, take the vegetables out and allow to cool to a luke warm feel before folding in the coriander,sesame seeds and adding the salt and pepper to taste.
- I like to serve this with a flat bread and mint yogurt dip, on it’s own or even with a white fish.
Show of your middle eastern flare and impress your guest with this simple, colorful and delicious salad!