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.


Wonton Short Soup



Water chestnuts and pork mince are a match in culinary heaven, so when I’m feeling like an instant bowl of happiness … I put on my celebrant chef hat and marry together my two favorite ingredients! 

Estimated Cooking Time – 45 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients;

  • 1 packet of  Gow Gee wrappers (30 pieces per packet)
  • 2 cups of steamed  Bok Choy or any Asian greens of your choice
  • 400g of pork mince
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped shallots
  • 2 Tbsp of sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 2 Tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup of  chopped water chestnut
  • 1 onion
  • Chopped spring onions/scallions and coriander/cilantro
  • Chopped/sliced chilli (optional)
  • 2L of chicken stock
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Onion
  • Handful of dried shrimps (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp of sugar for the soup
  • 1 Tbsp of fish sauce for the soup

Method;

  1. In a bowl, combine the pork mince, shallots, water chestnut, salt, sugar and pepper and mix well. This forms your filling.
  2. Pour the chicken stock into a pot, add the dried shrimps, carrot, onion and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup and move onto to making your Wonton dumplings.
  3. To make the dumplings, scoop a tsp of the filling onto the middle of the Gow Gee wrapper and brush the edges/rim with some water. Fold the wrapper in half and press tightly to seal the filling into the pastry. This forms a fan like shape. Repeat till you have used up all your Gow Gee wrappers.
  4. In a pot of boiling water, pop the dumplings into a pot of boiling water and scoop out the ones that rises to the top.
  5. Once the vegetables are tender in your soup, add the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar, 2 Tbsp of sesame oil and 1 Tbsp of fish sauce into your stock and allow to simmer for another 2 minutes.
  6. To serve, pop the Wonton dumplings into a bowl, add the steamed Asian greens, hot soup and garnish with the chopped spring onions, coriander and sliced chilli. Real comfort food that will leave you feeling very refreshed!


Potato Gnocchi with Mushroom Medley


 

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

Serves 4

Ingredients;

  • 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

Method;

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Once the medley is cooked, set aside and re-heat when serving.
  6. 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.
  7. Add the flour, eggs and salt to the mash and knead well to form a dough.
  8. Cut into 5 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log. Cut each log into individual bite size pieces.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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!


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.