Thursday, December 5, 2013

Shop smart, cook clever, waste less

Read in the Qantas magazine yesterday that Jamie Oliver has a new book published, on how to be more frugal with our recipes and ingredients, use home grown produce, and shop at farmers markets etc, which strikes a chord with me, not that I am considering buying the book at the moment. I love recipe books though and will take a look at it. Instead of using cream imported from Switzerland or moss imported from Russia, buy local and waste less.

Then I saw Margaret Fulton interviewed,  who is advocating the same idea of supporting our local farmers more to ensure variety of produce, shop at the Farmers Markets, and grow your own if possible. Simplicity is key.

Great ideas and and I love the whole rustic approach to cooking and presentation.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Damper Scones

A Devonshire tea, with tea, scones, jam and cream,  is a must when spending time with family and friends. This is my no fail damper style scone recipe.

Low-fat Chicken Burritos Enchilada Style

Mexican food is so tasty and this Enchilada dish is easy as well. Ingredients can be easily increased to feed a crowd. I have also used  pre-cooked chicken for this recipe and that works well and saves time.


120g chicken breast fillet, chopped
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
1/2 cup green capsicum, chopped
1/2 cup 99% fat free canned re-fried beans
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp taco seasoning
2 tbs water
4 large tortillas
1/1/4 cups salsa
40g reduced fat tasty cheese, grated

Let's cook:
  1. Preheat oven to 200oC. Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Coat a non-stick frypan with cooking spray and brown chicken. Add shallots, capsicum, and mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Add re-fried beans, parsley, taco seasoning and water to pan and stir over heat until combined.
  3. Spoon a quarter of the filling across the centre of each tortilla and roll up. Place in a baking dish and pour salsa over burritos. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.
  4. Serves 4.
Serve with sliced fresh tomato and shredded lettuce.

Cherry Ripe Balls

I just found this recipe via a post on Facebook:  and I think it will be added to our Christmas repertoire this year.

Cherry Ripe Balls Recipe


  • 5-6 cherry ripe bars (6 if you want a stronger cherry ripe flavour, which I prefer)
  • 1 packet of Nice biscuits (alternately use choc ripple or any other biscuit)
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (get the Aldi’s brand if you can, as Nestle is a highly unethical brand – and Aldi’s is cheaper to boot)
  • Desiccated coconut for rolling
Makes about 30 if you use a heaped teaspoon size for the balls (as shown).

Cherry Ripe Balls Recipe – Method

  • Simply place the cherry ripe bars, biscuits and cocoa in a food processor and blend. Be careful if you have a stick/hand blender – several members have blown theirs up doing this! If you don’t have a food processor, you can use zip lock bags and attack them with a rolling pin – freezer bags are not thick enough and will break open.
  • Once you’ve got your mix ready, add the can of condensed milk, mix in well and roll into balls, covering with coconut. You might like to add some red food colouring to the coconut, or use red sprinkles instead of coconut or some other variation. Leave them to set in the fridge and you’re done!

Cherry Ripe Balls Recipe – Variations

We’ve had some great suggestions for variations to this recipe. You can substitute the cherry ripes for whatever you like – some members have tried mint slice, crunchie, peppermint crisp (these come out very gooey, I added around half a cup of coconut to try and ‘dry’ it out more!), boost bars, oreo, tim tam and more – even mixing a combination of them. You can also finish the balls by dipping them in chocolate to make them even naughtier!
If you don’t have or use Nice biscuits, you can use something similar like Marie, arrowroot or choc ripple (especially good with a peppermint bar substitute).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cheat's Pad Thai

This recipe is take from the Food & Wine section of the Saturday Australian with David Herbert. I also add shredded chicken to this recipe.

Small bunch coriander
Vegetable oil, for frying
200g uncooked prawns, shelled
2 spring onions
1/2 long red chilli, chopped
300g fresh pad thai noodles
85g bean sprouts
1 egg, beaten with a fork
Juice 1 lime, plus wedges to serve
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, roughly chopped to serve.

Finely chop coriander stems and roughly chop leaves. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and fry prawns, spring onions, chilli and coriander stems for 1-2 minutes, or until prawns are pink. Add noodles, sprouts, egg, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Toss over high heat until egg is cooked and everything is combined and heated through. Remove from heat, stir in most of the coriander leaves, then divide between 2 large bowl. Scatter with remaining coriander and peanuts, and serve with lime wedges. Serves 2.

Lentil & Cauliflower Dahl

Serves 4

2 tbsp. sunflower oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp. medium-hot Indian curry paste
1 cup (200g) dried red lentils
3 cups (750ml) vegetable stock
2 tbsp. tomato paste
500g cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tbsp. roughly chopped coriander leaves, plus extra to garnish
natural yoghurt and naan bread, to serve

Let's Cook:
  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and curry paste. Cook stirring, for 5 minutes.
  2. Add lentils and stir well to coat. Add stock and tomato paste. Bring to the boil. Cover and simmer5 over low heat for 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
  3. Return heat to medium. Add cauliflower and simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve the curry with yoghurt and naan, garnished with extra coriander.

Rum Balls Eungella Style

Makes approximately 30 Rum Balls. I enjoyed these very much at the restaurant at Eungella, near Mackay, and the wonderful chef  gave me this recipe.

250g butter
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons cocoa (60ml)
4 tablespoons icing sugar or mixture (60ml)
4 tablespoons Bundaberg rum (60ml)
200 g sultanas
330 g cooking chocolate
30g coconut

Grate 300g chocolate, cream warmed butter and egg yolks, mix in cocoa, icing sugar, rum, sultanas & grated chocolate thoroughly. Grate remaining chocolate and mix with coconut. Form mixture into balls and roll them in the grated chocolate/coconut mixture. Refrigerate before serving.

Potato salad with fresh dill

A simple but delicious fresh potato salad with fresh dill and spring onions. Your loved ones will not be disappointed if you turn up at a BBQ with this delight! Great for Christmas.

30 large peeled and diced potatoes
3 bunches fresh chopped dill
2 bottles good quality mayonnaise
20 tablespoons good quality wholegrain mustard
1 bunch fresh chopped spring onions

Preparation method:

  1. Peel and dice potatoes, add to boiling salted water and cook for approx. 10-15 minutes or until cooked but slightly firm.
  2. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard and chopped dill and mix well.
  3. Drain potatoes and allow to cool slightly before adding to mayonnaise mixture.
  4. Combine well so that all potatoes are nicely coated and serve warm with chopped spring onions on top.

Molten Chocolate Puddings


180g NESTLE PLAISTOWE 63% Cocoa Couverture, plus 100g extra melted chocolate to serve
140g unsalted butter
3 eggs, plus 3 egg yolks
85g caster sugar
2/3 cup (100g) plain flour, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease eight 175ml dariole moulds. Break 40g of the NESTLE PLAISTOWE 63% Cocoa Couverture into 5g squares and set aside.

Let's cook:
Place the remaining chocolate with the butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water.) When melted, remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
Place eggs, extra yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and thick. Pour in melted chocolate, then add flour. Using a large metal spoon, stir until mixture is  well combined.
Pour evenly into moulds. Push a square of reserved chocolate into the centre of each pudding, ensuring it is completely covered. Place moulds on a tray and bake in the oven for 9 minutes.
Remove moulds from the oven and stand for 1 minute before inverting onto serving plates. Serve immediately, drizzled with extra melted chocolate.
Makes 8.