Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pesto Pasta

If you want a really quick pasta to make, this really fits the bill. Not to mention after all the rich Christmas Food something "plain Jane" is something someone wants.. I know I really needed this last night.

Really it's only a matter of boiling the pasta, making the pesto, mixing through the pesto and voila it's done. Pesto itself is rather easy to make and done in a matter of minutes. There was quite a few of us last night eating this comfort dish but you could quite easily half the recipe.

Traditionally linguine is used with pesto but you can serve it with any pasta. Pesto sauce can be made up to a week in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. Ensure the pesto is tightly packed and seal the surface with some plastic wrap or pour some extra oil over the top to prevent the pesto from going black.


Pesto Pasta
(Recipe sourced from The Essential Pasta Cookbook)

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 7

500 grams pasta of your choice
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Cheese, optional
1/2 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook pasta as per the direction on the packet until al dente. Drain, return to the pan and keep warm.

About 5 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the pine nuts to a heavy-based pan and stir over low heat for 2-3 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool. Process the pine nuts, basil leaves, garlic, salt and cheeses in a food processor for 20 seconds or until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

with the motor running, gradually add the oil in a tin steady stream until a past is formed. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss the sauce with the warm pasta until the pasta is well coated.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Mince Pies

I have to apologize for neglect as I have just been caught up in the Festive Season and all it's happenings. I did start this post before the jolly man came to visit but honestly haven't had a chance to sit down at the computer until now. Needless to say I am hoping that your Christmas definitely was jolly and now I am going to play catch up with things that we have cooked.

I am not going to boast that this is one of my christmas delights although I wish I could! These lovely Christmas Mince Pies were made by my Mam. This recipe for the pastry especially is one that she has been making for years and these mince pies definitely get requested every year by family and friends. The fact that the filling is just shop bought mince mixture doesn't even get noticed.


Mince Pies
(recipe courtesy of my Mam)
makes 4 dozen
points per serve: 2 (made with regular butter)
points per serve: 1.5 (made with reduced fat butter)


2 1/4 cups plain flour
3/4 cup Self Raising flour.
pinch salt
185 grams butter or Ultra Light Spreadable (70% reduced fat)
1 cup icing sugar
2 egg yolks
a few drops of vanilla
approx. 1/4 cup water
large jar of Robertsons Fruit Mince
icing sugar, for dusting

In a large bowl mix flour, salt and butter until crumbly and resembling breadcrumbs. Add sifted icing sugar, mixing through. Add egg yolks, vanilla and enough water to mix to a smooth dough.

Knead lightly & chill one hour before use.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Once chilled roll out half of the pastry on a flour board and using a 2 1/2 inch pastry cutter, cut out 48 rounds for the pie bottom. Place into greased rounded patty pans and fill with fruit mince.
Roll out remainder of pastry and cut into 48 rounds using a 2 inch pastry cutter. Place on top of mince filled pastry bottoms. Glaze with water and cook for 20 - 25 minutes or until tops are golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Dust with icing sugar.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chicken and Mushroom Scallopine

My mam arrived in Melbourne today from Queensland to spend the Festive Season with us. It was great to see her again as we haven't seen her since early May. Unfortunately her arrival was late afternoon which meant I really needed something quick and easy for dinner and something that had her favourite vegetable included - mushrooms! I wanted to cook with mushrooms as a special "welcome" back dinner!!

Chicken and Mushroom Scallopine was the perfect choice. Tender chicken fillets in a creamy mushroom sauce.... mmmmm who could want for more? Everyone enjoyed and it's definitely the perfect dish for a work night or would even be perfect for a dinner party where you prefer to spend more time with your guests than with your kitchen.


Chicken and Mushroom Scallopine
Serves: 4
Points per serve: 4.5
4 chicken breast fillets, skin removed
2 tablespoons plain flour
salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, trimmed, thinly sliced
400 g cup mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup light thickened cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pinch salt
ground black pepper
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Flatten chicken breasts until 1/2cm thick. Combine flour and salt and pepper on a large plate. Lightly coat chicken in flour.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in batches, for 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Transfer to a plate.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and leek to pan. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes or until golden.

Add wine to pan. Bring to the boil. Gently boil for 2 minutes or until slightly reduced. Stir in stock, cream and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium-low heat for 3 minutes.

Return chicken to pan. Cover, cook for 4 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with parsley.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Potato, Carrot and Onion Bake

This is similar to a bake that my mam used to make when I was little. I love it for the fact that it is low in fat and has an incredible taste even if it is not a creamy based dish that everyone adores. I actually think I like this one better.

Very easy to make although slices the vegetables is a little time consuming but the outcome is well worth the effort. It's a great side dish for any meal especially when you want to have potatoes a different way.



Potato, Carrot and Onion Bake

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 1

cooking spray
8 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
6 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup hot water
2 teaspoons chicken stock powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Spray a quiche dish or shallow casserole dish with cooking spray. Using half the potatoes place a layer of potatoes in the dish, covering the base entirely. Next place a layer of carrots, followed by a layer of onion. Top with remaining potato slices.

Mix together the hot water, chicken stock, pepper and parsley flakes. Pour over potatoes slices.

Cover with foil and cook for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove foil spray top with cooking spray and cook for a further 15 - 20 minutes or until top is crisp and golden.

Alternatively once stock has been added, cover with cling wrap and microwave on high for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Place in oven with out foil and cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until top is crisp and golden.

Serve immediately.
Tip: You could easily make this a vegetarian dish by using vegetable stock powder instead of chicken.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Veal Campagnola

I cannot believe how busy this time of the year becomes not matter how organised I seem to be. My menu planning is hit and miss - not cooking what's planned and at times starting to stress a little.

However I vowed that tonight's meal would be a healthy happy one - a sit down at the table dish and I fancied something different. I have been on a bit of an avocado rush this last week also... can't seem to get enough of them.

This recipe I found in a Weight Watchers Cookbook and it grabbed my attention the minute I saw it. It had an amazing flavour, even the kids loved it. I served this with a Potato, Carrot and Onion Bake. We will definately be cooking this again.

Veal Campagnola
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Secret of Success 2009)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 4.5


cooking spray
4 x veal leg steaks (120g each) fat trimmed
1/3 cup tomato salsa
1/2 large avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
4 slices prosciutto (60g)
50 grams reduced fat vintage cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

Spray frying pan with cooking spray and heat over medium to high heat. Add the veal and cook for 2 minutes each side or until lightly browned. Place veal on a foil lined oven tray.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Top the veal with the salsa, avocado, prosciutto and cheese. Place under grill and cook for 4 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

200th Post Giveaway Winner!!!

(sorry about the horrid photo!!)

The winner of the Australian Woman's Weekly Cookbook - Christmas is: Country Mum.

Can you please email me your postal address so I can send you your prize.

My email is
houseofmurray@bigblue.net.au

Thanks to everyone for entering...... and happy cooking!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Garlic Prawn Pizza

I had to fend for myself last night which is very rare! With two sick men in the house, both in bed with buckets and my princess had her school Christmas concert. As the concert started at 6.30pm I treated her to chicken and chips takeaway beforehand ... plus I needed to sort the "sick" others out prior to leaving.

Needless to say at 8.30pm last night, when we returned home, I wanted something easy, somewhat and full of flavour. I had actually been craving pizza but didn't want a shop brought one as to have it delivered I would have had to order a large (8 slices)! And I didn't need the temptation.

So searching for pizza toppings I came up with one of the tastiest pizza's I have ever made and I enjoyed it thoroughly!



Garlic Prawn Pizza

Serves: 1
Points per serve: 7

4 raw prawn cutlets, rinsed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 x Mission 96% Fat Free Tortilla
1 tablespoon tomato paste
30 grams reduced fat grated mozarella cheese
5 button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 red capsicum, diced
1/4 green capsicum, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
1/4 brown onion, thinly sliced
40 grams Extra Light Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
coriander leaves, to garnish


Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Cut prawn cutlets in half (cuting down the back of the cutlet). In a small bowl mix prawn cutlets and garlic. Set aside.

Spray a pizza tray with cooking spray. Place tortilla on tray and coat with tomato paste. Sprinkle half the mozarella over the tomato paste. Top with mushrooms, capsicum, tomato and onion. Place prawns on top. Dollop small spoonfuls of cream cheese over the pizza and sprinkle with parsley. Sprinkle with remaining mozarella.

Cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until cooked through and cheese golden. Garnish with coriander leaves, if using.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)


~o0O0o~ ~o0O0o~ ~o0O0o~

Don't forget to enter our 200th post giveaway, click here. Entry closes Monday 14th December 2009 at 12pm (EST).

~o0O0o~ ~o0O0o~ ~o0O0o~

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Picau Ar Y Maen - Welsh Cakes & A Dash of Flavour's 200th Post! (plus a Giveaway)

Oliver and his class have just completed a "World Tour" assignment for school, in his project he chose 5 countries to visit. One of the country's Oliver chose to visit was Wales, my homeland. As a celebration of the class's World Tour, each student needs to take a plate/dish of either a parent's national dish or a dish from a country visited. Needless to say he wanted to take something Welsh for his plate and asked if we could make Picau Ar Y Maen ~ Welsh Cakes.

I was actually born in Wales but emigrated with my parents to Australia as a young child - in fact I have spent most of my life living here. Thankfully my parents, aunties and uncles kept a lot of welsh traditions continuing allowing my generation and future generations to learn a little about the country we were born or where our ancestors came from whilst living in the "land down-under". One tradition that has been hugely focused on was Welsh cooking and the cooking of traditional recipes. Recipes such as swp caws (cheese soup), cawl (broth), tatys popty (roast potatoes especially cooked with lamb bits), taffi triagl (trecle toffee) and not to forget my all time favourite ~ ffagodau a phys (faggots and peas) ~ especially when served with a double serve of mushy peas and lots of onion gravy, freshly ground black pepper and vinegar! mmmmmm!!

Welsh cakes are very easy to make and a favourite snack amongst the young and old. I say snack as they are not really a cake, a biscuit or dessert. Somewhat similar to a scone in texture but resembling a piklet or grill scone in appearance. Usually served with a cup of tea, they are sprinkled with a little caster sugar and maybe served with some butter. My opinion, they are best eaten as soon as the caster sugar is sprinkled and the welsh cake still warm... straight from the pan!

(a typical "old" welsh kitchen)

My nana used to cooked them on a griddle on her hearth (fireplace) as she had the traditional welsh open fireplace in her kitchen. Growing up I remember my aunty Maggie making these in her electric frying pan every time I stayed over. I still recall eating them while warm with the hint of spice and the sweetness of the currants making every bite a taste sensation. Not only do I still love them but my kids love these also.

Also a bit shout out to Ellie, at Almost Bourdain, who made Welsh Cakes the other day and they looked delightful!

Needless to say I spent the evening making Welsh Cakes, the first batch out of the pan were quickly gobbled up by two little monsters...... thankfully Oliver has some to take to school.


Welsh Cakes

makes approximately 40
points each: 2
250 grams self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
125 grams butter
90 grams caster sugar
90 grams currants
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
additional flour
cooking spray
butter for greasing
additional caster sugar for dusting

Sift the flour, baking powder, spice and salt together. Rub int he butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and currants. Add the beaten egg and enough milk to make a firm paste.

Roll out on a floured board to the thickness of 5mm and cut into rounds using a 2 inch pastry cutter for smaller cakes or a large cutter if you wish.

Coat a thick frying pan with cooking spray and a little butter. Cook the cakes over a gentle heat for three minutes on each side or until golden brown. Cool and sprinkle with caster sugar.


~~o0O0o~~ ~~o0O0o~~ ~~o0O0o~~

Before I finish for this post.... although it is already long enough can you imagine my delight that this is in fact not only a lesson in me and my heritage but my 200th post? I was really excited about my 100th both but this goes without saying!! I never imagined my nerdy hobby that I kept a secret would become as big as it is not to mention be visited and followed by as many of you who have been kind to do so. I really appreciate you taking the time to pop in and I especially love the comments and the feedback that I receive. Thank you all so much......

To celebrate reaching the big 200, I have a cookbook to giveaway! It's the Australian Woman's Weekly Christmas, another Australian Woman's Weekly Publication - as I have mentioned before a Woman's Weekly is a household name here and well worth reading.


The Australian Women's Weekly (AWW) is an institution in itself here in Australia, a monthly magazine that covers all aspects of life - current topics, celebrities, beauty, fashion, health and of course cooking. The AWW have released countless cookbooks and seasonal magazine specials on specific cuisines etc. To be honest I own quite a few, okay a lot, of AWW publications.

All you have to do for your chance of receiving this cookbook is:
~stop by my blog
~ post a comment introducing yourself, your background
~ describe your favourite traditional family dish - one from your heritage/background - you know that one that you cook passed on by your mam or your grandmother or one that you have taken on as your own traditional country dish.
Your comment must be received by Monday 14th December 2009 by 12pm EST (don't forget that's my time here Down Under!!) so I can hopefully this to you by Christmas. Good luck!

~~o0O0o~~ ~~o0O0o~~ ~~o0O0o~~

Note: If you are not a registered blogger user you can still leave a comment anonymously but please email me (houseofmurray@bigblue.net.au) your contact details and copy of your comment just incase you are the lucky winner.

Lamb Skewers with Satay Sauce

Something extra tasty and always a winner in our house was on the menu tonight. Skewers! Doesn't matter what meat is on the bamboo skewer but the fact that it's on a stick and nine times out of ten serve with satay sauce they are always devoured normally ending in an argument as to who is having the last one.

Tonight we had lamb skewers, marinated in a combination of prepared satay sauce and dry sherry, then barbequed. They taste brilliant by themselves but are accompanied sensationally by homemade satay sauce.

Lamb Skewers with Satay Sauce

Serves: 8

Points per serve (2 skewers): 2
Points per serve with sauce: 3

16 bamboo skewers
500 grams lean lamb strips
1 tablespoon prepared satay sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
3 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons prepared satay sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup lite and creamy evaporated milk
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons cornflour

Soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes (this will prevent them from burning).

In a glass bowl add lamb, satay sauce and dry sherry. Mix well to coat, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile add oil to a small saucepan and over medium heat cook onions until transparent. Add curry powder and saute for 1 minute. Add satay sauce, soy sauce, sherry and sugar and cook for a further 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add the evaporated milk, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 minutes. Remove from heat until meat is cooked.

Heat the bbq flat plate or large frying pan. Spray with cooking spray and cook skewers for 2 - 3 minutes on each side or until cooked for your liking.

Reheat sauce and add combine cornflour and water. Stir constantly until thickened slightly. Serve with skewers.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Spiced Orange Roast Chicken

I must say that I am enjoying experimenting with marinades at the moment especially using fruit and fruit juices. So with orange in mind this time I must say that this dish had a nice sweet citrus flavour with the element of a hint of indian spices.

The other great thing about this dish is that it is quick and easy not only to prepare but to cook. I would recommend marinating overnight but even if you only have an hour to spare you will still enjoy the flavour.


Spiced Orange Roast Chicken
Serves: 4
Points per serve: 5.5

4 x chicken breast fillets, skin and visible fat removed
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teapsoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced

In a jug mix together the orange juice, honey, oil, garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper. Place chicken fillets in a snap lock bag or casserole dish. Pour marinade over, seal bag and toss to ensure chicken is fully coated. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight if time permits.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Coat a shallow casserole dish with cooking spray and place chicken in a single layer. Place the orange over the top of the chicken. Cover with marinade. Roast in the oven, basting with pan juices, for 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Place on a serving platter and top with spring onions to serve.


(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mexican Tortilla Stack

This is a really nice and easy recipe, full of flavour and a huge hit in our family everytime. There is something about mexican food that can make you feel relaxed and comforted, whether you enjoy it mild or spicy.

Another recipe sourced from the Symply To Good To Be True collection of cookbooks but as usual it's been adapted a little - such a bad habit of mine but I do it with all good intentions!

Oh and as you can imagine my children's description of this meal is "like a lasagne but mexican".... and as usual, they loved it.

Mexican Tortilla Stack
(recipe adapted from Symply To Good To Be True #3)

Serves: 6
Points per serve: 5

cooking spray
500 grams lean beef mince
1 large brown onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 cup corn kernals
1 red capsicum finely diced
1 green capsicum finely diced
1 415 g can diced or crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 300g jar mild salsa
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon beef stock powder
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
salt
freshly ground black pepper
5 Misson 96% fat free tortilla sheets
1/2 cup reduced fat grated tasty cheese

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

In a large frying pan coated with cooking spray fry mince until cooked and browned. Drain and leave aside. Add the onion, capsicum, garlic, corn, tomatoes, tomato past, salsa, water, stock powder and taco seasoning. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove 1 cup of the tomato sauce and leave to one side. Return to mince to the pan and bring to the boil.

Coat a deep round springform pan (or deep quiche or pie plate) with cooking spray and lay 1 tortilla sheet on the base. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the mince sauce over the sheet and top with another tortilla sheet. Continue this 3 times. With the top layer being a tortilla sheet, cover with reserved tomato sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes until heated through and cheese has browned. Remove from springform pan and serve.


(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dum Ka Murgh (Chicken in Yoghurt)

Called dum ka murgh in India, this dish was thought to have been introduced into Indian cooking by the Mughal dynasty. Dum is the name of the traditional style of casserole dish used, which is a tightly sealed pan and slowly steams the dish's ingredients so no flavour escapes and very little oil is required.

This dish was full of flavour and one that we all enjoyed.


Dum Ka Murgh (Chicken in Yoghurt)
(recipe adapted for Woman's Weekly New Curries)

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 6

2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/2 cup (80 grams) blanched almonds
2 cm piece fresh ginger (10g) chopped coarsely
2 cloves garlic, quartered
500g non fat greek style yoghurt
1.5 kilograms chicken thigh cutlets, skin and visible fat removed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium brown onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped

Dry fry spices and nuts in small heated frying pan, stirring until nuts are browned lightly.

Blend or process nut mixture, ginger and garlic unitl mixture forms a paste. Combine mixture with yoghurt in a large bowl. Add chicken and mix well. Cover and regfrigerate for 3 hours or overnight if time permits.

Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook onion, continually stirring until soft. Add chicken mixture, simmer covered for about 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in the lemon juice and serve sprinkled with coriander.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chermoula Prawns

Chermoula or charmoula is a marinade used in Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking. This marinade is usually used with fish or seafood, but works well with most meats. Chermoula is often made of a mixture of fresh herbs, spices, oil and lemon juice. As you can imagine there are many different recipes for this marinade.

I had never cooked with chermoula before so I was a little excited about what would come of these lovely ingedients. The aroma while they were cooking filled the kitchen And I knew just from the smell that as soon as I tried these they were going to be my new favourite prawns dish. The flavour was amazing.

We used hot paprika but you could tone down the heat of this dish by using sweet paprika if you don't like the taste hot... mmmm we do!!


Chermoula Prawns

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 5

1 small brown onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 teaspoons hot paprika
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 kilograms peeled raw prawns, tails left intact
lemon or lime wedges, to serve

Combine onion, coriander, parsley, garlic, cumin, paprika and turmeric in a large bowl. Stir in oil. Add prawns. Toss until prawns are well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to marinate.

Coat a wok or large frying pan with cooking spray and over a very high heat add the prawns. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, tossing continuously, until prawns are pink and cooked through. Place on serving platter and serve with lemon or lime wedges.

These could be cooked on the barbecue also. Preheat a barbecue plate on medium-high heat. Place half the prawns, in a single layer, on barbecue. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes each side or until prawns turn pink. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining prawns.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ricotta and Herb Stuffed Mushrooms

I had been fancying stuffed mushrooms for a while now as I haven't cooked them for quite a long time. I love the fact that mushrooms can be filled with anything and can themselves be a main meal, a lunch or even a side dish.

These are incredibly easy to make as well and are a definite on the "quick" list also. Although these are a vegetarian recipe they are very filling and very satisfying even for a "meat" eater.


Ricotta and Herb Stuffed Mushrooms

Serves: 8
ProPoints per serve: 2
 (Old Points per serve: 2)

8 large flat mushrooms
500 grams low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 red capsicum, finely diced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano flakes
1 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon crushed chilli paste or chilli flakes (if using)
salt
freshly ground black pepper
40 grams parmesan, finely grated
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and finely dice.

In a large bowl mix together the mushroom stalks, ricotta, capsicum, spring onions, garlic, oregano, parsley, chilli (if using) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Fill mushroom tops evenly and sprinkle with the grated parmesan cheese.

Place mushrooms on a large baking dish sprays with cooking spray. Cook for 20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and cheese golden.


(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pork, Pear and Fennel Sausage Rolls

This recipe was inspired by this month's Royal Foodie Joust at the Leftover Queen Forum. The ingredients for this month's challenge decided by last month's winners, Joanne and Adam of Inspired Taste, are Pear, Ginger and Fennel. What an amazing combination!!! These ingredients could mean either a sweet or a savoury dishes and of course, with a bit of though, the potential was endless.

We however went savoury and came up with Pork, Pear and Fennel Sausage Rolls. With freshly grated ginger, grated pear and of course ground fennel as part of the challenge mixed with some other grated vegetables, pork mince and sausage mince the flavour was intense but not overpowering, even Miss Alex who detests sausage rolls ate two large ones for dinner tonight.


Pork, Pear and Fennel Sausage Rolls

Makes: 24 large or 72 small
Points per serve: large 4.5 or small 1.5

6 sheets frozen reduced fat puff pastry, 25cm x 25cm
500 grams pork mince
500 grams sausage mince
3 pears, peeled and grated
1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, grated
1 large zucchini, grated
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teapsoon crushed garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons ground fennel
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
cooking spray
2 tablespoons fennel seed, for garnish

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Remove pastry from freezer and allow to come to room temperature. Cut each sheet in half to make two rectangles.

In a large bowl combine pork mince, sausage mince, pears, carrots, zucchini, ginger, garlic, ground fennel, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix really well using hands.

Cover baking trays with foil or baking paper. Spray each tray with cooking spray.

Sprinkle board and hands with flour. Divide mixture into 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a sausage the length of the pastry. Take one piece of pastry and place one length of sausage mixture in the middle of on the pastry. Brush either side with beaten egg. Roll to enclose. Cut into desired lengths (cut into two for large or into six for small) and place on prepared trays. Continue until all pastry and mixture is used. Coat with remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with fennel seeds, if using.

Place in oven and cook for 25 - 40 minutes until cooked through and pastry is golden.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No Bake Chocolate Orange Tarts

I combined a chocolate tart that I found over at Almost Bourdain with some orange and VOILA - a tart that reminded us all of a family favourite, Terry's Chocolate Orange! Warning very very rich but this didn't stop all the family eating them!!!


No Bake Chocolate Orange Tarts
(Recipe adapted from Almost Bourdain)

Makes: 10
Points: WW Danger Beware


400 grams digestive biscuits
200 grams unsalted butter, chopped
2 tablespoons golden syrup
200 grams milk chocolate, chopped
200 grams dark chocolate, chopped, plus extra melted chocolate to drizzle
1 teaspoon orange essence
4 tablespoons pure icing sugar, sifted
400 ml thickened cream, plus extra to serve
1 Terry Chocolate Orange, for decoration

Place the biscuits in a food processor and pulse to form fine crumbs. Place the butter and golden syrup in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until butter melts. then pour into processor and pulse to combine. Press the biscuit mixture into the base and sides of ten 10cm loose-bottomed tart pans. Chill until required.

Melt the milk and dark chocolate together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water). Remove from heat, stir until smooth, then allow to cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the orange essence and fold in the icing sugar.

Whip cream until soft peaks form, then fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the tart pans and chill for at least 2 hours until the chocolate filling is set.

Decorate with melted chocolate and wedges of Terry's Chocolate Orange.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Boiled Mud Crabs

I took the plunge the other day and purchased two live mud crabs even though I didn't have a clue what I was going to do with them. Like I said it was an urge! Whilst in the seafood shop in Springvale, prior to the purchase, I questioned one of the employees about what to do with the crabs. The asian man gave me a graphic detail of killing the crabs with a knife, cleaning and then stirfry in sambal sauce as "you look like a girl who likes sambal". Don't know where that comment came from. Then over came an older asian lady who yelled "don't take the string off until it's dead!" Looking at the claws I could see that was good advice!

I spent several hours of reading up on mud crabs, googling mud crabs and even speaking to friends about the best way to cook them and finally decided just to cook and eat them 'a la natural'. This decision wasn't because it was the easiest option but it was so we could see if we truly like the flavour of the mud crab as we had recently had a bad experience with tinned crab!

During my research, I also found out that the most hummane way to kill a crab wasn't to stab it as told but to put the crabs in the freezer for as long as it takes for them to not move completely, somewhat in a frozen state and then proceed with cooking. I must say I liked this option.

The mud crabs themselves were beautiful in flavour and will definitely be cooked again. As with all crabs they are very fiddly to eat but worth the effort.

Boiled Mud Crabs

Serves: 2
Points per 100g: 1

2 mud crabs 800 - 1000 grams each
salt
ice/iced water
lemon wedges
Place the live mud crabs in the freezer for 30 - 45 minutes for a 800 gram crab, longer if required.
In the meantime bring a huge pot of salted water to the boil. One the crabs no longer move place in the water and boil for 15 minutes per 800 grams.


Fill a large bucket or sink with water and ice. Once crab is cooked place the crab directly into the iced water and leave for a further 15 minutes to cool completely.

Remove from iced water and drain. Cut crab into pieces or serve as desired.

Serve with lemon wedges and Seafood Cocktail Sauce or other dipping sauce of your choice.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chicken and Prawn Mornay

Firstly I have to apologize for my spasmotic blogging of late.. we have been quite busy especially with the new arrival of Daniel, a second boy for Noel's brother Sean and his wife Vicky and another nephew for us and a cousin for the kids. Needless to say went to visit both Daniel and Vicky last night at the hospital and I am only getting to blog last night's dinner this morning. Plus we haven't eaten out a few times recently leaving me not cooking anything to blog!

We had planned to have left over spaghetti bolognaise from the night before upon returning from the hospital. The kids had a bowl ful before we left but I must admit I am not a fan of leftover dinners. Don't get me wrong I eat them for lunch or freeze for lunches but I don't really enjoy eating the same dinner two nights in a row... not sure why I just don't.

Needless to say I was fancying something different and for some reason creamy! My initial thoughts were "Mornay" and then decided that chicken and prawns would be nice! And it was. Infact I was quite pleased with the outcome and will cook this again for sure.

Chicken and Prawn Mornay

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 7


500 grams chicken fillets, diced
cooking spray
300 grams prawns, peeled and deveined
2 springs onions, sliced
1/2 red capsicum, finely diced
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
50 grams reduced fat tasty cheese, grated
ground white pepper
1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Coat a small frying pan with cooking spray and heat over high heat. Cook the chicken until sealed and slightly browned. Remove from heat.

Spray 4 individual ramekins (1 1/2cup capacity) with cooking spray. Divide chicken evenly amongst ramekins. Divide the prawns evenly and add to the chicken. Top with the spring onions and capsicum.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and remove from heat, add flour and mix into a roux. Return to medium heat and add milk and wine gradually, stirring continuously with a whisk ensuring a smooth sauce. Add the garlic, mustard and tasty cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and prawn mixture evenly. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes in oven or until cooked through and cheese golden.


(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tropical Pork with Mustard

Before I start this post I really need to apologize for my photo's of late... they have actually been quite bad and it's because I have stopped using my light box and tried using my "daylight" globes in the kitchen but I am not getting the same results.... so I guess it's back to the lightbox for me!!

So on to this recipe... hmmm this is going to be an interesting one to explain. I started off wanting to cook Pork with Orange and Mustard Glaze but when I got home there was no orange juice in sight. In fact the only juice I had was tropical but that wasn't going to stop me.

Needless to say I made this whole thing up and have to say both Noel and myself were pleasantly surprise. Not quite sure if this is the right name for the dish but we'll go with it for now.

Tropical Pork with Mustard

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 5.5


8 pork medallions, 100g each
1 cup tropical fruit juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup wholegrain (seeded) mustard
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ginger, crushed
freshly ground black pepper

In a large ceramic bowl or snap lock bag place pork medallions.

In a small jug combine tropical fruit juice, honey, mustard, thyme, oil, garlic and ginger. Mix well, ensuring the honey has dispersed in the sauce, season with pepper. Pour over pork and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours, longer if time permits.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium high and coat with cooking spray. Remove pork from the dish and reserve marinade. Fry pork medallions for 3 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. Place in a casserole dish or baking tray, place in oven and continue to cook for 5 minutes or until pork is cooked to your liking.

Meanwhile add the reserved marinade to the frying pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring, until reduced by half. Serve pork with glaze.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spiced Honey Chicken Stir Fry

I had really been fancying something different when I decided to cook a stir fry for dinner tonight. We are not normally eaters of sweet sauces although using honey in the sauce was luring me.

Armed with chinese five spice, honey, hoisin sauce and a few other ingredients I came up with Spiced Honey Chicken Stir Fry. I cannot really say where I got this combination from except from several different recipes mixed together.

However, it was nice. Everyone enjoyed it and will definitely be on the menu again. We served this with Sesame Noodles.

Spiced Honey Chicken Stir Fry

Serves: 6
Points per serve: 3.5


600 grams chicken breast, diced
1 teaspoon chinese five spice
cooking spray
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 4 cm lengths
200 grams broccoli, cut into small florets
1/4 cup water
1 red capsicum, cut into 4 cm strips
6 spring onions, cut into 4 cm lengths
125 grams snow peas, trimmed and halved diagonally
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce

Toss the chicken with the chinese five spice to coat. Coat a work or large frying pan with cooking spray and heat over high heat. Add chicken, in batches, stir fry until sealed and cooked. Remove to a plate and set aside.

To the same pan add the carrots, broccoli and ginger. Stir fry for 3 - 4 minutes, adding the water after 2 minutes. Add the capsicum and cook for a further 2 minutes or until just tender. Add the spring onions.

Return the chicken to the wok and add the combined honey, hoisin sauce and soy sauce. Stir fry until heated through and fully combined.

Sesame Noodles

I always have a soft spot for noodles and when I saw this dish there was no exception. I came across it while reading Pam's blog, For The Love Of Cooking, and immediately knew this would be cooked soon. And it was, infact this is the second time I have cooked it and there will be many more servings of these I am sure.

Simple and quick to cook it was the perfect partner for Spiced Honey Chicken Stir Fry last night.

The amazing thing about this recipe is that there are no noodles used at all. Instead it's pasta, novel as it sounds, the pasta worked well. As it's a lot firmer than some noodles, cooking with it didn't end up in a mosh of broken up noodles. I do have to confess though I used angel hair pasta tonight and it was too thin - my advice would be just to buy thin spaghetti.

Pam, doesn't stir fry her's but I did as I wanted really hot noodles. I have made this once before and it was really nice but I thought I would experiment a little further with the recipe ~ hope you don't mind Pam? LOL!!

So this is my version, but if you would like to see Pam's original version please click here warning her photo looks much nicer ~ in fact Pam's blog is fantastic! Please go and visit her as it's well worth doing so.


Sesame Noodles

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 3.5


500 grams thin spaghetti
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons pure sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot chilli sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 tablespoon hot water
3 to 4 spring onions, sliced thinly

Cook spaghetti according to packet directions. Drain and set aside.

Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, chilli sauce, canola oil and water in a jug. Taste and re-season if desired.

Heat a wok over high heat add combined sauce and noodles. Toss for 2 - 4 minutes until noodles are completely coated. Remove from heat and toss through spring onions. Serve.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Low Fat Hollandaise Sauce

I have to admit that Hollandaise Sauce is my favourite sauce of all time. Guaranteed if it's on a menu I order that meal with an extra serve of sauce on the side.... I know it's bad considering the sauce base is butter and lots of it.


Thankfully I have come across a recipe that is a mock Hollandaise and there is no butter involved. Not quite as silky smooth as a good Hollandaise but fits nicely into a diet plan that's for sure.


This recipe makes approximately 1 cup and can be kept in the fridge in an air tight container for up to a week.



Low Fat Hollandaise Sauce

Serves: 8
ProPoints per serve: 1
Points per serve: 1

1/4 cup water
2 tsp cornflour
1/2 cup light thickened cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 egg, lightly whisked


Place water and cornflour in a saucepan and stir until smooth. Add the cream and stir to combine. Use a balloon whisk to whisk constantly over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until mixture boils. Remove from heat.


Whisk in lemon juice, mustard and egg until well combined. Return to heat and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly (do not overcook). Remove from heat.


(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sweet and Spicy Lamb

When I first read the ingredients for this dish I wasn't sure what we would think of it. It had spices that we use in a lot of our cooking but it also had apple and sultanas so I think I was unsure how "sweet" it actually would be.

Another quick and easy dish to cook, this recipe is from The Symply To Good To Be True collection and I have to say it pleased everyone in the house, as well as surprised Noel and myself. It was pleasantly sweet but not overly spicy either. I thought it could have been a little more spicier and will probably add a little chilli powder the next time I cook it. The kids gave it the thumbs up which is always a good sign.

I served this with Vegetarian Fried Rice but would be perfect with steamed rice or even couscous.


Sweet and Spicy Lamb
(recipe source: Symply To Good To Be True # 3)


Serves: 6
Points per serve: 4

600g lean lamb steaks (or strips)
1/3 cup almond slivers
cooking spray
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 cup onion, sliced
1 cup peeled apple, diced
1/2 cup sultanas
1 teaspoon cardamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons chicken stock powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 x 375ml can evaporated light milk
1 teaspoon imitation coconut essence

Cut lamb into strips (if required).

Toast almonds on a sheet of foil placed under a grill until browned, set aside.

In a non stick frypan or wok that has been coated with cooking spray saute lamb, ginger and garlic until meat is nearly cooked. Remove from wok. Add onion, apple and sultanas and cook for 2 minutes. Put cardamom, cumin, coriander, turmeric, stock powder and tomato paste into pan. Mix cornflour into the milk add the essence. Add to frypan stirring continuously until boiled. Return lamb to the pan and heat through.

Sprinkle almonds over top.

NOTE: for a thinner sauce reduce the amount of cornflour to 2 teaspoons.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Vegetarian Fried Rice

This is a colourful, yet wonderfully quick and easy side dish to serve and just as nice by itself. It is also a dish that you can bulk up with any vegetables as well as adding cooked meats such as chicken, pork or prawns to make it into a full meal, but that's a recipe for another time.


For a better consistency while stir frying it is good to use rice that has been cooked the day before or is at least ensure rice is cold and has been drained well.



Vegetarian Fried Rice

Serves: 6
Points per serve: 2.5

1 cup basmati or long grain rice
cooking spray
1 teaspoon garlic
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup skim milk
salt
white ground pepper
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 red capsicum, finely diced
4 spring onions, sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn kernals
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon kecap manis
100 grams bean sprouts
1/2 cup fresh coriander chopped


Bring a large saucepan of water to boil and add rice. Cook for 10 - 12 minutes or until rice is tender. Drain well and allow to cool completely.


In a small jug combine beaten eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, coat with cooking spray and add the eggs to cover pan base. Cook for until bubbles start to appear and flip over. Continue to cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool. When cool roll and cut into slices. Set aside.


Coat a wok with cooking spray and heat over high heat. Add garlic, capsicum and spring onions, stir fry for 2 - 3 minutes or until capsicum has softened. Add peas and corn and continue to stir fry for another 4 - 5 minutes. Add rice and stir until fully combined with vegetables. Stir through soy sauce and kecap manis. Add bean sprouts, omellete and corinader, toss until warmed through.


(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Char Sui Roast Pork Fillets

Tonight we had rice paper rolls again as a quick yet refreshingly tasty dinner, and to my thanks, after all the chopping of the salad everyone can make their own rolls filled with what they want. We enjoy hands on dinners especially me!!

Normally we would cook Chinese Roast Pork as a meat for rice paper rolls but we fancied something different so decided to try a Char Sui Sauce marinade. Char Sui is a traditional chinese barbecue sauce and goes well with all barbecued meats especially pork and pork ribs.
I reccommend allowing this to marinade overnight as the flavour penetrated the pork but that would be dependent on your time frame but well worth the foward planning. Ensure you baste with the reserved marinade during cooking to get an extra glossy coating on the fillets.


Char Sui Roast Pork Fillets

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 4


4 x 400g pork fillets, visible fat and sinew removed
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup Char Sui Sauce
1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ginger, crushed

Place pork fillets in a shallow non metallic dish. Combine all marinade ingredients in a small jug and pour over pork fillets. Toss to coat, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Line a shallow baking tray with foil. Place a rack over the tray. Remove pork fillets from marinade and reserve marinade. Place foil on rack and cook in oven for 30 minutes, turning and basting with reserved marinade frequently.

Remove from oven, place on a plate and cover with a foil tent. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice diagonally in 1 - 2 cms thick slices and serve.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Cheesy Corn, Spinach, Bacon and Mushroom Risotto

Now that I have my children's attention when it comes to Rissotto they haven't stopped requesting it when asked what they would like for dinner. I have to say this recipe is similar to the Bacon and Mushroom Rissotto I cooked not long ago but I thought it would be okay to share it with you all.

I used frozen corn kernals and baby spinach leaves to the original recipe along with extra parmesan cheese, as "cheesy please" was requested by the children. It was quite nice I have to admit ~ mind you Noel still refers to it as gluggy rice pudding! LOL!! I am glad that the kids are starting to enjoy different rice dishes.


Cheesy Corn, Spinach, Bacon and Mushroom Risotto

Serves: 6
Points per serve: 5

1 litre (4 cups) water
1 tablespoon chicken stock powder
1 tablespoon reduced fat spread
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 rashers middle bacon, rind and visible fat removed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 cups (325 grams) arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as chardonnay
1/2 cup corn kernals, frozen
200 grams button mushrooms, finely sliced
200 grams baby spinach leaves
2 teaspoons fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
50 grams (1/2 cup) fresh parmesan, finely grated
freshly ground black pepper

In a small saucepan mix together the water and stock powder. Heat stock and keep simmering over a low heat.

In a large heavy based saucepan heat reduced fat spread over a medium heat. Add onion, bacon and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden

Add the rice into the onion mixture. Cook, stirring, until completely combined. Add the wine and cook, stirring for 3 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.

Using a ladle add the stock, one ladle at a time. Stirring continuously after each addition until all the liquid is absorbed, this should take approximately 20 minutes.

Stir in corn kernals and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, for 5 - 10 minutes or until corn is cooked and the mushrooms are tender and liquid absorbed.

Remove from heat and stir in the parsley and parmesan. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Roast Pumpkin, Beetroot and Bocconcini Salad with Guinness Dressing

We had been requested to bring a salad as our contribution to Erica's 30th birthday. I knew exactly which salad everyone means when they say "Can you please bring a salad Jo?" Everyone adores the Crunchy Asian Salad that we make.

But I not only fancied something different, I had half a pumpkin that needed using. So roasting that was my first thought but honestly you cannot take a plate of cold roast pumpkin somewhere. Teamed with a tin of baby beetroots, some spinach and creamy bocconcini this amazing salad was created, I have no idea if anyone has done this combination before.

Next I needed a dressing, I made a vinegarette but it was oh so wrong. Noel suggested a few ingredients and voila we had a dressing, which included using Guiness!

Not only did I have a new salad but I had also just created an entry into the Royal Foodie Joust held by Jen at the Left Over Queen!! OMG here I was thinking that I was going to sit another month out!! Thanks Noel ~ MWAH! I love you....



Roast Pumpkin, Beetroot and Bocconcini Salad with Guinness Dressing

Serves: 12
Points per serve: 2.5


1/2 medium jap pumpkin, peeled and cut into 3 cm chunks (approx 800 grams flesh)
cooking spray
1 tablespoon brown sugar
pinch salt
pinch finely ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup Guinness
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
200 grams baby spinach leaves
1 400 gram tin whole baby beetroots, drained and halved
1 220g packet bocconcini, drained and quartered

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and spray with cooking spray. Place pumpkin on tray in a single layer. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, salt, pepper and cumin. Sprinkle half over the pumpkin. Cook in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn. Sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture and continue to cook for a further 20 - 30 minutes or until pumpkin is tender and sugar caramalised. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

In a small jug combine honey, mustard, Guinness and olive oil. Whisk all ingredients together until combined and smooth. Season to taste with black pepper.

In a large flat casserole dish or serving dish place the spinach leaves all over the bottom. Top with roasted pumpkin. Scatter the beetroot and bocconcini over the top.

Just before serving drizzle dressing over the whole salad.


(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chinese Omelette

We ended up going shopping last night, wandering around in search of some birthday presents and of course this meant that we had to find the right one so you guessed it ~ the shopping (as usual) took longer than we had hoped. Present found - a beautiful cookbook for a friend of mind who is turning 30 today and has just had her kitchen refurbished.

Needless to say a gourmet dinner was not in contention for dinner last night as it was very late. I wanted something easy, quick but still full of flavour.

An Chinese Omelette, full of vegetables and drizzled with hoisin sauce was the answer. No cheese like most omelettes yet very enjoyable and was what I really wanted.



Chinese Omelette

Serves: 1
Points per serve: 4.5


2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup skim milk
cooking spray
1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
1/2 brown onion, sliced
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1/4 green capsicum sliced
1/2 ripe tomato, diced
100 grams button mushrooms, sliced
100 grams bean sprouts
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 red bullet chilli, sliced (optional)

Preheat grill.

In a small jug combine eggs and skim milk. Season with salt and pepper.

Coat a non-stick frying pan with cooking spray. Add garlic and onion and cook over a medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes or until onion is softened slightly. Add carrot, capsicum, tomato and mushrooms. Stir fry for a further 2 - 3 minutes.

Ensure vegetables are spread out over the entire pan. Sprinkle with bean sprouts evenly. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables ensuring that the bottom of the pan is covered. Sprinkle with half the coriander. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until small bubbles form in the egg surface.

Place frying pan under grill and cook the top of the omelette, 2 - 3 minutes. Ensure your pan handle does not go under the grill. Remove omelette to a plate, drizzle with hoisin sauce. Sprinkle with coriander and chilli if using.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chicken and Bacon Casserole

One thing I love about slow cooking is the fact that a little effort in the morning or the night before combined with a flick of a switch and voila, when you work back in the front door after a day at work dinner is ready!

As you have probably guessed that's what I did this morning. And the smell that was filling the kitchen before I left was amazing, but only half amazing as it was when I walked back into the house tonight.

Chicken and bacon always seem to go hand in hand and this dish was no exception. Full of flavour and homely, yet had a little fiery kick due to the paprika. I used a mixture of sweet paprika and hot paprika, but you could use either depending on your tastes.


Chicken and Bacon Casserole
(Recipe adapted from WW The Contented Tummy Cookbook)

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 5

3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 brown onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 chicken thigh cutlets (bone in), skin removed
4 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 brown onion, sliced into 8 wedges
cooking spray
4 rashers of bacon, visible fat removed
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup frozen broad beans
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Combine the garlic, 1 onion, paprika, white wine, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Place the chicken in a ceramic dish (or snap lock bag) and pour marinade over. Toss the chicken to coat and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain off marinade and reserve.

Place the other onion and carrots at the bottom of the slow cooker dish.

Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and heat over a medium heat. Cook chicken in batches for 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Place on top of onions and carrots.

Spray frying pan again, add the bacon and cook for 4 - 5 minutes or until golden. Add the reserved marinade and flour and fry for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the tomatoes, stock and rosemary and stir to combine. Season well and pour over chicken.

Cook on low setting for 6 - 8 hours or on high setting for 3 - 4 hours. Add broad beans 30 mins before serving.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

If using the oven, preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Follow as above but place in a casserole dish, cover and bake for 55 minutes. Remove dish from oven, stir through broad beans and return to the oven for a further 5 - 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Garlic Steak with Creamy Mash and Pumpkin

What can I say? When I saw this recipe I knew I would have to cook it and soon. There is nothing I like better than marinated steak with mash. I have already shared Marinated Steak with Mash with you, which is an asian style marinated steak so I had to share this recipe also.

Combining balsamic and garlic in a marinade always smell divine. This was actually quite a quick meal bursting full of flavour, both in the steak and the creamy mash.


Garlic Steak with Creamy Mash
(recipe adapted from WW Cooking for Every One)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6

340 grams Jap pumpkin
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 x 150 gram steaks, visible fat removed
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
3/4 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place pumpkin on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and garlic in a shallow non-metallic dish. Add steak and turne to coat. Stand for 10 minutes.

Cook the potatoes in a small pan of boiling water for 10 - 12 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to the pan. Add the milk and mustard and mash until smooth, seasoning to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat an oil sprayed chargrill pan or frying pan over high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and cook for 3 minutes each side (for medium) or to your liking. Remove from pan, cover with foil and stand for 5 minutes.

Spoon mash onto serving plates, top with steak and drizzle with juices (if desired). Serve with the roasted pumpkin and other steamed vegetables of your choice.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Coriander Pork Stirfry

I have to be honest with this dish and say it was nice but I don't think I could say it is my favourite stirfry. To me it wasn't that appealing on the eye however it smelt fantastic and did taste nice. Everyone else loved it with all having seconds including Noel.

Saying that it was easy to cook and also falls into the quick category. Making it an excellent dish for a mid week dinner. Cooked with quite a few vegetables, which is always a good thing I have to admit I enjoyed the crunch of the water chestnuts and the bean shoots. I would imagine any vegetables would suit this dish.

Coriander Pork Stir Fry
(recipe adapted from WW Cooking for Every One 2009)
Serves: 4
Points per serve: 4
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500 grams pork mince
1 onion, sliced
1 cup water chestnuts
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
3 cups wombok (chinese cabbage) finely shredded
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
100 grams bean sprouts
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, to garnish

Heat an cooking spray coated wok over high heat. Add the garlic and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the pork mince and onion, stir fry for 2 - 3 minutes or until lightly browned, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.

Add the water chestnuts, carrot and cabbage and stir fry for 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the combined sauces and stir fry until heated through. Add bean sprouts and toss to combine. Serve garnished with coriander leaves.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Glazed Pork and Veal Meatloaf

Meatloaf is something I haven't cook for years until recently.

I remember when I was in Singapore living with my cousin Rhian and her meatloaf.... OMG that was good. So moist, cooked in the microwave and covered with a sticky, gooey, glaze. I was hooked! Serve as meatloaf sandwich ~ a meal suited for an globe trotting, partying 18 year old, trust me they were good. I was there for a month and we had it quite a lot.

Then a few years later I cooked Meatloaf, my cousin's version, when Noel and I started living together, which we both enjoyed but as I was battling with my weight and as "our" version had no ingredient boundaries it was something that I just didn't cook anymore. In a recent Weight Watchers Magazine, there was a recipe for Glazed Meatloaf, which of course caught my attention as not only did it look good but it brought back the good memories. I have to admit, I got excited.

I showed Noel and he was keen to give it a go, also remembering the one I used to make. The kids looked at me strangely when I asked if they wanted Meatloaf for dinner. To be honest, the only meatloaf my kids knew of - sang!!

But now I think I could cook this every night for dinner and there would be no complaints. The kids love it, especially sliced and in a nice fresh bread roll with a slice of swiss cheese..... mmmmmm!!


Glazed Pork and Veal Meatloaf

Serves:6
Points per serve: 5

cooking spray
3 slices white bread, crust removed and torn
½ cup skim milk
500 grams premium pork & veal mince
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium brown onion, grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 zucchini, grated
3 rashers bacon, fat removed and chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon american mustard
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Spray an 8cm x 17cm loaf pan with cooking spray.

Place bread in a large bowl. Add milk stand for 10 mins. Add mince, garlic onion, carrot, zucchini, bacon thyme, parsley, sauce and eggs into a bowl. Stir to combine well. Press mince mix into a prepared pan. Bake 30mins on a baking paperlined tray.

Meanwhile combine tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard and curry powder in a small bowl until mixed well.

Remove from oven. Loosen the loaf from the sides of the pan and then turn pan upside down onto the baking tray. Remove the loaf pan and brush the loaf with 2/3 of the sauce mixture. Return the pan, continue to bake for an extra 30 mins or until golden brown and cooked through.

Glaze top of loaf with remaining sauce mixture. Serve hot or cold.