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

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.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Braised Prawns and Vegetables in Birds Nest

The "Birds Nest" would have to be one of the dishes we always order when dining at a Chinese Restaurant. The kids love them and I must admit so do I. From the minute it arrives at the table to minute the last piece is eaten it is just such a treat. Starting crispy in the beginning and then as it mops up the juice of the dish it becomes soggy and you can guarantee there is always an argument of "he had more than me" or "that was meant to be my piece"!!

You need quite a saucy dish to put into the bird's nest so you end up with the soggy noodles at the bottom. Braised Prawns and Vegetables fits this bill nicely and has a clean taste. But you could use any of your favourite chinese dishes, afterall the baskets are just like using rice or noodles as a side.

Braised Prawns with Vegetables in Birds Nest

Serves: 4
Points per serve: With Bird's Nest: WW "danger beware"
Without Bird's Nest: 3

250 gram packet long life nooodles
oil for deep frying
500 grams raw king prawns, peeled and tails removed
250g can bamboo shoots
250 grams brocolli
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
200g button mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespooon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon cornflour
pinch sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

Bring a saucepan of water to boil and cook noodles according to the packet directions. Drain and spread on a tea towel to dry. Allow to dry for 30 minutes or more if time permits.

Heat a wok or large saucepan full of oil, enough to cover the noodle enclosed sieves completely.

Line the bigger sieve with a layer of noodles, covering completely. Place the smaller sieve on top of the noodles and press firmly to mould, secure with two wire clips if a little loose. Place sieve in the hot oil and cook for 3 - 5 minutes or until noodles are crispy and cooked through. Carefully remove from the hot oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Allow to cool slightly before attempting to remove from sieves as the metal will be hot.

Meanwhile heat oil in the wok add prawns and quickly sautee until just pink. Remove from heat.

To the same pan add the bamboo soots, broccoli, carrot and mushrooms. Stirfry for 4 - 5 minutes or until broccoli has started to soften. Add spring onions. Toss for 1 - 2 minutes.

Blend together the cornflour, chicken stock, oyster sauce, salt, pepper, sugar and ginger. Add to the vegetables. Bring to the boil. Return the prawns to the pan, continue to stir for 1 - 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve in the birds nest.


Although the noodle baskets are quite easy to prepare, there is a little fiddling with it especially cooking with the hot oil. So please, be careful. You can prepare these earlier, store in a air tight container and warm in the oven prior to serving. To shape the baskets you need two metal sieves. One needs to be just a little smaller than the other so it fits inside, enclosing the noodles tightly.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chicken Jalfrezi

Curry is another dish that is not only a hit at our house but it is one style of food that all of us love experimenting with. Not only do we like curries that have varying depth of heat, texture and body we also love curries from all around the world, not just the usual Indian. Thai's make a good curry as do the Japenese - I guess it depends what flavour/style you are fancying at the time.

Jalfrezi is a quicker style curry (somewhat a tomato gravy) but to be totally honest I am not sure if it originated in India or Pakistan. Whichever, its a curry that is of a medium heat rating but can be made hotter with the use of more chilli, dependant on your tastes. I used 1/2 teapsoon of chilli powder and it was just nice, Oliver (11) liked it but Alexandria (8) said it was too hot.

This curry had a nice overall flavour and great texture. Especially adding the capsicum later in the cooking process is great. I loved the crisp capsicum, which added another dimesion to this dish. There are many variations to the "Jelfrezi" recipe collection. This recipe was supplied by ***Rach, from the WW Forums, who I do need to thank for posting the recipe and introducing us to a very nice dish.

Chicken Jalfrezi

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 4

700g skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh
juice 1/2 lemon
1 tsp salt
cooking spray
1 large onion, finely chopped
2tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp crushed ginger
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 - 1 tsp chilli powder
1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
150ml warm water
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 large red capsicum, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm pieces
1 large green capsicum, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm pieces
1 tsp garam masala

Cut chicken inton 2.5cm cubes and put in non metallic bowl. Add lemon juice and salt and rub well into the chicken. Cover and leave to marinate in fridge for 20 mins.

Spray oil in pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently for 8-9 mins, until lightly browned. Add garlic and ginger purees and cook, stirring for 3 mins. Add tumeric, cumin, coriander and chilli powder and cook, stirring for 1 min. Add tomatoes and cook for 2-3 mins, stirring frequently. Add marinated chicken and increase heat slightly and cook, stirring until it changes colour. Add the warm water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25mins.

Spray pan with oil. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently until browned. Add capsicums, increase the heat to medium and stir fry for 2 mins the stir in the garam masala. Fold the capsicum mixture in to the curry.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Big Bucket In The Sky Chicken

Okay so I am guessing from the name that you realise that this is a "take off" of one of the worlds most favourite chicken franchises. But I must admit that my family (and many other weight watching families) really enjoy this version as it is a lot lower in fat, etc. It has been highly recommended on the Australian Weight Watchers forums for quite some time.

The beauty about this recipe is that the spices can also be changed to suit your family or your desired tastes. You can experiment with all different seasonings - of course I can not give you the exact 11 secret herbs and spices but if you know them please let me know!!

Big Bucket In The Sky Chicken

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 7

4 small chicken drumsticks, skin removed (70g each)
4 small thigh fillets, skin removed (140g each)
1 sachet cup-a-soup tomato soup
2 tablespoons self raising flour
10 grams processed breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Remove all visible fat from chicken pieces.

In a large snap lock bag (big enough to hold all the chicken pieces) combine tomato soup, flour, breadcrumbs, oregano, parsley, thyme, garlic powder, chilli powder (if using), salt and pepper to taste. Put chicken into the bag, close and toss chicken around, ensuring it is evenly coated with the mixture. If you have any mixture left, remove chicken from bag, spray lightly with cooking spray and return chicken to bag to recoat.

Spray a foil lined oven tray with cooking spray. Lay chicken pieces on the tray and coat with cooking spray. Cook for 20 - 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, October 19, 2009


Pasta is always a huge hit in our house as was this dish. Pronounced Pa'sti-tsi-o it's a greek baked pasta dish, layered like Lasagna. Starting with a bottom layer of pasta (normally a tube pasta) mixed with egg and cheese, the second layer is a tomato meat sauce, a third layer of another pasta and then topped with a custard like sauce instead of a bechamel. Grated cheese and at times breadcrumbs are sprinkled on top to form a crust.

Of course I have adapted this recipe to reduce it's fat content and point count. I did use the basic bechamel sauce but added egg to it to give it the custardy consistency. I only used one layer of pasta also. But it was still full of flavour, filling and as usual devoured by one and all.


Serves: 8
Points per serve: 6

cooking spray
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
500 grams lean lamb mince
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon beef stock powder
2 tablespoons oregano
3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 400gram tin diced tomatoes
2 carrots, peeled and grated
200g button mushrooms, finely sliced
freshly ground black pepper
250 grams penne pasta
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon fat reduced butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 cups skim milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
60 grams grated tasty cheese
30 grams parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Coat a large frying pan with cooking spray. Add onions and garlic, cook over a medium heat for 5 - 10 minutes or until onions are soft and golden. Add mince and cook until browned, breaking up the clumps whilst cooking. Add the tomato paste, mix well to combine and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the wine, water, stock powder, oregano, bay leaves, nutmeg, tomatoes, carrots and mushrooms. Stir well and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes until juice has thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Spray a large lasagne or baking dish with cooking spray.

Meanwhile bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add pasta and cook as per packet directions. Drain well. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and mix through beaten egg. Place pasta mixture into lasagne dish and press down to ensure base of the dish is completely covered and the pasta layer is even.

Remove bay leaves from the meat sauce. Place meat sauce evenly over the pasta layer.

In a small saucepan over a low heat melt butter and stir through flour. Gradually add milk ensuring a smooth sauce with every addition. Bring to the boil and simmer until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add remaining egg and egg whites, stirring well. Spread evenly over meat. Sprinkle with combined cheeses and breadcrumbs.

Cook for 30 - 40 minutes or until heated through and top golden.

Allow to stand for 10 - 15 minutes prior to serving.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chocolate Wontons

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

As the second yet optional part of this month's Daring Cooks Challenge, we made what I can only describe as my children's dream come true, Chocolate Wontons. Crispy wonton wrapper on the outside and molten chocolate on the inside.

I used normal block chocolate squares and wrapped them in the shape of a money bag. Needless to say a lot of experiements will be done in the future with this recipe.

Chocolate Wontons
(Recipe Source: Jaden of Steamy Kitchen from her new book The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook)

Serves: 12
Points per serve: WW "Danger Beware"

1 large egg
1 tablespooon water
12 wonton wrappers (keep wrappers covered with damp towel)
12 pieces or nuggets of chocolate (use any type of chocolate you like)
oil for frying (i.e., vegetable oil, corn oil)
Confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) for sprinkling

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash.

On a clean, dry surface lay 1 wonton wrapper down with a point toward you, like a diamond. Place 1 piece of chocolate near the top end of the wrapper. Brush a very thin layer of the egg wash on the edges of the wrapper.

Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper up to create a triangle and gently press to remove all air from the middle. Press the edges to adhere the sides. Make sure the wrapper is sealed completely.

Repeat with the remaining wrappers and chocolate pieces.

Keep the folded chocolate wontons covered under plastic wrap or a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying.

In a wok or medium pot, pour in 2 inches (5 cm.) of high-heat oil.

Heat the oil to 350º F (180º C) and gently slide a few of the chocolate wontons into the hot oil. Make sure you don’t crowd the chocolate wontons. Fry the wontons for 1 ½ minutes, then flip over and fry another minute until both sides are golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towel and then sprinkle with icing sugar.

And yes they are very addictive.... especially when served still warm!!!

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicken Pho

This is part of my first Daring Cooks Challenge. I must admit I haven't been unable to participate with the last few challenges (although I have really wanted to) due to what's been going on in my personal life but I am quite pleased with the outcome of this challenge.

Although a huge lover of noodle soups I must admit while I am quite scared that I do not met the level of the other challengers BUT I am pleased that I did attempt this dish. I don't even know if I am posting it correctly.....

Noel really loved the dish and complimented me several times, Oliver gave it a good go and enjoyed whereas it really wasn't Alex's cup of tea. I have never cooked a Vietnamese meal from scratch before although we have eaten it many times.

I made a few additions to the recipe, mainly additional vegetables, however one specification of the challenge is that the base stock cannot be altered and to be perfectly honest no changes were necessary.

The noodle soup itself was quite flavoursome but not that exciting. By serving a plateful of condiments it was up to the individual as to how adventurous their soup could become. Noel added everything I put on his plate and he is still talking about how good it was!!

Anyway as for the Daring Cooks Challenge:
The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

The challenge itself had two parts ~ main and dessert. The dessert being Chocolate Wontons, which will feature in my next post and these were an optional component to the challenge.

There was two options available for making the Chicken Pho. The quick version using shop bought liquid stock or the traditional long version. At this stage I took the quick version but will more than likely give the traditional version a go in the near future.

Chicken Pho
(Recipe Source: Jaden of
Steamy Kitchen from her new book The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: TBA

2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 litres (8cups) chicken stock (store-bought or homemade)
3 small chicken fillets (bone in or boneless)
½ onion
1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 carrot, peeled and sliced thinly on diagonal
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
500 grams dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide)
200 grams bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off
1 bunch of Fresh coridaner, ends trimmed
1 bunch of Fresh mint, ends trimmed
½ cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions
1 tomato cut into wedges
½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
Sriracha chili sauce or other hot chilli sauce
Hoisin sauce
Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.

In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.

Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers or slice thinly, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.

Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Return to heat, add the carrot and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and simmer for a furter 2 - 3 minutes or unti broccoli is soft.

Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package. Drain.

Divide the noodles amongst the bowls. Carefully remove carrot and broccoli from stock and place on top of noodles. Top with tomatoe and carefuly ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded/sliced chicken breast evenly into each bowl.

Have the accompaniments spread out on the table or on serving platters . Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fried Potatoes with Sundried Tomatoes

I tend to overdose on something that everyone says are good.... such as crispy potatoes so now when I want to serve potatoes as a side dish I really need to think outside the box. This is one of those recipes where I really did just that and I think I did okay.....

Kind of like a hot potato salad without the mayonnaise and it was deinitely full of flavour.

Fried Potatoes with Sundried Tomatoes

Serves: 6
Points per serve: 2.5

1 kilogram chat potatoes (baby potatoes), cut in half
cooking spray
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 spring onions, sliced on diagonal
100 grams sundried tomatoes

Place potatoes in a large saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Reduce hit and simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft but not overcooked. Drain well.

Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray and add potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, over a high heat, turning occasionally until warmed through and crispy.

Add tomatoes and spring onions, frying for a further 2 - 4 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Parmesan Crusted Rockling

Well it was a huge step for the Murray family tonight on a couple of levels... please don't be too suprised but even with all of our love of cooking we really do struggle when it comes to eating fish....

Fish in our house is normally flake (shark) due to it's mild taste and smell and it generally comes battered, either with tempura or beer batter. But with me currently on my weight loss journey battered just doesn't fit into the equation.

Needless to say neither did flake as I am over it and fancied some other fish. At the market yesterday we purchased (and Noel did agree) Rockling fillets. A larger fillet but yet still mild although quite smelly. Without ruining the flavour of what was described as the "chicken of the sea" by the fishmonger I definitely didn't want to overkill the way it was cooked.

And I didn't.... this dish was great. I can actually see Rockling becoming a regular visitor to our plates.....

Parmesan Crusted Rockling

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 5

1 slice of multigrain bread
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 thick Rockling fillets (200 grams each) or other firm white fish of your choice
olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Using a food processor, reduce slice of bread to breadcrumbs. Combine breadcrumbs, parsely, parmesan, lemon rind, salt and pepper in a bowl Stir to combine. Drizzle mixture with oil. Stir until breadcrumbs are coated in oil.

Cover a baking tray with foil or baking paper. Place fish fillets in a single layer on tray. Press breadcrumb mixture onto flesh shide of fish fillet to form an even topping. Spray with cooking spray.

Bake for 15 minutes or until crubms are light golden and fish is cooked through.

Accompaning the Parmesan Crusted Rockling was Fried Potatoes with Sundried Tomatoes.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Maple Glazed Pork Chops

Tonight I wanted to try something that I have never served to my family... maple syrup with meat. I have read quite a few recipes using maple syrup and I have been eyeing off the maple syrup bottle that has been sitting in our cupboard just waiting to be used. Let's face it there are obviously more uses for maple syrup than putting on pancakes, right?

One of the recipes that caught my attention during my search was Pork Tenderloin with Maple Glaze, this can be found over at For The Love of Cooking. Pam's blog is magnificent, reading her blog make you hungry and her photo's just make you want to lick the computer screen! Needless to say I have adapted her recipe as I only had pork cutlets.

The result was a meal full of flavour and enjoyed by all. It wasn't too sweet considering the use of maple syrup nor was it overpowering. Infact the balance between the maple syrup, vinegar and dijon mustard was perfect.
Maple Glazed Pork Cutlets

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 5

5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 pork cutlets (200g each), fat trimmed
1 tsp dried sage
sea salt
freshly cracked pepper, to taste
cooking spray

In a small bowl whisk together maple syrup, 3 tablespoons of the vinegar and Dijon mustard. Set aside.

Rub the pork cutlets with the dried sage, sea salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the pork cutlets and cook until brown on both sides, turning once, about 3-4 minutes each side. Transfer cutlets to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm.

Deglaze the same frying pan by adding the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium then add the maple syrup mixture and cook until sauce thickens a bit, about 2-3 minutes.

Return pork and juices, if any, to the frying pan and coat the meat with the glaze. Season glaze to taste with salt and pepper if desired. Serve with glaze spooned over the cutlets.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mexican Beef Parcels

Before I begin, I have just remembered that I didn't tell you about our recent trip to the cinema, Gold Class I might just add, thanks to Magnum Ice Creams and the upgrade coupon. So naturally we bought 4 boxes of ice creams to get the four coupons as we thought it would be great to take the kids as a special treat. Now I think they are addicted to Gold Class as they already asked when they could go there again and that was before the movie started!! Once they had enough of raising and lowering their seats and settled, they were amazed that the drinks that we ordered in the foyer were then delivered by a waitress just as the movie started. So what movie did we see?

Julie and Julia, of course! And I loved it. I must say at times I sensed several pair of eyes glancing at me with the look of "OMG you are so like that at home when you are blogging!!" Funny enough until I came across the world of food bloggers I thought I was the only crazed one obsessed by food! The movie enthralled me, not only about Julie and her blogging (my hobby turned obsession also) but admired Julia Childs for the determination and the steps she took to get her book publish all those years ago, years before computers and email. It's a movie I would recommend

So now for the food blogging part of this post...

I have confessed before that I adore filo pastry as it is so versatile and can be used for both sweet or savoury foods. Filo pastry is also good for the weight watcher and it contains far less fat than that of puff or shortcrust pastry.

These Mexican Beef Parcels are always a hit in our house, in fact any filo parcel always goes down well. I guess you could say they are somewhat a flavoured cheat's meat pie although it's not filled with stewed beef and gravy! And overall much better for you.

The trick to making the perfect parcels is first to ensure that the meat beef isn't tough after it's been cooked in the oven is only to flash fry it in the beginning. Do not over cook it at the frying stage, even if it's not completely browned or it will be unenjoyable in the parcel. Remember while the parcel is cooking so is the meat. Also when assembling each parcel make sure that the filling is cool. If it's even too warm the parcel will be very hard to wrap up.

Mexican Beef Parcels

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6

cooking spray
500 grams beef strips
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 red capsicum, diced
1/2 green capsicum, diced
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
1 400g tin diced tomatoes
8 sheets filo pastry
sweet paprika to garnish, optional

Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and flash fry beef in batches for 1 -2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Recoat the frying pan with cooking spray and cook onions, carrots and garlic for 5 minutes or until softened. Add capsicums and cook for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the taco seasoning and water until fully combined. Add the tomatoes, mix well and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once sauce mixture is cooled stir through the beef strips.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Place one sheet of filo pastry on a board or work bench with the smaller side closest to you and spray with cooking spray. Cover with a second sheet of pastry. Place 1/4 of beef sauce mixture at one end of the pastry rectangle. Fold over both edges, spraying the folded area down the length of each side and then roll up to enclose filling. Repeat until all 4 parcels have been made. Place on a foil lined baking tray and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with sweet paprika, if using.

Cook in oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through and pastry is golden.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Linguine with Chicken, Prosciutto, Spinach and Sundried Tomatoes

This is a nice quick pasta dish that is full of flavour and of course I have managed to sneak my favourite vegetable, baby spinach, into it!!

Although very basic as far as ingredients go, the combination of chicken and prosciutto go hand in hand. The use of extra light sour cream in the sauce makes it somewhat creamy but keeps the dish low fat. If the sour cream you use is quite thick whisk it for a minute or so and this will soften it and it will be easier to combine and won't appear lumpy.
Definitely a dish if your are short on time but in need of a yummy pasta fix.

Linguine with Chicken, Prosciutto, Spinach and Sundried Tomatoes

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6.5

250 grams linguine
400 grams chicken breast fillets, skin removed and cut into strips
40 grams prosciutto, cut into strips
1 teaspoon minced garlic
50 grams sundried tomatoes, not in oil, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
100ml extra light sour cream
100 grams baby spinach leaves
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the linguine. Drain.

Coat a large frying pan with cooking spray and add the chicken, proscuitto and garlic. Cook, while stirring for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Add the tomatoes,water and stock. Stir well. Stir in the cream until completely mixed.

Add the linguine, spinach and basil leaves. Cook while stirring until heated through.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lamb Stew

This would have to be one of the best ways to use up Roast Lamb besides lamb sandwiches with fresh white bread of course!! Everyone in our family loves this, the flavour is amazing and for a one dish dinner is sure is a crowd pleaser!

You can make this without having roasted lamb, just used diced lamb, chops or even an uncooked leg.

This is only my version, everyone makes it differently. The vegetables can be varied to suit, whichever way it's an easy yet hearty meal that brings joy and comfort! Especially when served with a french stick to pull apart and soak into the yummy stew.

Lamb Stew

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 5

500 grams leftover roast lamb on the bone
1 brown onion, largely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
1 kilogram potatoes, peeled and halved
1 swede, peeled and diced
1 medium parsnip, peeled and diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
1/2 cup green peas
2 packets Spring Vegetable soup mix
1 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Place lamb leg in a stock pot or large saucepan and fill with enough water to cover, at least 4 litres would be perfect. Add onion and freshly ground pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 - 3 hours. Allow to cool. Once cooled remove the set fat from the top of the stock. Drain stock through a colander into another stockpot or large saucepan. Remove meat from the colander, discard any fat or bone pieces that are visible and return onions to the stock. Remove all the meat from the bone and shred or chop. Return meat to the stock.

Add all the vegetables and bring to the boil. Once boiled, reduce heat and simmer. Combine soup mix with water and stir through stew. Allow to simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Roast Lamb

A roast of any meat is delicious and I am sure that everyone will agree. Oliver requested roast lamb outrightly claiming that we have not had one in quite a while.

This post is going to be a very small one as this recipe is too basic to make it any different. Basic or not the taste was magnificent and well worth waiting for while it cooks and fills the house with its scrumptious aroma.

There are many ways of preparing and cooking a leg of lamb. Some prefer to press rosemary sprigs into the meat along with garlic slivers, some like to marinade whereas we just prefer the minimal approach. For us it's just the basic of seasonings and then cooked in the Weber.

Roast Lamb

Serves: allow 150g per person
Points per serve: 5.5

1 leg of lamb
2 - 4 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

Prepare Weber as per instructions or preheat oven to 180 deg celsius.

On a large plate or baking dish place lamb. Coat with enough oil to cover. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

If using Weber:

Measure the height of the piece of meat. Rule of thumb with the weber is to cook for 10 minutes per centimetre in height. (The leg of lamb we had tonight measured 15 cms and therefore should have cooked for 2 1/2 hours. However we like ours more on the rare side so only cooked it for 2 hours.) My advice would be to check after an hour or so - size dependent).

If using the oven:

Place lamb on a rack in a baking tray. Cook for 20 - 25 minutes per 500 grams for medium, less for rare dependent on size of leg.

Allow joint to stand for 20 minutes to allow for easier carving.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Shepherd's Pie (or Cottage Pie)

Tonight's dinner was meant to be chicken... but someone forgot to get the chicken fillets out of the freezer... hhhmmmm I wonder who that was?? LOL it was me. Obviously the next thing I had to do was think of something else for dinner of course and when I broached the subject with hubby, his reply was "something yummy!!" Where do I buy that? Anyway, having a think about something that was sure to be in the "yummy" category I started to remember foods I considered yummy whilst I was growing up.

One of my favourite meals, if not the best comfort meal, was always my mam's Shepherd's Pie. Her's was of the fancy variety with sauteed onions rings and slice tomato on the top and it was brought excitement when we found out we were having it for dinner. Funnily enough, when my kids find out that's what we are having their faces light up! My version is minus the onions and tomatoes (purely due to the kids) instead the layer of fluffy mashed potato is topped with cheese. I add quite a few vegetables into the thick mince and gravy mix, instead of serving them to the side. This is not my mam's original recipe it's an adaption from Symply To Good to Be True #2 so I cannot take all the credit.

As with most recipes there are many variations to be found. Apparantly this dish "Cottage Pie" dates back as far as 1791 when the humble potato, introduced as an edible crop, was affordable by the poor. Earlier versions of the recipe used leftover roast meats. Developed in the the late 1800's the name "Sheperd's Pie" was used reflecting the use of mutton or lamb as shepherds watched over sheep not cattle. Either name are used today as is the type of meat used, whether it's leftovers or it's some type of mince.

Whatever you call it or however you make it, it's a wonderful comfort food - any time of the year!!!

Shepherd's Pie
(recipe adapted from Symply To Good To Be True #2)
Serves: 8
Points per serve: 6.5
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 stick of celery, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, grated
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/2 cup peas, frozen or fresh
1/2 cup corn kernels, frozen or canned
1 green capsicum, finely diced
600 grams very lean beef mince
cooking spray
2 teaspoons beef stock powder
1/2 cup gravy powder
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup or sauce
2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
4 cups water
2 kilograms potatoes
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup reduced fat tasty cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Microwave all the vegetables in a large dish with a little water for 10 minutes.

While vegetables are cooking spray a large frying pan or saucepan with cooking spray and cook mince until cooked through. Add stock powder, tomato sauce, worchestershire sauce, oyster sauce and combined water and gravy powder. Stir, mixing well and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, peel and dice potatoes. Fill a large saucepan with water, add potatoes. Bring the boil and cook for 10 - 12 minutes. Drain and mash together with skim milk.

Pour mince into a large lasagne or casserole dish. Using a spoon and fork (or piping bag if you want to be fancy) put small dobs of mashed potato over the top of the meat mixture. Smooth top and sprinkle with grated cheese. Cook for 30 minutes or until heated through and cheese golden.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Singapore Chilli Prawns

Singapore Chilli anything is one of my all time favourite flavours so I was really glad when I came across a recipe for Singapore Chilli Prawns a while back on Kevin's blog, Closet Cooking. Ironically, Kevin who is based in Toronto, Canada, thanked Ellie at Almost Bourdain for this recipe and Ellie lives here in Australia, Sydney in fact! And I have to say thanks to both!!

There are many variations to this recipe especially when it comes to Singapore Chilli Crab. Some are quite complex and hard to follow. Others easy, some very spicy and others quite sweet. The recipe on both Ellie and Kevin's blogs is quite simple. Ellie makes comment in her blog post that this recipe is quite adaptable to suit everyones tastes. As both Noel and I are lovers of hot and spicy I have modified the recipe a little to reduce the bulk of the sweetness but saying this it still has the element of sweet and sour that makes this dish so incredible.

My favourite thing about this recipe and others like it, is the concept of adding a beaten egg, there is just something beautiful about the way the egg cooks and looks dependent on the dish it is being added too. Adding egg to red chilli sauce looks amazing giving so much texture and of course, adding extra protein is always a bonus. But as with most asian inspired dishes ensure that you have all your ingredients ready.

Next stop Singapore Chilli Crab!! But that will be another story.....

Singapore Chilli Prawns
(recipe adapted from Almost Bourdain & Closet Cooking)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 3

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 teaspoon garlic, chopped,
2 teaspoon ginger, crushed
1/2 brown onion finely chopped
3 red chillies, seeded (if desired) and chopped
500 grams raw prawns, shelled and deveined
4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons hot chilli sauce
1 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 egg, lightly beaten
fresh coriander, chopped, for garnish

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the garlic, ginger, onion, and chillies and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add the prawns, saute for a minute on both sides or until they start to turn pink.

Add the tomato sauce, chilli sauces, lime juice and combined water and cornflour and bring to a boil.

Stir the egg into the pan and continue stirring until the egg is cooked. Sprinkle with chopped coriander.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)