Our latest feast

Friday, July 31, 2009

Pork and Bean Enchiladas

We all love taco's in our house and it was, at a time, the only mexican food that we ate. But since starting this food blog which is leading us to be more experimental with foods and flavours. And this is definitely a good thing!!

These enchiladas where not what I had started cooking but turned out delish!! It was meant to be a Mexican Pork Casserole with rice but no-one fancied the rice!

I put the slow cooker on in the morning with Pork Scotch Fillets and a mexican style sauce. Cooked all day, removed the meat and shredded it. I love the idea of the "pulled" style pork which I do have to try some day. Wrapped the meat, beans and corn up and voila an enchilada!

Pork and Bean Enchiladas
Serves: 12
Points per serve: 5

cooking spray
1 kg pork scotch fillet
1 large onion, diced
2 red capsicums, diced
2 green capsicums, diced
2 x 400g tins of diced tomatoes
1 cup water
2 packets 35g taco seasoning
1 440g can red kidney beans, drained
1 440g can corn kernels, drained
12 burritos
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
sour cream for serving, if desired
chopped fresh coriander for garnish, if desired

Coat a large frying pan with cooking spray and fry pork until browned and sealed. Remove from pan and place in slow cooker.

To the slow cooker add the onion, capsicums, tomatoes, combined water and taco seasoning. Cook on low setting for 8 hours.

STOVE TOP: Cook pork as above and place in a saucepan along with the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 2 - 3 hours.

Remove pork from slow cooker, cool slightly and shred (I found using two forks made this quite easy). Place in a large bowl. Add the kidney beans and corn kernals.

Preheat oven to 180 deg celcius.

Drain the remainding sauce in the slow cooker through a seive over a large jug or bowl to keep the sauce. Add the drained vegetables to the pork, beans and corn. Mix together well add some of the reserve sauce to moisten (probably about 3/4 - 1 cup).

Warm burritos in microwave for 30 seconds to make them soft for rolling. Place a burrito on the bench, top with some of the pork mixture and roll to enclose. Place in a large casserole/lasange dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Continue with remaining burritos.

Cover the rolls with the reserved sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Cook in oven for 30 minutes or until cheese has melted and golden.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Noels Homemade Sausage Rolls

Another dish we don't cook a lot of due to the fact that they are very morish, unresistable and overall just too yummy is homemade sausage rolls. Shop bought sausage rolls have nothing on these little gems - especially as Noel did all the hard work not me!!

The best thing about making sausage rolls from scratch is that you get to invent the flavour.... and with any invention the potential is endless.

Perfect for either a party or a snack - they never fail to please.

Noel's Homemade Sausage Rolls

Makes approx 64 rolls
Points per serve - danger beware

500g pork mince
500g sausage mince
1 onion, finely chopped
1 zucchini, grated
1 1/2 cups finely grated parmensan cheese
1 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons mango chutney
6 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
8 sheets premade puff pastry, frozen 24cm x 24cm square

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients besides the egg and pastry, ensuring it is thoroughly mixed together.

Defrost pastry sheets and cut in half.

Roll mince mixture into a sausage formed roll long enough to fit the pastry. Wet hands to stop mince mixture from sticking during this process. Place mince mixture on the pastry, brush with egg and roll to enclose. Cut into 4 pieces (or more if desired). Repeat with remainder of mixture.

Place on a lined oven tray and brush with remainding egg. Cook for 40 - 50 minutes or until cooked through.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Corn Dogs

Whilst I know that I should not have even contemplated cooking these, let alone actually proceeding to cook them, I have to confess the idea of doing so has been in my mind for several months. Ever since I saw them premade and frozen in a shop not far from home. In between then and now I also noticed that another foodie blogger, Carmen at Chubba Girl, posted her take on Corny Dogs which also gave me the nudge to make them!!

To be honest these are something that I have treated myself to if I am at the Melbourne Show, Luna Park or market. Just as I thought they were quite easy to assemble and cook but although nice not the same as buying or eating them in a carnival atmosphere!

Although, like me, the kids liked them these are not a regular item on our menu I have to mention and nor will they be, especially considering we are trying to lose weight.... hahaha

Corn Dogs

Serves: 8

1 cup milk
2 medium eggs 1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/3 cups polenta or corn meal
2/3 cup plain flour
8 skinless hot dogs
flour for dusting
oil for frying
8 wooden skewers
In a large bowl combine the milk, eggs, oil, sugar and salt. Mix it very well. Sprinkle in the baking powder, corn meal and flour. Stir it all up to make a slightly thick batter.

Dust the hot dogs with flour, coating them completely. Thread the hot dogs on the skewers as straight as possible.

Meanwhile heat oil until very hot (a bread cube should sizzle when added).

Coat hot dogs by swirling them in the bowl of batter until they are coated, hold for 30 seconds or so over the batter allowing for any excess batter to drip off. Carefully place into the hot oil. Turn the corn dogs when the bottom side is well browned. Using tongs carefully remove the cooked corn dogs from the oil and allow them to drain on paper towels. Repeat the process, coating and frying a few at a time, until all of the corn dogs are cooked.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Last night we cooked the "ol' faithful' when it comes to dinners. It's easy to prepare and cook and best of all it never disappoints!

There are two things I adore about making Spaghetti Bolognaise.

Firstly the Bolognaise sauce can be as basic or as elaborate as you wish to make it. There are really no set ground rules, no limitations and no end to the flavour that can be created. We enjoy a really rich sauce so we add some red wine into the cooking along with sprigs of fresh rosemary. In addition, we always add vegetables which is quite different to the original recipe having just onions. Carrots, capsicums and mushroom are our standard additional vegetables but I have been known to added grated zucchini in the past.

Secondly, I honestly consider Spaghetti Bolognaise a pure comfort food (all year round). Definitely a food for the soul - it is up there with Yorkshire Puddings or mashed potato and gravy or Chicken and Sweet Corn soup in our house. Its the dish we tend to cook when we are at the stage of having eat so many different foods to excite our tastebuds that we need something that's somewhat basic or "plain Jane". Topped with a shaving of parmesan cheese and accompanied by garlic bread, who could ask for more?

When we do cook this, it is always as a huge batch, leftovers are frozen as lunches or quick dinners. This sauce can also be used for other dishes, such as a lasagne or pasta bake. It's great in toasted sandwiches as well!

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 6

cooking spray
500g lean mince beef
1 onion
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 red capsicum, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 x 400g can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
200 grams button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
500 grams thin spaghetti, dry
parmesan cheese, if desired

Coat a large non stick frying pan with cooking spray and heat over a high flame. Add the mince and garlic, cooking until mince is completely browned. Add carrots and capsicums. Continue to cook for a further 4 - 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes, red wine, mushrooms, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 - 60 minutes.

Meanwhile cook pasta according to instructions on the packet. Drain.

Remove rosemary stalks from the bolognaise sauce. Serve sauce over pasta.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chinese Roast Pork Rice Paper Rolls

I love meals that get everyone involved in all aspects of the dish not just in the eating. Making your own rice paper rolls at the table is definitely one of those meals.

Not only does it allow the individual to eat to suit their flavours I actually find that it gives people the chance to experiment a little without having to make them sit and eat a whole plateful.

Rice paper rolls can be quite trickly to master in the beginning, which also provides for some light hearted entertainment around the table, but within no time you will have mastered the filling and rolling up and of course, be left to enjoy your creation.

We have used Chinese Roast Pork in our rice paper rolls, but you could use any meat or seafood, prawns are great as is Peking Duck. The salad does not have to be limited to the ingredients listed below... again this can be up to your imagination and your tastes. The same applies to the sauces.

Before you go any further I need to apologize for this photo... the rice paper roll I used as an example was just too tempting and needed to be eaten!!! No-one else was willing to wait for me to take photos of theirs either..... what can I say these are good!

Chinese Roast Pork Rice Paper Rolls

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 4

1/4 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 red capsicum, cut thinly into 3 cm strips
6 spring onions, cut into 3cm lengths
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 lebanese cucumber, cut into 3 cm strips
200 g bean shoots
1 bunch fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
handful fresh mint leaves
handful fresh basil leaves
2 red chillis, chopped
hoisin sauce
sweet chilli sauce
kecap manis
satay sauce
16 rice papers

Cook pork as per recipe. Slice and platter.

Arrange lettuce, spring onion, capsicum, carrot, cucumber, bean shoots and herbs on a platter, keeping chilli's seperate if using.

Fill a large round dish with warm-hot water. Working with one rice paper at a time, place into water and allow to soak until it is completely softened. Remove from water. (You can have a tea towel ready flat on the table next to the bowl just to quickly drain the excess dripping water on - actually advisable). Place rice paper onto dinner plate.

Place desired meat, salad, sauce in the middle of the rice paper. Fold in two sides to secure ends and then roll up, enclosing all the filling.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Chinese Roast Pork

This is an absolute winner in our house. Not only the flavour but the smell whilst it is cooking lures everyone into the kitchen. And once it is ready it is hard to kick people away as it is very tempting to eat just the way it is and has been known to disappear while the chef isn't looking.

Perfect for many asian influenced dishes such as noodle soups, fried rice or even in Chinese Roast Pork Rice Paper Rolls, as we had it.

Chinese Roast Pork

Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 6
Old Points per Serve: 4
2 x 375g lean pork fillets
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry red wine
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teapsoons red food colouring
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 shallot, sliced lengthways

Remove any sinew or visible fat from the pork fillets.

Combine soy sauce, red wine, honey, brown sugar, food colouring and garlic in a large bowl. (I actually mix mine in a jug and then put in a large snap lock bag). Place shallot in marinade, sprinkle cinnamon on top and add the pork fillets. Marinate for at least one hour or cover and refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Drain pork fillets from marinade, reserve the marinade. Place pork on a wire rack, over a foil lined oven tray.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes basting with marinade frequently and also turning frequently.

Remove from oven, put on board and allow to rest. Cut pork into diagonal slices to serve.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beef Pinwheels with Spinach and Chargrilled Capsicum

I had some Beef Topside Schnitzels (uncrumbed) in the freezer and didn't really know quite what to do with them. I have crumbed these before but they are not as nice nor tender as veal or pork schnitzels so haven't repeated that mistake with the family.

We can often buy "Pinwheels" here in Australia but they are normally lamb and the filling is stuffing. For a healthier alternative I thought I would use baby spinach leaves and chargrilled capiscum as the filling, which I might just add was delish, but thinking about it further the fillings can be whatever you wish so the potential of this dish is endless.

Beef Pinwheels with Spinach and Chargrilled Capsicum

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 4

2 red capsicums
cooking spray
4 beef topside steaks
200g baby spinach leaves

Preheat grill to high. Cut capsicum lengthwise into 4, place on a foil lined oven tray and spray with cooking spray. Place under grill and blacken the skin. Once skin is completely blackened, remove from grill and seal in a plastic bag. (This helps to loosen the skin). After 10 - 15 minutes remove from bad and peel skin away from flesh. Discard skin.

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

If schnitzels are too thick, pound with a mallet to desired thickness. Place on a board and top with the spinach leaves and two strips of capsicum flesh (distancing between them so the distribute nicely when rolled up).

Starting from one end of the steak, roll up tightly and as straight as possible. Tuck in any filling that is overhanging. Secure with a toothpick or two.

Heat a non stick frying pan over high heat, coat with cooking spray and fry beef rolls until browned all over and sealed. Place on a foil lined oven tray and cook in oven for a further 15 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

To serve, remove toothpick and cut into 4 equal slices. Drizzle with any pan juices from oven tray.

* topside schnitzels could easily be replaced with flank steak*

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Cheats" Steamed Asian Greens

I love going to Chinese Restaurants and ordering the Asian Greens, in fact I can normally eat a plate of those and be satisfied. But to be honest I don't really have the time to put into the steaming, wok tossing or grilling that is required for some traditional recipes no matter how much I love the dish's flavour.

Don't get me wrong, I have made these the authentic way but for time and ease this, I believe is the next best thing!

You can also be adventurous with the types of vegetables and with the dressing, I use the kecap manis as I like the sweetness against the vegetables, and you could even sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, etc.

So last night, we had Hoisin Braised Pork Chops, steamed rice and my version of Steamed Asian Greens.

Steamed Asian Greens
Serves: 4
Points per serve: 1
4 small baby bok choy
1 bunch broccolini
4 tablespoons kecap manis

Trim broccolini stalks. Rinse bok choy and cut in half lengthwise.

STOVE TOP: Place steamer of a saucepan of boiling water. Add broccolini, cover and steam for 3 - 4 minutes or until almost tender. Remove lid and add bok choy. Replace lid and steam for a further 2 - 3 minutes or until bok choy is almost tender and wilted. DO NOT OVER STEAM.

MICROWAVE: In a large casserole dish with a few tablespoons of water. Add broccolini, cover with cling film and cook on high heat for 4 - 5 minutes or until almost tender. Carefully remove cling film and add bok choy. Replace cling film and cook on high for another 3 - 4 minutes or until bok choy is almost tender and wilted. DO NOT OVER COOK.

Remove to a serving platter and drizzle with kecap manis.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hoisin Braised Pork Cutlets

As you have guessed I have definitely dusted off the slow cooker this last few weeks and have been trying quite a few new recipes. This is another one.

I have to be totally honest and say that I have been hankering to try more asian style dishes in the slow cooker ever since cooking Vietnamese Chicken Curry a few weeks ago, so when I came across this recipe in July 09 edition of the Australian Weight Watchers Magazine I knew I would be cooking it soon especially having two of our favourite ingredients.... pork cutlets and hoisin sauce... mmmmmmm!!

Served with steamed rice and "Cheats" Steamed Asian Greens this dish went down a treat... trust me there is none left.

Hoisin Braised Pork Chops
(recipe source: July 09 Australian Weight Watchers Magazine)

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 6

8 lean pork cutlets or chops, 200g each, fat trimmed
5 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5 cm strip orange rind
1/3 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 large red capsicum, cut into 3 cm pieces
6 spring onions, trimmed and cut into 5 cm lengths

Coat a large non stick frying pan with cooking spray and heat over high heat. Cook the pork in batches for 4 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to slow cooker bowl or casserole dish.

SLOW COOKER: Add ginger, garlic, rind and combined juice, stock and sauces to slow cooker. Cover with lid and cook on low setting for 8 - 9 hours or on high for 4 - 4 1/2 hours.

OVEN: Preheat oven to 180d C. Add ginger, agarlic, rind and combined juice, stock and sauces. Cover and cook for 2 hours.

Blend the cornflour and 2 tablespoons of water in a small jug. Stir into the casserole. Add capsicum and spring onion and cook on high for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly.

Discard rind prior to serving.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Country Chicken Casserole with Parmesan Dumplings

Accompanied by a parmesan dumpling, this casserole sure hit the spot on all levels... comfort food, packed full of vegetables and chicken that was tender and moist, who could ask for more!! Not me that's for sure.

To me chicken and sage go hand in hand so having those flavours together plus a creamy style sauce made the dish very comforting indeed. The flavours were not overpowering so the taste of the vegetables was also still in the spotlight.

Country Chicken Casserole with Parmesan Dumplings

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 6.5

8 chicken thigh fillets bone in, skin removed
1 tablespoon plain flour
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
cooking spray
2 brown onions, sliced thickly
4 carrots, peeled and cut thickly
1 stick celery, finely sliced
200g button mushrooms
1 red capsicum, cut into 2 cm peices
1 green capsicum, cut into 2 cm peices
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken stock powder
1 cup white wine
1 3/4 cup self raising flour
2/3 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons dried parsely
20g finely grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cornflour
1/2 cup reduced fat thickened cream

Remove all visible fat from the thigh fillets. Place in a large snap lock bag. Combine flour, salt and pepper together and place in snap lock bag also. Seal bag and toss to combine ensuring the thighs are completely coated in the seasoned flour.

Spray a large non stick frying pan with cooking spray and over a medium high heat cook the thigh fillets until golden on each side. Transfer to slow cooker.

Place all the vegetables in the slow cooker and sprinkle with sage and parsley. Combine water, stock powder and wine. Pour over chicken and vegetables in the slow cooker.

Cook for 4 hours on high setting or 7 hours on low setting.

Combine cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water and stir through casserole. Cover and make dumplings. Mix the flour, milk, egg, chicken stock powder, parsley, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese in a bowl until well combined. Coat your hands with additional flour and form into 16 balls. Place dumplings on top of casserole and cook for a further 30 - 40 minutes or until dumplings have cooked. (Warning they take a lot longer to cook in a slow cooker).

Remove dumplings to a warmed plate. Stir through the cream until combined and heated through for 5 minutes.

Serve in warmed bowls with dumpling or two.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Veal Cutlets with Mustard Sauce

Out of all the cuts of veal I would have to say that we all enjoy the cutlets the best - a bit like a beef rib eye. A thicker cut of meat but still very tender. When I tell Alexandria, our 8 year old, we are having veal cutlets she always asks if that is the "fluffy cushion" meat?? LOL!!

Normally I just pan fry the veal and serve with a seperate sauce for example blue cheese or creamy mushroom but tonight I thought it was time to try something different and I really fancied experimenting with mustard for some unknown reason! I have to say that I am glad that I did.

Veal Cutlets with Mustard Sauce

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6

4 Veal Cutlets, 200g each
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
cooking spray
1 cup water
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder

Place veal cutlets in a shallow dish or a snap lock bag. Mix together the mustard, pepper, olive oil and wine until well combine. Pour over the cutlets and allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes, longer if time permits.

Heat a large non stick frying pan and spray with cooking spray. Remove the cutlets reserving remainder of the marinade. Fry cutlets 3 - 4 minutes eash side or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate to allow to rest.

Meanwhile return pan to stovetop, add the combined water and stock powder to deglaze the pan, scrapping while stirring over a high heat. Add the reserved marinade and mix well. Allow to boil and reduce by half.

Serve with the cutlets.

(Click here for a printable copy of this recipe)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken on Crispy Potato Cakes

Isn't it funny how sometimes you see a picture in a cookbook and think that looks nice until you read the recipe and the ingredients? I happens to me quite a lot and I often finding myself adapting recipes to make them more "user" friendly for me and my family.
This is one of those recipes.... the picture looked great - it did the first time I looked at it, and the second, in fact I look at it everytime I read this cookbook I take the time to look at the picture! (The cookbook by the way is Ainsley's Friends & Family Cookbook).

I suppose you are wondering what it was about the original recipe that wasn't appealing - it was the big piece of fish, monkfish, that was used. Obviously I have changed it to chicken. (We don't eat a great deal of fish but I know we should!).

Anyway the fish fillet was changed for a chicken breast but everything else pretty much remained the same as printed. The original recipe called for a "green vegetable" so the choice is yours really. I used the baby spinach because I love it and will try to put it in any dish!

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken on Crispy Potato Cakes
(recipe adapted from Ainsley's Friends & Family Cookbook)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: TBA

4 chicken breast fillets, skin removed
8 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced
cooking spray
600ml water
1 tablespoon chicken stock powder
170 mls dry white wine
6 tablespoons lite thickened cream
25 grams reduced fat butter
freshly ground black pepper
4 potatoes (approx 600 grams), peeled
2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 eggs beaten
2 tablepsoons self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup oil, for shallow frying
200 grams baby spinach leaves

Wrap each chicken fillet with 2 slices of prosciutto, sercuring with a toothpick.

Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.

Put combined water and stock powder, wine and cream into a small pan and boil until reduced to approximately 1 cup full of liquid.

Spray a non stick frying pan with cooking spray and cooked chicken fillets for 2 - 3 minutes on each side or until chicken is sealed and slightly browned. Transfer to an oven tray lined with foil or baking paper and cook in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked through.

Meanwhile finely grate the potatoes. Working with small handfuls at a time, squeeze out as much excess liquid from them as you can. Put into a bowl, fork to seperate into strands and mix in the shallots, eggs, flour, salt and some pepper.

Heat oil in another frying pan, divide the potato mixture into four. Cooking two potato cakes at a time fry in the oil (flattening as much as possible but so they still remain together) for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown, crisp on the outside but cooked on the inside. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Turn the oven off but leave the potato cakes in the oven. Remove the chicken from the oven and add any excess juice from the oven tray to the cream reduction. Bring to the boil and whisk in the butter and season with a little pepper.

Remove the toothpicks from the chicken.

Put a potato cake in the centre of each plate and top with baby spinach leaves. Place a chicken fillet on the top of the spinach leaves and drizzle with cream reduction.

(Press here for a printable copy of this recipe)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Curried Lamb and Vegetable Parcels

To be honest I was really struggling with what to cook for dinner last night, especially as I had bake Carrot, Pineapply and Zucchini Cake in the afternoon!! I hate the feeling when searching through umpteen cookbooks and still having no idea what to cook afterwards... and of course as time was now ticking away and it was getter later it was time to invent something.

So last night's dinner was going to have to be a fridge and pantry raid.......

On hand (always) in our fridge is Antoniou Filo Pastry. It's not frozen therefore its ready to use. I love using filo pastry, even though it can be fiddly. It is great for people looking for healthier alternatives to puff or shortcrust pastry and can be used for so many dishes, savoury or sweet.

Another love of mine, and a permanent resident in our pantry, is S&B Golden Curry Mix. It is a Japanese curry, a premade roux that is bought in blocks resembling chocolate. It is one of the easiest curries to make, great for a quick meal and has a unique taste - quite unlike an Indian or Thai style curries. I know that Kevin over at Closet Cooking used a similar curry block for his recipe Kare (Japanese Curry). The curry blocks come in mild, medium or hot. We use the hot block, which to us isn't that hot.

Having some lamb strips, a packet of filo pastry, a block of curry this is what I came up with - Curried Lamb and Vegetable Parcels.

Curried Lamb and Vegetable Parcels

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 8

cooking spray
500 grams lamb strips
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
100 grams of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 red capsicum, diced into 2 cm pieces
4 ounces japanese curry roux
3 cups water
16 sheets filo pastry

Heat oven to 180 deg C.

Coat a large non-stick frying pan with cooking spray and cook half of the lamb until sealed and browning. Transfer to a plate and continue with remaining lamb.

To the same pan add the onion and the carrots. Cook stirring for 5 minutes or until tender. Add broccoli and capsicum. Continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the water. Chop the curry roux into small pieces and add to the pan, stirring continually until completely dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir throught the lamb until completely coated by the curry sauce. Remove from heat and strain sauce into a small saucepan. Allow meat mixture to cool (almost completely) before assembling parcels.

Place one sheet of filo on the bench and spray with cooking spray. Cover with a second sheet. Lay sheet with the longest side going up and down. Place 1/8th of the lamb mixture on the filo at one end, laying mixture across the smaller width. Top with 3 tablespoons of curry sauce to moisten, you could use more but be careful not to use too much or it will be hard to roll your parcel but at the same time you don't want the filling to be too dry. Fold over sides lenghtwise to enclose mixture and roll up completely firmly but not too tight. Continue with remaining filo and lamb mixture.

Place on a foil lined baking tray. Spray parcels with cooking spray. Bake in oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is hot.

While parcels are cooking, reheat curry sauce and serve with parcels.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Carrot, Pineapple and Zucchini Cake

Not only did the ingredients in this cake make me raise my eyebrows but so did the taste!! I love carrot cake but the use of zucchini along with pineapple adds just a new dimension to the taste, texture and moistness to this cake.

Topped with lemon flavoured cream cheese icing it's definitely a cake that wants you to eat seconds.

Carrot, Pineapple and Zucchini Cake
(recipe source: WW Secrets Of Success)

Serves: 16
ProPoints per serve: 4
Points per serve: 2

cooking spray
1/4 cup (50g) reduced fat butter or spread
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 eggwhite
1 x 200g can crushed pineapple in juice
1 medium carrot (120g) peeled and grated
1 medium zucchini (150g) trimmed and grated
1 3/4 cup self raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon groung cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
125 grams light cream cheese
1/4 cup icing sugar mixture, sifted
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

Spray a 22cm square cake pan with cooking spray. Line base and sides with non-stick baking paper.

Using an electric mixer, beat spread and caster sugar until light and creamy. Gradually add the combined egg and eggwhite, beating until combined. Stir in the pineapple, carrot and zucchini. Stir if the sifted flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices.

Spoon cake mixture into pan, smooth surface. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until golden and cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in pan.

Meanwhile, make cream cheese frosting. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth. Beat in juice.

Remove cooled cake from pan and spread frosting evenly over top of cooled cake.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Springtime Veal Stew

I know that you all already know that I love using my slow cooker not matter what time of year it is but as the year goes on I do get bored with using tomatoes and or red wine as the sauce base.

I must admit that when I saw this recipe I had to try it as the concept of adding cream in the last 10 minutes of cooking intrigued me. The fact that this recipe was simple also helped and any vegetables can be used. And I must say that I was glad I tried, it was really nice to have a meat dish with a creamy sauce, it made such a pleasant change. Best of all though, everyone ate it and said they enjoyed it!

Now that I have cooked this once I will look for ways to make it more weight-friendly, I already have adjusted the recipe a little but there is still room for improvement. I am sure that this dish would also work well with lamb, replacing the thyme with rosemary.

Springtime Veal Stew
(recipe adapted from Essentials of Slow Cooking)

Serves: 6

1 kilogram veal, diced
freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray
1 onion, finely diced
80g ham, diced finely
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup water
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
1 tablespoon dried thyme
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut in 2 cm pieces
1 red capsicum, diced into 2 cm cubes
1 cup frozen baby peas
1 cup lite thickened cream

Season veal cubes with salt and pepper. Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and cook veal in batches until browned and sealed completely. Set aside.

To the same pan add the onions and ham and saute over medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Stir in the combined water and chicken stock and bring to the boil.

SLOW COOKER: Transfer the veal and the juices to a slow cooker. Sprinkle with thyme. Add the stock mixture. Cover and cook until the veal is very tender, 2 1/2 hours on high setting or 5 1/2 hours on low. Add the carrots and capsicum, cover and cook for a further 30 - 40 minutes until they are almost tender. Add the asparagus and peas and continue to cook, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 - 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook until the sauce is heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

STOVE TOP: Transfer the veal and the juices to a large dutch oven. Sprinkle with thyme. Add the stock mixture. Cover and cook over a very low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Add the carrots and capsicum, cover and cook for a further 30 - 40 minutes until they are almost tender. Add the asparagus and peas and continue to cook, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 - 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook until the sauce is heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.



Before I forget I have to announce my Giveaway winner.... thanks to all those that stopped by and left a comment sharing your favourite "local" food or dish. I have to say it was a hard decision to make as two of the "local" dishes were really tempting my tastebuds.

The winner of the 5 Womans Weekly Mini Cookbooks is......

~~~ Donna-FFW ~~~

Congratulations!!! The dish you described, Blueberry and Peach Summer Torte, using local produce sounds delish and also, to me, a typically American dessert! (ant that's a good compliment by the way!).
Donna can you please email me your postal address? PS Can I have the recipe too?? Pretty please?

LellyJ - I have to say as tempting as muttonbird sounds (NOT!!!) I loved your comment!! I definitely had a giggle!! And Katy the wine would be very tempting.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to leave a comment....


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Joamy's Rice Stuff

As I have mentioned previously I participate in a cooking thread on the Weight Watcher Forums where someone will put a recipe up at the beginning of each week for who ever wants to participate to try. The recipe for week two was put up by Joanne and I have been meaning to make it for several weeks now.

"Rice Stuff" as Joanne calls it herself is very similar in style to a Kedgeree, an Indian dish. Joanne offered a few suggestions to jazz up this recipe such as also adding a tablespoon or two of sultanas for a bit of sweetness covering it. "You can have this as is, vegetarian or you can add any cooked meat at the end. I have tried chicken, ham, smoked salmon and cooked mince or you could also pop in some boiled eggs. My family love this, its easy and you can make it as a base and then adapt it for each family member if you have some fussies. I also put in as many veggies as I want, you don't have to stick to the base recipe at all. Peas would be nice in it but it adds points."

We added the sultana's, some peas and also some toasted almond flakes along with a few more spices and it was really yummy. I have to admit it was a nice side dish to have with our Tandoori Lamb Cutlets last night.

"Rice Stuff"
(recipe courtesy of Joanne

1 Carrot, diced
1 Onion, diced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
600 mls of chicken or veggie stock
200 Grams of basmati rice
1/2 cup frozen peas
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sultanas
2 tablespoons toasted almond flakes

Dry fry onion, carrot, garlic and ginger for 2 minutes or until slightly tender. Add tumeric, curry powder, cumin, coriander. When its nice and coloured up, add rice, stock and peas. Stir and cover completely. Cook for about 12 mins. At the end you don't want it completely dry, just a little bit moist.

Season with pepper to taste. Stir through sultanas and toasted almonds.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway which ends
Monday 6th July, 12pm EST, click here.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tandoori Lamb Cutlets

My children have called these "orange chops" ever since I can remember and still do. There is something tantalising about the colour and flavour of these especially when they have been cooked on the barbecue and the chargrill does it's magic by leaving patterns and blackened edges..... mmmm what more can I say.

These lamb cutlets are marinated in a combination of plain yoghurt and tandoori paste. I have chosen to use premade tandoori paste, which has a nice flavour and a lot easier to use. I always serve these with a nice fresh salad of lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, grated carrot and thin orange slices, as I find these refreshing accompaniments. A side serve of mint raita is always on hand also.

Last night we served this with "Rice Stuff", her personally named dish which is a version of Kedegree... a friend of mine introduced me to this easy to make rice dish.

Tandoori Lamb Cutlets

Serves: 4 as a main
6 as an entree

Points per main: 6
per entree: 4

12 lamb cutlets, fat trimmed
8 tablespoons low fat plain yoghurt
4 tablespoons tandoori paste

Mix yoghurt and tandoori paste together until well combined. Place cutlets in a large snap lock bag or bowl. Cover with paste mixture and toss to coat well. Allow to marinade for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight if time permits.

Heat a barbecue or grill. Place tandoori cutlets and cook for 2 - 3 minutes each side or cooked to your liking. (Do not overcook as they will be tough). Baste with remaining marinade while cooking.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway which ends
Monday 6th July, 12pm EST, click here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Teriyaki Turkey Stir Fry with Egg Noodles

I cannot remember if I mentioned that it was school holidays here at the moment... nearly one week down and one more to go! I had the first three days of the week off with the children whilst Noel has had today and will have tomorrow also. We will do the same next week. I must say that I am enjoying the fact that I am only working 2 1/2 days out of the normal week. LOL!!

As we do when either of us has the day off - the person at home cooks dinner. So it was Noel's turn tonight. As per usual his dinner was yummy and filling and went down a treat with the kids (always a good thing!)

We had some turkey breast strips in the freezer, that I had bought but to date had turned my nose up to.. only as I have never eaten turkey other than Roast Turkey with all the trimmings on Christmas Day!! Normally you would only ever see turkey in the supermarkets in December but recently there are quite a few turkey products available, such as drumsticks, stir fry strips and even turkey sausages. Funnily enough they are normally found next to the Kangaroo products! Anyway with Noel in charge, turkey was on the menu.

Teriyaki Turkey Stir Fry with Egg Noodles

Serves: 6
Points per serve: 6

500 grams turkey breast, sliced and cut in half
4 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon garlic crushed
1 teaspoon ginger crushed
2 packets egg noodles (400g in total)
1 tablespoon oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced thinly
1 small head broccoli cut into small florets
4 shallots, cut into 2.5cm pieces
200 grams snow peas
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder

In a bowl combine the turkey, teriyaki sauce, garlic and ginger. Mix well and allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Cook noodles according to packet instructions, drain and set to the side.

Heat oil in a large wok over high heat. Add sliced garlic and stir fry for 1 minute. Add carrots and broccoli. Stirfry for another 2 minutes. Add turkey along with marinade and stir fry for 3 - 4 minutes until sealed and browned. Add shallots, snow peas and combined water and stock powder. Stirfry for another 2 minutes.

Place noodles on a platter and top with stir fry. Serve immediately.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway which ends Monday 6th July, 12pm EST, click here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Mousakka is another one of those dishes where a few countries claim it as there own. The origin of this dish is from the Middle East however it is better known in it's Greek form. All versions are based primarily on sautéed eggplant and usually with minced meat. The Greek version includes layers of meat and eggplant topped with a white sauce and baked. The Turkish Musakka is not layered. Instead, it is prepared with sautéed eggplants, green capsicum, tomatoes, onions and minced meat. The Arabian version of moussaka is a cooked salad dish, made up of tomatoes and eggplant, similar to the Italian Caponata, and is usually served cold as a mezze or antipasta dish. In the rest of the Balkans, the top layer is often a custard. Grated cheese and/or bread crumbs can be sprinkled on top depending on the recipe you are following.

Everytime we have this dish the flavour never fails to amaze me. The flavour of cinnamon, the lemon and the currants plus the meat all combined ... it is so unique and every mouthful is exciting. And my favourite thing about making Moussaka is I get to use eggplant. Eggplant is a vegetable that I adore, I love it's nuttiness especially when chargrilled. My daughter, Alex, on the otherhand HATES eggplant and will actually hone it on it and pick it out of every dish no matter how well hidden it is!!

I actually came across this recipe back in 2006. The original recipe uses chicken mince however we much prefer it with lamb mince. I have learnt to double this recipe as both Noel and Oliver will eat two serves without blinking and there is always some left over to freeze for midweek lunches.

(recipe adapted from Super Food Ideas June 2006)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6

cooking spray
2 large eggplant, thinly sliced
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
500 grams lamb mince
1 x 400g tinned diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons currants, optional
rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons low fat butter or margarine
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 2/3 cups skim milk
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/4 cup low fat grated tasty cheese

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

Preheat grill. Spray eggplant with cooking spray and grill for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until browned.

Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray and heat over a medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic, cinnamon and mince. Cook, breaking up the mince, for 5 minutes or until browned. Add tomatoes, currants, lemon rind and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Melt butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat, pour in milk, whisking constantly. Return to heat. Cook, stirring for 5 to 8 minutes or until sauce comes to the boil. Stir in the nutmeg. Remove from heat.

Spray a large ovenproof dish (approx 5cm deep 16cm x 25cm) with cooking spray and layer half the eggplant slices into the base. Spoon over half the mince mixture. Top with remainding eggplant and then the remaining mince mixture. Pour the white sauce mixture evenly over the top of the mince mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until piping hot. Allow to stand for 10 minutes prior to serving.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway which ends Monday 6th July, 12pm EST, click here.