Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mushroom & Tomato Frittata

Frittatas are great. They're easy to make and with your own imagination, can be packed full of most staples or leftovers in your pantry and fridge. You can substitute the ingredients in this recipe with whatever you have on hand, use garlic butter instead of butter, substitute parsley with baby spinach or other herbs, add parmesan instead of cheddar etc. Whatever suits you and your family!


30g unsalted butter
200g Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
2-3 vine ripened tomatoes, cut into wedges
6 eggs
50g cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

  1. Preheat the grill to high.  
  2. Melt 20g of the butter in a non-stick frypan over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and tomato wedges, and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until tomato is just softened. 
  3. Lightly beat eggs with 1½ tablespoon water in a large bowl. Stir in cheese and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Melt remaining butter in the frypan over medium-low heat. Add the egg mixture, stir briefly, then cook for 5-6 minutes until golden underneath and nearly set. Place pan under hot grill for 3-4 minutes or until just set and top is golden. Slide onto a board, cut in half.
Notes & Tips
Serve frittata with salad leaves

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hazelnut & Espresso Macarons

I'm not a big fan of macarons. I'm not a big fan of meringues either but somehow I don't mind pavlova...
Feeling inspired after watching Adriano Zumbo make macarons on his TV show the other day, I decided to give it a go.

Not bad for a first attempt I must say! Would I ever make them again? Probably not. It was way too time consuming- probably took me a few hours to make and prepare and not even a minute to eat!

Recipe from The Dairy Kitchen Cookbook, page 19

Makes 16

1¼ cups pure icing sugar
125g hazelnut meal
3 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ cup caster sugar
½ cup thickened cream
1 teaspoon freshly ground coffee beans
1 teaspoon coffee essence (optional)
200g good quality white chocolate


For the macarons, process icing sugar and nut meal in a food processor until very finely ground. Sift the mixture, discarding any leftovers.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually add sugar, beating well between additions until sugar has dissolved and mixture is thick and glossy. Gently fold in nut mixture in batches. The mixture should run slowly down the sides of the bowl when tilted. If the mixture is too firm, add a little more runny egg white.

Using a piping bag with a small plain nozzle, pipe 4cm circles of the mixture onto baking paper lined trays. Stand trays at room temperature for at least 2 hours or until a dry glossy crust forms. Bake at 140°C for 15-17 minutes, until just firm but not coloured. Cool completely before using a metal spatula to carefully remove from trays.

For the ganache filling, heat the cream and coffee in a small saucepan until just simmering, remove from heat and stir in chocolate until smooth and glossy. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until thick. Sandwhich macaron shells together with piped ganache.

Notes & Tips

Assembled macarons will keep for 1-2 days in an airtight container.

For dark chocolate espresso macarons, substitute dark chocolate in the ganache and lightly dust ground coffee over macaron shells before baking.

Salmon with mango & chilli salsa

This low-fat and easy recipe is bursting with omega 3 fatty acids and fuses sweet fruit with fresh vegies - perfect for a warm summer day or evening.

I normally add coriander to the salsa but since my husband doesn't like it I left it out. I also left in the chilli seeds since we both like a bit of heat :)


1 tbs olive oil
4 (about 220g each) salmon fillets
2 ripe mangoes, cheeks removed, peeled, finely chopped
1 long fresh red chilli, halved, deseeded, thinly sliced
2 tbs chopped fresh coriander
1 avocado, peeled, finely chopped
1 tbs fresh lime juice
1-2 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed
Lime wedges, to serve
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Season both sides of salmon fillet with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the salmon, skin-side down in the pan. Cook until golden brown on 1 side, about 3-4 minutes. Turn the fish over with a spatula, and cook for another 3-4 minutes (for medium rare).
  3. Meanwhile, combine the mango, chilli, coriander and lime juice in a bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper.  
  4. Cook the asparagus in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes or until bright green and tender crisp. 
  5. Divide the salmon among serving plates. Top with asparagus and salsa and serve with lime wedges.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lamb Rissoles with Mashed Potato and Rosemary Gravy

 Recipe adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly Kid's Cooking book, page 50


500g lamb mince
1 large brown onion, grated coarsely
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 egg
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
500g potatoes
20g butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 cup (250ml) beef stock
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
250g cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper

  1. Using hands, combine lamb, onion, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper in medium bowl. Shape lamb mixture into eight patties.
  2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat; cook rissoles both sides, four at a time, about 15 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper; cover with foil to keep warm. Reserve pan with rissole drippings.
  3. Meanwhile, boil, steam or microwave potatoes until tender; drain. Mash potatoes in medium bowl with potato masher; stir in butter.
  4. Cook flour in rissole pan, stirring, until mixture browns and bubbles. Gradually stir in stock; stir until gravy boils and thickens. Strain gravy; stir in rosemary.
  5. Meanwhile, cook tomatoes, stirring, in heated small frying pan about 2 minutes or until split and just softened.
  6. Divide potatoes among serving plates, top with rissoles then with rosemary gravy and tomatoes.
Notes & Tips

If you're feeling lazy and don't want to use a potato masher to mash up the potatoes, try using a hand mixer. A friend of mine provided me with this useful tip and to my surprise, the potatoes turned out really nice and fluffy. Start off with the low setting initially to break the potatoes up then increase the speed to combine the butter and potatoes together. Be careful to not mix them for too long or you might run the risk of turning your mashed potato into sticky, wallpaper paste!

    Creme Caramel

    There are few desserts I find more satisfying than a Crème Caramel. Smooth, sweet and creamy, it’s a taste sensation. Creme Caramel put simply is a baked custard sitting on a syrup sauce...... as opposed to creme brulee, which is custard with a hard caramel top.

    Recipe from Woman's Day magazine, Issue 3: January 17 2011, page 55


    1 ¼ cups caster sugar
    ¼ cup water
    300ml carton cream
    1 cup milk
    3 eggs
    3 egg yolks


    Preheat oven to moderately slow, 150°C

    In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cold water. Stir over low heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Cook, without stirring, brushing down sides of pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush, for 5-7 minutes or until the mixture is a deep golden caramel colour.

    Pour caramel toffee mixture evenly between 8 x ½ cup ramekins, swirling each so that it comes about 2cm up the sides of the ramekins. Place in a baking dish. Set aside to cool completely.

    In a medium saucepan, combine cream, milk and remaining sugar. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat. Cool for 5 minutes.

    In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and egg-yolks together.
    (In this photo it looks like I have 8 egg yolks but 2 of the eggs that I used just so happened to have twin yolks!)

    Whisk in milk mixture. Pour custard into ramekins and add enough hot water to baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. The hot water creates an even distribution of heat, which helps the custard to set gently and evenly.

      Bake for 30 minutes until set. Remove from pan and cool completely. Chill overnight. Dip ramekins in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen. Turn out onto a serving plate to serve.

      Notes & Tips

      Pour the custard through a strainer when adding it to the ramekins, to remove any sediment. This will make the custard silky smooth.


      To make coconut crème caramel, substitute the milk with light coconut milk and add 1 teaspoon coconut essence. Garnish with toasted shredded coconut and lime rind
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