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25 May 2009


I've been receiving feedback that there are actually a few people following this blog. (Thank you!!)

I wanted to let you know that I may not post new recipes for a few days as we have moved house this past weekend and things are a mess (and the internet at home is not up and running yet). Work may not be too impressed if I spend my days posting recipes.

But as soon as I can I will be back online and posting lots of new ideas from my new (well, new to me anyway) kitchen! We plan on doing quite a bit of entertaining in our new house, so those menu plans will also be posted.

20 May 2009

Update to Tomato and Chorizo Risotto

It was just brought to my attention that this recipe forgot to specify when the tomatoes are to be added.

I have updated the recipe now!

Thank you to whoever left that comment, much appreciated.

18 May 2009

Herby Steamed Potatoes

When I asked Mark is he had any requests for dinner on Sunday night, he said that he would really like the same slow cooked lamb that we had the Sunday night before (he said that it seemed like a 'Sunday' meal). I loved that dish so was happy to grant the request.

I put the lamb in the oven, but became preoccupied with a few other things and forgot about roast potatoes. So I decided to cook steamed potatoes, but jazz them up with some herbs.

Traditionally, I have served steamed potatoes with butter, and often chives. But I am trying to cut back on butter, so used olive oil instead. As mint goes so well with lamb, I thought that chives and mint together would make these potatoes a delicious accompaniment to the lamb.

Have a go!

Just steam your potatoes (takes about 10-15 minutes once the steam is going - to test, poke with a knife). Finely chop some mint and chives (or whatever herbs you like) and combine the herbs, potatoes, a dash of olive oil and salt and pepper.

Chicken Noodle Soup

I think I came up with this dish to prove something to myself (and possibly Mark). We were in the car yesterday and heard an ad for Masterchef. It said that the contestant's challenge was to cook a Chinese inspired meal. Mark's comment was "Luce, don't know how you would go with that one".
No, he was not being nasty, he was reflecting on the fact that I generally do not eat, or cook, Asian food. It is just not what I prefer. Having said that, we once agreed that one of the best meals we ever had was at The Rocks Teppanyaki, and I love the flavours of kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass and ginger - when done properly (or perhaps not properly, just the way I like it), I really enjoy Asian flavours. So I decided then and there that I would experiment a bit more with Asian-style cooking.

And this soup had started things off very well. Mark said that he thinks the dish would impress the judges and we both really loved it. It was also really easy, which on a night where I came home, took a call from a client and then turned the computer on to do some more work, was absolutely necessary. It will definitely become a regular!

Unfortunately I sort of just threw things in, so please bear with me on the quantities.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
1/2 tablespoon peanut oil
Dash of sesame oil
1 chicken breast skin removed and trimmed
2cm piece of ginger thinly slices
2 spring onions thinly sliced
2 sticks celery thinly sliced
500ml chicken stock (I used chicken consomme which I purchased from the supermarket)
175g fresh Singapore noodles
420g can sweet corn kernels drained
Soy sauce to taste
1/2 large red chilli (optional)


Cook the chicken breast in a fry pan until cooked through. Shred and set aside. Heat the peanut and sesame oil in a medium saucepan. Add the ginger and spring onions (reserving about a quarter of the ginger and a handful of the green part of the spring onions to garnish) and celery, and cook until soft. Add the stock or consomme. Bring to the boil. Add the noodles, corn and chicken and heat through for a few minutes. Add soy sauce to taste. Garnish with reserved ginger, spring onion and chilli (if using).

Note: if you want more liquid, add some water and a bit of powdered chicken stock.

14 May 2009

Tomato, Olive and Boccincini Chicken

Sometimes I just really feel like a meal with a rich tomato sauce, cheese and bread for mopping up the sauce. This dish was really comforting and fulfilled my need for a delicious, rich, cheesy meal with a side of crusty bread.

It was also really easy to prepare, which is a bonus.

As we come into winter I am going to start making more recipes which are rich and warm, because it is always good to imagine that meal while standing in the cold waiting for the bus!

Ingredients (Serves 2)

1 - 2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chicken breasts trimmed
700g jar tomato passata
1/2 cup olives
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
180g tub bocconcini
Salt and pepper
Handful each of fresh parsley, basil and oregano
Grated parmesan cheese to serve
Crusty bread to serve


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or fry pan. Add the garlic and cook for a few moments or until fragrant. Add the chicken and brown for a few minutes on each side. Add the passata, sugar, olives and dried oregano. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the bocconcini and fresh herbs. Allow cheese to melt slightly for a few moments. Serve topped with grated parmesan and crusty bread.

10 May 2009

Feta and Pomegranate Slow Roasted Lamb

This is a dish I have been wanting to cook for quite a while. I really love slow cooked recipes and there are a couple of reasons why. Firstly, you can pop them in the oven and forget about them for a while. Second, if you leave them there for too long, it often does not matter. Thirdly, they fill the house with such a beautiful aroma.

I served this dish a lot later in the evening than I had anticipated (the potatoes took forever), but it was worthwhile - Mark actually said it was "good, very good" (high praise from Mark). The feta and pomegranate match beautifully. And turning the heat up and the grill on at the end of the cooking process makes the outside of the lamb wonderfully cruchy - I love it!

I just served it with roasted potatoes and a simple spinach and tomato salad.

Ingredients (Served 2-3)
800g leg of lamb butterflied
Leaves of 3 rosemary spigs
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
Drizzle of olive oil
80ml white wine vinegar
100ml water
Splash of red wine
3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
80g danish feta crumbled


Combine the lamb, rosemary, mint, garlic, juice and skin of the lemon, olive oil and pepper in a freezer bag. Massage the other ingredients into the lamb. Leave to infuse for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Place the white wine vinegar, water and red wine in a baking dish. Add the lamb and roast for 2-3 hours (I roasted for 2.5-3 hours). Increase the heat to 220 degrees and turn the grill on. Roast for another 5-8 minutes or until the top of the lamb is crunchy.

Slice, drizzle with the pan juices and top with pomegranate and feta to serve.

08 May 2009

Marinated Steak with Roast Tomatoes and Thyme Polenta

I have been a bit slow in posting recipes lately. For anyone checking this blog every so often (I hope someone is!), I have a lot that I intend on posting (there is slow cooked lamb in the oven as I type). Mark and I just bought a house and preparing the house to move in, and also preparing for the move itself, means I have a lot less time for cooking. But very soon I should not only have a new house, but a new kitchen with a huge oven and cook top that will let me experiment for hours!

As for this recipe, I generally like to have steak for dinner at least once a week, but I don't like to always serve it the same way. On this occasion I also felt like polenta - it is so creamy and also easy to make. And roast tomatoes are the perfect side dish.

It is always best to bring steak to room temperature before cooking. This ensures that it cooks more evenly. I like to take the opportunity to marinate my steak while bringing it to room temperature. Often I use soy sauce, red wine vinegar and Worcheshire sauce to marinate the steak, but this time decided to do something different and used lemon, thyme and garlic instead.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 tomatoes cut in half
Drizzle olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper and salt
2 steaks
1/2 bunch thyme
2 cloves garlic
1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cop polenta
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
Drizzle olive oil
Steamed green beans to serve


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Place the tomatoes cut side up in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 40 minutes.

Combine the steak, thyme and garlic in a thick plastic bag. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bag, followed by the lemon skin. Add the olive oil and freshly ground pepper. Set aside for at least half an hour.

To make the polenta, heat the milk in a medium saucepan until boiling. Add the polenta in a thin, slow stream and whisk until the mixture has thickened and the polenta starts to pull away from the sides of the pan (check the packet instructions). I found this took about 10 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the heat and add the thyme, parmesan, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Before serving, cook the steak to your liking and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with polenta, roast tomatoes and steamed green beans. I drizzled some of the roasting juices from the tomatoes over the beans for extra flavour.

04 May 2009

Vanilla, Coconut and Cinnamon Cake with Fragrant Icing

I guess I got a bit excited yesterday when the first baking recipe I created worked well. So, I decided to try out some different flavours and use the fragrant sweet spices I love so much for the icing. (I also made a bit more icing than last time. Feel free to make less if you prefer.)

I think I will take these to work to share around - Mark and I cannot possibly eat so much cake without help!

I'm really enjoying experimenting with baking, so I am going to try some different methods and combinations. One combination I really want to work with is chocolate and raspberry as it is one of my favourites.

1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup self raising flour sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
40g butter melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
120g butter at room temperature
1-4 teapsoons fragrant sweet spices


Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Grease and flour a cake loaf tin. Place the coconut, flour, sugar and cinnamon and baking powder in a bowl and mix to combine. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and mix in the milk. Add the butter and then the eggs and vanilla, stirring well after each new addition.

The mixture is fairly wet - this is fine. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and then turn onto a plate.

To make the icing, beat the butter and icing sugar together until thick and creamy (use a large bowl as it will fly everywhere). Mix the fragrant sweet spices through and spread on to the cooled cake.

03 May 2009

Lemon, Coconut and Cardemom Cake with Passionfruit Icing

I guess that not being a huge dessert fan, I am also not one to bake a lot of cakes. But there is a cake from my childhood that I always remember. The recipe came from an old Woman's Weekly recipe book of Mum's - it was a lemon, orange and coconut cake and I loved it.
I'll have to see if Mum still has that recipe, but in the meantime I decided to experiment with a recipe of my own.

Even though I don't do it that often, there is something really relaxing about baking. I love stirring the ingredients together - mixing feel very therapeutic. And this particular cake filled the house with such a delicious aroma. I think I will have to try out a few more baking recipes.


1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup self raising flour sifted
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Finely grated zest of one lemon
1 cup milk
40g butter melted
2 eggs
1 cup icing sugar
80g butter at room temperature
Pulp of two passionfruit


Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Grease and flour a cake loaf tin. Place the coconut, flour, sugar, cardamom and zest in a bowl and mix to combine. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and mix in the milk. Add the butter and then the eggs, stirring well after each new addition.

The mixture is fairly wet - this is fine. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and then turn onto a plate.
To make the icing, beat the butter and icing sugar together until thick and creamy (use a large bowl as it will fly everywhere). Mix the passionfruit through and spread on to cooled cake.

Tomato and Chorizo Risotto

Okay, so normally I would make this recipe with chorizo. On this occasion I thought I would try using a different type of sausage. This experiment did not really work. I chose a spicy Italian sausage, which tasted overbearingly like fennel. And cooking it in a fry pan on my stove top made the biggest mess with fat splattering everywhere.

So, the moral of the story is that I will continue to use chorizo when cooking this dish. In the past I have substituted the chorizo with crispy, baked prosciutto. This works well.

I first made this recipe while I was living with my girlfriends Renee and Erica. It became a bit of a regular meal in our house. Now I make it for Mark as he loves risotto. I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients (serves 2)

3-4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion diced
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 cup arborio rice
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano
2 chorizo sausages sliced thinly
Salt and pepper
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and extra to serve
Handful fresh herbs finely chopped (I think I used parsley, basil and oregano)


Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan until simmering. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the arborio rice and cook until translucent. Add the tinned tomatoes. Use a soup ladle to add the chicken stock one ladle full at a time, stirring well, and adding more stock once the last ladle full has been absorbed. Stir in the dried basil and oregano with the first ladle of stock.

While the risotto is cooking, cook the chorzio in a fry pan with a little oil until crispy. Set aside.

You may not need all the chicken stock. When about 2/3 of the stock has been absorbed, taste the risotto. It should be creamy on the outside but still with a bit of a "bite" in the centre.

Once cooked, season with salt and pepper and stir through the egg yolk, parmesan, fresh herbs and chorizo. Serve topped with extra parmesan.

Crispy Spiced Buttermilk Chicken

I've seen quite a few crispy, spiced, buttermilk chicken recipes around at the moment - so I really wanted to create my own.

I actually made and photographed this recipe a few weeks ago, but I was not 100% convinced that the end result was exactly what I had envisioned - it was nice, but perhaps missing something that I cannot quite put my finger on. But I have decided to post this recipe anyway as Mark really enjoyed it. I think I will experiment with it a little more, but have a go, as you may love it. Add more or less hot paprika depending on how much heat you like.

Mark and I are in the middle of settling out first home at the moment - very exciting, but very time consuming. I have a lot of recipes on the go at the moment that I have been playing with, and hope to post quite a few soon.

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 chicken breasts trimmed
600ml buttermilk
1 bunch chives chopped
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon tumeric
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon amchur powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
Oil for shallow frying


Place the chicken, buttermilk and chives in a glass bowl and mix to combine. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Combine the spices in a mortar and pestle and grind well. Mix with the flour in a bowl. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture and coat well in the spiced flour mixture.

Heat the oil in a large fry pan (you need the pan filled at least 1 cm deep with oil). Cook the chicken for a few minutes on each side, then place on a rack over a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes.

Serve with a green salad.