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28 July 2009

Chicken, Cherry Tomato, Mint and Danish Feta Pasta

I go through phases with pasta. Sometimes I want it all the time. Other times I can happily not eat it for a while. I think because it is so heavy at night I find that I want something lighter.

Having said that, I went through bit of a pasta phase recently (probably due to it being cold outside), and this dish was one that I made at that time. What I love about it is that it is so fresh - and has all my favourite ingredients - tomatoes, mint, garlic, danish feta...

Ingredients (serves 2)

300-350g long pasta (spaghetti / fettuccini)
1 chicken breast trimmed
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic (or as much as you like)
250g cherry tomatoes halved
1 bunch mint roughly chopped
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons pine nuts toasted
Danish feta (as much or as little as you like) crumbled
Salt and pepper


Cook the pasta as per packet instructions. Meanwhile, grill the chicken and set aside to keep warm.

Heat the olive oil in a fry pan. Add the garlic and fry gently and then add the tomatoes and cook until soft. Add the cooked pasta to the tomato mixture. Reserve a little of the pasta cooking liquid.

Stir to combine, adding red wine vinegar as you go. Slice chicken and add to the pasta. Stir though a little of the reserved cooking water if the pasta is a bit dry. Season with salt and pepper and mix through mint. Serve topped with pine nuts and danish feta.

27 July 2009

Baked Meatballs with Fragrant Tomato Sauce

It has been a while since I posted something, I have about 6 recipes ready to post, but finding the time lately has not be that easy...

We're currently (still) trying to get the new house in order, and seem to almost be there. It seems to completely consume our eveings and weekends. But I am loving the kitchen in our new house - so much bench space!! And I recently purchased a new 10 piece Scanpan saucepan set (reduced from $1000 to $449 - how could I refuse, especially after one of my saucepans broke). Absolutely loving my new toys. And we're also planning a party for Mark's 30th, which I decided to cater - all finger food and noodle boxes. I've put a lot into the preparation so hopefully it all comes off well. I'll be sure to post that menu after this coming weekend.

For this particular dish I was inspired by a Donna Hay recipe that was in one of the Sunday paper magazines this week, but I made mine a little differently. Very easy, and even easier if you are able to make the meatballs in advance. I have my leftovers stored in the freezer. I just served it with a green salad, and if I had any, I would have also served with crusty bread to mop up the juices

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 brown onion finely diced
Olive oil (to fry and to drizzle over meatballs)
500g beef mince
300g pork mince
3-4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
2 eggs
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
3 tins tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Splash white wine (about 1/4 - 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon allspice
Basil leaves and parmesan cheese to serve


Preheat oven to 220 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a small fry pan and fry the onion until soft. Set aside.

Meanwhile combine the mince, garlic, oregano, parsley, egg and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Use your hands to combine well. Season with salt and pepper. Roll into balls a little smaller in size than a golf ball. Place in a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the tinned tomatoes and tomato paste in a bowl with the all spice and white wine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the tomato mixture over the meatballs and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes.

Serve topped with basil leaves and parmesan.

14 July 2009

Lemon Chorizo Pasta

As you are probably gathering by now, I really like chorizo. And I think lemon and spinach compliment it beautifully.

This dish is quick and easy to make and takes delicious. It is a favourite of mine. It is beautiful with a crisp white wine!

I've been working on a lot of recipes lately that are different to my usual dishes. As a result, not all of them are working out exactly as I hoped. For example, tonight I made a chicken dish simmered in soy, star anise and ginger. But it was not quite right, so I am refining it and hope to put it up soon. But I am hoping to add a lot more soon.
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
300g fettuccini
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 chorizo sausages
2 cloves garlic crushed (add less or no garlic if you are not a garlic fan)
2 spring onions finely chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
150g spinach (either baby spinach or English spinach)
1 bunch parsley finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan to serve
Cook pasta in boiling salted water in accordance with packet instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large fry pan. Cook the chorizo until crispy (tends to take 5-10 minutes). Add garlic and spring onions and cook for 1-2 minutes being careful not to burn.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and add to the pan with the chorizo. Put pan on low heat. Add lemon juice and zest, baby spinach and parsley. Stir to combine (add some of the pasta cooking water or olive oil if it is a little dry). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with parmesan cheese.

12 July 2009

Potato and Roasted Garlic Soup

I have been very slow to add recipes lately - unfortunately this is because I have not been cooking as much! We spent today re-shuffling furniture and trying to get ourselves sorted out now that our floors have been polished and we can finally attempt to unpack properly. A very disappointing weekend from a food perspective, but I guess these things have to be done.

I did manage to cook a quiche yesterday - but I was not 100% happy with it (my friends said they liked it, but I am not convinced), so that one is being fine tuned. And today I made a thick and creamy potato and roasted garlic soup - very happy with this one!

Ingredients (serves approx. 4)

2 heads garlic top sliced off
Olive oil
1 brown onion diced
4-6 large potatoes peeled and cut into 2-3cm pieces
4-5 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup sour cream (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
To serve, 1 bunch chives finely chopped


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Drizzle the garlic with olive oil, wrap in foil and make for 40 minutes. Allow to cool and remove garlic flesh from skins.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute onion until soft. Add potatoes, stock and thyme. Bring to the boil and then simmer until potato is soft. Process potato mixture and roasted garlic.

Return soup to the pan. Add mustard, sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with chives.

09 July 2009

Gorgeous Greens with a Dash of White

I apologise for being slack with the recipes lately. Mark and I have been away, so I have not been cooking as much as usual. And then this week I made two dishes I was going to post (salmon flavoured with lemongrass and ginger, and chicken with a salsa verde type sauce) but I am not sure they turned out exactly as I wanted, so I decided not to post them just yet.

Tonight we were just having a simple meal of steak with steamed potatoes and some greens. But I then decided to saute the beans and spinach with garlic, lemon and feta - and was absolutely delighted! They were the surprise hit of the night (well for me anyway).

This side dish is really just a variation on the 'Lemony Greens' I made recently, but better. I'm a bit vague on the quantities, so just adjust depending on how many people you are feeding, and add as little or as much olive oil as you like. Try it out!

Ingredients (serves 2)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic
200g green beans trimmed
Juice of half a lemon and zest of whole lemon
150g baby spinach
Salt and pepper
Danish feta to taste


Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan. Add the garlic and beans and saute for 5-7 minutes or until cooked to your liking (I like them to be still crisp). Add the lemon juice and spinach and cook until the spinach is just wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the lemon zest. Serve with feta crumbled on top.