Thursday, April 29, 2010

Penne with Salami, Olives, Basil and Capsicum

So this is the second recipe i've cooked in Ringwood, and this time the core reason behind cooking was simple: my mum wrote 'pasta with salami and olives etc' on the fridge whiteboard. So there wasn't much leeway tonight! Nonetheless i've cooked it anyway, to fairly decent familial reviews.

Ingredients (serves 3)

  • 4 cups penne pasta
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 handful black olives
  • 75gm salami
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed


Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside. 
Dice the tomato flesh, onion and capsicum

Slice the salami into long thin strips

Pitt the olives and cut into small pieces.
Heat a medium saucepan over low-medium heat and then add the olive oil
Add the onions and garlic and saute until soft, careful not to colour the onions

Raise the heat to medium-high
Add the salami and cook for a further 3 minutes. 
Add the tomatoes, olives and capsicum and cook for a further 1 minute.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and season with salt and pepper.
Throw in the basil and toss the pasta through.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan on the side.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Potage Parmentier with Truffle Oil

For the second installment of my weekly soup recipe, i stuck to basics: after a long weekend spent packing, moving, and socializing, i didn't leave too much time to go reinventing the wheel for my week of lunches. As such, i have gone with a nice, wholesome potage parmentier: better known as leek and potato soup.The creamy thickness of the pureed potatoes assists the rich sauteed leeks to cling to your ribs and the hint of cream leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. The starch in this soup makes it ideal without bread.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sundried Tomato & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast with Basil Sauce, Kipfler Potatoes and Asparagus

Not really much of a story today unfortunately. The tummy is getting better, and i had some feta that i originally brought for the salad the other day but didn't end up using. Along with a leftover chicken fillet, i thought I'd make a stuffed chicken recipe.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Congee with Chicken, Ginger and Scallions

So i was home sick today with a bit of an upset stomach. But i didn't let that stop me cooking; in fact, it presented the ideal opportunity for me to make something i've been wanting to make for a long time: congee!

Congee is a Chinese rice porridge soup; the most basic congee is simply a soup of salted rice cooked for a long time until the soup is thick and the rice is dissolving into the liquid. There are countless other versions, and you can be quite creative as to what you add to the congee: meat, fish, mushrooms, vegetables... anything really. 

This recipe follows closely to the other other congee i've ever had, made by my friend Mark. The ginger, amongst it's many other benefits, is said to aid digestion, and the soupy rice is filling and satisfying yet easy on the stomach. This is the eastern version of 'moms chicken soup' to cure what ails ya.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Passionfruit Cheesecake

As the last cake i will probably make in my beautiful apartment in Hawthorn, i just had to be a cheesecake. Unlike the dense, creamy Dulce De Leche Cheesecake i made in January, this passionfruit cheesecake is airy, light, and delicate in taste. The addition of gingernut biscuits into the base add an extra layer of flavour to the cake. 

Corn Chowder

As the cold weather sets in i've been getting a bit sick of tabbouleh for lunch- not to mention the rigmarole of waking up every morning and cutting up parsley, cucumber, garlic and tomatoes, and not forgetting to soak the bourghul the night before. No more!!

Instead, it's time to move to soup. I hope to bring one soup recipe to the table each week (to cater to my lunches) for the foreseeable future. Oh soup, how do i express your many virtues? Soups tend to be cheap, and you can use alot of scraps in them. Pureed soups freeze quite well, and there are countless variations and recipes, not to mention using your own creativity. And finally, soups can incorporate a lot of vegetables, so they're good for you too.

First up: corn chowder.  A chowder is a soup which has been thickened using flour.

Serves 4 as a meal, 8 as a starter. Cost me about $8 to make.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nutmeg Pumpkin Salad with Almonds and Camembert

With the coming of winter and the fading of the sun, we don't need to leave salads behind. In fact, using winter produce, salads can become hearty, rich affairs. A staple, for me, of the winter salad is pumpkin. Cheap, readily available, filling, and delicious when roasted, it's hard to go past.

My mum was the first to get me hooked on roast vegetable salads. With a balsamic dressing, bowls laden with spinach, feta, pumpkin, tomatoes, onions and capsicum would regularly adorn our table a few years ago. I've altered the recipe for a less Mediterranean taste.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pappardelle with Cos Lettuce, Peas and Prosciutto

 Pappardelle seems to be back in vogue again, and it's unusual that it's current reputation as an elegant pasta is quite converse to it's rustic appeal a decade or so ago. Also in vogue is the cooking of lettuce, which provides a taste almost like a mustardy spinach, to a dish. So i suppose this dish is very much a 'fad' dish; but that's not to say that at the same time it's not very very tasty.

As i couldn't find fresh pappardelle at the market i purchased fresh Lasagne sheets and cut them into 3cm thick ribbons which provides the same end result. Also, if you don't have a reputable grocer, don't use fresh peas: the frozen ones will be better, and cost a 10th of the price.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saoji Curried Lamb Shanks with Aloo Paratha

What better a way to welcome in the cooler months in style than with a rich lamb curry and crisp flaky Indian Breads?

A saoji, a traditional curry of Nagpur, would normally be made with mutton, but seriously the lax guidelines used in Australia to delineate between lamb and mutton mean that unless you're buying it from a reputable butcher, chances are that 'lamb' you're buying is actually borderline mutton. In this case, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. This is not a burn-your-buds sort of curry but rather a rich and hearty one which sticks to the ribs.

A paratha is a flaky Indian flatbread which literally translates to 'layers of cooked flour'. The recipe below is for aloo paratha, or spiced potato paratha. It is easy to make but don't feel confined to the ingredients below, or even to potato. Parathas can contain minced lamb, cheese, herbs, even, as at The Langham Buffet in Melbourne, mini m&ms. (darn, now i wish i made one of them whilst i was at it. Next time!)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ginger Scones with Lemon Curd & Cream

I was wracking my brain last night, trying to think of something original to cook. After hours of searching for inspiration i was ready to throw in the towel for the night, my grocery list devoid of the ingredients needed to make my next dish. Sighing, i thought i'd make scones in the meantime. Wait a minute- scones! Yum! What goes well with scones? Lemon curd! And what goes well with lemon curd? Ginger!

Note that to me, the key to a good scone is as little working with the dough as possible. Working the dough will make the scones heavier and chewier. Only knead enough so that the dough is combined in 1 big ball, then it's good to go. 

Friday, April 9, 2010


One of my sisters was once a notoriously fussy eater. She's definitely come out of her culinary shell in the last few years, but as i was munching down on this dish i thought about how much she would enjoy it. Sometimes Japanese food can be off putting to fussy eaters, but i think i've done a good job of creating the ultimate westernized Katsudon; what is essentially 'nugget, rice and chicken soup!'. But don't let that put you off, this katsudon really hits the spot, particularly as Melbourne mopes into it's dreary cold season.
Donburi, or don for slang is a term that refers to a Japanese 'rice dish' or one bowl meal comprising generally of soup, rice, meat and vegatables. In a previous post i put up a recipe for oyako donburi or chicken rice bowl, and this time i thought i'd try my hand at katsu don, or crumbed porkchop rice bowl which is a little bit more intricate.

Thanks to Shizuoka Gourmet  for providing me with the basics of how to make this dish, but i've changed things around to suit my tastes an an ultimate 'comfort' food. The biggest change is replacing the dashi broth with a chicken and soy broth.
Note that the recipe below indicates ingredients for 3 but in the photos i actually only made a single serving of katsudon. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chilled Tomato & Bread Soup Cordoba Style

Some of the greatest foods are born of simplicity and that is what i love about the Movida cookbook. Movida owner Frank Camorra talks of the heart of spanish cuisine, and every recipe i have cooked has focused around bringing out the true essence in one or two core ingredients. To that extent i think of his restaurants, i would probably prefer the lower keyed taverna style Movida Next Door, over the opulent dishes of Movida itself.

This is yet another recipe i have lifted from Movida's cookbook: and this time, i have not played one bit with the recipe (except to halve it so i'm not eating it for the next 6 months). I can tell this soup is best made in the summer when tomatoes are at their best; do not skimp, and ensure you use fresh, vine ripened tomatoes. And don't use Wonder White bread!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saffron Chicken Leg with Salsa Verde, Pumpkin Puree and Fennel Salad

Happy Easter everyone! This year's Easter celebration was held at my family's house, and i was asked to make an entree. So after scouring the internet for hours, i found a dish that was intricate, unusual and maybe a little more than i could chew. Bringing a broad spectrum of flavours to the table, this dish has a beautiful aroma of saffron in the chicken marinade, a decadently rich buttery pumpkin puree, contrasting with the aniseed notes of the fennel salad and the sharp, herby twang of the salsa verde. This is definitely a dish for cooking for a lot of people as the work that goes into it is considerable.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao chicken is a dish everyone has heard of thanks to its popularity in America and it's related inlfuence on television. (George Constanza ends up breaking the heart of a dying boy as the result of Kung Pao Chicken).

Well the first time i'd actually had it was at Choi's restaurant in Hawthorn East. If you haven't been there, it's worth a look. From an unopposing little door on a fairly quiet stretch of road, you enter an almost obscenely decorated dining room complete that looks like it came from Las Vegas. Having said that it seems to work, the service is impeccable, and the dishes are delicious.

Anyway! I'm not saying this dish is authentic, but it's not the terrible rubbish you get at franchise Chinese restaurants or noodle boxes. It's sticky-sweet, moist and tender, before the tingle of the sichuan peppers tap your shoulder.

Chong Yao Beng (Spring Onion Pancake)

Crisp and crunch on the outside, firm and chewy on the inside, and completely permeated with the taste of scallions, chong yao beng are a delicious snack of just a few ingredients. And i LOVE spring onions. Essentially a fried unleavened flat bread filled with spring onions, they are easy to make, and the result is very satisfying! There's a few different ways to make these, but below is the simplest.

Raspberry & Pineapple Upside Down Cake

An upside down cake is a cake that once cooked, is flipped over and eaten, obviously, upside down. The allows you to make patterns and essentially glazes in the bottom of the cake pan before adding the cake mixture, which will look fantastic once turned over.

The one we're all most familiar with in Australia is pineapple upside down cake, an old favorite. Not wanting to meddle too much with tried and true form, i've opted to mix raspberries through the cake mix to bring an extra bit of tang to the table.

Bring on the cake sale!


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