June 30, 2009

Steak with Mushroom sauce

AAhhh, I am hungry again!
After lying in bed for days on end wondering if I was ever going to feel hungry again or even able to eat a decent meal with a chew factor, I drove myself to the shops on Monday night once Nic came home to watch over the boys (Max got slammed with the flu or what ever they had). While looking around the veggie shop and buying anything that reeked 'healthy', I zipped over to my butcher to see what he had in his window. I was after something red and meaty, something that had a bit more to it than vegemite toast and dry crackers and there it was- a big juicy t-bone steak!
Oh yeah, that is what my heart desires and I knew for a fact that if I brought t-bones home Nic would be my number one fan yet again- hit me Mr. butcher man! With steaks under my arm and veggies pouring out of my cotton shopping bag I was set for a feast.
I wasn't after anything exotic or out there, all I was after was flavour, texture and a little bit of nurturing. On the drive home I decided on dinner- mashed spuds (nurturing), steamed beans (healthy), thick and juicy medium rare t-bone steaks ( flavor/texture combo) with a mushroom sauce (again flavour/texture).
I do love mushrooms and I really love making sauces, so revisiting an old classic is always fun however, because I was at home I didn't have my 8 hour beef stock reduction just waiting patiently in the fridge for me to use, nor did I have an array of liquor to pour into my sauce. What I had in my cupboard was a tin of Gravox (from a previous stint I did with kidspot) shallots, a bit of cream and plenty of parsley. To say it didn't excite me was an understatement! However the end product was pretty bloody good I have to say.
When you have bare bones to work with and your kitchen slave forgets to pop on your beef stock, grab the tin of Gravox you have ben avoiding and give this recipe a whirl, you might be happily surprised with the end results.
Dinner was a hit, the steaks were devoured by us all and requests were made for seconds (alas it was not to be because we are all pigs!) Alex and Max managed to eat the sauce without too many complaints, actually none from Max- Alex was the one with texture issues (seriously I sometimes wish I never explained to him what 'texture' means) and we were all feeling healthier, happier and full of goodness!

Mushroom Sauce

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

50g butter

2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced (or half a small brown onion)

2 cups button mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1 tablespoon Gravox granules

½ cup boiling water (or stock)

½ cup thickened cream

¼ cup parsley


Combine Gravox and boiling water, stir to remove lumps and put to the side.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over HIGH heat; once bubbles appear add shallots, mushrooms, salt and pepper.

Stir to combine and sauté until soft (approx 3-4 minutes)

Add garlic, sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Add Gravox mixture followed by cream.

The high temperature will reduce this into a thick sauce in about 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat add parsley and extra juices from your rested steak.

Pour over cooked steaks and serve.

June 26, 2009

Chicken noodle soup

Dear god, I feel like I have been to hell and back without even getting out of bed. I am sorry for my long absence but the inevitable happened. After days of soothing Alex's coughs, aches and pains I fell victim to Sydney's strain of the flu. I haven't had the flu for 5 plus years and really have no memory of how bloody awful you feel when it grabs you and sucks you down into flu hell. To make my suffering even worse I had Alex right there with me, coughing and spluttering.

Seriously, the last thing you want to do when you are in the throws of flu hell is get up in the middle of the night and sooth your poor sick child.....aren't I someones poor sick child? Every mum on the planet knows what I am talking about and every mum has to do what I did- suck it up and make sure they are comfortable THEN throw yourself back in bed and pretend you are the only person that exists.
Today is my first day out of p.j's since Tuesday and I have to tell you being in an upright position is highly overrated from where I'm sitting! Thanks to the resilience of young kids, Alex is bouncing off all walls today. Who would of known he was limp and full of aches yesterday? Now I have to contend with him climbing all over me and asking 'why aren't you all better mum?'
"Let's go ride our bikes"- yeah right, first I would like to be able to breath out of BOTH nostrils and get rid of the 24/7 head thump then I will consider bike riding!
To add more misery to my week. LAST week I made a delicious chicken noodle soup that would of picked up my spirits no end. Last week is a long time ago and of course there was no heart warming chicken noodle soup left for Alex and I when we really needed it. I urge all of you to make a big pot of chicken noodle and stick half in the freezer for that one week in the year when you really, really need it- otherwise you will have to go without just like Alex and me. As soon as I feel like cooking again, I am going to whip up a batch.....nothing quite like running into the stable when the horses have bolted!

Heart Warming Chicken Noodle Soup

1.5 kg whole chicken

2 brown onions, peeled and quartered

6 cloves garlic, smashed

6 peppercorns

2 bay leaves

10-12 sprigs of lemon thyme

5 parsley stalks

2 button mushrooms, sliced

3 teaspoons salt

1 ½ cups carrot, peeled and diced small

1 cup celery, diced small

200g spaghetti noodles, broken in half


Wash chicken with cold water to remove excess fat and juices.

Place into a large saucepan and add onions, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, lemon thyme, parsley and mushrooms.

Fill with cold water until it is 1-2 cm above chicken and bring to the boil.

Once boiling turn heat down to a simmer place a lid on to keep cooking temperature even and cook for 30 minutes.

Chicken should now be cooked- remove chicken with tongs being careful as the legs will be loose, allow to cool then proceed to pull off all the meat.

Add one teaspoon of salt, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and steep for 5 minutes (just let is sit).

Place a strainer over a large plastic bowl and pour in stock.

Wash out saucepan then refill with your stock and bring to the boil.

Add 2 more teaspoons of salt, noodles, carrot and celery.

Bring to the boil and cook until pasta is el dente.

Add shredded chicken meat, check seasoning and serve.


Steeping the stock before adding the noodles and extra vegetables allows all the flavours to combine and develop before adding more ingredients.

I like to cook the pasta in the stock to incorporate the starch.

If you feel like an extra flavour lift, some freshly ground chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice tastes really yummy.

June 21, 2009

Lemongrass and dumpling soup

It is cool and rainy here in Sydney and since I've been back home in Australia I have had huge cravings for Asian flavours. I can't seem to get enough of chilies, limes, fish sauce, and ginger just to name a few. One of my all time favorite things to eat, even as a kid as been dumplings. Whenever we went to a Chinese restaurant when I was a kid, I'd always order wonton soup- there is something comforting and nurturing about minced meat and herbs wrapped up in a soft wonton skin.

After zipping down to Eastwood, my neighbourhood shopping village where there is about 4-5 Asian grocers, butchers and seafood mongers I came home to make my dumpling soup.
Alex has been sick lately, catching every little bug this side of Sydney harbour- so a hearty chicken dumpling was my agenda. I needed to pound all my herbs and spices together so there we no flecks of green for the boys to pull out and say 'oh I don't like this....what is this?'

Before making my dumplings I popped on my stock. For this I used chicken Maryland's. They are a really cheap cut of chicken and when you buy from a Chinese butcher you get the whole bottom end of the chook, so more bone/flavour for my stock and a can also use the meat for a risotto or chicken pie later during the week.

When making lemongrass stock I always bash my stick of lemongrass with the back end of my biggest knife to tenderise it. The stick will become softer and much easier to tie in a knot- thus releasing more flavour then if you just chop it up. Something I learnt from an Indonesian friend of mine.

My Lemongrass chicken stock
3 Maryland chicken pieces, cut at the joint
1 lge stick of lemongrass, bashed and tied into a knot
1 head of garlic cut in half
5-8 black peppercorns
1 inch piece ginger, smashed
2 brown onions, quartered
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
3 lime leaves

Wash your chicken pieces in cold water then drain.
Fill a large stock pot with above ingredients, fill with cold water; about an inch over ingredients then put on to boil.
Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Skim top and cook for one hour.
Remove chicken pieces and continue cooking stock with 3 tablespoons fish sauce for a further 30 min.
Leave to steep for a further 20 minutes off the heat (this is when I make my dumplings)

OK for the dumplings:
300g chicken mince
1 tablespoon ginger, chopped (skin removed)
1 shoot spring onion chopped
2-3 whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons mint leaves
1 tablespoon coriander (cilantro) leaves
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon lemon rind

Place all ingredients excluding chicken into a mortar and crush into a paste.
Place the paste into a medium bowl with the chicken and mix to combine.
Lay out your wonton skins and place a heaped tablespoon of mixture in the centre of each skin. Lift four corners up to the top of the mixture and squeeze together to close into a dumpling.
Note: you will need to wet the ends of your skins with water so they seal together.
This mixture makes approx 30 dumplings.

Once your dumplings are made, strain your stock through cheese cloth and a strainer, or if you don't have cheese cloth hanging about the house then use a clean chux.
You will be left with a beautiful amber broth. Place back on the heat and bring to a boil.
Once stock is boiling add dumplings and simmer for 5 minutes (at this stage I popped in some store bought fish balls because I love the texture with dumplings and these can be found at any Asian grocer fresh or frozen). Only add as many as you need. I used 6 per serve then froze the rest.
After 5 minutes remove dumplings to the side, drop your preferred fresh noodles into the stock to heat for 2-3 minutes ( I used an egg noodle). Add noodles to each serving bowl followed by the dumplings. Just before serving add Asian greens to your stock to blanch like boy choy, choy sum, sugar snap peas etc, they only need a minute. Once you have all your noodles, dumplings, fish balls (if using), and Asian greens in your bowl add some crunchy bean sprouts then pour over the lemongrass stock and serve.
I always add a good dollop of chilli sauce and then I am in dumpling heaven! I have even been known to drizzle a little soy sauce into the soup if it is lacking depth.

A seriously comforting and warming meal for anytime of the day and if you make your stock and dumplings before hand it is a 10 minute meal for a week night- this is AWESOME, especially if you have been at footy practice watching your 7 year old kick around the field while you stand in misty rain, in the dark wondering when it was going to be over!!

June 19, 2009

Lemon pang

Right now I am making pho bo- a hearty Vietnamese beef and rice noodle soup, but I am still in the early stages of simmering the ox tail with cinnamon, black pepper and star anise and I can't quite work out if I am loving the smell or liking it but at the same time thinking the bones are a little stinky?? Anyhow this little baby won't be ready for about another 3-4 hours and the sweet spices are making me crave lemon pudding!
I don't know why I am so dead set hooked on eating lemon pudding but there you have it I figure I go with my gut. It is a fast and simple dessert to make and guaranteed to please at the end of a delicious meal or simply to satisfy a need!
You gotta love the cold weather- all I want to do it cook!

Lemon Delicious Pudding

Zest of one lemon

¼ cup lemon juice

50g unsalted butter, softened

1 cup castor sugar

¼ cup self-raising flour

1 cup milk

2 eggs, separated


Preheat oven to 180°C and grease an oven proof 1 litre serving dish with butter.

Using a mixer beat butter, sugar and lemon zest together until combined, approx 4-5 minutes.

Add egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Add lemon juice and beat well, scraping down the sides.

Turn speed down to low and add flour followed by milk (pouring in gradually).

Once a batter has formed whisk egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks.

Fold into the batter mixture and pour into your serving dish.

Place serving dish into a larger baking dish and fill baking dish with water about half way up the sides of serving dish to make a water bath.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven rest for five minutes out of the water bath then serve with whipped cream. This allows the sauce at the bottom to thicken slightly making the sauce extra delicious.

June 17, 2009

Something sweet

My sister hasn't really got a sweet tooth. The woman can have a packet of Tim Tams (for those of you who do not know what a tim tam is, I am so sorry- they are the BEST chocolate biscuit or cookie in the world. Two crunchy choc malt biscuits filled with a soft chocolate creme then dipped in melted chocolate) in the fridge for weeks on end without giving it a thought (in our house they are lucky to survive a week!).
I knew she wouldn't expect anything but at the same time a cuppa tea seems to taste all that more delectable when you can eat a morsel of something sweet with it. I scoured my cook books trying to find something yummy. After looking and not really feeling like anything I saw, I decided to get Alex to pick (he was hanging around looking for trouble so I thought I'd pre-empt his actions).
He was up for the challenge and managed to choose a rum and raisin slice. I just so happened to have a few drops of rum in the house due to my bananas Foster I whipped up last week so we set to work. Instead of following the recipe completely I had to change a few things (what a surprise!). I didn't have raisins so I used sultanas and soaked them in the rum for about 30 minutes. I also didn't have enough dark chocolate so I mixed in white chocolate and I have to say the result was pretty awesome! Alex helped break up the chocolate and managed to eat at least half of the white buttons I was using so I then guest-o-mated the actual quantity we used and feel it was pretty darn accurate.
The one big mistake I made was after making the slice I put it in the fridge (????). It was still yummy but didn't taste anywhere near as good as when it was room temperature, so next time I will store it in a sealed container out in the kitchen away from little hands as the kids thought it very tasty.
The photo doesn't do it justice, I was meant to sprinkle icing sugar on top but it kinda got devoured before I had the chance so I figure that is a good sign the slice was a success- right?

Rum and Sultana Slice
1 cup sultanas
1 tablespoon rum (I might of added a splash extra)
125g (4oz) butter, chopped
100g (3.5 oz) dark cooking chocolate
100g (3.5 oz) white chocolate buds
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups plain flour (all purpose)

Preheat oven to 160 (325) and line a 28 cm x 19 cm tray with foil, then spray with cooking spray.
In a small bowl add sultanas and rum, stir to combine then leave until needed.
Combine butter, chocolates and sugar into a medium saucepan and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted; cool slightly so egg doesn't cook (approx 3-4 minutes, stirring to add cool air).
Stir in eggs, beating them into a glossy mixture, followed by the flour and sultanas soaked in rum; mix well.
Pour into your prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes or until just firm.
Cool, dust with icing sugar (powdered sugar) and devour!

June 16, 2009

Nic cooks

I have had a couple days off due to my sister coming to stay for the weekend. I love the fact we now live in the same country and we can see each other more than once ever 3 years. I think Tarsh can agree that we have supplied her with some fantastic holiday destinations- Florence, Chicago, and now Sydney.
The boys get so excited when anyone comes to visit however when Tarsh arrives I end up having 3 kids and the oldest (my sister) always manages to get the boys worked up into a very loud and giggling cyclone of stupor- bring it on Tarsh!
The first night of her arrival, Saturday, I had worked a massive day at the cafe- people kept on pouring in all day wanting eggs Benedict, breakfast wraps and coffee by the gallon. Usually the crowd dies down around 2 and it gives me an hour to straighten things up for the dinner chef, also leaving me plenty of time to pick Tarsh up from the train station. But- it is always the way when you have arrangements that things don't go according to your plan- People kept pouring into the cafe at 5 to three wanting burgers, steak sandwiches etc... In the end I got out at 3.15, flew to the station to find Tarsh waiting patiently for my arrival.
Back at home Nic pops the kettle on for a cuppa, I sit down for the first time since I woke up at 6am and that is pretty much where I stayed until it was time to put the boys to bed. I was exhausted!
I always feel like I should show visitors a 'good time' however the way our life is these days I know I fall short of a standard 'good time' so I try to make up for it with food! For the next few posts I'll share our weekend delights with you from the delicious chicken, corn and potato pot pies, to the rum and raisin slice and finishing with the whole fish I smothered in garlic and pepper.
Nic knew I wasn't going to move into the kitchen and secretly I think he was quite happy about that. I have been cooking so much these days he hasn't even had a look in when it comes to dinner so he nominated himself to cook. Me being me, offered up a few suggestion where I was met with a stern look from the man and given a glass of red to keep me occupied (it really doesn't take much!).
While Tarsh and I were catching up on life events Nic was setting the bar for the food for the weekend. Inspired by a recipe in a magazine he made a fantastic ricotta and spinach pasta bake with hits of lemon thyme to tantalize our senses. It was a delicious meal and we polished off every last bit. I forgot how good he can be in the kitchen and now that he has jogged my memory I will back off and let him in more!
Nic used a smooth ricotta which worked beautifully with the spinach and acted as a wonderful binding agent for the dish- see you must always experiment with food, just because you usually use a smooth ricotta for desserts, it doesn't always mean it can't be used for anything else.
Thanks for a great weekend Tarsh and I can't wait to see what else Nic has up his sleeves!

June 12, 2009

A Simple Family meal


I bought some lamb chops yesterday, they looked very enticing- like little plump, juicy t-bone steaks but of the smaller, lamb variety (I mean lets face it that is exactly what they are!).
I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them and if in fact I wanted to do anything at all. Since living in the US it has given me more appreciation for the actual flavour of meat and not necessarily the marinades used to enhance meat.
 Say for example burgers. I always thought if you were going to make burgers you MUST flavour the meat with herbs and spices for them to taste any good. I remember when I was an apprentice at the Sheraton Hotel in Hobart many moons ago. The then head chef made all of us, chef-de-parties included make our own burger and who ever had the best one got the glory of using their burger in the hotel (yep, I was excited!). In the end I don't remember who won but I remember the process and stress it caused. 
When I started working in Chicago at a fabulous French bistro (Bistro Capagne) we use to serve a burger. I was staggered the first time I saw it made, NOTHING went into the meat except salt and pepper just before it was cooked. Straight away I thought it was going to be very boring and ho-hum, however upon trying this burger I was blown away. 
The flavour was fantastic, you could actually taste the meat and when combined with a raw slab of red onion, freshly sliced slabs of tomato and some butter lettuce it was all the flavour that burger needed. From that moment I was hooked and to this day I will always sort out GOOD quality mince/ground beef and leave the 'flavours' for another meal.

Ok so there is my lecture on not marinating meat, now let me tell you about marinating my chops!
I love a good punch and grind of herbs and spices so I decided to whip out my mortar and pestle and make a quick marinade for the chops. I wanted a quick and simple meal so if I put the main flavour in the meat then I could round off the meal with some yummy olive oil potatoes and greens dressed in a bit more extra virgin olive oil and smashed olives.
If you have never made olive oil potatoes then you must give it a go, they are divine and so simple it is a treat!
Simply boil up some peeled and chopped baking potatoes, bring them to the point when they are cooked through (like when you make potato salad), strain the water off, place them back on a low heat to dry the spuds out then drizzle in 1-2 tablespoons of really good extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with Maldon sea salt and a grind of pepper then use your wooden spoon to stir them around and mix together, you may smash them up a bit which adds to the yummy flavour and texture. Turn off the heat, pop a lid on and let them keep warm while you boil up your peas and broccoli and cook your chops.

When the greens are ready and the meat is resting, strain the water add a hint of olive oil to your greens and some Kalamata olives that have been smashed and the pip removed, toss through with salt and pepper then serve.
You classic meat and three veg has turned into a delicious meal you will want to make again and again and the best part is you whipped it all up in 30 minutes.
Now if you would like to give this a go and you need a quick guide to follow, below is a structure you can follow so your meal will come out in 30 minutes and all hot- enjoy!

Follow this guide
-marinate chops (for full flavour I'd marinate a day a head or at least 3 hours before cooking)
-chop potatoes and pop into a saucepan with water and salt then put on to boil
-heat up char grill
-put water on for green veggies
-once grill is hot cook chops
-add olive oil to pots and then leave with lid on
-turn chops then cook green veggies
-rest meat
-drain greens and add olives, cover and keep warm
-serve meal
Lamb chop marinade
2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 slices lemon peel (without white)
8 whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes (I only used a small amount because the kids would of freaked if I added more)
2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin, just olive oil)

Put all ingredients into a mortar and grind until a thick paste then smear onto chops and marinate for 3-24 hours.

June 10, 2009

My first award

I woke up this morning to find a surprise email- one of my fave bloggers nominated me for a kreative blogger award. Yippee!! I thought, I never win awards and even better I love thekitchwitch blog so the fact that she gives me a nudge in the right direction only made my morning all the better (it couldn't get any worse, I had one of those nights when you are bed hopping from your bed to your three year olds on a freezing night, then having him cough in your face on and off all night-happy days!)- THANK YOU for making my day TKW (I am yet to learn your name??).

So to do my bit for the blogging community I am now abiding by the rules and looking forward to spreading the good vibes to my other fave blogs, firstly the rules are;

(1) Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
(2) Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
(3) Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
(4) Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting
(5) Nominate 7 Kreative Bloggers.
(6) Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
(7) Leave a comment on each of the blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.

As for 7 things people might find interesting........
(1) I love to eat jalapenos at any time of the day and ate way to many when preggers with son number 1.
(2) I love winter but hate feeling cold
(3) My first ever job was picking 'baby's breath', back breaking work which I then changed to pumping petrol and flipping burgers at Elizabeth Town roadhouse when I was 15 or 16.
(4) I am hopeless at learning languages yet managed to live in Italy and Greece and got by on a smile and LOTS of ginning :0)
(5) My fave colour is green
(6) I can't stand eating, smelling or even looking at brains- dad can have them all to himself
(7)and finally....... when in the mood I can pull some pretty good moves at the disco

I can't believe how hard that was to think of 7 things people might want to know and even after it is all done and written, I am still not sure ya'll could give a flying rats!

Now to the fun part- nominating 7 cool blogs
(5) ZOMT
OK so some of them are websites but I love looking at al of these- Enjoy!

Roast Quail anyone?

Although the picture above is a little bird (quail) wrapped in panchetta and served on a plate- the taste defiantly makes up for the scrawny looking legs on this little guy!
 My mum first introduced my sister and I to quail when we lived in Tassie. Mum was the owner (along with dad) and chef of Bonney's Inn- a beautiful old colonial building in a small Tasmanian country town. When they first brought Bonney's, it was an accommodation house and tearooms.
 This was a great starting point for mum as she was new to Tasmania (having come from Darwin) and the throws of a commercial kitchen. It wasn't long before mums natural cooking ability took over and the small tearoom couldn't showcase all her natural and obvious talent in the kitchen.
Bonney's Inn became a well known and very popular restaurant with people coming from all over Australia to sample mums culinary delights for 13 years. To this day she still gets asked about her sticky date pudding, steak and kidney pies, and not to mention her incredible 'Death by Chocolate'! 
 Perhaps it was one of mum's experiments that first introduced quail to my sister and I, what ever it was Tarsh and I haven't looked back and I know we both love to pull out a quail recipe to thrill dinner guests or just to suck on those skinny little leg bones and suck off every speck of sweet meat found on the wing...... that may even include eating the little bones!
Quail seems to be looked at as a speciality food and popped into the 'to hard' basket. I do believe this is a grave understatement. In Australia at least (and I am sure it must be so in America- I know Whole Foods has them), you buy quail in packets of 6 ready to go. They are cleaned and boned out. All that is really required of you is to make a yummy stuffing, season it with a few herbs, give them a splash of olive oil salt and pepper then pop them in the oven have a glass of wine then presto they are ready for you to consume.
And if you are looking for another easy WOW factor, simply serve the quail with steamed greens and a delicious potato gratin. You can make it before hand for ease and then pop it in the oven to warm up when the quails are almost done.
Next time you happen to see a pair for cute little quails all lined up in a row at the butcher or stuffed into a packet of 6, grab a few and give them a go, you'll be surprised at how easy they are to handle. My roast quail recipe will help even the most sceptical of you!

June 7, 2009

Whole roasted fish

I was out and about the other day with Alex- ducking in and out of shops and basically driving him crazy. For some reason my kids seem to think the food should appear from thin air at there convenience. They NEVER want to come shopping with me and if by some chance I need to pick something up on the way home from school I am subjected to body throwing, pouting and nagging "why do we need to be here" or "this is SO boorrrring mum".
I mean seriously, do they think I love waking up on shopping day just bounding with enthusiasm about walking the isles of the local shops- A gourmet deli or out door seasonal market maybe but Woolworths- you've got to be joking!

We passed by the local fish mongers and the big red snappers caught Alex's eye, followed by the flounder-
"who stood on the fish mummy?"
and then of course the live crayfish in the tanks. I too was day dreaming about what I'd like to do if I could get my hands on a couple of them but alas it was not to be. Instead I decided the snapper was more in my price range and that is what we'd have for dinner. Of course Alex wanted to take home a flounder but I thought it easier to feed the family with snapper so I've left the 'flat' fish for another day.
Red snapper is a beautiful fish, lovely flaky white flesh and a great fish for kids to devour. The flavour is mild and very easy to cook. For our dinner I felt like using some spices, I do love ginger with turmeric and lime juice and it is perfect with fish- the colour also is a show stopper when you serve it. 
Once I cooked the whole snapper I usually remove the skin for Alex as it is a little bit to much flavour for him to handle at the moment. Max has moved on to eating skin and all now days however I did the same with him a few yeas ago. By removing the skin you are still introducing the kids to new flavours, just in small doses.
Served with a lovely green salad with roasted sweet potatoes and plain rice this was a really delicious family meal. The kids got to stare at the bulging white eyes of the fish after it was cooked. There interest peaked when I showed them the fish has teeth and then asked what they thought it ate before we eat it- I wonder can you say that to girls and get the same reaction of  'Ooh, cool- maybe it ate a shark?'
What ever it ate we all really enjoyed eating it!

June 3, 2009

Bread and butter pudding

I was told when I took this photo it was way to 70's to have the picture on kidspot. After looking at it for a while I actually really love the symbolic status of the dish with the pudding. We all know bread and butter pudding has been around for ever and a day so personally I thought it quite fitting- I guess I am showing a bit of my personal taste so I am now sharing it with blog readers. I also love how the picture really shows you what the recipe is going to produce and I have to tell you this bread and butter tasted so good! 
My mum taught me a few years ago about using croissants instead of bread when making B&B. The act of NOT spreading the croissants with butter (because they are loaded with the stuff) kind of makes me feel a little less naughty when eating it- seriously, I can talk myself into anything!
Using fresh berries in summer will also produce a delicious pudding and a really yummy summer pudding if served chilled (not everything has to be about me and my comfort food bingeing). My friend Kathleen would be very proud I ate leftover pudding for breakfast, the same friend who can easily polish off left over tira misu and lemon tart all washed down with her morning pot of coffee.....Oh how I miss you feeding me Kathleen!
So this one is for all my friends who love to savour the delights of dessert for breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy being naughty every once in a while.

June 1, 2009

Comfort food

I can't believe I am saying this but it is true- it's getting cold in Sydney!
All my friends in America (especially in Chicago) will be rolling their eyes and thinking I am a wimp for saying that but bloody hell the houses in Australia don't have built in heating systems!! 
Seriously when they came to building our 1960's home the only heater put into our house was in the bathroom! I don't get it? Did the old dear before us huddle in the bathroom all winter long or did she sit in the living room pretending there was only a nip in the air? She must of been a descendant from the Scottish Highlands where they breed them tough!
I am here to tell you there is more than a 'nip' once the sun goes down and the rain begins (I didn't know it rains so much in Sydney).
Because my husband and boys are like little radiators they don't seem to feel the cold. Max runs around in shorts and a t-shirt all day while Alex will change at least 5 times depending of what part of his body is feeling a bit hot. I on the other hand walk around all day long with ice cubes as fingers and toes that feel like they will drop off at any second (and that is while I am wearing my Uggs!). Bad circulation, staying stationary to long- call it what you like but it is time to bring on the comfort food!
Pies, puddings, and starch is what I am craving. I love pies and pastry so whipping up a yummy chicken and corn pie was totally on my list. There is something about the warm creamy sauce and crisp pastry combo that makes me feel warm and loved. Having said that, I also can't resist the smells of a simmering yummy meat sauce for spag bol (it sends the boys into a stupor). Of course having these yummy warm winter favorites there just has to be room left for puddin' and the more chocolate the  better- individual lava cakes with lashings of cream or the classic self saucing pudding which pretty much makes itself once in the oven.
These are some of my comfort foods for this wintry season. I've got to jump on the comfort food band wagon while I can seeing how my winters are not going to last 6 months of the year anymore and I don't care if I develop a little winter warmer around the belly just as long as it makes my hands and feet a little less frozen (right now I am missing my old apartment in Chicago where is was always a cozy 80 degrees, about 30 for us Aussies).
If you are feeling the cold like I am and you need to feel a bit more loved and comforted check out my latest recipes and get in the kitchen and start cooking!