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Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Homemade Crumpets

March 1, 2012

Homemade crumpets are one of life’s little splurges. Sure, they take a while, but they are worth it! If you don’t have a cook to get up and start making them at 5am for your breakfast, then you might like to have them for afternoon tea instead.



2 tsp caster sugar

1 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast

2 cups warm milk (not too hot!)

3 cups plain flour

1 tsp salt

1 cup water

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Butter to grease

In a medium size bowl, combine sugar and yeast. Pour in the warm milk and stir until yeast has dissolved. Cover with cling wrap and stand in a warm place until the mixture has become frothy.

Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture, stirring to combine. Cover again with plastic wrap or a tea towel and place in a warm place for 60 mins or until doubled in size.

Deflate the batter by whisking it vigorously (by hand or with electric mixer) for a minute or so. Mix together the water and bicarb in a jug and gradually add this to the flour mixture. Cover and set aside to rest for another 30 mins.

Brush a large non-stick fying pan and metal egg rings with butter. Place the egg rings in the pan over a low-medium heat and put about 1/4 cup of batter in each one. Cook for 5-7 mins until bubbles appear on the surface. The bottom should be golden brown and the top should be set (i.e. not wobbly). Cook on the other side for a minute or two. Repeat until all batter has been used. Serve immediately with plenty of butter, jam and honey. (Can also be stored in the refrigerator for a few days and toasted before serving).

Oysters with Chilli and Lime

February 23, 2012

Nothing beats sitting outside on a warm summer evening with a crisp bottle of white and a dozen oysters. Bliss.

A dozen oysters

1 large red chilli

1 tspn honey

2 tbsp lime juice

1/2 tspn lime rind, finely grated

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tspn fish sauce

pinch of salt

Remove the seeds from the chilli and finely slice it. Mix this together with the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate for a couple of hours, to let the flavours combine. Serve each oyster in its shell with some of the sauce on top.

Lemon, Almond Meal and Ricotta Cake

February 16, 2012

This cake is zesty, creamy and delicious; perfect for when unexpected guests drop around!

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 10-12.

2 cups Almond Meal
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups fresh ricotta
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C  (350 degrees F).

In a large bowl, combine almond meal, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients and mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients a bit at a time and stir until smooth.

Pour mixture into oiled 9-inch cake tin and bake 50-55 minutes until the cake is solid (i.e. doesn’t wobble when you move it) and it golden brown. Cool cake completely and thoroughly chill in fridge before serving.  Cake remains very  moist and is even better the next day.

Lentil, Cranberry and Caper Salad

February 9, 2012

There is an inverse correlation between the deliciousness of this dish and the effort it takes to make (i.e. on a deliciousness scale it’s an 11; on an effort scale it’s a 1). More hearty than your regular salad, this is a dish that will impress anyone, guaranteed.

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side


350g dried red lentils

1/3 cup capers

1/3 cup dried cranberries

Large handful fresh parsley, chopped


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3 tblspn balsamic vinegar

2 tbspn apple cider vinegar

1 large tbspn honey

1 tspn ground cumin

1 tspn curry powder

1 tspn hot mustard

1/4 tspn ground nutmeg

1/4 tspn ground cinamon

Salt and pepper


Rinse lentils until water runs clear, removing any hard stones that float to the surface. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil.

While you’re waiting for the water to boil, mix the dressing by putting all the ingredients in a jar and shaking vigorously until combined. Add more vinegar/oil/cumin/honey as desired until it tastes just right for your palate (some prefer it more ‘bitey’, others sweeter).

Put the lentils in the boiling water and stir well until they come to the boil again. Boil until they are cooked but firm, which only takes a minute or so. If they turn to mush (which they can do in a matter of seconds) the salad will be a disaster. I suggest taste-testing every 30 seconds or so after the water has heated up again, so that you get the consistency right.

Drain the lentils and run cold water over them for a second or two. Place them in a large bowl and put the dressing straight on while they are still warm. Mix through. Add in the capers and cranberries. Just before serving, toss the parsley through. This can be served warm or cold, and keeps very well for days afterwards.

Tangy Citrus Dressing

February 2, 2012

You can’t make friends with salad? Pfffft! This dressing tends to disagree. Tart up any salad with this super tasty, very simple dressing. Pour over a light summer salad of fresh greens or a warm winter salad of roasted vegetables and nuts. Yummo!

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

2 tbspn fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 tbspn fresh squeezed lime juice

2 tspn chopped garlic

1/2 tspn salt

zest of 1/3 orange (zest only – no pith!)

Put all ingredients in blender and mix until combined. Test dressing for flavour, adding more salt if desired.

Lamb Pie with Mint and Jalapeno Chutney

January 26, 2012

A slightly gourmet take on the traditional Aussie pie. Of course you can serve it will some good old tomato sauce, however it’s quite delicious with the mint and jalapeno chutney suggested below.

Serve with green salad. Serves 4.

Meat Filling

4 tablespoons of flour

1.25 kg of lamb, cubed

¼ cup of unsalted butter

dash extra virgin olive oil

2 large onions, sliced

2 tbspn fresh thyme, finely chopped

2 cups of sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup peas (frozen peas are fine)

1 ¼ cup of red wine

1 ¼ cup of beef stock

2 tbspn of Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper


1 cup of cold unsalted butter, cubed

2 ½ cups of plain flour

½ tspn of salt

5 -6 tbspn of ice water

Mint and Jalapeno Chutney

1 Jalapeno, seeded

1 spring onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbspn fresh grated ginger

1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped

1/2 cup Greek yoghurt (not low fat)

2 tspn lime juice

1 tspn sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 18 degrees C (350 F). Coat lamb in flour and some black pepper (putting flour, pepper and meat in a plastic bag and shaking it is effective).

In a large pan, melt butter with a dash of olive oil. Saute onions over a medium heat until they are soft but not brown. Add the meat (including extra flour from coating) and cook quickly until browned (5-10 mins). Add mushrooms, peas (if using frozen rinse the peas first to remove ice from freezer) and thyme and cook for another few minutes, then add the wine, stock and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until well combined, turning up the heat until the mixture is bubbling. Transfer to a large oven proof dish and cover. Bake for 1.5 hours.

While the meat is cooking, make the pastry. Mix together salt and flour adding the butter and mixing with your fingers. Make sure you don’t overwork – it should resemble a fine meal. Add the ice water a little bit at a time until the pastry consistency is correct. Make into a ball, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 mins.

Then make the chutney by whizzing all the ingredients together – except the yoghurt – until smooth. Fold in the yoghurt and refrigerate until serving time.

Take the meat out of the oven (if it’s too runny, stir in 1-2 tbspns cornflour; if too dry add a dash more wine) and increase temperature to 200 degrees C (400 F). Put the meat in a large pie dish (or into small ramekins – it should be enough for about 4, depending on the size of the ramekin). Roll the pastry out between sheets of wax paper – it should be about 1/8 inch thick. Lay the pastry on the pie dish and trim the edges. Put a few small holes in the top. Bake for 30-35 mins until pastry is golden brown. Allow to stand for 5 mins before serving.

Gingerbread Cake with Whipped Coconut and Lime Cream

January 19, 2012

Nothing is more comforting than the warm spiciness of a ginger cake. The addition of the lime coconut cream adds a lovely tart creaminess. Yum!

Serve with tea or coffee. Makes 8-10 servings.

Gingerbread Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tspn ground cinnamon

1/2 tspn ground cloves

1/2 tspn nutmeg

1 tspn ground ginger

1/2 tspn freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tspn fine salt

3/4 cup molasses

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup water

1 1/2 tspns baking soda

1/2 cup packed (peeled and minced) fresh ginger

2 large eggs

rind of 1 lime


Coconut and Lime Whipped Cream

1 tin coconut milk (not low fat)

Juice of 1 lime

1 tspn vanilla essense


Place tin of coconut milk in the fridge, right side up. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
In a bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and salt. In a separate large bowl, whisk the molasses, oil, and sugar until smooth.
In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the baking soda, then whisk in the molasses mixture until combined; remove from heat.
Stir the ginger and lime rind into the molasses mixture. Whisk the dry ingredients, a little at a time, into the batter until just combined. Using the rubber spatula, stir in the eggs until just combined. Transfer the batter to a 9 inch cake tin and spread evenly.
Bake in the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Place on a rack to cool for at least 30 minutes.
While cake is cooling, remove tin of coconut milk from fridge. Open and scoop out the cream (this should be at the top). Add lime juice and vanilla and whisk by hand in a large bowl for a few minutes, until the consistency is that of lightly whipped cream. Refrigerate until the cake is cooled.
Serve cake at room temperature with a dollop of coconut whipped cream. Delicious!

Best Ever Toasted Cheese Sandwich

December 15, 2011

Gooey melted cheese and crispy fried bread with a hint of garlic. Need we say more?

Makes 2 sandwiches. If you’re feeling virtuous serve with green salad.

30g butter, softened

20g mascarpone cheese

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 thick slices sourdough bread

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

40g gruyere cheese, thinly sliced

40g mozzarella cheese, grated

olive oil

salt and pepper

Mix together butter with crushed garlic and set aside. Combine mascarpone and mustard and spread on all slices of bread. Top 2 slices with cheese and season with salt and pepper as desired. Sandwich slices together and press down firmly.

Heat the garlic butter over a low heat in a large, heavy frying pan with a dash of olive oil to stop the butter burning. Place the sandwiches in the pan and cook for approx 2 mins on each side, until golden brown. Enjoy immediately!



Fettuccine with Roast Pumpkin and Mascarpone

December 8, 2011

A superb meal for a warm early summer evening. The pumpkin and macarpone combine to give a beautiful creamy flavour and the chili adds a tiny kick at the end.

Serve with fresh, green salad and a crisp white wine.

4 cups chopped butternut squash (pieces about 1/2 inch big)

1.5 tblspn olive oil

2.5 cups chicken stock

1 cup mascarpone cheese

1/2 tspn ground cinnamon

1 fresh chili, chopped finely

500g fresh futtuccine

Freshly grated Parmesan

Handful fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 220°C. Toss pumpkin with olive oil in large bowl to coat. Transfer pumpkin to baking sheet. Bake until pumpkin is tender and beginning to brown, turning once (about 30 minutes).

Transfer pumpkin to processor and add 2 1/2 cups chicken stock. Puree until smooth. Add mascarpone cheese, ground cinnamon and chili. Process to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook fettuccine in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Transfer fettuccine to large bowl. Add sauce; toss to coat. Garnish with a generous amount of parsley and black pepper and serve, with Parmesan separately.

Banana Crumb Muffins

December 1, 2011

These are pretty spectacular muffins and your guests (or those you’re trying to impress!) won’t think that you’ve just made them to use up the banana’s that have been rotting in the fruit bowl for a while. The crumbly topping gives a great texture. Sure to be a hit with everyone!

Serve with tea or coffee and fresh fruit (either in bed or out). Makes approx. 12 muffins

Muffin Batter

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 bananas, mashed

1/2 cup honey

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup melted butter

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tspn ground cinnamon

1/2 tspn nutmeg

Crumb Topping

1 tablespoon butter

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

2 tbsp brown sugar

pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg


Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Lightly grease 10-12 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, honey, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean. Enjoy warm or allow to cool on a rack and keep in an airtight container.