Showing posts from May, 2014

Potato Gnocchi

Here's another winter warmer! Gnocchi! I served mine with Braised Beef Cheeks which I posted previously.

A lot of people wouldn't attempt gnocchi for fear of failure, they can be quite tricky! I will give you some tips to make sure your gnocchi's always come out soft and pillowy.

Work quickly:
Once you have boiled and strained your potatoes, mash them and pass them through a sieve to remove any lumps. You need to do this relatively quickly as gnocchi tends to work better if you are at the mixing stage while its still a little bit warm (aim for body temperature), this ensures that the gnocchi doesn't over-absorb the flour (when its hot) or under-absorb (is that a word?) the flour (if its cold).
Don't overmix:
Once you have mashed your potatoes, add the flour all at once and mix through (use gloves if the mix is still hot), you only want to incorporate the flour until its just smooth, has come together and is no longer sticky. DO NOT KNEAD your gnocchi because this wil…

Braised Beef Cheeks

Beef Cheeks are the cut of meat that comes from the cows face. It's a cut that gets a lot of work meaning that it's full of sinew and connective tissue, thus being perfect for braising. All the connective tissue means that when cooked properly, the fat gets broken down making the beef cheeks slightly gelatinous, basically meaning they melt in your mouth.

Generally these cuts are less favourable because people are in the mindset that fat equals bad. But in reality fat equals flavour, and if you cook these cuts 'low and slow' then that flavour permeates the meat and you end up with incredible depth of flavour and a gorgeous soft texture.

In utilising less common cuts of meat, you are likely to save money because they are generally cheaper (beef cheeks range from $10-$15 per kilo, compared to $25-$30 per kilo for a cut like eye fillet), and as I said before, they're are more flavoursome. The best thing about this method is you can get it all ready, pop it in the oven …

Show-Stopper Chocolate Brownies

It was Mother's Day on Sunday and in true celebratory fashion I cooked up a mad feast!

I made Texan-Style Chili Crabs for entree (recipe to follow), Pulled Pork Sliders for main and the pièce de résistance was a decadent rocky road brownie dessert.

This isn't your typical rocky road recipe. I stumbled across it on my internet travels on another blog- ... It's a little bit special and a little bit delicious (ok maybe a lotta bit delicious).

The only adjustments I made were to top the brownie with toasted meringue instead of frosting to try to emulate the marshmallow component in rocky road, I omitted the chocolate ganache because I thought that was a bit of overkill... Oh yeah and I doubled the portion size, cos that's how I roll.

You will need... (serves 12-18 depending how big you want your serves to be)
For the Brownie
1 1/4 cup (160 g) all-purpose flour
12 oz. (350 g) dark chocolate
5 tablespoons pure unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (230 g) butter
1 3/4…

Banh Xeo - Vietnamese Crispy Crepe

Ban Xeo is the quintessential Vietnamese fare, using fresh ingredients and combining flavours that are fundamental to any Viet dish in an easy-to-manage parcel.

In Vietnam, flavours are categorised into 5 elements, Wood- Sour, Fire-Bitter, Earth-Sweet, Metal-Spicy, Water-Salty and a balance of these elements in their food is about as close to perfection as you can get in life.

I learnt this years ago in my training and have utilised the principal in any Asian cooking I undertake- if you refer to any of my stir-fry recipes you'll see I add citrus juice, fish sauce, sugar, chili and soy to obtain a balance of flavours, the trick is getting the right ratio of these flavours so that they all reach the different parts of your palate and come together harmoniously...

Listen to me, I sound like a foodie or something. Anyway, now you know about flavour balance, I'll give you the recipe.

You will need...
For the filling;
500gr pork fillet
1 tbs hoisin sauce (salty, sweet, spicy all in o…

Caramelised Onion and Goats Cheese Tarts by What Katie Ate

This is a classic and easy recipe that is perfect for dinner parties or even a snack for one. The simple ingredients are taken to a whole new level with just a touch of preparation and love. This recipe is from What Katie Ate, an Australian blog that I follow, and although I don't take credit for this recipe, it's one that I've used multiple times and never disappoints.

Ingredients...For the onion jam:4 large onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt flakes
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (plus a bit extra if required)
1.5 tablespoons soft brown sugar For the tartlets:1 large sheet good quality puff pastry
1 free-range egg yolk, mixed with a splash of milk
4 heaped tablespoons caramelised onion jam (see below)
175g good-quality goat’s cheese, cut into 1.5cm thick rounds
3-4 thyme spring, leaves picked, plus extra sprigs to garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
250ml balsamic vinegar (use the best you can afford)
3 tablespoons brown sugar Method... For th…

Our Anniversary dinner at Est.

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary about a month ago, this year has gone so quickly I can't even fathom where it went. We've had a pretty great year, after we got married and had our relaxing, much needed honeymoon we relished in not having to plan anything (a year of wedding plan ups and downs took it out of us!).

We've enjoyed spending time together, not having to stress about saving money- in the 6 years we've been together there's rarely been a time when we haven't been saving towards something, new cars (check), travel around Europe, Asia, Australia, NZ and the Pacific (check), a house (check), new furniture (check), a wedding (check), a puppy (or two-check, check). We've been blessed that we both have been lucky enough to have decent jobs and the ability and motivation to work hard to reach our goals and outcomes, I think it helps too that we have the same goals and the same drive and persistence to achieve them.

So getting to the point, it&#…

Lemon-Scented Corn Fritters

This is a great, versatile recipe that can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner, these fritters freeze beautifully for easy lunch-box fillers or a quick breakfast. I am a huge fan of fritters because they are so simple to make and make a perfect on-the-go snack.

You will need...
1 420gr can of tinned corn kernels, drained.
1 shallot, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 sprig coriander, washed and chopped
2 large eggs
3/4 cup self-raising flour
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
salt and pepper
olive oil, for cooking

1. Mix all the ingredients together well. Add the flour last and fold in with a wooden spoon*.
2. Coat a large, non-stick frypan with olive oil and place over a medium heat. Using two dessert spoons, dollop out the mixture and use the back of the spoon to flatten slightly.
3. Cook on the underside until you see the mixture start to cook around the edges, and then flip to cook on the alternate s…