Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sang Choy Bow

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We had one of the best of dinners tonight – not in the sense that the food was particularly wonderful, but in the sense that we thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with friends over a yummy, healthy dinner that was certainly good enough. I’ve been making this recipe for years and I love how interactive it is. The bits and pieces for each parcel were passed backward and forward over the table and people made up their rolls to suit their tastes. Originally from the Woman’s Weekly Cookbook, Low Carb, Low Fat, I’ve tweaked the recipe to be made in rice paper rolls, rather than lettuce leaves. I also add rice vermicelli noodles and fresh coriander to the table of fillings, to make the whole thing go further. Do feel free to make it work for you by adding crunchy vegetables or whatever fillings takes your fancy. Although the ingredients include pork and beef mince, I should tell you that I’ve often made this only on beef mince if that’s what I’ve got in the freezer, and it still tastes great. This recipe costs no more than $8 and serves 4 people generously. This recipe works well for bigger crowds simply by doubling or quadrupling the quantities.

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 300g pork mince
  • 300g veal or beef mince
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 red or green capsicum
  • 1 packed bean sprouts
  • 3 shallots, roughly chopped
  • iceberg lettuce leaves or rice paper rolls
  • Extra elements to add to each roll (optional): rice vermicelli noodles, fresh coriander leaves and baby spinach leaves
  1. Heat oil in a wok; stir fry brown onion and garlic until onion softens. Add both minces; stir fry until cooked through. Add sauces and capsicum, reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally 3 minutes.
  2. Just before serving, stir in sprouts and shallots. Serve in the centre of the table with little bowls of fresh coriander, baby spinach, rice vermicelli noodles and whatever vegetables you like. Wrap all these elements in your choice of lettuce cups or rice paper rolls . If opting for the latter, use a bowl of warm water from the kettle in the centre of the table to soften each rice sheet before wrapping the mince filling.
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Donna Hay’s Oven Baked Parmesan Risotto

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I first came across this recipe in Donna Hay’s Instant Entertaining and it’s now one of my favourites for large group catering, freezing for later or giving away when someone needs a meal. It’s such a hands-off recipe and is so versatile, allowing you to add whatever flavours you like. Tonight I’ve added chicken, sun-dried tomato and mushroom, though I’m keen to try it with ham, roast pumpkin and pine nut. The possibilities here are endless, so go with whatever you like or what needs using up in your fridge. For this variation, I added the sun-dried tomato strips to the stock and rice at the beginning so that they were nice and tender to eat and allowed about 50g of chicken per person. Total cost less than $10 and these quantities feed 12.

  • 3 cups arborio rice
  • 8 cups chicken stock (I use powdered, reconstituted with boiling water)
  • 2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 80g butter
  • salt and pepper
My additions
  • 500-600g chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 small jar sun-dried tomatoes (cut into strips)
  • half a bag of mushrooms, sliced
  • parsley and or shallots (if you have them)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Place rice and stock (and sun-dried tomatoes) in a large roasting dish and stir to combine. Cover tightly with foil or a lid and bake for 45 mins or until most of the stock is absorbed.
  3. While the rice is cooking, cook up whatever add-in elements you like (in this case, fry the pieces of chicken and saute sliced mushrooms).
  4. Pull rice out of the oven, stir in the parmesan, butter and salt and pepper. Stir for 3-4 minutes until the risotto is thick and creamy. Add in extra elements and stir again. Add extra flavour with a handful of finely chopped parsley and spring onion. Serve with a side salad or top with steamed greens.

Super Fast Pasta

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A friend made this dish for both our families for dinner last year and since then I’ve made it lots. The thing I remember about dinner that night was that my friend wasn’t caught up in the kitchen preparing dinner for the 9 of us- she was hanging out with us almost the whole night. Despite this, dinner was so delicious. This was a recipe I had to have! This super fast pasta is no stress at all to make and it’s the sort of food that brings people together as they munch down on these comfort carbs. A great recipe for inexpensive catering, and probably only a ‘sometimes’ dinner, but very, very yummy! Serves 6.

  • 300g bacon or ham, sliced into thin strips
  • half a bag of mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek or 1 small onion or 6 chopped spring onions
  • 300ml cream or sour cream
  • 500g packet of pasta such as spirals or penne
  • salt and pepper
  • handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped (if you have it)
  1. Put water on to boil in a pot large enough to cook the pasta.
  2. In the meantime, cook onions, mushrooms and bacon on high heat in a wok. Add cream and simmer on low heat until pasta is cooked.
  3. Drain cooked pasta and add to the wok. Toss the sauce and pasta together, season with salt and pepper and throw in the parsley. Enjoy!

Easy Chocolate Fudge

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Ever since I’ve known Kylie Gellert, she’s been making this delicious and very easy fudge. I’ve enjoyed many of Kylie’s variations on many an occasion and I’m so thrilled she emailed this recipe for me to share with you. Recently I’ve discovered the delights of Aldi chocolate – especially White Crisp (white chocolate with hazelnuts and rice crisp throughout) so I had a go at making Kylie’s oh so easy fudge with these feature ingredients and it worked really well. All I did was add 60g roughly chopped hazelnuts and 3/4 cup rice bubbles. This recipe is a great one to make into little gifts for Christmas or for affordable birthday gifts for friends, although this fudge is just as good for Bible study suppers or church morning tea. Thanks for sharing, Kylie!

  • 450g Dark or Milk Chocolate bits (easier) or block (cheaper) cooking chocolate
  • 1 tin Condensed Milk

1. Put the chocolate into a glass bowl, and pour the condensed milk over the chocolate. Don’t stir.
2. Microwave on high for 2mins, and stir until smooth. If not able to be stirred to smooth, put back into the microwave for 1 min, stir (repeat if necessary).
3. Pour into a plastic wrap-lined loaf tin or container of similar size.
4. Set in the fridge for at least 20 min, preferably for 2+ hours.
5. Cut into squares approximately 1cm x 1cm (or whatever size you like).

Notes
• If wanting to use white chocolate instead of milk or dark, you will require 550g to make it set.
• Don’t use a wooden spoon to stir the chocolate as the moisture in the timber will upset the consistency. A metal spoon or silicon spatula will work best.

Variations
• Add sultanas and crushed nuts to dark or milk for fruit & nut fudge.
• Add coconut to dark or milk for golden rough fudge.
• Add raspberry essence (a little bit!) to white choc for raspberry & white choc fudge. (Hint: raspberry lollies really don’t work well to add in.)
• Add caramel essence to white choc for a yummy caramel fudge that isn’t too rich.
• Add crushed peppermint chocolate bar to dark choc for a refreshing choc mint fudge.
• Make a dark or milk base and let set before adding a white chocolate top for a top deck fudge (rather rich).

Also really good over ice-cream when it is still in a pouring consistency, but is incredibly rich. It kind of sets as it hits the ice cream.

Pricing
• Nestlé white chocolate buds $11.40/kg (Home brand works just as well if you can find it – I couldn’t on Woolies or Coles online, but have used it in the past)
• Home brand dark chocolate bits (easier) $6.70/kg
• Home brand dark chocolate block (cheaper) $6/kg – it does need to be broken into squares.
• Home brand condensed milk $2/tin

Farmhouse Chicken Pie

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I just love this delicious recipe! It’s a regular in our house because it’s full of healthy vegetables and due to the chicken and pastry involved, the kids happily demolish it. Originally a Woman’s Weekly recipe, I adapt it a little to include carrots and whatever vegetables happen to be rapidly going off in my fridge. Feel free to use any cut of chicken you like. We tend to buy a barbecue chicken for lunch after church on Sundays, and then use what remains of it for chicken pie on Monday night. This recipe is not at all difficult and it’s a good one to give away because it’s all in just the one dish. It takes quite well to being frozen (if you freeze it before cooking the pastry), and so makes for an easy dinner after a big day. These pies can also be made in ramekins for good portion control and a dainty look or, at the other end of the spectrum, in disposable foil oven trays for camps or giveaway meals.

  • olive oil, enough to cook chicken in
  • 60g butter
  • 3 cups/400g chicken thigh or breast fillets, diced or a whole shredded BBQ chook
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 onions, diced
  • 1 can corn kernels, drained
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 red or green capsicum, diced
  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into tiny florets
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (if you have it)
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1-2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1/3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken stock or white wine
  • 1/4 cup milk or 1 egg for wash on top of pastry

Heat butter in a large saucepan until melted, add the chicken pieces and saute for 2-3 minutes and remove from pan. Add to empty pan: garlic, onions, broccoli, and carrot and cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until vegetables have just started to soften. Add drained corn and diced capsicum, then quickly remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside in a bowl until required.

To make the sauce that binds it all together: Return pan to the heat, add the butter and flour and mix to form a paste.  Pour in the chicken stock gradually, whisking constantly to incorporate the roux. When sauce has thickened, add the chicken and vegetables to combine. Place this pie filling in the bottom of an oven proof dish big enough for 6.

Top the pie filling with puff pastry and brush the top with an egg or milk wash. Bake in a preheated 220°C oven for 10 minutes, or until pastry has risen and is golden in colour. Serve in the centre of the table with crusty fresh bread.

White Chocolate Mudcake – any size you need!

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Originally given to me by my mother in law, I can’t tell you how much I love this handy recipe! The white chocolate mud cake that results is moist, not too rich and stores well for ages even if you don’t freeze it – though it does freeze very well. Here you’ll find the quantities for almost every kind of cake tin you might need to use, which is just terrific. Finally, the other great thing about this recipe is that it is just a melt and mix cake – no creaming butter and sugar. Even though white chocolate adds to the cost of the cake, the cost of this recipe is still quite reasonable, especially compared to store-bought cakes (and this one is much, much nicer). Today I’m using this versatile recipe for my daughter’s birthday cake – she’s turning 3 tomorrow!

  12 cmround 15 cmround 17 cm round

15 cm

square

17 cm

oblong

20 cm round 22 cm round

19 cm

square

15 cm round

23 cm

square

28 cm round

30 cm

heart

28×34 

30 cm round

28 cm

square

30 cm square


Butter

85g 125g 165g 250g 335g 375g 500g 625g 750g

White

Choc

45g 75g 100g 150g 200g 225g 300g 375g 450g

Caster

Sugar

2/3 cup 1 cup 1 1/3 cups 2 cups 2 2/3 cups 3 cups 4 cups 5 cups 6 cups

Milk

1/3 cup 1/2 cup 1 cup 1 1/2 cups 2 cups 2 1/4 cups 3 cups 3 3/4 cups 4 1/2 cups

Plain

Flour

1/2 cup 3/4 cup 1 cup 1 1/2 cups 2 cups 2 1/4 cups 3 cups 3 3/4 cups 4 1/2 cups

SR 

Flour

2 tbs 1/3 cup 1/3 cup 1/2 cup 2/3 cups 3/4 cups 1 cup 1 1/4 cups 1 1/2 cups

Vanilla

1/4 tsp 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp 1 1/2 tsp 2 tsp 2 1/2 tsp 3 tsp
Eggs 1 1 1 2 3 3 4 5 6

Baking

Time

1 hour 1 1/2 hours 1 3/4 hours 1 3/4 hours 2 hours 2 1/2 hours 3 hours 3 1/2 hours 4 hours
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees (160 degrees fan forced)
  2. Grease and line base and sides of cake tin with baking paper, bringing paper up 5cm above the side of the tin.
  3.  Combine chopped butter, chopped chocolate, sugar and milk in saucepan. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and cool for 15 mins.
  4. Stir in sifted flours, vanilla and lightly beaten eggs. Pour mixture into prepared tin.
  5. Bake for time given on chart. Cover cake with foil half-way through cooking time if over-browning.
  6. Cake will develop a thick sugary crust during baking. Test with a skewer close to end of cooking time. Cool the cake in the tin. 

White Chocolate Ganache Icing

  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 300g white chocolate
  1. Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan, pour cream over white chocolate in a small bowl, stirring until chocolate melts.
  2. Cover, refrigerate, stirring occasionally about 30 mins or until mixture is spreadable.

Nigella’s Chocolate Pavlova

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My friend Amy put me onto this recipe about 8 years ago and since then it’s become one of my favourite dessert options for catering. It literally only takes a couple of minutes measuring and mixing and then it’s into a low oven for an hour and a quarter – allowing me to get other things done. I generally make it in the morning and leave it to cool in the switched off oven for the rest of the day. From there it’s ridiculously easy to whip cream and top it with whatever you like. Nigella suggests fresh raspberries on top but I’ve often used frozen ones and actually we all like it best with bananas, strawberries and a handful of maltesers dumped on top. Also, when cooking other desserts that call for egg yolks only, I keep the whites and freeze them in zip lock bags. They thaw out beautifully and this often means I don’t have to use new eggs – another money saver. This low fuss dessert will set you back about $8 and serves 10.

  • 6 egg whites
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 50g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 300-500ml double cream
  • 500g raspberries
  • 2-3 tablespoons coarsely grated dark chocolate
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar, and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in. Mound on to a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 23cm in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C/gas mark 2 and cook for about one to one and a quarter hours. When it’s ready it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the centre you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue disc cool completely.3.
  3. When you’re ready to serve, invert on to a big, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the raspberries. Coarsely grate the chocolate so that you get curls rather than rubble, as you don’t want the raspberries’ luscious colour and form to be obscured, and sprinkle haphazardly over the top, letting some fall, as it will, on the plate’s rim.