Friday, September 28, 2007


Chorizo is definitely the food of the moment for me right now. Most weeks I buy some and it becomes my very easy, but very gourmet dinner. It’s brilliant if friends pop in on a Saturday and stay for dinner, because it’s fast & deliciousLeigh good, and a bit goes a long way! Here are a couple of ideas of what goes well.

Chorizo & Olives with Spaghetti
1 clove of garlic
2-3 Chorizo sausages
200g Olives (smashed with the side of a big knife blade)
1 Punnet of cherry tomatoes
Parmesan Cheese

Heat some oil in a pan, put in garlic and cook for 1 min.
Add sliced Chorizo and smashed olives and heat through for about 4 mins.
Add a punnet of halved cherry tomatoes (or even worse case scenario a tin of chopped tomatoes – good quality, not too much water)
Heat through thoroughly.
Bring a pan of water to the boil, add Spaghetti and cook. Drain, and add to the tomato mixture.
Mix well & serve with a good sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese

Chorizo, Pine Nuts & Rocket Salad
1 clove of garlic
2-3 Chorizo sausages
Handful of Pine nuts
Handful Rocket
Ricotta Cheese
Penne Pasta

Heat some oil in a pan, put in garlic and cook for 1 min.
Add sliced Chorizo and Pine nuts and cook, stirring often to ensure the pine nuts don’t burn
Bring a pan of water to the boil, add Penne pasta and cook. Drain, and add to the chorizo mixture.
While still on the heat, add the ricotta cheese, and mix everything well.
Remove from heat, and add the Rocket.
Mix well & serve with a good sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chicken, Nuts & Mushrooms

OK so now for something a bit savory. This is one of my all time favourite meals. Mom would make it for guests when we were young, and she would put a bit aside for me in a bowl, so later that evening when they were in the lounge I would nip down and enjoy. Years later when I first met my husband to be, I discovered that each year, his birthday dinner would be ‘Chicken, Nuts & Mushrooms’. Both moms did it a little differently, and I have combined them both and come up with something a little more modern, but still good home comfort food.

A whole cooked chicken (or if you don’t have one, cook 2 chicken breasts and rip it up)
Sliced mushrooms
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 pkt mushroom soup
1 tsp curry powder
Good handful of cashew nuts

Spread chicken over base of casserole dish.
Spread sliced mushrooms over chicken (use as mush as you like, I prefer for it to be almost a double layer of mushrooms).
Mix the mushroom soup with the milk and cream and bring to the boil (just – don’t allow it to boil too much)
Remove from heat and add curry powder, stir well and pour over chicken.
Sprinkle cashew nuts over the top.

Place in oven @ 180°C for about 25mins or until heated through thoroughly.

Serve with Jasmine Rice and a fresh green salad.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cappuccino Biscotti

This is an incredibly fiddly, but unbelievably divine recipe. It has the ‘WOW’ factor, and my theory is; if you are going to go to the trouble of making something fiddly, it needs to blow you away. And this does.

⅓ cup dry coffee
3 tbs boiling water
½ cup self raising flour
1½ cups plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
¾ cup (110g) toasted macadamia nuts

⅓ cup (50g) white chocolate melts (melted)
Coffee beans (or chocolate covered coffee beans), icing sugar, cocoa powder

Combine coffee & water in small bowl, stir until coffee is dissolved, cool.
Sift flours & sugar into large bowl, stir in eggs & coffee mixture, mix to a smooth dough.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead in nuts.
Divide dough in half, roll each half into a 20cm log.
Place logs on a greased tray approx 7cm apart.
Bake in moderate oven for about 30mins or until lightly browned & crusty; cool on tray.
Using a serrated knife, cut each log diagonally into 1.5cm slices.
Place biscotti in single layer on greased tray.
Bake in moderate oven (175°C) for about 25mins or until biscotti is crisp.

Once cool, stand on their flat side, pipe a small amount of melted white chocolate onto the top of each piece and decorate with a coffee bean.
Dust with icing sugar and then sifted cocoa.

Lemon Meringue Pie

This is one of my favourite things to bake for people, because it looks so impressive, it tastes great, and it’s dead simple. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t even like Lemon Meringue Pie!

2tbs butter
¼ cup sugar
1 cup self raising flour
1 egg yolk

1 tin condensed milk
2 egg yolk
Juice & rind of 2 lemons

3 egg whites
½ cup sugar

Mix base ingredients in food processor.
Press into base and wall of pie plate (for presentation purposes, I roughly line the pie plate with baking paper, it means at the end you can lift the whole pie out and it looks fabulous.
Nb: The mixture resembles fine powder at this stage, but keep pressing, it will all work out.

Mix filling ingredients in bowl, pour into base

Beat egg whites until very stiff, stir in sugar. Spread on top of pie.

Bake @ 120° for 1 hour

Creamy Vanilla Semifreddo

Semifreddo is the Italian version of ice cream. This soft and creamy dessert can be made days ahead of time, making it the perfect choice for summer entertaining. It does not require churning in an ice cream maker.

Flavour Base:
100ml cream
3 Tablespoons caster sugar
1 Vanilla bean, split & seeds scraped out
1½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract

300ml cream
3 eggs, separated
½ cup caster sugar

To make flavour base place cream, caster sugar and vanilla bean, seeds and extract in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil then remove from heat. Remove vanilla bean.
Pour the cream for the Semifreddo into a bowl and beat to soft peaks.
In another bowl beat egg yolks with half the caster sugar until thick and pale. Add the flavour base while beating constantly.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Add remaining caster sugar and beat to firm peaks.
Gently fold together cream and flavour mixture. Fold a little cream mixture into egg whites to loosen then gently fold in remaining mixture until smooth and thick. Spoon into prepared container and freeze. Makes about 1¾ litres

Other flavour base ideas: Dark Chocolate & Expresso (approx 1 cup of roughly chopped best quality Dark chocolate you can get, and 2tbs strong Expresso). White Chocolate & Pistachio (approx 1 cup each of roughly chopped white chocolate, and roasted Pistachio nuts)