Monday, April 30, 2007

Omelet for tea

Sunday night we had omelet - two different sorts to cater for my family's foodie needs.

Version 1 (vegetarian and gluten free)
4 eggs
1 tblspn Mascarpone
1/2 a leek finely sliced
2 tblspns fried garlic
1/2 bunch of asparagus cut into bite size pieces

Fry the leak and the asparagus gently for a few minutes until the leek softens
Combine the eggs and the mascarpone in a bowl and then add all the other ingredients
Cook in the omelet maker or an omelet pan and serve with a green salad.
Feeds two for a light lunch.

Version 2 (gluten free)
5 eggs
2 tblspns Mascarpone
1/2 a leek finely sliced
2 tblspns fried garlic
1/2 bunch of asparagus cut into bite size pieces
1 chorizo sausage sliced and fried (check that it is GF)

Fry the leak and the asparagus gently for a few minutes until the leek softens
Combine the eggs and the mascarpone in a bowl and then add all the other ingredients
Cook in the omelet maker or an omelet pan and serve with a green salad.
Feeds 4 as a light lunch

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Flourless Orange Cake

So Saturday finds us getting ready to go to the wedding of B&L at St Paul's in Manuka and then later a reception at Royal Canberra Golf Club.

This is always the best time to whip up a cake!!! Please note that I had boiled the oranges the day before.

2 Large Oranges
1 Cup water
6 60g eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tspn baking powder
200g almond meal

Boil the oranges in the water for 1.30-2.00 hours
Preheat Oven 200C
Once the oranges have cooled, cut in half and remove the pips. Place them in a food processor and blend them.
Beat the 6 eggs with a hand mixer until creamy, then slowly add the sugar, once the sugar is dissolved add the almond meal and the baking power and mix gently.
Pour mixture into a spring form pan which has had the base and sides buttered and a circle of baking paper place on the base.
Cook for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean, rest for five minutes and then release the sides of the tin and remove. Serve dusted with icing sugar and cream.

NB - for this to be GF you must use real icing sugar and not icing mixture.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Dinner Party Vegetarian Meals

JC asked me for some vegetarian recipe's to impress.

The first two recipes are two glutten free recipes and the last contains gluten:

1. Eggplant, spinach and pumpkin Stacks

1 Large eggplant(500g)
200g pumpkin, sliced thinly
700g of bottled tomato pasta sauce
80g baby spinach leaves
4 green onions sliced thinly longways
1 cup coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts

1. Discard top and bottom of eggplant, cut eggplant length ways into ten 5 mm slices. Discard rounded skin side slices, place remaining eight slices in colander, sprinkle all over with salt, stand 10 minutes.
2. Rinse eggplant well under cold water, pat dry with absorbent paper. Cook eggplant and pumpkin, in batches, on heated oiled grill plate (or grill or BBQ) until tender.
3. Place sauce in medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered, 2 minutes 4. Place four slices of the eggplant, in a single layer, on oven tray: top with half of the spinach, half of the pumpkin and half of the onion. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce over each then repeat the layering process, using remaining spinach, pumpkin and onion and another 2 tablespoons of the sauce for each stack. Top stacks with remaining eggplant slices, pour over remaining sauce, sprinkle stacks with cheese and nuts. Place under hot grill until cheese browns slightly.

This was really delicious and only lasted a few minutes on the plates. Unfortunately the 35 minutes the recipe claims to take to get it to the table, took me 1 hour and 10 minutes. I used two small eggplants, I did not have pumpkin and used slices of potato. I did not have spring onions so used finely chopped onions. I only used a 500g jar of tomato sauce. However my dish looked very much like the one above.

2. A Terrine with Four Cheeses
I made this for Christmas one year when we had all my family here in Monash, a great special Christmas dish for vegetarians.

275 g Cottage Cheese
75 ml Mayonnaise
11g sachet powdered gelatin
50 g garlic and chives cheddar

50 g blue brie
50 g Cheshire

1 dessertspoon of snipped chives

2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
150 ml double cream
fresh milled black pepper to taste

Place the gelatin in a teacup with the cold water and the lemon juice and let it
soak for about five minutes. Then place the cup in saucepan containing 5 cm barely simmering water, leave the gelatin to dissolve and become transparent.
Chop the three hard cheeses into 5 mm pieces, and combine. Blend the cottage cheese and mayonnaise until absolutely smooth. Whip the cream to a soft floppy stage.
Mix the gelatin and cottage cheese/mayonnaise mixture, stir to ensure the gelatin is evenly spread. Mix in the hard cheeses.
Finally fold in the cream and pour the whole mixture into the terrine. Cover with glad wrap and chill for several hours until firmly set.
Invert onto a plate and slice. Serve with a green salad.

3. Pumpkin Tartlets

300g golden nugget (small pumpkin), peeled, seeded and thinly sliced.
2 sheets reduced fat frozen puff pastry
2 tspns oregano

2 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
2 tblspns coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1 tblspn finely grated lemon rind
2 tblspn finely grated orange rind
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
200g boccochini pulled apart
2 tspns rocksalt

Cut each sheet of puff pastry into six and rest.

Mix the garlic, rinds, half the oregano and salt in a mortar and pestle and make a paste, add the olive oil and mix well. Add pepper to taste.
Take the finely sliced pumpkin and toss in a bowl with a little of the oil. Brush the pastry with the paste and place the pumpkin on top, sprinkle with hazelnuts.

Cook at 200C for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked, then sprinkle with the boccochini and serve with a green salad.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tomato Pasta

We have a new Bill Granger book and we love his food, it is always simple and tasty. The other day JSR made this tomato pasta and we loved it. If you are interested in some of his other tomato recipes check out BillGranger.

1kg vine ripened tomatoes
1 tblspn sea salt
1.2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tblspns balsamic vinegar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
fresh black pepper
300g spaghetti
1 cup lightly packed basil leaves, torn

Score a cross in the the base of each tomato. Place tomatoes in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Drain after 10 seconds, then peel the skin away from the cross. Halve the tomatoes and press halves to squeeze out seeds and excess juice. Chop tomato flesh roughly, place in a sieve over a bowl and sprinkle with the sea salt. Leave to drain for half an hour.
Place drained tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, garlic chilli and pepper in a bowl and stir. Leave for 20 minutes for the flavours to combine.
Cook the spaghetti in rapidly boiling salted water according to the manufacturer's instructions. Drain well. Toss through tomatoes with freshly torn basil leaves and serve with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.
Serves 4.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Carrot and coriander soup

Carrot and Coriander Soup

1 kg of Carrots, roughly chopped
1 large onion sliced
1 large potato thickly sliced
2 cloves of garlic chopped roughly
1.2 Litres stock (Massel GF vegetable stock)
2 bunches of coriander, chopped

Place the onion and the garlic in the soup pot and sweat for five minutes. Add the stock, carrots and potato and cook for 25 minutes or until the root vegetables are soft. Add one bunch of coriander at the end. Blend in batches in the food processor or use a stab blender to make the soup smooth, you may need to add a little water if the soup is too thick. Reheat and serve with fresh coriander sprinkled on the top.

Serves 4-6

Monday, April 23, 2007

On Monday, CJK and the kids came over and I made a bit of a gluten free festival (see photo) I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did,

Terrine with Four Cheeses

Great for Christmas or dinner party

275 g Cottage Cheese
75 ml Mayonnaise
3 tspn powdered gelatine
50 g garlic & chives cheddar
50 g blue Brie
50 g Cheshire
1 dstpn of snipped chives
2 tblspn cold water
2 tspn lemon juice
150 ml double cream
Fresh milled black pepper to taste

Place the gelatine in a teacup with the cold water and the lemon juice and let it soak for about five minutes. Then place the cup in saucepan containing 5 cm barely simmering water, leave the gelatine to dissolve and become transparent.
Chop the three cheeses into 5 mm pieces, and combine. Blend the cottage cheese and mayonnaise until absolutely smooth. Whip the cream to a soft floppy stage.
Mix the gelatine and cottage cheese/mayonnaise mixture; stir to ensure the gelatine is evenly distributed. Mix in the cheeses.
Finally fold in the cream and pour the whole mixture into the terrine. Cover with glad wrap and chill for several hours until firmly set.
Invert onto a plate and slice.
Serve with a green salad.

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thai Amarin

There are two Thai Amarin restaurants in Canberra, one in Kingston and run by the original owners of the Thai Amarin in Erindale. John and Silvie left Erindale 10 years ago to set up the Kingston restaurant. We have been regular visitors to the Erindale Thai Amarin, since we moved into Monash. We went there this week on a day when I ran out of energy. Our current favourite is something called Takay which is spicy and nice, we love the curries and they have a variety of vegetarian dishes which keep AJR interested. They also have a little boy, who MLR loves to play with.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Buy local road trip

Well some time ago I suggested that we should try a buy local trip and yesterday TSS, JC and I managed it. We went to the Poachers Pantry on the Yass side of Hall, here I collected information for a colleague at work who is thinking of getting married there. I must say that it would be a great venue to get married at - out in the bush and lovely scenery. Then to Gundaroo for a look see, were there was little in the way of local produce. Finally we went to Collector where we stopped off at the Lynwood Cafe and then on to the art gallery/bookshop. See The Shopping Sherpa for a complete record of our trip. Unfortunately we did not do well in the "finding local produce" stakes and we found only olive oil that was both grown and bottled in the district. I bought a book on DH Lawrence about his time in Thirroul where he wrote Kangaroo. I also bought a beautiful bead necklace as a present for Bron (who's birthday party we attended later last night), and a fridge magnet in the shape of Australia in wood, which I sent to Sally this morning. It was great and we have all agreed to do it again, as well as organising a trip to Ikea.
I did take photo's of this trip on my mobile phone, and when I work out how to download them I will post them here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tuesday at the Italian

Tuesday I was tired and had gone to Woolies to pick up something for dinner and baulked when I saw how long the queues were. Went to the petrol station and managed to pull into the wrong side of the bowser!!! Saw this as a sign that it was time to go home and stop.

We decided that we would eat out!!! So we went to the new Italian restaurant in Erindale - Italian Grill. JSR had a steak and I had chicken masarla, the kids had a pizza and chicken bites. The service was fine and the location is good as it is part of the restaurant strip. Our meals were fine, however the pizza was definitely ordinary and the chicken bites was dry and overcooked. JSR went off to get a bottle of wine and came back with The footbolt shiraz from Mclaren Vale. It was an excellent drop and I would recommend it as a great wine for the price (just under $20).
Collected the ironing from Dale and headed home to fall asleep in front of the Bill.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chestnut Soup

Monday saw us eating Chestnut soup with the Bundanoon chestnuts.

Recipe from:

3 tbsp. butter
1 stalk celery

1 medium carrot
1 medium onion

1/4 C parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 bay leaf (to be removed later)
6 C chicken broth
12 oz. cooked, peeled chestnuts
(1 lb fresh in the shell)
1/4 C heavy cream
1/4 tsp pepper
Salt to taste

Of course I changed something!!! I used vegetable stock rather than chicken stock and I did not have a bay leaf, also used too many cloves. Apart from the preparation work to get the chestnuts roasted, it was an easy recipe.

Cut the celery, carrot and onion into small pieces and process in a food processor. Melt the butter in a 3 qt. saucepan. Add the celery, carrot and onion. Sauté about 10 minutes. Add the chestnuts, broth, parsley, cloves and bay leaf to the veggies. Bring to a boil; then simmer for 30-45 minutes covered. Puree the soup in small quantities in a blender and put into another pan. Stir in the cream, salt and pepper and reheat over medium heat until warm. You may want to garnish with a bit of parsley.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Dad brought some chestnuts from Bundanoon the other day, still in their protective cases. AJR and Mum and Dad removed the chestnuts from the cases yesterday and today we will be making roast chestnuts.

Facts about Chestnuts:

  • Instructions on preparing and cooking chestnuts.
  • May is chestnut month, and this link gives a list of restaurants that have signed up to promote chestnuts in May.
  • Chestnuts Online have an extensive range of gluten free recipes as well as other information.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Omelet with a twist

We have an omelet maker and the other day I made delicious omelette's for everyone.

5 eggs
left over sweet potato fritatta mix
bag of spinach and rocket
Camembert cheese chopped or pulled into pieces (a little or a lot depending on your taste, could also use blue cheese)

Mix everything up and pour into the preheated Omelet maker and cook until set.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


As Easter approaches I thought we should spend some time thinking (in addition to eating) chocolate - well who doesn't.

Origin of the word:
Chocolate When the Spanish arrived in Mexico they came across the Aztecs. The Aztec language is called Nahuatl. The Aztecs had a drink which they made from a bean they called CHOCO (bitter). They would put this bean into water (ATL) to produce CHOCO-ATL (bitter water).

The TL sound is common in the Aztec language but not in Spanish. The Spaniards mispronounced the drink CHOCOLATO.

This drink was brought to Europe (with sugar added) where the pronunciation and spelling in English became CHOCOLATE.


History of Chocolate.

Interesting information about Chocolate:
The Quakers were, and still are, a pacifist religious sect, an offshoot of the Puritans of English Civil War and Pilgrim Fathers fame and a history of chocolate would not be complete without mentioning their part in it. Some of the most famous names in chocolate were Quakers, who for centuries held a virtual monopoly of chocolate making in the English speaking world - Fry, Cadbury and Rowntree are probably the best known.

It's probably before the time of the English civil war between Parliament and King Charles 1st, that the Quaker's, who evolved from the Puritans, first began their historic association with Chocolate. Because of their pacifist religion, they were prohibited from many normal business activities, so as an industrious people with a strong belief in the work ethic (like the puritans), they involved themselves in food related businesses and did very well. Baking was a common occupation for them because bread was regarded as the biblical " Staff Of Life", and Bakers in England were the first to add chocolate to cakes so it would be a natural progression for them to start making pure chocolate. They were also heavily involved in breakfast cereals but that's another story.

What is certain is that the Fry, Rowntree and Cadbury families in England among others, began chocolate making and in fact Joseph Fry of Fry & Sons (founded 1728 in Bristol, England) is credited with producing and selling the worlds first chocolate bar. Fry's have now all but disappeared (taken over by Cadbury) and Rowntree have merged Swiss company Nestle, to form the largest chocolate manufacturer in the world. Cadbury have stayed with chocolate production and are now, if not quite the largest, probably one of the best known Chocolate makers in the world.

From their earliest beginnings in business the Quakers were noted for their enlightened treatment of their employees, providing not just employment but everything needed for workers to better themselves such as good housing etc. In fact, Cadbury built a large town for their employees around their factory near Birmingham, England. Complete with libraries, schools, shops and Churches etc, they called it Bourneville. So next time you see Cadbury's chocolate with the name Bournville on it you will know where it comes from and what the name relates to.

Origin of the use of chocolate at Easter Time:
Easter Eggs

As well as adopting the festival of Eostre, the Egg, representing fertility and re-birth in pagan times, was also adopted as part of the Christian Easter festival and it came to represent the 'resurrection' or re-birth of Christ after the crucifixion and some believe it is a symbol of the the stone blocking the Sepulchre being 'rolled' away.

In the UK and Europe, the earliest Easter eggs were painted and decorated hen, duck or goose eggs, a practice still carried on in parts of the world today. As time went by, artificial eggs were made and by the end of the 17th century, manufactured eggs were available for purchase at Easter, for giving as Easter gifts and presents.

Easter eggs continued to evolve through the 18th and into the 19th Century, with hollow cardboard Easter eggs filled with Easter gifts and sumptuously decorated, culminating with the fabulous Faberge Eggs. Encrusted with jewels, they were made for the Czar's of Russia by Carl Faberge, a French jeweller. Surely these were the 'ultimate' Easter gift, to buy even a small one now would make you poorer by several millions of pounds.

The Chocolate Easter Egg

It was at about this time (early 1800's) that the first chocolate Easter egg appeared in Germany and France and soon spread to the rest of Europe and beyond. The first chocolate eggs were solid soon followed by hollow eggs. Although making hollow eggs at that time was no mean feat, because the easily worked chocolate we use today didn't exist then, they had to use a paste made from ground roasted Cacao beans.

By the turn of the 19th Century, the discovery of the modern chocolate making process and improved mass manufacturing methods meant that the Chocolate Easter Egg was fast becoming the Easter Gift of choice in the UK and parts of Europe, and by the 1960's it was well established worldwide.