A Bit of This and A Bit of That Chicken Nuggets.

I really love making these little crunchy beauties for my family. I love that they change every slightly each time depending what’s i the pantry. Sometimes I use oats, other times it’s rice crackers or cruskits. Whatever you have lying around is fine! Let it be a chance to experiment and enjoy watching your family eat healthy nuggets. It’s such a great feeling knowing what exactly is in your food!

I double the recipe. Adjust to your liking. Or use the next day in salads or lunch boxes.

Ingredients:

1 kg Chicken Breast cut into your liking size.

6-8 Rice and Quinoa Crackers

Small Handful of fresh herbs or 1 Tbsp of mixed herbs

2 Garlic Cloves

1/4 cup Pitted Olives (only if your family love them 😉)

Salt and Pepper

2 eggs whisked

Flour of choice

Olive Oil or Canola for frying

Method:

Place whisked eggs into a bowl

Place as much flour as required into a bowl.

Process all other Ingredients and place into a large bowl.

Add oil to the frypan and set to a medium heat.

Line the bowls up in a production line. Place chicken pieces into the flour and coat well. Then into the eggs to coat further. Roll through the crumb and place into the frypan. Turn when golden brown.

Drain onto paper towel.

*I always cut into a few chunky pieces to make sure they are cooked right through.

I guarantee you can’t stop at just one!

Jennifer X

Stuffed Pumpkin

Well Christmas is done and dusted… I’m living in a little bubble over here. Wishing it was Christmas everyday- reliving every moment in my mind. But alas, only 362 more day to go 😢 😆

So it got me thinking, what better way to relive Christmas than to share one of my classic side dishes. This one is almost more of a stand out than my Turkey.

Ingredients:

1 whole Jap Pumpkin

6 slices of stale white bread (blended into breadcrumbs)

1 leek

3 cloves of garlic finely diced

4 slices of fresh organic ham cubed

1/4 roughly chopped Roasted Almonds

1/4 cup dried Cranberries

Small carton of Full Cream

150g grated Gyerue Cheese

2 tbsp of Chives chopped finely

3 sprigs of fresh Thyme

2 drops of Rosemary Oil

Method:

Cut a round top off your pumpkin and keep it for later.

Scoop out the seeds leaving a neat deep hollow to place the delicious stuffing.

On a medium heat add butter and oil to the pan.

Place the thinly sliced leek to the pan and sauté until soft.

Add garlic and cook for a further minute.

Add ham, fresh herbs, nuts and cranberries, cook for a further 2 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Add the breadcrumbs, Rosemary Oil and grated cheese. Stir to combine.

Stuff the pumpkin, leaving room for the lid to slide back. Do not jam the stuffing in. You’ll need room for the cream to pour through.

Pour cream over. Use a fork to help distribute it to the bottom and evenly.

Place lid on top.

Oil 2 large sheets of foil.

Wrap the pumpkin in them and place on a tray.

Bake for 2-3 hours (depends on the size of the pumpkin).

Just keep checking.

Serve immediately.

Jennifer X

* note: any left over stuffing just place into a casserole and bake seperate. It will no doubt be gobbled up and serves as a back up!

My Christmas Eve lunch. We cooked the Turducken (Turkey stuffed with Chicken, stuffed with Duck) on the spit. It was moist and sensational! We have a glazed organic ham. The sides were my lovely stuffed pumpkin. Sweet potato casserole, carrot and corn bake, duck fat potatoes and sautéed Brussel Sprouts and peas. This was cooked to feed just our family of 7. It has given us leftovers for days.
I simply reheated the leftovers to serve on Christmas Day to accompany my Seafood.

Mama C’s Spaghetti Bolognese

It’s about time I posted this goodie! There’s isn’t a kid I know that doesn’t like Spaghetti…. however once you try mine I can guarantee you would of spoilt them and they will never like anyone else’s.

Keeping things as authentic as I can, this recipe tasted just like the Bolognese I ate throughout Italy.

My secret is in my own sauce. Don’t go buying jars of it if you can. I make mine in bulk and freeze it up for whenever I need.

Ingredients:

* 1 brown Onion

* 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

* 3 Garlic Cloves finely diced

* 1 cup of my sauce or 2 Tbsp of Tomato Paste

* 3 drops Rosemary Essential Oil

* 1 Carrot Grated

* 500g good organic Beef Mince

* 1 whole pack of Italian Spaghetti Pasta (or housemade)

* Good Pinch of Paprika

* Salt and Pepper to taste

* Parmesan Block to grate

* Fresh Parsley

Method:

Cook pasta to your liking.

Fry onion in Olive Oil for 3 minutes until soft.

Add garlic and continue on a medium heat for 2 minutes.

Add carrot for another minute.

Now add your mince, allow to brown. add Rosemary Oil, Paprika, Salt and Pepper.

Once the meat is browned add in one cup of my tomato sauce or if you don’t have any 2 Tbsp of tomato paste.

Allow to simmer to reduce the sauce down. Once it’s reduce ladle about 1- 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water into the sauce.

Continue to simmer for 20 minutes up to 1 hour with the lid on.

Toss some of the sauce through the pasta. Plate up in a huge bowl or platter.

Ladle more Bolognese on top.

Grate cheese and chop Parsley to scatter on top.

A small drizzle of Olive Oil never hurt anyone.

Serve with sourdough and a bottle of your best red!

This meal will serve 10-12 people.

Enjoy

Jennifer X

Real Hummus

Ever wondered why your homemade Hummus didn’t taste like the stuff you eat when dining at a Middle Eastern Restaurant? I’m sure all my Middle Eastern friends who read this will laugh at me… it actually took me about 9 months to test, try and research to finally find the most AUTHENTIC recipe. Honestly!! I would ask anyone I could and they would give me some recipe using canned chickpeas… I mean, there won’t no cans of chickpeas in the old days. I wanted the most original and best recipe I could find.

So here goes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Dried Chickpeas
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 cup Tahini
  • 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2- 2 1/2 Lemons (taste as you go)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp Chilled Water
  • 1/2 tsp Bi Carb Soda

Method:

  1. Soak and cover chickpeas overnight
  2. Boil chickpeas in water with 1/2 tsp bicarb soda until soft
  3. Drain
  4. In a processor add all ingredients. Taste and add a little more of what you desire… could be garlic, cumin, lemon juice.
  5. Serve with a drizzle of Olive Oil, Paprika and flat bread.

Yum.

Jennifer X

Ps: the will give me 3 contains worth. I freeze 2 of them and thaw when needed. I’m our family we go through one a week. So I make a fresh batch every 3 weeks! X

Sausage Rolls (2 Ways)

This is a standard meal in our home. It’s always served with Noah’s famous Greek Salad and plenty of Tomato Ketchup!

500g Organic Beef Mince

3 sheets of Puff Pastry

1 Onion Diced

2 Garlic Cloves (minced)

1 Carrot Grated

1 Zucchini Grated

1 Egg (plus one lightly beaten as a wash)

1 tsp Dried Mixed Herbs

1 tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Salt and Pepper

OR

500g Organic Pork Mince

3 Sheets of Puff Pastry

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion Diced

2 Garlic Cloves (minced)

1 Carrot Grated

1 Egg

1/4 cup Apple, grated

1 1/2 tsp of Fennel Seeds (smash them down a little)

1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp Dried Thyme leaves

Salt and Pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 190c

Fry onion and garlic in a little olive oil to caramelise. (Add fennel and apple if making Pork Sausage Rolls when almost ready add vinegar, stir in and take off the heat)

Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix.

Divide into 3 portions. Place the meat in the middle of the pastry.

Fold pastry gently around the mixture. Secure with egg wash.

Brunch the egg on top and sprinkle with Sesame Seeds.

Cook until lovely and golden.

Enjoy!

Jennifer X

Mama C’s Stuffed Peppers

I’ve said it before, I can’t get enough of Middle Eastern flavours. Each bite feels like I’ve been teleported back in time to an age long ago. And in the beauty of it- these flavours are still used and cooked to this day. Recipes are handed down from generation to generation and special secrets are added along the way. The spices are just as beautiful and vibrant and the flavours never disappoint.

Here’s my own take on Stuffed Capsicums. You can always use Zucchinis or tomatoes. This is one I’ll be passing down to my children and I they no doubt will pass the recipe along to their families too.

Ingredients:

6-8 fresh Capsicums (a variety of colours looks pretty)

500g Organic Beef Mince

1 cup of Basmati and Wild Rice combined.

3 Tbsp Pine Nuts fried in a little butter

3 Tbsp Olive Pil

2 Large Onions finely chopped

4-6 Cloves of Garlic crushed

100 g Fresh Tomatoes crushed or canned (organic is best)

1 Grated Carrot

¼ tsp Tumeric

½ tsp Cumin

1 tsp Paprika

Salt and Pepper

Handful chopped fresh Coriander

Small handful chopped fresh Parsley

½ cup Chicken Broth

Tomato Broth

400g can chopped Tomatoes

2 cups of Chicken Stock (or as much as required to cover the vegetables half way up.)

Dash of Cumin

Dash of Paprika

2 cloves of Garlic crushed

Method:

Preheat oven to 185c

Cook rice according to packet instructions. Rinse. Set aside to cool

Slice the tops of the capsicums off and reserve to use later as a lid

Cut out the inner seeds and white flesh

Char around the outsides of all capsicums giving some nice black bits. (Adds a great flavour)

Heat oil in a pan

Cook onions and garlic

Once they look translucent add your spices and cook through

Add the beef and brown nicely

Season

In a bowl mix the meat mixture with the rice, stock, pine nuts and fresh herbs.

In a deep dish fill each capsicum leaving 1cm for filling to expand then place the capsicum lids on top

Combine tomato broth ingredients and mix well.

Drizzle all over the Capsicums, filling it up to half way. Add some filtered water if you need to.

Cover with foil and cook for 40-50minutes until nice and soft.

Serve with flatbread and garlic dip.

Enjoy

Jennifer X

Minestrone Soup

In my household I continuously have an internal debate over how to get a full amount of fruit and veggies into my babies bellies. My take on a Minestrone Soup has been a crowd pleaser in our home and ticks off so many vegetables it has me feeling all the warm and comforting feels as I watch everyone slurp it up!

Olive oil

2 brown onions diced

2 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

3 celery stalks sliced

2 large carrots diced

1 large sweet potato diced

3 (or 2 large) zucchini’s diced

3 tins of organic crushed tomatoes

A few stalks of kale shredded (or beans, spinach)

2 litres of my vegetable broth

250g peeled button mushrooms

2 400g tins of Cannelloni Beans (washed)

2 sprigs of rosemary roughly chopped

Parmesan cheese to serve

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Fry onions and garlic with Rosemary for 3 minutes.

Add carrots and celery for 3 minutes.

Transfer all ingredients (except beans) into a slow cooker and cook on a slow setting until done.

Too with more filtered water if too thick.

Once done add your washed beans for another 20 minutes.

Serve with Parmesan on top and fresh crusty Sourdough.

Enjoy

Jennifer X

The Sourdough Story

If you’re anything like my husband in ‘iso life’, you have tried, or at least thought about trying to make sourdough from scratch. We have done this whole process a few years ago, but this time round I’m feeling we’ve had more successes then fails. Through the countless youtube tutorials and a few very clever home bakers we have followed and watched the different processes we have found this is the best and easiest way to get the loaf we are happy with!

What you Need

  • Sourdough Starter – recipe below
    • glass jar
    • flour and water
    • rubber band
  • Good Bakers flour
  • Rye Flour
  • Filtered Water
  • Sea Salt
  • Kitchen Scale
  • Bench Scraper
  • Dutch Oven
  • Proofing Basket (or bowl and tea towel)
  • Razor (to score)

The Starter

With the little extra time you might have on your hands, why not make your starter from scratch, it is an easy process that just requires a little bit of effort and love. Now, there are so many starter recipes out there, and every chef is putting up their own, but to save the hassle the one that worked for us is as follows;

  • Day 1 – In a glass jar mix 1/2 Cup of good white flour with 1/2 cup of filtered water (make sure there are no clumps). Leave covered for 24 hours
  • Day 2 – You might start to see bubbles, either way, stir your starter for air to incorporate into it. Scrape down your sides and leave for another 24 hours
  • Day 3 – Check to see if you start to see any activity, it should start to be bubbly, it may have also risen over night, and smell fruity (these are good signs, it means that your starter is active). From now on you are going to start the process of discard and feed.

Once your starter it active, with a nice fruity tangy smell, you need to name it (James named his Gus) and care for it like you would any other member of the family. Your starter needs to be fed everyday, as well as allowed to poop (discard). As your starter is naturally fermenting it will grow after each time you feed it.

  • You are going to discard most of it except for about 2 tablespoons worth. See the end of this post for ideas to do with your discard.
  • Each day it is to be fed with equal parts flour and water. I usually do 50g flour and 50g filtered water (I have just started to also split the flour – White 25g and Rye 25g. I like the starter it makes with this combination)

Once you have an active, happy and healthy starter, you are ready to start making Sourdough. After a feed, you want it to double in size before using it for your sourdough.

Sourdough Starter rise on timelapse

Now that we have doing this with our starter for about a month, we are now getting a much more active starter, and therefore better sourdough then when we first started.

The ‘everyday’ Sourdough Bread

James has trialled so many different sourdough bread recipes and techniques, until he has put together the ‘can’t go wrong’, everyday recipe that works (usually) every-time. Every recipe will give you percentages of this, that and the other, however, if you follow the steps below, you can’t go wrong!

  1. You are going to start with 100g of your active sourdough starter and dissolve it into 350g of filtered water. (To know that your starter is active, you can do the ‘float test’. This is where you put a table spoon of your starter in a glass of water to see if it floats. If it does, your starter is active and ready to use.
    1. Use your hands to break up you starter into the water
    2. Feed your starter again to replace what you have removed. 50g flour, 50g filtered water
  2. Once you have done this, you will add 450g of good bakers white flour and 50g rye flour. Mix all these ingredients together into a soggy mess. It will be quite sticky, but that is how you want it.
    1. This means that for this recipe you are working with 90% White flour and 10% Rye, with 70% Hydration (Once you have perfect using this recipe, you can trial with different flours and percentages of both flour and hydration).
  3. Leave your soggy mess for 45mins covered with a tea towel. Once you come back to it, it will be much easier to work with and less sticky.
  4. After the 45 mins is up, you are going to add 10g salt and 25g more of filtered water. You are going to fold all ingredients together, 30 secs.
  5. Leave for 30 mins covered with a tea towel
    Now you are going to do a series of ‘stretch and folds’. This is going to accumulate 2 hours, plus an extra hour rest time.
    1. Stretch and Fold #1
    2. Leave 30 mins
    3. Stretch and Fold #2
    4. Leave 30 mins
    5. Stretch and Fold #3
    6. Leave 30 mins
    7. Stretch and Fold #4
    8. Leave for an hour
  6. Once your stretch and folds are over and your dough has rested in the bowl for an hour, you are going to do your first ‘shape’ – here you want to create some tension on the outer surface of the dough. This is harder to explain, and comes better with practice. Place your dough on your bench top with no flour. Shape the dough using your bench scraper. Before I had once i used my hands, but trust me you will want to invest in a Bench Scraper. During this process you will shape it into a ball to leave rest again.
  7. Leave your dough ball bench rest for 30 mins (again cover with your tea towel after a small dusting of flour so it doesn’t stick.
  8. Once 30 mins is up you are going to do a second shape, again creating some surface tension. Using your bench scraper (or hands) form your dough into a tight ball to the place into a proofing bowl/basket to proof in the fridge overnight.
    In the morning;
  9. Turn on your oven to its hottest temp with your Dutch Oven heating up with your oven. Once it is heated take out your dough from the fridge and place into the Dutch Oven on come parchment paper.
  10. Score your dough and garnish as desired.
  11. Place the lid on the Dutch Oven and cook covered for 20 mins. Then remove the lid to cook for a further 20 mins. (Now your oven might be different, so you might need to trial timing, you may prefer to leave it just a little longer then this like we usually do.
  12. Pull out of the oven and let sit to cool for at least 30 mins before you cut into it (if you can resist). Enjoy you first bite with nothing on it to enjoy the taste your sourdough from scratch!

Once you have perfected your every day loaf, why not try different flour quantities and hydration. Try spelt, wholemeal or something else. Add seeds in your dough or on top. Try including turmeric, or olives, or sun-dried tomatoes. This is the fun part, improvising with the recipe.

Also, give @thesourdoughstory a follow on instagram for James’ fails, wins and everything in between.

Excess Starter Recipes

As you are feeding your starter everyday, you are also needing to discard some of it as mentioned above (every living thing also needs to poop). There are so many things you can do with your discard if you are not wanting to throw it into the bin or compost. As we trial each recipe I will add them to my blog for easy go to’s!

We would also love to see your breads and sourdough recipes, so please tag us so we can see.

Sourdough Crumpets

Sourdough Pancakes

Sourdough Cinnamon Scrolls

Sourdough Pretzels

Yorkshire Puddings

Sourdough Pizza Dough

Sourdough Bagels

Sourdough Donuts

The Best Lasagna You Will Ever Make!

Boy oh boy I sure do love a good lasagna. the classic beef, chicken, vegetarian and one of the most decadent to date was Jamie Oliver’s Duck Lasagna! It was everything warming, silky smooth and the flavours were off the charts good. BUT it takes 4 hours to make! Something I’ve made only twice as a special celabratory meal. In 2010 I had the brilliant opportunity to travel through Italy with my girlfriend. We ate our way around the country for 3 weeks. And my goodness we came rolling home a little wiser on the culinary delights of Italian cooking. So I started cooking the Romans famously known lasagna, however I was still adding the classic Aussie beef. Fast forward a few years later and I met James, he was working with a lovely Italian lady. She invited us over for a party and naturally served us huge lasagna’s. They tasted just like the ones back in Tuscany. Light and delicate. How is a good lasagna supposed to look on a plate? Actually like a hot mess! Not thick and clumpy, not hard. Oozy and once it hits your mouth it’s almost as if you don’t need to even chew. Different parts of Italy make lasagna slightly differently. But in my humble opinion the way I’ve perfected mine is the best (like most nonnas ha!).
If you want the best lasagna you need to make your own lasagna sheets. Now, please don’t be scared! We’ve shown quite a few people how to make pasta now and they are surprised at how simple it really is!

So folks, this is as authentic as an Italian Lasagna can get (except I’m a mother so I add as many vegetables as possible and broth…. I love watching my children chow down on veggies they normally don’t eat).

Ingredients:

  • 800g grass fed, free range any red mince meat. Pork, Veal.
  • 800g grass fed, free range beef mince.
  • 5 Garlic cloves. (only buy fresh garlic thats Australian grown. Why? (Click here and see why…)
  • 2 onions.
  • 2 carrots.
  • 2 zucchini’s.
  • 2 Celery Stalks
  • (Now add anything else that might be about to turn or you’ve been dying to feed your kids… eggplant, broccoli, mushrooms etc)
  • 4 cans of Italian crushed Tomatoes (buy the ones from Italy)
  • 1/2 bottle of red wine
  • 2 Tbsp of dried Italian herbs
  • 2 cups of my housemade broth
  • A generous handful of fresh herbs;
    • Basil, Thyme, Rosemary
  • ALTERNATIVELY: If you can’t find any of these fresh herbs or they aren’t in season and a little pricey, you can use your oils.
    • 2 drops of Oregano
    • 2 drops of Basil
    • 2-3 drops of Rosemary
  • 150g Pitted Olives
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
  2. Blitz the veggies to almost a pulp except the onion.
  3. Dice the onions.
  4. Add a tablespoon of butter and Olive Oil to a large saucepan. Allow to melt.
  5. Add Onions and cook until transparent. 
  6. Add the crushed garlic, cook for 2 minutes. 
  7. Add the blitzed up veggies and cook until darkened in colour.
  8. Place the meat into the saucepan. Allow to brown. 
  9. Now add the tins of Italian Tomatoes, Broth, Red wine, Fresh Herbs, Dried herbs, Olives and the juice if you are using them. 
  10. Bring to the boil.
  11. Season well.
  12. Bring it back, cover and simmer for 3 hour hours.
  13. Once cooled add a little more fresh herbs so keep it vibrant in colours. 
  14. This is now ready to use for Bolognese or Lasagna. It makes a huge quantity for the freezer.
  15. Bechamél Sauce is the easiest thing in the world to make. Really you can find any easy recipe anywhere. James is a wizz at making the stuff. He says the perfect amount of nutmeg makes for a brilliant lasagna!
  16. To layer the lasagna use any size tray, we like to use lots of the disposable foil trays so it’s portioned perfectly and an easy pre made meal for those who are in need! No washing up necessary. 
  17. What you want to do is begin with a layer of meat sauce, pasta sheet, Béchamel and a good grating of cheddar and Parmesan Reggiano. Layer 3 times and top with the cheeses.
  18. Cook until golden and bubbly on the outside.

* note: this will make you multiple lasagnas. They freeze brilliantly for someone in need of for those busy sports evenings 😉

Jennifer X

p.s – Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for all things essential oils; more recipes, ideas, and tips.