Who doesn’t love Mexican night?! And who doesn’t love salsa. In my home I try to do a cook up every few Saturdays. I will clear my schedule to cook and get on top of sauces, stews, broths, pastes.
If you own a blender or processor this is the perfect way to eliminate those nasty numbers and sugars by making your own. Simply throw all ingredients into the processor and blend to your likening. Chunky or smooth!
Please note: I have a large family so I make everything in huge batches. Fresh salsa keeps in my fridge for 1 month.
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.
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
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
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
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.
I’ve been kicking myself for the past few years. I can count the amount of times I’ve cooked this dish on one hand. Don’t let that change your mind about trying this recipe. I should of cooked it A WHOLE LOT more! And I intend to. I’m not lying when I say, it’s the best lamb I have EVER tasted! It falls apart, it melts in your mouth and the flavours. My oh my! I’ve really made this dish my own. Don’t be scared to play around with it to create your own special version of this stunning recipe.
Okay, Let’s do this!!
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small brown onion, chopped
1/3 cup fresh coriander leaves
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons mild paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Organic Lamb shoulder (nice and large)
2 Red Onions quartered
2 Fresh quinces quartered
5 Fresh whole figs or 8 dried
Small handful of Apricots
Manuka or Raw Honey
Butter for frying
Preheat oven to 150c
Blend all Chermoula ingredients in a processor. Cut small incisions all over the lamb. Smother the lamb shoulder in the paste. Allow it to marinate overnight.
Using a large Dutch Oven add a few tablespoons of olive oil.
Brown the onions and quince. Once brown transfer to a plate.
Brown the outside of the lamb all over to seal in the flavours. Place onions, quince, apricots, figs all around the lamb. Fill the oven with filtered water up to 1/3 of the way. Making sure it’s not covering your lamb.
Drizzle with honey all over.
Place in oven and cook for 1 hour.
Take out, baste the lamb in its juices. Add a little more water if it looks dry. (Mine never does, I’m sure you’re on the right track.)
Drizzle a little more honey and cook until your liking.
Take out if the over, keep covered.
Fry a handful of almonds in butter until browned.
Scatter almonds, pomegranate seeds and some parsley and corriander leaves.
Entertaining for Breakfast doesn’t have to be a stressful event. In fact it is probably the best time to entertain. You’ve got the most energy of the day, it doesn’t take all day to prepare and guests don’t stay on until all hours of the night. Speaking honestly here, what sells it for me is it’s probably the most cost effective meal to entertain.
If you follow my little blog or instagram you’ll probably know just how often I say that the key to a relaxed, happy hosting experience is to prepare beforehand. I like to think outside the box for breakfasts. Things that aren’t your usual ‘bacon and eggs’ or croissants… oh wait, let’s be real here! Nothing beats a fresh baked croissant. But if you want your guests to feel totally spoilt think of a few easy things that will work together. An easy example is my cute little menu this morning as we entertained 6 adults and 8 children.
It looked like this:
Breakfast grazing board
Israeli Shashuka served with fresh sourdough.
Champagne and fresh Orange Juice
Passion fruit Kombucha
Really friends it was so simple to do. Once we put the kids to bed last night we set the table, I cooked up the shashuka to a point where I know the next day all I had to do was fry the eggs in the delicious mixture. As for a grazing board… I’m sure most of you have made them in your time. But this was really fun. Hop onto Pinterest and literally type the words in. You’ll be met with a wealth of ideas to create your own style. Finally I wanted to have something ready for upon arrival. Something that took a few seconds to put together and gave a wow factor. And here the recipe (embarrassingly) is!!
500g organic plain coconut yoghurt (or any type you like)
Slices of fresh figs.
1/3 cup Organic honey
1/3 cup Organic granola or muesli
Keep fresh fig slices aside. Mix other ingredients.
Place a fig gently into the mould. Build the mixture around it, place one more sliced fig into the mould. Completely fill mixture to the top.
Serve on a platter of your choice with scattered nuts and a drizzle of honey.
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).
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 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)
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
Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
Blitz the veggies to almost a pulp except the onion.
Dice the onions.
Add a tablespoon of butter and Olive Oil to a large saucepan. Allow to melt.
Add Onions and cook until transparent.
Add the crushed garlic, cook for 2 minutes.
Add the blitzed up veggies and cook until darkened in colour.
Place the meat into the saucepan. Allow to brown.
Now add the tins of Italian Tomatoes, Broth, Red wine, Fresh Herbs, Dried herbs, Olives and the juice if you are using them.
Bring to the boil.
Bring it back, cover and simmer for 3 hour hours.
Once cooled add a little more fresh herbs so keep it vibrant in colours.
This is now ready to use for Bolognese or Lasagna. It makes a huge quantity for the freezer.
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!
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.
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.
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 😉
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Alrighty, this is a winner of an idea. You can place the paste in a jar and throw a ribbon around it… or maybe not even go that far. And BOOM, a delicious homemade gift! Or keep it in the fridge for a week to use. Alternatively, this is my favourite. Freeze it up in your ice cube trays! That is the perfect portion to add into the pan to make a fast curry. I have made curry’s a lot more involved and they have been out of this world but for a weeknight meal, who has the time! Below are a few of my top picks. Remember this is a quick meal and perfect for the winter go to’s! I haven’t been able to find any recipe or play on a few that beats Jamie Olivers Red Curry. Look it up and add this to your curry repertoire.
Green Curry Paste
2-4 Large green chillies (the little ones are super hot!).
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 small Brown Onion
1 tbs Garlic
Small Bunch of Coriander leaves including their stalks
2 tsp grated Lime peel
Juice of 1 Lime
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground Coriander
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp Lemongrass
1 tsp peeled Ginger
2 tsp Fish Sauce
1 tsp ground Tumeric
1 tsp oil
Yellow Curry Paste
I once made this paste for friends with 40 dried chillies!!!! Oh my, I nearly died when we cooked with it. So let’s say a few less and you might get the kids on board also.
10 small dried red Chilli’s. Soak chillies in a bowl for 3 minutes.
A good pinch of Salt
4 cloves of Garlic
1 lemongrass stalk. Peel off the outer layer and cut off the hard ends.
6 inch piece of Ginger, peeled, roughly chopped.
2 tsp of Fish Sauce
2 tbps Curry Powder
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Tumeric
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of water.
Blitz Everything, adding a little more oil, salt, juice, chilli to taste. Play around with each recipe and make it your own!