Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pork and coriander stirfry with black rice

Black rice is packed with nutrients and adds a great favour to salads or stirfries. This is a simple stirfry with the added pleasure of black rice. I like cooking up black rice and freezing individual portions (50 gr) so that I have them ready for a quick meal when I have been at a meeting late. This recipe serves one and can be prepared very quickly so it provides a quick and nutritious meal if you come home late (1862 kJ).


1/2 cup broccoli flowerets
30 gr pak choi
1/2 red capsicum
1 baby carrot
1 pork butterfly steak (175 gr)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp sambal oelek
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
50g (raw measurement) cooked black rice
Olive oil


Quickly seal the pork on the grill basting with a little olive oil
Meanwhile chop the broccoli, pak choi, capsicum, carrot and coriander
Crush the garlic
Heat oil in a wok
Cut the pork into thin slices
Add vegetables, pork, coriander, garlic, ginger, and chilli to the wok
Stir fry quickly to desired crunchiness
Stir though the black rice until heated

Lentil and egg salad

The hot Melbourne summer this year called for lots of fresh, crisp salads.  This is one that I made for lunch one day.  I love the combination of the lentils, hard-boiled eggs and crisp vegetables.  There are so many lovely textures and colours. I often soak dry lentils overnight before I cook them but it is not strictly necessary.  They will just need cooking for longer. If you don't want to cook lentils, you can easily add canned lentils to the mix.  When I buy fresh basil leaves, I always seem to have some over.  I hang them to dry and enjoy the intense taste of them in salads or when grilling meat.


100gr French style lentils (puy)
12 red and yellow cherry tomatoes
1 Lebanese cucumber
1/2 red capsicum
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 clove Garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Dried basil leaves


Soak the lentils in a saucepan of water overnight
Remove water and rinse lentils
Add fresh water to the lentils and boil until tender
Boil the eggs
Cool the eggs
Strain lentils and add to a salad bowl
Peel and roughly chop eggs
Half cherry tomatoes
Roughly chop cucumber and red capsicum
Add egg and vegetables to the lentils
Add dried basil leaves to taste
Add crushed garlic, ginger, and olive oil
Toss all ingredients
Eat for lunch with a crusty loaf of bread

Almond chia pudding with raspberries

It is probably a misnomer to call this a pudding as that implies a bit more effort going into the making.  But it is a pudding. I am a chia seed novice and bought some for the first time this week.  So this is really playing.  I have seen people with fabulous chia breakfasts and that's what I wanted too.  It was yummy.  I'll be continuing to experiment.


1 cup almond milk
3 tbs chia seeds
1/4 cup raw almonds
45 gr frozen raspberries


Add chia seeds to almond milk in a bowl
Put in the refrigerator overnight to allow the seeds to absorb the almond milk
In the morning remove from the refrigerator
Add almonds and frozen raspberries
Sprinkle with cinnamon

Monday, February 10, 2014

Berry and yoghurt icy poles

I have had several people asking me recently when I was going to post here again!  It is good to know that I have readers who are hanging out for one of my recipes! Thanks for your interest.

During the long hot we have been having in Melbourne this summer, several times I have purchased fruit with the idea that I would make some healthy, no-sugar icy poles. But I have always eaten up the fruit before I made them.  This time was no different.

On Saturday when I was hunkered down at home on a 40c day, @kimtairi posted a photo on Instagram of a raspberry, lime and yoghurt icy pole that she had made and was eating. I was reminded that yet again I hadn't made any and had eaten the fresh fruit. But I had yoghurt and I had frozen berries!  This time, envious of Kim's snack I hopped to and got on with it immediately.  This is the end result.  I have been enjoying them since and they were especially refreshing on Sunday which was another 40c day.

This recipe makes about six icy poles, but the size of your mould will obviously have an impact.  If you prefer sweeter icy poles, you can add a teaspoon of honey to the mixture. Don't have icy pole moulds?  You can make them in muffin trays or patty pans or make bars in foil.  I am not sure if they still have them, but I got my moulds at Daiso a while ago and you can probably guess the price!


400 gr light Greek yoghurt
1 cup frozen berries


Place yoghurt and berries in food processor
Blend until combined and as smooth as you wish
Spoon into icy pole moulds
Place into freezer for 10 minutes without sticks
Remove from freezer and insert sticks/lids
Return to freezer
Freeze for at least five hours or until solid (overnight is good)
Loosen from mould by holding under warm water

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hallowe'en Soup

In Australia we don't tend to have fields of pumpkins lying waiting for us at this time of the year.  But when I made a pot of soup this week I realized that I must have been influenced by my recent indoctrination in the US.  This soup actually came about because I had a cauliflower that needed cooking, espied the butternut pumpkin and wondered how that would work. I cooked it as one would a standard vegetable soup and added cummin and turmeric as these are flavours I like with both cauliflower and pumpkin.  The amounts for the spices are indicative so please add what you would like.

It is my hommage from afar to the pumpkins in the US and to my fellow travellers who have allowed me to indulge in my fascination with the cult of the pumpkin. You know who you are!


1 butternut pumpkin
1/2 cauliflower
1 onion
Olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cummin
1 tsp turmeric
2 litres chicken stock
1 tbs Greek yoghurt per serve


Slice the onion
Peel and press the garlic
Peel and roughly chop the pumpkin
 Heat olive oil in a pan or pot large enough to contain the soup
Add onion and cook until soft
Add garlic, cummin and turmeric and mix
Add chopped pumpkin and stir
Break cauliflower into florets and add to mixture
Allow vegetables and spices to sweat for a while until flavours are mixed
Add the chicken stock
Bring to the boil
Reduce to simmer and simmer until all the vegetables are tender
Check for flavours and add more cummin and/or turmeric according to taste
If needed, simmer to incorporate extra spices
Blend until smooth
Place a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt in each serving bowl and add soup

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Butter Chicken

One of the real perks of working in Hawthorn was being able to go to my favourite student Indian place in Burwood Road (and previously in its tiny location in Glenferrie Road).  I loved their butter chicken.  I also used to be able to get a butter chicken simmer sauce from my local supermarket and make it at home.

Alas, I no longer work in Hawthorn and, what is worse, the simmer sauce is no longer on sale at my local supermarket. What to do?  Obviously I needed to work out how to make it myself.  I researched quite a few recipes but also found some Fern's butter chicken curry paste to use as a basis. I fear that traditional butter chicken is not a very healthy meal, but I tried to mitigate this by using light Greek yoghurt rather than the full fat yoghurt and cream I saw in some recipes, by leaving out the added salt and sugar, and by minimizing the amount of butter. I also left out the ground cashews because I didn't have any in the house.

I really enjoyed the resulting butter chicken. I served it with white rice and some vegetables (cauliflower, onion and green peas cooked with oil, turmeric and fenugreek and water). The vegetable recipe is for another time as I forgot to take any photos. But try the butter chicken recipe and let me know what you think.


1 kg skinless chicken thighs (about 7 thighs)
4 tsp Fern's butter chicken curry paste
1 lemon
300 gr light Greek yoghurt
100 gr unsalted butter
1 onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
50 gr tomato paste
400 gr crushed tomatoes


Combine the juice of the lemon and half the yoghurt and half the curry paste in a bowl
Roughly chop the chicken
Add to the mixture and mix thoroughly
Cover and marinade for at least 30 minutes
Preheat the oven to 220c
Place the chicken and marinade in a flat baking dish
Bake for 15 minutes and put aside
Dice the onion and crush the garlic
Melt the butter in a pad on the stovetop
Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent
Add the tomato paste and the rest of the curry paste and stir through
Add the crushed tomatoes and blend together thoroughly
Add the rest of the yoghurt and stir through
Finally add the chicken and marinade mixture and stir
Cover and simmer until all the ingredients have combined and the chicken is tender.
You can see the difference in colour and texture between the mixture before it has simmered and the final product at the head of  the post.

Meatballs with Middle Eastern flavour

Readers of this blog know that I really love meatballs in every shape and form and am constantly experimenting with different combinations of flavours. Recently I felt like some lamb ones and thought that Lebanese type flavours would be the way to go.  The resulting meatballs were indeed yummy.

450 gr minced lamb
1 onion
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp sumac
Couple of grinds of black pepper
1 tbs pine nuts
1 egg
Olive oil


Place lamb in bowl
Dice onion and add to lamb
Chop parsley roughly and add to mixture
Add spices, pine nuts and egg and mix
Combine mixture thoroughly using hands
Using a dessertspoon and hands form meatballs
Roll balls in flour
Heat olive oil in pan
Add meatballs to oil and seal quickly
Continue to cook in pan turning regularly until cooked through
Enjoy with salad or vegetables

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