Follow me on my wonderful adventures, sourcing the best produce, using the best ingredients to make the most marvelous of dishes with a pinch of fun and travel on the side. I am passionate about using my combination steam oven so you will find loads of recipes you can use in a combination steam oven.


Steamed mussels Italian style with pasta

Steamed Mussels

INGREDIENTS

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional
2kg mussels

4 cloves garlic

2 shallots

3 sprigs parsley

150ml white wine

150ml cream

1 Birdseye chilli (optional)

 

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional

To serve:

8 slices toasted crusty bread

3 sprig parsley

1 lemon

40grams butter

  1. Pre heat combination steam oven to full steam.
  2. Remove beard from mussels allow sitting in cold water for 3 minutes rinse thoroughly.
  3. Place mussels in a deep dish and sprinkle with garlic, shallot, parsley, salt and pepper (optional Birdseye chili), Drizzle over the wine and cream sauce.
  4. Steam for 12-18minutes until all mussel shells open (do not eat the mussels that do not open).
  5. Serve in 4 bowls, sprinkle with parsley, add a lemon wedge and crusty bread and butter.

    Steamed mussels Italian style with pasta

    Steamed mussels Italian style with pasta

Options

For Thai flavoured mussels try using a 400ml can of coconut milk (no cream), chilli and lemongrass

For Spanish flavoured mussels use a can of tomatoes (no cream) and chorizo

For Italian flavoured mussels use a 400ml can of tomatoes (omit cream) and add 1Tb of mixed basil and oregano

For a more filling meal, cook up 100grams of pasta per person and toss the sauce and mussels through the pasta.

Steamed Italian style mussels with pasta

Steamed Italian style mussels with pasta

Chia pudding

Chia pudding 


This wonderful dish can be served as breakfast or dessert. You would never guess it is sugar and gluten free. No cooking required!

If that wasn’t good enough, chia seeds are an excellent source of dietary fibre and Omega 3’s.


 

gluten free and sugar free
400ml coconut milk

1 cup chia seeds

4Tb honey

1cm length vanilla bean scraped

Mix all ingredients together and allow to set in the fridge for 20 minutes.

The figs become gorgeous and sticky when reduced with honey

Toppings:

Caramelised fig and ginger

100g dried figs sliced

2Tb honey

1cm length of a vanilla bean

3/4 cup water

1cm piece ginger

1Tb slivered almonds

Place all ingredients into a pot over a low heat and allow to simmer. Thicken for 5-10minutes.

Almonds add texture to the chia pudding

Scrape vanilla seeds into mixture.

Remove ginger

Allow to cool.

The syrup from the figs disperses throughout the pudding

Or 

caramelised fig and almond chia pudding

Blackberry and mixed seeds and nuts

4Tb mixed seed and nuts. E.g., sunflower seeds, pepitas and pine nuts.

1 cup blackberries

dessert parfait

To assemble

layer the ingredients into 4 medium glasses

Place 1/8 of the chia mixture into the bottom of each glass.

Place 1/8 of a fruit filling of your choice on top of the chia mixture in each glass.

Place 1/8 of chia mixture on top of the fruit.

Top with 1/8 of the fruit filling. Sprinkle nuts of top.

Chia pudding

Blueberry hand pies

Delicious blueberry tart

Blueberry hand pies   

Ingredients:

2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup white sugar

¾ cup of water

2 Tb cornflour

2 pieces thawed puff pastry, around 6 x 10 inches

2Tb milk

  1. Dissolve cornflour with 2Tb until it is a smooth paste. Combine the blueberries, water, sugar, cornflour mixture into a small sauce pan, on a medium heat bring to a gentle simmer, allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from hotplate, place into a bowl and allow to cool.
  3. Heat combination steam oven to quarter steam and heat/25% steam 180c and line a tray with baking paper or grease 4 small (4cm) pie dishes.
  4. Cut the puff pastry into 8 even sized pieces, spoon blueberry mixture into the centre of the pastry leaving a 1cm border. Brush pastry with milk, bake for 15-20minutes until the pastry is golden brown.Individual hand pies - yum

OR

  1. Lightly grease pie dishes cut a round of pastry to fit the dish, lightly press down, cut strips of pastry to create the lattice pattern. Spoon mixture into 4 pie dishes, lay 2 piece of pastry across the pies horizontally. Vertically alternate up and over the horizontal pastry pieces to achieve the lattice pattern. Brush pastry with milk, bake for 18-23minutes until pastry is golden brown.
  2. Serve with cream or ice cream, dust with icing sugar if you dare!Individual mini blueberry pie served with freshly whipped cream Gorgeous blueberry pies
Emperor's Nasi Goreng

Last minute entertaining made easy with Five Tastes make at home meals!

Last minute entertaining made easy with Five Tastes make at home meals!

Emperor's Nasi Goreng

Having invited dinner guests with very short notice, I was confronted with the dilemma of what to cook for them with the minimal time I had.  I went into overdrive wondering about what last minute meals I could plan.  Of course, whatever I chose would need to knock their socks off. So I headed to my local supermarket and grabbed some fresh seafood and a couple of Five Tastes make at home meals. I wanted to impress my guests and knew the quality and flavours of Five Tastes would help me achieve that.

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Adding my own creative flair, I added a few bits and pieces to two of the meal packs, the result?Julienne snow peas used as a garnish

The Emperor’s Nasi Goreng with Balmain bug tails and prawns and The King’s Laksa with prawns, scallops and fresh curry leaves.

I love incorporating seafood as Sydney has access to the best range of fresh wild caught seafood.

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The Nasi Goreng packet serves three, however I used it as an entrée for four people. I added 400 grams of Balmain bug tails and 400 grams of prawns as well as an egg for each serving. Simply fry the Balmain bug tails and prawns for 2 minutes each side and with the other meats on the packet instructions. The servings were more than ample.

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The Emperors Nasi Goreng was unctuous, spicy and gratifying.  Given my goal of knocking the socks off my guests, I added some extra red and green chili to the mix and garnished with julienne snow peas. May I say, my mission was certainly accomplished!

Emperor's Nasi Goreng

The Laksa serves four.  I added 500 grams of prawns and 300 grams of scallops to the mix. Cook the scallops for 2 minutes each side and add with the prawns as per instructions. The King’s Laksa was heart warming, satisfying, yet overwhelmingly moreish, the dish was garnished with the prawns, julienne snow peas and extra chilli. The added chili and fresh curry leaves made for a pleasantly piquant dish.

King Prawn Laksa

Five Tastes meal kits with some fresh ingredients saved me time. My guests didn’t even notice!

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Omnivoreworldtour

Omnivore world tour Sydney – the young cuisine festival

Omnivoreworldtour
What an experience to learn, watch, listen, touch and try foods produced by some of the most talented chefs in Australia and the globe. It was a fantastic opportunity to absorb the knowledge and passion displayed by some of the best young chefs in the world.

Coupe de Pates Cannelle

Bandoit lightly sparkling water

Omnivore is the cutting edge of modern young Australian cuisine. Originating in France, the Omnivore festival has returned to Australia for its second year.Coupe de Pates fruit and custard pasties

These talented young chefs brought a new way of thinking and a clear path of the evolution of Australian cuisine.

Coupe de Pates MacaronAll chefs shared the same vision, looking to the past to take flavours and skills to reinvent our cuisine.

Coupe de Pates Macarons

Plenty of delicious pastries and decadent marshmallows, petit fours, Macarons from Coupe de Pates, Bandoit and Evian water was available to sample.evian

Carla Jones: 4 Fourteen

Carla Jones 4Fourteen and I

Demonstrated how to produce a pork terrine using all parts of the pig. It was the best terrine I have ever tasted.

Pork Terrine

Josh and Julie Niland: Fish FaceJosh with the biggest piece of Tuna I have ever seen

Demonstrated how at Fish Face they use the whole fish in ‘fin to tail’ cooking and produced a delectable tuna salad.Tuna salad with puffed burgal

Gita Seaton who came all the way from Canada.Hush puppies with homemade spicy salsa

Brought to us a little soul food and made each of us a Hush Puppy and demonstrated how to cure fish. It was truly amazing to hear how she established herself by starting pop up diners in convenience stores !Cured kingfish on celery and kaffir puree

Patrick Friesen: Papi ChuloPatrick Friesen and I

An amazing character who brought a cheeky sense of humour to the culinary arts. He demonstrated how to make a gorgeous squid salad with crunchy potatoes. He shared with us his passion for cooking, quality produce and excellent flavours.  He proudly uses Australian iron bark at Papi Chulo.Squid salad with sorrel and dill dressing

Paul Farag: Four in Hand

Taught us how to fillet a flat fish and how to use all parts of the fish to minimise wastage. At For in Hand they use the whole fish from head to tail. He demonstrated how to perfectly pan fry fish  and make a sorrel and apple emulsion sauce.

Paul Farag flounder with a sorrel and apple emulsion

Nathan Sasi: NomadNathan Sasi demonstrating how to make mortadella

Demonstrated and produced one of Nomad’s famous charcuteries, the mortadella. His passion for creating charcuteries from scratch using and reinventing forgotten skills.Coupe de Pates Cannelle

Omnivore has finished for 2014 so keep your eyes peeled for 2015. The Omnivore festival is not one to be missed.



Coupe de Pates canelle with silver leaf

Soft shell crab roll

Are you looking for a long weekend activity that encapsulates all that is great about Sydney?

Give this range of activities a try, activities can be done separately. Best part about it, 2 of the activities are free!

Try taking the Clovelly to Coogee walk followed by a bite to eat and a couple of drinks at the recently renovated Coogee Pavilion.

One of Sydney's beautiful beaches

A walk is a great way to catch up with friends or entertaining the kids whilst getting your daily dose of Vitamin D. Don’t forget to slip, slop, slap and wrap.

The coastal walk from Clovelly in Coogee is approximately 1.8km and can be done in 45-50 minutes, with a few stairs and inclines along the way.

It is a fabulous and scenic walk with an amazing view of the east coast of Sydney.  If you wish, you can enjoy a snorkel at Clovelly.

Once you arrive to the Coogee Pavilion you will feel like you have been swept away to a Greek Island with the open plan white and blue décor.

Onion rings at the Coogee Pavillion

You can grab a fresh juice, a Will and Co coffee, a pizza by the Rosso Pomidoro boys or a delicious bar snack.

Soft shell crab roll

I was too tempted by the mini soft shell crab roll, the hand cut onions ring both were superb. I grabbed a quick coffee for energy for the walk home, a deliciously smooth coffee blend.


         A Will and Co cappuccinoWill and Co coffee

Mexican plate

Dining experience review: Forage Marrickville an Inner West delight

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Upon arrival I was bombarded with the smell of ground coffee and sweet yeast. Our hostess greeted us with a warm welcome.

The hostess diligently explained the menu to us. Forage had numerous choices on the breakfast menu.  My dining partner selected the big breakfast, eggs scrambled. I selected the Mexican. The hostess politely warned me ‘it’s hot’.

First arrived my cup of perfectly crafted Grinders organic coffee, Forage set a bench mark of excellence in its coffee, very smooth no acidic tones a rich full taste with a nutty slightly cocoa aftertaste.

Grinders organic coffee

Our breakfast plates arrived, both of generous portions. The Mexican had pulled pork, salsa, guacamole, eggs and tortillas. My hostess was right, my dish came with high visibility of chillies in the salsa, guacamole and eggs made me a little cautious as to how hot this Mexican plate would be.

Mexican plate
My taste buds went into an instant flurry of excitement, it was hot, spicy, smooth and with hint of sweetness from the pork it was the most perfect match of flavours on a breakfast plate.
For those who love a little spice, the mixture of chili’s in the dish offered different graduations and onsets of heat.

The big breakfast

Forage is an excellent Inner West café. The Mexican is worth a try for the brave, definitely not for the faint hearted.

Forage 181 Marrickville Rd Marrickville NSW 2204

Cherry Strudel with chocolate berry ganache

Smooth sweetened ricotta studded with cherries, wrapped up in light and flaky filo pastry, coated in a chocolate cherry sauce each mouthful of this dessert is an exquisite pleasure.

Ingredients

1 375gram can cherries in syrup

300grams ricotta cheese

4tb caster sugar

3 sheets filo pastry

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp lemon zest

2Tb white chocolate melts

¼ tsp cinnamon

50grams butter melted

Sauce

Cherry sugar syrup (from canned cherries)

150ml cream

100grams chocolate melts

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, spray with oil spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and lemon zest, mix well. Add half cherries and stir until combine.
  3. Lay a piece pastry horizontal on a clean bench, brush with melted butter, lay another piece of pastry on top, continue with remaining layers of pastry.
  4. Form the ricotta mixture into a log. Place on the filo pastry 2cm from the top and 2cm from each side at the end horizontally furthest away from you, press white chocolate melts into the mixture. Fold the pastry towards you and either side across the centre, brush pastry with butter and roll towards you.
  5. Place onto baking sheet, brush with butter, bake for 15-18minutes until pastry is golden brown.
  6. Make the sauce while the strudel is cooking. Place the liquid from the can into a small saucepan, place on a medium heat and allow to simmer and to reduce slightly. Add cream cook for 2minutes; add chocolate keep on cooktop until melted add remaining cherries and take off the heat.
  7. Allow strudel to cook for a few minutes before serving. Serve strudel with lashings of sauce and ice cream if you dare.

 

 

 

Ricotta pesto tart

Ricotta pesto Tart

Ricotta pesto tart

This delicious tart has the velvety smoothness of ricotta cheese, with the crunch of the nuts in the basil pesto, as you cut through the smooth layer of ricotta and pesto you crack the layers of light, fluffy and crunchy puff pastry. Each mouthful has a fabulous combination of flavours and textures, the sharpness of the basil cuts through the creaminess of the ricotta.

Adding a little steam to the cooking process creates, light, fluffy and golden pastry.

Ricotta pesto tart

Serves 4

1 piece puff pastry

4Tb basil pesto

12 Tb ricotta cheese

8 cherry tomatoes

1 shallot

Salt and pepper

Side salad to serve (if desired)

  1. Preheat combination steam oven to 180oC, quarter steam and heat /25% humidity.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper and spray with oil spray.Cut tomatoes into quarters, finely chop shallots.
  3. Cut Pastry into 4 even squares, place onto bake sheet. Place 1Tb basil pesto in the centre of each square, spread out leaving a 1cm edge, sprinkle with shallots. Place 3Tb ricotta cheese on each square and spread out leaving a 1cm edge. Scatter cherry tomatoes on top of each tart, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake in preheated combination steam oven for 15minutes.
  5. Serve with a side salad if desired.
Baklava served with Persian Fairy Floss

Baklava Fingers

Baklava Fingers

This sumptuous desert of sweetened walnuts encased in light and flaky filo pastry, soaked in a sweet honey syrup, is a great companion with a cup of tea.

Baklava served with Persian Fairy Floss500g walnuts

2T soft brown sugar

1Tb honey

1tsp ground cinnamon

1Tb lemon zest

20g butter, melted

10 sheets filo pastry

50g butter, melted

Syrup

1 cup sugar

2 T honey

Method

To serve:

pink Persian fairy floss

  1. Pre heat oven to 180c, line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, honey, lemon zest and butter into small bowl of a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped (if you do not have a food processor chop the walnuts as finely as possible with a knife).
  3. Remove one sheet of filo and cover the rest to prevent drying out. Place the sheet of filo onto workbench and brush with melted butter, place another sheet of pastry on top.
  4. Cut sheet into 2 strips for large fingers or 2 strips for smaller fingers.
  5. Divide mixture into 10, and shape into a log, it should be 2/3 of the length of the pastry. Place a log of mixture in the centre of the pastry.
  6. Fold edges over the nut mixture, brush length of pastry with butter roll.
  7. Brush top with a little more butter and dust cinnamon over, place onto lined tray and repeat with remaining mixture.
  8. To make the syrup, combine the sugar, honey and ½ cup water in a small saucepan. Stir for one minute, allow to reach a boil then reduce temperature to a simmer, simmer for 5 minutes. Pour syrup over baklava fingers.
  9. Serve fingers individually with Persian fairy floss.


baklava fingers before cooking

 

Baklava before being baked

baklava fresh out of the ovenBaklava fresh out of the oven

Baklava served with Persian Fairy Floss

Baklava served with pink Persian Fairy Floss