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.
There is never a dull moment when dining at Prato. In the extra large café, the constant bustle of clients can be heard. The wait staff are uber friendly and attentive that they even remember you name and order. The kitchen staff busy creating, baking and preserving.
The décor is warm, cosy and has a gorgeous garden outlook from the back veranda; it can, however, get a little noisy when it is a full house.
Most of Prato’s products are made in house, the bread, kefir, muesli, cakes and cookies just to name a few! Campos coffee is served and perfectly crafted each time.
The food at Prato is superb! Every dish is impeccably seasoned and presented; the passion the kitchen team has for food is evident in each dish that is served. The banana bread is the cake of choice, made on sight and super delish!
Sourdough is made on site, the pistachio and fruit loaf is perfect, bacon is house smoked, kefir is fermented on sight, the guys in the kitchen are passionate about creating good quality whole food.
What is Prato missing? A big breakfast plate – the quintessential Sunday option. You can assemble your own by ordering the eggs and adding extra’s as you wish. Prato’s service can be a little sluggish, during busy periods.
I am a Prato breakfast/brunch fan; it is my go to place in the Inner West. Parking is ample and untimed.
White chocolate and Cinnamon Palmiers
Palmiers are bites sized pastries that have a heart shape, light and sweet morsels of sweet goodness, when baking the sugar caramelizes adding a rich flavor to these little pastry bites. These are a great to whip up when hosting and afternoon tea. Cinnamon and white chocolate is a perfect flavor combination. These light and fluffy pastries will set your taste buds into over drive mode. Best of all they can be made ahead and placed in the freezer and baked as required (after step 4).
The addition of steam helps us achieve that beautiful ‘puffy’ flaky pastry’, if you do not have a combination steam oven fan bake at 180C for a couple of extra minutes.
2 sheets puff pastry
2Tb brown sugar
120grams white chocolate
- Preheat combination steam oven to 180C quarter steam or standard convection over to 180C fan bake. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- Sprinkle ingredients evenly over 2 sheets of pastry.
- Fold the left side and right side of the pastry in to the centre and lightly press, fold the left side and the right side of the pastry in half again.
- Cut into 1cm lengths. Place onto baking trays with a 1cm gap between palmiers.
- Bake for 12 minutes or until pastry is golden.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper. Melt white chocolate, dip half of each palmier into white chocolate, place onto the baking paper and allow to cool.
Serve with tea of coffee or as a part of a high tea platter.
Salt ‘n pepper squid
This extraordinary seafood dish is a crowd favorite. It is easy to prepare, it cooks very quickly, you will need to have all of your equipment ready. Salt ‘n pepper squid is suitable for an entree or main it can even be served as a canape!
Most seafood outlets will sell the squid clean or clean it for you. Cleaning squid isn’t complex, it can get a little messy.
To get your squid to curl make sure you score the inside.
Pieces can be cut into the size of your choice, I usually aim to cut a squid in half and to get 5 pieces from each half (10 per squid) this is a substantial portion when served with salad/fries. If you are making a large quantity, line a tray with baking paper and pre heat the oven to 140C to keep squid warm, this is a handy trick if you are preparing the squid for a dinner party !
The homemade aioli is moorish and surprisingly simple, made with a hand held blender and a tall narrow jug in a couple of seconds !
4 squid tubes
½ cup flour
½ tsp chili
100grams mixed lettuce
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ lemon, juice only
1 pinch cayenne pepper
- Cut each squid hood in half lengthways. Using a sharp knife score inside in a criss-cross pattern. Cut each piece in half lengthways. Cut each strip crossways into 4 pieces. Pat dry with paper towel.
- Heat 1cm of vegetable oil in a wok or frypan over medium-high heat.
- Combine flour, pepper, salt and chilli in a shallow dish. Lightly toss squid in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Cook, turning, for 2 minutes or until light golden.
- Serve with salad greens and lemon wedges.
- Crush the garlic extremely well, then add the egg yolk and salt. Whisk together until well combined.
- Add olive oil and garlic into a jug, pulse with a stick mixer until garlic is pureed. Add remaining ingredients, turn the stick mixer on whilst it is submerged and pull the stick mixer towards you slowly. The aoili is done !
Cinnamon churros are delicious golden strips of deep fried dough, tossed in cinnamon sugar, what’s not to love !!!You can serve them as is or with a side of Nutella, melted chocolate or caramel sauce.
They can be whipped up in no time at all. To squeeze them into a shape you will need a piping bag with a star nozzle, most large chain supermarkets supply these.
Always use metal tongs to submerge the churros into hot oil to save any splash back burns.
1/3 cup caster sugar, plus 1 Tbsp extra
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup plain flour
2 litres vegetable oil, to deep-fry
- Combine 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon in a shallow plate. Place a wire rack over a baking tray. Line another baking tray with baking paper.
- Combine 1 cup water, olive oil and extra sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Add flour all at once, stirring until it forms a ball and comes away from sides of pan. Remove from heat.
- Heat vegetable oil to 180C in a deep fryer or large, deep saucepan over high heat (test with the a small amount of the dough if it bubbles the oil is ready).
- Transfer dough to a strong fabric piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm star tube. Pipe warm dough on the lined tray into even lengths (this is up to you, long sticks, bites, S’s or U shapes).
- Carefully transfer about 4 lengths of dough to the hot oil. Cook for 3-5 mins or until churros are golden and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to transfer churros to the wire rack to drain for 30 secs, then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining dough and sugar mixture.
Serve churros tossed in cinnamon or if you are feeling extra wicked try some melted chocolate or Nutella !
Vegetarian sushi is a great meal or snack for any age. Kids really enjoy eating sushi and making it. It can be made into little pieces that they can easily grab. Children love being engaged in the production of a meal. Sushi is a great recipe for children to help with as the degree of difficulty is easily differentiated, children can help chop or simply roll the sushi.
215g (1 cup) koshihikari rice
375ml (1 1/2 cups) water
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
4 nori sheets
1/2 small ripe avocado, peeled, mashed
1/2 small Lebanese cucumber, cut into thin strips
1/2 small red capsicum, deseeded, cut into thin strips
1/2 carrot cut into thin strips
Soy sauce and wasabi, to serve
- Combine the rice and water in a large saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to very low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Place the rice in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon or rice paddle to break up any lumps. Gradually add the vinegar and gently fold through the rice (the rice shouldn’t become too wet). Set aside, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until completely cool.
- Place a nori sheet, shiny-side down, on a clean work surface. Use wet hands to spread one-quarter of the rice mixture over half the nori sheet, leaving a 2cm-wide border along the edge closest to you. Spread one-quarter of the avocado across the centre of the rice. Arrange one-quarter of the capsicum and cucumber across the avocado and a piece of carrot. Roll up firmly to enclose filling. Brush edge of nori with warm water to seal. Repeat with remaining nori, rice, avocado, capsicum, cucumber and carrot. Set rolls aside, seam-side down, for 5 minutes to rest.
To serve: Cut each roll into 6 pieces. Serve with soy sauce.
Taste of Sydney is one of Sydney’s premier foodie events !
Many of the best restaurants and local fine food purveyors will be in Centennial Parklands from March 12th-16th.
If you would like to win 2 free tickets to the opening night of Taste of Sydney click the link below !
Remember you’ve got to be in it to win it !
These little cups of awesomeness will blow your tastebuds away. Deliciously light and fluffy. The recipe is versatile, you can top with any flavour you desire. I have chosen passionfruit, you could try chocolate nutella, chocolate, mars bar, oreo, the options are endless.
Best of all these cheesecake parfaits look awesome. These were made in plastic glasses to take to a BBQ, if you are travelling with these cheesecake cups add the topping and cream just before serving.
50g plain biscuits, finely crushed
15g unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100g cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
125ml (1/2 cup) thickened cream
60ml passionfruit pulp
Optional: Double cream, to serve
- Combine the biscuit crumbs, butter and cinnamon in small bowl. Divide half the biscuit mixture between four 125-180ml (1/2-3/4C) capacity serving glasses or ramekins and press firmly to cover the base. Place in the fridge to chill.
- Use an electric beater to beat the cream cheese, sugar, milk and vanilla in bowl until very soft.
- In a separate bowl, beat the cream in another bowl until soft peaks form. Fold into the cream into the cheese mixture in 2 batches.
- Spread half the cream cheese mixture gently over the biscuit mixture. Top with the remaining biscuit mixture, then the remaining cream cheese mixture.
- Pour the passionfruit mixture over the cheesecakes.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until you are ready to consume.
Option: to serve with an dollop of double cream
Mini chocolate bundt cakes with Nutella ganache
These little bundts are super adorable, rich, nutty and mega chocolaty! Baby bundts are only small so they cook super quickly, look super cute and the portion size is perfect for such a rich chocolate cake!
Nuttella ganache, explains itself really !!
200grams dark chocolate
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
3/4 C plain flour (sifted)
4Tb cocoa powder
4Tb white chocolate bits
½ cup milk chocolate
- Place butter, sugar and chocolate into a small saucepan heat on low and allow to melt, stir, set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix eggs and vanilla, add melted butter mixture and stir to combine. Add flour and cocoa stir to combine.
- Fill bundt pans with the brownie mixture, leaving 1cm between the top of the pan. Sprinkle each bundt with a couple of white chocolate bits.
- Bake for 12-14minutes.
- Ganache: Place the cream into a small saucepan, heat on low until warm, remove from heat add Nutella and chocolate stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool. The ganache will go very hard as cooled you can always pipe when stiff or zap in the microwave to cool down.
Invert baby bundts, allow to cool or serve warm dust with icing sugar fill with Nutella ganache!
These delicious fudgy brownies have been made in one bowl. I baked the brownies with a hint of steam. Baking with a little steam keeps your baked goods nice and moist. If you do not own a combination steam oven you can bake these in a standard convection oven at the same temperature, they may require a couple of extra minutes in the oven.
200g dark chocolate
50grams white chocolate melts
250grams white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
170grams plain flour
1Tb icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C quarter steam and heat/25% humidity. Grease and line the base of a 20cm square pan. Roughly chop the dark chocolate.
- Melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave, add the sugar cocoa and vanilla still until well combined, add the dark chocolate and stir until it is all dissolved.
- Add the eggs into the bowl one at a time, stirring well after each addition, add the white chocolate melts. Sift the flour and cocoa into the mixture and mix well.
- Pour mixture into lined pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Leave to cool in the pan, then cut into squares and sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.
Optional: Add 100 grams chopped walnuts, or 50 grams chopped jersey caramels, add these in step 3.
Makes 12 generous pieces
Pad See Ew
This quick and easy stir fry dish will satisfy the fussiest of eaters. If you like a little spice, chop up some chili and add it in with the garlic and shallots (step 4).
This meal will be on the table within 20 minutes, so you’ll never need to go for take out again. This recipe serves 2, it can easily be multiplied to serve a large number of people.
200 grams fresh rice noodles
1Tb Kecap Manis
1Tb oyster sauce
1TB soy sauce
1 ½ Tb peanut oil
100 grams sliced beef
1 clove garlic
2 stems Chinese broccoli
60 grams (1 Cup bean sprouts)
Salt and pepper
- Prepare the noodles following packet directions. Combine the Kecap Manis, oyster sauce and soy sauce in a small bowl. Chop Chinese broccoli into 2cm pieces. Finely chop garlic and shallot.
- Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper.
- Heat one-third of the oil in a wok/fry pan over high heat. Stir-fry half the beef for 2 minutes or until browned. Repeat with half the remaining oil and the remaining beef, reheating the wok between batches.
- Heat the remaining oil in the wok. Stir-fry the garlic and shallot for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add Chinese broccoli and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the noodles, Kecap Manis mixture, beef, egg and pepper. Cook, tossing, for 2 minutes or until the egg is cooked and the sauce reduces slightly. Top with the bean sprouts.