Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chrissy Drinks

tried on Christmas day

2009 Debortoli Windy Peak Pinot Noir, 2 for $20, 12.5% alc
From their Victorian operation, I do believe. I picked this wine as I knew I was driving after lunch, so decided on a lower alcohol red that would go with the obligatory ham.  Whilst I am no pinot afficionado, I reckon this was bang on what I wanted from Santa.  A nice, soft, easy drinking red wine, with a bit of red fruits, a whiff of something more complex, all wrapped in a nice little bit of vanillary oak.  It's low alcohol kept me in good shape for the evening's drinking.

4 Pines Pale Ale, sample, unknown alc.

I didn't manage to check the finer details of the ales, but I'd say this is a fair pale ale, without hitting any great heights.  It's reasonably bitter, with a touch of wheat to assist in palate roundness, and even a little sweetness.  Hops are present without overloading the package.  Worth trying for lovers of English style pale ale.

Mountaingoat Hightail Ale, sample, ? alc

An amberish style ale, with a touch of hop for bitterness. More a malt driven style with dryish finish.  Suitable for lovers of the James Squire amber and golden ales

Williams Pale Ale, sample

Have tried this a few times, really dig this beer.  Has a touch of wheat in the grain bill, the organic malt adds a European style to the ale, it appears to be almost like a Belgian wit beer without the cloudiness.  There is lemon on the nose, but palate reminds me of oranges, as if it has been infused with a little orange peel, Hoegaarden style.  Whilst not the same, it takes me back to sipping ales in a pub in Ghent.

4 Pines Stout, sample

I liken this to a roast malt porter, no as much chocolate as a porter, but not as bitter as a true stout.  Roast malt character is definitely present, but to be as good as the best, needs more hop aroma and hop bitterness as it goes down.  Still, not bad.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Invention Test: How to bake a butter cake with no butter!!

Ok, this came from an idea i had to make a basic butter cake, after talking to Saskia in Belgium.  But looking thru the fridge i couldn't see any butter. But i have grape seed oil, so i decided to use that instead.

Normally in a butter cake you would cream the butter and sugar together in the first step. but it's a little hard to do that with oil, so i decided to use egg yolks, 3 in fact.  The remaining egg whites could be used at the end of the recipe to lighten the batter.

The recipe I came up with:

3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup of castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups of sifted soft plain flour + 2 tsp baking powder (or use 2 cups of self raising flour and no b.p.)
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
pinch salt
1 cup of milk
150ml grape seed oil (or neutral vegetable oil such as canola)

cream sugar and egg yolks together
add vegetable oil, vanilla and mix
sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and bicarb soda. mix well
Add cup of milk, slowly mixing through until the batter is smooth and no lumps
Fold in softly beaten egg whites using a large metal spoon
Pour into a greased cake tin, about 20cm in diameter
Bake for 50 minutes at 170deg

butter topping

i managed to find a small knob of butter in the back of the fridge, so may as well use it to top the cake
try this
2 tbsp butter
2.5 tbsp castor sugar, or to taste
1/2 tsp coffee powder
1 tbsp hot water

cream butter and sugar, add coffee and hot water, keep mixing for a minute

this is a yummy cake, serve warm straight from the oven with butter topping melting all over it, like a sauce.  base, sides and top golden brown and crispy.  perfect with morning coffee (my 2nd)

now the keyboard is sticky


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Beef Stir Fry with a difference

Playing around with ideas is my forte, so I decided to make a beef stir fry using fresh oranges which are everywhere around here at the moment (South Eastern Inland Australia).  Normally the classic stir fry is the domain of the South East asian cuisine, in which I suspect oranges don't play a big part. But the method can be used with other flavours.

I think it worked well, so well that I think I might try it again.

Anyway, the basic recipe is much the same as a beef and oyster sauce stir fry, but using orange juice instead of the oyster sauce!

350g beef fillet, sliced into strips
1 orange, juiced and the zested with a grater
1 small pip of garlic
1 tbsp good quality naturally brewed soy sauce
vegetable oil (I used grape seed oil, but u can use peanut or canola oil)
1 tsp cornflour

marinate the beef in the garlic, soy sauce, orange zest and vegetable oil for 1 hour

heat a wok to high heat, stir fry the beef in oil in batches
take out of wok
stir fry vegetables of choice (carrots, capsicum/pepper, beans) in batches
Put all the meat and vegetables back into the wok
Add orange juice, thickened with a tsp of cornflour
Simmer until the sauce has thickened
Serve on a bed of rice

I think the flavour works, it almost has a middle eastern or moroccan feel to the dish. You can top with almond slivers for a bit of crunch.  Play around with this and see how it goes.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Tips and Ideas from the Experts

Maggie Beer, Cook/Food Enterprise Barossa Valley
Christmas Menu

Roasted Turkey and Chicken with Stuffing
Salad (your choice)
Raspberry Jelly made with Sparkling Shiraz Wine (for the adults) and Apple Juice (for the children)
Traditional Christmas Pudding

  • Be organised, and relax
  • Prepare stuffing for poultry and the jelly the day before
  • Use the best possible ingredients you can get your hands on: organic, free range poultry.
  • For cooking turkey, cook in an oven bag for the first 2 hours in a moderate oven, 170degC, then split the bag open, collect the juices and put in the fridge. Skim the fat off and you can serve it warmed up.
  • For the remaining cooking time (20min-30min depending on size), brush the breast of the turkey with olive oil, and brown in the oven, with the oven turned up to 200deg C.
  • Rest poultry - turkey/chicken upside down for 20 minutes.
  • The jelly is made up to 2 days before with 3 punnets of raspberries, Sparkling shiraz boiled to give off the alcohol, sugar added and cooled, with gelatine leaves added.  I'm guessing a whole bottle goes in this!  Adjust with sugar to taste  (I would probably use about 1/2 -3/4cup).  Gelatine leaves probably 3?  Anyway cool it all and bung in the fridge for Christmas day.
  • If cooking a turkey breast only, use the skin of a ham to cover the breast and stop it drying out.  Alternatively a muslin cloth well brushed with melted butter will do the job.
Leo Schofield Food Critic

Baked Ham

His recipe for glazed ham comes from the late Joan Campbell (another top Australian cook)
  • Preheat the oven to 150deg C
  • Make a syrup from a small can of pineapple juice, 1/4 cup sherry, 500g brown sugar heated on stove until sugar dissolved
  • Skin the ham and massage into the fat a small jar of English mustard (or French if u prefer)
  • Dust all over with powdered cloves, completely covering it.
  • Pour the glaze around the ham, not over it, and bake in a moderate oven for half an hour
  • Baste frequently for another hour until a rich golden brown toffee like glaze is obtained
  • Serve with homemade chutneys or pickles.
  • I have made this before and put the glaze over the top, it goes too brown and burns easily. next time I will do it this way
Lyndey Milan, Food Writer and Cook

  • She cooks her turkey in the bbq-oven, using the skin from a ham as a cover  for the breast, which keeps it moist.  She puts the bird on a rack in an oven tray with water in the bottom.  I do this as well when roasting in a regular oven. Helps keep meat moist.
Ben Shewry, Owner/Chef Attica Restaurant Melbourne

  • recommends making a fresh lemonade of fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup and lots of white rum.  Served over ice with mint leaves. Now that is the way to start off the festivities!!!
With reference to an article in The Weekend Australian December 18-19 2010 and heard on ABC radio this morning :0

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chicken in a Bag

Kip in een Zak

4 kippenbouten/ chicken thighs
1 chorizo worst, gesneden/ chorizo sausage, sliced
1/2 rood paprika, gesneden/ red capsicum, sliced
1 handvool olijven, gestenigd/handful of olives, pitted
1 tomaat, gevild, blokjes gesneden/ tomato, seeded and diced
4 paddestoel, gesneden/mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup zongedroogde tomaat/sun dried tomato
1/2 cup artisjokken/ artichokes
1/2 ui, gesneden/onion, sliced
1 theelepel Italiaanse kruid/teaspoon of Italian herbs
zout/peper salt/pepper
verpakken in foile/ wrap in foil
bakken in de oven 170deg C 30 minuten/ bake in oven

serveer met cous cous, salade/ serve with cous cous, salad

Gezondheid!/ good health/ good eating/ bon appetite

New Wines from the World's Second Largest Wine Company

The Wine Group, the world's second largest wine company, based in the US, are releasing a range of budget wines onto the Australian market.  Made at their Griffith winery, the brand is dubbed Fisheye, with catchy labels for the younger drinker.  The brand has been around for some time in the North American market, but has not been seen here before.

All wines are varietal, not blends. The range consists of Riesling, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay in the Whites, and Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon in the reds.  Prices are $9.90 ex cellar door, and current releases are all 2010 vintage.

Whilst distinctly modest in style, the wines are all well made, easy drinkers, with the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir being the most varietal.  Sweetness appears most prominent in the Merlot with the Cabernet Sauvignon suffering from warm climate/warm vintage material.

It is difficult to know exactly what the Wine Group are up to, as they appear quite secretive, but I suspect it won't be long before these wines start appearing in the discount liquor barns. Quite possibly with the resources of such a giant company, the likes of Dan Murphy and First Choice may well carry this range from Australia, and import co- ranges from America, in a bundled deal.

Watch this space.


I'm going to make this again, it was off the yum scale!  The secret with paella is not to stir it, you want it to brown a bit on the bottom of the pan.

The are millions of variations, but why not start with a simple chicken/seafood combination and go from there.

Anyway, here goes..

2 chicken thigh fillets, skin off and fat removed
10 green tiger prawns, peeled, heads and vein removed
3 handfuls of Arborio rice, or Spanish short grain rice
1 L warm vegie stock, infused with 3 or 4 prawn heads
1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, skinned and seeded, chopped
2 cloves of finely chopped or minced garlic
½ cup dry white wine
Good pinch of saffron
Handful of chopped continental parsley
Sea salt
Olive oil

In a large fry pan or paella pan, fry onion in olive oil until clear.
Add garlic, rice
Add wine, and strained stock
Add tomato, saffron and chicken
Cook over medium heat, uncovered for 10 minutes
Add prawns
Don’t stir the paella it should be lightly crusty brown on the bottom. If it looks dry, add a little more stock.
Cook uncovered for another 10 minutes or until chicken and prawns are done. Don’t stir the paella!
Season with sea salt, serve with lemon wedges

Don't take my word for it, try it!!!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thinking Man's TV* (or ladies, The Thinking Woman's answer to TV trash)

I was watching Nigella's Express the other nite, as you do, and noticed her method for making Cidery Pork Chops.  Now I am a bit of a pork fan, and don't mind a bit of good cider as well, so I started watching with increasing interest.

The recipe involved frying up a couple of pork chops, putting them on a plate, adding cider, cream and mustard to the pan for a bit, and serving it all with what looked like rock hard potato gnocchi. All completed with a dash of pout, of course.

Now, I was thinking whilst watching, (us blokes can do that, sort of) that her recipe could be improved somewhat, if a French twist is added to her English style..

Instead of just frying up the pork chops until they are cooked within an inch of their lives, sticking them on a plate, then making a sauce in the pan separately, the French method of frying, and cooking the meat with the sauce would be the way to go.  It would be a better looking and tasting dish, with flavours more combined, and would yield juicier meat.  Also, it wouldn't matter if the pork was overcooked a little (pork really should be just pink).

So I set about correcting the method.

For the record:

Nigella Lawson's Recipe

2 pork chops
1 carton cream
olive oil, pepper/salt
1 bottle english cider
whole grain mustard
serve with potato gnocchi

Fry the chops hard in olive oil.
Set aside on a plate
Make sauce, by adding cider to fry pan, stirring in cream and mustard, pouting to camera
Boil water for gnocchi
Add gnocchi
And serve it all up, pouting again.

Andy's Recipe
2 pork chops, seasoned with salt/pepper
1 bottle of good cider
1/2 cup pouring cream
olive oil, pepper/salt
french mustard

Fry chops in olive oil, on high heat, a minute both sides, until nicely browned.
While chops are still in the pan, add the cider, cream and mustard.  Cook gently now.
After 4 or 5 minutes, take the chops out of the pan and rest on a warm plate (cooking time depends on how thick they are)
Now thicken the sauce over a high heat.  Finish with a knob of butter to make it shine.  Adjust seasoning.
Pour the sauce over the nicely rested chops.  If you really want to add more caramelisation to the chops, refry for a minute each side in a hot pan in olive oil or butter.  The french do this as well.

Serve it nicely with mashed potato cooked with sliced apple to soak up the sauce you silly silly woman!  That dish looked horrible - overcooked pork, potato gnocchi looking totally out of place with a drab looking sauce that was going no-where.

*don't get caught. If you do, you are learning about cooking. Ladies, complaints to the producers!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Casella Estate Brewery

Casella Estate based in Yenda in the New South Wales Riverina and maker of one of the world's most powerful wine brands Yellowtail, is reportedly establishing a brewery at their Yenda site.

By the looks of things, they are targetting the export market, using existing distribution channels and marketing strengths.

As far as I am aware no brand has been announced, but from what I understand it won't be a yellow kangaroo..

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cocoparra National Park

The ancient rock faces greet you in stoney silence as you enter the gorge.
I’m at Jack’s Creek, an ancient creek bed in the heart of Cocoparra National Park, about half an hour out of Griffith.
Cocoparra National Park in spring reveals itself as a place of beauty, arising out of the flat paddocks and vine strewn landscape of the MIA. Acacias, gums, black cypress pines abound, as do the abundant fauna, the grey kangaroos, lizards, and black cockatoos.
A short stroll begins at the carpark and continues up the creek bed, taking in the ancient rock faces and overhanging vines, the watercourse alternating between pools and sandy beaches.
Nearby is Falcon Falls, normally a dry watercourse, but now in full cry, just like its namesake the Perigrene Falcon after prey.
The ancient rock faces have let me inside their secret hideaway.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Trial Brew Kit

For the interested brewers out there, and those interested in brewers, and those interested in interested brewers, here's a brew kit to die for, capable of producing more trouble then a Julian Assange internet release!!!

It's a u-beaut number by Sabco from America, features triple burners, stainless hot liquor tank, kettle and mash-tun, mash cycling, mash heating and wort chilling (wort is what we brewers call the beer before it is fermented).

It was used this week to produce 2 beers simultaneously, in a case of double-trouble: a Coopers Ale Clone, and a mystery ale by Trev the brewer, using hot wort straight from the brewhouse...

Gordon Ramsay's Stuffed Saddle of Lamb

another recipe taken down from the tv.  It is a simple recipe, that works well.  As lamb is so expensive these days, and I don't have a 5 star restaurant,  a boned lamb leg was used instead of a saddle.  Ask your butcher to do that for you, he won't mind especially if you are female and smile.

2 tbsp cumin seeds, gently toasted in a dry fry pan until fragrant
1 tsp black pepper seeds
1 tsp sea salt crystals
Grind all spices together in a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder
Sprinkle liberally over the lamb fillet, or the inside of the lamb leg, and set aside

2 cups of crusty italian bread, roughly broken up into pieces and crusts removed
1/3 cup olive oil
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
4 fresh apricots, skinned, or 1 tin of apricots, drained, dice them up into pieces
1/2 cup of toasted pinenuts
blend ingredients together in a food processor

Place the stuffing in the centre of the lamb saddle or the inside of the leg
Rollup the meat up and tie with kitchen string, refrigerated
Remove the joint half an hour before cooking
Brown the joint in olive oil in a hot frying pan
Bake in moderate - slow oven, 150deg C for 40 minutes
Allow to rest for 15 minutes

Serve with lightly wilted spinach cooked in a little olive oil, in a saucepan with a lid, with more toasted pinenuts and chilli flakes tossed through, caramelised spanish onions and a vinagerette dressing. Complete with a serving of parboiled potatoes, gently broken open and roasted until crispy.

Wine recommendation: Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon

The Humble Hop


Humulus lupulus (Latin binomial)
Flower of the virgin angel (Australian vernacular)
The humblest little herb on the planet.  Famous for:

  • being female (the hop flower comes from the female plant)
  • growing a foot in a day
  • keeping beer fresh
  • adding interest to ales
  • making little babies sleep better at nite (no bull)
  • vegetating on a bine, like a grape vine without the tendrils (the curly bits that stick onto things)
  • possessing strange names: Pride of Ringwood, Goldings, Hallertau, Cascade, Liberty etc
  • preferring higher lattitudes (it's to do with the sunlight hours in Summer, der!)
  • Creating madness in brewers (probably because most brewers are male...)
I was surmising at the brewery the other day with Trevor the brewer, nose ensconced in a hop bag, the differences between a good hop and a great hop.  We were embarking on a brew off with the trial brew kit (a small kit for making trial batches - which we had doubled the capacity on), me and my Coopers ale clone, and he, with his yet unscripted ale. 

We were discussing options for the bittering and aromas of our ales.

Opening the coolroom door, wafting in the scented herbs, we had more hop then a paddock full of locusts.  Would it be the Pride of Ringwood, or would it be something more exotic?  Keeping hops in the depths of dark refrigeration, preserves the delicate flavours and aromas from light, heat and importantly, air.  A modern brewery has many such hop varieties to call upon.

A good hop is floral in the hopsack with a robust bitternes and a mild aroma in the kettle.  Pride of Ringwood, the great Aussie allrounder (are there any left?) is the obvious choice.  It adds a pine-nettle like fragrance to the South Australian nectar, combining with the decidedly fruity Australian strain of microbe to make the cloudy but fine sparkling ale.

A great hop is all of that, plus an x-factor - a Shane Warne mystery ball, a Beckham bender, a spiciness/Spicy girliness,  a citrus fruitiness which sets ales apart.  Think Sierra Nevada Pale Ale , Little Creatures Pale or Williams Pale Ale from De-bortoli, nicely chilled on a summer's day.  Put down your blondes, or your dry's, these brews are the real hopping deal.

Trev was wheeling out the big guns as we browsed the selection in the depths of the coolroom.  "Forget your P.O.R."  he mutters, spelling the letters out in a drawl, "I'm goin' exotic" he adds.  "Get the Liberty out of the brewhouse fridge will ya" he barks in sudden seriousness.  I run off in search of the noblest of hop.

The Liberty hop, imported from prime hop growing country in southerly New Zealand, bred out of England via America, crossed with other hops of lesser breeding for growing purposes (perish the thought) is still...defiantly noble.  In fact, it has more recent nobility then an English landholder!

In the Williams Ale Liberty adds a glorious lemon myrtle fragrance to an otherwise stock standard pale ale, elevating it from second eleven into 700 wicket territory.  It combines with the quality malt, wheat and selected yeasts to produce a fruity, delectable brew, a brew that keeps you coming back for more. 

Trev has the look in his eye - the glint of something special on it's way.

For me though, I'm travelling a more traditional route to amber glory.  I'm having none of this exotic foreign stuffy nobility, I'm sticking to the good old faithfull Aussie Pride of R. in my Coopers Clone.  We might not be noble, but we are still men of gumption.  Come on Aussies! The world needs us! Underneath the Southern Cross we stand...Australia, you ****** beauty!

Williams Pale Ale. Crafted by Trev the brewer (with help from Woodsy, Mandy et al)

Coopers Sparkling Ale.  Cloned by many. 

Authors note: he is doing work experience at William Bull Brewery, and enjoys tasting the beer produced under its roof, together with general rabbiting about beer.  Will keep you posted on the outcome of the trial brews - the Clone and Trev's mystery ball, and the mindgames. In the meantime, enjoy all the festivities the season brings..

Pork Vindaloo

I made this dish a while ago, but still have the recept.  My Goanese friend says it is just like her Mother-in-law's vindaloo back in Bombay.

It's made from scratch, but the hardest part really is the shopping. You might have to go in to an Indian grocery store, and ask for ingredients, but the storekeepers don't mind at all.  Once inside, you can browse the spices, marinade jars and videos, and you might just walk away wiser, with interesting ingredients and maybe a movie or 2 that have cost next to nothing.

The basic vindaloo paste is best made a day ahead, and used to marinate the pork overnight.  You can also substitute chicken or beef, but I wouldn't use lamb, as the flavours don't work. Rogan josh (see future post) is much better suited here.

A few other tips, the marinade paste will keep in the fridge for a while, so it is easy to make up 2 batches.  You can vary the spiciness by the amount of chillis you use!

Anyway, lets get into it:

2 tsps whole cumin seeds
2 to 3 dried chillies
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cardamon seed (take the seeds out of the pods)
1 x 5cm stick of cinnamon
1.5 tsp whole black mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seed
5 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1.5 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced finely
1 cup water
1 kg pork leg meat, diced into cubes (get your butcher to do this)
2.5 cm knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric

1. Grind cumin seeds, chillies, peppercorns, cardamon seeds, cinnamon, black mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds in a coffee mill or spice mill (these are cheap from department stores). Put the ground spices in a small bowl, add the vinegar, salt and sugar and keep aside.
2. In a large saucepan, fry the finely sliced onions in the oil over medium heat, careful not to burn. You want the onions to be lightly golden and crisp.  Remove onions with a slotted spoon so the oil remains in the pot for the next step.  Drain the onion on kitchen paper.
3. Place cooked onion into an electric blender or food processor.  Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and puree. Add this puree to the ground spice mixture in the bowl, and you have the vindaloo paste.

this paste can be used to marinate the meat overnight, or you can proceed to step 4.

4. Rinse the blender or processor and add the ginger, garlic and 2-3 tbsp water and blend until you have a smooth paste. This is the flavour base for the curry.
5. Preheat the oil in the pot over medium- high heat, and cook the pork in batches, browning lightly on all sides.  If you have marinated the meat overnight, remove most of the marinate from the meat so it doesn't burn, and set aside for use. 
6. Remove browned meat with a slotted spoon and keep aside in a bowl.  Repeat until all the pork has browned.
7. Now add the ginger-garlic paste into the pot, reduce to medium heat and fry paste for a few seconds. Add the coriander and turmeric, then the pork cubes, the meat juices and the remaining vindaloo paste. Stir in 1 cup of water, bring to boil, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour or until pork is tender.  Stir occasionally.

This recipe is a great base for you to experiment. It is as good as the vindaloos from most indian restaurants.  If you like less heat, use 2 or 3 chillies.  The vinegar really helps with the flavour.  Good the first day, great on the second.

Enjoy making it :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stay tuned..

more posts coming, am awaiting a couple of pics, and a bit of time.

Julian Assage

Monday, December 6, 2010

Delicious Chicken Salad

saw this made on Better Homes and Gardens* a while ago, and wrote the recipe down on a scrap of paper. It is so easy, you are kidding if you can't make it :)

If you can't be bothered roasting a chook, you can always buy a precooked chicken from the shop.

Anyways, here it goes:

½ cup natural yoghurt
Good slug of olive oil
Cracked pepper
Sea salt
½ red onion diced finely
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, taste and add seasoning. Add morrocan spice or ras el hanout
½ roast chicken, warm
½ avocado, sliced into chunks
Handful torn basil leaves
Handful of English spinach leaves, sliced
Cracked Wheat or cous cous
Lemon juice
½ large red chilli, sliced finely
¼ cup toasted pinenuts
Soak wheat in water and bring to the boil 3 mins, add 1tbsp ras el hanout spice
<Or soak½ cup cous cous in ½ cup hot water and olive oil and 1 tbsp morrocan spice>

On a serving platter, place
2 handfuls of sliced spinach leaves
Handful of torn basil leaves
Sliced up the chicken meat
Wheat or cous cous
½ avocado sliced into chunks
½ cup Dressing
Mix it all together together
Top with more chicken meat, ½ large chilli sliced, and ¼ cup toasted pinenuts
And squeeze half a lemon over
Nice lunch meal, serve with crusty bread and crisp dry white wine such as Centennial Vineyards Bong Bong Classic White

* Better Homes and Gardens is an Australian lifestyle programme airs weekly on the 7 Network. Recipe by Karen Martini.

Margaret Fulton's Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

from Sydney Morning Herald Good Living Magazine 5/10/10

this recipe requires a bit of work, and technique, but is definitely worth the effort.  From the doyen's own recipe collection, she says  'if I had to choose only one chocolate cake recipe to carry me through life, this would have to be it.'

Suggest you read the comments as well

4 tbsp flaked almonds
1 cup boiling water
125g dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp bicarb. soda
250g unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 cups plain flour
a pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup light sour cream

Preheat oven to 180deg C

Generously butter a three litre fluted tin or 2x 20cm ring tins
Sprinkle with the flaked almonds, pressing them well into the butter coating

Put the boiling water, chocolate and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Leave to cool.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition.

Stir in the vanilla essence.  Add the chocolate mixture a little at a time, beating well.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder and fold in the sour cream, mixing lightly until combined.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture with a large metal spoon.

Pour into the prepared tins, and bake for 1 hour -1 1/4 hours for a large cake, 45 minutes for smaller cakes.

Test for doneness with a clean metal skewer.

Leave for a minute, and turn out to cool on a wire rack.


Looking good



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Italian Meatballs Yummy

500g pork mince meat
1 small red onion chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tsp italian seasoning or dried italian herbs
grated lemon rind (the skin) of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice

mix ingredients together into a small meatball a little smaller then a golf ball!
and brown in fry pan using olive oil

for the sauce
1/4 cup of parsley
1 large tin of chopped tomatoes
small amount of garlic
1 tablespoon of tomato paste

simmer ingredients for 45 minutes
after 15 minutes, put meatballs in and cook for 15mins

serve with spaghetti and grated parmesan cheese on top, and a glass of red wine!

bon appetito

Healthy Wholemeal Muffins

These were made fresh this morning the recipe is really really easy, all you need is:

1 cup plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour (see blogpost about organic flour)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup of milk
125g butter
2 tbsp sugar, or to taste (I usually make it with 1 tablespoon, but recipe calls for 2)
1 cup of filling of your choice: sultanas, raisins, dates, walnuts.  I used dates and pecans this time. You could use apple, or other fresh fruits as well.  Make up 1 cup of filling, I use 3/4cup of chopped dates, and 1/4 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.

Mix together in a blender for 12 seconds, the melted butter, egg and milk.

Mix together in a bowl, sifted flour, baking powder, salt and add your sugar.  Regular table sugar is fine.

Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stir through the filling.  This whole process takes about 15minutes, quicker if you use preshelled nuts.

Bake in greased muffin tins in a hot oven for 20-25minutes until golden brown.

Serve with butter, or margarine, and that's it.  Piece of cake.  Or muffin as it were.

In Vlaamse
Deze werden verse vanmorgen het recept is echt heel eenvoudig, alles wat je nodig hebt is:

1 kopje bloem
1 kopje volkorenmeel (zie blogpost over biologische meel)
3 tl bakpoeder
1 / 2 theelepel zout
1 ei
1 kopje melk
125g boter

2 el suiker, of naar smaak (ik meestal te maken met 1 eetlepel, maar recept voor 2)

1 kopje van het vullen van uw keuze: rozijnen, krenten en rozijnen, dadels, walnoten. Ik gebruikte data en pecannoten deze tijd. Je zou kunnen gebruiken appel, of andere verse vruchten. Make-up 1 kopje vullen, gebruik ik 3/4cup gehakte dadels, en 1 / 4 kop gehakte pecannoten of walnoten.

Meng in een blender gedurende 12 seconden, de gesmolten boter, ei en melk.
Meng in een kom, gezeefde bloem, bakpoeder, zout en voeg je suiker. Regelmatige tafelsuiker is prima.
Voeg nu het ei mengsel bij de droge ingrediënten toe, roer door de vulling. Dit hele proces duurt ongeveer 15 minuten, sneller als je gebruik maakt preshelled noten.
Bak in ingevette muffinvormpjes in een hete oven voor 20-25 minuten tot ze goudbruin zijn.
Serveer met boter of margarine, en dat is het. Fluitje van een cent. Of muffin als het ware.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mountain Goat Hightail Ale

Used this brew, as a flavour base for my take on the Stoofvlees, or Flemish meat stew.  Of course the Flemish use only the best ingredients, a trappist Ale.  I had to settle for a slightly more humble Australian brew, least it is a craft beer.

Mountain Goat Hightail Ale, is a malty, caramel brew, a tad sweet,  but worked quite well with this kind of stew.  As the stew has a fair bit of vinegar in it, it balances out the sweetness from the beer and the onions, with little need for extra sugar in the stew.  The Belgian Westmalle Trappist Ale, however, being higher in alcohol, has less residual sweetness, owing to the use of highly fermentable candy sugar.  That would definitely add more to the finished dish.

The Mountain Goat can be drunk on its own or through a meal, but ideally it needs slightly more hop bitterness to be world class.

And yes, that is the cricket on in the background. Might be in need of a few bevvies the way we are going..

Hutespot (Vegie Boost)

Hutsepot is like a soup, but veggies left in big pieces.  The name refers to the hotchpotch of vegetables that goes into it.
You add what you like, veggies which do not fall apart easily.
Potatoes, carrots, leek, sprouts, turnips, onion. Cut them in medium sized pieces.
As meat you can have sausages, bacon, ribs.

Fry onion, add veggies and let them simmer for a while, just before they burn add water and chickenstockcubes. Just below ‘veggie level’.
Fry the meat, once it is bit brown lay on top of the soup and cover with lid. Low the heat so it all can cook very gently, about 45 minutes.
If u have the patients to leave it for a day, tastes even better. We serve it with bread

Friday, December 3, 2010

watch this space

Another chocolate cake recipe coming tomorrow !

from the best Australian cook, she is a legend in her 80's.  Margaret Fulton.

From her website:

Margaret Fulton is one of Australia’s leading and best-loved cookery experts. The matriarch of Australian cooking, she has been credited with changing the way Australians eat. Her original The Margaret Fulton Cookbook, first published in 1968 (with a Revised Edition released in April 2010), sold over 1.5 million copies and taught generations of Australian families how to cook and entertain. Margaret has been nominated by the National Trust as an Australian Living National Treasure and, in 2009, she was named by a Sydney Morning Herald panel as one of the 25 Australians who has most changed the nation.

Spruitjes a la Sas (Sas's Sprouts)

This is from Saskia, a recipe for the humble brussels sprouts, as the belgians do.  Looks pretty tasty too..

She writes in Vlaamse and Engels:

!!!One of my favourite winter dishes!!!

500g spruiten/ sprouts
500g kookaardaappelen -'nicola'/ cooked potatoes
250g spek/bacon strips
nootmuskaat, zout, peper/nutmeg, salt and pepper
250ml zure room/ sour cream
Paneermeel of gemalen kaas om te gratineren/ breadcrumbs and grated cheese
Kook de spruitjes gaar/boil sprouts
Kook de aardappelen gaar/ boil potatoes
Breek ze met een vork, kruid ruim, voeg zure room toe en de gebakken spekjes.  Meng alles goed en de ovenschaal. Paneermeel/ gemalen kaas en laat gratineren onder de grill.  Break them with a fork, place in an oven dish, top with cheese/breadcrumbs and place under a hot grill.
Serveer er een kotelet/ worst bij met warme pickels saus. Serve with pork chops or pork sausages and warm pickle sauce.

Heerlijk op een winteravond.  Delicious on a winter evening


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Saskia's Flemish Stew

This has come straight off the email, want to make this asap.  Anyway, will have to make do with the recipe for the moment, until I find somewhere that sells the correct beer.  Or perhaps I could just brew it...

Vlaams Stoofvlees, / Flemsih Stew?
4 grote uien/ 4 big onions
1 kg runderlappen/
1 kg steak75 gr boter/ 75g butter
zout, peper/ salt, pepper
2 eetlepels bruine basterdsuiker/ 2 tblsp brown sugar
2 eetlepels bloem/ 2 tblsp flower
2 eetlepels azijn / 2 tbslsp vinegar (brings balance, otherwise it can be to sweet)
1 flesje bruin trappistenbier (Westmalle or Leffe) do I need to translate
J 1 bottle
1 laurierblaadje/bay leaf
1 kruidnagel/ cloves?
1/2 theelepel gedroogde tijm/cofsp dried thyme
2 sneetjes bruinbrood/
2 slices brown bread1 eetlepel mosterd / 1 tblsp mustard

Pel en snipper de uien./ peel and chop the onion
Snijd de runderlappen in blokjes van 2 x 2 cm./cut steak into cubes 2 cm x 2 cm
Verhit de boter in een grote braadpan, bak het vlees op hoog vuur in ± 5 minuten rondom bruin en bestrooi het met zout en peper./
heat the butter in a large fryingpan, brown the meat over high heat in about 5 minutes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.Neem het vlees dan met een schuimspaan uit de pan./remove the meat
Fruit de uien ± 3 minuten in het achtergebleven bakvet./ fry onions in left over fat
Voeg de suiker en de bloem toe en bak die ± 1 minuut zachtjes mee/ add sugar, flower and cook 1 minute, add to meat.
Voeg de azijn, het bier, het laurierblad, de kruidnagel, de tijm en het
vlees toe./ add vinegar, bay leaf, clove, thyme to meat.
Laat het mengsel aan de kook komen en laat het op heel zacht vuur ±
zachtjes stoven./allow the mixture to a boil and leave it on very low heat
Verwijder intussen de korstjes van het brood en besmeer het brood met
mosterd./ meanwhile, cut the crusts from the bread and spread bread with the mustard.
Leg het met de mosterdkant op het vlees en laat het ± 30 minuten
mee sudderen./ place the side with mustard on the meat and let simmer 30 minutes
Schep het vlees om, zodat het brood het vleesmengsel gaat binden./Spoon, stir the meat so the bread will bind the misture
Stoof het in ± 1 ½ -2 uur verder zachtjes gaar. /Simmer on low heat  very gently for 1 ½  – 2 hours.

Sometimes I add some 'gehakt' the meat u used to make spaghetti sauce of Lasagna. I roll them in 2 cm sizes and add them to the mixture with the bread. They do not need much time to cook.
If you make it a day in advance it all tastes even better.

serve with frieten or boiled potatoes


Chocolate-Hazelnut Muddy Cake Attempt #1

whilst not a complete disaster, my first attempt at this particular dish didn't quite turn out as desired.

Problem #1. The recipe called for ground hazelnuts.  Do you think I could find ground hazelnuts anywhere?  Resorted to processing whole hazelnuts in the food processor, they ended up small pieces rather then a fine powder.  Not that big a problem, but the texture could be better..

Problem #2.  How do you fold egg whites into a thick chocolate, sugar, egg, butter and hazelnut batter? The technique escapes me.

Problem #3. Cake tin too big. The recipe calls for a deep 20cm springform tin, mine is a 24cm shallower tin.  Looks like another trip to the kitchenware shop.
Problem #4.  It is very rich.  Had 2 pieces, the first a good sized portion, for the second I thought I could get away with a smaller 5cm wedge. Nup. Best consumed in very small slices.

Anyway, will soldier on.

Here's the recipe as it stands, courtesy of Australian Woman's Weekly Great Casual Cookbook (one of those thickish softcover books which sell at the newsagents).

1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup hot water
150g dark chocolate, melted
150g unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 cup hazelnut meal
4 eggs separated

Preheat oven to moderate, 180C
Grease deep 20cm springform pan, line base and sides with paper
Combine cocoa and water in a bowl, sit until smooth. Add melted chocolate and butter, sugar and hazelnut meal. Stirr in egg yolks one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
Beat egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture
Pour mixture into prepared pan, and bake in moderate oven for about 1.25 hours
Serve dusted with cocoa powder, berries and a dollop of cream (if you are game)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bundaberg Reserve Rum

I was on the search for a new rum for my Christmas pudding (see below for the recipe), and came across this, Bundaberg Reserve Rum.  The last of the previous pudding rum had run out, a vanillary, sugary sweet rum from Nepal, courtesy of a family trip there last year.  Apparently it is the drink of choice in those parts.  It had worked very well in the puddings made so far.

But this rum is a little more serious, having less of the vanillary nose, and more of the charry oak in character, underneath though is a smoky note.  Smooth on the palate, the sugar that hides the rough edges of the Nepalese rum isn't needed in this case.  More fiery spirit too in the Bundy, even though it is lower in alcohol (40% cf 43%) then Nepal.

Not sure that it will be as good in the pudding as the himalyan number, but will give it a go.  On second thoughts I might go and get a little bottle of vanilla essence, just to give a bit of the ol' bean flavour to the dish, as I liked the end result of the nepal vanillary rum laced fruit pud.  It had worked well with the dried raisins, currants and sultanas, and combined beautifully with the CSR Dark Brown sugar with the molasses character missing from regular lighter brown sweetner.

Fans of the regular Bundy Rum (which I'm not really) might like to check this one out.  Alternatives to the Bundy Reserve may be an Inner Circle Red.

Anyway, it's $40 on special at Woolworths Liquor at the momento.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Real Milk, Organic Bread, Fresh Vegetables

I first came across Maureen Billing when I came to Griffith about 7 weeks ago.  She is a lovely lady that brings bread, eggs and all sorts of goodies to the local markets here every Sunday.

Anyway, today I went and visited Maureen and her husband Richard, on their 10,000 acre property Wia-Wera 30 kilometres out of Griffith. I went out there to have a look at their stone mill used to make wholewheat flour, and have a general poke about.

Here's a couple of pics from the farm
Header for the harvest

Richard and the stone mill

Organic chooks, about to be let loose

Now that is what I call a pint of milk. Checkout the cream!

Karen Martini's Blood Orange and Lemon Cake

I made this the other day for the hell of it, and left it on the table at the markets yesterday. It sold. 

This kind of food really smacks you in the face,  the citrus zings across the palate, followed closely by the sugar hit.   It's definitely not diabetic friendly :)  You could also serve this with double cream as a dessert. Call the ambulance!

3 blood oranges, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
300ml milk
200g yoghurt
150ml extra virgin olive oil,  or grape seed oil for a lighter taste
4 egg yolks
300g caster sugar
250g raw sugar
300g self raising flour, sifted (I used Anchor brand soft cake plain flour, with 2 tsp baking powder added)
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 egg whites, beaten into a soft peak
200g white sugar
3 blood oranges, juice and zest cut into thick strips

If the blood oranges are out of season you can use navels or valencias instead.  If your oranges are huge, like mine, adjust the recipe to use 2 instead of 3.  It seemed to work just fine.
Preheat oven to 170C fan forced (190C conventional).  Line a 26cm springform tin with baking paper and grease lightly
Combine citrus juices, milk, yoghurt, oil and set aside
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat yolks, sugars, and zests until thick and creamy. (If you are finding it difficult to cream the raw sugar, add 1 tbsp yoghurt mixture)
Add yoghurt mixture to yolk mixture.
Fold in dry ingredients, then gently fold in egg whites.
Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 65 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool slightly and remove from tin.
Syrup: place sugar and orange juice and zest in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5minutes.  Allow to cool and pour over warm cake

McWilliams Mt Pleasant 'Jack' Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

This is a new wine in the McWilliams/ Mt Pleasant lineup, a little brother to Phil, Lizzie and Flo.  Named after Lawrence John (Jack) McWilliam, part of the famous wine family.

Brooding deep youthful purple, subdued nose, perhaps due to its young age; palate - chocolate, blackcurrant, French oak, not 1 facet dominating. Cabernet leafiness evident on the nose and the palate in a tomato bush ->mint spectrum. Dry firm tannins as expected in a young cab. Improved with airing and time in the glass. Medium bodied, palate will flesh out a little. Not showy but I suspect this wine will do well in the medium term. Definitely worth trying. 13.5% alc. 88+ $19 cellar door

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Feel free to browse, add comments, or add a post.  I've got lots of recipe ideas, most of them are pretty easy, and have some stories to tell about food and people from around.  I am hoping to get a story published soon in the local paper about a friend of mine from the local markets that is an organic farmer, you should see it on here first!
Best wishes


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankyou Dinner for Saskia and Ann in Belgium

Location: City of Sint- Niklaas
Province of East Flanders (Oost Vlanderen)
Belgium (Belgie)
26th August, 2010
What a great evening this turned out to be - the idea came about because I wanted to thank Saskia and Ann for looking after me in Belgium. I didn’t have a lot of spare cash, so decided to cook dinner, rather then go out to a restaurant. Ann’s son Brecht (13) came with me to go shopping at the supermarket. He was a great help, diving in amongst the aisles of (to me) unknown grocery items, and deciphering dutch language ingredients.

Lasagne made with Veal and Pork
Provencale Vegetables
Green Salad with Balsamic Vinegarette
Caramelised Nectarines with Creamy Sabayon
Sparkling Spanish Wine

We finally emerged with a basket load of ingredients, and gathered our bikes, and rode home to Ann’s house as the Belgians do.

Firstly I made the Lasagne sauce using pork and veal mince, tomatoes, Italian herbs and salt pepper. It was cooked for 1.5 hours on the stove, simmering away gently with smells of herbs wafting through the house.
Then came the béchamel sauce of flour, butter and milk seasoned with nutmeg and little salt and pepper.

The Lasagne was finally prepared with alternate layers of pasta sheets, meat sauce, slices of tomato, and béchamel, finishing topped with grated parmesan.

Once assembled, the Lasagne went in to the oven to bake and I got on with preparing the Provencale vegetable dish - this was easy, tear the bread into pieces, roughly chop the onions, peppers and squish the delicious cherry sized tomatoes, orange in colour, from the neighbours garden. This was placed into a baking tray, drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and it too went into the oven.
A quick green salad of lettuce and cucumber was prepared and a balsamic dressing made.
Once dinner was over, the ladies asked for dessert. I hadn’t planned anything as I was busy with the main course, but luckily I remembered the nectarines from France that were sitting in the fruit bowl. So I decided that I could cook the nectarines, but what about an accompaniment the ladies asked. There was no cream or ice cream in the fridge, so we were left wondering for a couple of minutes. Hang on a minute, What about Sabayon, Saskia asked. What is sabayon I replied? I had heard of it, but didn’t know what it was. It’s made with eggs and sugar she said. That sounded interesting, I knew there were eggs in the fridge. As the ladies went in search of a recipe book, I went and got the eggs and sugar.

You need 4 egg yolks, sugar and sweet wine, marsala or white port I was told. I had never made it before, but apparently you whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. So before you know it, the 3 of us were taking turns to whisk the sabayon like crazy.

Meanwhile, I halved the nectarines, removed the seeds and skin, dusted them with vanilla sugar, and placed them cut side down on a hot grill pan. Once nicely caramelised, they went into the oven, not before showing off with a flambé of liquer!

After 15 or 20 minutes of whisking, the sabayon was ready. It had turned out perfectly! A creamy, sweet wine flavoured sauce that was quite light and airy.

The caramelised nectarines with sabayon were served at the coffee table to complete a lovely evening of friendship across 2 countries and 10,000 miles.

Saskia and Ann with Crutches and Ann's delightful kinders Brecht(13) Jolien(15)
As a postscript, Saskia and Ann are planning to visit Australia in 2012.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ramsay's Stuffed Chicken Roll Wrapped with Bacon with a Sherry Marsala Sauce on a Pea and Broad Bean Risotto!

That's a mouthful of a name, the result is a mouthful too. Delicious. Serve at a dinner party, or for somebody special.

Makes 2 Chicken Rolls, enough for 4 people

I went to my mate's butcher shop for the chicken and pork, definitely get good meat for this.

4 boned and skinned chicken thighs
approx 300g pork mince (I pinched 2 of their softest pork medallions and minced in the food processor at home)
6 good rashers of bacon (good quality again from the butcher)
1/2 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
4 sprigs of thyme, chopped
handful of parsley, chopped
sea salt, ground black pepper
cracked black pepper
olive oil

1. Combine the pork mince, pistachios, herbs and a little salt and ground pepper in a bowl. Add a dash of olive oil if the pork mince is lean (which it was). Check seasoning.
2. Lay 2 of the chicken thighs on a board so they interlock when joined together. Place the chicken filling inside and rollup.
3. Lay 3 of the bacon rashers on the board, and place the roll on top. Rollup tightly with the bacon, and trim excess.
4. Tie with string, wrap tightly with glad wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to let it set.
5. Repeat with the remaining chicken, bacon and filling
6. Drizzle with olive oil, and crack some black pepper over the roll for seasoning. No salt needed, its in the bacon.
7. Bake in a moderate oven, 170 degrees C for 30minutes
8. Allow to rest on a warm plate while you make the sauce

The Sauce
1.5 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar (or red wine vinegar if you have it)
2 Tbsp Marsala wine (sweet marsala not dry, the boronia marsala is fine)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp sugar or to taste

1. Deglaze the baking pan with the vinegar
2. Add the marsala wine and the stock and reduce until a thick sauce
3. Taste and add a little sugar

Serve the chicken sliced up on a base of pea and broad bean risotto*, glass of chardonnay and good crusty bread. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken.

* ask me for the recipe!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Andy’s Savoury Mince

A Wednesday Night Special J
U need
500g minced beef
¼ cabbage, sliced
Small can of corn kernels, drained
1 tomato, chopped
1 small brown onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic minced or crushed, doesn’t matter
½ cup of freshly grated carrot
½ cup of frozen green peas (the minted peas would work as well)
Little bit of salt
Little bit of pepper
A bit of my ‘old mate
2-3 tbsp morrocan, or African seasoning (I used a Herbies chermoula mix, but master foods make ok seasonings, u want a fair bit of it, so don‘t be shy!)
½ cup water
About 0.5 of an hour to prepare!
Fry onion in old mate (olive oil) until clear
Add mince, and brown
Add garlic
Add seasonings
Add cabbage, corn kernels, and tomato with the water
Cover and Cook ½ an hour until cabbage soft, then stir thru peas and carrot. Keep warm (off the heat) while u prepare the accompaniments: rice, or mashed sweet potato* would be best, and a side salad of sliced cucumber and sliced tomato
Eaten with a 2003 Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz, meaty, complex, little bit of white pepper and other spices, lashings of oak and blueberry fruit intertwined
* add a little bit of ground cumin to the sweet potato when u mash it

Tomato Gazpacho (Chilled Spanish Soup)

1 kg Ripe Tomatoes, skin removed (place in hot water for 30secs and peel)
Handful of ice cubes
2 Tbps sugar, or to taste
Good pinch sea salt, or to taste
Handful of continental parsley, chopped
½ clove garlic, sliced
Good slug of olive oil

In a blender, blend together tomatoes, ice cubes, sugar, salt garlic and parsley well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve with drizzle of olive oil and chopped parsley.
Delicious & refreshing

Chocolate and Hazelnut Self-saucing Puddings

1 cup plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp cocoa powder
100g caster sugar (I used raw caster sugar)
½ roasted hazelnuts, skins removed, chopped
250 ml milk
90g unsalted butter
2 eggs
Sauce1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
120ml boiling water
Preheat oven to 180Deg
Lightly grease oven proof dish (I used a square corning ware dish 20cmx 20cm)
Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a mixing bowl
Add sugar and nuts
Stir to combine
Add milk, butter and eggs and whisk until you have a smooth batter
Pour batter into dish and cover with sauce
SauceCombine brown sugar and cocoa powder and sprinkle over pudding
Pour boiling water over the pudding and bake for 20-25 minutes
Serve with thick cream or ice cream.

Andrew’s Yummy Beef Stew with Baked Cheesy Dumplings

Ok the dumplings are basically a savoury scone, but they are quite light and nice with a little butter and dipped in the gravy. They make a nice alternative to pastry

This is a french style dish using the classic 3 veges as a flavour base
750g Oyster Blade steak, cut into 2cm cubes
1 medium carrot, cut into a small dice
1 medium onion, cut into a small dice
1 medium stick of celery
1/2L or so of beef stock
1-2tbsp seasoned flour
Olive oil
In a good heavy fry pan, cook vegetables in oil for 5 minutes until soft
Take the veg out of pan
Chuck steak into a plastic bag, with the flour
Add a little more olive oil, brown meat in batches
Add veg
Add stock
Cover tightly and simmer gently for 1.5 hours stirring occasionally.
You might need to add a little more stock or water if the meat sticks

Baked Dumplings
2 cups Self Raising Flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
½ cup butter
Small pinch salt
¼ cup milk
Pinch pepper
Pinch mixed herbs
½ cup grated tasty cheese
Rub butter into flour, until it resembles breadcrumbs
Add other ingredients
Mix together
Turn out onto floured bench and cut into 4 cm rounds, about 2cm high
Bake for 15minutes at 225Deg C

Serve with the stew, and a knob of butter in the middle, a glass or 2 of red