Fresh Ondule pasta with tuna, lemon and ricotta.

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This was such a treat. I got the pasta fresh at an Italian Deli in Leederville, Western Australia called the Re Store. It is a type of long ribbon pasta however the edges are crinkled enabling it to hold onto the sauce wonderously.

For this I made my own ricotta cheese (recipe to come) which just sent an already lovely dish over the top. It also can be assembled from just what you have lying around in the pantry.

Ingredients:

~1 cup cooked (al dente) Ondule pasta (or equivalent)
~1 large clove of garlic, finely diced
~90g tin of tuna in olive oil, drained
~1/2 cup fresh ricotta
~1/4 cup peas (preferably fresh but use frozen if fresh unavailable)
~juice of half a lemon
~1 teaspoon capers
~big handful of shredded basil
~grated fresh parmigiana reggiano, to serve

Method:
In a sautee pan, gently fry the onion in a good slurp of olive oil (around 2 tablespoons) on gentle heat, until transparent. Add the tuna and peas, and cook until the peas are just turning bright green. Add the pasta, lemon, capers and ricotta and gently fold through all ingredients, being careful not to “cream” the ricotta too much. Season with salt and pepper. Once warmed through (1-2 mins) remove from the heat, fold through the basil and serve immediately.

Serves 1 as a main course, 2 as a starter. Calories: approxmately 400 in a main course serve.

This wonderful dish would work so well with either a lighter red or a full-bodied white wine. Sinclair wines in Manjimup, Western Australia produce fabulous wines and their Sauvingion Blanc would be perfect with this meal.

September 13, 2007 at 6:49 am Leave a comment

Indian prawn curry

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Great meal; quick to prepare.

Ingredients
~10-12 large prawns, shelled and deveined
~1 large clove garlic, finely diced
~1cm ginger, finely minced
~1 teaspoon ground cumin
~1 teaspoon ground coriander
~1 teaspoon garam marsala
~1 tablespoon chutney
~2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
~handful of baby spinach leaves, washed
~200mL natural yoghurt
~100mL reduced fat cream (cooking friendly type)
~1/4 cup cashews, coarsely ground
~fresh chopped coriander

Method:

In a sautee pan, gently fry the garlic in a little oil until just transparent. Add the ginger and other dried spices and stir until the spices become fragrent (1-2 mins). Add the yoghurt and chutney and stir to comine. Season with salt, to taste. Add the prawns, cream and tomatoes and cook for 2 mins over medium heat. Add the spinach and cashews and stir for a further minute or so. Once the spinach has wilted, stir in the coriander and serve immediately.

Serve over steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 2 as a main course; 4 as a starter. Approximately calories per main course serving: 400, which includes a small (1/3 cup) serve of jasmine rice.

Absolutely delicious with red or white wine, or beer.

September 1, 2007 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

fish choo-chee

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choo-chee is a style of thai curry similar to red curry but milder and sweeter. It works especially well with fish or prawns and this dish is simply a wonder.

Ingredients:
~8 green beans, sliced into 3cm lengths
~200g firm white fish fillets (I used shark)
~1/4 red onion, sliced along the natural grain
~1 teaspoon red curry paste
~1/2 teaspoon yellow curry paste
~160mL coconut milk
~2 kaffir lime leaves
~2 teaspoons sugar
~2 teaspoons fish sauce
~squeeze lime juice

Method:
Blanch the beans in boiling water for 2-3 mins, then drain well.

In a frying pan, fry the fish over high heat, around 1 min on each side just to brown the fish off. Set aside. In the same pan, fry the onion over medium heat until just wilted. Add the curry pastes and fry off for 30 sec. Add the coconut milk and other ingredients. Bring to the boil and taste for flavour. If desired, add more lime or more sugar.

When sauce tastes as desired, add fish back in and stir through. Add the beans and cook for 2-3 mins, stirring to incorporate all the ingredients.

Serve immediately over steamed white rice.

Serves 1 as a main or 2 as an entree. Absolutely lovely. Calories – approximately 400 per serve.

August 19, 2007 at 12:37 pm Leave a comment

lunchbox mini quiches

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These are delicious, easy to make little morcels. A couple of these with a salad is a beautiful lunch, or you could serve them as finger food at a party.

I use bread instead of pastry in order to keep both the cost and the calorie content of the quiches down. I also used wholemeal bread for added health-value.

This recipe made 9 quiches but could so easily be scaled up. The overall time from start to finish was under 30 mins so they are really an easy lunchbox treat.

Ingredients:
~1 loaf of generic sandwich bread (I used wholemeal)
~2 large free range eggs
~1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
~1/4 cup corn kernals
~1 rasher bacon, finely sliced
~1/2 red onion, finely sliced
~splash of skim milk

Method:

Cut the crusts off the bread slices using a small bowl or large glass as a cookie cutter (search to find one that is the appropriate size). Roll the circular cut-out with a rolling pin (or I used an empty bottle of wine). Press into the bottom of a muffin tin. Repeat with another 8-9 slices of bread. Place a heaped teaspoon or so of bacon slices, and a teaspoon of onion slices, into each bread case. Bake cases + bacon and onion at ~150 degrees C for 10-15 mins or until the bread is just browning and the bacon has just begun to sizzle.

In a seperate bowl, whisk the eggs until combined and add a splash (~1/4 cup) of skim milk. Season with pepper and whisk in corn and eggs. Spoon egg mixture into bread cases over the bacon and onion. Fill cases to the brim. Once full, return cases to the oven and cook at 180 degrees C for 10 mins or until quiches have puffed up. Turn oven off and allow quiches to cool in the oven.

This recipe makes 10 beautiful mini quiches. Approximately calories per quiche = 100. Enjoy warm or cold.

August 19, 2007 at 8:08 am Leave a comment

greek rissoles with feta, olives and parsley

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Lovely rissole recipe which would equally work for burgers or meatballs that could then be served with pasta.

As with all mince recipes, get the leanest, best mince possible. Lamb mince would be a wonderful substitute for beef.

Ingredients:
~200g beef mince
~1/4 large brown onion, finely diced (or grated)
~1 large clove garlic, finely diced
~1/4 cup flat leaved Italian parsley, chopped
~50-80g reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
~8-10 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
~1/2 cup breadcrumbs
~1 egg

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Form mixture into large round balls and flatten to form rissoles. Fry or barbecue rissoles over medium-high heat for ~3-5 minutes on each size, depending on the size.

Serve immediately. I served these with a mixed salad (as pictured). Makes approximately 4-5 rissoles. Calories per rissole – approximately 180.

August 18, 2007 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

Korean Style Pork

I was inspired to make this dish from watching re-runs of season 2 of Top Chef, specifically the second episode of the season where they cater the Asian themed event for 1000 people. Team Korea make a braised pork dish that looked delicious and I was inspired to try and re-create it.

Ingredients:
~100g pork fillet, sliced thickly
~1 clove garlic, finely diced
~1 teaspoon curry powder
~1/2 teaspoon paprika
~cracked black pepper and sea salt

~1 green apple, grated
~1 green pear, grated
~1/2 onion (brown or purple), grated
~1/2 cup apple juice
~1/4 cup chicken stock
~2 cloves garlic, finely diced
~1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
~2 teaspoons brown sugar

Method:
Combine the garlic with the dry ingredients. Rub the sliced pork pieces in the spice mix and set aside. Leave for 1 hour minimum.
In a saute pan, fry the apple, pear and onion in oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, apple juice, stock and sugar. Simmer until sauce has reduced slightly and pear/onion mix is thick and flavourful – approximately 30 mins. Season with salt and pepper to taste and retain on low heat. In a frying pan, fry the pork over high heat in oil until browned – 1-2 mins. Remove from heat and add to the pear mixture, folding the pork through the apple/pear to combine the flavours. Cook for 5 mins over medium heat and serve immediately.

This absolutely delicious meal serves 2 as a main course. Serve over steamed white rice.

August 8, 2007 at 11:48 am Leave a comment

Steak with creamy leeks and butter beans

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This is inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe, but modified to make it more user friendly. The results are lovely and would translate so well to a summer BBQ/dinner party, where you could cook up a whole fillet of beef and slice it for each serving. Classy and lovely.

Ingredients:
~150g steak (I used the loin, but any decent cut of steak would do)
~1 large clove garlic, finely diced
~12cm length of leek (the white part), finely sliced
~1/2 cup butter beans, drained and rinsed
~1/4 cup white wine
~1/4 cup of milk (or cream if wanting a richer meal)
~fresh ground nutmeg
~sea salt and fresh pepper
~chopped fresh italian parsely

Method:
In a saucepan, gently wilt the garlic and leek in a good sploosh of extra virgin olive oil. Once tender, add the beans, milk and white wine and simmer over medium heat for ~10 mins or until the mixture has softened. If the liquid runs out, add a little water, more white wine, or more olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste and keep over low heat to retain warmth. Sprinkle over the parsely.

In a grill pan, fry the steak over very high heat until cooked to the desired state. Flip to cook the second side. Once the second side has been cooked to ~1 min before perfect cooking time, remove to a board and slice. Cover with alfoil for 1 min or until meat has been appropriately rested.

Serve sliced steak over the bean and leek mixture and eat immediately.

I served this over a bed of wilted spinach which was lovely.

Serves 1 as a main course. Calories (based on a 100g piece of steak using skim milk) are approximately 380.

Serve this with a bold wine. A recent joy of mine has been the limited release Richmond Grove 2002 shiraz. This wine is well priced (considering the quality) at $22 and is available in selected bottle shops now.

July 28, 2007 at 11:49 am Leave a comment

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