Archive for May, 2007

roast pork fillet with fig and red wine sauce; oven roasted winter veg


~100g pork fillet
~1 dried fig, finely sliced
~2 cloves garlic, finely diced
~1/4 cup good quality red wine
~1 tablespoon chicken stock
~2 tablespoons orange juice

~1 beetroot, chopped into chunks
~1 baby eggplant, chopped into chunks
~1/2 medium sweet potato, chopped into chunks


In a roasting pan, place the beet and sweet potato. Coat in olive oil. Roast at 150 degrees C for 20 mins. In a sautee pan, fry the garlic in a little butter or olive oil until soft. Add the fig and continue frying until the fruit starts to swell. Add the red wine, stock and juice and simmer uncovered until the sauce is almost reduced. Turn the heat off, place the lid on the pan and set to one side.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and add the eggplant and pork fillet. Stir to coat with oil and return to the oven for a further 10-12 mins.

To serve, slice the pork fillet and arrange on a plate with the veges. Top the pork with the sauce and serve immediately.

Serves 1 as a main course. Calories in this dish: approximately 250.

A big, bold, fruity red wine would go beautifully with this dish. Something like a young Cabernet blend would be perfect.


May 28, 2007 at 12:04 pm Leave a comment

zesty corn and cannilini bean salad


This is a perfect lunchtime salad, whether its a working day or a lazy day. It can be whipped up in minutes and is delicious and nutritious.

I buy canned cannilini beans and then freeze away 1/4 cup portions just wrapped in cling film. To defrost them, just leave them at room temp for 15 mins.

~1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted (microwave on defrost for 3-4 mins stirring once)
~1/2 small red capsicum, diced
~1/2 small green capsicum, diced
~handful of baby spinach leaves
~1/4 cannilini (white) beans
~2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped roughly
~juice of half a lime
~drizzle of good quality olive oil

Combine everything in a big bowl. Season with sea salt and lots of fresh cracked pepper. Dress with lime and olive oil. Serve immediately, or will keep very well for up to 8 hours.

Serves 1 as a main meal or could be served as a side salad for 2-4 people. Calories: approximately 200. Add some avocado to increase the cals if you like.

May 19, 2007 at 4:41 am Leave a comment

Homemade apricot and almond muesli


I have been wanting to try making my own muesli for forever! Well today, thanks to a little help from the lovely Jules at StoneSoup, I did it.

This is a toasted muesli with a difference. It uses no extra fat in the toasting process.The result is a gorgeously brown and deliciously crunchy muesli that has no more fat that normal granola.

I didn’t measure my dry ingredients- I just combined things till they had the appearance that I liked the look of. But I’ve given approximate measurements here for those who don’t have an instinct for measurements. I called this “apricot and almond” muesli, but in truth, its just a big mixture of things I love. I’m 1000% sure that you could add or subtract ingredients to suit your own taste, and it would still turn out wonderfully. I intend to play around with different formulations for future batches. But seeing this is the one I’ve tested, this is the one I’m posting for today.

~2 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
~1/4 cup pepitas
~1/4 sunflower seeds
~1/4 linseed
~1/2 cup flaked almonds
~1/2 cup dried apricots, finely diced

Method: in a bowl, combine the oats, seeds and almonds. Mix to combine. Pour into a large baking tray and spread evenly. The mixture should cover the tray but not be more than a cm deep. If it is, split the mix between two trays. Bake at 150 degrees C. Every 10 or so mins, pull the tray from the oven and stir the mixture. Return to the oven and continue cooking until the mix is crispy and nicely browned (about 20-30 mins).

Once the muesli is toasted to your satisfaction, remove it from the oven and allow to cool. In the mean time, chop the apricots. Once cool, add the apricots and (optionally) some sultanas. Transfer to an airtight container.

This makes approximately 500g of muesli. Because this muesli is so flavourful and nutrient packed, I suggest serving it with fresh fruit and natural yoghurt with a drizzle of honey and skimmed milk as the perfect weekend breakfast.

A 1/4 cup serve has approximately 100 calories. Delish.

May 15, 2007 at 10:23 am 2 comments

Spaghetti Puttanesca done my way


This is my version of the classic Italian dish. The most important thing about this dish is that it can be created exclusively from things you have in your pantry. My version strays from this a little, incorporating several fresh ingredients in addition to the pantry basics. However these things could be omitted and the dish will still be delicious.


~1 cup cooked spaghetti
~1/2 stick of celery, very finely diced
~6 button mushrooms, very finely diced
~1 large clove of garlic, finely diced
~5 green olives, sliced
~5 kalamata olives, sliced
~10 capers
~1 anchovy fillet, sliced
~2 semi-dried tomato halves, diced
~1 cup diced tinned tomatoes
~2 tablespoons red wine
~dried chilli flakes, dried mixed herbs and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Fry the garlic, mushrooms and celery in a little olive oil until transparent. Add the olives, capers, dried tomatoes and tinned tomatoes. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add the wine and dried ingredients to taste. Simmer uncovered for approximately 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to a thick consistency. Add the pasta and stir to combine. Serve immediately with grated fresh paremesan cheese.

Serves 1 as a main or 2 as a starter. Calories in this dish: approximately 300.

This is wonderful with a robust red wine. Something really gutsy like a wonderful grenache would be perfect. I can never resist a D’Arenberg wine, and their Custodian grenache is a beauty. Don’t spend too much though, because this dish will overpower a complex wine.

May 15, 2007 at 9:20 am Leave a comment

steamed fish with puy lentils


I’ve never cooked with puy lentils before, but I’ve heard lots about them. In Australia they are known as “small green lentils”, and you can find them at specialty stores.

I used snapper in this dish, but any white-fleshed fish would work.

This looks a bit drab, but has amazing depth of flavours and is horribly healthy.

~2 tablespoons puy (small green) lentils
~1 clove garlic, diced
~1/4 brown onion, finely diced
~1/4 cup white wine
~100g fillet of fish
~handful baby spinach leaves
~1 seeded tomato, diced

In a sautee pan, fry the garlic and onion in a little olive oil or cooking spray until transparent. Add the lentils and stir to combine. Add the wine and enough water to cover the lentils. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cover. Stir occasionally, adding more water as the lentils absorb the added water. Continue with this until the lentils are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once the lentils are tender (approximately 45 mins) push to one side of the pan and place the fish on the other side. Add a little more water and cover to steam the fish. Steam for 2 mins, then flip the fish fillet over and steam a further 1 min. Remove the fish from the pan, and stir the spinach and tomato through the lentils. Season with salt

Serve the fish on top of a bed of the lentils with a wedge of lemon.

Calories in this dish are approximately 250-300, depending on the size of the piece of fish. Serves 1.

May 13, 2007 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

Roasted vegetables Stroganoff

My take on a classic dish. Normally this would be made with beef, but it seemed to me that there was no reason the sauce wouldn’t make a lovely accompaniment to vegetables as well.

You could use any vegetables, though my feeling is that root vegetables will work best. Just be sure to alter the cooking time to suit whichever vegetables you choose. While I am making roasted veges I always make plenty and then keep some in the fridge to turn into a simple salad for lunch the next day.

~1 cup butternut pumpkin, cut into chunks
~1 red capsicum, cored, cut into wedges
~1/2 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
~1/2 brown onion, cut into wedges
~2 ripe tomatoes (preferably roma), cut into wedges

For the sauce:
~8 button mushrooms, finely sliced
~2 cloves garlic, minced
~1 ice cube of chicken stock
~1/4 cup dry white wine
~1 tablespoon diced tinned tomatoes (or tomato paste)
~1/4 cup extra light sour cream
~paprika, nutmeg, wor sauce, pepper and salt, to taste
~plenty of chopped fresh flat leaved Italian parsely

In a large baking dish, drizzle a little olive oil. Add the pumpkin and onion and toss to coat. Roast at 150 degrees C for 20 mins. After 20 mins, add the remaining vegetables. Toss to coat in the oil and return to the oven.

In a saucepan, gently fry the garlic in a smidge of oil over low heat. Once transparent, add the mushrooms, stock, white wine and tomatoes. Cook uncovered for 5 mins or until mushrooms have cooked down. Season with the the spices to taste; the sauce should have a nice “tang” and a bit of spice. Continue cooking the sauce until basically all the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat.

At the time of being ready to serve, mix the sour cream and parsely into the sauce and stir to combine. If the residual sauce is too hot at this point in time, the sour cream will curdle. So take care to ensure that the pot isn’t too hot (but also not so cold that the sauce does not warm).

To assemble, place a selection of the vegetables on a plate and spoon the sauce over the top. Top with a little extra chopped parsely. Serve with fresh bread or alternately, with pasta or rice.

Serves 2.

Calories per serve (not including the carbohydrate): approximately 200.

Serve this with dry white wine, such as a riesling.

May 7, 2007 at 11:46 am Leave a comment

Quick and easy salmon with pak choy in oyster sauce


The flavours of oyster and soy sauces marry wonderfully with both fish and with green vegetables. This dish was a 10 minute knock together on a tuesday night. Yet if I’d paid $30 for it in a restaurant I wouldn’t have complained. The salmon had been frozen too!

~80g salmon fillet
~1 bulb pak choy, end chopped off and individual leaves washed and drained
~2cm cube of ginger, finely grated
~ 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
~ 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Pan sear the salmon over high heat, 1-2 mins each side (for medium-rare, longer for well done). Set to one side. In a saucepan, stirfry the ginger and pak choy in a little sesame oil for 30 seconds. Add the sauces, reduce heat and cover for 2 mins.

At the end of the cooking period, the pak choy should be steamed through, such that the white ends are softened and the green leafy ends have wilted. To serve, place 1/2 cup steamed white rice on a plate. Top with the pak choy and then the salmon fillet. Pour over 1 tablespoon of the sauce from the vegetables and serve immediately.

Serves 1. Calories in this dish are approximately 300, which includes the rice.

Serve with either a light red wine, or a dense white wine.

May 6, 2007 at 11:40 am Leave a comment