Friday, April 30, 2010

Chocolate mousse


You will need..........

1/2 cup of thickened cream
1tsp artificial sweetener
2tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened) or 3tbsp melted chocolate (85%)

You can adjust these measurements till you get the creaminess/chocolatey-ness or sweetness you prefer

*Whizz up in a blender - it's as simple as that! Garnish with mint

Satay beef


You will need..........

1 onion, finely chopped
2 red chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1tbsp peanut or olive oil
250g crunchy peanut butter (I used Sanitarium 100% peanut butter)
1tbsp soy sauce
2tsp sweetener
1tbsp fresh lime juice (you can also use lemon)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk or cream
1tsp soy sauce
Freshly ground salt/pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp oil
250g beef, cut across the grain into strips
OPTIONAL bamboo skewers soaked for an hour

*To make the sauce, fry onion, garlic and chilli in oil until onion is transparent then add remaining ingredients , stir to blend and cook gently for around 10 minutes until sauce thickens.
*Taste and add more soy sauce/lime or lemon juice as required - if sauce seems to thick, add a little water. Set aside

*Combine soy, salt/pepper, cumin, coriander, lemon juice & oil, marinate beef in this sauce for at least 30 mins.
*Oil griddle pan or bbq till medium-hot. Thread beef onto skewers and bbq/griddle for 5-10mins , turning once. Rest the beef for 10 mins, covered with foil - this will ensure that it's soft and tender.
You can serve with sauce in a seperate dish or drizzle the sauce over the skewers.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mini cheesecakes


You will need.........
1 packet of almond meal
1/2 cup melted butter
2tbsp splenda

1 tub of Philadelphia cream cheese (room temperature)
1/4 cup splenda
1 egg
Few dashes of vanilla essence
1tsp cinnamon powder

*Combine almond meal with melted butter and splenda, spoon into mini pattycake cases and refrigerate for 30 mins
*Whisk cream cheese, splenda, egg and vanilla together till smooth, empty on top of almond base, sprinkle with the cinnamon powder and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180c for around 15 mins.
*Let them cool in the oven for a few hours then refrigerate and eat the next day

Sizzling prawns


You will need..........
Large raw prawns
5 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of parsley, chopped
1tsp nutmeg
1tbsp chinese rice wine (shaoxing) or dry sherry
2 red chillies, diced
Freshly ground salt and white pepper

*De-vein the prawns
*Fill a small, deep baking dish with 2inches of olive oil
*Add the garlic, parsley, nutmeg,chillies, salt, pepper & prawns
*Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220c for around 10 minutes or until oil is bubbling and serve

Stir-fried asparagus and snake beans with chilli jam and kaffir lime


Chilli Jam:

* 1 2-inch square seedless tamarind pulp (from 16-ounce block; there may be some seeds), cut into pieces
* 1/2 cup (or more) hot water
* 1 1 1/4-inch-long piece fresh galangal or peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
* 3 cups vegetable oil
* 2 cups thinly sliced red onions
* 18 garlic cloves (about 3/4 cup), chopped
* 10 small dried red chillies soaked in water 30 minutes, drained
* 1/2 cup small dried shrimp (about 2 ounces), soaked in water 30 minutes, drained
* 1/2 cup palm sugar (use equivalent)
* 3 tablespoons fish sauce

Asparagus and snake beans:

* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 2-inch lengths
* 6 ounces snake beans (Chinese long beans) or green beans, trimmed, cut into 2-inch lengths
* 4 kaffir lime leaves
* 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
* 1 teaspoon sugar (use equivalent)

For chilli jam:
Remove any seeds from tamarind pulp and place pulp in mini processor. Add 1/2 cup hot water and puree until smooth, adding more hot water if mixture is thick. Using rubber spatula, press enough tamarind mixture through fine sieve to measure 1/3 cup. Set aside.

Heat heavy large wok or skillet over medium heat. Add galangal and dry roast until charred and tender, stirring often, about 8 minutes; transfer to bowl. Heat oil in same wok over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until golden, about 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer onions to paper towels to drain. Add garlic to same oil. Cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with galangal. Add chillies to same oil. Cook just until slightly darker in color, about 10 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer chillies to bowl with galangal. Add shrimp to same oil. Cook 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Reserve oil in wok.

Combine galangal, garlic, and chillies from bowl, onions, and shrimp in processor. Blend until paste forms (paste may not be completely smooth). Transfer paste to heavy medium saucepan. Mix in 1/4 cup reserved oil from wok and stir over medium heat until very hot. Add palm sugar, fish sauce, and tamarind pulp. Stir chilli jam to blend. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 month ahead. Transfer to bowl, cover, and chill.

For asparagus and snake beans:
Heat oil in large wok or heavy skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add asparagus, beans, and lime leaves; toss to combine. Add broth, sugar, and chile jam. Stir-fry until vegetables are tender and sauce thickens enough to coat, about 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to bowl and serve.

Marinades and sauces


Good for jazzing up meat and fish!

Moroccan marinade for fish

1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2tbsp chopped coriander
2tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp ground sweet paprika
1/4 tsp ground chilli
3tbsp olive oil
2tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

*Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well, or, for a more paste-like texture, process briefly in a food processor
Pour over fish, turning to coat well and marinade for at least 2 hours

Salsa Verde

1 cup firmly packed fresh-leaf parlsey
1 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
2tsp Dijon mustard
2tbsp lemon juice
8 anchovy fillets, drained
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

*Put all the ingredients into a blender and process to a chunky paste
Transfer to a bowl or jug and whisk just before serving
The sauce is dense, green, pungent and goes well with fish and chicken
Roasted tomato sauce

500g cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2tbsp olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1tbsp basil, torn
1tbsp chopped flat-leaf parlsey
1tbsp red wine vinegar
1tsp splenda (optional)
extra 3tbsp olive oil

*Place tomatoes in a bowl, add oil, salt, pepper and toss gently to coat. Cook on pre-heated BBQ or griddle pan for 2-3mins each side or until lightly charred. Mash or blend tomatoes with remaining ingredients, leaving sauce a little chunky. Serve at room temperature
Piquant yoghurt sauce with horseradish

2tbsp mayonnaise
4tbsp Greek yoghurt
1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2tbsp horseradish
2tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper

*Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well to combine
A delicious and quick sauce for cold bbqd seafood, beef or burgers, keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge, covered.
Spring-onion sauce

4 spring-onions, finely chopped
2tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
150ml extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh chopped herbs (eg. basil, flat-leaf parsley, oregano)

*Combine the spring-onions with the vinegar and season generously with salt/pepper. Set aside for 10 mins to allow the flavours to blend. When ready to serve, add remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve drizzled over bbqd meat or veggies
Ginger, chilli, lime and coriander butter

250g butter, room temperature
5cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped (leaves only)
3-4 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic
4tbsp olive oil
1tbsp fish sauce
grated zest of 1 lime
juice of 2 limes

*Put all the ingredients an electric mixer and beat together until smooth.
Excellent with fish
Saffron and capsicum butter

1tbsp white wine or sherry vinegar
Generous pinch of saffron threads
250g butter, room temperature
2tbsp roasted red capsicum strips
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2-3 drops tabasco sauce

*Heat the vinegar and steep the saffron in it for 5mins. Place in food processor with all the other ingredients and whiz until mixture is very smooth
Particularly good with grilled scallops and other bbqd seafood
Lime pickle

10 limes, each cut into 6 segments
100g salt
1tbsp fenugreek seeds
1tbsp black mustard seeds
1tbsp chilli powder
1tbsp ground tumeric
300ml (1/2 pint) vegetable oil
1/2 tsp asafoetida (indian spice)

*Put the limes into a sterilized jar and cover with the salt.Dry-fry the fenugreek and mustard seeds in a small fry-pan then grind them to a powder. Add the ground seeds, chilli powder and tumeric to the limes and mix well.
Heat the oil in a small fry-pan util smoking, add the asafoetida and fry for 30 secs. Pour the oil over the limes and mix well.
Cover the jar with a clean cloth and leave to mature for 10 days in a bright, warm place. Transfer the pickle to a tightly sealed container and store up to 2 months.
Aromatic confit salt

100g wet salt
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 garlic cloves
4 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 bay leaf
1 star anise
2 peppercorns
4 coriander seeds

*Place all the ingredients in a mortar, pound well until well crushed and aromatic. Salt will keep in fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Salt and chilli chicken wings


You will need........
12 chicken wings
Freshly ground salt and white pepper - vital that it's fresh
3-6 fresh green & red chillies, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Spring onion for garnish
Lime wedges for garnish
Oil suitable for deep frying

*Cut all the wings at the joint
*Score each of them at an angle a few times
*Rub them in a lot of sea salt
*Deep fry them in very hot oil
*Remove when golden brown and sprinkle liberally with more salt
*Fry some garlic, red/green chillies and spring onions and garnish wings with them, then serve with a wedge of lime and white pepper to taste

They should be very salty (in a good way) and with crispy skin and very juicy tender flesh.

Chargrilled garlic & pepper prawns with green chilli dipping sauce


I spent a day at a Thai cooking school in the sunshine coast a year or two back (lovely xmas pressie from my mum) Thought I'd share the this recipe with you guys...........they are gorgeous!

1kg green prawns, deveined
2 coriander roots, cleaned and scraped
12 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp whole white peppercorns
1 tbsp palm sugar (use equiv. splenda)
1 tbsp fish sauce

*Pound white peppercorns, coriander root & garlic to paste
*Dissolve splenda & fish sauce, stir into the paste
*Add prawns, toss and marinate for 2 hours minimum
*Cook prawns 1 min each side on the BBQ (or griddle)

Dipping Sauce
1 tbsp coriander root & stem
2 cloves garlic
5 small green chillies
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tsp palm sugar (use equiv.splenda)
1 tbsp fish sauce

*In mortar, crush coriander, garlic and chillies.
*Add lime juice, splenda and fish sauce

Thai chicken burgers


You will need........
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup flaked coconut, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 pounds ground chicken
1/2 cup Thai peanut sauce
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 tablespoons minced green onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lime juice

*In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, coconut, and mint. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
*In a large bowl, mix together ground chicken, Thai peanut sauce, curry paste, green onion, parsley, soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice & lime juice. Be careful not to over-mix. Divide into 8 equal size balls. Flatten into patties about 1/2 inch thick.
*Preheat the grill for medium-high heat.
*Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill burgers for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until well done. Serve with coconut-mint mayonnaise & side salad

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spicy vegetarian pizza


If I was given the choice of a 'normal' base and this one, I'd pick this any day! The key to this is making the sauce yourself and you must be patient because it really does make a huge difference to the end result. I also prefer vegetarian pizzas over meat ones but of course, it's entirely up to you what you top it with - just don't overload it or it will collapse. Anyway, authentic Italian pizza's were never meant to have a bazillion ingredients on them - these would be just beautiful with some mozzarella, handful of fresh basil and a few slices of tomato.

Low carb wrap (I used Empower)

Tomato sauce
3 Roma or truss tomatoes, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic,very finely sliced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground salt and pepper
2 chillies, finely diced
Few dashes of Tabasco sauce
Sprinkle of dried oregano

1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
Handful of fresh, torn basil
1 mushroom, thinly sliced and lightly fried
4 slices of thinly sliced red capsicum

To make the sauce, fry the diced onion in a olive oil till softened and caramelized. Add the garlic and tomatoes, then cook the mixture down on a low heat for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, season and add the Worcestershire sauce & Tabasco. Ohance it resembles a thick paste, have a taste to determine if it needs further tweaking and once ready, spread over the pizza base, add toppings and leave in the grill till cheese has fully melted and is bubbling

This is yummy with mayo as a dipping sauce

Loaded chicken melts


You will need...........

Chicken goujons or chicken breast cut into 3 long pieces
1 packet of pork crackle, crushed
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cheese
3 tbsp jalapeno peppers
Low carb tomato sauce or blitz your own up using tomato, garlic, worcestershire sauce and basil
Cup of melted butter
Freshly ground salt and pepper

*Dip chicken in the melted butter and coat with the pork crackle, salt and pepper
*Fry in a little olive oil till crispy then transfer to a baking dish
*Top each piece of chicken with the tomato sauce, then the cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180c till the cheese has melted
*Top with a dollop of sour cream and jalapeno peppers and serve

*optional* you can also fry a slice of bacon and layer it between the tomato and cheese before baking it in the oven



I discovered this recipe by accident whilst trying to make a 'dessert pizza' from someone else's blog, they're not bad if you don't mind the taste of almond meal

1 cup almond meal
2 tbsp chopped pine nuts
2 tbsp splenda
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp oil

*Mix ingredients together with a fork then spoon mixture into patty cakes
*Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200c
*Bake for around 15 minutes or until they go slightly brown and springy to touch
*Remove from oven and let them cool

Cream cheese
1/2 cup splenda
1 tbsp vanilla essence

*Beat mixture until smooth and dollop over cooled cupcakes
*Top with a strawberry quarter

These are nicer when they have been refrigerated and the topping has cooled

Now the original recipe I was trying to follow is here.......
.....and this is how my version turned out when I followed the recipe properly :) though it doesn't look anywhere as good as the original


Cauliflower and broccoli bake


This is a great accompaniment for meat but it also delicious eaten alone

You will need
2 cups of cauliflower, boiled till tender then drained
2 cups of broccoli, boiled till tender then drained
1 cup of cream
2 cups of mixed cheeses (I use mozzarella, tasty & parmesan)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Freshly ground salt and pepper
1 tsp nutmeg
30g butter

*Fry garlic in a dash of olive oil, then add butter, cream, nutmeg, salt & pepper
*Cook over a medium heat till the sauce is bubbling and has thickened
*Empty half of the broccoli and cauliflower into a deep baking dish then pour over half of the sauce and add half of the cheese rhen add the remaining veg, the remaining sauce and finally, top with the remaining cheese
*Cook uncovered in a pre-heated oven at 200c for around 30mins or until top has browned

Tuna melt


A quick, tasty snack for when you're on the run!

You will need..........
1 low carb wrap (I used Empower)
Tin of tuna in springwater
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 tbsp mild mustard
Freshly ground salt and pepper
1 cup of grated cheese
2 tbsp chopped spring onion
Low carb tomato sauce or you can blitz up your own using fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil

*Drain the tuna and mix together with the mayo, mustard and salt/pepper
*Spoon the mixture into the middle of the wrap and roll up tightly
*Top with tomato sauce, grated cheese and spring onions and finish off in a hot grill till the cheese has melted

Homemade cheeseburgers


You will need............
500g of good quality beef mince
1/2 an onion, finely diced
1 green chilli, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 beaten egg
Freshly ground salt & pepper

*Mix all of the above ingredients together and make into patties
*Fry in a griddle pan till cooked through, turning only once
*Top with grated colby cheese and leave in a pre-heated oven at 150c
*Mix together mayonnaise and preferably fresh, finely chopped mint (you can use dried)
*Once the cheese has melted on the burgers, remove from the oven and serve with a garden salad

*Note* in the photo I have a small pot of Empower low carb sweet and sour sauce which you can buy online

Creamy garlic prawns with zucchini ribbons


Cream, butter and garlic are a match made in heaven and this dish is both delicious and quick to make.

12 raw prawns, deveined
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Handful of fresh, torn basil
10g butter
5tbsp cream
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 zucchini/courgette peeled into long strips with a potato peeler, boiled till tender and drained
Freshly ground salt, black pepper and white pepper

*Fry the garlic in 2tbsp of olive oil till fragrant then add the prawns and cook till pink, add cream, butter, basil, Parmesan and seasoning, let it simmer very gently till the sauce has thickened
*Serve over the zucchini ribbons

Tandoori lamb cutlets


This Indian inspired dish makes a beautiful entree or snack. Ideally, marinate the meat overnight to really let the flavours penetrate but if you plan on making them today, 4 hours will do

10 lamb cutlets
Tandoori paste
Lemon wedges to serve

*Score the meat at an angle a few cms apart then run with the paste and refridgerate
*Let the cutlets cool to room temperature before cooking, you should remove them from the fridge at least 45 mins before cooking
*Heat a griddle pan till lightly smoking then add a splash of olive oil and finally, the cutlets. Turn them only once and remove when they are charred

Garnish with fresh coriander. You could make a garlic sauce to accompany this.

Eye fillet with natoes & asparagus

My all-time favourite cut of beef is eye fillet, which unfortunately is also the most expensive, but boy is it tender and juicy. Now, the 2 rules you MUST follow when cooking any steak are 1. Always cook the steak at room temperature, never straight from the fridge and 2. You must rest it for at least the same amount of time you cooked it for, to allow the muscle to relax and become tender and also to prevent blood oozing out when you cut it (eugh!)

You will need
Eye fillet steak, ROOM temperature
Freshly ground salt and pepper
1/4 head of cauliflower, boiled till tender then drained
2tbsp sour cream
2tbsp thickened cream
25g softened butter
Asparagus, peeled, trimmed and blanched in boiling water for 10 mins, then drizzled with olive oil & salt/pepper

Heat the pan till it starts to smoke, then add a dash of olive oil and finally the steaks.
If you like it medium-rare, cook for 3 mins on each side, turning only once and 3.5 mins for medium. Use a timer to ensure that you don't overcook, nothing worse than a tough steak!
Once cooked, transfer to a plate and cover tightly with foil. Let it rest.

Mash the cauliflower with sour cream, cream, butter & season well
Serve with the steak and asparagus

Crispy skinned salmon with roasted runner beans & creamy dijon sauce

This dish matches together beautifully and the sauce is versatile enough to go most other dishes. Always use freshly ground salt & pepper, it makes a huge difference.

You will need
Salmon steak, with the skin scored 3mm deep, and 3mm apart (stops salmon curling up in pan)
1/2 cup of melted butter
Runner beans, ends trimmed
2tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced fresh chillies
Olive oil for frying
Freshly ground salt and pepper

1/4 cup sour cream
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dry dill

*Fry off the garlic, ginger and chilli in olive oil. Arrange runner beans in a shallow baking dish then pour over the oil mixture, tossing to coat.
*Roast in a pre-heated oven at 200c for around 45 mins or until they look like in the photo below!
*Heat oil in a pan till hot (but not smoking)

* Pat the salmon dry & season generously with salt & pepper, rub with olive oil then add skin side down to the pan.
*Cook for around 4-5 mins on each side depending on the thickness, turning once, occasionally basting with the melted butter and turning the heat down slightly towards the end You want to cook it 70% on the skin side and 30% on the other side. Do not overcook.
*Remove from the pan and set on plate, add the roasted beans

Combine all ingredients and dollop over salmon

Cottage Pie

Looking for something hearty and satisfying? Need some comfort food on those chilly winter nights? Try my delicious guilt-free cottage pie!

You will need.........

700g of good quality beef mince
4 cloves of garlic, diced
3" piece of ginger, minced
1-2 fresh chillies, minced
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 finely chopped tomato
1 finely chopped onion
1/4 head of cauliflower, boiled till very tender and drained
25g butter
25g sour cream
3 tbsp thickened cream
Freshly ground salt and pepper
Chicken stock
1 cup of grated cheese
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

*Fry the onion in a little olive oil or butter till it has softened then add the garlic, ginger and chillies and fry for a further minute - be careful not to let the mixture burn
*Add the mince and brown all over
*Add tomato, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning then cover with chicken stock (you can also use beef if you prefer) till it's about 1inch above the surface of the mince
*Simmer till all liquid has gone (15-20 mins or so)
*Mash cauliflower with the butter, cream and sour cream - add them gradually till you get a smooth consistency then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg
*Spoon the mince mixture evenly into a deep baking dish, top with the cauliflower mash AKA natoes then finally, the cheese
*Grill on a high heat till the top has browned slightly and is bubbling

SERVE WITH - a fresh garden salad or steamed veggies