Sunday, August 23, 2009

One Pot Pasta with Pancetta & Ricotta

Wave goodbye to mountains of washing up with this recipe that just uses one pot to create a meal that is hearty and full of flavour but leaves you with a bare minimum of cleaning up!

Serves 4


1 tbsp olive oil
200g pancetta or prosciutto diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
½ cup white wine
400g dried rigatoni pasta
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup passata (tomato pasta sauce)
100g bought baked ricotta, thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh continental parsley leaves

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the pancetta, garlic and chilli and cook, stirring until pancetta is golden.
  3. Add the wine and cook until wine reduces by half. Add the pasta and stir to coat.
  4. Pour in the stock and tomato passata. Season with salt. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the pasta is al dente and the liquid has reduced and thickened.
  5. Divide pasta mixture among serving dishes. Top with the baked ricotta and parsley. Season with pepper and serve.

BBQ Meatlovers Pizza

Click here for the link to my basic pizza dough recipe.

Serves 4


cooking oil spray
2 lean beef sausages
30cm pizza base
¼ cup barbecue sauce
1 small red onion, halved, thinly sliced
50g rindless bacon, chopped
a few pancetta slices, roughly chopped
½ small tomato, chopped and deseeded
½ cup grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese

  1. Prepare and prove pizza dough as recipe directs.
  2. Meanwhile spray a large frying pan with oil. Heat over medium heat. Cook sausages, turning occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to cool. Thinly slice.
  3. Preheat oven to 220C. Shape dough on oiled trays as desired. Spoon/spread BBQ sauce evenly over pizza base. Bake for 10 minutes or until bases are light golden.
  4. Top pizza bases with remaining ingredients and bake for a further 15 minutes or until ingredients are cooked through and crust is crispy and golden.
  5. Cut into wedges. Serve hot.

Bitter Melon (Fu Gua) Omelette

Some fruit and vegetable grocers stock bitter melons. If yours doesn't they can be purchased at an Asian grocery store. There are usually 2 types/varieties of bitter melon to choose from. One is long and large and the other is smaller. If you prefer a less bitter taste, than choose the bigger one which is pale green and has bigger bumps on its surface. The smaller one is very bitter.

Serves 2-4 as part of a multi-course meal


1 bitter melon, cut in half with seeds removed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
4-5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
vegetable oil for frying

  1. Add ¼ tsp sugar, dash of salt and pepper to the beaten eggs.
  2. Slice the bitter melon thinly then add to boiling water seasoned with 1 tsp salt and 1tsp sugar for approx. 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat wok with 1 tbsp oil and when oil is hot, add in the chopped garlic and the bitter melon.
  4. Pour eggs over bitter melon and fry until eggs are set and brown.
  5. Serve hot.

Creamy Chicken, Asparagus, Mushroom & Proscuitto Pasta

My sincere apologies to my fellow blog readers for taking so long to post on my blog. I've been a bit bogged down with assignments lately... Hence, the last couple of weeks I've been cooking up a lot of quick, simple and easy to prepare meals. Hope you enjoy some of the next couple of recipes that I will blog about. I'm sure there are many time poor people out there, just like myself :P

Serves 4


300g penne pasta
4 slices prosciutto, cut in half length ways
2 tbsp olive oil
500g chicken breast or thigh fillets, thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup dry white wine
1 bunch asparagus, cut in 5cm lengths
50g mushrooms, sliced
1 chicken stock cube
375ml light & creamy evaporated milk
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Cook pasta according to directions on packet, drain and keep warm.
  2. Brown prosciutto under grill until golden brown and crisp then break into smaller pieces.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan over high heat. Add chicken, cook for 2 minutes until golden brown, remove from pan. Set aside onto a plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm.
  4. Add remaining oil, onion and garlic to pan, cook until onion softens. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil, then add chicken and simmer for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Toss cooked pasta through sauce, top with prepared prosciutto pieces. If desired, sprinkle with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sasuage Rolls

These home-cooked sausage rolls are really easy to make. A handy snack for those cold days, or any time at all!

Makes 12-14


350g beef mince
350g sausage mince
1 brown onion, chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
sea salt and cracked black pepper
3-4 sheets ready-prepared puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the beef and sausage mince in the bowl of a food processor with the onion, rosemary, salt and pepper, and process until combined.
  2. Cut each pastry sheet in half. Divide the mince mixture into six equal-sized portions and roll each one into a long sausage shape.
  3. Place the rolled mixture in the centre of the pastry pieces, brush the edges of the pastry with egg, and roll to enclose the filling, making sure the seam is on the bottom.
  4. Trim the ends and cut each roll in half. Place the sausage rolls on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  5. Brush the rolls with the remaining egg and bake for 30-35 minutes or until puffed and golden.
  6. Serve warm with tomato sauce

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ma Po Tofu

Ma Po Tofu is a popular Chinese dish from the Sichuan province. It is a combination of tofu (bean curd) set in a spicy chilli & bean based sauce and often topped with pork minced meat. Hot/spicy bean sauce is sold in Chinese grocery specialty stores.

Serves 2 as a main entree, or 4 as part of a multi-course meal


300g packet of silken tofu
2 tablespoons peanut oil
200g fatty pork mince
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon spicy black bean sauce
¼ cup shao hsing wine
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon Sichuan salt and pepper
spring onions, sliced, to serve

  1. Gently remove tofu from packet and invert onto a plate. Carefully cut into 20 cubes by cutting lengthways into four equal slices, then widthways into five slices, draining off any excess liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly.
  3. Add pork and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Remove pork with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Add garlic and spicy black bean sauce, then reduce heat and stir fry on low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Return pork to wok with wine and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add soy sauce and sugar and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and carefully slide tofu into wok, gently separating the cubes as they fall into the pork mixture. Simmer, covered, for 3 minutes.
  6. Spoon into shallow bowl, sprinke with Sichuan pepper and salt and garnish with spring onions.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Asian-Style Stuffed Tomatoes

Serves 3-4


6-8 large vine-ripened tomatoes
3 tbs vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tsp grated ginger
25g dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
350g pork mince
3 tsp caster sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs shaohsing rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
1 eggwhite
150ml chicken stock
 cup oyster sauce

  1. Heat a wok over medium-high heat, then fry 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, garlic, onion and ginger for 1 minute. Remove and cool.
  2. Slice tops off tomatoes and set aside. Use a small spoon to scoop out tomato flesh. Strain pulp and reserve liquid. Pat inside of tomatoes with paper towel.
  3. Drain mushrooms, discard water, and squeeze dry. Finely chop and place in a large bowl with pork mince, 1 teaspoon of caster sugar, soy sauce, onion, garlic & ginger mixture, rice wine, sesame oil and eggwhite. Mix well, then use to stuff tomatoes.
  4. To make sauce, mix the stock, oyster sauce, remaining sugar and reserved tomato juice together in a jug.
  5. Wipe wok clean and heat remaining vegetable oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes filling-side down and cook for about 5 minutes or until golden. Turn tomatoes over and add sauce.
  6. Reduce heat to low, place tops on tomatoes and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until filling is cooked through. Serve with jasmine rice
Notes & Tips

Dried shiitake mushrooms and shaohsing rice wine are available from Asian supermarkets.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Donna Hay's Rustic Simmered Chicken

Recipe from Donna Hay, No Time to Cook, page 84
Serves 2


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, trimmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 slices pancetta, chopped
4 chicken thigh fillets, halved
plain flour, for dusting
200g small button mushrooms
4 chat (baby) potatoes, quartered
½ cup (125ml) dry white wine
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig tarragon
½ cup (125ml) cream
sea salt and cracked black pepper, to season

  1. Heat a frying pan over medium- high heat. Add oil, leek, garlic and pancetta and cook for 1 minute or until golden. Dust chicken with flour and cook for 2 minutes each side or until golden.
  2. Add mushrooms, cook for 2 minutes. Add potatoes, wine, stock, thyme and tarragon, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  3. Stir in cream, salt and pepper.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Slice

I ate this cheesecake the other day at a friend's BBQ lunch and couldn't wait to try and make it myself since it tasted so yummy :)

Recipe taken from Kraft Foods recipes


350g Oreo Original cookies
80g butter, melted
375g block cream cheese, cubed and softened
½ cup caster sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup thickened cream
3 teaspoons powdered gelatine, dissolved in ¼ cup hot water
200g white chocolate, melted, cooled slightly

  1. Place 250g of the cookies in a food processor and process into fine crumbs. Add the butter and process to combine. Press the mixture into an 18cm x 28 cm lamington tin or 20cm (base) round springform cake pan lined with cling wrap or baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla essence with an electric mixer until smooth, then beat in the cream. Stir through the gelatine mixture and white chocolate.
  3. Roughly chop the remaining cookies and stir through the cream cheese mixture then pour over the biscuit base. Cover and refrigerate until set (approx. 3 hours). Cut into slices or squares to serve. 

Friday, August 7, 2009

Peach and Mango Chicken Curry

A super tasty alternative to Apricot Chicken.


1 kilo chicken drumsticks or chicken pieces on bone (approx. 8 drumsticks)
1-2 onions, sliced finely
1 x 800g can peaches in mango syrup
1½ tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon Moroccan spice
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon coconut essence
2 cubes chicken stock
1 tablespoon corn flour
¼ cup water

  1. Preheat oven to 150C
  2. Using a pan that can be placed in the oven...
  3. Fry up the chicken drumsticks with some oil until they are browned all over, then set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.
  4. Fry onions until soft and transparent. Add the curry powder, Moroccan spice and stock cubes and cook for 1 minute to release flavour. Return chicken drumsticks back into the pan.
  5. Add in the whole tin of peaches in mango syrup (including the mango syrup) and stir to mix.
  6. Add a pinch of salt and the coconut essence.
  7. Put lid on pan and place in oven to casserole for 1 hour.
  8. After 1 hour, mix the water and corn flour together in a cup, remove casserole from oven and stir in water and flour mixture to thicken the sauce.
  9. Serve with steamed veggies and rice.
Notes and Tips

Adjust the amount of curry powder to your personal taste.
Adjust the amount of thickening needed to suit dish.
Remove the skin from the drumsticks if you would like a healthier version.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pizza Dough & Supreme Pizza

Making your own pizza in your own kitchen is fun, easy, healthy and inexpensive.
But the best thing about home made pizza is that it can be anything you want. I tend to just use whatever is leftover in my fridge or pantry. Anyway, here's my basic pizza dough recipe and a Supreme pizza recipe to get you started :)

If you don't have a pizza tray just shape dough on a rectangular baking tray.

Makes a 30cm round or 4 individual pizzas

Preparation: 15 minutes + 30 minutes to prove


1½ cups bread & pizza flour or plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
7g sachet dry yeast
2/3 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl; make a well in the centre. Stir yeast into 2/3 cup lukewarm water in a small jug; stir in oil. Pour yeast mixture into flour; stir to make a firm dough.
  2. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a clean, lightly oiled large bowl; cover with plastic food wrap. Keep in a warm draught free place. Let stand for 30 minutes or until dough doubles.
  3. Punch down dough. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 20cm round. Place onto a tray then using fingertips, press dough out to the edge of the tray.
  4. Spoon/spread pizza sauce evenly over pizza base. Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 220C oven, or until bases are light golden.
  5. Top pizza bases with toppings of choice and bake for a further 10 minutes or until ingredients are cooked through and bases are crisp and golden.
Notes and Tips

Bread and pizza flour contains higher gluten so it will give your pizza crust a crunchier texture.

Prepare the toppings while the dough rises. Pre-cook any ingredients that you may be putting onto the pizza. Particularly meats that would not be safe to eat raw e.g. beef, sausage, chicken and pork. This is also a good time to cook any tough vegetables.

Supreme Pizza

Serves 4


1 quantity pizza dough (see recipe above)
1x 140g tub pizza sauce or tomato paste
100g button mushrooms, sliced
½ red or green capsicum, thinly sliced
50g ham, diced
½ egg tomato, chopped and deseeded
½ a 225g can pineapple pieces, juice drained
handful of stuffed green olives, chopped
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese

  1. Prepare and prove pizza dough as recipe directs
  2. Preheat oven to 220C. Shape dough on oiled trays as desired. Spoon/spread pizza sauce evenly over pizza base. Bake for 10 minutes or until bases are light golden.
  3. Top pizza bases with remaining ingredients and bake for a further 15 minutes or until ingredients are cooked through and crust is crisp and golden.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sweet Corn & Potato Soup

This is a very filling soup for a cold winter's day :)

6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
175g rind-less bacon, finely chopped
310g corn kernels
185ml light evaporated milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley for garnish

  1. Heat a large non-stick saucepan over a high heat. When hot, add the bacon and cook, stirring for 5 minutes, until golden. Remove and set aside.
  2. Place the potatoes, onion, garlic and stock into the saucepan.
  3. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are soft.
  4. Place the potato mixture into a food processor. Then add bacon and process until smooth.
  5. Place mixture back into saucepan. Add corn kernels and evaporated milk to the potato mixture and bring almost to the boil. Remove from heat.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. Garnish with parsley
Notes & Tips

Evaporated milk contains less fat than cream, allowing you to rekindle your love for creamy food :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Roast Pumpkin Soup

For a fuller & sweeter pumpkin flavour, I would recommend taking the extra time to roast the pumpkin first. If you don't have the time, you can just add all the ingredients to a pan and bring to the boil then simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender, prior to blending and adding the milk.


1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1kg pumpkin, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 chicken stock cube
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups water
freshly ground black pepper
185mL can evaporated milk
2 tbs olive oil
rosemary & thyme sprigs (optional)


Preheat oven to 220°C. Arrange the pumpkin and onion in a single layer, in a large roasting pan. Drizzle over the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add some rosemary & thyme sprigs. Roast in oven, turning once halfway through cooking, for 30 minutes or until golden & tender.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the pumpkin & onion mixture (with the herbs removed), stock cube, water, nutmeg and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until it reduces slightly. Remove from heat.

Place the mixture in food processor or blender and process until mixture is smooth.

Return to pan, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add evaporated milk, return to boil stirring constantly. Sprinkle with parsley and season with freshly ground pepper before serving.

Notes & Tips

Evaporated milk contains less fat than cream, allowing you to rekindle your love for creamy food :)
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