Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Smoked Trout and Kipfler Potato Salad

Fish - not something I would go for usually. However, a while ago I tried some smoked salmon and actually liked it. Not long after that I was at a restaurant and I saw Smoked Ocean Trout on the menu - I thought, well if I like smoked salmon which is a pink fish I might also like smoked ocean trout which is also pink. As I am slowly phasing chicken out of my diet, as for some reason I no longer enjoy it (which may be because it was the only meat I ate for 13+ years) I figured I should replace it with another high protein food, so I have begun to eat more fish; started off with tuna, progressed to salmon, and am now trying out trout. As Ryan is not really a fish person, I thought I would choose something with lots of potatoes (his favourite veg) and a masking sauce with dill.

Some facts about DILL:
  • Its seeds, dill seed are used as a spice, and its fresh leaves, dill, and its dried leaves, dill weed, are used as herbs.
  • In the Middle Ages, dill was thought to protect against witchcraft.
  • Dill can also be used to help cure both insomnia and bad breath. Sometimes dill is made into a tea to help cure an upset stomach.
  • Is used to describe a person whom acts or participates in a laughable, foolish or bombastic manner. i.e You are such a dill Tom.
Ease: 4/5. Apart from peeling the potatoes and eggs there's not much prep - probably spent around 15mins actively cooking - 45mins all up.

Taste: 4/5.
I made the mistake of leaving the eggs on the stove and came back 45sec too late - so I ended up with hard boiled eggs rather than soft. I also didn't leave the sour cream out long enough to get runny. Otherwise I liked this dish. The heavy flavours and textures of the potato and trout are lightened by the clean, fresh sour cream and dill sauce. The flavours combined really well, and if the eggs had been runny it probably would have tasted even better. Ryan also ate it (except for the yolks).
I used packet smoked ocean trout - so all I had to do was break it up with a fork. I doubled ingredients for the sauce, however, I used 9 kipfler potatoes which was too much, 7 would have been more than adequate for 2 people. I also forgot the toast - will remember to add that next time.

Would I make again: Yes.
I will tweak a few things and rectify my mistakes. But it was an easy fish dish with nice flavours and very filling.

Recipe here:

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pork Chop with Fennel Seed Crust with a Fennel & Apple Puree

I haven't done very much cooking lately, actually I haven't done very much at all. Apart from work I have spent all my free time sleeping, which granted, is quite enjoyable but very out of character for me and also very unproductive, I mean, it's not like I need thaaat much beauty sleep. At first I put it down to weather/time of the month - until a few other symptoms popped up and I realised, hey, I'm probably anaemic.
Looking back on my diet it was no surprise, as there was very little nutrition at all, - something which is entirely my fault as I could have chosen to eat a carrot or maybe some yoghurt rather than a whole block of Cadbury (damn you sweet chocolate!) followed with half a box of chocolate teddies (which I don't even like that much). So I leaped, well crawled, into action and popped some Vitamin C, B12 and of course, Iron supplements; and my 2nd day in I am actually awake (I slept in until 12 but I did get off the couch to actually work today), and feeling much better. With my energy partially restored I resumed my nightly cooking.

As one of my favourite vegetables, fennel, is in season, I thought I would cook a recipe that uses it as the main ingredient. As it also includes pork I will only be eating the puree portion along with my pills. Yummo! Retirement home here I come!

Some facts about: FENNEL

  • Is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe.
  • Has both culinary and medicinal uses.
  • The flavour is similar to that of anise and star anise - think licorice.
  • In medieval times fennel was used in conjunction with St John's wart to keep away withcraft and other evil things.

Ease: 4/5. Not much prep work and fairly quick. Around 40mins all up.
Taste: 4.5/5.
According to Ryan - loved the pork, hated the puree; reminded him of baby food. I omitted the lemon rind for the pork seasoning as I had no lemons. I was fairly unimpressed with the puree as it was runnier than pictured. I suspect that this was because the fennel I bought was fairly small in size, and I also used slightly less than half an onion, which may have resulted in a much more liquid puree.
Would I make again: Yes
for the pork. I would serve it with fennel seed mash next time and some greens.

Recipe here:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pizza Hut - BBQ Chicken Lovers

As I Could-Not-Be-Fkd cooking tonight, mostly because I have lost feeling in my lower limbs thanks to the cold weather, Ryan and I ordered a pizza.

Pizza: BBQ Chicken Lovers on Thin n Crispy Base - Chicken, fresh cuts of onion and mushroom all on our freshly made pizza base with mozzarella and BBQ sauce.

Taste: 3/5. Decent - crust was a bit too crispy but otherwise a good pizza with a decent amount of topping. Everything was proportionate.

Cost: $12.90 pickup. It was 11.90 about 4 months ago - bastards upped the price.

French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

This is an absolutely great, easy and entertaining read. Once I finished I immediately wanted to read it again but alas I had to return it to the Library; I will however be buying my own hardcover copy. 'French Women' includes quaint French recipes and has changed (well slightly) my thoughts about food, lifestyle and the size of servings...
It advocates the enjoyment and pleasure of food, as well as light exercise and basically Joie de Vivre. It's just a lot of common sense written in an entertaining way - made me want to go out and buy a pain au chocolat - but only one- not eight :).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Eggplant & Walnut Phyllo Pie

Ease: 2/5. A HUGE amount of prep. The eggplant is a pain in the ass to do. Took around 1 hour before it finally goes into the oven. 1.5 hours in total.

Taste: 3/5. Nice flavours but WAY too greasy. The eggplant soaks up oil like it is a diabetic that needs insulin - couldn't eat much at all.

Would I make again: No.

Recipe here:

Five Spice Chicken with Cinnamon & Sultana Couscous

Ease: 4/5. Toss the chicken in the spice, and chuck all the stuff in the saucepan. Took around 15mins total including prep. Super fast.

Taste: 3/5. Nothing spectacular. Couscous was a little too sweet for me. Would not add the sugar and would decrease the amount of cinnamon next time.

Would I make again: No - similar to other couscous versions I have tried which are nicer.

Recipe here:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who's my favourite teddy bear cupcakes

These are chocolate fudge cupcakes, half with a caramel frosting, half with chocoalte.
The recipe is from Crabapple Cupcake Bakery recipe book.

4/5. Didn't bother with adding walnuts. The caramel frosting on the other hand was a nightmare. First caramel hardened too much and I had to make another batch - didn't get a very fluffy frosting, more like a ganache. Wouldn't bother making it next time.

5/5. So Fkn Good Mate. Really dense and fudgy - caramel frosting was a little sugary but edible. Will definitely make the cupcake base again and try a buttercream or nutella frosting next time around. If I suddenly die of a heart attack you will know it was the cupcakes that killed me.

Would I make again:
Fuck Yes! Thank god there's still 6 left to eat tomorrow

Monday, May 19, 2008

Potato and caramelised onion tart with Scotch Fillet

3.5/5. Chopping, caramelising and then baking. Few ingredients is a plus though.

3/5. Ok - I prefer the onion tart I made previously. I only used 3 eggs, 1 pastry sheet, 2 onions and 2 potatoes to make the four tarts.

Would I make again:

Recipe here:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Yoshi's 10th Bday!

It was Yoshi's Bday today and we had Dad and Anthi over - tomorrow Mum and Dominic will be over so the lucky doggie gets a two-day celebration. I made him a doggie cake out of small dog biscuits. For the adults I made a Rhubarb Cream Tart.

3/5. A little time intensive as you have to wait a while for things to cool before you can assemble and then chill again.

2.5/5. I didn't enjoy the rhubarb with the creamy base - don't think the flavours worked well together; would have been better topped with strawberries. The others liked it but I didn't even finish my slice.

Would I make again: No - because I wouldn't eat it.

Recipe here:

Friday, May 16, 2008

Herb Crusted Chicken Bites And Roasted Broccoli with Asiago

Made this Wed night. This recipe is the best way to get Ryan to eat all of his broccoli - I have also used Parmesan as a substitute to Asiago and it's pretty much the same taste; the Parmesan is a little sharper. This is also my favourite way to cook broccoli.

Ease: 3.5/5 for chicken. Fiddly with the dipping and you both fry and oven bake the chicken.
4.5/5 for broccoli (5/5 if you use shredded parmesan.) Apart from grating the cheese you just toss the broccoli in the oven and then toss it in the cheese when you take it out.

Taste: 3/5 for the chicken. Needs more flavour and seasoning. Otherwise a tender chicken nugget. Great smothered in sauce.
5/5 for broccoli. Would add less salt before roasting as cheese is quite salty. But otherwise a great earthy taste.

Would I make again: Yes for the broccoli. Not sure about the chicken nuggets - maybe when I have kids.

Recipe here for Chicken:

Recipe here for Broccoli:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chicken Pasta Bake

This is my "CBF" meal - not only does it only take only 40mins, it's super tasty.

Sorry about the bad pic - taken with an IPhone.

  • Dolmio's Cheese and Tomato Pasta Bake Sauce
  • 250g Shell pasta
  • 1/2 barbecued roast chicken - shredded
  • 1 cup grated tasty cheese
Put first three ingredients in a baking dish - chuck it in the oven for 30mins
Then sprinkle cheese on top and put back in until browned

Ease: 5/5 - only prep is shredding the pre-cooked chicken - spent 5-10mins "actively" cooking
Taste: 5/5 - even the boys really loved this - all had seconds
Would I make again: Yes, whenever I can't be arsed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tomato Soup with Chicken Dumplings

Ease: 4/5. Chicken dumplings were a bit fiddly.

Taste: 3.5/5. Spicy, consistency was a little weird.

Would I make again: No - chunky tomato soup is not to my taste

Recipe here:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cardamom Sugar Cookies

Ease: 4/5. Must refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.

Taste: Without the glaze they are not a very sweet cookie. I glazed mine and they were nice and spicy. I added a little more nutmeg.

Would I make again: No. I have another cardamom cookie recipe that I prefer.

Recipe here:

Friday, May 9, 2008

Homemade Muesli

Decided to make my own muesli based on a recipe by Bill Granger:

I used:
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower kernels
  • 3 Tbl sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1/4 slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup dried raspberries
  • 125ml apple juice
  • 2 Tbl Oil

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Chicken and tarragon pie

Ease: 4/5. Some chopping involved but otherwise a two pot dish. I made one pie rather than individual ones so I only used 1 sheet of pastry.

Taste: 4/5. Tasty - would use less salt on the pastry next time though. I used 2 chicken breasts which were around 500g total. Pie made enough for 3 with the smaller amount of chicken. Took 30mins in the oven.

Would I make again: Yes - good pie for winter - took 45mins in total.

Recipe here:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tarte a l’oignon with Pepper Scotch Fillet

Recipe from Gourmet Traveller.

Ease: 3/5. Pastry has to be started in advance as well as the onions. Only modification I made to the tart was to make one large tart rather than 4 smaller ones. As a result it needed a little longer in the oven. With the steak I just seasoned it and cooked it til medium. I served the tart and steak with some sliced goats feta and balsamic reduction.

Taste: 4.5/5. Really tasty - might add extra salt and nutmeg the next time round. The goats cheese helped to cut through the sweetness of the onions.

Would I make again: Yes.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Baked chicken with white beans and tomatoes

Ease: 4/5 - I kept it simmering on the stove for 30mins rather than moving it to the oven. Not much prep involved either.

Taste: 4/5 (according to Ryan as I did not have the chicken). I added 1tsp minced garlic, and dashes of tarragon, rosemary and black pepper to add some more flavour. I used cannellini beans and short cut bacon.

Would I make again: Yes, really easy and ready in under 40mins total

Recipe here:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Crispy-skinned chicken with buttery leeks and cranberry sauce

Ease: 3.5/5. You have to get the chicken in the oven in advance; the sauce and the leeks are also done separately. The recipe is otherwise fairly straight forward. Took around 45mins total as the chicken breasts needed longer in the oven - around 40mins.

Taste: 4.5/5. Really tasty. I substituted the frozen cranberries for cranberry jelly and omitted the sugar. I also used a merlot rather than a shiraz. The flavours work well together. And the recipe works well when halved.

Would I make it again: Yes definitely -Ryan loved it as well. Would probably try harder with the presentation next time though.

Recipe here: