This has to be the easiest soup to make and I call it “lazy” as there’s not much to throwing it together. With winter already here in Sydney in temperature, even if we’re not officially in the winter months, a warming soup seems like a good idea.
The recipe is a soup for two – double the ingredients to make a larger quantity.
Half a butternut pumpkin
4 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
500mls chicken or vegetable stock
Juice of an orange
Ground black pepper
Pouring cream for serving, herbs for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C fan.
Chop the pumpkin into rough chunks, skin and all. Take out the seeds if you can be bothered. Nothing fussy about this recipe! Slice the spring onions and peel the garlic, no need to chop.
Pile everything into a large baking dish and scatter a little salt over the veggies. Pour over the olive oil. Bake in the oven for half an hour or so until the pumpkin is soft.
Remove from the oven and transfer everything to a large saucepan. Add the stock and orange juice. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and cook for 10 minutes until the pumpkin starts to get mushy.
Using a stick blender, process until the soup is creamy. Or transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz.
Season with ground black pepper. Serve in bowls with a little pouring cream swirled on top. Add a leafy herb for a bit of zhushing.
Nice served with bread – flatbread is excellent for mopping up the leftovers!
So this is a great hack if you want a tasty treat based on Turkish gozleme, that staple of food markets and festivals. It’s fresh and light and filled with anything green you fancy – like rocket, spinach or fresh herbs.
It’s adapted from a recipe for Green Pockets by the brilliant Cornersmith people, simplifying it a little for a quick make.
You can make the dough a couple of hours ahead of time and get the filling ready just prior to cooking. Or make dough and filling at the same time.
Great for a quick lunch or snack, or even a savoury breakfast!
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
125g Greek yoghurt
190g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups of greens eg spinach, rocket, silver beet
To make dough, mix all the wet ingredients together. Stir in the flour and bicarb with a wooden spoon until you have a sticky dough. Put the dough onto a floured board and knead by hand for a few minutes until the dough is smooth. Divide the dough into 4 balls.
You can use the dough now or put in a bowl and cover with cling wrap and leave for an hour.
You could even stick in the fridge for a few hours.
To make the filling, chop all the greens, herbs, spring onions and garlic finely. Sprinkle over the salt and pepper.
Chop whatever cheeses you are using into small pieces.
When ready to make your cheat’s gozleme, take a ball and roll out into circles as thin as you can.
Spread equal amounts of cheese onto half of each circle. Then cover the half circles with all the green ingredients.
Fold the dough over the filling to make a semi circle kind of pastie shape, pinching edges together.
Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Cook each cheat’s gozleme for about 3 minutes on each side or until brown and speckled. Pressing down the gozleme once you’ve turned them over helps to amalgamate and cook the filling inside.
Remove from the pan and serve hot with lemon wedges.
It may be autumn in Sydney but the bracing winds and chilly temperatures are certainly with us this week! So time to start thinking about long slow cooking, casseroles, stews and tagines.
So here’s a tagine made with lamb shoulder, prunes and apricots and some lovely Middle Eastern spices. The shoulder needs to be boned and diced – it’s great if you can get your butcher to do that for you, less work for you!
The tagine itself is the star – just serve it with couscous or rice or homemade flatbread to soak up the juice.
2 teaspoons paprika – sweet or smoked
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice and rind of a mandarin or orange
1 kg diced lamb shoulder
1 clove of garlic
1 x 425g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 x tins of water (use the chopped tomatoes tin for this)
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
125g dried apricots
125g pitted prunes
Combine spices and pepper and salt in a large bowl. Add the oil, rind and juice of the mandarin/orange and stir to form a paste. Add lamb and stir until well coated in the paste. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or longer.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
Heat a heavy based casserole on the stovetop, and add half the olive oil. Tip in the lamb and cook over a fairly high heat until evenly browned, then tip onto a plate.
Add the remaining olive oil to the casserole and stir in the the eshallots, and then cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for a further couple of minutes or until the garlic is softened but not browned.
Return the browned meat to the casserole. Add the chopped tomatoes, tins of water and stir well. Add the pomegranate molasses. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on and transfer to the oven.
Cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried apricots and prunes, roughly chopped. Cook, covered for a further 40 minutes or until lamb is tender.
If you’re not completely satisfied with the tenderness of the lamb you can cook for a further 15 minutes.
Serve with the aforementioned couscous, rice or flatbread. A spoonful of yoghurt is nice too, and some chopped coriander.
This is a recipe I’m been messing around with for a few weeks. It’s based on a great recipe from Donal Skehan for Korean style sloppy joe sliders.
The main ingredient that makes the recipe Korean is Gochujang, a red chili paste that is a savory, sweet and spicy fermented condiment.
It looks a complicated recipe, but believe me it’s not! ￼Just some vegetables prep, really.
The taste of the meat is sensational! Feel free to add different veggies to the burger mix and to the pickle, I certainly had some fun doing this.
I’ve included photos of the latest version as well as earlier “experiments”.
Give it a go – it’s well worth it!
Oh, and the sweet potato fries are a must have accompaniment!
2 rashers free-range bacon
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
4 spring onions, finely sliced
2 carrots, julienned
1 zucchini julienned
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
250g minced beef
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon gochujang paste
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1 red chilli, finely sliced
30mls rice vinegar
1 heaped teaspoon caster sugar
1 heaped tablespoon gochujang paste
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 brioche burger buns
1 carrot, julienned
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1/8 red cabbage finely chopped
Lime or lemon wedge to squeeze over
Sweet Potato Fries
1 medium sweet potato, cut into wedges
1 heaped teaspoon cornflour
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Chop the bacon rashers into smallish pieces, no need to be too precise. Fry the bacon for a couple of minutes until just starts to get crisp.
Add the oil, the 4 spring onions, 2 julienned carrots, zucchini and garlic cloves. Fry until just soft.
Add the minced beef, breaking up the mince as you fry it in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes until the beef has browned.
Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar and gochujang paste and mix in to the frying pan.
Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan and add a splash of water (a couple of tablespoons) at a time if the mixture looks too dry. You will need to do this at least a couple of times.
After 15 minutes take off the heat and move the beef mixture to a large bowl.
To make the pickle, put the rice vinegar, water and sugar into a small saucepan and just bring to the boil after the sugar has dissolved.
Pour the liquid over the carrot, cucumber and chilli. Leave for 10 minutes then drain off the liquid.
To make the sauce, combine the gochujang paste and mayonnaise in a small bowl.
To serve, heat the frying pan you’ve just used on high. No need to wash first – any residual sauce will add flavour!
Cut each bun in half and smear some sauce on each half.
Fry each bun half, sauce side down for a couple of minutes until toasty and crisp.
Assemble the buns with beef filling and pickle and place on a large plate or platter with a handful of carrot, spring onion and red cabbage.
Serve with sweet potato fries, and a squeeze of lime or lemon over everything.
Sweet Potato Fries
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Cut the sweet potato into wedges. Place on baking paper on a tray. Sprinkle the wedges with cornflour, then coat with olive oil and grind over some sea salt.
Cook in the hot oven for 20-30 minutes until the fries are crispy.
Winter is on the way in Sydney. Time to break out the soup recipes! This one is pretty simple, a soup with lots of veggies and some Middle Eastern spices.
Vary the vegetables as you like, but make sure you include lots of root veggies like potatoes, parsnips and turnips. Other vegetables such as red peppers, celery and tomatoes work well too.
A note on the spices. The Middle Eastern spices mentioned are combinations of spices. If you can’t get either, feel free to substitute with a 1//4 teaspoon of a few of the following: cumin, coriander, allspice, paprika, cardamom, ginger.
500g pumpkin, peeled, cut into chunks
500g carrots cut into chunks
250g sweet potato
250g swede cut into chunks (swap for something else if you don’t like Swede)
2 onions, white or brown, cut into chunks
4 -5 garlic cloves halved, no need to peel
2 teaspoon of ras el hanout or baharat *
1 teaspoon sumac
Sea salt and ground black pepper
30mls olive oil
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C fan forced.
Put all the vegetables into a large baking tray, sprinkle over the spices and salt and pepper. Pour over the olive oil. Mix well, making sure everything is coated with oil.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot or saucepan. Place on the stovetop. Add the stock, and bring to a medium boil.
Using a stick blender, blend till smooth. Or you could transfer to a blender and blitz. Leave some of the soup chunky if you want.
Serve with a swirl of Greek yoghurt and a sprinkle of coriander or parsley.
This is simple apple tart I baked and blogged a while back. Recently I picked up some beautiful red apples from my local Orange Grove Markets. And as autumn is just showing its muted colours and the days are a little cooler, I rustled up another similar galette.
Made with yoghurt pastry (a variant on sour cream pastry) and with a pile of red apple slices, sugar and theme sprigs, this galette is a simple, rustic bake.
3 red apples, whatever you fancy. Crisp apples like Pink Lady are excellent Lemon juice 1 free-range egg yolk, beaten, for glazing Several sprigs of lemon thyme 3 tablespoons caster sugar 1 free-range egg white, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C fan-forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Cut the butter into cubes and pulse with the flour in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Spoon in the yoghurt and continue to pulse in bursts until the mixture comes together into a ball.
Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Core and slice the apples thinly, and place the slices into the lemon juice to stop them going brown.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out between two pieces of baking paper so that it is about 2cm thick, rolling into a rough circle. Remove the top layer of baking paper and carefully transfer the pastry to your lined baking tray, by turning the pastry over and removing the bottom sheet.
Shape the round to neaten it if needed, and turn the outer edge up about 2cm in to make the sides of the galette.
Drain the apples slices and place in any artistic way you like on the tart.
Brush the 2cm edge of the galette with as much of the beaten egg as you need. Scatter some of the thyme sprigs over the galette and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the caster sugar.
Place the galette in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. The galette should be golden brown around the edges.
Once out of the oven, leave to cool. To make the crystallised thyme sprigs, dip some more thyme sprigs in the beaten egg white, then dip in the remaining tablespoon of caster sugar. Leave to dry on a piece of baking paper.
Serve with the thyme sprigs scattered over, or add a dollop of cream or more Greek yoghurt.
150g milk chocolate 150g dark chocolate 400ml cream 2 free range eggs +1 egg yolk lightly beaten
Strawberries, dark chocolate, fresh figs, or any other fresh fruit of your choosing. Grapes would be nice too.
I make this pastry recipe in the food processor, but you could do it in an electric mixer or by hand. I use the food processor because it’s easy.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C fan forced.
Cream the butter and icing sugar together in a food processor. Add the eggs and yolk and mix thoroughly. Sift the flour and cocoa. Have 25ml of cold water ready. Add a little of the water and all of the flour/cocoa mix and pulse using the processor, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add as much of the water as you need so that the pastry comes together into a ball. Remove from the processor, wrap in cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry on a surface dusted with flour until about 5mm thick. This pastry is quite soft and delicate, be gentle, and you may need a little extra flour for rolling out. Line a 18cm or 20cm loose-bottomed tin with a circle of baking paper. The smaller tin gives you a slightly higher filling, the bigger a flatter tart.
Carefully line the tin with the pastry. Have a bit of overhang of pastry at the top – you can trim this after baking. Chill for 30 minutes. Line the pastry case with more baking paper and baking beans or rice and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and the beans and return the pastry case to the oven for 5 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin, then trim any pastry edges.
To make the filling, place both kinds of chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Put the cream in a saucepan on the stovetop and gently bring to a simmer. Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes while the chocolate melts, then stir to make sure the chocolate and cream is combined. Stir through the lightly beaten eggs, then pour the mixture into the tart shell.
Put into the oven, turn the temperature down to 140 degrees C fan forced. Bake for 1 hour or until the filling is just set and wobbles in the middle if you gently move the tin. You may need to cook a little less or more to get that set with a “wobble”.
Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin. Place in the fridge and chill for at least an hour, overnight is good. Bring the tart to room temperature before serving.
Well, he’s at it again! My friend John has been busy devising some new recipes.
A few weeks ago, I was treated to a lovely lunch at Palm Beach. It’s certainly a beautiful spot on the northern beaches of Sydney, perfect for a lazy summer lunch.
John’s new creation was Moroccan Chicken, a simple dish full of flavour that’s easy to put together.
You can make the dish super simple by using a good quality store bought Moroccan paste.
Here’s the recipe. It feeds 4 people. You could easily up the quantities if you’re feeding a crowd.
1.2 kilos chicken thighs (about 300g each)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Moroccan Paste (Charmaine Solomon’s Moroccan Spice Blend is available in Australia)
400g Roma tomatoes cut in half (any smallish tomatoes will do)
4 large sprigs rosemary
4 slices prosciutto
4 lemon slices
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the chicken thighs in a large bowl and add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and the Moroccan paste. Mix everything together, making sure the chicken is well coated with the paste.
Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
Remove from the fridge and transfer to a baking dish and scatter the tomato halves on top of the chicken.
Pour the remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over the dish. Lay the prosciutto slices on top, with the slices of lemon and the rosemary sprigs. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
Cover the dish with aluminium foil bake at 200 degrees C, 180 degrees C fan for 30 minutes. Uncover the dish and bake for further 10-15 minutes or until the prosciutto is crisp and the chicken thighs are cooked.
Serve with couscous, crusty bread, a big green salad and a nice glass of something cold!
This tart is an easy recipe to make for lunch or a simple supper. Cherry tomatoes, goat’s cheese and caramelised onion make a tasty filling. Use store bought puff pastry and you could even use a good bought onion jam to make the recipe even easier.
I made mine in a rectangular flan tin, but a round one would do as well.
320g store-bought puff pastry (I used 2 sheets from a pack of Pampas puff pastry). Use more or less, if needed, to fit your tin.
For the caramelised onion:
1 red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Goats’ cheese – or similar crumbly soft cheese. You will crumble this into the tart, so quantities are flexible, about 100gm should be enough
15-20 cherry tomatoes, or more if you want to pack them in, on the vine
Fresh thyme leaves for scattering
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C or 180 degrees C fan. Grease a flan tin and fit with the puff pastry sheets which you have cut to shape.
Fry the red onion in the butter in a small frying pan over a low to medium heat, until the onion begins to soften. Add the brown sugar to caramelize the onion and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Lay the caramelized onion onto the pastry base. Crumble the goats’ cheese into the tart. Cut some of the cherry tomatoes in half and place on top of the goats’ cheese, place a few whole ones on, too for effect. Scatter a few fresh thyme leaves over the tomatoes with sea salt and black pepper.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is nicely browned, the cheese melted and the tomatoes softened. Nice served with a green salad.
Christmas Day is over, and maybe you’re looking for some tasty, easy to make dishes that don’t involve turkey or ham! This dish is a doddle to make, left overs keep well, and it freezes well if you want to make it in quantity.
It guest well with rice, pasta, polenta or just on its own! Kidney beans add both bulk and flavour to the dish. Serve it with extra fresh chilli on the side, sour cream or some grated cheese if you’re going Mexican.
You can throw this dish together provided you have some minced beef, as pretty much everything else would be pantry staples.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
500g good quality beef mince
1 teaspoon chilli paste or chilli powder
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 x 400g tin of kidney beans
Freshly ground salt and black pepper
Fresh chillies, sour cream, cherry tomatoes, grated cheese, parsley or coriander to serve
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Chop the onion finely, and fry over a medium heat until slightly softened, about 1-2 minutes. Add the beef mince in small spoonfuls, breaking it up so that it cooks evenly. Fry until all the mince is brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chilli paste or powder.
Add the chopped tomatoes, half a tin of water using the chopped tomato tin as a measure and the tomato purée. Drain the kidney beans and add to the frying pan. Season with salt and black pepper. Bring the mixture back to the boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes until the sauce has reduced and has thickened. If the mixture looks too dry, add a splash or two of water.
Once cooked, serve straight away with some of the above accompaniments, or keep in the fridge for a day or so to serve later. It also freezes well.
You could easily double or triple the quantities to serve a crowd or batch freeze for later consumption.