Thursday, 20 August 2009


I love shopping at Victoria Markets in Melbourne. You never know what you'll come across. Today, for instance there were these wonderful fresh mushrooms, Chanterelle, Morel & Oyster.

They are about to go into a Coq au Riesling.... Tasty!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


This is a very very quick post & no pictures of the finished product. Why? Because it took less time to prepare this meal than it did to write this post. Seriously. The only preparation is slicing the onion & garlic.
This is my take on the classic sausage casserole with a Japanese theme:

Wagyu Sausage & Asahi beer casserole.

4 Wagyu Sausages (about 450g)
2 onions
1 clove garlic
1/2 can diced tomatoes (200g)
1 bottle (330ml) Asahi Extra Dry beer

Slice the onions roughly.
Roughly cop the garlic.
Brown the sausages in a bit of oil & remove the sausages.
Add a bit more oil if required & add onions & garlic & cook until softened, a few minutes at most.
Place the sausages back into the saucepan on top of the onions.
Add the tomatoes & beer.
Cover & simmer until the liquid has reduced, about 45-60minutes.
Season to taste, but you may find that it will be fine.
Serve with some creamy mashed potatoes.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Chicken & Leek Pie

Have you ever woken up in the morning with a craving for a particular dish or food?
Well that's what happened to me Saturday morning. I woke up & wanted to make a Chicken & Leek pie. Wasn't interested in any other type of pie, it had to be Chicken & Leek. With a shortcrust cover. Not puff pastry - shortcrust.
A quick rummage through some recipe books to get an idea of quantities & I was on my way.
Fresh Leeks, free range chicken thighs - do not use breast as it will dry out & be horrible. Unfortunately I had to use dried Tarragon as I couldn't find any fresh. Some lard & a nice glass of white wine (for myself) & time to start having fun.
500g boned free range chicken thigh or leg
150ml chicken stock
150ml water
150 ml white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1 tbls Tarragon
cracked black pepper
200g sliced washed leek
20g butter
1 tbls water
2 tbls plain flour
1.5tsp Dijon mustard
3 sprigs fresh thyme
100ml cream
100g plain flour
100g self raising flour
100g lard
30ml approx cold water
1 egg, beaten, for glaze

Add the stock, water, wine, half the tarragon, sprigs of thyme & chicken to a saucepan & bring it to the boil, then reduce to a simmer & simmer for 20-25 minutes until just cooked.
In a separate saucepan add the leeks, butter & water, cover & sweat down till just tender.
Remove the leeks from the saucepan with a slotted spoon allowing all the liquid to remain in the saucepan.
Add the flour & mix in to form a roux. remove from the heat.
Remove the chicken from the pot & set aside to cool.
Add the remaining herbs & cream to the poaching liquid & bring back to the boil.
Allow to boil for a few minutes to reduce the liquid.
Cut the chicken into rough 2cm pieces.
Whisk in the roux & allow to thicken slightly
Add the chicken & leeks & combine with the sauce.
Season to taste & remove from the heat & allow to cool.
Sift the 2 flours together & rub in the lard with your fingertips.
Add just enough iced water to form a dough.
Form into a flat dis, wrap in cling film & chill for 20 minutes.
Roll out to a thickness of 5mm and cut to a shape slightly larger than your pie container.
Place the cooled chicken & leek mixture into the pie dish or dishes.
Cover with the pastry & crimp the edges with a fork.
Slice a couple of air vents into the pastry & brush with beaten egg
Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown & you can hear the filling bubbling.
When ready remove from the oven & allow to cool slightly before serving.

Sunday, 16 August 2009


I found this clip on the net. Not sure who it is or who filmed or where, but its pretty amazing.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Paper Chef #43

As soon as I had read this month's ingredients for the Paper Chef (number 43!) i knew what I was going to make. A sweet spicy couscous. But Paul suggested a Tagine! Actually his idea was better so I went with it.
The ingredients selected by Silejeng of
Javaholic were: couscous, fresh chilies, rosemary and her selection of peaches.
A Tagine is a slow cooked, North African dish that is braised at a low temperature. From what I have read there is no set guidelines as to what goes into a Tagine.
But they all do contain a mixture of herbs and spices that produce a very aromatic & tasty dish.
I decided to use pork even though its not a "traditional" North African meat, as it goes well with peaches, chili & other herbs & spices.
I've used dried peaches as fresh peaches aren't available (apparently its winter in Melbourne therefore the wrong season for stone fruits) and that dried fruit hold their shape better & release a more concentrated flavour to the dish.
Ive also used a combination of both fresh & dried Chili in the dish, Dried for the kick & fresh for the subtle flavour.
Couscous is another north African staple, I think of couscous as a "filler" to which you add the flavours and textures you want.
In this instance I've added dried peach, dried mint & pistachio nuts. Its all about the flavour & texture.

Pork Tangine with Peaches
For the Tagine
500g pork neck, cubed
1 small red chili, seeded & finely sliced
1/2 red capsicum, peeled & cut into strips
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
1 clove garlic, cut into quarters
6 cherry tomatoes, peeled
6 dried peaches roughly diced
1/4 tsp dried chili
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground ginger
salt to season
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup stock
1/4 cup water
1 sprig Rosemary

For the Couscous
100g couscous
100ml stock
1 tbls oil
1/2 tsp dried mint
10g pistachio slivers
1 dried peaches, finely diced
1 tbls butter

Pre-heat the oven to 160c
Place the pork, onion chili, capsicum, garlic & peaches into a lidded oven proof dish.
Sprinkle all the dried spices over
Toss the ingredients to coat them in the spices
Add the tomatoes, rosemary & liquids
Cover and put into the oven for about 2 hrs

When the tagine is almost done, start the couscous.
Bring the stock & oil to the boil in a lidded sauce pan & remove from the heat.
Add the couscous stirring until it start to thicken & cover.for 10 minutes
Add the butter & fluff with a fork & then add the remaining ingredients & toss.
Sprinkle the coriander over the tagine and serve.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

A Peeler

Yes, its a photo of a vegetable peeler. How boring you may say. But this is no ordinary peeler. If you look closely at the slightly blurry photo you may see that it has a very fine serrated edge, in effect dozens of tiny sharp knives.
This one is made by Zyliss & is designed to peel soft fleshed fruit & vegetables like capsicum, tomatoes, peaches, plums etc.
I thought it was a gimmick till I tried it & now I love it! No more roasting the capsicums to remove the skins for me.