Friday, 1 February 2013

Zucchini and Basil Soup

Brrrrrrr it's so cold outside, which is pretty unusual for this time of the year. Rather than complain about the Antarctic winds and torrential rain, I've decided to embrace this unseasonal wintery blast by jumping into my favourite pyjamas, cooking a healthy but hearty Zucchini soup (a recipe I pinched from my Aunty Karen) then warming myself up by the fire. Don't you just wish it was winter so you could do this every night?

What you need

2 zucchinis diced

2 bunches of basil (2-3 cups)
1 red onion diced
2 cups carnation milk (or cream)
600ml vegetable stock

Dice the onion and zucchini into fairly small chunks.

Throw onions, zucchini and basil into a large saucepan with vegetable stock. Bring the soup to the boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes with lid on. 

Once all the veggies are soft pour soup and carnation milk into a food processor to blend, return to pot and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.

Serve with some crusty bread covered in HEAPS of butter :)

What are some of your favourite winter-warming recipes?    


Authentic Teriyaki Beef

Konnichiwa my fellow bloggers! I luuuuuuuurve Japanese food but I was never game enough to cook this cuisine myself. I was, shamefully, a bit of a xenofoodie (fear of cooking foreign food). I thought the ingredients would be hard to come by and I believed I'd be slaving away in the kitchen for hours, only to end up with a failed attempt at a Japanese dish. I was oh so wrong, the thing is guys and gals, their dishes are so quick and easy to make and you'll find most of the ingredients in the asian section of your local supermarket. So without further ado, let's get cooking.

What you need

600grams of lean beef topside roast
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin (asian section of supermarket)
1/4 cup sake (can use dry sherry)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Slice beef thin, this is so it can cook through before the Teriyaki sauce becomes too thick
In a bowl combine soy sauce, mirin, sake and caster sugar and stir with a fork until sugar has fully dissolved    

Add beef to sauce and refrigerate for 2 hours, this ensures the flavours infuse into the meat.

Fry until meat browns. Serve immediately with steamed Japanese rice.

どうぞめしあがれ  (bon appétit).

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Lunch Diaries: Toasted Steak Sandwich

Todays lunch: A sandwich that could feed a small village. 300 grams of mouthwatering eye fillet steak with rocket, a generous serve of Jarlsberg cheese, and homemade mustard seed aioli (for recipe click here and just add 1 tbsp of seeded mustard to the aioli).  

The Perfect Mash

I believe that for most things to turn out perfectly, the task needs to be approached with care and patience. Gardening, good relationships, and a host of other pursuits are examples of this. When we are careless or in too much of a hurry, we can expect that the results of our input might be disappointing. The same goes for mashed potatoes. The perfect mash, though it might contain the exact same ingredients as a less than ordinary mash, stands out because of the two vital ingredients: time and patience... Oops, I mean three vital ingredients, time, patience and LOTS of butter! 

What you'll need
800 grams (28oz) of Coliban potatoes
150 grams (5oz) of salted butter cubed
1/2 cup of milk

Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks then place in a large saucepan of boiling water for around 25 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Drain the potatoes and add the cubed butter and milk. Mash until your heart is content! and then mash some more, and more. Make sure you mash and stir at the same time. The mashing process usually take around 10 minutes, believe me your arms will get tired so I suggest getting a friend to help take turns. 

Voila. Buttery and creamy mash prepared with love :-)

Monday, 28 January 2013

Exploring The Country-cide(r)

With the Australia Day long weekend ahead I wondered how I was going to enjoy my little break from university. As I um-ed and ah-ed I received a call from one of my oldest friends, Kate, who lives in sunny Queensland. She was also having trouble deciding what to do with her time off work and, rather than spending it alone, we decided she would catch a plane the very next day and spend the weekend with me in the northern victorian countryside.  

There was no question about what we'd get up to while she was here. With Bendigo putting on its best weather, we had to indulge in a whole lot of cider drinking. To welcome her to the town, we stopped in at Wine Bank on View where we enjoyed delicious local cider in the sun.


It was then, while we sipped away on a local offering, that we decided it was crucial we indulge in some cider straight from the source. The very next day we packed our sandwiches and our good selves into the car and made our way to Cider country. Harry was a trooper and played designated driver for the day. First stop on our travels was Henry of Harcourt Cidery.

As some of the ciders were 20% alcohol volume, the small tasting was enough to get us a little rowdy. Henry (the cider maker) didn't mind us trying on his hats.

Next Stop: Harcourt Valley Vineyard to try their freshly brewed ginger beer. It was to die for! Not only is ginger beer the tastiest and most refreshing bevy on a hot sunny day it's also a great remedy for an upset tummy.

When we arrived at Bress (the last Cidery for the day) it was all happening. People travel from all over to visit this place and I can see why. The staff are fun and friendly and the ciders are second to none.  Oh and did I mention the tastings are free?!


This is Ollie, one of the locals at Bress.

Meet Sid, I think he liked my shirt. 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Open Taco Sandwich

Hola! I am OBSESSED with fresh bread right now. I've basically converted my kitchen into a commercial bakery this week, and the smell of fresh bread baking is such a winner with any hungry visitors that swing by. This week I decided to team my delicious french loaf with an authentic Mexican dish. who says you can't combine two cultures in one meal? My kitchen, my rules!

I decided to whip up a mouthwatering shredded beef. It's always the first thing I'll order when eating out at a mexican joint. I topped it with a simple homemade salsa and diced avocado (didn't have time for guacamole). So my hungry little Amigos lets get cooking. 

What you need

3 tablespoons of diced onion
3 large ripe tomatoes, deseeded, peeled and diced
1 red chilli deseeded and sliced finely
1 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice

1 kg lean beef topside roast- sliced into 3 cm thick pieces 
1 greed chilli, deseeded and sliced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 X 400 grams diced tomatoes

Lay beef chunks flat on the base of a casserole dish.     

Deseed the chilli by slicing lengthways on one side, scrape seeds out with your thumb. Use a kitchen utensil if you can't avoid touching your eyes immediately after handling the hot chillies. Slice thinly and add to beef. 

Sprinkle cumin powder evenly over the beef. (You can add any     other spices you like to give you beef a bit of flavour, cinnamon sticks, turmeric and garam masala to name a few). 

Pour the canned tomatoes in and add enough water to ensure the beef is fully immersed. Pop it all in a pre-heated oven of 130°C with the lid on the dish.

A quick 6-10 hours later or after a good night sleep, your beef will look like this.

 Mash lightly and the beef will just fall apart nicely. Trust me it tastes better than it looks!

 Now for the five minute salsa: place diced onions into a strainer and pour over 2 cups of boiling water, this helps to soften the onion and makes it taste just that little bit more pleasant.

Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and add lime juice. Stir. Voilà, your salsa is ready. 


Slice any good quality bread into thick pieces.

Add toppings in this order: shredded beef, salsa and diced avocado.

Believe me, you will want to demolish every last morsel. I certainly did and went to bed with the closest thing I'll ever have to a pregnant belly!