Monday, 5 March 2012

I've been cooking!

I've been doing a bit of cooking over the last couple of weeks, so I thought I'd share some of my new fav recipes with you! Hope they tempt you into trying some of them.

Firstly I'll start with a Thai Beef Salad that has now made my regular dinner list. It was a really hot day and I was over our usual weekly salads we whip decided to jump on the net for something a little different. I found this delicious recipe on taste website and it did not disappoint. If you like fresh asian flavours, you simply have to try this one!

Asian Beef Salad


1 1/2 tbs lime juice
1 tbs grated palm sugar
1 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs finely grated ginger
1 crushed garlic clove
1 beef rump steak (approx 680g)
1 x 200g pkt of grape tomatoes (sliced in 3)
1 cucumber, halved lengthways and sliced into thin strips
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 long chillies, sliced thinly lengthways
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, large leaves torn
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves
1 bunch Thai basil leaves, large leaves torn
1/3 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
4 kaffir lime leaves, centre veins removed, finely shredded

How To

1. Combine the lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger and garlic in a bowl and whisk. Place the steak in a dish and drizzle with half of the dressing. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for approx 2 hours to develop the flavours.

2. Preheat barbecue grill on high. Cook the steak to your liking, and then transfer to a plate and cover with foil and rest for 10 minutes. 

3. Place the cucumber, tomato, onion, chilli, mint, coriander, basil and peanuts in a large bowl. Thinly slice the steak and add it to the salad. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and toss lightly to combine. Divide the salad between plates and serve. 

** I crushed the peanuts in a food processor which was nice and easy. I did a little more than 1/3 of a cup so i had some extra to sprinkle on the top of each of the salad servings once plated

Serves: 4

Eggplant Parmigiana

I love this veggie delight and have made it a couple of times now. It's so good you don't even miss the usual chicken or veal that comes with a traditional parma. 


2 small to medium size eggplants sliced into 1 cm thick slices
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups Tip Top Krummies bread crumbs
1 tsp mixed dry herbs
600 ml of pasata tomato sauce
1/2 tsp white sugar
1/2 cup white wine
olive oil (enough to coat a frying pan 1cm deep for cooking the eggplant, 4 tbs for salad dressing & 1 tbs to cook garlic)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup basil leaves & 8 extra leaves to garnish
150g grape tomatos
1/2 large cucumber
1 red onion sliced into thin wedges
3 cups spinach
4 tbs olive oil
3 tbs sweet balsamic reduction
2 tbs lemon juice
A few cracks of pepper and a pinch of salt

How To

1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Cut the eggplant into slices. Combine the breadcrumbs and herbs. Dip the eggplant slices into the plain flour, followed by the whisked egg and then coat in the mixture of bread crumbs and herbs. 

2. Heat a frypan with a tbs of olive oil, and sauté the crushed garlic for a couple of mins on medium heat. Then add the pasata tomato sauce, sugar, white wine, salt & pepper. Chop up the basil leaves and add to the sauce and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.

3. Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan to make the oil 1cm deep, and heat the oil at high heat. Once the oil is hot add the eggplant slices and cook until browned on both sides. Then remove the eggplant and dab the excess oil with paper towel.

3. Pour the tomato sauce into an oven proof dish large enough to fit 4 of the eggplant slices. Lay the eggplant slices in the sauce. Spoon some of the sauce in the dish onto the eggplant to coat, and top with the sliced mozzarella. Then pop into the over for approx 5 minutes. It's ready once the mozzarella is melted and a little golden and the tomato sauce is nice and hot.

4. While the eggplant is in the oven, chop up the tomatoes, cucumber and red onion. Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl with the olive oil, balsamic reduction and lemon juice and toss until the salad is coated in the dressing.

5. Place one of the eggplant slices on each of the plates and divide the salad equally. Garnish the top of each eggplant pama with two basil leaves and serve.

Serves: 4

Super Easy Rich Chocolate Mousse

This is a Donna Hay recipe! What i love about all of Donna's recipes is that they are super quick and easy - yet taste like you have been slaving away in the kitchen for hours. This Chocolate Mousse is super rich! I loved it,  but think next time I would use half milk chocolate and half dark chocolate instead to make it a little less rich. 


400g Dark Chocolate
1 1/3 cups milk
1 1/2 tbs icing sugar

How To

1. Place the sugar, chocolate and icing sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth
2. Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl and place over a larger bowl of ice
3. Using a hand held electric mixer, beat or approx 6 minutes or until the mixture become light and fluffy (Don't overbeat or the mixture will become grainy)
4. Spoon the mixture into 4 glasses or ramekins and top with some fresh fruit. I used blueberries, but raspberries would be very nice also

Serves: 4

Prosciutto Wrapped Figs

I was served up this delicious starter at Nick's nanna's place when over there for dinner one night and fell in love with it! So thought I'd try it myself and share with you all too! Took me all of about 10 mins to prepare and cook. Gotta love that!


8 figs
8 super thin slices of prosciutto
1/4 tsp butter per fig
8 sage leaves
Crack of pepper on each of the figs

How To

1. Slice a cross into the top of each fig. Make the cut nearly to the base of the figs so you can fan open the figs
2. Place the butter and sage leaf into the centre of the figs and then top with a crack of pepper
3. Wrap each fig with a slice of proscuitto and place under the grill until the butter is melted and the prosciutto becomes a little crispy

Serves: 4

Smashed Pea, Goats cheese & Egg bruschetta

I have always been crazy for peas! Whilst most kids would come home and snack on chips and lollies, I got into peas topped with a melted kraft cheese single slice! Ha ha. So needless to say, i loved this breeky creation and will def be making it again.


2 1/2 cups of frozen peas
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs olive oil
Sea salt & cracked pepper
8 slices of crusty bread (I used a Pana De Casa loaf)
Olive oil, extra for brushing the bread slices
250g soft goats cheese curd (I used Meredith brand thats sold in a tiny tub at Coles - nothing beats it)
8 eggs, poached

How To

1. Place the peas in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow the peas to stand for 1 minute, and then drain and rinse in cold water.
2. Place the peas in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Add lemon rind and juice, oil, salt & pepper to the peas.
3. Brush the slices of bread with olive oil and chargrill in a pan until golden, and then spread each piece with the goats curd.
4. Spoon the pea mixture on top of the goats curd, and top with a poached egg. Sprinkle with sea salt and some cracked pepper, and garnish with some parsley leaves.

Love was in the air.......At The Firehouse

I don't make a huge deal of Valentine's Day...but figure why not head out somewhere special to celebrate love!! So Nick took me out for a romantic dinner at a special place called The Firehouse. This restaurant is housed in an old firehouse. It has so much character with its many small rooms that are all decorated differently, giving them all their own individual charm. 

Mt Zero Olives, Carrot Hummus & Soft Middle Eastern Breads

This little nibbles wooden board platter we were first served up was super yummy. The olives were coated in a warm herbed oil, the carrot hummus had a hint of curry that really complemented the carrot, and the middle eastern bread was so soft and fresh. I'm going to attempt to make my own version of the carrot hummus. Will keep you posted on how I go with it!

Fetta Souffle with roasted figs and honey drizzle

This was my starter and I enjoyed every mouthful. The soufflé was so creamy and perfectly cooked. The roasted sweet figs were topped with crushed hazelnuts, and the honey drizzle sauce that was poured over the dish added a sweetness that matched so perfectly with the soufflé. 

Slow Roasted Pork Chuck With Summer Bean & Walnut Salad

Nick really enjoyed his starter. The pork had a melt in your mouth texture, and the beans added a nice crunch to each bite. He said he'd have it its a thumbs up to the pork!

Pan Seared Barramundi With Yarra Valley Vegetable Salad

The Barramundi was cooked to perfection and so were all the roasted vegetables. I loved that there were so many different types of veggies on the plate! I especially loved the squash. not many places serve squash these days so it was nice to have something a little different. The chive infused oil that garnished the dish was really delicious, especially when mixed with the lemon that I squeezed over the fish. 

Chargrilled Wagu Sirloin With Bearnaise sauce, Green Peas, Horesradish Cream & Caramelised Onions

Nick had the Wagu for his main and was very happy with his choice. it was cooked exactly as asked, and the bernaise sauce was so creamy and delicious. By the time I asked for a forkful the plate was empty, which is always a good sign :)

Trio Of Firehouse Treats To Share

Even though we didn't think we could possibly fit anything else in our bellies, our waitress talked us into their trio of desserts to share. The platter included Cinnamon clotted cream with cinnamon lavish, salted white and dark chocolate delice, and a berry, tapioca, and yogurt pudding with Rose syrup which was the definite stand out on the plate! I'm going to try and create this pudding at home sometime soon myself! If anyone has done anything similar please let me know of any good recipes. 

Firehouse Address
253-257 Maroondah Hwy
Ringwood, 3134

Out Of Pocket
We paid $80 a head for nibbles platter to share, starter, main, dessert & a glass of wine each as a Valentine's Day special

Well thats all from me for now! But keep your eyes out for my next post on Daylesford. Went to some great little places over the weekend that I want to share with you all.

1 comment:

  1. I cooked the figs tonight Jac! Yummo. Love the crispy proscuitto combined with the sweet figs.