My life

Lurching from one disaster to another...just a suburban princess trying to get by!

Now we're cooking...

I thought I would share a few tried and true family favourite recipes.  Enjoy...

Disclaimer:  I have picked up these recipes for various magazines, cookbooks and TV shows over the years.  I have no idea where they originally came from but have made them my own with a tweak here and there.  Cooking times and temperatures are only a guide; actual times will depend on your oven.

As I am a vegetarian these products do not contain meat or fish products, but there is no reason why you couldn't chuck some in if that's your thing!


Spinach & Feta Rolls

Great as a snack or main meal.

Makes 16

30 minutes preparation, 20 minutes cooking 

Bunch of Silver beet
1 tbsp. oil
6 spring onions, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200g Aussie Feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup (40g) grated Parmesan cheese, plus
2 tbsp. extra, for sprinkling on top
1 cup stale breadcrumbs
2 egg yolks
2 sheets reduced fat butter puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Pre-heat oven to 200°c (180°c fan-forced).  Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.

2. Removed the silver beet leaves from the stalks.  Wash & dry leaves; chop coarsely.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  Add spring onions and garlic; cook, stirring, until softened.  Add silver beet; cook stirring, until wilted.  Allow remaining heat to evaporate excess liquid; cool. 

3. Combine silver beet mixture with cheeses, breadcrumbs and egg yolks in a medium bowl.  Season to taste with salt (remember cheeses are quite salty) and freshly ground black pepper.

4. Place a sheet of pastry on a board; cut in half.  Place one quarter of the mixture along the middle of the pastry.  Brush one side of the pastry with a little of the beaten egg, then roll the other side of the pastry over to enclose filling; cut into 4 pieces.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Place spinach and feta rolls on baking trays; brush with egg.

5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Suitable to freeze.  Not suitable to microwave.

Classic Anzac Biscuits

Good any time of the year.

Makes 24

10 minutes preparation, 15 minutes cooking

125g butter
2 tbsp. golden syrup
1 tsp. baking soda (bicarb)
1 tbsp. hot water
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup plain flour

1. Melt butter and syrup in large saucepan. Cool slightly.

2. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to pan with remaining ingredients. Mix well.

3. Place rounded tsp. fulls on tray lined with baking paper, leave room, these babies spread.

4. Bake at 180°c for 15 mins or until golden. 

5. Move to a wire rack after they start to set.  They will set on standing so if you like them a bit chewy cook them for less time. 

Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Cookies

3 ingredients, life doesn't get much better!

Makes about 12

5 minutes preparation, 10 minutes cooking time.

1 egg
1 cup extra crunchy peanut butter
1 cup sugar

1. Beat egg.  Mix with peanut butter and sugar until well combined.

2. Roll 2 tbsp. of mix into balls, pop onto tray lines with baking paper and flatten with fork. Allow plenty of room for spreading.

3. Bake at 180°c for 10 minutes or until golden.  They will harden on standing so make sure they are still a bit squishy.

Grown-up Pumpkin Soup

For those who like a bit of a twist on a classic.

Serves approx.8

Preparation 20 minutes, cooking 30 minutes

1 large pumpkin, seeded & chopped in large pieces (approx. 2.5-3kg)
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 ½ - 2 onions, roughly chopped (sounds like a lot but you need it for flavour)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Chopped fresh rosemary & thyme leaves
1 small medium heat red chilli, chopped finely (optional)
2L chicken stock (I use a vegetarian - reduced salt one, you could make it but who has time!)
Small amount of oil
Freshly ground black pepper & salt to taste (I don’t use the salt as the stock has quite a bit)

1. Heat oil in pan, lightly fry garlic, chilli, onion, carrots, celery & herbs (don’t let it brown)

2. Transfer to large pot, add pumpkin & stock. Bring to boil & then simmer until tender. (The carrots need to be soft or you get lumps)

3. When cooked, use stick blender (or normal blender in batches) to whizz up until smooth, add seasoning to taste


Minestrone Soup

Keeps you warm on a winter's night. Vegetarian and low fat, for when you want to be good.

Serves 6

20 minutes preparation, 60 minutes cooking

1 400g can diced peeled tomatoes

3 potatoes, peeled, chopped

200g piece pumpkin, deseeded, peeled, chopped

1 large brown onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery sticks with leaves, chopped

1 large garlic clove, chopped

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1.75L (7 cups) water

3 small or 2 large zucchini, chopped

40g (1/4 cup) small macaroni

1 400g can red kidney beans beans, rinsed, drained

1/2 cup firmly packed roughly chopped fresh continental parsley

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

20g parmesan, finely shredded (I use South Cape - it's animal Rennet free) 

1.       Place the tomatoes, potatoes, pumpkin, onion, carrots, celery, garlic and oregano in a large saucepan.

2.      Stir in the water and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, almost covered, for 45 minutes.

3.      Add the zucchini and macaroni, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the beans and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the zucchini and pasta are tender.

4.      Stir in the parsley and taste and season with salt and pepper.

5.      Put in bowls. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the parmesan and serve immediately.

More-ish Raspberry & Coconut Muffins

This combination of flavours is something else.

Makes 12

Preparation 5 minutes, Cooking 20 minutes

2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
90g butter, chopped
1 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
150g fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tbsp. shredded coconut

1. Pre-heat oven to 200°c. Grease a 12-hole muffins pan, or use muffin sized paper cases.

2. Rub flour and butter together in a large bowl until it resembles crumbs.

3. Stir in sugar, buttermilk, egg, desiccated coconut and raspberries until just combined; don't over mix!

4. Divide mixture between muffin cases, sprinkle shredded coconut on top.

5. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and leave them in the pan for 5 minutes before moving to wire rack to cool.

Never-fail Pizza Base

I was always a bit scared of cooking with yeast, but this recipe has never failed me yet.

Makes 1 large or 4 individual (1 large feeds three adults)

Preparation 15 minutes (plus standing time of 1 hour)

1 cup luke-warm water
8g sachet dried yeast (I tend to use a canister of yeast and find that 9-10g works well)
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt

1. In a small jug, combine water, yeast and sugar. Stand in a warm place 10 minutes until mixture is frothy. 

2. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Blend in yeast mixture to form a soft, sticky dough. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. TIP - I have no stamina or patience, mine is lucky to get 3 minutes and is fine, I just add a gram or two more yeast).

3. Place dough in a large oiled bowl. Cover with a plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until dough doubles in size.  Tip: when leaving the dough to rise in a warm place, make sure it is not too hot or it will kill the yeast.  Also, if it is too cold the yeast won't grow properly.

4. Punch down dough to remove air. Knead into a smooth ball. Continue as required.

Tip: I see no benefit in pre-cooking the base.  If you pre-heat the over to approx. 200°c the base will be cooked by the time the toppings are.  I prefer to use a pizza-shop style metal tray to a pizza much easier.

Peanut butter & chocolate chip cookies

A twist on a family favourite.

Makes 30

5 minutes preparation, 10 minutes cooking

1 cup (260g) crunchy peanut butter
1 cup (200g) brown sugar
1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (185g) dark choc bits

1.       Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease two baking trays and line with non-stick baking paper.

2.      Combine peanut butter, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and egg in a bowl. Stir in choc bits.

3.      Roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on the prepared tray. Press lightly with   a fork.

4.      Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden.

5.      Leave to cool on the trays then place into an airtight container.

Vegetarian Red curry 

Maybe not traditional but we love it!

Serves 4

10 minutes preparation, 30 minutes cooking

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

500g firm tofu, cut into even chunks (or you can use Quorn vegetarian chicken style strips)

3 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste (one that doesn't contain fish or shrimp)

1 small chopped eggplant

1 carrot, cut into chunks

1 zucchini, chopped

1 tablespoon fish sauce (if you are lucky enough to find a veggo version)

1 tablespoon brown sugar, dissolved in a little water

440ml can coconut flavoured evaporated milk

Steamed jasmine rice, to serve

1.       Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook tofu, in batches, for 1 to 2 minutes each side or until golden. Set aside.

2.      Reduce frying pan heat to low. Add remaining oil to pan. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until aromatic.

3.      Add coconut milk and stir until curry paste has dissolved. Add fish sauce and sugar.

4.      Add vegetables. Return chicken to pan and stir to combine.

5.      Bring to point of boiling, cover; reduce to simmer until chicken cooked through.

6.      Remove lid and cook for a further 5 minutes until sauce reduced and vegetables softened.

7.      Spoon curry over rice. Serve.

1 comment:

  1. Peanut butter cookies - yum!
    I'm obsessed with peanut butter and chocolate, such a perfect combination.


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