Stuffed Breakfast Mushrooms

Easy & tasty breakfast idea.. simply fresh large portobello mushrooms, and in the case of these pics, in one we have chorizo, parmesan, thinly sliced red capsicum, chives and pine nuts… too easy!

METHOD
Mix everything in a small bowl, scoop out the stalk of the mushrooms, stuff the mixture in, then pour a light drizzle of olive oil.
Pop them into a pre-heated oven at circa 150 for around 10-12 mins or until the cheese melts and the pine nuts become golden.

Other great combos:
Feta/ basil/ garlic/ mozzarella
Cheddar/ bacon/ red onion/ chives/ dollop of creme friaché once they come out of the oven
Ricotta/ red onion/ thyme

 

The possibilities are delicious and endless! Breakfast doesn’t have to be boring…

 

 

Aunty T’s Chilli

We’re still in the so-called summer months here at the moment, but it’s been a bit cold, and I’ve been recovering from a nasty virus, so in the interests of a tasty healthy meal I decided to haul myself out of bed, and make a big pot of slow-cooked chilli. The best thing about this is that it tastes even better the following days, as the juices soak in. It’s straightforward, healthy and hearty, and it just cooks away as you go about your life (or go back to bed in my case!)

Caution: lots of chilli in this one, just half or 1/3 it if you like, but remember to layer the different types of chilli as this builds the flavour)

INGREDIENTS
1 kg chuck steak/stewing steak
2 large onions
2 teaspoons garlic
2 teaspoons chilli flakes in oil
2 teaspoons crushed chilli paste
2 teaspoons dried chilli
2 fresh chillis (seeds/membranes in for extra kick)
1x large (400g) tin of tomatoes
2x heaped tablespoons beef stock (minimum)
1x 300g tin red kidney beans

METHOD
Now you can do this one of two ways, brown the beef in a pan (recommended) or if you’re short on time just throw everything in the slow cooker and let it get going. When you brown the meat it does have a lovely rich flavour, but if you’re making this before you scoot off to work you’re not going to be stoked about an extra step so it’s up to you….

I slow cook the above ingredients for a minimum of 6 hours, it needs this much because this is a tough cut of meat, and after the right amount of time, it will fall apart in your mouth…

Around 45 mins before serving I roughly cut up 3x medium-large zucchini, and 2x large red capsicums, to around 3/3cms – chunky and as uniform in size as you can get it. Throw this in, stir it up, and let it soak up the flavours.

Around 20 minutes before serving I also add around 1.5 cups of rice. Theses days I use a pre-cooked bag of Uncle Toby’s rice because it’s easy and fast…. if you want to go the traditional route you should add this (cleaned/ drained so it doesn’t make everything gluggy) at least 2 hours before you plan to serve.

Keep tasting as you go, to ensure the textures and flavours are where you want them to be.

Serving: I served with garlic pita bread, but you can make a wonderfully easy focaccia to go with this, it soaks the juices up (and believe me, people will be scraping the bowl!)

Great for Autumn, Winter or whenever you need a little comfort food.

 

NB: pro-tip, sometimes dishes like this just don’t seem to ‘pop’ the way we want them to, on those days I add a sneaky pinch of cinnamon to the slow cooker, and it’s just magic.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Yes! It is possible to make the perfect scrambled eggs…. and NO you do not add milk to them!

This is my method, echoing one infamous Gordon Ramsay… because ffs this is one of the staples of cooking, and you gotta get that stuff right.

METHOD
For two people: my preference is for six (free range & organic) eggs
Crack these into a pot – add a knob of butter (and nothing else! No seasoning yet)
Put this on the heat and slowly stir…. You’re not whisking, just barely blending…
If they are cooking too fast – take them off as you potter about making the other parts of brunch…
Once they are cooked through, remove from the heat… it will keep cooking but you want it well before the point of drying out…
Then add a tablespoon of creme friaché (sour cream works just as well, but you can’t say it manically in the voice of Randy from SouthPark) stir/ fold into the eggs – don’t whisk!
From there you add your sea salt, cracked pepper, and thinly cut parsley or chives… and it’s ready.

This makes the most thick, creamy amazing scrambled eggs – you have to cut it with your knife. So good.

I’ll often add a combination of parmesan, cherry tomatoes, capsicum, I’ve even added spicy salami and chorizo before – whatever tickles your fancy.

(Best with vogels toast of course….. )

Brunch is one of the most fabulous things in the world….. enjoy!

 

Spicy Vegetarian Curry

A couple of friends have got me on to #MeatFreeMonday and I think it’s a glorious thing! I am a happy little omnivore but think as a cook you just try a little harder when you don’t have meat to carry a dish…. It’s a rainy blustery day here in Auckland… not cold, but very grey, so tonight I thought I’d whip up a comforting delish vegie curry, using the pumpkin I got last week…

#MeatFreeMonday – homemade curry of pumpkin, chickpea, zucchini, cauliflower, red capsicum, peas – with a yoghurt/coriander dollop for creaminess #EatTheRainbow

INGREDIENTS / METHOD
In a large soup pot add a large roughly diced onion, with a dash of olive oil, then add 1tblsp crushed garlic
Once the onion becomes translucent (‘sweat’ the onions rather then browning them) add the following to the pot:
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 teaspoons chilli powder (and/or fresh chilli for extra kick)
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Big pinch sea salt
Big pinch black pepper

I mix that up till you almost have a paste in your pot…. When this heats through add:
1 tin coconut cream
1 tin crushed tomatoes

This is your base, which you add your vegies to.. As above I used the following added to the pot in this order, based on how fast each ingredient cooks:

  • Pumpkin (cut very small so it cooked faster)
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • Zucchini cut roughly twice as large as the pumpkin
  • Cauliflower (literally just break it into florets of the size you want, too easy)
  • Red capsicum cut about the size of the pumpkin
  • Peas – just use the frozen ones from your freezer, if you add at the end the colour just pops and they have a wonderful texture..
  • Tablespoon of honey

The idea when throwing this together is to let the pumpkin cook first, then throw the rest of the ingredients in…. you don’t want to overlook, it’s about freshness and colour… You can quite literally add what you have on hand, great way to make sure you’re getting enough veg, and using up the ingredients on hand.

Once ready to serve, finely cut up coriander and add to plain unsweetened greek style yoghurt… Mix up and put a tablespoon or so over the vegies for rich creaminess. 

Lamb Cutlets: Moroccan Style Marinade & Sweet Chilli/ Pistachio Crust

Moroccan Style Paste/Marinade

INGREDIENTS
Fresh garlic – finely chopped
Fresh ginger – finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cardamon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice,
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

METHOD
Mix together well (ideally with a mortar and pestle if you have one – otherwise in a food processor) and rub this all over the lamb.
Let this soak into the meat for a good couple of hours before you plan to cook, to let the flavours sink in.

 

COOKING
Lightly sear the lamb on the BBQ, the paste will start to cook/blacken – remove from heat and cover in tin foil. Let the meat ‘rest’ for circa 10 mins, it will keep ‘cooking’ in the foil.

Use a basting brush to coat each piece of lamb with a small amount of sweet chilli sauce, then sprinkle toasted crushed pistachios over each piece before serving…

(NOTE: we were too busy eating these for me to take a pic, so I found this image online which was the closest I could find to my finished product, image credit here)

Spicy Carrot Salad

Easy salad with a little kick, made for last nights bbq…. I made the dressing and kept this separate until close to serving, as it needs to be fresh…

To make carrot ribbons, peel carrots, then swipe the peeler from the fat end to the tip to make ribbons.

 

INGREDIENTS
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil (I actually used tea seed oil this time)
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon dry chilli
Sea salt
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled lengthwise into thin ribbons
1/2 cup coriander leaves
Handful of chopped raisins

 

METHOD
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegars, honey, sesame oil, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour the dressing over the carrots, add the coriander, and toss well. Season to taste with salt, and serve.

No-bake cheesecake: vanilla, hazelnut & dark choc

Made this last night for a BBQ at ours, really straight forward, quick and delish. I added little dark choc robots to the top as I’d bought a silicone mold and was keen to see how well the wee robot guys would look…

INGREDIENTS
200g digestive biscuits
75g unsalted butter
400g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
300g mascarpone, at room temperature
200g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1/2 cup hazelnuts, crushed or blended

METHOD
Place the digestive biscuits into a sealable freezer bag. Push all the air out and seal the bag. Crush the biscuits with a rolling pin, being careful not to break any holes in the bag. (This works better than trying to whiz in the blender…. I tried that and cleverly coated half my kitchen in a fine layer of digestive biscuit dust.. Bleh!)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Tip the biscuit crumbs into the butter and mix well until thoroughly combined. Add the hazelnuts to the mixture. Press the buttery crumbs into the bottom of a 23cm/9in springform or loose-bottomed tin. Chill in the refrigerator while you make the topping.

Combine the cream cheese and mascarpone into an electric mixer bowl, blend the cheeses together until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar a little at a time and blend to incorporate. Finally, mix in the vanilla. The mixture should be very light and fluffy.

At this point, stir in a small amount of melted dark choc into swirls…. just for the visual effect rather then properly mixing in…

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the biscuit base and smooth the top with a palette knife or spatula. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least four hours.

Release the catch of the springform tin carefully, then slice and serve.

 

Pistachio & Cardamom Cookies

I just loved the sound of these…. not too froufrou, and a little different… a little like me! And true to form I added to the recipe to create the delish creation you will find below…

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour
1/2 cup ground roasted pistachio nuts

METHOD:
Pre-heat your oven to around 150
Beat together butter and icing sugar to just combine (rather than cream)
Stir in dry ingredients, sifting your flour….

Now here’s the fun bit…. Most supermarkets sell pistachios as whole (de-shelled) nuts… not ideal for a delicate wee cookie. So you need to pour the nuts out onto a fresh clean teatowel, cover them up – and bash the bejaysus out of them with a rolling pin!

Once they are your desired size, combine with the rest of the ingredients into the cookie dough.

Once your dough is ready… Just roll it out onto a lightly floured flat surface, and around 1.5 cm thickness… I then use a wee shot glass (yes! a shot glass! who’d of thunk it?) to cut perfect little round cookie shapes…

These go onto baking paper spread evenly apart, and into your preheated oven for around 15-20 minutes or until golden…. (The smell will drive you insane, and potentially bring all the boys to your yard also, so just be aware)

Icing: ah-ha! This is the show-stopper…. The original recipe needed a little something else… and a tart lemon zest icing marries perfectly with the spices. Icing is pretty much the easiest thing in the world so I’m not going to spell this one out here – suffice to say combine sifted icing sugar with lemon juice and lemon zest till you get the desired runny consistency – this is a drizzle for the cookie…..

I normally double the mixture also… trust me, it’s worth it!