Goat Cheese Ravioli

Photo by Gary Corbett

“I’ve got a new item on my catering menu: Goat Cheese Ravioli. I serve it with leeks, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on a roast tomato and capsicum sauce. It works brilliantly as an entree or main and highlights the beautiful fresh flavours of a Caprese salad. If you like making your own pasta this is a great dish to try. Enjoy”

You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/YZQOgKwA3kU

Pasta ingredients (Jamie Oliver recipe)

  • 200g baby spinach
  • 300g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
Pasta method
  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until they all come together. You may need a bit of cold water to help it along.
  2. When it’s all combined transfer onto a floured surface and start kneading. Once it’s got a smooth texture flatten into a disc, cover in glad wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  3. While it’s in the fridge move on to making the filling.
Pasta filling ingredients
  • 200g goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper
Pasta filling method
  1. Put all ingredients into a mixer and combine.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to make ravioli.
Other ingredients
  • Roast tomato and capsicum sauce (recipe in a previous post)
  • 2 leeks
  • Vegetable stock
  • Butter
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Pine nuts
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Basil leaves
  • Parmesan cheese

Other ingredients method 

  1. Bring vegetable stock to the boil
  2. Cut leeks into battens being sure to remove any dirt in the stalks
  3. Simmer the leeks with the lid on, turning occasionally until cooked through. You can test with a skewer to see if they’re cooked in the middle.
  4. Remove from the heat and set aside. You can reheat just before you serve by putting them back in the heated stock or using a microwave
  5. Rip the fresh mozzarella into smaller pieces. You can also use bocconcini if you can’t get a big ball of fresh mozzarella.
  6. Using a vegetable peeler, peel slithers of a block of Parmesan cheese. You can use grated or flaked Parmesan as well.
Ravioli method
  1. Cut the pasta into 4 pieces and start feeding through your pasta roller. Each time through fold in 3 and turn 90 degrees.  Keep doing this until you get an even, smooth look and feel.
  2. Reduce the thickness gauge on the pasta roller and start making a long sheet about 2mm thick
  3. Place on a floured work surface and cut into 2 long pieces.
  4. Roll a heaped teaspoon of filling into a ball and place on one of the pasta sheets.
  5. Keep doing this, spacing them about 10cm apart.
  6. Using a pastry brush moisten the pasta around the filling.
  7. Place the un-floured side of the second sheet on top and smooth the edges around the filling.
  8. I use the blunt side of a pasty cutter to seal around the filling.
  9. Using a larger pastry cutter cut the raviolis out and seal the edges with your fingers to stop any leakage.
  10. Place on a lined tray and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  11. In a large pot bring some salted water to the boil.
  12. Put in about 6-8 ravioli at a time into the boiling water and let them cook for about 3 minutes.
  13. Remove and put on a plate when they’re cooked.
  14. In a wide pan heat up some butter. You can let it turn to brown butter if you want.
  15. Put the cooked ravioli into the pan and cook on the flat side for a minute.
Plating up
  1. Reheat your sauce.
  2. Reheat your leeks and cut onto sections
  3. To plate up start with a smear of sauce. Then add a few pieces of leek. Add 2 or 3 ravioli. Decorate with the mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Season with some cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

 

The “Everything” cake

Photo by Gary Corbett

“This cake came about when I was asked to make a gluten-free cake for a catering gig. I wasn’t happy with the texture of my mud cake when I use GF flour so I decided to try something else. It’s a combination of a carrot, banana and hummingbird cake with added crunch from nuts, pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips. The layers are smothered with moorish cream cheese icing and it’s decorated with toasted coconut and pineapple flowers. Needless to say it’s a real show stopper and utterly delicious! Enjoy”

You can watch the video here:

https://youtu.be/MOpNdupeArE

Cake ingredients

  • 150g GF plain flour
  • 150g almond meal
  • 150g desiccated coconut
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200g olive oil
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 100g soft butter
  • 80g yoghurt
  • 200g crushed and drained pineapple
  • 400g mashed banana
  • 200g grated carrot
  • 100g chopped walnuts
  • 60g pumplin seeds
  • 80g chocolate chips
Cake method
  1. Heat your oven to 180 Celsius
  2. Combine GF lour, almond meal, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, mixed spice and salt. Mix and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer whisk together oil, brown sugar, eggs, butter and yoghurt until combined.
  4. Add the pineapple, banana and carrots and mix to combine.
  5. Stir in your dry ingredients and mix to combine.
  6. Stir through the walnuts, pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips.
  7. Spray and line 3 x 20cm cake tins and divide the batter between them, smoothing the tops.
  8. Bake at 180 Celsius for 40-45 minutes then allow to cool.

 Cream cheese icing ingredients

  • 300g soft cream cheese
  • 300g soft butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon coconut essence
 Cream cheese icing method
  1. Whip the cream cheese, butter, lemon zest and coconut essence together until combined.
  2. Add the icing sugar in stages and beat until smooth.
  3. Refrigerate until needed
Pineapple flowers method
  1. Peel your pineapple and remove any eyes or blemishes.
  2. Cut into thin disks and lay on a lined baking tray.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes at 100 Celsius.
  4. Remove and flip the pineapple and bake for another 30 minutes.
  5. Place each pineapple ring in a muffin tin and bake for a further 30 minutes. You can turn the heat off and let them cool in the oven.
To make the cake
  1. Cut each cake in half.
  2. Spread a layer of cream cheese icing between each slice.
  3. Spread icing on the top and sides of the cake and smooth down with a cake scraper or offset spatula.
  4. Decorate with toasted coconut and pineapple flowers.

Sticky date pudding

Photo by Gary Donald Corbett

“Who doesn’t like sticky date pudding?! It’s one of the top desserts on many menus around the world and a regular recipe in my own kitchen. I’ve been testing a vegan recipe for catering and have realised this is better than the version I used to make. With the addition of banana to replace the eggs you do get and extra flavour in the mix but it compliments the traditional flavours so well. Enjoy!”

Watch the video here

https://youtu.be/BCxatZoIIBM

Ingredients for the pudding

  • 1 cup soy milk (you can use cows milk or vegan alternative)
  • 2 cups dates
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Ingredients for the sauce
  • 110g Nutikex (or butter)
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
Method
  1. Heat your oven to 180 Celsius
  2. Place soy milk, dates and golden syrup in a saucepan and heat while stirring until dates are soft.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of bicarb soda and stir. Put aside to cool.
  4. Using a fork mash the bananas with the olive oil.
  5. Combine the dry ingredients and mix together.
  6. Add the bananas and dates to dry ingredients and mix together.
  7. Line a slice tin with baking paper and spoon the batter in, smoothing it down.
  8. Bake in a 180 Cescius oven for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer comes our clean.
  9. For the sauce combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil while stirring.
  10. While the pudding is still hot spoon over some of the sauce.
  11. Serve with extra sauce, coconut ice-cream, Medjol dates and a sprinkle of chopped walnuts.

 

Mum’s sago plum pudding

“For as long as I can remember Mum has made a sago plum pudding for our Christmas meal.  I thought it was about time that she taught me how to make it! You may notice there doesn’t seem to be any plums in the recipe, but I assume the original version did. Sago is an ingredient made from the starchy centre of a tropical palm. In this recipe it acts as the binding agent in place of eggs. As there is no flour, the gluten comes from bread crumbs making the pudding incredibly moist!  We’ve always eaten it with lashings of custard and whipped cream. Flaming the pudding is an optional but exciting addition, just make sure there is a fire extinguisher handy. Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons sago
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 85g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 250g sultanas
  • 60g currents
  • 60g glacé cherries
  • 60g chopped dried apricots
  • 90g breadcrumbs
Method
  1. Put sago and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and cook while stirring for 10-15 minutes. The mixture will go quite gluey and the sago will plump up and become slightly translucent.
  2. Stir in the butter, sugar and bicarb. Set aside to cool slightly
  3. Mix together the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the sago mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together.
  5. Butter a steamed pudding tin and place a round of baking paper at the bottom.
  6. Transfer the pudding batter into the tin and smooth the top. Put on the lid.
  7. Bring about 5cm of water to the boil in a large stock pot, then carefully place the steaming tin inside with the pot lid on. Simmer for 4 hours. You may need to top up the water level as it cooks. I check every 30 minutes.
  8. Turn the pudding onto a serving plate.
  9. To flame the pudding bring 1/4 cup of vodka, brandy or any other clear alcohol to the boil in a small saucepan. Carefully light the alcohol and pour over the pudding. (This is best done with the lights dimmed for best effect.)
  10. Serve slices of the pudding with custard and whipped cream.

Gluten free lemon bars


Photos by Gary Corbett

“I’ve decided I need to master gluten free baking! When I cater I always have to do some gluten free items and tend to fall back on things like a chocolate flan with hazelnut meal or an orange almond cake.  I decided to try a gluten free lemon bar because I love the non GF version and it seemed to be easy to make using almond flour and corn flour. The result was delicious! You can also substitute lime or passionfruit juice or as I did, a combination of two juices. It also works brilliantly as a dessert with fresh berries and a dollop of thick cream. Enjoy!”

Ingredients for the base

  • 200g almond meal
  • 25g corn flour
  • 75g white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 100g cold butter
Method for the base
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 C.
  2. Line a 20cm square baking dish with baking paper making sure the paper comes all the way up each side. This makes it much easier to remove from the tin once it’s baked.
  3. Cut your cold butter into 1cm squares and add to a food processor with the other ingredients.
  4. Blitz the mix until its come together.
  5. Press into your baking tray and smooth the top with a spoon.
  6. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
  7. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Ingredients for the custard
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g white sugar
  • 100g lemon, lime or passionfruit juice (I used 50g lemon and 50g passionfruit)
  • 20g corn flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Method for the custard
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until combined.
  2. Pour over your cooled base.
  3. Bake in a 180 C oven for 15-20 minutes or until the custard has just set.
  4. Allow to cool on the bench then cover with cling wrap and let cool completely in the fridge.
  5. Once cool, Cut into bars and serve sprinkled with icing sugar or serve as a dessert with fresh berries and thick cream.

 

 

Spotted dick

Photo by Gary Corbett

“Who doesn’t like a spotted dick. (Insert giggling here). This traditional English steamed pudding is delicious on a cold night and very moorish. I’ve omitted the suet and added some sour cream and boozed-up the sultanas. You can use other dried fruit or nuts if you want and I’ve changed out the traditional custard for a French style Sabayon. Enjoy!”

Spotted dick ingredients

  • 200g sultanas
  • 1 cup muscat
  • 250g frozen butter
  • 400g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150g white sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 eggs
Method
  1. Place your sultanas and muscat in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer an cook for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool in the liquid.
  2. Grate 250g of frozen butter into a bowl. Add 400g of self-raising flour and gently mix through with your fingers so the butter is coated in flour.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 150g of white sugar and the zest from 1 lemon and mix to combine.
  4. Drain the sultanas and add to the mix. Keep the soaking liquid for the sabayon.
  5. Whisk 6 eggs with 1/4 cup of sour cream and 1/4 cup milk. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
  6. Butter the inside of your steaming tin then put in 1 tablespoon of plain flour and shake so it coats the butter.
  7. Transfer the batter to the tin and smooth the top.
  8. Cut a piece of baking paper to fit over the batter and cut a few slits in the top. Smooth this over the batter and put the lid on the tin.
  9. In a large pot place a small ramekin or heatproof bowl inside and pour in boiling water to just cover it.
  10. Place the steaming tin inside on top of the ramekin and put a lid on the pot.
  11. Bring your water to a simmer and let the pudding steam for 90 to 120 minutes. Every half hour check the water level and add more boiling water if necessary.
  12. Carefully remove the steaming tin and test to see if the pudding is cooked by putting a knife or skewer in. If it doesn’t come out clean then put the tin back to steam for another 10 or 20 minutes. (In the size tin I have this took 2 hours)
Sabayon ingredients
  • 3 eggs (or 6 yolks)
  • 150ml muscat (from soaking sultanas)
  • 120g white sugar
Method
  1. Mix all ingredients together until completely combined.
  2. Transfer to a saucepan and continuously stir on  medium heat until the sabayon has thickened.
  3. Serve a slice of spotted dick with the sabayon and a dollop of thick cream. Enjoy!

 Youtube video link

https://youtu.be/ECMwBtcTGfI

 

 

French toast 3 ways

Photos by Gary Corbett

“You can’t beat French toast for an indulgent breakfast, brunch or even dessert. I’ll be making this with my nieces on a Facebook live this Mother’s Day. I’ve given you three recipes to choose from but you can get your creative juices going with many different culinary alternatives. I’ve also given a vegan alternative for the custard and you can use a non-dairy spread instead of butter. Enjoy!” 

Ingredients for egg custard

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
Ingredients for vegan custard
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Version 1 – with mixed berries
  • Thick cut fruit toast
  • Mixed berries
  • Maple syrup
  • Thick cream or coconut yoghurt
Method
  1. Put berries in a container and pour over some maple syrup. Set aside.
  2. Mix custard ingredients together until they are well combined. Put in a shallow bowl good for dipping.
  3. Put a tablespoon of butter or non-dairy spread in a frying pan and heat up until it’s melted.
  4. Cut your fruit toast in half, dip in the custard on both sides and put in the frying pan. Let one side go golden (about 1 minute) before turning over.
  5. Place on a plate, top with a dollop of cream or coconut yoghurt, some berries and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Version 2 – with coconut bananas

  • Thick cut fruit toast
  • Bananas
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Thick cream or coconut yoghurt
  • Toasted almonds
Method
  1. Mix custard ingredients together until they are well combined. Put in a shallow bowl good for dipping.
  2. Cut your bananas in half then slice them lengthwise so you get a flat side.
  3. Put some coconut on a flat plate. Dip the flat side of the banana in the custard then place in the coconut.
  4. Put a tablespoon of butter or non-dairy spread in a frying pan and heat up until it’s melted.
  5. Place the banana flat side down in the frying pan and cook until the coconut has gone golden. Remove and set aside.
  6. Clean the pan of coconut then put a tablespoon of butter or non-dairy spread in a frying pan and heat up until it’s melted.
  7. Cut your fruit toast in half, dip in the custard on both sides and put in the frying pan. Let one side go golden (about 1 minute) before turning over.
  8. Place on a plate, top with a dollop of cream or coconut yoghurt, the coconut bananas, some toasted almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Version 3 – with figs and spiced yoghurt
  • Thick cut fruit toast
  • Fresh figs
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Toasted almonds
  • Honey
Method
  1. Mix custard ingredients together until they are well combined. Put in a shallow bowl good for dipping.
  2. Put yoghurt and spices in a bowl and mix together.
  3. Cut your figs into quarters.
  4. Put a tablespoon of butter or non-dairy spread in a frying pan and heat up until it’s melted.
  5. Cut your fruit toast in half, dip in the custard on both sides and put in the frying pan. Let one side go golden (about 1 minute) before turning over.
  6. Place on a plate, top with a dollop of spiced yoghurt ,fresh figs, some toasted almonds and a drizzle of honey.

 

 


Roast tomato and capsicum sauce


Photos by Gary Corbett

“I love recipes that you can cook in bulk, freeze then whip out for a quick mid-week meal. I always have containers of Bolognese, chilli con carne and pesto in my freezer and also this super easy roast tomato and capsicum sauce.  It all bakes in one tray then gets blitzed up for later use.  I’ve also included a few recipes I make using the sauce. Enjoy”

Sauce ingredients

  • 6 capsicums
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 3 red onions
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • White sugar
Sauce method
  1. Halve and de-seed 6 capsicums and put them in a deep baking dish.
  2. Halve and core 6 tomatoes and put them inside the capsicums.
  3. Quarter 3 red onions and sprinkle them between tomatoes and capsicums.
  4. Peel 6 cloves of garlic and throw them in the pan.
  5. Douse in olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Cover in foil.
  7. Bake in a 180c oven for an hour.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan with the foil on.
  9. Depending on the strength of your food processor you can remove the skins from the tomatoes and capsicums. I have a Thermomix so this isn’t needed. Place in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
  10. Pour into a saucepan and heat on low. Add Balsamic and white sugar to taste.
  11. Pour into containers and store in the freezer.
Recipe for soup
  1. Heat up a few cups of soup with some veggie or chicken stock and stir until smooth
  2. Blitz some pine nuts, lemon zest and fresh basil to make a gremolata.
  3. Serve the soup with a spoonful of sour cream, some gremolata and toasted sourdough
Recipe for pasta sauce
  1. Chop an eggplant into 1cm cubes, douse in olive oil and salt and bake in a 180c oven for 20 minutes.
  2. Fry some chopped onions and mushrooms in a pan until soft. Add a few cups of sauce and the roasted eggplant.
  3. Stir in some fresh basil.
  4. Serve with pasta and Parmesan cheese.
Recipe for baked chicken (for 2 people)
  1. Pour some sauce in a small baking dish and add 2 whole chicken breasts. Cover with more sauce.
  2. Cover dish with foil and bake in a 200c oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Blitz some bread with herbs and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven and take off the foil.
  5. Cover with your breadcrumb mix and bake for another 5-10 minutes uncovered.
  6. Serve with quinoa, roasted potatoes and green veggies.

 

Easter Chocolate Crackles (Cooking with kids)

(Photo by Gary Corbett)

“It’s time to think of what to do with all those leftover Easter eggs!…said no one ever!  Well, if by chance you do have any leftover you could get your kids to make these super easy Easter chocolate crackles. They don’t require any cooking except to heat up the copha and are a great treat kids can make themselves for parties. I’ve included sultanas (to make them vaguely more healthy) and optional nuts. Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 250g copha
  • 4 cups rice bubbles
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • Sprinkles
  • Easter eggs
Equipment
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Stirring spoon
  • Cup measure
  • Dessert spoon
  • Microwave bowl or jug
  • Cupcake pan
  • Cupcake papers
Method
  1. Chop the copha into small pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl or jug. Microwave for bursts of 30 seconds until fully melted. Mine took about 2:30 from the fridge but if it’s at room temperature should take less.
  2. Into the big bowl put the rice bubbles, Icing sugar, coconut, cocoa, sultanas and almonds. Using the big spoon mix it together until its we’ll combined. (This could also be done in a food processor)
  3. Add the melted copha to the bowl and stir until it’s all combined.
  4. Put the cupcake papers in the cupcake pans and spoon mixture into each one. I found this mixture made 17 chocolate crackles.
  5. Sprinkle the sprinkles over each one.
  6. Peel the foil off the Easter eggs and push down into each chocolate crackle.
  7. Refrigerate for at least an hour to solidify.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Salsa verde

Photo by Gary Corbett

“Like most cooks, I use heaps of herbs in my dishes. It’s a great way to add freshness and a burst of flavour to your cooking. That’s why I love salsa verde. Not only is it delicious, it’s extremely versatile and can be used to jazz up salads, canapés and main courses. You can also use whatever herbs you have to hand, or put more of a herb you like in. Enjoy”

 Ingredients for salsa verde

  • Bunch of basil
  • Bunch of parsley
  • Bunch of mint
  • Bunch of coriander
  • Bunch of chives
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice and rind of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/4 cup green olives
  • 1 green chilli
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
Method
  1. Pick the leaves off your herbs and put into a food processor. Blitz for a few seconds to break them down.
  2. Add the other ingredients except the olive oil. Blitz until you get the consistency you want. It works as a chunky sauce or a smooth one.
  3. Add olive oil until you achieve the consistency you want.
  4. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
Caprese salad
Layer tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and pickled onions on a plate.
To pickle the onions I use equal parts red wine vinegar and white sugar. Stir the vinegar until sugar is dissolved and put in finely chopped white onions. It’s best to leave the for a day to soften.
Dollop spoonfuls of greek yoghurt and salsa verde over the top. You can also put layers on some sourdough bread for a healthy lunch.
Fresh and delicious.
Baked potatoes
To bake the potato, drizzle with olive oil and salt and wrap in aluminium foil. Bake in a 180c oven for 45 minutes or until the potato is cooked all the way through. Cut the potato open and dollop some sour cream inside, Add the salsa verde and grate some parmesan cheese over the top.
Makes a great midweek dinner if you’re super busy.
Cucumber sandwiches
To be a little bit classy you can jazz up your cucumber sandwiches with salsa verde.
(I actually don’t like cucumber but with the salsa verde they’re delicious).
Butter some white bread and spread on a thin layer of salsa verde on both sides.
Peel your cucumber and add thin slices to one slice. Put the top on, cut off the crusts and slice in half.
Now you’re classy as hell!