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.

 

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!

Curried Sausages

Photo by Gary Corbett

“The smell and taste of food is amazing at bringing back memories. There are heaps of dishes my mum used to cook (and still cooks) that I remember growing up. A lot of them I still cook today.  My favourite was always curried sausages. As an adult I cook it regularly and for me it must contain two important ingredients. Keens curry powder and sultanas. I usually use beef sausages but any variety will do, in fact the vegan version I did using store bought veggie snags worked brilliantly.  I’m sure this recipe is quite different to mums, but it’s delicious and still brings back those childhood memories. Enjoy!”

You can find the video on my Musical Menus YouTube page.

https://youtu.be/mGenqVTgS_g

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tablespoons Keens Curry Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Korma paste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 400g vegetable stock
  • 4 tablespoons Indian mango chutney
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews
  • Parsley
  • Rice (to serve)
Method
  1. Cook some sausages and allow to cool.
  2. Fry the onions in a pan until they start to soften.
  3. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two.
  4. Add the Keens curry powder, Korma paste and tomato paste and stir for a few minutes.
  5. Stir in a tin of tomatoes then fill the tin with vegetable stock and add to the pan.
  6. Add the mango chutney, salt and sultanas and let the sauce simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
  7. Cut up your cooked sausages into bite-sized chunks and add to the sauce. You can let them simmer in the sauce and finish by sprinkling the cashews over the top before serving.
  8. If you’re baking the sausages transfer to an oven-proof dish and sprinkle the cashews over the top. Bake in at 200c oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Serve with rice, a dollop of yogurt and mango chutney and sprinkle with more cashews and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

 

Baked beans and Breakfast pizzas

Photos by Gary Corbett

“Like many people I grew up eating tinned baked beans for breakfast. It was an easy staple that filled you up and could be prepared in no time. The only problem with the tinned version is the amount of sugar it contains.  For that reason (and because it’s delicious!) I started making my own version, playing around with different types of beans, herbs and seasonings.  This recipe is where I landed, so when I decided to do a video to launch the Spotty Kites song “Say hello”, I decided to turn it into a breakfast pizza. We had a great time cooking in my kitchen with Lauren and Costa (check out the video on YouTube). I can’t wait to see if they try it for their families. Enjoy!”

You can find the video on my Musical Menus YouTube page.

https://youtu.be/2UQ4ptY6oMw

Ingredients for baked beans

  • 1 red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 heaped tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 x 400g tins tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin red beans
  • 1 x 400g tin white beans
  • 1 x 400g tin black beans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Splash of Tobacco sauce
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • Sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 cup marinated green olives
Method
  1. Heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil in an oven proof covered dish and add a diced  red onion, stirring until they start to soften. Dice the garlic and cook off with the onion.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and stir to cook of for a minute. Add 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and stir to combine.
  3. Add 2 tins of tomatoes and the beans and stir for a few minutes.
  4. Stir in the vegetable stock then add the salt, Tobacco, Worcestershire, red wine vinegar and white sugar.
  5. Put a few sprigs of thyme in the mix and cover with the lid.
  6. Bake in a 180c oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and stir in the diced green olives.
  8. Serve on crusty bread topped with an egg. (You can freeze portions of the baked beans and defrost for meals later.)

Ingredients for Breakfast pizzas 

  • Sprinkle – Parmesan, fresh basil and pine nuts
  • Prosciutto
  • Baked beans
  • Pizza bases
  • Pizza cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • eggs
Method
  1. Put some parmesan, fresh basil and pine nuts in a food processor and blitz for a few seconds or until they make a crumble.
  2. Lay the prosciutto on a baking tray and bake in a 180c oven for 7 minutes or until crisp.
  3. Remove from the oven to cool. Increase the oven to 230c.
  4. Cut 4 mini pizzas out of a pizza base. (You can also make a full pizza if you want to)
  5. Top with the baked beans.
  6. Top with the pizza cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in a 230c oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Lightly oil a fry pan and gently crack the eggs into it. Reduce to a medium heat and cover the pan with a lid until the eggs are cooked. (2-3 minutes)
  9. Remove the pizzas from the oven and place on a serving plate. Top with an egg and some prosciutto.
  10. Sprinkle the crumble over the top and serve. Enjoy!

 

Vegie Bolognese

“Recently, in an attempt to have less meat in our diet, I’ve been trying to create vegetarian and vegan recipes that still satisfy me and pack a punch of flavour and texture.  My favourite would have to be mushroom parmigiana.  Right up there with the chicken version!  One dish we eat heaps of is Bolognese or Chilli con carne and I’ve started using half beef, half lentils to great effect.  I still wanted to do a vegan version, so started experimenting with this recipe.  My aim was to get a dish that felt like you were eating the original and still had heaps of complex flavours.  The fact that my carnivorous husband loves it means it must be a success. This is a good recipe for doing in bulk and freezing for later.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp star anise powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 x 400g can of tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g can of lentils
  • 1 x 400g can of chick peas
  • 1 x 400g can of black or red beans
  • 400g mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Barbecue sauce (optional)
  • 100g pecans, finely diced
Method
  1. Cook the carrot, onion, celery and garlic in a large frypan until soft.
  2. Add the tomato paste, star anise, cumin and paprika and cook off for a few minutes.
  3. Add the red wine and tomatoes then let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Put the mushrooms in a food processor until diced. You want to keep a bit of texture. Do the same with the chick peas.
  5. Put mushrooms, lentils, beans and chickpeas in a large stockpot or slow cooker.  Pour in the tomato and red wine mixture and combine.  Allow this to sit on low heat for at least an hour.  If the mixture gets too dry, add more red wine or vegetable stock.
  6. Add the kecap manis (or dark soy sauce) and balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you want a smokey flavour add the barbecue sauce.
  7. Stir in the pecans just before you serve for added texture.
  8. Serve with the pasta of your choice and parmesan cheese.

 

Vegetarian “Sausage” Rolls

“I’ve got an increasing number of friends that are either vegetarian or vegan. so I decided I’d better perfect a vegetarian “Sausage” roll.  As I plan to open a cafe in the future I thought it would be a good addition to the menu.  I’ve found that other veggie rolls I’ve had have been a bit bland and lacking in texture so I’ve added pumpkin seeds and a few other ingredients to give them a culinary kick.  The filling contains no animal products so vegans can make them simply by substituting vegan pastry for the puff pastry I’ve used.  I’ve also used the filling as a veggie burger patty by rolling in bread crumbs and shallow frying.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 150g mushrooms, diced
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 75g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 60g olives
  • 100g bread crumbs
  • 400g can of chick peas, drained and lightly smashed
  • 400g sweet potato, roasted or grated
  • 100g pumpkin seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 sheets of puff pastry or vegan pastry
  •  Egg-wash or almond milk to brush on pastry
  • Poppy seeds
Method
  1. Place the whole unpeeled sweet potato on a tray and bake at 180 degrees C for 40 minutes or until it is soft all the way through.  Let it cool then blitz in a food processor until smooth. (You can also just grate the sweet potato and add to the mixture, but I prefer the baked version)
  2.  Fry the diced onion, garlic, mushroom and fennel seeds until onion is translucent.  Set aside to cool.
  3. In a food processor, blitz the sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
  4. Combine the grated carrot, zucchini, bread crumbs, smashed chick peas and pumpkin seeds.  Add in the tomatoes and olives, the garlic and onion mixture and the pureed sweet potato. Stir the mixture well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, then refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. Lay out 4 sheets of puff pastry or vegan pastry and distribute a log of the cooled filling down the middle of each.
  6. Wrap the pastry around the filling and place seam side down on a baking tray.
  7. Brush with egg-wash or almond milk and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  8. Bake at 180 degrees C for 30-45 minutes or until the pastry has cooked and browned.
  9. Let the rolls cool slightly before slicing into segments and serve with a sauce or chutney.

 

 

 

 

Roast eggplant and tomato pasta

“I seem to be making a lot of vegetarian dishes lately.  It’s forced me to come up with new recipes to make things interesting.  One of my favourite ingredients is eggplant.  It’s also the only thing I haven’t been able to kill in my garden and have had a plentiful supply for months.  You can use it in eggplant parmigiana, baba ganoush and vegetarian lasagne but I also love roasting it and stirring it through a pesto pasta.  Having just bought a Thermomix (Instructions included) I decided to make an easy tomato sauce then stir the roast eggplant and a few other ingredients through.  It was an instant favourite at our house and will satisfy those pesky vegetarians when they drop over.  Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 700g eggplant
  • Olive oil
  • Flaked sea salt
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 60g grated parmesan cheese
  • 60g sour cream
  • 40g roasted pine nuts
  • 60g sundries tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • Shaved parmesan
Method
  1. Cup the eggplant into 1.5cm cubes and place on a baking tray covered with baking paper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.  Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 30 minutes or until slightly browned.  Flipping the eggplant once during this time helps get an even colour.
  2. Add the spaghetti to a medium saucepan of salted boiling water and cook until al dente.  Drain when cooked.
  3. Cut the sundries tomatoes into strips and roughly shred the basil leaves. Put aside with the roasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan.
  4. Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry in a medium saucepan with a small amount of olive oil until translucent.
  5. Add the tomatoes, Dijon mustard and sugar to the onions and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. While the sauce is still hot add the parmesan cheese, then using a stab blender, blend the mixture until you get a smooth sauce.  Just before serving add the sour cream and stir through the sauce.
  7. Drain the pasta and in a large bowl stir through the sauce, roasted eggplant, sundries tomato strips and half the basil leaves.
  8. Once served into pasta bowls sprinkle on the pine nuts, remaining basil and shaved parmesan.

Thermomix method 

  1. Cup the eggplant into 1.5cm cubes and place on a baking tray covered with baking paper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.  Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 30 minutes or until slightly browned.  Flipping the eggplant once during this time helps get an even colour.
  2. Add the spaghetti to a medium saucepan of salted boiling water and cook until al dente.  Drain when cooked.
  3. Cut the sundries tomatoes into strips and roughly shred the basil leaves. Put aside with the roasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan.
  4. Add onion and garlic to Thermomix bowl and process on speed 4/3 seconds
  5. Wipe down the bowl with a spatula then add 2 tbsp olive oil and cook for 6 minutes/100 degrees/speed 0.5
  6. Add tinned tomatoes, Dijon mustard and sugar and cook for 6 minutes/100 degrees/speed 0.5
  7. Add parmesan cheese and sour cream then blend 20 seconds/ speed 7
  8. Drain the pasta and in a large bowl stir through the sauce, roasted eggplant, sundries tomato strips and half the basil leaves.
  9. Once served into pasta bowls sprinkle on the pine nuts, remaining basil and shaved parmesan.

 

Chili Con Carne

“I’ve just returned from doing ten days of cooking demos in Townsville.  I had to do four recipes a day that the audience could try then replicate with basic ingredients.  I made this chili con carne several times and got a great reaction from everyone who tried it.  It’s pretty much a staple in our house which is used in tacos and nachos and in a ridiculous mix of cultures even when making lasagne or cannelloni.  This recipe makes a huge amount that I cook up in my slow-cooker then freeze for later.  For a more modest amount just halve the recipe.  The amount of chili is to my taste but feel free to add or subtract the spices to your own palette. Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 2 brown onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 500g bacon
  • 1.5kg lean beef mince
  • 500g pork mince
  • 140g tomato paste
  • 4 heaped tbsn sambal oelek (or chopped chillies)
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 x 40g tins tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tins red kidney beans
  • 500g mushrooms
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. Dice onions and fry off in a hot pan with some oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the finely chopped garlic and chopped bacon and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the beef and pork mince and cook for 15 minutes, making sure to break up with the back of a spoon.
  4. When all the meat is cooked through add the tomato paste, sambal oelek, chili powder and cumin and stir to combine.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and let simmer on a low heat for at least an hour.
    (I usually let the mixture cook in a slow-cooker for up to three hours.)
  6. A few times during the cooking process use a large spoon to remove any fat that has risen to the top.
  7. Serve with corn chips, guacamole, re-fried beans, sour cream and jalapenos.

Parmesan Biscuits with Pesto Cream

“As a caterer I’m always looking for new tasty treats that are easy to prepare but pack a punch in the taste department.  These tasty little morsels certainly do that! The Parmesan biscuits are based on a recipe from a book called “Canape” by Victoria Blashford-Snell and Eric Treuille and the pesto cream was a combination of a few leftover ingredients I had in my fridge.  The combination of the salty richness of the biscuits and the creamy pesto topping is quite addictive and we ended up polishing off all of them in one sitting.  These will definitely become a staple on my catering menu from now on.  Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

For the biscuits

  • 120g finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1 tsp Keens curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 90g chilled butter

For the pesto cream

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Juice and rind of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • 200g cream cheese
  • Extra shaved Parmesan to garnish
  • Italian Parsley

Method

  1. Put the Parmesan cheese, flour, curry powder and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
  2. Remove to a bowl and knead together until all the ingredients have come together into a ball.
  3. Roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 5mm and cut out small biscuits using a cookie cutter.
  4. Place on a lined baking tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 180 degrees C then leave to cool on a wire rack.
  6. For the pesto combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
  7. Remove pesto from the food processor and add the cream cheese with 2-3 tbsp of the pesto mixture.  (You can freeze the remaining pesto for a later date)
  8. Put pesto cream in a piping bag and pipe a small mound onto each biscuit.
  9. Top with a small sprig of parsley and shaved Parmesan.

Pink Salmon Profiteroles

“Sometimes I try new things on my catering menu that look fabulous on the plate but are time-consuming to produce and hard to get out to the public quickly.  That’s when I fall back on old standards that have worked for years but add a small twist.  This recipe has been made by my mum for years as a filling for vol au vents.  We always loved it and she could never make enough of them to satisfy us.  With a couple of small twists I’ve turned it into a bite-size canape that looks great and tastes fabulous.  For this recipe I buy a bag of 20 small profiteroles for about $4.50.  (No point making them for that price!) Here’s to those retro recipes that never go out of fashion.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • butter
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 3 tbsn plain flour
  • 1 tbsn Keens curry powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 x 400g tin red or pink tuna
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbpn baby capers
  • Fresh dill
  • 20 small profiteroles
  • Watercress

Method

  1. Finely dice the onion and garlic and cook in a small amount of butter until soft.
  2. Heat the milk.
  3. Melt 2 tbsn butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour cooking off for a minute.
  4. Slowly add warm milk to butter and flour, whisking constantly to remove lumps.  Keep stirring over a low heat until the sauce thickens.
  5. Add salt pepper and the curry powder then remove from the heat.
  6. Crumble the salmon and remove any skin and bones.  Add to the white sauce and stir through with the lemon zest, finely diced dill and capers.
  7. Refrigerate until needed.
  8. To serve warm the filling slightly and cut the tops off the profiteroles.
  9. Spoon the mixture into the profiteroles and garnish with watercress and dill.