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.

 

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!

 

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.

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.

 

Hummus Chicken

“After a weekend of catering three different events with three completely different and rather complicated menus I thought it would be good to post my favourite simple stand-by recipe.  I came up with this recipe years ago when I started making hummus from scratch (when I realised it’s so much better than the store-bought varieties!).  I needed a dish that I could prepare in the morning and throw into the oven when I got home.  It’s also really easy to modify by substituting different vegetables such and capsicum or eggplant.  I sometimes do it in small ramekins for a more formal occasion but usually I just bring it to the table in the baking dish and let everyone dig in!  It may not look pretty but the flavours are sensational!  Enjoy!”

Hummus Ingredients

  • 2 x 400g tins of chick peas
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 tbsp tahini paste
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup light olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat a small fry pan and add cumin seeds, stirring until they become fragrant.  Grind with a mortar and pestle until reduced to a powder.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Add a small amount of water if it’s too thick and season to taste.

Hummus chicken ingredients

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 6 medium mushrooms
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 quantity of hummus
  • 850g chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Prepare all your ingredients.  Finely slice potatoes (I use a mandolin on the thinnest setting).  Slice onion into rings. Slice mushrooms.  Slice zucchini lengthwise into 4mm strips.  Cut chicken thighs into quarters.
  2. Grease a baking dish and put a layer of potato and red onion at the bottom.
  3. Follow this with a layer of mushrooms and cover with the zucchini.
  4. Spread some of the hummus (about a cup) over the zucchini in an even layer.
  5. Spread the chicken on top and cover with another layer of hummus.
  6. Finish with a layer of potato, season with salt and pepper and some Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees c for 45-60 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the topping is golden.
  8. Serve with a green salad, crusty bread to soak up the sauce and vegetables.

 

 

Mexican Mole Sauce


“As part of my catering menu I have a Mexican BBQ inspired by Aaron Copland’s symphonic work El Salon Mexico featuring chicken in a Mole Sauce.  This traditional Mexican sauce contains about 20 ingredients and usually includes such things as smoked chillies, capsicum, tomato, peanuts, chocolate and even grated avocado seed.  My recipe takes most of its ingredients from the grocer and pantry so you shouldn’t have too much trouble sourcing them.  If you can’t get smoked or dried chillies, fresh ones will suffice.  To serve I usually barbeque chicken thighs then combine them with the sauce in a pot and serve hot with tortillas, corn salads, guacamole, sour cream and salad veggies. This recipe makes quite a large volume of sauce but it freezes really well so you can spice up your dinner whenever you want.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 4 red onions
  • 4 capsicums
  • 8 tomatoes
  • 5 dried chillies
  • 5 smoked chillies
  • 10 red chillies
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp diced coriander root
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 4 tsp chilli powder
  • 8 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tsp cloves
  • 4 tbsn sesame seeds
  • 4 oranges
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 8 tbsn peanut butter
  • 4 cups dark beer
  • 8 tbsn dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 100g dark chocolate

Method

  1. Peel and quarter onions, quarter tomatoes and de-seed and quarter capsicums and bake in a 220 degree oven for 45 minutes or until capsicums are soft.
  2. Process onions, capsicums and tomatoes until smooth and put into a large stock pot.
  3. De-seed and chop chillies and fry until fragrant with garlic and coriander root.  Pound with a mortar and pestle until broken down.  Add to stock pot.
  4. Dry fry or roast the almonds until lightly coloured.  Add to stock pot.
  5. Dry-fry chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves until fragrant.  Add to stock pot.
  6. Juice 4 oranges and grate the rind from 2. Add to stock pot.
  7. Add all the remaining ingredients except the dark chocolate to the stock pot and bring to the boil.  Turn down and simmer for an hour stirring occasionally.
  8. Let the mixture cool slightly then process in batches in a food processor.
  9. Bring back to a simmer and add the chopped chocolate.  (For a smoother sauce pass mixture through a drum sieve.)
  10. Serve with cooked chicken or turkey.