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

 

 

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!

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.

 

Lime and Pistachio Cake

“I’m embarressed about how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything here!  What with work, catering, cake design and the installation of a new kitchen, It’s been shunted to last priority.  I’m determined to turn over a new leaf and have a few recipes in my back-log to post in the coming weeks.  I made this cake for a work colleague’s birthday when I had a surplus of lemons.  The flavour and texture was brilliant but I decided to tweak the recipe to give it a bit more texture.  Feel free to use whatever fruit you like for the compote.  I think the strawberries and cherries were a great colour splash for the finished dish. You can also substitute lemons for limes but personally I liked this version better. Enjoy!”

(Photos by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

Cake

  • 250g room temperature butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 room temperature eggs
  • zest from 3 limes
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 50g diced pistachios
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
Syrup
  • Juice from 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Fruit compote
  •  Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup strawberry liquor
Method
  1. Preheat your oven to 140 degrees (Fan forced).
  2. Grease and line a 20cm spring-form tin.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time until combined.
  4. Add the sour cream and lime zest and beat until combined.
  5. Fold in the pistachios and flour.
  6. Spoon mixture into prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatular.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.
  8. While cake is baking place lime juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  9. When cake is done remove from the oven and pierce numerous holes with a skewer.
  10. Pour over lime syrup and refrigerate.
  11. For fruit compote cut the strawberries into quarters, de-seed and halve the cherries.
  12. Add fruit, sugar and liquor to saucepan and heat until fruit has just softened. (If you cook it too long you’ll get jam!)  Leave to cool.
  13. Decorate the cake with pistachios then serve a wedge of the lime cake with some fruit compote and a dollop of cream.

 

 

 

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.

Roast Potato Salad

“From the first time I tasted potato salad I didn’t like it!  Probably because it was that homogenous gloop that you buy from the supermarket that was just a big stodgy mess without much flavour or texture.  But since I’ve started catering I’ve found that I have to make a potato salad every now and them.  This is where this recipe springs from.  Instead of boiling the potatoes I roast them along with sweet potato and add lots of fresh ingredients to the mix that add to the flavour and nuts to give it a nice crunch.  I haven’t bothered with definite weights in this recipe so you can mix and match to your own tastes.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peanut oil
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Cashew nuts
  • Spring onions
  • Fresh coriander
  • Sour cream
  • Lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Peel the potato and sweet potato and cut into 1cm cubes.  Coat with a small amount of peanut oil and place on some baking paper on an oven tray.  Sprinkle with some salt.
  2. Bake in a 200 degree c oven for 45-60 minutes turning at least once until the potatoes are cooked through and start to turn golden brown.
  3. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  4. Hard boil some eggs and set aside to cool.  Cut into quarters.
  5. Finely slice the spring onion and set aside.
  6. Finely slice the fresh coriander and set aside.
  7. Cut some bacon into strips and fry until cooked.  Remove from the pan to cool.
  8. For the non-health-conscious out there, pour some sour cream into the warm bacon pan (off the heat) and stir to pick up the salty flavour of the bacon.  Add salt and pepper to taste and a small amount of lemon zest.
  9. … or warm the sour cream in a clean pan and season with salt, pepper and lemon zest. (warming the cream makes it thinner and easier to season and stir through the dish.)
  10. Place the potato and sweet potato in a bowl and dress with the sour cream mixture.
  11. Add the spring onions, eggs, bacon and cashew nuts.
  12. Finally, stir through the fresh coriander.
  13. I find this dish is best served at room temperature but is great fried up for breakfast the following day if there’s any left!