Come back to find a new delicious recipe every week (hopefully!)...
Sometimes Aussie, sometimes a favourite from another corner of the world.
Please leave a comment and tell me how you enjoyed the recipes!

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Machbous ala dajaj

*This is a delicious spiced chicken and rice Middle Eastern dish - it is not spicy, but it is very savoury!*

Serves 5-6

2 large onions, chopped
2 tablespoons ghee or butter
1 tablespoon Baharat (see recipe here)
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 chicken, about 1.5kg (3lb), cut in pieces (I used just chicken breast to save on bothering with bones!)
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I didn't bother peeling)
1/2 teaspoon powdered Loomi (dried lime), or grated lemon zest
3 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cardamom pods
3 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

In a deep heavy pan, gently fry onion in ghee/butter until translucent and beginning to brown.  Stir in Baharat and tumeric and cook 2 minutes longer.
Add chicken pieces and turn in onion mixture over medium heat to brown lightly.  Add tomatoes, Loomi/lemon zest, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom pods and salt, stirring well to combine.
Add water, cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
Place rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear.
Stir rice gently into pot contents, add herbs and bring back to a slow simmer.  Cover with lid and simmer on low heat until chicken is tender, stirring gently once or twice during cooking, 25-30 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
Pile onto large platter with chicken pieces in center and serve hot with salad and pita bread.

*Recipe from Cooking of the Gulf.


Baharat is available in Middle Eastern markets and specialty spice stores, however if you can't get it for whatever reason, this recipe is very easy to put together and can be used for multiple recipes. 

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (I halved the recipe - makes plenty if you're not going to use it terribly often)

4 tablespoons ground black peppercorns
2 tablespoons ground corriander seeds
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground cloves
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons paprika

Purchase the freshest possible ground spices.  Combine and store in a tightly sealed jar in a cook, dark place.  Use within 6 months.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pollo alla Toscana

This is a Tuscan-style country chicken dish; it is absolutely delicious!  I served it with corn on the cob and this bread (below), and it was a really good accompaniment!  As usual, I altered the dish a little, by leaving out the mushrooms - because none of us are big mushroom fans in our household.

Serves 4.

20g (0.70oz) dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling chicken stock
1.5kg (3.3lb) chicken (I used just chicken breast rather than a whole chicken - less fuss - and I had a bit less than this on hand; it was still great!)
50g (1.75oz) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
150g (5.3oz) button mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
425g (15oz) can tomatoes
425g (15oz) can tomato puree

Place porcini mushrooms in heatproof bowl, cover with boiling stock, stand 30 minutes.  Drain mushrooms, reserve stock, chop mushrooms.
Cut thighs and legs from chicken.  Separate legs and thighs.  Cut wings from chicken.  Using poultry shears or scissors, cut down each side of backbone; discard backbone.  Cut breast in half.
Heat butter and oil in pan, add chicken, cook until chicken is lightly browned.  Stir in onion and garlic, cook, stirring, until onion is soft.
Add reserved stock, all mushrooms, oregano, undrained tomatoes and tomato puree.  Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes or until chicken is tender and sauce is slightly thickened.

Pane, Cipolla e Pomodoro

This is a very delicious tomato and onion bread.  It makes quite a good sized loaf, but keeps well overnight in an airtight container.

Tomato Filling
4 medium ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium red Spanish onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (I used a bit less dried as I couldn't get it fresh)

3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons dried yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup warm milk, approximately
1 egg, lightly beaten

Tomato Filling - prepare first.
Peel tomatoes, remove seeds, chop flesh (I didn't peel the tomatoes but I removed the seeds).  Heat oil in pan, add onions and garlic, cook, stirring, until onions are soft.  Add tomatoes, cheese, oregano, cook stirring, 5 minutes.  Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until tomatoes are softened, stirring occasionally.  Cool.

Sift flour into large bowl, add yeast, sugar, salt and 1/3 cup of the tomato filling; mix well.  Stir in oil and enough milk to mix to a soft dough.
Knead dough on lightly floured surface about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Place dough in oiled bowl, cover, stand in warm place about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead until smooth.  Shape into a round, place on greased oven tray.  Cut a large cross on top of dough, fill with remaining tomato filling.  Stand, uncovered, in warm place about 40 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
Brush loaf with egg, bake in 180ºC (355ºF) preheated oven about 40 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.  Cover with foil if over-browning.

The bread will have a lovely golden brown colouring and a shiny appearance - it is very pretty bread!

*From the Australian Women's Weekly Home Library Italian Cookbook No. 2.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Honey Mustard Glaze

This delicious glaze can be used on chicken or beef or pork.

Use on up to 1.8kg (4lb) of meat.

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion (1/2 cup), chopped
1 cup honey
1/3 cup white vinegar
225g (8oz) country-style Dijon mustard (I used ordinary Dijon)
2 tablespoons orange juice (fresh if possible)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

Melt butter in saucepan until sizzling; add onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, until onion is tender (6-8 mins).
Stir in all remaining ingredients.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, untill mixture comes to a full boil (6-8 mins).
Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook until sauce thickens slightly and flavours blend (8-10 mins).  Remove from heat.

Begin cooking meat; when almost done, brush glaze over (about 1/4 cup of glaze) and grill for 10-15 minutes.  Turn and repeat glazing process and continue grilling for another 10-15 minutes (until meat is tender).
Serve with remaining glaze.

*Adapted from Taste of America.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Khao pad gai horapa

This Thai recipe is a chicken and Thai basil fried rice.  I didn't have all the ingredients, so I substituted some out, and it was REALLY delicious - all of us enjoyed it, even the children.  It's not difficult to make, but there are a few hints that will make it even simpler... 
One of the secrets to making great fried rice is that the rice must be cooked and cooled prior to making the recipe - the easiest way to do this is to cook it and spread it on a tray with baking paper underneath and absorbent paper over the top before placing it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.  This will cause the rice to not only cool off, but dry out, also.
Another secret to great fried rice is that it must be stir-fried over very high heat as quickly as possible.  In order to do this, prepare all ingredients before beginning - before you even heat your wok.

Serves 4.

1/4 cup peanut oil
1 medium brown onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 fresh long green thai chilies, seeded, chopped finely (jalapeño or serrano chilies work well)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
500g (1lb) chicken breast fillets, chopped coarsely
2 medium red capsicums, sliced thinly
200g (~0.5lb) green beans, chopped coarsely
4 cups cooked jasmine rice (this amount is made with 2 cups uncooked rice, beforehand)
2 tablespoons fish sauce (I didn't have any on hand, so I added an extra 1.5 tablespoons soy sauce)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh thai basil leaves (I didn't have any on hand, so I used ordinary basil - just don't use Italian basil because it is a sweet basil)

Heat oil in wok; stir-fry onion, garlic and chili until onion softens.  Add sugar; stir-fry until dissolved.  Add chicken; stir-fry until lightly browned.  Add capsicum and beans; stir-fry until vegetables are just tender and chicken is cooked through.
Add rice and sauces; stir-fry, tossing gently to combine.  Remove from heat; add basil leaves, toss gently to combine.

*From The Australian Women's Weekly's 'Beginners Thai'

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ropa Vieja

This Mexican recipe is a thick meaty stew.  It is delicious, even to a person who is not usually a fan of Mexican spicy foods.  "The trick lies in cooking the meat until it is almost falling apart, then teasing it into shreds with two forks.  Prepare the meat first."  I didn't have any steak on hand, so I used ground beef, and it was very tasty like that!

Serves 4-6.

1kg (2lb) chuck steak, cubed (or ground beef)
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water or beef stock
1 can (or 500g/1lb fresh) tomatoes

Bring meat to a boil with all other ingredients except the tomatoes.  Cover and simmer over very low heat for 2-3 hours (using ground beef shortens this time dramatically as it only needs to simmer until the ground beef is cooked through).  After the first hour, add the tomatoes: they should simmer with the meat for at least 45 minutes (even if you use ground beef - this is to make the flavour better).  Meanwhile, prepare the following;

2 capsicums, one red and one green (bell peppers)
2 boiled potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil

De-seed, de-vein and slice the peppers.  Slice the potatoes.  Fry them both together in the oil in a skillet or frying pan until the peppers are tender, then add to the meat.  Cook very gently until the liquid has almost all evaporated.

Serve with boiled rice or tortillas - or boiled potatoes if you're not too much of a traditionalist when it comes to Mexican foods!

*From Mexican Cooking by Roger Hicks

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Delectable Mini Donut Muffins

*This recipe is from here on  Even though it is just a muffin recipe, it is amazing how much these donut muffins really do taste like donuts - only better!!  WARNING:  these are so delicious, you might find it hard to stop eating them!!*

Makes about 24.

1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup margarine (or butter), melted
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup margarine (or butter), melted  [I found I needed more than this]
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 24 mini-muffin cups.
2. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup margarine, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, then mix in the baking powder and flour until just combined. Fill the prepared mini muffin cups about half full.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops are lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. While muffins are baking, place 1/4 cup of melted margarine in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sugar with the cinnamon. Remove muffins from their cups, dip each muffin in the melted margarine, and roll in the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Let cool and serve.