Tuesday, January 27, 2015

#adventuresincooking - a great side

It's summer here right now in Australia which means lots of BBQ's and lots of salads.  I've found a new one which I originally got from the Faking It cookbook by the ABC.  In the cook book it's featured as a side for a cajun spiced fish - and it's fantastic that way, but I've been using it as a salad when we have BBQ's of meat or fish as a primary side along with some asparagus or capsicum.

Without giving the whole recipe away it's pretty easy to make - tomatoes, avocado, corn, coriander and red onion forming the main ingredients.  The sauce is a little surprising, but again super simple.  I'm thinking I might add some black beans and chilli to this and turn it into a meal on it's own next.  Do you think that will work?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Remember I wrote one of my new years resolutions was to try more recipes from the rather large collection of cookbooks I have?  Well the good news is I've been keeping it... the not so great news is I keep forgetting to take photos of it.  The photo of one of my recent adventures isn't great - but trust me the unusual combo was delicious.  Can you guess what it is? Bet you can't.... 

It's poached eggs with crispy onion rings and iceberg lettuce.  Not a combo I would ever come up with on my own. Thankfully I didn't have to as this too came out of my new Donna Hay cookbook.

It probably took a little longer that I would have liked for a quick breakfast - definitely a brunch option when you've got a little more time.  And I did make a mess - shallow frying is fun - but I still have to learn how not to get burned.  All in all the taste made up for it though.  The crunch of the lettuce and onion rings went perfectly with the poached eggs.  Side note - OMG poaching eggs is an art form I'm yet to master - mine looked awful but tasted great.  If you've got a fool proof method for poaching eggs please tell me - I need to master this in 2015!

I've done a few other recipes from this same cook book and loved all of them. It's proving to be the best secret santa gift I've received in years.  Now I need to dig out some of my older cookbooks and put them through their paces.

Want to grab a copy of the book and cook along with me :-)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015


One of my new years resolutions that's carried over from 2014 is to cook more from the stack of cook books I own.  I have a love hate relationships with cook books.  I love the pretty pictures and the idea of eating home cooked gourmet meals every day.  I hate, hate, hate that so many cook books have recipes that list about 100 ingredients, at least half of which you'll never use apart from that one recipe.  I'm also not a great fan of anything that takes 9 hours to make - unless it's in my slow cooker of course!

There are a few cook books that I've grown to love over the years - Marie Claire Fresh is one of my go to favourites.  The Australian Women's Weekly cook books are always a trusted source - after all if it was good enough for mum... And anything by Donna Hay is usually pretty easy to make and tastes good.  I'm never able to make it look as good though!  

I'd bought this cook book last year but hadn't made anything from it yet.  It was love at first site as there were so many of my favourite recipes in there.  And like everything Donna Hay does - the pictures were beautiful - so I had to buy it.  But I have to confess it's been sitting on my shelf for a very long time unopened - until yesterday.  

I decided to try and make my very first gnocchi - porcini gnocchi with creamy mushroom sauce.  In theory it should look like this.  

I've never made gnocchi before.  I guess because I thought it would be too hard and take too much time.  I decided to give it a go this time because the recipe for this dish was just so short.  Just 6 ingredients for the gnocchi (if you don't count salt and pepper for seasoning) and 6 for the sauce!  Out of these I had most of them already (flour, salt, pepper, oil, eggs, potatoes, garlic, parmesan) which meant I really just needed to buy the mushrooms, and cream). The gnocchi took me about 15 mins to make if you don't count the hour it took to bake the potatoes.  But as I was drinking a glass of wine and watching old episodes of Grand Designs I didn't count the hour.  The sauce took about the same time and was pretty easy - but I wasn't sure if it was going to turn out right.  Mid-way through cooking the sauce it looked a little more like this.  That was just until it reduced though.  Phew!

All in all it probably took about 2 hours if you count the complete time - from putting the potatoes in the oven, to dishing it up.  But really about 45 mins - 1 hour if you don't count that.  A little long for a week night meal - I do have a day job - but pretty damn good for a weekend.  Here's how it came out.

Overall I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  My gnocchi is a little weird in shape which I'll definitely have to work on next time, but it tasted amazing and came together just right.  I also had to substitute some of the mushrooms for what was available, but hubby agreed it was still delicious, so it will definitely be on repeat in our kitchen.

I've made it my mission this year to try and use more of what I have in my house - including my cook books so expect to see more adventures from my kitchen.  Perhaps I need a # tag?