Tuesday, 24 July 2012


There is nothing quite like a hearty pie to fill your stomach on a cold winter's night. This Chicken Cacciatore Pie is a tasty variation to the traditional version of Chicken Cacciatore, and in my view, even tastier. This recipe makes enough filling for 2 pies, so freeze half the Chicken Cacciatore for another time.

                                       CHICKEN CACCIATORE PIE   

1/4 cup Olive Oil
1.7kg Chicken Thigh Fillets, cut into 4cm pieces
3 Red Onions, halved, thinly sliced
6 garlic Cloves, finely chopped
2 x 700g bottles Tomato Pasta Sauce
2 cups White Wine
2 T Capers, coarsely chopped
1 T Dried Oregano Leaves
200g Button Mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 (about 1.4kg) large Potatoes, peeled, chopped
20g Butter
100ml Thickened Cream
1 1/2 cups Frozen Peas
2 T Grated Parmesan

1. Heat the oil in  a large heavy-based saucepan over medium high heat.
   Cook the chicken, onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes
   or until browned. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add the tomato sauce, wine, capers and oregano. Reduce heat to
   medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally for 40 minutes or until the sauce
   thickens. Add mushroom and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes
   or until the mushroom is tender. Transfer half the Chicken Cacciatore to a 
   bowl. Cool the remaining Chicken Cacciatore, then transfer to an airtight
   freezerproof container, and freeze for up to 3 months.

3. Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius. Place the potato in a large saucepan
   of cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce heat to medium
   and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to pan. Add
   butter and mash until smooth, then stir through cream and season.

4. Stir peas and parsley through Chicken Cacciatore. Transfer to a 20cm pie
   dish. Spread mashed potato over the top and use a fork to create small 
   peaks in mashed potato. Top with parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes or until
   golden, then serve.

Friday, 20 July 2012


Pea and Ham Soup is one of my all-time favourite soup recipes which I love making in the cold of winter. Together with warm crusty bread, this recipe is a firm family favourite.

                                                          PEA AND HAM SOUP

1 T Olive Oil
1 medium(150g) Brown onion, chopped coarsely
1 clove Garlic, chopped
1.2kg Ham Hock
500g Green Split Peas
2L Water
2 cups Frozen Peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh Mint or Flat-Leaf Parsley


1. Heat oil in a large pan; cook onion, garlic and carrot, stirring for about 2 
   minutes or until starting to soften. Add the ham hocks, split peas and 
   water; bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer gently, uncovered, for about
   2 hours 30 minutes or until peas are soft. You may need top the water up
   to keep the ham hocks covered, but try not to add any more than necessary
   or it will be reduced at the end. Remove the ham hocks;cool slightly.

2. Add frozen peas to the pan, cook for 1 minute. Cool soup for 10 minutes.

3. Blend soup, in batches, until smooth. If you want a chunkier texture, blend
   a little less. Return soup to pan. if the soup is too thin, simmer uncovered
   until thickened.

4. Meanwhile, remove the skin, bone and fat from the ham hocks. Shred or 
     slice the meat. Return ham to the soup, stir over heat until hot.

5. Season soup with a grind of black pepper. Top with mint or parsley and 
   serve with rustic-style bread, such aa some toasted sourdough or warm
   crusty rolls.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


This Date Bar recipe was passed down to me from my mother and I have many great memories of her making this. Mum never seemed to just make one though, she always made a few and to this day, I love the aroma of fresh Date Bar straight out of the oven. Spreading with butter whilst it is warm is truly a delight to the tastebuds.

                                                                DATE BAR

1 Cup Chopped Dates
1T Margarine
1 cup Boiling Water
1/2 cup Sugar
1 teasp. Bi-Carb Soda
1 1/2 cups S.R Flour

1. Cream margarine and sugar. Add dates. Pour water over mixture and
    sprinkle with soda. Stir in flour. Bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes.
    Serve with butter or custard.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


There aren't too many people who don't love a Chocolate Mud Cake and this cupcake size version are absolutely delicious.
                                                              DARK CHOCOLATE MUD CAKES

60g Dark Eating Chocolate,chopped coarsely
2/3 cup water
90g Butter, softened
1 cup Brown Sugar, firmly packed
2 Eggs
2/3 cup S.R Flour
2 T Cocoa Powder
1/3 cup Almond Meal

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Line 12 hole muffin pan with
    paper cases.

2. Stir chocolate and water in a small saucepan over a low heat until

3. Beat butter, sugar and eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until
    light and fluffy. Stir in sifted flour, cocoa and almond meal and warm
    chocolate mixture.

4. Drop 1/4 cup of mixture into the cases. Bake for about 25 minutes. Stand
    cakes for 5 minutes before turning top-side up onto a wire rack to cool.

5. Spread with Dark Chocolate Ganache.


1/2 cup  Cream
200g Dark eating Chocolate, chopped finely

1. Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat. When
    bubbles subside, add chocolate; stir until smooth.

2. Ganache can be used while still warm and pourable, or it can be cooled
   and beaten lightly with a wooden spoon until spreadable. For a lighter and
   fluffier ganache- referred to as a whipped ganache- beat the cooled mixture
   in a small bowl with an electric mixer. 


* Undecorated cakes are suitable to freeze.

* Ganache can be made with milk, dark or white eating-quality chocolate. For
  milk and dark chocolate use 200g and use 360g when using white chocolate.

Monday, 9 July 2012


Coco Pops are a childhood favourite, and if you grew up in a home like mine they were only a once in a blue moon treat. So when I found this recipe for Coco Pop Muffins it definitely sparked memories of this childhood forbidden fruit. These muffins definitely went down a treat with my children especially as I'm following the family tradition of only buying them on the rare occasion the cruel mother that I am that insists my children eat a nutritious breakfast instead (ha ha).
                                                        COCO POP MUFFINS

2 cups S.R. Flour
1/4 cup Cocoa
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
2 cups Coco Pops breakfast cereal
100g Butter, melted
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup ButterMilk
1 teasp. vanilla Essence

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease a 12 x 1/2 cup capacity muffin
   pan. Sift flour and cocoa into a large bowl. Add sugar and 1 3/4 cups Coco 
   Pops. Stir well to combine.

2. Combine butter, egg, buttermilk and vanilla in a jug. Add buttermilk 
    mixture to dry ingredients. Using a metal spoon, stir until just combined.

3. Spoon mixture evenly into prepared muffin holes.Sprinkle tops with
    remaining Coco Pops. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted
    into centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Turn onto a
    wire rack. Serve warm.


* To reheat, place 2 muffins at a time on a microwave safe plate. Heat for 
   45 seconds on MEDIUM (50%) power until warm. 

Friday, 6 July 2012


                                             CHEESY MEATBALLS WITH SPAGHETTI

500g Beef Mince (or can use pork and veal)
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 cup grated Tasty Cheese
1 Onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped Basil 
1 T Olive Oil
570g jar of favourite Pasta Sauce-Chunky Style
400g Dried Spaghetti
Basil Leaves,to serve.

1. Combine mince, egg, cheese, onion and basil. Season with salt and 
    pepper and roll into balls. 

 2. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Cook half the meatballs for 4-5 
    minutes so as not to overcrowd the pan. Remove into a dish and finish 
    cooking remaining balls.

3. Return the meatballs to the pan and pour over sauce. Cover, cook over
    a medium heat for 20 minutes until cooked through.

4. Cook spaghetti in a large pan of boiling water, as per packet directions. 
    Drain and place in bowl. Spoon over meatballs and sauce.

5. Serve with basil leaves and extra cheese.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Most people have Spaghetti Bolgnese as part of the regular cooking repetoire so when I found this recipe for Bolognese Muffins I thought this was a fresh twist on an old favourite. The kids loved them and they were great in the school lunchboxes and as after school snacks.
                                                              BOLOGNESE MUFFINS
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 small brown Onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 teasp. fresh Thyme Leaves
200g lean Beef Mince
1 T Tomato Paste
125g Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
2 T Tomato Sauce
2 cups S.R Flour, sifted
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/2 cup Milk
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 T finely grated Parmesan Cheese, EXTRA

1. Heat 2 teasp.oil in a medium frying pan over a medium heat. Add onion,
    garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until onion has 
    softened. Add mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up 
    mince for 5-6 minutes or until browned.

2. Add tomato paste and cherry tomatoes. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir
   in tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until
   tomato softens, Remove from heat. Set aside to cool completely.

3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease a 12 hole, 1/3 cup capacity 
   muffin pan. Combine flour and parmesan in a bowl. Make a well in the
   centre. Whisk milk, egg and remaining oil together in a jug. Add egg 
   mixture and tomato mixture to well. Stir until just combined.

4. Spoon mixture evenly between prepared holes. Sprinkle with extra 
   parmesan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and just firm to the
   touch. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Serve warm.


* Reheat muffins in the microwave on HIGH(100%) for 20 seconds or until