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August 29th, 2013 Comments off

This dish tastes much better if you use free range pork.

Serves 4

1 large or 2 small pork chops per person, rind on (works better if you use smaller, thinner chops)

1½ cups Panko bread crumbs

1½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves

About 3 tablespoons other chopped fresh herbs. Thyme and oregano work well in this dish

Salt and pepper to season crumbs

2 tablespoons milk


Preheat oven to 180° fan bake.

Mix together the chopped herbs, crumbs and seasoning in a shallow dish.  Put the milk in another shallow dish.

Line a large shallow baking dish with cooking paper.  The dish should be large enough to hold all the chops in a single layer.

Dip each chop in milk on both sides, then dip in the crumbs, pressing down to ensure crumbs stick to both sides.

Put the chops in the prepared baking dish, ensuring they don’t overlap.

Cover the dish tightly with aluminium foil and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.

Remove the foil and increase the heat to 200° and bake uncovered for a further 15 – 20 minutes or until the chops are well browned.



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August 12th, 2013 5 comments


Gruesome cheese

Gruesome cheese

My mother when first presented with this dish, commented “Oh no thanks, I couldn’t eat that, it’s GRUESOME” Gruesome cheese has since become a family favourite, with the exception of Mom.

1 large round Brie

½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped

¼ cup brown sugar

Splash of brandy

Preheat oven to 180° fanbake

Put brie on a small baking tray and bake for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix the walnuts, sugar and brandy together.  Remove brie from oven and cover with the walnut mixture.  Return to oven for a further 10 minutes or until the walnuts have browned.

Serve with crackers





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October 9th, 2010 1 comment

For the Tartare Sauce

125 ml mayonnaise

1 rounded T capers, roughly chopped, rinsed and drained if salted

1 rounded t creamed horseradish

1 rounded t Dijon mustard

1 small shallot, very finely chopped

1 T flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

For the Fish Cakes

200g white fish

200g smoked fish

1 bay leaf

100 ml milk

350 g mashing potatoes

1 t finely grated lemon zest

2 T fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 T snipped fresh chives

1 egg

Flour, for shaping

100 g fresh white or Panko breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil, for shallow frying

Lemon wedges, to serve

Serves 4

Tartare Sauce:

Mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Fish Cakes:

Lay the fish and bay leaf in a shallow frying pan and pour over the milk.  Add about a cup of water.  Cover and bring to the boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 4 minutes.  Take off the heat and let stand, covered for 10 minutes, to finish cooking the fish.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes into even sized chunks.  Place them in a saucepan and just cover with boiling water.  Bring back to the boil and simmer for around 10 minutes or until just tender.

Remove the fish from the milk using a slotted spoon and place on a plate to cool.  Drain the potatoes in a colander then tip them back into the hot pan on the lowest heat and let them dry out for about a minute, mashing them with a fork or potato masher and stirring so they don’t stick.  You should have a light, dry mash.  Take off the heat and stir in 2 T of the sauce until completely mixed in.  Add the lemonm zest, parsley and chives and mix well.  Season well with salt and pepper.  The potato should have a good flavour, so taste and adjust to suit.

Drain off the liquid from the fish, grind some pepper over it then flake into big chunks into the pan of potatoes.  Flake the smoked fish into the potato pan.  Using your hands, gently mix the fish and potato together so they are just mixed.  Put aside to cool.

Beat the egg on a plate and lightly flour a board.  Spread the crumbs on another plate.  Divide the mixture into four.  I weigh the whole mixture, divide the weight by four then weigh out each fish cake to ensure they are the same size.  On the floured board shape into four cakes about 2.5 cm thick.  One by one, sit in the egg and brush over the top and sides so it is completely coated.  Transfer to the crumbs, patting the crumbs onto the side and tops until they are lightly covered.  Transfer to a plate and cover.  Chill for 30 minutes (or up to a day ahead)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  It is ready when a piece of the dry breadcrumb sizzles when dropped into it.  Fry the fish cakes over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side and crisp and golden.  Serve with the rest of the sauce (add some lemon zest to taste if desired),  and the lemon wedges.


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July 5th, 2010 1 comment


1 kg live mussels

300g uncooked King prawns

pinch saffron threads

¼ C water

Olive oil

2 chicken thigh fillets, diced

1 pork fillet, diced

200 g chorizo sausages, sliced

1 large red onion, chopped

1 orange or yellow capsicum, diced

4 cloved garlic, peeled and crushed

2 t sweet (preferably smoked) paprika

2 C short grain rice

4 C chicken stock

1 C frozen peas

1 fillet of white fish, like terakihi or snapper, diced

Fresh crab, cleaned and halved

Preheat oven to 180°F.  Steam mussels in water until they open.  Remove from shells and de-beard.  Set aside.  Shell and devein prawns, leaving tails intact. 

Combine saffron and water in a small bowl and stand for 30 minutes.

Heat some olive oil in a large shallow oven proof pan; cook chicken until browned, then pork, then chorizo adding more oil as necessary.  Drain on absorbent paper and set aside.

Cook onion, capsicum, garlic and paprika in the same pan, stirring until onion softens.  Add rice and stir until coated in onion mixture.  Return chicken, pork and chorizo to the pan and stir to combine.

Stir in stock and saffron mixture.   Place pan in oven for about half an hour, or until rice is almost tender.  Arrange fish, crab, mussels, prawns and peas on top and return to oven for another ten minutes or until all seafood is just cooked.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4 – 6

Note:  The protein ingredients can be changed to suit individual tastes, as can the quantity of rice – just ensure that for each cup of rice there are 2 cups of stock.  The paella can and should be allowed to burn a little around the edges making a crunchy crust.

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June 7th, 2010 1 comment


150g elbow macaroni

40g butter

1/4 t ground nutmeg

60g kefalotyri or Parmesan, grated

1 egg, lightly beaten

Meat sauce

2 T oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloved garlic, crushed

500g minced beef

1/2 C red wine

1 C beef stock

3 T tomato paste

1 t fresh oregano, chopped

Bechamel sauce

50 g butter

3 T plain flour

pinch nutmeg

2 C milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 180°. Lightly grease a 1.5 litre oven proof dish.  Cook the macaroni in salted water for 10 minutes or until al dente.  Drain and return to the pot.  Melt butter then pour over the macaroni.  Stir in the nutmeg and half the cheese.  Season to taste.  Leave until cool then stir in the egg.

For the meat sauce, heat oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft.  Increase the heat, add the beef and cook, stirring until the meat is browned.  Add the wine and cook over high heat until evaporated.  Add the stock, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

For the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute or until pale and foaming.  Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk.  Return to the heat and stir constantly until the sauce boils and thickens.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.  Add the nutmeg and some salt.  Allow to cool a little before stirring in the egg.  Stir 3 tablespoons of the bechamel sauce into the meat sauce.

Spread half the meat sauce in the dish, then layer half the pasta over it.  Layer with the remaining meat sauce then the remaining pasta.  Press down firmly with the back of a spoon.  Spread the bechamel sauce over the pasta and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden.  Allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving.

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April 12th, 2009 2 comments

This dish is very quick and easy – perfect for a busy midweek meal.


2 chicken breast halves, skinless and boneless

2 T mustard (Hot and/or mild English)

2 T milk

1½ C grated mature cheddar cheese

¼ C plain flour

½ C snipped fresh chives


Preheat the oven to 180°C (360° F) fanbake

In a small bowl, mix together the mustard and milk

In another, larger bowl mix together the cheese, flour and chives.

Cut each chicken breast into 3 or 4 equal pieces and put them into the mustard mixture, coating well.

Doing one piece of chicken at a time, remove from the mustard mixture and coat with the cheese mixture then place on a cooking paper lined baking tray.  Sprinkle any excess cheese mixture over the chicken pieces then bake for around 30 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Serves 2

Cheddar backed chicken

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April 12th, 2009 Comments off

Although I have not been a practicing catholic for many years, I still feel guilty if I eat meat on Good Friday so this is what we had this year.


5 large mashing potatoes, peeled and diced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 eggs

1 bag baby spinach

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot chopped

2 T butter

1/3 C  flour

2 C milk

1 C grated mature cheddar cheese

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 t English mustard

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

200g (½lb) skinless white fish such as gurnard or terakihi

300g (2/3 lb) smoked fish, like trevally, flaked


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)

Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water for about 15 minutes until cooked.  Drain.  Hard boil the eggs, when cool peel and quarter them.  Wilt the spinach in a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes, then drain in a colundar and squeeze out any excess water.

In a large pot, melt the butter then add the onion and carrot and gently fry for about 5 minutes until soft.  Add the lemon zest then mix in the flour and cook for a further minute.  Add the milk slowly and stir continuously until thickened and boiling.  Remove from the heat and add the cheese, lemon juice, mustard and parsley.   Check the seasoning and add salt if necessary.

Put the spinach, fish and eggs into a casserole dish and mix together.  Pour over the sauce and poke with the handle of a wooden spoon to get the sauce to penetrate to the bottom of the dish.  Mash the potatoes with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  If too thick, mix in some milk.  Spread over the fish and sauce.  Rough up with a fork then bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until browned and bubbling.

Serves 6

Fish pie

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April 12th, 2009 Comments off

Panko crumbs (wiki) make the difference in this dish.


1 rack of lamb per person, all fat removed

Hot English mustard (or mild for wussies)

Chopped herbs, eg rosemary, flat leaf parsley, chives or a mixture of these

1 ½C panko crumbs

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Lemon infused olive oil (or plain olive oil if this is unavailable)


Preheat the oven to 180°C (360° F) fanbake

Spread a thin layer of mustard on the meat side of each lamb rack.

Place the herbs, crumbs and lemon zest in a small bowl.  Add the lemon juice and enough olive oil to bind the crumbs together.

Pack the crumb mixture on the meat side of the lamb rack.  Bake on a cooking paper lined baking tray for about ½ an hour, or until the lamb is medium rare. 

Serves 2

Lamb Rack

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April 12th, 2009 Comments off


2 T light soy sauce

2 T sweet chilli sauce

2 T oyster sauce

2 T peanut oil

600g (1.3 lb) skinless chicken breast fillet, thinly sliced

1 onion, peeled, halved and sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 C cold cooked jasmine rice

1 C Thai basil leaves

4 spring onions, sliced diagonally

Fried shallots for sprinkling (available at Asian grocery stores)


Combine the soy, sweet chilli and oyster sauces in a small bowl.  Heat a wok over high heat until hot.  Add some peanut oil.  Add half the chicken and stirfry until browned and just cooked.  Transfer to a plate.  Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

Add a bit more peanut oil and the onion to the wok and stirfry for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and stirfry for 30 seconds.  Add the rice and egg.  Stirfry for a couple of minutes until the rice and egg are well combined.

Return the chicken to the wok and add the sauce mixture, basil and spring onions.  Stirfry for a couple more minutes until well combined and heated through.

Serve sprinkled with fried shallots.

Serves 4

 Chicken fried rice

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April 12th, 2009 Comments off

Whatever you do, avoid the dumb blonde potato Nadine.


1 potato per person, preferably Agria or any other type suitable for baking and roasting. 


Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F) fanbake

Using a pointed knife, prick each potato several times on each side.  Microwave the potatoes for about 3 minutes per potato, or until 90% cooked.

Put potatoes on a baking tray which has been lined with cooking paper, leaving plenty of room between them.  Squash each potato with a potato masher.  The flatter the potato, the crispier it will end up.  Brush each potato with rice bran oil, or vegetable oil.  I find using a pastry brush works best.  Grind some coarse salt on each potato.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Squashed potatoes

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