This is not just your boring old potato bake. This potato bake is oozing with cheese, with creaminess, and some good ol’ fashioned ‘erbs. It is so ridiculously tasty that I swear I coudl just eat it as a main dish, but I try not to, and to date, have only made it as a side. It’s cheap and easy, but you do have to allow a bit of time for the potatoes to bake in the oven.
- 1 kg floury potatoes (I would recommend Agria), peeled or scrubbed
- 50 g butter
- 2 onions, sliced thinly
- 2 stalks fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
- 1 T chopped thyme (fresh)
- 1.5 c cheese, grated
- 1 c milk
- 1 c cream
- 2 T Dijon mustard
- 1/4 c chopped chives (fresh)
- 1.5 T cornflour mixed with 2 T milk
- salt and pepper
- 1 c grated Parmesan
- 160°C fan-bake. Grease a baking dish.
- Boil the potatoes in a pot of salted water for about 15 minutes or until they are 3/4 cooked. Allow them to cool slightly before slicing.
- Heat the butter in a pan, add hte onion and cook until soft. Add the rosemary and thyme.
- Layer the bottom of the dish with potato and sprinkle with grated cheese and onion mixture. Repeat, layering the potato, cheese and onions (make sure the cheese is the top layer).
- Add the milk, cream, mustard, chives, cornflour mixutre, salt and pepper to a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over the potatoes and and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
- Cover the dish with foil and pierce the foil in the few places to allow any steam to escape.
- Bake in the oven for appoximately one hour. Remove the foil and turn the temperature up to 190°C for about 15 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown and bubbling.
Growing up banoffee pie was always a favourite dessert of mine. Lonestar, a massive chain restaurant serving southern U.S. style food used to have it on its menu, and in my eyes it was always the stand-out dessert. Banoffee nails the mixture of some of my favourite foods and textures: fresh banana, creaminess, pastry/biscuit base, sweet but not-too-sickly caramel and of course, chocolate. It is relatively easy to put together; you just have to organise each element separately and then bring it all together before serving.
- 100 g melted butter
- 250 g crushed biscuits (digestives work well)
- 100 g butter
- 100 g brown sugar
- 1 can condensed milk
- 3 bananas
- 1 c cream, whipped
- 1 t vanilla (added to the cream before whipping)
- grated chocolate, to garnish
- Crush the biscuits. Pour in the melted butter and mix. Spoon the mixture into a pie dish and press it against the bottom and sides of the dish. Chill for ten minutes.
- Melt the butter and sugar in a pan, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Add the condensed milk and bring to a rapid boil for about a minute – don’t stop stirring! Once the caramel is golden, spread it over the base of the pie and then refrigerate for about an hour (or until firm).
- Shift the pie from the dish onto a serving place. Slice the banana, and place it carefully over the caramel.
- Whip the cream and vanilla and spoon over the top.
- Garnish with the grated chocolate.
Oh my goodness, this recipe of Chelsea Winter’s is absolutely to die for. The first time I tried it my flatmates had cooked dinner for my boyfriend and I, and as it was cooking we could just smell the delicious herbs and bacon and creaminess wafting down the hallway. The dinner was a raging success, and we have made it quite a few times since. It’s quite a simple dish, but it needs to be served with something, such as pasta, potatoes or bread – as it is essentially just chicken in a cream sauce. Alongside a green salad or something fresh, it is a dish sure to win many hearts!
- 3 T oil
- 150 – 200 g bacon, chopped
- 1.5 kg chicken thighs (this is a must! I tried chicken breast once and it dried out SO quickly)
- salt and pepper
- 6 garlic
- 1/3 c sage/rosemary/thyme
- 1/2 c white wine (or lemon juice added at the end)
- 1 c chicken stock
- 2 t Dijon mustard
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.5 c cream
- Heat oil, cook bacon and set aside.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Using the same pan, sear the chicken on both sides and put to one side.
- In more oil, cook the onion, garlic, herbs and cook until soft. Add the white wine and turn up the heat.
- Reduce, add stock, mustard and bay leaves.
- After a few minutes of infusion, add the bacon, chicken and cream and cook for a further fifteen minutes (just long enough that the chicken is cooked).
- Serve with pasta/mash/rice/vegetables/bread – you name it, it works!
On my trip to India I made it a goal to order something different every meal. You’ll be pleased to know that I didn’t order the same curry dish twice! One of the healthier options that I came across (most Indian curries use a stack of cream, and little to no vegetables) was the saagwala: a rich green curry, made predominantly from spinach. This particular saagwala recipe is very easy to make and it doesn’t take that long either. Going against tradition, we added green capsicum and coriander to garnish, because a) both are delicious and b) it went with the green theme!
- 3 T oil
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 T ground cumin
- 1 t ground chilli
- 1/4 t ground cloves
- 1/2 t ground turmeric
- 3 garlic, minced
- 2 inches ginger, grated
- 300 g spinach leaves
- 1 green chilli
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- about 800 g skinless and boneless chicken
- 1 green capsicum, diced
- 1 lemon, juice
- 2 t cream or coconut cream (optional)
- coriander, to garnish
- rice, to serve
- Heat oil, fry onions for about 2 minutes before adding the garlic, ginger and other spices.
- Wilt the spinach by running it under hot water. Squeeze out any excess water and then blend it with the green chili, tomatoes, cooked onions and spices.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper. Fry the chicken pieces until they are lightly browned. Add the green capsicum and continue frying.
- Add spinach puree to the chicken and simmer on medium heat until the chicken is properly cooked (probably about 15 minutes). Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle the cream across the curry. Garnish with coriander and then serve with rice.
I absolutely ADORE the muesli my mum makes. I have tried so many times to replicate, because surely, how hard can muesli be! And although I have made loads of delicious muesli in my time, none of them ever seem to replicate what my mum makes. Finally, I managed to coax the recipe out of here, and part of the reason I actually wanted to post it up here is so that I can never lose it again. I made it yesterday, and after this weekend is over I’m going to have to start rationing it if I want it to last (because mind you, it’s pretty darn expensive to make!). Of course, if you use this recipe you can mix it up as you like – for example swapping out the apricots for other dried fruit, or including extra nuts and seeds.
- 5 c rolled oats (the whole-meal ones are great, slightly more chunky than just the plain ones I would normally use for porridge)
- 2 c bran
- 2 c long threaded coconut
- 1/4 c honey
- 1/2 c rice bran oil (or olive oil is fine)
- 1 c dried fruit (I use apricot)
- 1 c chopped nuts (I mainly use almonds and cashews, with a few hazelnuts/walnuts/macadamias thrown in for good measure)
- 1/4 c pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 c sunflower seeds
- 1/8 c sesame seeds
- Set oven to 150°C fan bake/grill.
- In a baking dish add the rolled outs, the bran and the coconut. Melt the honey, add the oil and pour the mixture over the baking dish. Toast until golden.
- Take out and add dried fruit, seeds and nuts. Add back to the oven but keep a very close eye on it so that it doesn’t burn!
We all love ourselves a good ol’ butter chicken, and as you will see by my other butter chicken post it can also be pretty indulgent. However not with this recipe. This recipe is surprisingly light without compromising any of the rich flavours that butter chicken offers – after all, it’s all in the spices. The vegetables add some extra nutrients, and the fact they are grated means they are barely noticeable. Serve with the turmeric rice to brighten up the dish, and the crunchy fresh cucumber to provide some contrasting textures.
Collect for the turmeric pea rice
- 1.5 c basmati rice
- 2.25 c water
- 1/2 t ground turmeric
- 2 c frozen peas
- 1 T butter
Collect for the butter chicken
- 650 g chicken thigh, boneless, skinless and chopped into 2 – 3 cm pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 T each of garam masala, ground cumin, smoked paprika
- 1 t ground coriander, ground turmeric
- 0.5 t ground chilli
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 t ginger
- 1/2 lemon zest
- 1 t salt
- 2 c grated pumpkin
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 2 T tomato paste
- 1 c coconut cream
Cucumber mint salad
- cucumber, match sticks
- 2 T chopped mint leaves
- 2 T chopped coriander leaves
- 1/2 lemon zest, juice of whole lemon
- splash of olive oil
- Combine rice, water, turmeric and some salt into a medium-sized pot and bring to the boil. Cook rice for approximately 15 minutes, remove from heat but leave the lid on for a further 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, combine the chicken with onion, spices, garlic,ginger, lemon zest and salt. Cook for about 10 minutes in a medium pan. Don’t worry if the chicken isn’t yet cooked, there is still plenty of time for it to finish.
- Stir in the grated pumpkin, carrot, tomatoes, tomato paste and cream. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes or until sauce is reduced slightly and chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
- Combine all the cucumber mint salad ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Fluff up turmeric rice with a fork, and combine with butter and peas.
- Garnish with coriander.
Spaghetti bolognaise is such a winter classic, and my not eating beef this year has thrown a real spanner in the works. Finally though, I have found a recipe that replicates spagbol pretty darn accurately, except with the added bonus that it’s healthier and there is no beef. It takes just as long as cooking meat (it has lentils as a substitute) and is a good way to use up any veges that may have seen better days!
Collect for the bolognaise
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 carrots, grated
- 2 t dried oregano
- 1 c stock (vegetarian is fine, but you could use beef if you wanted that additional flavour)
- 2/3 c red split lentils
- 1/4 c tomato paste
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 t brown sugar
- 2 t balsamic vinegar
- 2 t soy sauce
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 c water
- 400 g pasta
- Boil a large pot of water to cook the pasta.
- Splash some oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and oregano for 6-7 minutes, until softened. Add stock and simmer for 1 minute, until nearly all evaporated.
- Add the lentils, tomato paste, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cover for about 20 minutes until lentils are cooks. Season with salt and pepper. If the liquid appears to evaporate too quickly, just stir in some more water.
- Serve with salad (spinach and parmesan tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar) and top with toasted pine nuts, basical and cheese.
Lazy Sunday mornings always call for pancakes, and what a better way to mix them up than by adding some good ol’ mashed banana and some delicious chocolate chips. Always a hit with the boyfriend, they are a pretty easy dish to whip up without much notice, so long as you have the classic baking ingredients on hand. Serve with some fresh banana and crispy bacon to make this into a hearty meal.
- 1.5 c flour
- 1 T sugar
- 2 t baking poweder
- 0.5 t cinnamon
- 1.25 c milk
- 3 small – medium bananas, mashed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 t vanilla
- 1/2 c chocolate chips
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix.
- Stir in milk, banana, egg and vanilla.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Heat some oil in a pan. Pour spoonfuls into the pan once it’s hot.
- Cook for a few minutes (turning earlier if the pancakes start to bubble). Flip pancake and cook for another minute or two until golden.
- Repeat until all the batter is used.
- Serve with bacon, banana and maple syrup.
Dumplings are one of those foods that I think have become particularly trendy in the last few years; ask many people about their thoughts on dumplings 10 years ago and lots probably wouldn’t even know what you were talking about. There is a huge spectrum for the quality of dumplings; it is so easy to go out and buy horrendous ones (from where you’d expect to be good) and then stumble across some of the best dumplings you’ve ever had at some gross looking Chinese takeaway shop. I have discovered my local dumpling shop in Wellington (Dumpling’d – so delicious, conveniently close to work and at a great price too!) but sometimes it can be really nice to just make them yourself – that way you can always guarantee their taste (although maybe not always the presentation).
Collect for the dipping sauce
- 1/4 c soy sauce
- 1 t minced garlic
- 1 t brown sugar
- 2 t lemon juice
- 1 t sesame oil
- pinch chili flakes
Collect for the filling
- 250 g chicken thigh, chopped finely
- 1/4 c fresh chives
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- 1 T lemongrass
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 t finely grated ginger
- 1 T soy sauce
- zest of 1 lemon/lime
Collect to serve
- dumpling wrappers
- 1 T rice bran oil
- 1/4 c water
- toasted sesame seeds
- For the dipping sauce, combine ingredients and set aside.
- For the dumplings, chop up the chicken (2 – 3 times as chunky as chicken mince would be). Add rest of filling.
- Hold dumpling wrapper, spoon 1/2 t mixture onto the wrapper. Fold into semi-circle. Pinch them and crumple the edges. Place on a clean damp tea-towel to stop it from sticking.
- Heat in a large frying pan. Add dumplings. Add water. Cover with lid/foil. Simmer for 5 – 8 minutes.
This meal takes a little longer than most of the other recipes on my blog, but it presents really beautiful and is incredibly tasty and fresh. Slow cooking the pork means that it stays tender and can soak up the flavours of the dish. As you may have guessed by now, I love cooking with pork (probably due to a lack of beef eating) and any chance to try my hand at crackling is welcome.
Collect for the pork
- 600 g pork (shoulder or leg is ideal, but any cut will do, cut into chunks
- 2 t Chinese five-space
- 1 t brown sugar
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 t black pepper
- 1.5 T oil
- 2 T lemongrass, finely chopped
- 3 x garlic, finely sliced
- 3 T soy sauce
- 2 c water
- 2 t brown sugar
Collect for the salad
- 1 packet of udon noodles
- 2 c mung bean sprouts
- lebanese cucumber (otherwise normal is fine), with the seeds removed, cut into match sticks
- 1 c coriander
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced
- 1/3 c chopped peanuts
- 2 large chillies (optional)
- lime, quartered
- Combine the pork with the five spice, first measure of brown sugar, salt and pepper. Coat thoroughly and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Heat oil. Fry lemongrass until fragrant (less than a minute), add pork and garlic and cook until the pork is browned.
- Add soy sauce, water and brown sugar. Simmer, over and cook for approximately 1 hour (or until the pork is tender). Don’t let the liquid reduce too much; if it begins to look like it is running out, add some more water, sugar and soy sauce.
- Once the pork is cooked, prepare the noodles. Pour boiling water over the noodles for five minutes (or until soft). Drain the water and add the mung beans to the noodles.
- Divide the noodles between the bowls. Top with pork and salad.