Monthly Archives: November 2009


Every Italian child knows what pastina is.

They would associate it with the wonder soup offered to them every time they were sick, be that an upset tummy, a terrible cold, or a broken heart.

The soup is essentially very basic in it’s ingredients, but I think it’s definitely one that needs to make an appearance every so often. If you have kids, they will love this soup, make it with small alphabet shaped pasta to really grab their attention.

You can make it with or without the chicken, I find adding the chicken helps bulk up the soup, so if we’re having it for dinner on an “I can’t be bothered” night, I would definitely add the chicken.









2 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 stick of celery, diced

1 cup of small pasta- pastina, alphabet pasta for the kids or something like risoni works too

1 chicken breast, cut into small, thin pieces/shredded(optional)

6 cups of water

1-2 cups of chicken stock/Vegeta powdered chicken stock

freshly grated Parmesan

Flat leaf Italian parsley



  1. Pour olive oil into large pot and cook onion, celery and carrot until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add water and stock and stir over medium heat.
  3. Bring the soup to the boil and check your seasoning. If required, you may need to add a little more stock. Add gradually.
  4. If cooking with chicken, add to the soup now and cook for a further 5-7 minutes until chicken is cooked.
  5. Add your pasta and cook for a further 8 minutes until pasta is soft. Stir well, scraping down the sides of the pot.
  6. Turn off the heat and set aside for a moment before serving.
  7. Grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over the soup and toss in a sprig of Italian parsley or chop it finely and sprinkle into the pot in the last 3 minutes of cooking time.
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Posted by on November 23, 2009 in Delish Dinners, Luscious Lunches


Orange Syrup Cake

One of my favourite cake recipes of all time, this recipe can also be done with lemon juice instead of orange juice and is just as fabulous.

The beauty of this cake is obviously the fact that it stays moist, smells delicious while baking and is perfect warm of cold. It’s relatively quick and easy to whip up too. You can see from my pic, right, that I didnt really bother with garnishing or fancy styling, I simply couldn’t wait to devour that slice, so please forgive me!




1/2 cup milk

2 cups SR flour

100g butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 orange, juiced and rind peeled

2 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla essence


Orange Syrup

2 oranges, juiced or 1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 tbsp lemon rind

1 tbsp orange rind

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup water



  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a springform cake pan and line with baking paper.
  2. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat until well combined.
  3. Add eggs, orange juice, milk  and vanilla essence and stir well.
  4. Add flour and beat for approximately 1 minute, until mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.
  5. Bake the cake at 180°C for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, combine syrup ingredients in a pan over heat, stirring continuously until sugar dissolves. Do not boil.
  7. Once the cake has cooled, pour the warm orange syrup over the cake and serve.

You can garnish with a sprig of mint, candied orange or lemon peel, an orange twist, dust with some icing sugar or tumble some berries on top.


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Posted by on November 23, 2009 in Devilish Desserts


Cumin & Fennel Roasted Potatoes

I have yet to meet one person who doesn’t go goo-goo bananas over potatoes. Everybody loves potatoes.

But sometimes the good old potato needs a fresh take to compliment your meal and today I put together these delicious potatoes as a side of an orange and cumin marinated chicken breast. The picture I’ve taken, left, is of the potatoes just before the went into the oven to give you an idea of how they should look before you waste your time roasting them.



1/4 cup olive oil

4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped in even sized chunks

2 tbsp fennel seeds

2 tbsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp dried basil

2tbsp Vegeta or similar powdered vegetable stock

pinch of dried chili flakes

cracked pepper, to taste




Preheat oven to 190°C.

Grease a baking dish with olive oil.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind and pound away at your fennel seeds, cumin seeds, cracked pepper, chilli flakes, basil and 2 tbsp of the olive oil until you have formed a fragrant mix.

Combine the remaining olive oil with the spice mix, add the Vegeta/stock and mix thoroughly.

Lay potatoes flat on tray and pour the flavoured oil over the potatoes, toss to combine.

Roast in the oven until crispy and golden, approximately 30 minutes.





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Posted by on November 21, 2009 in Delish Dinners


The Easiest Dessert Ever


















So tonight I was faced with the prospect of whipping up dessert with close to no desirable ingredients on hand.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have a fridge and pantry full of enticing, fresh and exotic ingredients, just waiting for us to whip up culinary masterpieces with.

So my options were to get out of my slippers and tracksuit pants and go out and buy something made by someone else….or I could try and get creative, sift through the crap in the fridge, pantry and freezer and put my concocting cap on.  I really don’t know what to call this recipe, other than ridiculously easy, so here’s what I did. Recipe serves 2.


1 jam rollete, sliced into 1cm pieces.

3/4 cup frozen mixed berries

2 tablespoons sugar

2 scoops of ice-cream of choice, I  chose my favourite caramel, honey & macadamia ice-cream.

4 tablespoons of toasted muesli



  1. Arrange slices of jam rollettes around the base of a dessert glass or bowl.
  2. Mix frozen berries and sugar in microwave safe bowl and microwave for 3 minutes, until sugar has dissolved and berries have defrosted. They will come out with a lovely red syrup.
  3. Allow the berry mixture to cool, then spoon over the jam rollete sponges.
  4. Place one scoop of ice-cream atop each serve and sprinkle with muesli.

If you wanted to make this look a little more impressive, you could layer the sponge and berries in the glass for an interesting visual effect and garnish it with a sprig of mint or some candied orange rind.
As you can see from my pics, we were more interested in getting stuck into it before the ice-cream melted.
This recipe is very basic and open to a lot of tweaking, but if you’re looking for some quick and easy weekend inspiration, give this a go.




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Posted by on November 21, 2009 in Devilish Desserts, Inspiration


Send in your recipes

If anyone out there has any recipes or tips to share with the rest of us, please feel free to send them in.


Image source

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Posted by on November 18, 2009 in General


Macadamia, Caramel & Honey Ice-Cream


250ml (1 cup) milk
600ml thin cream
6 egg yolks
140g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
240g (2/3 cup) Nestle Caramel Top’n’Fill
3 tbsp honey
80g (1/2 cup) unsalted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped



Combine milk and cream in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir until heated through but do not allow to boil. This is very important!


Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until thick and pale.


Stir the milk mixture into the egg mixture slowly.  Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 10 minutes or until mixture coats the back of the spoon. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.


Pour the mixture into a shallow metal container. Cover with foil and place in freezer for 2-3 hours or until almost firm.


Using a metal spoon, roughly break up the ice-cream. Use an electric beater to beat until smooth. Return to freezer for 3-4 hours or until almost firm.


Add your macadamia nuts, honey and caramel through the ice-cream.


Freeze for 2-3 hours or until firm.


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Posted by on November 18, 2009 in Devilish Desserts


Potato and Onion Loaf

bread Those of you who have a breadmaker will appreciate the fine art of making a delicious loaf of bread. All too often, we completely take advantage of the boring, sliced, plain white bread we pick up at the supermarket. It’s only once you’ve actually kneaded your own dough and torn off that first chunk of your own freshly baked bread that you realise you’ve been eating the supermarket crap way too long.

Once in a while, when you want to jazz up your basic loaf, you can get creative with some ideas. One of my favourites is this potato and onion loaf of bread which is great for a light lunch, smeared with a char-grilled vegie relish or any kind of relish in fact. You could also enjoy it on a cold winter night, alongside a hearty winter stew, minestrone soup or something rich and indulgent like a creamy leek soup.





  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup S/R flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • splash of olive oil
  • 20g butter, grated.
  • 2 medium sized potatoes, boiled and mashed.
  • 1 and 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten.
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Cook finely chopped onion with a splash of olive oil until soft and translucent. Leave to cool while you get your Nigella on and start making your bread.
  3. Sift flours into a bowl, add bicarb, salt and sugar.
  4. Rub butter into the mixture until it resembles a crumbly texture.
  5. Add mashed potato the flour mixture, then mix it all thoroughly. Making a well in the centre, add your milk and beaten egg. Add your cooled onions. Mix well.
  6. Shape into a loaf or pour into a loaf tray – don’t worry about making it all perfect, you want it to look all deliciously rustic.
  7. Brush some melted butter on top of the loaf and sprinkle with some flour before popping it into the oven and baking for about 40 minutes, or until golden.
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Posted by on November 17, 2009 in Luscious Lunches

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