Recipes, Savoury

Rigatoni Pie

rigatoni pie logo.jpgWe absolutely love pasta in our household. We try not to eat it often but sometimes we go all out, like with this marvellous creation. The pie holds together so well when it’s rested and cooled slightly, so it’s easy to portion out the same amount to each person. Or you could just sit there and eat the whole thing on your own…

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of Hidden Veg Bolognese
  • 500g  rigatoni pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella

 

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200ºc. While the oven is preheating, bring a pot of water to the boil and salt the water. Add the rigatoni and cook for about 5-6 minutes, so it’s pliable but not cooked through, then drain.
  2. While the pasta is hot, toss about 2 tablespoons of parmesan into the pasta so that it melts. This will act like a glue and also gives the pasta a great flavour.
  3. Once pasta is cool enough to touch, grab a cake pan (a 22cm spring form cake pan is ideal), place a little hidden veg bolognese sauce on the bottom and start assembling your pie. Start by standing the pasta up  around the outside of the cake pan and work your way in. You’ll need every bit of pasta, so squeeze them all in wherever you can.
  4. Start ladling on the hidden veg bolognese sauce, and tapping the pan on the bench so that the sauce goes down the holes. Keep pouring the sauce on bit by bit until you can no longer see any air bubbles popping up. Cover the pan with foil and bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. Remove the foil and add on the mozzarella and the rest of the parmesan cheese and bake for a further 30-35 minutes, or until golden.
  5. Let the pie rest for about 15-20 minutes so that it has time to settle. Unclip the pan, slice and serve.
Recipes, Savoury, Sweets

Maple Bacon French Toast

maple bacon french toast logo.jpg

Through out my childhood my mum would  love making french toast for our family breakfast on the weekends to use up some of our free range eggs collected right from our backyard. We always just ate our french toast simple, just a sprinkling of sugar. It wasn’t until I was in my mid teens that I started experimenting with food a bit more adventurously and discovered bacon and french toast are a match made in heaven!

 

Ingredients:

  • Bacon and cheese loaf, sliced (pull apart loaf or white bread will work just as well)
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup + extra for drizzling
  • 8 rashers of maple bacon (plain smoked streaky bacon will also work)
  • Approximately 10g butter

 

Method:

  1. In a cold pan, add the bacon and then turn to a medium heat and cook until crispy. Set aside on some paper towel.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, cream and maple syrup and soak the bread for long enough to only make the bread wet and not fall apart about 5-7 seconds. Heat a pan to a medium heat and melt the butter in the pan and cook the french toast for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden.
  3. Arrange the bacon and french toast how ever you like and drizzle with more maple syrup if you wish.
    Serve with hash browns and/or fried or poached egg.
Recipes, Savoury

Homemade Chicken Parmigiana

chicken parm logo.jpg

Here in Australia, chicken parmigiana is basically a staple in every single pub you go to. They have to be the most popular item on any menu and it’s easy to see why! Chicken, ham, sauce and cheese? I mean c’mon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of Juicy Chicken Schnitzel  (but you want to butterfly the breasts so they create one big schnitzel rather than halve the breasts)
  • 1 Jar of napoli sauce, or any pasta sauce of your choice
  • Approximately 8 thin slices of virginian ham, or any other lightly smoked ham
  • 2 cups of mozzarella, or 8 slices of mozzarella
  • Thinly sliced basil to serve

 

Method:

  1. Once you have prepped your schnitzels, preheat your grill/broiler to a medium high heat. Place a few tablespoons of your pasta sauce of choice onto the schnitzels, then a layer of ham and then your mozzarella.
  2. Place the parmigianas under the grill for approximately 5-8 minutes or until the mozzarella becomes golden and bubbly. Sprinkle the basil on top and serve with salad and chips if you want it to feel like pub grub at home! It’s that easy.
Recipes, Savoury

Homemade Pasta Dough

pasta dough logo        Makes approximately 600g of pasta.

Pasta is always a great, easy dinner. Sure you can buy some great “fresh” pasta from your supermarket. But why, when it’s so easy and cheap to make it yourself in a standard food mixer?

Fresh is always best!

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups 00 flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • Water

 

Method:

  1. Place the flour, egg and salt into a mixing bowl of a stand mixer with the flat beater attachment first. Place onto a low speed for about 60 seconds. Then in 1/2 tablespoon increments add water. You want the dough to come together but not to be wet.
  2. Change the flat beater to a dough hook and on a low speed let it knead for 2 minutes.  Then place it onto a lightly floured bench and knead by hand for 2 more  minutes. Cover the dough and let it rest for 20-30 minutes. Then divide dough into 4 portions and put through a pasta roller to make sheets of pasta perfect for lasagne, or you could then put the sheets through a spaghetti attachment to have with your bolognese sauce!
  3. After rolling your pasta out, be sure to use flour or semolina to keep them from sticking together. Have a big pot of boiling salted water handy and place the pasta into the pot and cook till tender, anywhere between 3-6 minutes. Drain and drizzle with olive oil to avoid pasta sticking.

 

Recipes, Savoury

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

smashed potatoes logo.jpg

These crispy little gems of goodness pair  well with any dinner! Or even as an any time snack 😉

 

Ingredients: 

  • 4-5 potatoes, unpeeled and halved
  • salt  and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 springs rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

 

Method: 

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and then simmer until potatoes are knife tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.
  2. In a large heavy based pan, add the oil and heat over a medium high heat.
  3. Once oil is hot, add the potatoes one at a time and use a masher to squish the potato slightly, it doesn’t matter if it breaks apart a little bit, this will create extra crispy bits!
  4. Leave the potatoes for about 5-10 minutes and then season with salt and pepper. When potatoes are starting to look golden around the edges carefully flip them over. After 2 minutes or so add the rosemary and the garlic and give the pan a little swish so it distributes the herbs and garlic  and season again to your liking. Give the potatoes another 5-8 minutes and then place them onto paper towel to drain the oil.
Recipes, Savoury

Hidden Veg Bolognese

spag bol sauce logo.jpgServes 4

My fiancée is one of the fussiest eaters I know and really doesn’t enjoy eating a lot of veg. Occasionally I’ll find ways of adding veg into our meals (with him knowing of course) so we both still get some of our 5 a day. This recipe is one of the best bolognese sauces I have created to date.  If you’re a parent with fussy little ones, or even a fussy partner like me, this will please everyone!

 

Ingredients:

  • Oil
  • 500g good beef mince
  • 500g pork and veal mince
  • 1 large carrot, grated or 2 small carrots
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini (courgette), grated
  • 3 sticks celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch chilli flakes (optional)
  • 2 400g tins of diced tomatoes
  • 1 700ml jar passata
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Small bunch fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • salt and pepper

 

Method:

  1. Heat a large heavy based pot over a medium high heat and add about 1 tablespoon of oil and brown off all the mince, making sure you season with some salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the meat out into a bowl and then drain the fat and juices from the pot. Set meat aside.
  2. Turn heat down to a medium heat and add another tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and celery first and a little salt and cook till slightly softened. Then add the rest of the vegetables and garlic with the pinch of chilli flakes if you’re using them. Continue to cook the veg until sweated down and softened.
  3. Return the mince to the pot with the vegetables and then add the tinned tomatoes, passata, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, dried oregano, dried basil, fresh basil, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Mix thoroughly, turn down to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes-1 hour (the longer the better).
  4. Taste the sauce and decide whether you need more salt, pepper or sugar. Add the milk and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and with a stick blender just give the sauce a quick blitz to the consistency you desire.
    Enjoy with spaghetti, or even use the sauce for a lasagne.
Recipes, Savoury

Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake

pesto chicken pasta bake logo.jpgServes about 4 people

This makes a great quick weeknight meal. So delish, cheap and quick, everyone will love it! This works best with a chunky home made pesto, otherwise a good quality shop bought one will be fine also.

Ingredients:

  • 500g Penne pasta, fresh or dried is fine
  • 1 Small jar of basil pesto, or you could even use a sun dried tomato pesto
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 cup mozzarella

Method

  1. Grease a baking dish and preheat oven to 200ºc. Cook pasta till just under cooked (it will continue to cook in the oven) and  keep about 2/3 cup of the pasta water and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, or in the same pot you boiled the pasta in mix together the pesto, chicken and pasta water and transfer to the greased baking dish and top with the mozzarella. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden.
  3. Let it cool for about 10-15 minutes and serve with garlic bread.
Recipes, Savoury

Homemade Juicy Burgers

burger logo.jpgMakes 4 Burgers

I love burgers, but some days you just cant be bothered to leave the house and go out to your fave burger joint. But you can easily enjoy a great burger right at home, and you know exactly what is going into it!

Ingredients:

  • 500g good quality premium mince, divided into 4 portions
  • Cheese slices of your choice (if you choose to use cheese)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 brioche buns
  • Any toppings you desire

 

Method:

  1. Make sure your mince is cold. Form the portions into balls and flatten them out to about the size of your bun and make a thumb indentation in the centre (this is for more even cooking). Season them generously with salt and pepper just like you would a steak.
  2. Preheat a heavy based skillet over a medium high heat (no oil required), and when it is hot, add the patties. They only need about 5 minutes on each side for medium done burgers, or a bit longer if you like em well done. When you’re about half way through cooking the patties on the other side add your slices of cheese and place a lid over the top. This creates steam which helps melt the cheese and also finishes cooking the patty.
  3. Remove the patties from the pan and set aside to rest for a few minutes. In the mean time place your buns in the same pan cut side down to toast them to your liking. Assemble the burger any way you like with your favourite toppings and you’ve got yourself a delicious homemade burger better than any take away.
Recipes, Savoury

Mexican Short Rib Burritos

burrito logo.jpg

Makes 4

Mexican food is probably one of my favourite foods. I decided one day that I really wanted a nice tender beefy burrito, and so here it is!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 6-8 beef short ribs
  • Packet of taco seasoning (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 150g chilies in adobo sauce pureed
  • Oil for searing
  • 1 large bulb of garlic, cut horizontally
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1 1/2 cups of melty cheese with flavour (Cheddar, colby etc.)
  • 2 cups of Mexican rice (I used a packet of instant rice)
  • Sour cream and guacamole for serving (Coriander/ Cilantro is optional)

Method:

  1. In a bowl, combine the taco seasoning, brown sugar, tomato sauce and  chillies in adobo sauce and then add the ribs. Mix well, cover and refrigerate  for at least 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160ºc. In a large heavy based pot, heat some oil over a medium heat and sear the ribs until brown on all sides. Add the garlic, the marinade from the ribs and the wine. Make sure while mixing you scrape the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes to reduce slightly. Add the beef stock. Cover with the pot lid, or with foil and bake in the oven for 2-3 hours, basting the meat occasionally until the meat is tender. Uncover the pot and cook for a further 25-30 minutes.
  3. Transfer the ribs to a plate and scoop off any excess fat from the pot and then strain the sauce and squeeze out the garlic through the sieve as well and mix it into the sauce.
  4. Pull the rib meat off the bone and chop into smaller pieces and place back into the sauce. Turn the oven up to 200ºc.
  5. Scoop some meat onto a tortilla with a few tablespoons of the Mexican rice and sprinkle some cheese over it. Wrap it up and place it into a greased baking dish and repeat until you are out of meat. If you have any sauce left, spoon some on top of the burritos and sprinkle a little more cheese on top.
  6. Bake for about 10-15 minutes.
  7. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, lime wedge and a sprinkle of coriander if you wish (Ew, coriander).
Recipes, Savoury

Garlic Chicken Kiev

chicken kiev logo.jpgMakes: 4

I love garlic and I love chicken, so of course I love kievs! But it’s so hard these day to find a good kiev  that’s not completely processed and doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. This recipe gives you the best of the both worlds, cheap to make and not minced up with other chicken bits you’d rather not know about!

Ingredients:

  • 4 smallish chicken breast fillets, skins removed
  • 100g softened butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried parsley + another  2 tsp
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • Oil for frying

 

Method:

  1. First, to make the garlic butter you need to mix the minced garlic, butter, parsley and a little bit of salt and pepper together. Once mixed, lay out some glad wrap and scoop the butter onto the glad wrap and wrap it up into a log and put into the fridge to set.
  2. Carefully stick a sharp knife into the sides of the chicken breasts to make a hole into the centre of the chicken breast. Cut some discs of the garlic butter and stuff as much as you can into it without it breaking open. Use either wooden or metal skewers to hold shut the cavity you made for the butter so that the butter doesn’t completely  run out when cooking.
  3. Mix the bread crumbs with the extra 2 tsp of parsley, garlic powder and season with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken in the egg and then coat in the bread crumbs.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180ºc. Heat a heavy based pan over a medium high heat and add about 2 tablespoons of oil. Once pan is hot add your kievs to the pan and cook on all sides for a couple minutes. Place the kievs in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Let them rest on a rack for 10 minutes, remove the skewers and then serve with salad or steamed veggies.

Tip:

Use the left over breadcrumbs to make (More delicious than they sound) crap cakes