Monday, October 19, 2009

Comfort food - Asian style

I really had no intention of blogging this, but i took a bite and it tasted so damm good that i thought i must - hence the half eaten photo! I never really knew how to make Teriyaki sauce before this but it is really surprisingly easy and goes oh so well with a creamy mash!

Ingredients - this does 2 big serves

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin

Any selection really - i used
1 onion, sliced
1 japanese eggplant - cut into long strips
handful of snow peas
handful of asparagus, trimmed
handful og choy sum or buk choy
4 big dried shtake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then squeezed and stems discarded (save 1/4 cup of saoking liquid)

3 potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk

2 salmon fillets

First make the teriyaki sauce. Add both sauces together in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer for 2-3 minutes then let it cool.

Now put the potatoes on to boil in some salted water for about 15 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frypan and fry the salmon, each side should take 5-7 minutes. Make sure its nice and brown before turning. In a wok add a small amount of oil and cook onion until translucent, add eggplant and cook for 2-3 minutes, add rest of vegies and the shitake liquid and stir fry for another minute or so. Then add 1/2 of the teriyaki. Set aside.

Mash your potatoes with the milk and butter and season with salt and pepper. Your fish should be about ready now. Pour over the rest of the teriyaki and cook for another minute or so. For some reason the sauce mixed with the salmon oil becomes thicker and really yum!

To serve, put a big dollup of potato on the plate. Top with vegies and then a salmon fillet and spoon over the teriyaki sauce from the salmon pan. Hearty goodness - asian styles!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mumma muffins, or babycakes

Oskar turned one last week, and the poor little fella had a bad case of tonsilitis so there was no celebrating at all going on, on the actual day. When he was feeling better I thought he'd like some kind of cake to enjoy. But he hasn't had eggs yet, nor any sugar apart from the stuff that comes in fruit.

So I used this recipe that I had scrawled down on a piece of paper some time - I really can't remember doing it. But they were unbelievably easy, quick, kinda healthy and most importantly made from ingredients I had in the pantry.

1 cup wholemeal SR flour
1/2 cup white SR flour
1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced
3 tbs sultanas
pinch of cinnamon
1 1/2 tbs oil (I used canola this time)
3/4 cup milk
2 tbs honey

* Preheat oven at 200C
* Mix all wet ingredients, then add to flour and stir until just combined.
* put in muffin cases/tins and cook for 15 mins

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another soup....zucchini

My friend Chrissy used to write a most amazing foodie blog, but she is on hiatus at the moment expecting her THIRD baby, and this recipe is stolen straight from there. Now, soup is probably the most featured recipe here on Family Pies, but this one is just so easy, delicious and quick I just had to include it. You could also easily leave out the bacon for a completely vego delight and of course add any other vegies you have.

2 slugs of olive oil
3-4 rashers of bacon chopped
1 onion (brown or white)
1 kg of zucchini chopped coursely
3ish cups of stock, vegetable or chicken (I have used beef stock but it wasn't as good and didn't look as nice)
a good slurp of cream

Heat one slug of olive oil in large pot then fry up bacon bits until they are crispy, then remove the bacon and drain on paper, set aside.

In the same bacon-y pan add another slug of oil if necessary then fry onion until soft.

Then add zucchini, stir it through the onion and oil before adding stock, bring to the boil then simmer for 15-20 mins. You really don't need to simmer for too long like other soups, just until the zucchini is soft

Take off heat and blend in either a blender or with a stab mixer. When you have a lovely smooth mixture, but the soup back on a really low heat and stir through the cream.

To serve sprinkle the bacon bits over the top and season with salt and pepper.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tomato, bean and sausage soup

I have made this soup forever. It is quick and easy to make with canned staples and tastes good for a night when you want a hearty meal with lots of taste but cannot really be bpothered with lots of cooking. Most of the ingredients are replacable for other variations. Try chorizo (if only i could get it here), some mushrooms, chickpeas, basil; there are any number of yummy possibilities.

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
half a carrot, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
1 japanese eggplant, diced
3 gourmet sausages, i used Merguez this time, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 can of brown lentils (it would be better to soak them overnight and pre cook but i can rarely be this organised)
1 can of cannellini beans, or other bean (ditto above)
2 cans of peeled chopped tomatoes
170g (or thereabouts) can of tomato paste (things come in weird sizes here)
1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves

Fry up onion and garlic in a heavy bottomed pot till transparent. Add carrot, celery and eggplant and sweat until soft. Add sausages and cook through. Then add all other ingredients (except tabasco and spinch) and about 800mL water. Simmer on lowish heat for about 20-30min. Add tabasco, spinch, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a crusty french baguette.

This makes enough for about 6-8 peeps. Or it freezes well for later.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Choccie caramel slice

Mmmmmmmm yum a good sticky gooey caramel is always a winner in my books. I made this a few weeks ago and have thought about making it just about every day since. I haven't yet, mainly because Arj has demanded to be involved in other baking projects but I'm not sure another week will pass without a new batch

1 cup sr flour
1 cup of coconut
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats (this is optional, I didn't have any last time I made this and it was absolutely fine)
150g butter melted
395g can of sweetened condensed milk
2 tbs golden syrup
30g butter extra
200g dark chocolate
• preheat oven to 180 deg
• combine flour, coconut, brown sugar, oats and butter press into baking paper lined slice tray
• Bake for 10 mins
• To make caramel, add s.c. milk, golden syrup and extra butter in pan bring to the boil stirring, reduce heat simmer for five minutes, stirring until a light brown colour
• Pour caramel over cooked base and bake for another 10 mins, let cool
• Spread melted choc over caramel filling

Enjoy with a lovely cuppa to cure three-thirtyitis.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lamb cutlets, mint salsa and roast pumpkin mash

So for the past couple of weeks John has been making 'joke' comments about wanting a crown roast. You know the type of thing,
Sal "what should we eat?"
John "a crown roast with thrice baked potatoes, truffles and greens tossed in verjuice" (said in his poshest 'Pru & Trude' voice)

So yesterday I saw these lovely organic lamb racks at the supermarket and I couldn't go past them. I didn't really know what to do with them then and there, so just made up this dish with what we had at home. Well John was well impressed, declaring it to be perhaps the best meal I had ever made, high praise indeed! Personally I think he just has a short food memory, but it was pretty tasty, the minty salsa was much better than I expected.


* Lamb rack (size will depend on how many you are cooking for I had just under 500g for 2 peeps)
* Olive oil, salt and pepper to season
* Butternut pumpkin chopped (again, amount depends on peeps)
* splosh of cream
* 1 lebanese cucumber (diced finely)
* almost a cup of mint leaves
* 2 spring onions
* 1/2 an avocado
* 1 tbs olive oil
* 2 tbs balsamic
* 1 tsp sugar

* Start with pumpkin by tossing in olive oil and season with salt and pepper, place in moderately hot oven (200deg) to roast for about 45 mins
* After about half and hour turn the oven down to 170-180 so it is not too hot for the lamb
* With the lamb rack just trim it of any big obvious fatty bits, rub olive oil into it then season with salt and pepper.
* When the pumpkin is roasted and soft, take from oven but keep warm, before serving mash with fork and add a splash of cream if you need a bit more moisture, but you may not need anything.
* Place lamb in (now slightly cooler)oven, and you'll need to cook it for about half and hour for each 500g of meat to have it lovely and moist

Salsa-as I said was a bit of an experiment but lovely, and this is what I did
* Chopped cucumber finely, added finely chopped spring onion
* Stir through olive oil and balsamic (I have pretty good olive oil and divine balsamic and seriously think this is the most important thing for these kind of cold dishes)
* As I was chopping the mint I sprinkled a pinch of sugar over the leaves, then stirred them through the rest of the mixture (adding a leeeetle more sugar at the same time)
* The finely diced avocado was a bit of an after thought so that went in at the very end, but a fine addition

A surprise little bit of gourmet for a thursday night in the burbs. Easy and tasty, Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It's a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll

When we were in Sweden, sometimes I craved a good old Aussie sausage roll. Not sure why really, but maybe it was the fact that the sausages, or 'korv' as they are known there were disappointing. close to Germany but so far from wurst it was unbelievable. When I got back here, the craving was well and truly stifled, what with all the other great food to get back into, so I'm not sure that I have actually had a sausage roll until now. We all know the slight worry of what we might be consuming with store bought meaty products like sausage rolls and pies, so as I'm not that into pre-packaged/made/processed food and my herb garden is doing pretty well, I thought I'd give it a go myself and the results were pretty darn good. I did cheat a little this time with frozen puff pastry, but that is easily rectified and will be the next thing to try with this recipe.

300-400g beef (I had some cheapish steak)
1 egg
handful of breadcrumbs
7-8 sage leaves
5-6 sprigs of dried oregano (I had dried a bunch from the garden and just shook it into the mixture but fresh would be good too- just use more if it)
2 tbs parsley chopped
squirt of tomato sauce
1 egg whisked extra for basting
1 or 2 sheets of puff pastry

* Preheat oven at about 180 degrees
* I have some beef left over from the day before so I put it in the food processor to mince
* Mix minced meat with chopped herbs, egg, breadcrumbs and tomato sauce
* Cut sheet of pastry into thirds then place meat mixture in a long sausage down the length of each third and roll up
* Brush top with egg and bake for about half an hour

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chickpea salad

This has proven to be a BBQ staple for me, as well as an easy meal to whip together when you have very little time but dinner guests so still need something which is semi presentable. There are so so many incarnations of it - this is one that I made last week for my firend Alex who lives in rural Laos and rarely gets western ingredients.


1 onion, diced
2 small japanese eggplants, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced
5 roma tomotoes, diced
handful of green beans, cut into 3cm pieces
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed
100g feta cheese
4 gourmet sausages, any nice sounding variety, although I think chorizo is hard to beat here, chopped into 1 cm pieces
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped parsley


In a large saucepan or wok, fry onions in a good lug of olive oil until transparent. Add eggplant and fry until cooked. Add sausage and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until they collapse and are mushy. If the pan gets dry then add small amounts of water to moisten.

Add beans and cook for further 2 minutes. Add chickpeas, stir through. Take off heat. Add feta and red wine vinegar and mix through. Season with salt and pepper - it should have a little bite from the vinegar but it should not be overpowering. Add parsley, mix up and serve.


I have usually used the same onion, eggplant and tomato base but made many variations.

  • Use brown lentils not chickpeas
  • Add rocket or English spinach at at the end - just stir it through
  • Vary the cheeses - a goat feta works well, as does ricotta
  • If you have time, roast the tomatoes first for a stronger flavour

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Noodle salad with duck

Things are how they should be in Asia, fresh seasonal produce is cheap and prepackaged foods are expensive. I bought all the ingredients for this dish at the local market for $3 (except the duck because at 37 degrees i was unsure about how safe this would be). Back home this salad would cost far more to make because for some reason the cost of wonderful fresh produce like herbs is ridiculous. That should not stop you making it though, cause its super yummy and fresh.

You could replace the duck with any kind of meat or with tofu. This is an adaption from a recipe for beef salad in the wonderful Vietnamese book Secrets of the Red Lantern.

Marinade for meat

1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed

For the salad

1 cucumber, sliced in half and then into 2mm slices
3 red eshallots, halved and then thinly sliced
2 long red chillis, juliened
1 handful of mint leaves
1 handful of asian basil leaves
1 handful of corriander leaves
2 spring onions, green part only, sliced into 2 cm batons
2 kaffir lime leaves thinly sliced (to do this roll them up with the stem in the middle and then cut thinly across the roll on either side of the stem)
1 tbsp roasted rice powder ( to make this dry roast rice in a frypan until golden brown and then pound in a morter and pestle)
2 tbsp fried eshallots (can make your own but its fiddlly or buy from the asian grocer)
100g dry vermicelli noodles
2 duck breasts

For the dressing

45g (1/3 cup) grated palm sugar (leave this out to warm to room temp before use)
4 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
2tbsp soy sauce
1 cl garlic, crushed
1 tbsp sliced lemongrass, white only
1 small handful corriander leaves
2 tbsp olive oil

To prepare

Mix all marinade ingredients together and marinate duck, covered in the fridge for 2 hours. Turn duck every so often to ensure it marinates evenly.

Soak vermicelli noodles in hot water for at least 20 min, strain and dry with tea towel. Use kitchen scissors to cut into short lengths. Put into bowl with all other salad ingredients except peanuts and fried eshallots.

Mix all salad dressing ingredients in food processor (or very labour intensively with a morter and pestle). Cook duck either on BBQ or in frypan, skin side down first until it is cooked to your liking, about 10 min to ensure its not pink. Let it rest for 5 monutes and then finely slice each breat into 5mm thick slices. Add to the salad mix along with dressing and toss well. Add the peanuts and fried eshalots to the top and wahala, you have yourself a damm impressive tasty salad.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm back and snapping!

We've all had a lot of time off updating familypies, but I'm not going to offer up any personal excuses. But don't go away again for too long, we are back! All of us....promise

Ginger Snaps
A friend of mine, one particular supermum of two beautiful kids just let me know she is expecting number 3. Poor love has been feeling pretty unwell with it too, so I thought I'd try making some ginger snaps for her. For those of you who don't know ginger is supposed to be really good for pregnancy related nausea.

The recipe is a hybrid of a few found online

* 1 cup self-raising flour
* 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon mixed spice
* 1/4 cup rice flour
* 60 g butter
* 1/4 cup caster sugar
* 125 g golden syrup
* Preheat the oven to 180°C.
* Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, ginger and spice into a bowl.
* Stir in the rice flour, rub in the butter and mix in the sugar.
* Warm the syrup and stir it in, then knead lightly in the bowl to form a smooth dough.
* Shape the dough into small walnut-size balls and space well apart on greased baking trays.
*Bake each batch for 10–12 minutes, or until they are golden.