Archive for January, 2008

Another experiment and I think another success, to me this was a wonderful combination of flavours and the fish was gorgeous. I used Tuna, Salmon and Prawns but feel free to experiment with other fish, just remember you need quite thick fish for skewers. I served mine over stir-fry vegetables which not only went really well but made for a very yummy, healthy, light dinner enjoyed by us all. The ingredients listed below was enough to make 6 skewers I allowed for 2 per person so if you have bigger eaters you will have to adjust amounts to make more. The marinade will be plenty even if you buy more seafood.



3 Cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Teaspoon fish sauce
2 Teaspoons sesame oil
2 Teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon ketjap Manis
2 Teaspoons sweet chili sauce
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Teaspoons lemon grass, finely chopped
3 Green onions, sliced thinly


6 Long wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 Min’s prior to using
12 Green prawns, peeled
320g Tuna steak, cut in large cubes (allow for 2 cubes per skewer.)
340g Salmon fillet, cut into large cubes (allow for 2 cubes per skewer.)

Dipping Sauce

2 Teaspoons soy sauce
3 Teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 Teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 Cup water
100g Sugar
50ml Lime juice
Zest of 1 small lime
3 Tablespoons sweet chili sauce
11/2-2 Tablespoons coriander, finely chopped


1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or storage container, add chopped fish and prawns, refrigerate for several hours.

2. Thread fish onto skewers alternating, tuna, salmon, prawn etc.. reserve marinade.

3. In summer these would be great done on the BBQ, as it is winter I did them under the grill about 6 inches from the heat. Cook for about 8-10 Min’s or until done, turning once and basting with reserved marinade during cooking.

Dipping Sauce

1. In a saucepan add water and sugar and cook over a medium high heat until the sugar dissolves.

2. Turn the heat down, add soy, vinegar, fish sauce, lime juice, zest, sweet chili sauce, stir to combine, remove from heat, stir in coriander and serve in individual dipping bowls.

I served mine over stir-fry vegetables, I did a mix of bean sprouts, snow peas, shredded carrot and red pepper.

Serves 3

All photo’s taken by me unless otherwise stated.


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I made this last night as a stater, to go with a marinated fish recipe, as the main course. (I will post that one probably tomorrow.) It was a lovely recipe very simple to make, I did wonder how the dipping sauce would work with that much fish sauce in it, as I find fish sauce can be very overpowering, well it didn’t overpower, it was wonderful. It really complimented the scallops, if you would like to read reviews or look at the wonderful photographs of this dish please click here.



olive oil flavored cooking spray
12 Scallops
2 Tablespoons cilantro leaves, for garnish (leaves only)
1 Teaspoon sesame seeds

Dipping Sauce

2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Teaspoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Teaspoons red onions, finely diced
2 Teaspoons cucumbers, finely diced
2 Teaspoons carrots, finely diced
1 Teaspoon jalapeno peppers, fresh and finely diced (optional)


1. Combine all ingredients for dipping sauce in a small mixing bowl and mix until sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

2. Spray cooking oil in pan, heat pan on a medium heat then cook the scallops on both sides for about 4 minutes each side or until lightly brown.

3. Add cooked scalloped on individual tooth picks then garnish with cilantro leaves and sesame seeds.

4. Serve with dipping sauce.

Serves 4 as a starter (3 scallops per person.)

All photo’s taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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This was definitely a huge experiment I had no idea how this would turn out or if the flavours would work and it turned out great. I have a Caribbean cook book that we brought in St. Lucia on our honeymoon, I got the sweet potato recipe from this and I have made plantains for years they make a wonderful snack, and keep in an air tight jar for quite long periods of time. The pork was an experiment and my hubby and myself thought it was wonderful. The pork came out so tender and moist one of the most tender pork recipes I have made.


650g Pork tenderloin (This was the weight of my pork and served 3 nicely, if you wanted to serve this for 4 either up the weight of the tenderloin or buy 2 smaller ones.)


1 Onion, finely chopped
30-35g Butter
3/4 Cup breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon basil, shredded finely
1 Tablespoon thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons rum
1 Medium mango, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Mango Sauce

1 (425g) Can mango, in juice
4 Cloves garlic, crushed
1 Small onion, finely chopped
1 Teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 Cup white wine vinegar
4-5 Teaspoons pineapple mango jam (if you can get just mango that is fine I couldn’t and this worked great.)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Teaspoon sesame oil
1 Teaspoon hot pepper paste (I used Harissa I know this is more African, but it is what was in my cupboard, Whatever you have is fine habanero etc… just a good hot paste.)
3 Tablespoons pork juices

Orange-Baked Sweet Potatoes

4-5 Large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 1KG for 4 servings.)
5 Large oranges
3 Tablespoons cream
25g Butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1 Teaspoon orange zest
1 Tablespoon dark rum
pinch of cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

Plantain Chips

3 Large Plantains (will make to many for the dinner, but I always make extra as they make a great snack.)
Salt to taste
Oil for frying


1. Cut the pork down the centre making sure not to go all the way through (basically butterflying.) Pound pork with a meat mallet until same thickness all over. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.

2. In a frying pan melt butter, add onions, cook until soft, add herbs, breadcrumbs, rum, chopped mango and salt and pepper to taste, stir to combines.

3. Spoon stuffing down on half of pork remembering to leave enough of an edge so when you fold, the other half over, it will cover the stuffing completely.

4. Fold the other half of the pork over and secure with kitchen string at 11/2-2 inch intervals. In a lightly oiled roasting pan, place pork and bake in a pre-heated oven 180c for about 1 hr (cooking time may be longer if your meat weight is more and I’m not sure if it will be less if you do 2 smaller loins, just check towards the end of cooking time regularly, to see if it is cooked through.)

5. Baste meat several times during cooking with reserved juice, I even poured a little over the pork when I started, so the pork juices combined with this made for some great juices I could use for sauce later. (don’t pour too much though and make sure it is natural juice and not syrup as it burns and also forms a glaze on the pork because of the high sugar content.)

Mango Sauce

1. Drain the mango reserving the juice, blend or process mango until smooth, pour into saucepan, leave on a low heat.

2. Heat a little olive oil in a pan, add onion and garlic cook until onion is soft and garlic has just started to brown, add to mango, turn up the heat to medium.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until jam has melted and sugar dissolved, that’s it easy peasy sauce is done. This can just be left over a very low heat to keep warm. When the pork is cooked just add the 3 Tablespoon of juices and stir to combine. If sauce is not quite hot enough, turn the heat up at this time and heat for a couple of minutes until hot. Serve over pork.

Orange-Baked Sweet Potatoes

1. Peel sweet potatoes and chop into pieces (just like you would regular potatoes that you were going to mash.) Place in a pan cover with water and boil until tender then drain.

2. While potatoes are cooking, slice the tops off of 4 oranges and scoop out the flesh be careful not to break the shells. Cut the peel from the tops into thin strips to use as garnish later. Squeeze the juice from th pulp (there will be more juice than you need but I squeeze it all and drink the rest, there is nothing like fresh orange juice.) and grate a teaspoon of rind from the fifth orange.

3. Mash the sweet potato until smooth (I use a bar mix) Add butter, cream, sugar, rum, orange juice and cinnamon, whisk to combine or bar mix away whatever is easier (Hint: Bar Mix, Bar Mix) Mix in grated rind and season with salt and pepper.

4. Spoon mashed potato mixture into the orange shells. Place on a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180c (perfect already at that temp from pork.) Bake for 15-20 Min’s, until you have golden brown top. Garnish with the reserved strips of orange peel and serve.

Plantain Chips

1. Peel plantains and thinly slice them into rounds.

2. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and fry plantains until crispy and golden.

3. Drain on absorbent paper and season with salt.

Oh so easy and oh so delicious, just remember you need some for dinner, so don’t sneak to many while cooking 🙂

To Serve: Arrange pork slices on plate pour sauce over the top. Arrange plantain chips and place orange shell on top of them.

Bon Appetit

All photo’s taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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This is a take on the original coq au vin, I think this dish as is, is wonderful, but this is just a different way of preparing it, that adds that something a little bit special for a romantic evening in. I have only changed a few things but I think it adds such a wonderful flavour, so enjoy.I made this for 2 so if you want to make it for a dinner party just adjust amounts accordingly. You will not have to adjust sauce ingredients much as the ingredients listed below would easily be enough for 3 and if you wanted to make it for 4 add more mushrooms, one more slice of bacon, extra stock and liquid.


2 Chicken breasts (of a good size.)
1 Tablespoon truffle oil
21/2 Tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
7 Cloves garlic, crushed
2 Slices bacon, chopped finely
30-35g Butter
200g Mixed mushrooms, chopped (chantrelles, button, Swiss brown, pieds etc.. whatever is in season, chopped and sliced in different ways.)
11/2 Cups dry red wine
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
4 Sprigs rosemary
3 Bay leaves
3 Teaspoons chicken stock
11/2 Cups water
2 Teaspoons grain mustard
Pepper to taste
3 Teaspoons cornflour
2 Tablespoons Cream
11/2-2 Tablespoons chives
truffle oil (extra)


1. In a pan heat some olive oil, add chicken breasts and cook to brown both sides, about 3-4 min’s a side. (You want a nice colour on the outside.) Remove and set to one side.

2. Heat truffle oil in a pan, add shallots, garlic and bacon, cook until it all starts to brown. Add butter, melt, add mushrooms cook until mushrooms start to brown.

3. Add tomato paste, again until it starts to brown slightly, add wine, rosemary and bay leaves, simmer until wine has reduced by half 15-20 Min’s.

4. Add chicken stock and water, stir until stock has dissolved, add mustard and pepper to taste, stir to combine.

5. Return chicken to pan and simmer for 20-30 Min’s until chicken is cooked through. (Do not turn chicken rather cover with lid for a little of the cooking time. If you turn you will end up with a very red breast from the wine and it is not that attractive.) Remove chicken from pan once cooked and keep warm.

6. Mix cornflour with a little water add to sauce a little at time, (you may not need all of it depending on how much the liquid has reduced by.) Add until mixture thickens.

7. Stir in cream and chopped chives. Serve sauce over chicken and drizzle extra truffle oil over the top.

I served mine over creamy polenta but serve over regular mash or wild rice whatever you like.

To Serve: Place a mound of polenta in the centre of the plate, slice the chicken into slices arrange on top of the polenta pour sauce over the top, drizzle with truffle oil. Garnish with chives.

All photo’s taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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This is another recipe by a zarr member, I have never made a beef stroganoff recipe before so I don’t know how much this one differs from a more traditional one, but I thought this was yummy.It is a very easy recipe to make, I did add a couple of garlic cloves to mine and I also cheated by just adding all the ingredients except the sour cream and then just thickened with cornflour. Both myself and my hubby thought this was very enjoyable and I will definitely be making it again. If you like this recipe or would like to read other reviews or view other photo’s of this recipe please click here.


3/4lb Mushrooms, sliced
1 Small onion, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
1/2 Cup sherry wine
3/4 Teaspoon paprika
2 Cups sour cream
2-4 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 Cup beef stock
2 1/2lbs beef tenderloin or New York strip steaks or sirloin
1 Tablespoon oil (may need more)
1/4 Cup sherry wine
1 1/4 Tablespoons tomato paste
(As I stated above I also added a couple of cloves of garlic to mine.)


1. Saute mushrooms and onion in the 3 T butter and add salt and pepper. Cook 3 minutes and add the 1/2 C Sherry wine and stir. Slowly mix in the sour cream using a wire whisk and add the paprika, and lemon juice. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, melt the 2 T butter with 2 T flour. Add the beef stock over low heat and stir until sauce is very thick. Add this into the sour cream mixture.

3. Cut the meat into slices 2″ by 1/4″ and then season with some salt and pepper. Sear them quickly in the 1 T oil until browned on both sides and remove from the pan. Don’t do too many slices at a time (it won’t sizzle). Continue with remaining meat slices and remove from pan. Drain fat from the skillet and add 1/4 C sherry wine to the pan and deglaze.

4. Stir in tomato paste, sour cream mixture, and meat. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice or paprika as needed.

5. Serve over egg noodles.

Serves 6

All photo’s taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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Here is another competition entry, this one comes from Vanessa in Canada. I have to say this cheesecake was super rich, very fattening and naughty, but oh so delicious.I had a little trouble with this one, nothing major, my toffee did not work so you will see from the decoration I could not use it. Also the caramel worked very well, but I found that it really didn’t swirl through the cheesecake. As I said very minor things that did not affect the flavour.We all thoroughly enjoyed it, although we will be doing some exercise today to burn off those extra calories. I will be posting the winner within the first week of February just in case I get any last minute entries. I will be able to make those recipes over the first few days of February, good luck and thanks for entering.


4 Tablespoons melted butter

1 1/2 Cup digestive biscuit crumbs


1 Cup sugar

1/4 Cup water

1/2 Cup whipping cream

Crunchy Toffee Pieces

1 Cup sugar

200g Butter


4 Packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

1 Cup packed brown sugar

1/2 Cup granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1/4 Teaspoon salt

4 Large eggs, at room temperature


For the crust

1. Combine butter and crumbs, mixing well with a fork.

2. Press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan.

For the caramel

1. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir well. Cover with a lid and cook until sugar turns a medium amber color, about 3 1/2 minutes after
mixture comes to a boil.

2. Remove from heat and stir 30 seconds. Slowly stir in cream, being careful to avoid
spatters. Set aside.

For the crunchy toffee

1. Combine the sugar and butter in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Stir to combine and let it come to the boil for approx. 15-20.

2.Pull of heat and let it stand for another 5 Min’s to cool slightly. Pour into
a flat dish and put it I the freezer to harden.

3. When hard break into pieces with a mallet. Set aside for final decoration of the cooled cheesecake.

For the cheesecake

1. Beat cream cheese and both sugars at medium speed of an electric mixer until soft and fluffy. Add vanilla and salt. Add eggs one at a time, beating on lowest
speed of mixer just until incorporated.

2. Pour two-thirds of batter over crust. Beat caramel mixture into remaining batter. Pour caramel batter over plain batter in pan and swirl mixtures with a rubber spatula.

3. Bake at 175 C. (I did this at 180c.) for about 50 minutes, or until edges are firm but middle still wiggles. Remove from oven and cool. Chill. Decorate with crunchy toffee pieces just before serving.

All photo’s taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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I made this the other night it was an experiment, it turned out really great. I will say with all the ingredients it could have been quite a salty dish depending on what brands you buy. I did use low sodium soy sauce and I will list the brands below on the other sauces. If you can’t get these brands just taste what you have and change amounts listed, so no one flavour becomes the dominating flavour of the dish.

It was a wonderful dish the lamb was juicy and tender and I had to hold it together when I was dishing up, to stop it from falling off the bone altogether.


2-3 Large lamb shanks or 4-6 french trimmed (I allow 1 large per person and 2 french trimmed per person.)
1-2 Tablespoons green curry paste (I use Thai kitchen brand.)
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
3 Cloves garlic, crushed
2 Teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
75ml Low sodium soy sauce
21/2 Cups water
1/2 Cup Chinese rice wine
1/2 Teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
3 Tablespoons Hoisin (I use blue dragon brand.)
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
11/2 Teaspoons chicken stock powder
2 Star anise
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
6-7 Teaspoons cornflour

Asian Greens

1/2 Cup chicken stock
40ml Oyster sauce
1 Teaspoon sesame oil
1 Teaspoon sugar
800g Baby bok choy, trimmed
500g Gai lan, trimmed
12 shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
3 Asian string beans, chopped 2-3 inches in length

This should be the right amount for 3 people.

I only made enough veg for myself and my hubby, but I did do 3 shanks as we love them and I can’t get them all the time where I live, so when I can we tend to be a bit piggy. If you want to do it for 4 people the sauce should be plenty to cook 4 shanks in and just up the veg a bit.


1. Spread curry paste over the surface of the lamb, Heat some olive oil in large pan, add shanks and turn to brown them all over. Remove and set to one side.

2. In a large saucepan with lid or crock pot, heat the peanut oil, add onion cook for a few minutes, add garlic and ginger and cook until onion is soft.

3. Add soy, water, wine, spice, hoisin, oyster sauce, stock, cinnamon and star anise, stir to combine. Return lamb to pan and turn the heat down (I have an electric stove top and leave my temperature on 2 1/2.) Place lid on pan and cook lamb for 21/2 to 3 hours, turning a few times during cooking, cook until lamb is done and falling off the bone.

4. Remove lamb from pan and wrap in foil to keep warm, discard cinnamon stick and star anise.

5. Add sugar, turn the heat back up, mix a little water with cornflour and add to sauce, stir until mixture boils and thickens.

Asian Greens

1. Combine stock, sauce, sugar and oil in a wok or pan, bring mixture to the boil.

2. Turn the heat down slightly, add beans, mushrooms and gai lan, cook for a few minutes, add bok choy, cook until leafy greens are just wilted, mushrooms soft and beans are just tender.

To Serve: Place greens on a plate top with shanks and pour some sauce from lamb over.

All photo’s taken by me unless otherwise stated.

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