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My menu 28/1/14

25 Jan

Dehydrated and activated nut fruit Muesli

Portuguese baked eggs with rye toast

Banana bread & seasonal fruit salad

Tuesday Lunch:
Chunky angus pie and a green salad or vego pie
Guilt free, grain free Chia and chocolate cake

Wednesday Lunch:
Market fish steam roasted with lemon and oregano and served with a Greek salad
Chewy low fat banana nut oatmeal cookies

Thursday Lunch:
Chipotle and peanut chicken wings with celery wedges and coriander yoghurt
Healthy Carrot Cake

Friday Lunch:
teriyaki salmon with mushrooms and brown rice
English cheeses and Australian beers

rancheros eggs

rancheros eggs



Palmiers easy bickies

28 Nov


Palmiers are an easy snack that you can make without any fuss or bother. Either savoury or sweet you can choose my favourite is just using brown sugar. Parmesan and a big dash of Tabasco is also a favourite.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves 5 people 6 biscuits each
$1.40 per head


  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 lb puff pastry (1 sheet store bought rolled already if possible)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Directions:

    Preheat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
    Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter until it forms a paste. You do not have to use the butter but it acts as a good binding agent.

    Roll the pastry dough into a large rectangle, about 15-inches by 12-inches. Using a pastry brush or spoon, spread the cinnamon sugar paste in a thin, even layer over the dough. Starting at the long ends of the rectangle, loosely roll each side inward until they meet in the middle. To hold difficult pastry together, brush it with the egg, if needed.

    Slice the pastry crosswise into 1/4-inch palmiers – they’ll look like little scrolls – and arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 12-15 minutes, until they puff and turn golden brown. Remove them from the baking sheet and serve warm or at room temperature.

    Pumpkin pie

    30 Oct


    Pumpkin is versatile and is equally at home in a curry or a risotto. My favourite use of pumpkin is for a dessert, a childhood favourite pumpkin pie

    Preparation time: 30 minutes
    Cooking time: 60 minutes
    Total time: 90 minutes
    Serves: 12
    Cost per person £0.35

    Prices are based on and includes all sides


  • half medium pumpkin skinned and diced
  • 2 pints of milk
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 300g sifted plain flour
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • A cup of cold water
  • A pinch of salt
  • Directions:

    First is the pastry, I urge you to make the pastry as far ahead of time as possible. Cube the butter and allow it to get to room temperature. Then rub into the the sifted flour until you have a breadcrumb consistency. You can use a food processor for this, if so do it with cold butter.
    The trick is you want to touch the pastry as little as possible. You can if you want at this point add a large spoon of creme fraiche to give the pastry an added richness but this is not important.
    Next add very cold water enough to bring the pastry together. I always do this by eye and be careful not to make the pastry to wet. Once you bring the pastry together either in the food processor or gently by hand flatten into a small disc wrap in cling film and refrigerate. The reason for wrapping or covering food is that you keep it free from contamination by other food. Pastry will quickly take on flavours from other uncovered foods in the fridge unless wrapped up. Just to clarify be careful with pungent food stuffs, onions for example once chopped need to be used not put back in the fridge uncovered for future use.

    Once the pastry is resting then you can move on to infusing the flavour into the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin in a saucepan and cover with the milk. Then deseed the vanilla pod and place in the saucepan adding the anise and lemon zest. Put on a low heat until the pumpkin softens, then takeoff the heat cover and leave to infuse as long as possible. Once the mixture has sat for a while infusing take out the vanilla pod, which you can wash dry and keep for flavouring sugar. Take out the star anise pod too and discard. Blend the the milk with the pumpkin and put to one side.

    Roll out your pastry on a floured cool surface, roll to a 2mm thickness then place in a greased flan tin. Do this process as quickly as possible I will post a video for help with this. Make sure you plug any holes with excess pastry. Put into a fridge for half an hour to rest. Cover the rested pastry with baking paper and some baking beads. Put on a flat tray and place in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Bake for fifteen minutes then remove the the baking beads and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until the pastry is a light golden brown.

    Whilst your pastry cooks in a Pyrex bowl whisk the eggs into the sugar and add the pumpkin mixture. Then make a ban Marie like so and place on a heat and get the mixture warm not boiling, but warm ready to pour in the pastry case.


    Turn your oven down to 120 degrees Celsius and slightly pull the pie case from the oven and gently pour into warmed pumpkin mixture directly into the pie casing. The reason the tray is underneath your flan tin is just in case of leaks and as a guide. This is why it is very important to plug any holes in the pastry before cooking. Bake the pie for roughly an hour making sure you check it by gently shaking it to check if the mixture is solidifying for decreased wobbles.

    Once ready turn the oven off and open slightly and allow pie to cool in the oven. The reason for this is it won’t get shocked and crack by a sudden change in tempreture, do not cut it hot! Then serve with a dollop of creme fraiche. Try and eat in one sitting, if not set aside and cover with a tea towel and eat later that day do not put pastry in the fridge it ruins it by making it claggy. As the butter turns solid again, the best pastry is eaten at room temperature on the day it was made ;o)

    Carrot & fig cake

    18 Oct


    Preparation time: 40 minutes
    Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
    Total time: 2 hours

    Serves: 12

    Cost per large portion £0.51


  • 6-8 Figs
  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powdery
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 250ml oil
  • 1 orange , zested
  • 1 lemon , zested
  • 200g carrots , finely grated
  • 150g walnuts , chopped
  • Directions:

    Slice the figs thinly in circles and arrange on your cartouche. Place the cartouche with the figs on the detachable base of your baking tin and put in the freezer to set for half an hour.
    Heat the oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2. Line a 20cm, 10cm deep cake tin. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together and stir in the sugar. Beat the eggs with the oil and citrus zests. Stir in the carrots and fold everything into the flour mixture. Fold in the walnuts. Spoon the mixture into the tin on-top of the figs and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool.

    I served my cake with plain low fat yoghurt mixed with a teaspoon of sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Traditionally you would make a cream cheese and lime zest frosting for a carrot cake but there is no need with the figs on top. Plus it’s a slightly healthier option, c’est la vie.


    How to make a baking cartouche

    18 Oct

    A cartouche is a simple baking paper circle. To aid you with baking, stopping cakes and other baked goods from sticking too their containers.

    Fig & apple compot

    17 Oct


    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 12 minutes
    Total time: 22 minutes

    Serves: 8

    Cost per large portion £0.40


    • 6-8 Figs
    • 6-8 dessert apples
    • juice of half a lemon
    • 50ml of water
    • sugar to taste
    • Directions:

      Compot to me is an essential and tasty way to eat and preserve fruit. I often have a spoon of compot on my porridge in the morning or as a tasty desert with plain low fat fromage frais.
      Compot is very easy to prepare and you are able to store it in a sterilised jar for weeks.
      All I do is peel and core my apples slice them and wash my figs.

      Place the fruit in a perpex bowl with a dash of lemon juice and water. You can add sugar but I do not believe it to be necessary unless you are using cooking apples. Cover the bowl with cling film and microwave on full power for 12 minutes. Spoon mixture into the sterilised jar and that’s it very easy.


    Caramel peaches and pistachio ice cream

    11 Sep


    This is one of my favourite desserts and very simple.
    2 ripe peaches
    300g caster sugar
    A handful of blanched pistachios
    50g butter
    A slug of cream
    Pistachio ice-cream

    First you have to skin the peaches, cut them lengthways and remove the stone. Then place the peach halfs in boiling water, this is just to remove the skin so take the peaces out after only 1 minute.(you can do the same with the pistachios if they are in their skins) Then you can just slip the skin off between your thumb and forefinger put the peaches in a oven dish and set to one side.

    Then you have to make a caramel, place the sugar in a non stick frying pan just cover the surface area of the pan you might not need all 300g of sugar. The trick to caramel is to agitate it not stir it, that means shake the pan subtly. The sugar will start to turn to caramel in one area of the pan, then start to agitate slowly. Watch out caramel burns very quickly, so when it has gone a tan colour take off the heat adding the cream and cubed butter then stir. Pour the caramel over the peaches then place in the oven at 180 degrees for twenty mins basting occasionally during cooking. During cooking the peaches will bleed their lovely juice into the caramel.

    To serve place the peaches on a plate with some of the caramel, sprinkle the crushed pistachio nuts over them liberally and scoop some ice cream on the top. This is a very easy dessert that is very tasty, enjoy :o)