August 29th, 2013 2 comments

This dish tastes much better if you use free range pork.

Serves 4

1 large or 2 small pork chops per person, rind on (works better if you use smaller, thinner chops)

1½ cups Panko bread crumbs

1½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves

About 3 tablespoons other chopped fresh herbs. Thyme and oregano work well in this dish

Salt and pepper to season crumbs

2 tablespoons milk


Preheat oven to 180° fan bake.

Mix together the chopped herbs, crumbs and seasoning in a shallow dish.  Put the milk in another shallow dish.

Line a large shallow baking dish with cooking paper.  The dish should be large enough to hold all the chops in a single layer.

Dip each chop in milk on both sides, then dip in the crumbs, pressing down to ensure crumbs stick to both sides.

Put the chops in the prepared baking dish, ensuring they don’t overlap.

Cover the dish tightly with aluminium foil and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.

Remove the foil and increase the heat to 200° and bake uncovered for a further 15 – 20 minutes or until the chops are well browned.



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August 12th, 2013 1 comment


Gruesome cheese

Gruesome cheese

My mother when first presented with this dish, commented “Oh no thanks, I couldn’t eat that, it’s GRUESOME” Gruesome cheese has since become a family favourite, with the exception of Mom.

1 large round Brie

½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped

¼ cup brown sugar

Splash of brandy

Preheat oven to 180° fanbake

Put brie on a small baking tray and bake for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix the walnuts, sugar and brandy together.  Remove brie from oven and cover with the walnut mixture.  Return to oven for a further 10 minutes or until the walnuts have browned.

Serve with crackers





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October 9th, 2010 1 comment

For the Tartare Sauce

125 ml mayonnaise

1 rounded T capers, roughly chopped, rinsed and drained if salted

1 rounded t creamed horseradish

1 rounded t Dijon mustard

1 small shallot, very finely chopped

1 T flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

For the Fish Cakes

200g white fish

200g smoked fish

1 bay leaf

100 ml milk

350 g mashing potatoes

1 t finely grated lemon zest

2 T fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 T snipped fresh chives

1 egg

Flour, for shaping

100 g fresh white or Panko breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil, for shallow frying

Lemon wedges, to serve

Serves 4

Tartare Sauce:

Mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Fish Cakes:

Lay the fish and bay leaf in a shallow frying pan and pour over the milk.  Add about a cup of water.  Cover and bring to the boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 4 minutes.  Take off the heat and let stand, covered for 10 minutes, to finish cooking the fish.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes into even sized chunks.  Place them in a saucepan and just cover with boiling water.  Bring back to the boil and simmer for around 10 minutes or until just tender.

Remove the fish from the milk using a slotted spoon and place on a plate to cool.  Drain the potatoes in a colander then tip them back into the hot pan on the lowest heat and let them dry out for about a minute, mashing them with a fork or potato masher and stirring so they don’t stick.  You should have a light, dry mash.  Take off the heat and stir in 2 T of the sauce until completely mixed in.  Add the lemonm zest, parsley and chives and mix well.  Season well with salt and pepper.  The potato should have a good flavour, so taste and adjust to suit.

Drain off the liquid from the fish, grind some pepper over it then flake into big chunks into the pan of potatoes.  Flake the smoked fish into the potato pan.  Using your hands, gently mix the fish and potato together so they are just mixed.  Put aside to cool.

Beat the egg on a plate and lightly flour a board.  Spread the crumbs on another plate.  Divide the mixture into four.  I weigh the whole mixture, divide the weight by four then weigh out each fish cake to ensure they are the same size.  On the floured board shape into four cakes about 2.5 cm thick.  One by one, sit in the egg and brush over the top and sides so it is completely coated.  Transfer to the crumbs, patting the crumbs onto the side and tops until they are lightly covered.  Transfer to a plate and cover.  Chill for 30 minutes (or up to a day ahead)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  It is ready when a piece of the dry breadcrumb sizzles when dropped into it.  Fry the fish cakes over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side and crisp and golden.  Serve with the rest of the sauce (add some lemon zest to taste if desired),  and the lemon wedges.


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July 5th, 2010 1 comment


1 kg live mussels

300g uncooked King prawns

pinch saffron threads

¼ C water

Olive oil

2 chicken thigh fillets, diced

1 pork fillet, diced

200 g chorizo sausages, sliced

1 large red onion, chopped

1 orange or yellow capsicum, diced

4 cloved garlic, peeled and crushed

2 t sweet (preferably smoked) paprika

2 C short grain rice

4 C chicken stock

1 C frozen peas

1 fillet of white fish, like terakihi or snapper, diced

Fresh crab, cleaned and halved

Preheat oven to 180°F.  Steam mussels in water until they open.  Remove from shells and de-beard.  Set aside.  Shell and devein prawns, leaving tails intact. 

Combine saffron and water in a small bowl and stand for 30 minutes.

Heat some olive oil in a large shallow oven proof pan; cook chicken until browned, then pork, then chorizo adding more oil as necessary.  Drain on absorbent paper and set aside.

Cook onion, capsicum, garlic and paprika in the same pan, stirring until onion softens.  Add rice and stir until coated in onion mixture.  Return chicken, pork and chorizo to the pan and stir to combine.

Stir in stock and saffron mixture.   Place pan in oven for about half an hour, or until rice is almost tender.  Arrange fish, crab, mussels, prawns and peas on top and return to oven for another ten minutes or until all seafood is just cooked.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4 – 6

Note:  The protein ingredients can be changed to suit individual tastes, as can the quantity of rice – just ensure that for each cup of rice there are 2 cups of stock.  The paella can and should be allowed to burn a little around the edges making a crunchy crust.

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June 7th, 2010 1 comment


150g elbow macaroni

40g butter

1/4 t ground nutmeg

60g kefalotyri or Parmesan, grated

1 egg, lightly beaten

Meat sauce

2 T oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloved garlic, crushed

500g minced beef

1/2 C red wine

1 C beef stock

3 T tomato paste

1 t fresh oregano, chopped

Bechamel sauce

50 g butter

3 T plain flour

pinch nutmeg

2 C milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 180°. Lightly grease a 1.5 litre oven proof dish.  Cook the macaroni in salted water for 10 minutes or until al dente.  Drain and return to the pot.  Melt butter then pour over the macaroni.  Stir in the nutmeg and half the cheese.  Season to taste.  Leave until cool then stir in the egg.

For the meat sauce, heat oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft.  Increase the heat, add the beef and cook, stirring until the meat is browned.  Add the wine and cook over high heat until evaporated.  Add the stock, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

For the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute or until pale and foaming.  Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk.  Return to the heat and stir constantly until the sauce boils and thickens.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.  Add the nutmeg and some salt.  Allow to cool a little before stirring in the egg.  Stir 3 tablespoons of the bechamel sauce into the meat sauce.

Spread half the meat sauce in the dish, then layer half the pasta over it.  Layer with the remaining meat sauce then the remaining pasta.  Press down firmly with the back of a spoon.  Spread the bechamel sauce over the pasta and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden.  Allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving.

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October 6th, 2009 No comments

At the moment I am really into lentils, beans, and chickpeas. This is a great quick and somewhat healthy mid-week meal. Use the freshest bakery bought buns you can get, and good quality cured choritzo sausages.

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October 6th, 2009 No comments

We do not eat enough fish. Whilst as school I used to work in the seafood department at a supermarket, and after seeing how many days thawed fish fillets were put out on display, tarted up with plastic parsley and at night we would put is all back in the chiller ready for the next day. So because of this, I cannot buy fish from supermarkets, and only like the freshest fish (preferably caught by myself on mums boat Zinkwazi). Fish is also a lot more expensive than other meats (unless you catch it yourself). Here in Perth we have one of the finest fishmongers Kailis Bros just down the road and on Sunday I picked up some <em>red throat emperor</em> fillets for this recipe. Sumac [wiki] is not an ingredient I have used before, but I picked some up a few weeks ago to try, and this recipe was a first attempt. Sumac is very lemony in flavour and works well with fish, and is available form Middle Eastern shops or delicatessens.

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September 20th, 2009 No comments

Last night we went to a dance night at the local hall up the road, and it was a bring-a-plate type thing, and I made a batch of these.

Sausage Rolls-2
Sausage Rolls-1 Read more…

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September 17th, 2009 2 comments

As kids, my brothers Greg, Doug and I would spend endless summer holidays on Lemara, my Grandpa’s yacht which was moored at Richards Bay in northern Natal, South Africa. We would swim, fish off the bow, and go on day-trips to Pelican Island, a small island at the entrance to the harbour.

I remember on one trip to Pelican Island with Grandpa; we went for a walk leaving our gear on the shore, and upon returning we discovered a troop of monkeys rummaging though our food supplies. Grandpa had a sling-shot (the local South African Term is a Katty), he loaded it with a big stone and fired at the monkeys, hitting one square in the head, and as they were fleeing he hit another smack on his bright blue bum.

Back on Lemara, Gran would always cook up a hearty supper, and being three small growing boys needing to replace energy from the activities of the day; we must have eaten a lot, and I am still amazed at how Gran fed the three of us from the small galley. One of my favourites was Tuna Bake. This is a mixture of several recipes and I think I have recreated the delicious cheesy tuna flavours that Granny served up.

Tuna & Mushroom Pasta Bake-1

300g spiral pasta
40g butter
1 onion, chopped
2tbs flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2tsp vegetable stock powder
zest of 1 lemon
fresh ground black pepper
2 cups grated tasty cheese
1 425g can tinned flaked tuna in springwater
200g large flat mushrooms, chopped
panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Boil pasta to packet directions until just cooked. While pasta is cooking melt butter in a medium pan and sauté onion until soft. Stir in flour and cook; stirring for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in milk. Heat until mixture simmers and thickens. Remove form the heat and stir in stock powder, pepper, zest and 1 1/2 cups of cheese.

Combine cheese sauce, tuna (including the springwater), drained pasta and mushrooms in a large oven-proof casserole dish. Sprinkle with a generous layer of panko crumbs, a layer of the remaining cheese, and then a thin layer of panko crumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and crispy on top.

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June 7th, 2009 2 comments


Butter Chicken is an important meal for our family. On Parnell Road, in Auckland there is a little restaurant called Oh Calcutta. Mark and I used to live down the road from here in 2001, and this is when we discovered Meena’s (the owner of the restaurant) version of Butter Chicken. This is unlike any I have ever had, and has a rick creamy tomato soup-like sauce with chucks of grilled tandoori chicken, we never eat it with rice, it is more like a soup and we simply eat it with naan bread.

Oh Calcutta has become a favourite with our family, when Mark was commuting to Whakatane to Auckland, he would regularly order a take-away butter chicken, in fact he was such a regular that they got to know him by name. After we moved to Australia and had been away for a few years, when we returned Meena recognised Mark, and knew exactly what he was going to order. Oh Calcutta has been the favourite restaurant of choice for birthdays, leaving parties, welcome home dinners, we even had out pre-wedding dinner there. I remember one night ordering the butter chicken, and I exclaimed that the butter chicken is better than sex, one of the petite waitresses overheard this, and said “perhaps you have not found the right woman yet”, if only she knew.

This recipe has been a bit of a collaboration between Greg and myself, Greg and Natasha visited us for a couple weeks on their way to London, and Greg showed us his version of the recipe, which was very good, and probably the closest I have ever had to the famed Oh Calcutta version, the key ingredient he used was Ferns butter chicken paste, this is available from good Indian stores, and Greg found a place in Fremantle that sells it here. After Greg and Natasha left for London I headed back to NZ to see my family for a few days, and of course there was a welcome home dinner at Oh Calcutta, this time I tried very hard to work out the flavours in the dish, and I worked out that the tomato flavour is very similar to tomato soup. I noted this down, and as soon as I got home I set about trying to recreate this delicious meal. Now, I never expect to be able to match the dish exactly to Oh Calcutta, and I would not want to, this restaurant is a special place, and will always be a favourite, but I would be happy with a 9 out of 10 match, for me to have more frequently than once a year when I visit NZ, and this is what we have archived.

Tandoori Marinade
500g chicken thighs (boneless and skinless)
200g natural yoghurt
3tbs Ferns butter chicken paste

Butter Chicken Sauce
2 tsp cumin seeds
15 cardamon pods, lightly crushed (greener cardamon is best)
1 cinnamon quill
1 tbs ghee or vegetable oil
2 punnets ripe mini tomatoes, or 3-4 ripe roma tomatoes
1 tbs Ferns butter chicken paste
1 tbs raw sugar
1 can condensed tomato soup (500g)
500ml milk
100ml single (pouring) cream
2tsp extra ghee
plenty of naan bread (we use frozen naan bread from out local Indian supermarket)

Tandori Marinade
Slice the chicken into bite-size pieces, trim any excess fat and give this to your cats. Combine the yoghurt with the butter chicken paste, add the chicken and combine well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat grill or barbeque to a high heat, and cook the chicken pieces until slightly charred, and drain off any excess liquid.

Butter Chicken
In a large heavy based pan toast the cumin, cardamon and cinnamon. Once toasted fish out the cardamon and lightly crush the pods further to extract the seeds, discard the husks. Pound the cumin and cardamon in a mortar with a pestle until smooth. In the same pan add ghee or oil, butter chicken paste, spices, cinnamon quill, and tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are very soft and well cooked, about 10 min. Add the sugar and cook for a further 2-3 min. Discard the cinnamon quill and add the tomato mixture to a food processor and blend until very smooth. Return the tomato mix to the pan, and add can tomato soup, and 1 can of milk. Stir in the grilled chicken and cook for 20 minutes on a low heat, try to prevent the sauce from boiling.

At this point taste the sauce regularly, it will still be a bit spicy, so add the cream until the taste is right, add it slowly, you can always add more but if you add too much it is difficult to get it back. You may also need to add a smidgen more sugar. I guess the tasting is the most important part to tweak the final flavour, but add any extra ingredients slowly in case you over-flavour the sauce.

Melt the extra ghee, and brush the naan lightly, cook the naan in a hot oven for a few minutes until warm. Serve the butter chicken with the naan and enjoy.

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