Chicken Kofta with Roast Pumpkin Salad

Chicken on a stick

I was in a real hurry to go and play tennis with Steve (he’s been promising to thrash me for a while now). So this was basically the quickest thing i could think of to make that still required some creativeness (and didn’t involve opening any cans of processed food).

I had some chicken mince that i bought ages ago and can’t remember why, and half a pumpkin and half a bag of tomatoes that needed to be used.

So the recipe for the Koftas:


* Chicken mince
* Garlic (crushed)
* Onion, chopped finely
* Red chilli, chopped finely
* Bread Crumbs
* Coriander, Basil (basically any soft herbs you like) roughly chopped
* Tumeric
* 1 Egg

For the Salad

* Pumpkin (cut into bite sized pieces)
* Tomato (quartered)
* a few cloves of garlic
* Olive Oil
* Fresh Basil, roughly chopped
* Salt and Cracked Pepper


Basically just mix all the ingredients for the koftas together with your hands, until its a nice sticky consistency that holds together well. Soak some kebab sticks in cold water for a while and shape the chicken into little cylinders. Push the sticks through the chicken and make sure they’re good and sealed. Then heat your grilling pan or bbq or whatever you like to cook on, and fry/grill the koftas until they’re nice and crispy on the outside, but still moist on the inside.

With the salad, i just roasted the pumpkin by putting it on a tray and nestling a few cloves of garlic in amongst it. Then liberally poured olive oil over the top and seasoned with salt and pepper. This roasted for probably 20 minutes or so (my pumpkin was quite soft already). Then when the chicken is basically done, you pull the pumpkin out of the oven, combine it with the tomato (which has not been cooked) and the basil, add a bit more olive oil for good luck, and some more cracked pepper, and you’re done.

To serve them i found a few more things in the fridge i needed to use, namely some sour cream, ginger paste, a lime, and some more basil. I just combined all of these in a bowl (i would normally have processed it, but i had literally 10 minutes to eat before i needed to leave), and dolloped it on top.

This meal took me literally half an hour to prepare and make… So i was pretty happy with how it turned out. Plus i won the game of tennis, better luck next time Steve :)

White Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse

I stole this recipe from Nigella Lawson. I just happened to be flicking channels on TV one day and there she was, looking all nice and summery, out at the seaside (albeit a horribly English looking seaside), cooking up all sorts of tasty little treats.

This one appealed to me because i had previously made a chocolate mousse that went completely wrong… So i thought it about time to make amends for it.

Ingredients and Basic directions from Nigella:


* 300g white chocolate
* 6 eggs, separated
* 10 passionfruit
* 300g – 500g raspberries


Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in the microwave for about 3 minutes, or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water then set the bowl aside, and let the chocolate cool a little.
Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Mix the egg yolks into the cooled chocolate, though be gentle to ensure it doesn?t seize. Cut the passionfruit in half and scoop them, juice, pulp, seeds, into the yolk and chocolate mixture, then fold into the egg whites until completely incorporated.

Then just pop them in the freezer or fridge for a while and serve with some more fresh berries on top.

I took this dish down to T’Anne’s place for dinner last night, and despite the fact that everyone was completely stuffed, they went down a treat.

It’s with much regret that i didnt take a photo, but trust me when i saw they looked great too :)

Caramelized Onion stuffed Pork Burgers with Enoki & Sweet Potato Fries

Onion stuffed Pork Burgers with Enoki & Sweet Potato Fries

I love burgers. To me they are the epitome of the self contained meal.. You’ve got your carbs, your protein, and your vegetables… animal, vegetable, and mineral all together in one nice little bundle.

This recipe was inspired by a great book i’m reading at the moment aptly titled Burgers, by Paul Gayler (actually, the link is to the US version of the book, the Australian version is basically the same with a different name). This one is my own creation though… so blame me and not him if it all goes horribly wrong.

Open faced

Ingredients (I’m not good with quantities, so you’ll have to fill in the blanks):

Pork mince (500 gms or so)
1 red chilli
small bunch of coriander
1/2 tsp ground cimmanon
1 egg
good olive oil
couple of onions
2 Tblsp sugar
a few knobs of butter (yes knob is the correct term for a piece of butter)
sea salt
cracked pepper

baby spinach
enoki mushrooms
couple of big sweet potato’s
vegetable or sunflower oil for deep frying
flat bread for toasting
japanese mayonaisse


Chop the chilli finely and roughly chop the coriander. Mix well through the pork and add the other ingredients. Cinnamon for a sweet taste, salt and pepper to season, egg to bind the mixture, olive oil because everything needs olive oil.

Now chop the onions finely and saute them in a little butter and olive oil. Slowly add a tablespoon or so of sugar to the onions, and perhaps a little white wine, so they soften up and caramelize nicely. Give them a while to cook so they are really soft and golden brown. These onions are a great garnish to lots of different meals, but we’re going to stuff them inside the burgers just for the hell of it.

So now get a ball of the pork mixture, flatten it out, and place a small pile of the onion mixture inside. Add another ball of pork to the top and seal it up into a nice burger looking shape. Good to go.

Heat a pan with a little oil and sear the burgers on each side until they’re just cooked through. At this point i transferred them to a
flat grilling tray to try and get those nice grill marks on them… but it was only mildly worthwhile.

Meanwhile heat your vegetable oil in a heavy pan… I’m not the greatest deep frier in the world, in fact it scares me everytime i have to do it, so by no means am i an expert. The trick for me is finding the right temperature. You want it cool enough so you don’t burn the sweet potato to a crisp on the outside and leave them hard in the middle, but no so cool that they go all soggy without crisping up.

So now peel and cut up the sweet potato into big chunky fries and rinse them under water to wash the starch off. Them
my best advice would be to keep an eye on them closely and fry them in small batches until they’re nice and golden on the outside and soft inside.

Once you’re burgers are done and fries close to finished you can start to assemble the burger. Toast or grill your flat bread and arrange a bed of spinach, then pile on top the burger, enoki mushrooms (Sharon’s all time favourite mushroom), and a little of the caramelized onion.

Season the sweet potato fries with salt and cracked pepper, and perhaps a little paprika, and serve next to your burger with some japanese mayonaisse as a dipping sauce.

Stop...burger time...

There you go… a nice complicated way to make a simple burger :)

Fettucini with Cherry Tomatos & Tuna

sharons-fettucini 001

Another pretty simple recipe. Sharon wanted to have a go at making pasta, so I did my best to impart the benefit of all my years of surfing the web and stealing other peoples recipes.

A simple set of directions would be:

Start with a mound of really fine flour ’00’ rated is good, add an egg, mix it in… add a bit of salt, mix that in… then gradually add water until you’ve got a nice firm ball of dough. Then roll it out… knead it for a while so it’s nice a soft and consistent… then put it through the pasta roller or roll it really flat with a rolling pin. Now you’re ready to turn it into whatever else you like. We put it through the cutter that comes with the pasta roller, and it made us nice fettucini strips.

So after about half an hour of “instruction” we had some nice freshly made fettucini.

Then we had to work out what we wanted to do with it… So this recipe was basically determined by what i like to call the refridgerator gamble ™ (actually thats the first time i’ve used that term, but it sounds catchy).

I opened the fridge, looked to see what could be used, what needed to be used, and what i wanted to use.

So what we found was:


* Cherry Tomatos
* Mushrooms
* Basil
* Garlic
* Red Wine (no this wasn’t in the fridge)
* Tomato Puree
* Tuna covered in Japanese Mayonaisse (left over from sushi).

The idea then was simple. Sautee all the ingredients together til there was a nice rich creamy sauce, boil the fettucini in a deep pan of water with oil and a little salt (fresh pasta cooks so quickly… probably only took about 3 – 5 minutes). Fold the fettucini into the sauce… Serve !

sharons-fettucini 004

I can’t say it’s the prettiest thing we’ve ever made… but it was tasty and healthy… and economical, and no animals were harmed during the making of this meal… unless you count fish as animals of course…

Cinnamon Scrolls

Cinnamon Scrolls

My mum made these for us on a regular basis. They usually formed part of a casual Sunday evening meal, along with thick pumpkin soup and freshly scones with lots of butter. I always remember the smell of the cinnamon coming out of the kitchen, and being slightly disappointed whenever i got the end one…which was a bit harder than the others…

Cinnamon Scrolls

Here’s the recipe i roughly followed…

* 1-1/2 packages (about 3-1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
* 1/4 cup warm water
* 1/3 cup vegetable oil
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup milk
* 1 egg
* 4 to 5 cups sifted flour
* butter
* brown sugar
* cinnamon (ground or crushed from sticks)
* crushed fennel seeds

Combine yeast with the warm water and let it sit for a minute to activated the yeast. Heat the milk up in a microwave til its warm, and then add it to the vegetable oil. Then add to this the yeast mixture, sugar, and salt, and the beaten egg. Mix it til it forms a kind of solution.

Now start adding the sifted flour one cup full at a time, working it into the mixture with a spatula until you’ve got a nice big soft doughy ball. It shouldn’t be too sticky, but it shouldn’t be very firm either.

Once you’ve got it to the consistency you want, leave it in a bowl with a moist towl over it to prove (let it rise). Then after an hour or so, punch the air out of it, and let it rise again. When you’re ready to make your scrolls… roll out your dough on a flat tray that has been rubbed with butter… get it a nice rectangular shape, and then cover it with a layer of brown sugar, cinnamon, and the crushed fennel seeds. Then roll it up nice and slowly and cut the roll into little scrolls about an inch and a half thick.

Pop them in the oven and bake at about 180 C for around 20 minutes… possibly longer, i forget how long i actually took… just keep an eye on it, because over cooking turns them dry and lifeless pretty quickly (i learnt that the hard way with the first batch).

enjoy :)

Curried Chicken Risotto

Curried Chicken Risotto

I hadn’t made a risotto for a while so i felt in the mood for one. I decided to use a chicken/white wine base this time.

This is my standard procedure of cooking risotto…

  1. Cook the onion/leek/garlic,
  2. heat stock (wine, stock, water, salt),
  3. heat and coat the rice with onion/oil/butter
  4. add a cup of wine to start with
  5. stir
  6. add stock
  7. stir
  8. test rice…still hard
  9. add stock
  10. stir
  11. add stock
  12. stir
  13. test rice…getting soft
  14. add stock
  15. stir
  16. add stock
  17. stir
  18. test rice, close enough to being ready to add things that need a bit of heat
  19. add those things (meat,seafood, hard vegetables)
  20. add stock
  21. stir
  22. add more stock (stock getting low so hope i dont need much more)
  23. add seasoning (pepper, salt, ground spices, coriander, cumin, tumeric, fennel seed etc)
  24. add stock
  25. stir
  26. taste
  27. add more seasoning
  28. test rice, getting close to being done now
  29. add stock
  30. add cheese (parmesan, peccorino, whatever you like, skip if it doesn’t suit cheese)
  31. stir
  32. taste
  33. add more seasoning
  34. add spinach or greens that need to be wilted (bok choy, cabbage, roquette etc)
  35. stir
  36. taste
  37. add a bit of butter or cream to boost that fat content up and add extra creaminess to finish (can also skip this)
  38. stir
  39. taste, perfection on a spoon.
  40. done !

So for this recipe i added onion, garlic and fennel at step 1, chicken (pre cooked) and baby carrots at step 19, tumeric, cumin, salt, pepper, lemon juice at step 23… and skipped the cheese, green vegetables, and cream steps of my normal routine.

It turned out pretty nice… lovely creamy curry flavour coming through the rice and chicken. I also use Carnaroli rice instead of arborio. This is because im under the impression that it has a higher starch content than Arborio, and gives a much creamier finish than Arborio rice does.

Give it a try !