Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lentil and Spinach en croute

I must have lost the plot somehere along the way.Over the past few days things got a bit disorganised for me. Got a big assignment due, then got the house repainted, then final exams, then life happened. Oh well. I resolved to be more organized and diligent. And this time I will stick to it! Whether I like it or else!

Anyway, it is officially winter here in Australia. And some of the things I learned to do since moving here is not just to organize my wardrobe according to the seasons, I also learned that the family menu also have to change with the season. Like for example, as much as the family likes the cold rolls I make, it is just not right when it is freezing. It is good though because we get to try different recipes to warm us up. One of the things that I like to cook during these cooler months is curry. Something about the bold flavours never fails to warm me up.

I found this recipe I am sharing here in an ABC Delicious magazine (March 2009 issue) last year and I have made it a few times and the family loved it everytime despite the fact that it has mushrooms in it. And let me tell you the kids "hate" mushrooms, they "won't eat it". But then again, they need not know that there is mushrooms in this pie. What they do not know, won't hurt them, right?

I did not take a good photo of this pie. But I hope it won't stop you from trying this one out.

(ABC Delicious Magazine, March 2009, News Magazines Pty Ltd)

1 tbs olive oil
100 g Swiss mushrooms, sliced
3 cups (120g) baby spinach
150 g bottled roasted capsicum strips, drained
800g canned lentils, drained, rinsed
2 tsp mild curry powder
2 tbs mango chutney, plus extra to serveo
375g block frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/2 cup (60g) finely grated cheddar, plus extra to sprinkle
1 egg, beaten
Greek style yoghurt and salad, to serve

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook mushrooms, stirring, for 1 minute until is softens slightly. Add spinach, capsicum, lentils, curry and chutney. Season, then cook for 2-3 minutes until well combined and spinach wilts. Allow to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 180C. Line tray with baking paper. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to form a 40cm x 30cm rectangle. Spread half of the lentil mixture down the centre, top with cheese, then remaining lentil mix. Brush pastry edges with water, then fold over to enclose filling, pressing to seal. Place on tray, seam side down. Brush with egg and sprinkle with extra cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Slice and serve with yoghurt, salad and extra chutney.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tasting Australia

You know what was on last week in Adelaide? No, not the Spandau Ballet concert, silly, that was  20 years ago, 2 weeks ago. It was the biennial food, wine and beverage festival - Tasting Australia!  It is an 8-day event but we only went to one event last Saturday. Gosh, it was fun.

It was held at the Elder Park along the banks of the Torrens River on a beautiful, beautiful autumn day. Entrance was free (another plus). We went there with a couple of good friends and we planned to have some wine tasting, try out the produce from differenent parts of Australia, maybe see some of the celebrity chefs do their cooking demonstrations. In short to eat,drink and be merry.

We first tried the farmed fresh water barramundi from Robe, South Australia. They cooked it two ways, one was with Panko bread crumbs and theother one was just seasoned it salt and pepper. It disappeared before I remembered to take a photo. Since we were eating fish from Robe, we had it with a sparkling white from the same region. Well, actually we did not really plan it that way. It was just their stalls were next to each other , so why not?

I also made my husband buy me this fried potato spiral:
It was fried and salty. I was in junk food heaven. But I do not know what it is called.

But wait, it gets better. My husband managed to get inside the tent where they are having cooking demonstrations even if they said in their press release that this particular show with Masterchef finalists, Poh Ling Yeow and Andre Ursini, was already full. And  then, he got to be the taster of the the food they were cooking! (And where was I? I was outside waiting for my wood oven pizza to cook!) When I eventually got into the tent the show was wrapping up. So when the show ended we went up the stage and my friends and I also got to taste the most delicious polenta dish ever. Andre Ursini made this polenta with gorgonzola cheese and black truffles. It was so good. Sorry no photos of that either as they want people to clear as soon as they can to get ready for the next show. We left only after we had our photos taken with Poh. If I show this photo to my friends, they probably go, "Who's she?" Hahaha! Que ver.

Then we just sat on a blanket listening to live music while drinking our wine and eating and just people watching. And me spilling the wine everywhere.

the jazz band

the latino band  

And here are more shots from that day.

I can not wait for the next one!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a quick update

Did I really let the week past by without posting anything? tsk. tsk. tsk.

In my defense, I was not slacking off completely. As you can see from the sidebar, my foodie world is expanding! In the past week or so, I have joined a few foodie sites/network. And I am so excited to share and learn from all these great cooks/chefs. It is going to be great. 
Anyway, I need to finish some work for school which I have been postponing but it reached a point where I could procrastinate no longer so I will post photos and recipes as soon as I finish my assignment. Real world sucks sometimes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

leche flan

I plan to post this last week but i thought it would not be right posting something so "sinful" during Holy Week. Okay, okay, I'm fibbing. The real reason why I was not able to post anything last week was more technical rather than religious. One, because we ran out of bandwidth. Unlike in the Philippines,where internet subscription is based on time here in Australia, it is based on bandwidth or data used. So if we downloaded heavily during the month, we struggle to have internet connection. And two, my computer was re-formatted because it was acting up. Anyway...

I think it's time to post another recipe for a sweet treat.

When I was a kid, I love going to family or neighbourhood parties because that is where I can have my hands on these babies. And it is always a big disappointment if the people throwing the party does not serve leche flan. I mean, what's the use of having a party if there is no leche flan? I can even remember this one time when my best friend and I have to box-out, like basketball players, this middle aged woman so we can have the last bit of the leche flan on the buffet table. I have long atoned that sin of leche flan gluttony.

This dessert just brings too many childhood memories that I can not not have it here in Australia. When I was new here, someone gave me some and I was too happy to get it. But alas, it did not taste right, so hugely disappointing. So what's a migrant girl to do? If I want one, I have to make it myself.

One thing about leche flan too is that everytime I make it I have to make the iconic Australian dessert, pavlova. It is almost serendipity, Filipino dessert meets Australian dessert.

Leche Flan


1 can (390 ml) condensed milk
1 can (375 ml) evaporated milk
8 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or lemon essence)

For the caramel (for llanera/ or leche flan mold):

2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon water

  1. Put the sugar and the water in the llanera. Heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil until sugar starts to caramelize. Tilt the mold to spread the caramel around the bottom.  Repeat for the other molds/llanera. This recipe makes about 3-4. (Be careful when working with hot boiling sugar. Use tongs to hold the mold.) Set aside.
  2. Mix the egg yolks, condensed milk,  evaporated milk and vanilla well by hand or by electric mixer.
  3. Gently pour this mixture on top of the caramel on the llanera. Fill the mold to about 1 or 1 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Cover the molds with aluminum foil.
  5. Steam for about 20 minutes. Check by inserting a knife, it is done when it comes out clean.
  6. Cool then refrigerate.
  7. To serve, run a thing knife around the llanera to loosen the leche flan. Place a plate or platter on top of the mold and quickly turn upside down. Slide the mold off and make sure to drizzle all the caramel sauce over the leche flan.

* Can also make the caramel by putting about 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water in a saucepan. Boil until sugar caramelize and pour into the aluminum molds.
*Instead of vanilla essence, can put lemon rinds.


*leche flan molds can be found in Asian groceries. can also use any aluminum molds.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

greek prawn and fetta bake

We have been on a Mediterranean mode last week. I made arancini , we had a Mediterranean BBQ lunch which I wrote about in my last post and I made this prawn and fetta bake. Because what would a Mediterranean food craving be with out fetta, right?

I decided to make this because other than the fetta, we already have the ingredients in our pantry and/or fridge. And I have fresh oregano in our herb garden. I also wanted to try this recipe out because I have never made a rice dish with fetta. Fetta for me was always for salads and four-cheese pizza. (Doing a Homer Simpson now and going "Four-cheese pizza..."*drool*)

So yes, this is a rice dish. I am after all, an Asian who has to have rice as often as she can. Although now, I have it in any form I can and not just steamed or fried like in the good old days. And yes it is again from one of my favourite cookbook, the essectial rice cookbook.

I found that this was relatively easy to make, it was really delicious and the family gave it a thumbs up.  Although if you want to feed the family quickly this might not be the thing to make as it takes about 50 minutes to cook. Plus if you are like me who does not cut and chop as fast as the celebrity chefs it might take you a bit longer to prepare. But if you do have the time, this is a good one to make. And lastly don't be lazy like me, crumble the fetta well.

Greek Prawn and Fetta Bake
(the essential rice cookbook, murdoch books, 2005)

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total cooking time: 50 minutes
Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, choppped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons chopped oregano
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 cups (660g/ 1 lb 5 1/2 oz) risotto rice
2 x 400 g (13 oz) tins chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste (puree)
1/4 cup (35g/1 1/4 oz) currants
1 litre (32 fl oz) chicken stock
1 kg (2 lb) raw prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails intact
250 g (8 oz) fetta, crumbled

  1. Preheat the oven to moderately hot 200⁰ C (400⁰F/Gas 6). Lightly grease a 30 x 23 cm (12 x9 inch) ovenproof dish.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan, add the onion and cook over medium heat until softened not browned. Add the garlic, cumin and 1 tablespoon of the oregano. Pour in the vinegar, cook for a further minute, then add the rice, stirring to coat. Add the tomatoes, tomato past, currants and the stock and season. Bring to the boil  and pour into the ovenproof dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until rice is soft.
  3. Add the prawns, poking them in under the rice, then sprinkle with fetta and the remaining oregano, and bake for a further 10 minutes. Serve with a salad.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

beautiful sunday

This is not a post for a recipe. So if you are expecting one, I do not mind if you stop reading now. But I would be delighted if you stay and read a while. Who knows you might get some idea out of this. Hopefully.

I just want to share our menu (yes a menu!) for our Sunday lunch.

We had our good friends,the dynamic duo of J & K, over for lunch today. J who is such a computer geek (and I say that affectionately) is coming over to help us sort out our computers i.e., install programs on the new laptop and reformat an old one. My husband reckons that since he is coming to help us out the least we could do is serve something special for lunch. So he asked around and finally came up with the idea of having a Mediterranean bbq. A vegetarian Mediterranean bbq. Because it would be nice to have a barbeque on a warm, sunny day. Except that it rained. But anyways...

For entree we had ciabbata with butter, baked tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil and fresh oregano and fried haloumi drizzled with sweet chili and lime sauce. It was yummy, the haloumi most especially. We had champagne to start too.

For the main dish we had fried polenta with tomato salsa, grilled eggplant with fresh thyme and olive oil, grilled capsicum with basil and olive oil and mixed lettuce salad with feta. We were supposed to put avocado in the salad but the avocado we got was not very good so we had to chuck that idea out.

The salad is just your basic salad with balsamic vinegar dressing and a splash of this dressing we bought at the Willunga markets once called Seduction. Yes, we bought that dressing because of the name.

The polenta turned out to be really good. And I have to say both my husband and I have not cooked it before. Did not know it is such physical activity. All the stirring you have to do! I must admit the husband did most of it. Well, actually most of the cooking today. The tomato salsa is my husband's own recipe because he is such a smart cookie.

I just love the colours on this plate. For this we had 3 kinds of wines, we had a 2006 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, a 2006 Shiraz from Coonawarra and a 2006 Cabernet Shiraz from Clare Valley. Coonawarra and Clare Valley, by the way, are two of the wine regions here in South Australia.

For dessert we had biscotti, turkish delight and cappucino and Italian espresso. And a bit of dessert wine, a Botrytis Semillon.

I have to mention too that all the fresh herbs used are all from little kitchen garden. I just love our herb garden!

We were so full that we had to burn the calories by walking around our suburb and checking out our neighbours' houses. Some of our neigbours houses are so fancy!

We were supposed to have some crackers with babaganoush and hummus and/or double brie cheese but we did not get around to doing it.

I must also say that although it seemed that we drank a lot of wine, we did not get drunk because our lunch which started at a around half past one in the afternoon ended at about half past 5 so the alcohol was spread out over a few hours. Our bodies had time to metabolize the alcohol. Ooopps, do I sound defensive? Sorry did not mean to.

All in all it was a great Sunday. Spending time with good friends with good food, good wine and great conversations, is one of the best way to spend a lazy, rainy Sunday. I am truly blessed to have such good friends and a good husband who can cook.

Hope you had a great weekend too!

Here's our menu again:

Mediterranean Lunch

Ciabatta with butter
Baked tomatoes with olive oil and oregano
Grilled haloumi drizzled with olive oil and lime

Taltarni Champagne Vintage 2008

Main course
Fried polenta with tomato salsa
BBQ (grilled) eggplant with thyme and olive oil
BBQ (grilled) capsicum with basil with olive oil
Salad – salad mix with feta cheese

Wine: Vasse Felix Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Coonawarra Shiraz 2006
Clare Cabernet Grenache 2006

Turkish delight
Cappucino/Italian espresso

Wine: Woodstock Botrytis Semillon 2006

Cheese –double brie
Dips – babaganoush and hommus

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

honeys joys

In my last post, I said in one of my comments that I made arancini last Sunday and forgot to take photos! Oooppss. Slacker!

So I have no choice but to post another sweet thing. But this is really very good, easy to make and I have not met a kid (big or small) who did not like it. This might not be good for diabetics though.

This again is a recipe from the package.

My husband came home one day and told me that he passed by some elderly ladies selling home-made goodies - jams, cookies, cakes, candies (or lollies, as they say here in Australia), etc - as fund raising for their club. They had all these heavenly, fancy food and all my husband wanted to buy are these honey joys (some call them honey crackles). He said that the grandmas were amused that he was so happy to find them selling it and that he did not fancy the other sweet things they had.

In a way, I could understand the grandmothers there. Honey joys are so easy to make you would not think somebody would think that it is the greatest thing (ever!). But on the other hand, I could not blame my husband, it is not that he likes this so much (and he does like it very much), he said it also reminds him of his childhood. His mom (aka the sweetest mother in law in the world) would often make it for her brood. I guess that is why we have an attachment for certain foods because it brings us back to a certain time or to a certain place. And if it is one of our happy place/memory/thing, wouldn't you want to go back there again and again?

Honey Joys

(Kellogg’s Cornflakes Recipe)

90 g margarine or butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tbsp honey

4 cups Corn Flakes

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C.
  2. Melt margarine, sugar and honey together in a saucepan until frothy.
  3. Add Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and mix well.
  4. Spoon into paper patty cases.
  5. Bake in a slow oven (150°C) for 10 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool.

Makes 20 (approximately).