Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Risotto Arrabbiata

This is one of my favourite risotto recipes. It's made with a traditional pasta sauce which happens to work wonderfully with risotto as well. It has just the right amount of kick - exactly how I like it, but you can adjust the amount of chilli to suit your individual preferences.

150g pancetta (or bacon), chopped
400g tin diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
sea salt and cracked black pepper
50g parmesan cheese, cubed
1 onion, peeled and halved
25g olive oil
25g butter
350g aborio rice
100g white wine
1100g chicken stock
flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnish


  1. Place bacon into TM bowl and saute for 3 minutes/varoma/reverse + soft speed MC off.
  2. Add tomatoes, garlic, chilli, oil, oregano, salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes/100 degrees/reverse + soft speed.
  3. Set aside and keep warm. Wash and dry TM bowl.
  4. Place parmesan cheese into TM bowl and grate for 10 seconds/speed 9. Set aside.
  5. Place onion into TM bowl and chop for 3 seconds/speed 6. Scrape down bowl.
  6. Add oil and butter and and saute for 5 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1 MC off.
  7. Insert Butterfly. Add rice and wine and saute for 2 minutes/100 degrees/reverse + soft speed.
  8. Add stock and cook for 16 minutes/100 degrees/reverse + soft speed.
  9. Pour into Thermoserver and stir through parmesan cheese and half the arrabbiata sauce and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  10. To serve, place into serving bowl and spoon the remaining sauce over the top and garnish with chopped parsley.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Spiced Pear Paste

While pears and cheap and plentiful, try making this Spiced Pear Paste to use as an alternative to Quince Paste. It's absolutely perfect for a cheese platter or used as a spread on sandwiches with cold meats.

3-4 ripe pears peeled and cored (you will need 500g of pear flesh)
Juice of 1 lemon
500g jam setting sugar
pinch ground cloves
pinch ground cinnamon


  1. Place pears into TM bowl and puree for 20 seconds/speed 9. Scrape down bowl.
  2. Add lemon juice, sugar and spices to the TM bowl and cook for 15 minutes/100 degrees/speed 2 MC off.
  3. Pour into sterilised jars and set aside overnight at room temperature to allow mixture to set firmly.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Pumpkin, Spinach and Feta Quiche

One of my favourite summer salads is Roast Pumpkin, Baby Spinach and Feta sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and a good drizzle of some homemade dressing. So I thought I would use the same ingredients to make this equally delicious quiche.

260g plain flour
145g butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
2-3 tablespoons iced water

  1. Place the flour and butter into the TM bowl. Set the dial to closed lid position and Pulse the Turbo button 4 or 5 times or until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Add egg yolk and water and Pulse the Turbo button 4 or 5 times or until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll the pastry out to 3-5mm thick and place into a lightly greased quiche dish. Lightly prick the base with a fork and refrigerate for 15 minutes. 
  4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  5. Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper and fill with baking weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 10 minutes or until light and golden. Allow to cool. 
  6. Reduce the oven to 170 degrees.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
150g baby spinach (about 2 handfuls), rinsed
200g cream
5 eggs
sea salt and cracked black pepper
500g roasted pumpkin pieces
100g feta cheese
2 tablespoon pine nuts
100g chedder cheese, grated

  1. Place oil into a frypan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned.
  2. Increase heat and add baby spinach. Toss through for 1 minute or until spinach has wilted. Set aside to cool.
  3. Place eggs, cream and salt and pepper  into TM bowl and mix for 15 seconds/speed 3. Set aside.
  4. Place roasted pumpkin pieces over the pastry base.
  5. Top pumpkin with the spinach and onion mixture, then crumble over the feta cheese.
  6. Sprinkle with pine nuts then top with grated cheese.
  7. Pour the cream and egg mixture over the filling in the tart shell and bake for 45 minutes or until set. 
  8. Serve warm or cold with a simple green salad.
Serves 6

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Lentil, Lemon and Yoghurt Soup

It's soup weather again, and this recipe is so quick and easy to make. All you need are some pantry staples and you're away. As a variation, you can stir through a handful of roughly chopped English spinach at the conclusion of the cooking time.

1 onion, peeled and halved
20g olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
260g red lentils, rinsed
1000g water
1 tablespoon organic vegetable stock concentrate
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
sea salt and cracked black pepper

  1. Place onion into TM bowl and chop for 4 seconds/speed 5.  Scrape down bowl.
  2. Add the oil, cumin and ground coriander and saute for 5 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1 MC off.
  3. Add the lentils, water, stock concentrate and lemon rind and cook for 18 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1 or until lentils are soft.
  4. To serve, stir through salt and pepper and ladle into bowls. Combine 1 cup of thick plain yoghurt with 2 tablespoons of fresh coriander and spoon on top if desired.

Serves 4

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Mushy Peas

I always have a bag of frozen peas on hand and this side dish is so versatile. It's great with seared salmon or placed on top of Beef & Guinness Pies (recipe here). You can also stir through a couple of teaspoons of shredded mint and use it alongside lamb cutlets.

250g frozen peas
500g water
35g butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
sea salt and cracked black pepper

  1. Add water to the TM bowl, and place peas into the simmering basket. Cook for 8 minutes/varoma/speed 4.
  2. Drain water and place peas into the TM bowl with the butter, sour cream, salt and pepper. Turn dial to closed lid position and pulse 3 or 4 times until roughly chopped.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Spicy Mexican Calzone

We often go to the Davies Park Market on a Saturday morning which is so handy as it's just down the road. One of our favourite stalls is the Eumundi Smokehouse, where you can purchase a wide selection of handmade smoked meats and gourmet sausages. Today we purchased some spicy chorizo which I used to make this Mexican inspired calzone. For all you lovers of Mexican food, this is a fantastic little recipe you will want to make time and time again. You can substitute the manchego (a Spanish cheese) with mozzarella or cheddar. Serve with a chilled bottle of Corona!

(This is quite a substantial amount of pizza dough, so I usually tear off a third of the dough to make a medium-sized pizza for the kids.)

1 quantity pizza dough (here)
1/2 cup passata
1 good quality chorizo, thinly sliced
300g can kidney beans, rinsed
1 1/2 cups grated manchego cheese
150g chargrilled capsicum
handful coriander leaves, to garnish
2 long green chillies, sliced
sour cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
  2. Place dough onto a large sheet of non-stick baking paper that has been lightly dusted with flour. Roll out to form a large rectangle about 5mm thick.
  3. Spread half of the base with passata and top with chorizo, kidney beans, manchego and capsicum.
  4. Fold other half of dough over to enclose the filling and press edges together to seal. Lift the baking paper and calzone onto an oven tray and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  5. Serve the calzone garnished with coriander leaves and chillies and a side of sour cream.
Serves 4-6

Monday, 9 July 2012

Beef and Guinness Pies

I love a good meat pie and this sour cream pastry, made in the Thermomix, is to die for. The filling here will make 12 pies, however if you are only making 6,  the leftover filling can be served with some steamed vegetables and a big spoonful of creamy mashed potatoes.

50g olive oil, plus extra
4 onions, peeled and sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 sprigs thyme
3 fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons plain flour
1.5kg trimmed chuck steak, cut into bite sized pieces
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1 carrot, thickly sliced
440ml can Guinness
1 litre beef stock (approx)
1 egg, lightly beaten
tomato sauce, to serve

Sour Cream Pastry
250g plain flour
200g butter, chopped
pinch of salt
100g sour cream

  1. Put the meat into a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper, add a glug of olive oil and stir. Heat an enamelled cast-iron casserole dish over high heat and add the meat in batches until well caramelised and browned on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Add the carrot and cook for 5 minutes or until golden and set aside with the beef.
  3. Pour 1/4 of the Guinness into the casserole dish to deglaze then add this to the beef and carrots.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and add the olive oil. Add the onions, and stir occasionally until the onion has caramelised. (This is take approximately 15-20 minutes.)
  5. When the onions are just about ready, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Add the flour and cook stirring continuously for 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining Guinness to the onions and stir until thickened. 
  7. Tip the beef and carrots into the onion mixture along with the bay leaves and thyme.
  8. Pour enough beef stock to just cover the beef and vegetables and bring to the boil. Season well and cover with a tight fitting lid, then transfer to the oven and cook for 2 1/2 hours or until tender.
  9. Leave to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold.

Sour Cream Pastry
  1. Place the flour, butter and salt into the TM bowl and mix for 10 seconds/speed 6, or until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the sour cream and mix for 10 seconds/speed 4, or until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Putting it Together
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Grease 6 holes of a Texas muffin pan with a little olive oil.
  3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick. Cut out six pie bases (enough to leave about 1cm overhang) and six pie lids.
  4. Gently place a pie base in each hole. Spoon in the filling then top with a pastry lid.
  5. Crimp the edges together and brush the tops with beaten egg.
  6. Cut a small hole in the centre of each pie for the steam to escape and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.
  7. Remove from oven and leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
  8. Serve with mushy peas if desired.

Note:  If you're making 12 pies, make a double batch of the pastry so you have enough for the pie bases as well as the lids. Alternatively you could use puff pastry sheets for the lids. Make the filling the night before - it will need a good 2 1/2 hours in the oven to get the best results. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Pork and Crab Wonton Soup

These Chinese-spiced wontons are a cinch to make, and added to this delicately light soup make a lovely start to an Asian banquet. If you can't get hold of fresh crabmeat, you can use finely chopped fresh prawns instead. For those of you who don't eat seafood, just use pork or chicken mince. These wontons can be deep-fried and would be the perfect finger food for your next function.

1 tablespoon coriander root and stem, very well washed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
250g pork mince
100g fresh crabmeat
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
24 wonton wrappers
1 lightly beaten egg, for egg wash

1100g chicken stock
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon palm sugar
bean sprouts, sliced shallot and coriander leaves, to garnish

  1. To make the wontons, combine the coriander, ginger and shallot in a mortar and pound into a paste. Place into a bowl with the remaining ingredients (except egg) and mix well.
  2. Place a teaspoon of the mixture in the middle of a wonton wrapper. Lightly egg wash the edges and pull together either into triangles or dumplings. Cover and refrigerate wontons until ready to use.
  1. To make the soup, add the stock, oyster sauce, fish sauce and palm sugar into the TM bowl.
  2. Place the wontons evenly into the base of the Varoma which has been lightly oiled. Secure the varoma on top and cook for 15 minutes/varoma/speed 2.
  3. To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls and top with some wontons. Garnish with the bean sprouts, sliced shallots and coriander leaves.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Cauliflower, Potato and Blue Cheese Soup

There's a magnificent deli a few doors down the road that sells everything a foodie could wish for, including a  great selection of European-style cheese. I found a wonderful Greek blue vein and thought it would team up perfectly with cauliflower to make this lovely winter soup. Ensure you have a nice crusty loaf of bread on hand for dunking.

1 medium brown onion, peeled and halved
2 cloves garlic, peeled
20g olive oil
450g cauliflower, trimmed and roughly chopped
125g potatoes, peeled and chopped
700g chicken stock
80g blue cheese
sea salt and cracked black pepper
100g single cream

  1. Place onion and garlic into TM bowl and chop for 4 seconds/speed 6. Scrape down bowl.
  2. Add oil and saute for 4 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1 MC off.
  3. Add the cauliflower and potato and saute for 2 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1 MC off.
  4. Add stock and cook for 25 minutes/varoma/speed 1, or until potato and cauliflower is tender.
  5. Add half the cheese, cream, salt and pepper and blend the soup for 30 seconds by carefully turning dial up to speed 9.
  6. To serve, spoon into bowls and crumble the remaining cheese on top.
Serves 4