Saturday, November 27, 2010

BBQ Chermoula Prawns w/ Tropical Salsa

Opps. It may have been a week or two since I last posted. Blame my legs, portfolios, and the fact that it's coming up to the last two weeks of school for the year. Busy busy times.
Anyway. Yesterday I was craving something prawny... yet summery. And I came across the perfect recipe on the Cuisine website. (My go to, when I know I'm craving something, and I know the main ingredient...)

Barbecued Chermoula Prawns with Tropical Salsa.

I served mine with a bit of grilled (on the bbq!!!! - it's new, still a novelty - old one rusted into pieces) bread rubbed with a garlic clove.

1/4 cup firmly packed parsley
3 table spoons firmly packed coriander
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
3/4 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika
2 teaspoons freshly ground cumin
2 teaspoons freshly ground coriander
1/4 teaspoons cayenne (I've run out, so I used cajun spice mix.... becuase it was the closest thing I had)
1 table spoon lemon juice.
2 table spoons olive oil, plus extra for cooking
30 prawns (I used 6 large king prawns.... and could have fit more in the amount of marinade, but had no reason to do so.) - heads and shells removed, tails left on
sea salt
10 - 15 lime wedges for serving (not strictly needed - I didn't have any... so didn't use any.)

1/2 ripe pineapople, peeled, decored, sliced and diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 red chilli, finely diced (didn't have, so didn't use)
1/2 cup of sliced mint leaves (again, didn't have... but I imagine it's be a nice addition)
3 table spoons of firmly packed sliced coriander

 Ok... so basically, you chuck all the marinade ingredients (which is everything in the prawns list, except well.. the prawns) into a food processer... and blend. And it creates this gorgeously fragrant paste. Then... chuck the prawns in. Look at my prawns!!!!!

 Toss them in the marinade/paste, and leave them to sit while you make the salsa.

Umm.... for the salsa, chop everything and mix it together. I know, it's hard.

And now... it's time to barbeque!!!! Wipe/spray some olive oil onto your grill... it's fun to watch the flames come shooting up when you spray on oil.... heh.
Grill your prawns... they'll take a minute or two on each side. Longer if they're bigger. They will smell fantastic. As in, my mouth is watering, and it's the day after.

Enjoy! I loved this recipe, and I know my sister (who came home at 4.30 this morning and ate my leftovers) also enjoyed it. It's the taste of summer, fresh from the sea, sweet like all the tropical fruit at this time of year, and smokey and charred from the grill. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

7 Reasons you should not (under any circumstances) double recipes (unless you've done so successfully before)

1. The mixture will not thicken properly
2. When you put it in the oven it will repeatedly overflow the tin for 20 of the 25 minutes it's in there
3. Every drop that overflows will hit the oven floor and create a cloud of black smoke
4. You will have to open the oven every 5 minutes to release the clouds of black smoke in the hopes that your lemon cakes will not taste like BBQ. (unsuccessful in the case of 1 cake)
5. Your neighbours will knock on the door and ask if everything is okay, because there is black smoke pouring out your kitchen window...
6. Your cakes will refuse to be fluffy and light (like they were the first time you used the recipe... without doubling it) and will be stodgey, sticky, and tasting a little bit like BBQ sauce.
7. You will spend the next week finding bits of blackened cake on the bottom of the oven.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Haven't had a lot of time to cook these past fews days, as I've been finishing off my portfolios.... and has a little accident yesterday.
I was coming up the front steps of my house (carrying a box of alcohol and stuff for a party we had here last night for a friends 30th) and one foot slipped, the box pulled me over... and my right leg landed on the sharp tiled corner of a step.... and it punctured down to the bone. And my left leg hit the edge of the tile.. and I have this MASSIVE bruise/lump on my leg.
So yesterday involved several hours at the accident and emergency.... etc. Anyway...... it's a rather large puncture wound (triangular... the scar is going to be interesting) that goes down to the bone......
Limping on two legs is hard.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hot Smoked Salmon Potato Salad

I invented this dish on the way home from school. I knew that after a full on day at school (portfolios, portfolios, portfolios.... coaching cheerleading at lunch, etc etc) with no lunch, that I needed something substaintial... but summery. And something with masses of veges...... And I wanted something involving either fish or crab. And since real crabmeat is hellishly hard to get hold of here... without a trip to the fish markets... well fish it was.

None of my measurements are well.. measurements.. it really depends on how much you're making. I made enough for dinner and lunch.

Red Potatoes (not sure of the variety....) approx 5 small
Mayo (I got some of that yummy fresh, egg mayo at a deli) ehhh.. however much you want on your salad
Sour Cream - about a table spoon
Hot Smoked Salmon
Cherry Tomatoes
Salt and Pepper


Cook the potatoes, skin on... I chucked mine in the microwave for a few rounds of 'potato'..... Cut into chucks and pop in the fridge to cool.
Grill asparagus - I only added this because I had some wilting stalks in the fridge
Dice up cucumber, carrot, avo (I tossed mine in a bit of lemon juice)
Mix up dressing - mayo, sour cream, mustard, S&P, chop up dill and chives and add. Add a grate or two of lemon zest and the juice of one half...
Mix potatoes, asparagus, carrot and dressing up. Toss in cucumber, avo,cherry tomatoes. Taste and season if more is needed.
Add in crumbled hot smoked salmon.

I put mine on top of a bed of rocket. All the flavours worked well together. I almost bought a safron and dill mayo... which I think would have gone well, as safron works well with fish.. as does dill, obviously.... but I wanted the mayo for a party this weekend, and wanted plain...

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sesame Prawn Toast

Hands up if you used to love those little squares of Prawn Toast that came in the frozen boxes of dim sum, spring rolls and well... prawn toast?
Me me me!!! It was always the favourite in the family unfortunatly, so we only ever got a tiny amount... but everytime I see it on the menu at a Chinese restaurant I get it... and tonight, I attempted to make it myself. The result wasn't bad... not identical, but not bad.

(Please do ignore 1. my awesome yet vaguely humiliating iBite t-shirt, and 2. the crappiness of the photo, yet again.)


24 ( I only used 160 grams of prawns, and had to add panko bread crumbs to thicken the mixture a bit.. and it made enough to cover 4 slices of bread. Enough for my sister and I for dinner)


  • 6 slices day-old white bread
  • 500g green prawns, peeled, deveined
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2cm piece ginger, peeled, grated
  • 1 eggwhite
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • peanut oil, for frying


  1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Remove bread crusts. Cut each slice into 4 triangles.
  2. Pat prawns dry with paper towel. Place in a food processor with onion, ginger, eggwhite, cornflour, soy sauce and salt and white pepper. Process until smooth.
  3. Spread 2 teaspoons prawn mixture over each bread triangle. Sprinkle sesame seeds onto a plate. Dip bread, prawn side down, into sesame seeds.
  4. Pour oil into a wok until one-third full. Heat until a small piece of bread dropped into oil sizzles. Cook toasts, in batches, prawn side down, for 1 minute. Turn and cook for a further 15 to 30 seconds or until golden. Remove to a wire rack over a baking tray. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining prawn toasts.
Verdict? Yummy. Not exactly right..... but not bad.

Penne with Tomato Butter and Prawns

Yet again, I will apologise for the photo quality. My phone and camera are still downstairs.... and I haven't been down there since this morning, as I've been camped out on the couch all ay marking portfolio samples and the sort.
I kind of made up tonights dinner - it's actually a combination of two dishes.

Ingredients: ( for 1 serving)
half a cup of Penne (or however much you like to eat)
half a cup of prawns - I used cooked frozen prawns
1 garlic clove
a few slices of red chilli
1 fresh tomato
10 - 15 grams of butter
a teaspoon of tomato pasta
a scattering of basil leaves
parmesan to top


Star of by putting a pot of salted water on to boil.
On to the tomato butter - I used a stick blender to make mine, because my butter was still semi frozen... but in the past I've used a hand held mixer. Pop the butter and tomato pasta into a bowl and whizz up. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Crush garlic and dice up chilli finely, and put in a frying pan with a dash of oil. Throw in prawns - the great thing about frozen prawns is that you can put them in from frozen - to thaw and heat if they're already cooked, or just to thaw and cook if they're raw. Put in half your basil leaves.

When your pasta is done, don't drain and throw away the water!!!! When I'm cooking for one, I don't bother to even use a strainer, I just use a slotted spoon. So spoon it into the frying pan with the prawns - it's okay, infact it's good, if a little pasta water comes with the pasta. Chuck in the tomato butter and stir through - heat on low.

Dice up the tomato and chuck in.... Dish up, scatter left over basil leaves and grate parmesan over the top.
Highly fattening, not much nutritional value... but damn comforting after a long day of school work.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Flapjacks, Bacon and Banana with Maple Syrup

So, due to my need for an early bedtime last night (Friday night, long week, etc) I woke up at 8.30, ready to get things done! It's portfolio (reports on steriods) season at school, and there's a LOT of paperwork to be done - comments to be written, tests to be marked etc. I brought home two files boxes of neatly pegged stacks of work samples with me, and thought that an early start was the perfect idea.... of course, by the time I'd hung out a load of washing, put another load on, re-made my bed, swept the kitchen floor, unloaded the dishwasher, and washed the leftover dishes by hand... well, it was 10am and I hadn't even had breakfast yet!
And since it's Saturday, and I figured that I needed lots of extra energy for all the marking I had (have) to do.... pancakes!!!

This is an awesome recipe. Not as awesome as the recipe I use for Ricotta pancakes. Nothing beats those. But these 'flapjacks' come out fluffy and perfectly round.

Ignore the shockingly bad photo that I used the webcam on my laptop to take - too lazy to go downstairs and get my phone or camera.... so there you have it. I'm still wearing my pjs... and that is my CANUKS t-shirt you can see in the background. Very apt considering there's a bottle of Turkey Farm Maple Syrup behind the plate... got that (and the t-shirt) in Canada last Christmas.


all purpose flour
1 1/2
baking powder


Sift the dry ingredients together, add the egg and mix it in until it is almost absorbed. Add the milk and mix until semi-smooth. Mix in the melted butter/margarine.
It should make about 5 pancakes 7 inches in diameter. Use less sugar if you like to use a lot of syrup. ( I only used 2 TB in mine.)

Seriously good stuff guys. There is no need for lunch any time soon..... more to the fact, there IS  a need to get on with my work.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Tuscan Cranberry Rack of Lamb, Roast Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus

My sister and I had her ex-boyfriend over for dinner last night (he's still a good friend - of both of us) and because I had two racks of lamb in the freezer, I figured I'd try a recipe that a friend of mine had for me once. It's a favourite of hers and she cooks it well  better than me I'll admit.

This was my first time cooking rack of lamb, as I've never really bee a lamb chop kind of person.. but having enjoyed it when Robyn made it....well it's a nice meal.

Basically, you slather your racks of lamb in cranberry sauce. Pretty much an entire jars worth. And then you 'sprinkle' half a jars worth of Tuscan Seasoning on top. Yup. Don't do it too far in advance, because there's a fair bit of salt in that seasoning... and we all know what too much salt on meat does when you let it rest.

I precook my potatoes in the microwave - I used to parboil them in a pot, but you loose most of the nutrients in the water - which is fine if you're making gravy and use the potato water - besides, I like my roast potatoes with the skin on, and it's easier and faster to just slap them in the microwave.
Chop 'em up. Pop them in a baking dish with a dash of oil, a sprinkle of salt and a few cloves of garlic. I sometimes add things like rosemary... but they didn't need it with this dish. I roasted mine in a seperate dish in the beginning. I like my roast potatoes all crunchy on the outside and meltingly soft on the inside, and while it does depend on the type of potato what sort of result you'll get, it also depends on how long you leave them in. Last nights were in for over an hour... hour and a half I think. I chucked them in with the rack of lamb when it went it. Mostly because I needed the bottom shelf to roast my cherry tomatoes. But the result was worth it. Some of the potatoes that fell into the lamby cranberry juice went all sticky and yummy.

 Meanwhile, I put together a plate of bread and dips. I put some  sliced up day/2 day old ciabatta rolls under the grill, rubbed a garlic clover lightly over them, and served them with aioli, and a balsamic/olive oil dip (with basil scattered in it). It's not home made bread, nor is it fresh... but it worked damn well toasted.

All my pretty asparagus lined up ready to be cooked. Pretty pretties. Notice the aioli still out. (I've made my own before, and the difference is noticeable... but the time and effort was something I just didn't have time for... plus I used all my eggs the day before on the cupcakes.)That aioli came in handy when I found this adorable aspargus sprout in among the others.....

And damn was it good grilled and dipped in aioli.

Back to the meal. After the potatoes had been in for about an hour, I got my roasting pan all nice and hot on the top element, and browned my racks of lamb and then put them into the oven with the potatoes. I did over cook mine slightly. I took them out perfect, but the resting time left them a vague pink colour, where I would have prefered a much for medium/medium rare yummyness. Never mind.
I grilled the asparagus, took my cherry tomatoes out, and attempted to serve it up in a slightly pretty manner. Normally I'd serve less potatoes... but Tom is a big eater. So there we have it. Tuscan Cranberry Rack of Lamb, Roast Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus.

(I also dashed a quick line of reduced balsamic vinegar across the lamb. Twas yummy.)


Lemon, Lemon, Lemon Cupcakes

Again, I have 'stolen' this recipe. After all, often the best recipes have already been altered and fixed by others. I'm going to link you to the actual recipe at ChocolateSuzes.
However, since Martyna came over to help me out with the baking (that went directly to the staffroom for morning tea today) we did take heaps of photos... so I'll go through the recipe with you, without actually 'giving' it to you.

These cupcakes received rave reviews at school today - and I guarantee that it had nothing to do with me - the recipe is AWESOME. They're lemon cupcakes, filled with lemon curd, and topped with lemon cream cheese icing.

It's a very easy, basic recipe... but like Suze said - it uses a hell of a lot of dishes.

You start off with making up the cupcake batter. Simple mix - except it uses cream instead of butter - and that cream gives the mix the most amazing consistency when you mix it in a stand mixer. It was like thick whipped cream. And very easy to dollap into the cases.

(to make this many, I doubled the recipe... remember, these are to keep hungry teachers happy... I wouldn't dare not bake enough!!!)

They bake in 15 or so minutes, time which you can use to make the curd. Or not - Martyna and I used that time to watch a bit of Serenity.
The curd is easy. Melt butter and lemon juice in a pan. Put in stand mixer. Add egg yolks and eggs in slowly and leave it to thicken in the mixer - on slow.
It's like a lemon explosion. The taste of summer.

The icing is... well, apparently several of the teachers I work with want to take a vat of it home and bathe in it. I was quite stunned by the enthusiastic response to the cupcakes... but the icing alone.... haha.

(It disapointed me that this is the only photo I have of the finished product - and these weren't even the best ones. But sadly I only remembered to take a hurried photo this morning before leaving for work... a blurred photo. However, if you want AWESOME photos... check out ChocolateSuzes)

I did exactly as Suze did - chucked little slices of fresh lemon on top. I attempted to candy some...but failed miserably.

The moral of this stroy (recipe) is that lemon is an awesome flavour, and as long as it's used right.. and in varying levels of awesomeness, it is mind blowing.