Friday, 12 June 2015

NRL tips for Round 14

Only 4 games this round

Game 1 :  Tigers vs Rabittohs


Game 2 :  Warriors vs Roosters


Game 3 :  Gold Coast vs Bulldogs

Gold Coast

Game 4 :  Storm vs Eels


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Volcanic Eruption

Banana Panna cotta with Strawberry ganache and roasted walnuts

An absolutely delightful dessert full of flavor and variety.  Perfect for when you have that carton of left over cream!!


-  A cup of cooking cream (because that is what I had)
-  A cup of fresh milk
-  One packet (2 tsp of plain gelatin)
-  2 ripe bananas
-  60g brown sugar
-  2 tblsp run extract
-  2 tbls fresh lemon juice
For the Ganache
-  1 punnet of strawberries (about 200 grams, remove the bits that aren't nice to eat!)
-  60g of white sugar
-  a little cream
-  water to thin the sauce
-  3 tblsp crushed roasted walnuts


-  In a small bowl put 3 tblsp of cold water and pour over the gelatin and leave to set for 5 minutes.
-  Meanwhile heat the cream and milk to the boil.
-  Meanwhile (lots going on at the same time :-) ) mash the bananas sugar, rum extract and lemon juice till smooth
-  Use a blender if you have it for the previous step.
-  When the cream boils remove it from the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture until completely dissolved.
-  Add the banana mix and whisk in till smooth.
-  Pour the filling into 4 greased ramekins and refridgerate for 3-4 hours.
-  Heat the strawberries and cream and sugar, and with a masher mash the strawberries.  This will be easy as the mixture warms up.
-  Stir until smooth and if it gets too thick add some water.  Refridgerate till ready to serve.
-  When plating up, run a sharp knife around the edge of the glass and that should help the panna cotta slip out into the middle of your plate, forming the VOLCANO.
-  Top it with strawberry ganache to show the lava from the volcano and top with walnuts as the rock starts to harden.  Geologists will love this one :-)



Monday, 1 June 2015

NRL tips for Round 13

I thought I would start to rationalise my footy tipping and maybe make everyone some $$$

The multi-bet below is $94.22-$1.  Good luck.  And remember to bet with your head, not over it!!

Wests Tigers vs Gold Coast   :   West Tigers $1.65  :  Tigers are favorites ; Got this one wrong!!!
5th June 19:45

Brisbane vs Manly :  Broncos $1.38  :   Manly are looking better but go Broncos : correct!
5th June 19:45

Newcastle vs Canberra :  Canberra $2.20 :  Not favorites but Canberra been playing well. : Correct!

Souths vs Warriors :  Souths $1.42 :  Souths should edge out the fighting Warriors : Correct!
Penrith vs Melbourne :  Melboure $1.60  :  Storm got thrashed tonite, will bounce back? Correct!
Cronulla vs Roosters :  Roosters $1.42  :  Sharks were terrible this weekend and Roosters are great. Couldn't have been more wrong!

Bulldogs vs Dragons :  St George $2.20  :  Not favorites but I don't know how.  St George are good.
Got this one wrong!

Parramatta vs Cowboys :  Eels $2.65 :  Not favorites but Cowboys are due to lose one I guess...
Cowboys great 2nd half!

Chicken, asparagus and mushroom stir fry

Plenty of flavour is this gorgeous dish.


  • 2 chicken breasts skin off, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 cups of assorted mushrooms coarsely chopped
  • a dozen asparagus spears cut into 2 inch strips
  • 4 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 red chili, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of dill finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of cooking cream (15% fat)
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat one tblsp of oil in a heavy based fry pan.
  2. add the asparagus spears and sear for 1 minute.
  3. add a few tblsp of water and cover allowing the asparagus to steam for few minutes
  4. Remove the aspagus to a small bowl.
  5. Add a tblsp of oil to the pan and add the mushrooms
  6. Saute for a few minutes till soft and then add to the bowl with the asparagus.
  7. Heat the rest of the oil and add the garlic and chili frying for 1 minute on low heat.
  8. increase the heat and add the chicken and dill and stir fry the chicken for 7-8 minutes
  9. Re-introduce the asparagus and mushroom and add the wine and cream.
  10. Heat to simmer and allow the mixture to reduce down infusing the flavours adding salt and pepper as desired.


Friday, 29 May 2015

Rigatoni alla puttanesca

Puttanesca is one of my favorite pasta sauces without meat.  So much going on with the combination of tomatoes, olives, anchovies, capers and many more wonderful ingredients...



  • Half a white onion and 4 large cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 x Tablespoons of Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives diced
  • 1 tblsp capers drained and rinsed
  • 6-8 anchovy fillets (take out the backbone...)
  • 1/2 cup sweet white wine
  • 2 x cans of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tblsp of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of basil leaves finely chopped
  • 1/2 red chili finely chopped (and remove the seeds).
  • 1 tsp of cracked pepper (and more to garnish)
  • 1/2 cup of grated or shredded parmesan cheese to garnish
  • 1/4 cup parsely finely chopped (and more to garnish)
  • 500g pack of rigatoni and salt for the water


  1. Saute the onions and garlic in heated oil in a heavy based skillet for a few minutes on low heat
  2. Add the white wine and let it cook off for a few minutes infusing the onions and garlic
  3. Add the olives, capers and anchovies and simmer for a minute or two.
  4. Pour in the tomatoes, sugar, basil leaves and pepper and increase the heat until it simmers.
  5. Stir in the water, cover with the lid and stir every 5-10 mins. 
  6. Allow the sauce to simmer and thicken over the course of one hour.  
  7. After 30 mins boil water with 1 tbls salt in a large saucepan.  Add the rigatoni.
  8. Stir the pasta every few minutes.  It should be ready in 15-20 minutes (taste to check).
  9. Drain the pasta and once the sauce is done combine the pasta with the sauce
  10. Cook together for a minute or two stirring in some chopped parsely.
  11. Serve with parmesan cheese and cracked pepper, garnish with fresh parsely.


The ingredients in this dish are very powerful.   You'll notice I didn't add any extra salt to the sauce.  There is plenty of saltiness in the anchovies.  If you are not a fan of the vinegar-like taste of capers, reduce the quantity or leave them out altogether.  You may find the sugar offsets the vinegar, so frequently taste the sauce to ensure the taste is as your pallette desires...

Serve with your choice of shiraz.  Plenty of good Australian wines that I can suggest if you're not sure.


Rigatoni combined with the puttanesca
Work in progress...


Tuesday, 3 June 2014


One of my favorite Greek desserts.  My first attempt at making it.  Used a filling of walnuts and almonds.  Very sweet and great with a cup of coffee.


Monday, 26 May 2014

Pan Seared Salmon on a bed of Couscous and Roasted Veges topped with Hollandaise sauce

The title of this post is a bit of a mouthful and so is the dish folks...

The tastes of this one offer so much variety and combine so well.  Enjoy with your favorite white wine!

All you need to do...

For the Couscous with roast veges...
- 1 cup of couscous
- 3 cups of chicken stock 
- 1 zucchini
- 1 red capsicum
- 1/2 head of broccoli
- 1 onion
- 4 mushrooms sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbls butter
- 2 tbls parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 210C.  Peel and slice the veges into small pieces and then coat in olive oil and pan fry for 10 minutes adding a little salt and pepper.  Transfer to a baking dish and roast for 20-25 minutes.

While the veges are roasting bring the chicken stock to the boil in a small saucepan.  Add a cup of couscous to a casserole dish and then add the boiling stock to the dish and pop the lid of the dish on and leave it for 10 minutes.  After that use a fork to fluff the couscous.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter and parmesan cheese as you fluff the couscous to give it even more richness.

Remove the roast veges fromt the oven and mix into the casserole dish with the couscous.  Leave covered.

For the hollandaise sauce...
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 tbls butter
- 1 tbls fresh lemon juice
- a little cracked pepper

In a metal baking dish whisk the eggs and lemon juice till fluffy.  Then put the dish over a saucepan of simmering water and add in the butter ensuring it is just hot enough to melt the butter (we don't want to scramble the eggs).  Add cracked pepper.  No need to add salt.  Whisk in all the butter until you have a nice smooth sauce.  Put to one side.  If it goes stiff while sitting add a tbls of warm water and whisk again before serving.

For the salmon...
- 2 fillets of salmon skin on and scales removed
- Table salt for drying the salmon
- 3 tbls Sesame seed oil
- lemon juice

Use paper towelling to dry the salmon thoroughly.  Lay on paper towels skin up and pour salt on the skin allowing to sit for 5 minutes to absorb the salt.  Meanwhile heat the sesame oil on medium-high heat in a skillet just big enough to handle one fillet.

Brush the salt off the fish and lay skin side down in the skillet.  It should sizzle as it touches the pan.  Give it 4 minutes squeezing lemon juice on the exposed fillet at the start of cooking.  Then turn over for 20 seconds to complete cooking.  The skin should be nice a crispy.  The inside of the salmon pink.

Plating up...
Make a bed of the couscous roast veges dish patting down nicely.
Pour a generous amount of the hollandaise over the couscous.  Grate a little parmesan coarsely over the plate and cracked pepper.
Top the bed with the salmon straight from the fry pan and your done...