Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad

This dish is ode to One Red Penny in Summer Hill when I tried their ox heart tomato, golden beetroot, toasted black barley and fresh Italian cheese made of mozzarella and cream (burrata) salad. The toasted barley just added that extra pop drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar.


1 red truss tomato
1 buffalo mozzarella
1 tbs pearl barley
1 leaf of kale
leaves of parsley
100g red quinoa
1 cup of water

1 tbs of olive oil
1 tbs of aged balsamic vinegar


1. Cut the tomato into 6 round slices and set aside.

2. Blanch kale for 2 minutes until it turns a bright green in colour, drain, cut into 3cm thick pieces and set aside.

3. Rinse 100g of red quinoa and add 1 cup of water to quinoa in saucepan. Cover with lid and bring to boil. Once boiling, bring head down to simmer for 12-15 mins.

4. Place frypan on medium heat and dry roast the pearl barley for 5 minutes.

5. To serve, place tomatoes around the plate, add blanched quinoa, parley leaves, before topping with buffalo mozzarella. Sprinkle toasted barley on top before drizzling the olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Red Lentil Dahl

My other half, Pepe loves red lentil dhal. Red lentils range from gold to a red in colour and tend to lose their shape and colour when cooked but their thick mushy texture is perfect for Indian dhals. I find this a super healthy dish, especially good to dip your roti canai into.


1 tbs of rice bran oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tbs of mild curry powder (I used korma curry powder-mild)
1 cup dried red lentils rinsed and drained
1 tsp of fresh ginger finely chopped
3 &1/2 cups of chicken stock

1/2 cup of fresh coriander


1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat.
2. Cook onion for 8-10 minutes until softened
3. Add garlic, ginger and curry powder and cook for another 2 minutes
4. Add lentil and stock and bring to boil.
5. Reduce heat to low. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes until lentils have softened.
6. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for 20-30 mins until thickened.
7. Remove from heat.
8. Serve warm with coriander and plain roti canai.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Roti canai and murtabak

I must have been living under a rock when it comes to discovering the dish, murtabak. I remember my first experience at Rumah Indo Restaurant and thinking to myself that this was one tasty dish that I need to learn to replicate.

It's been a weekend of relaxing, picking up 2 Japanese maple trees to add to our garden and trialling a new recipe or two. I was going to attempt to make roti canai and from there I was going to make the filling for the murtabak.

Roti canai is a flatbread that is served with curry throughout southeast Asia. Whereas murtabak is a stuffed pancake made with roti canai and comes in many variations either sweet or savoury.

There are many different recipes available and I did have to look up a few youtube videos to get the hang of flipping the dough. Pepe and I were having competitions to see who could flip the dough better. Quoting the words of my Mr4 year old, "I think, Mummy win".

Start the roti canai the night before, so it will be perfect for breakfast.

Makes 8 serves

Roti canai


450g plain flour
3 tbs ghee

Wet ingredients
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
250mL water


1. Combine the egg, sugar, salt and water into a bowl, stirring to combine.

2. Place flour into a stand mixer with a dough attachment and pour the wet ingredients in. This mixture will form into dough.

3. Let the dough be kneaded for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.

4. Grease the work surface with a 2 tsp of ghee.

5. Roll the dough into a sausage and divide into 8 equal pieces.

6. Shape the dough into a ball, rubbing with ghee as you go.

7. Place the balls on tray lined with baking paper and cover with plastic wrap. (Make sure it's wrapped well.)

8. Set aside in a warm place to prove overnight.



1 tbs coconut oil
2 brown onions finely chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tbs of finely chopped ginger
1 & 1/2 tbs of mild curry powder (I used my curry korma powder for this)
500g lamb mince

1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp of salt
1 egg

150mL ghee


9. Heat 1 tbs of coconut oil in a wok over medium heat.

10. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and curry powder for 8 minutes until onions softened.

11. Add the lamb, sugar and salt. Breaking up the lamb as it cooks until the liquid has evaporated and the meat has browned (approximately 12 minutes).

12. Season to taste and remove from heat and stir in the egg.

13. Place a ball on the work surface brushed with a 1 tsp of ghee. With your hands flatten the dough to square shape.

14. Picking up one corner of the dough with one hand under the dough and other hand over, fling it over your shoulder then back onto the work surface. Move your hands to the next corner, flick the dough again for another two times. Until you have managed to flick the dough for each corner, a total of 4 times as a minimum. Or you can roll out the dough to a thin 30cm square.

15. Place the lamb mix into the centre of the stretched out dough. Brush ghee around the stretched dough with your hands. Fold in thirds. Fold the left hand side into the centre, then fold the right hand side into the centre. Fold in the ends to create a rough 12cm square parcel.

16. Heat 1 tbs of ghee into a fry pan over medium heat.

17. Place the parcel, folded side up first for 5-7 minutes, turning halfway to cook the other side for another 5-7 minutes until golden and cooked through.

18. Repeat with remaining roti canai dough and follow the steps through from 13.

19. Serve with pickled onions and coriander and a side of red lentil dahl.


Handy hints

You can also make sweet roti canai. Instead of the murtabak filling, spread a thin layer of jam, fold up into a square parcel and cook with 1 tbs of ghee. A dusting of icing sugar to serve was a hit with the kids.

Don't over handle the dough, once the dough has been flung, don't attempt to re-roll into ball as it will have lost its elasticity. Pepe learnt this lesson.

When you shape the dough, make the edges thinner before you fling it, as this ensures you don't have to deal with thick edges later.

If you get holes in the edges of your roti canai dough, just fold over a little dough to cover it and either fling it again or stretch it out.

Curry korma powder is available at Harris Farm or at supermarkets in the spice section.

Check out my pickled onion recipe in the next post. I'll also post a the red lentil recipe as well.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sublime apple & cinnamon cake

I am craving cake. People may crave chocolate or sweets but I tend to crave cake. It's a blustery day out today and I've already made the most of it with a morning swim with the kids. Poked around a pile of dry leaves on the search for lizards and as while Mr4 was trying to catch them, my girlfriend discovered that it really is true, the tails detach and squirm around. We uncovered the trail of a snail and helped it on its way and before long it was time for afternoon tea, All I had to work with was a granny smith apple, a lime, and the usual cake making ingredients. The results were a moist delicious cake, I've already cut myself a 2 pieces before the kids and my inlaws are back from a visit to the museum. I'm not sure there will be much to devour when they get back.


Dry ingredients
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 & 1/2 cups white flour
1 tsp bi carb soda
pinch of salt
zest of 1 lime

Wet ingredients
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup of melted butter

1 apple sliced thinly (I keep the skin on)


1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius and grease 18cm  (5.5inch) diameter cake tin
2. Mix all the dry ingredients into a big bowl
3. Then add the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients and whisk up with a fork.
4.Cut the apple into quarters, remove core the put through the food processor to cut into thin slices.
5.Fill 1/4 of the cake tin with the batter, then add 2 layers of the apple.
6. Add another layer of batter to the pan then top with the apple slice until the batter mix is finished.
7. Bake for 40-50 mins, until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean
8. Allow the cake to cool before placing onto the serving plate.

Handy hints

I always cut out a circular cut out with baking paper to place on the bottom of the cake tin so you never have an incident where the bottom of the cake gets stuck.

Use a food processor or mandolin to cut the apple thinly.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Rabbit terrine

I've made a few terrines now and it's especially good when shared with friends and family. I love being in control of the mincing since I received a sausage mincer attachment for my birthday. Great present sis.

With a trip to Tathra on the agenda, my contribution was going to be a rabbit terrine. I sourced my ingredients from Vic's Meats, Fish Markets and they happily deboned the rabbit and kept the livers for me to use. If you can't get your hands on pork cheek, then go with pork shoulder. I also love making a pork terrine with pistachios but that will be for another post.

The secret to making this terrine according to charcutier Romeo Baudouin from Victor Churchill, Woollahra, is to have the right balance of lean meat and fat in the mixture, and also to weigh out the meats after you have trimmed them to ensure you have the right ratio of mixture to salt. Full of flavour with armagnac, wine, shallots and herbs, the terrine is fabulous served with cornichons and good sourdough.

Serves 10-12


300 g boneless rabbit meat, diced
100 g rabbit livers, cleaned and diced
300 g trimmed pork cheek (or pork shoulder), diced
300 g skinless pork fat (ideally from the loin), diced
18 g sea salt
2 g freshly ground black pepper (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tbsp armagnac
1 tbsp white wine

100 g French shallots, finely diced
¼ bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
¼ bunch tarragon, finely chopped
¼ bunch chervil, finely chopped
¼ bunch chives, finely chopped 
100 g egg whites (from 3–4 eggs)
6 thin slices of lardo or pancetta (I used 18 slices of pancetta)
100 g caul fat (I actually don't use this and use additional pancetta to wrap the mix)

Glaze (optional)
5 gold-strength gelatine leaves
250 ml chicken stock


Marinating overnight
1. Combine the rabbit, liver, pork cheek, pork fat, salt, pepper, armagnac and wine in a large bowl. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

2. The next day, push the meat through the coarse plate of a mincer into another large bowl. Add the shallots and herbs and mix well with your hands, then mix in the egg whites.

3. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

4. Line the base of a terrine dish with the lardo or pancetta, if using. Take handfuls of the meat mixture and throw them into the terrine from a short distance, to ensure the meat goes into the dish without any air pockets (which can oxidise the terrine).
Unmoulded terrine

5. Continue doing this until you have put all the meat in the terrine. Use damp hands to smooth the top of the terrine and slightly mound it up like a loaf of bread. Then cover the top with extra pancetta to keep the shape of the terrine. (If you use the caul fat- Cover the terrine with a layer of caul fat, trimming the fat to just bigger than the dish. Tuck the edges of fat down the sides of the terrine to thoroughly encase it. The caul fat helps to keep the shape of the terrine.)

6. Place the terrine in a deep dish and bake in the oven until the top has nicely coloured to brown (about 20 minutes). Pour boiling water into the dish to surround the terrine and come halfway up the sides, and reduce the oven temperature to 100°C.

7. Bake until the internal temperature of the terrine reaches 75°C when tested with a meat thermometer (about 2-2½ hours). Leave the terrine to cool.

8. To make the glaze, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5–10 minutes. Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan. Take the gelatine from the bowl, squeeze out the excess water, and stir into the hot stock until dissolved. Leave to cool until the mixture starts to thicken and set, then pour over the terrine.

9. Refrigerate the terrine for 24 hours before serving in slices.

10. Will last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge if it lasts that long.

My delicious rabbit terrine

Handy Hints

Start a day in advance to marinate the meat.
Serve terrine up with cornichons, pickled celery and crusty bread

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Easiest kimchi recipe ever

I have a rather distinct childhood memory in regards to watching my mother make rather large batches of kimchi. My mother's method began with soaking at least 3-4 cabbages in salt water for 3 days. Next was to wash the cabbage thoroughly with cold water. My involvement required me to pick up and drain the biggest silver tub full of stinky salt water down the sink and then wash it down with the hose. Then getting rubber gloves and mixing in the smelly garlic and chilli powder into the cabbage and ensuring that it was well covered in the pickling marinade.

Perhaps somewhat scarred from this experience and watching my mother pour ad hoc measurements of chilli powder, salt, garlic and chunks of ginger, I rebelled from ever making it and opted to buy kimchi ready made at the Asian supermarket, much to the annoyance of my mother.
It's only since I've had a family of my own and not being entirely happy with the rather sweet kimchi from the supermarket, my interest in making kimchi piqued once again. 
I have experimented with the amounts and timing and the results are a tasty kimchi. I even have the approval of my father who is rather severe critic of Korean food. I found it goes really well with pulled pork rolls instead of coleslaw and Rueben sandwiches instead of sauerkraut. This will make a fresh tasting batch of kimchi which is ready to eat the next day.

My sister is already a fan of this recipe and so it seems that we may have overcome our childhood experiences of making tonnes of kimchi. But I prefer this method as its quick, easy and can be completed in a few hours.

Makes nearly 3 glass containers full



1 whole cabbage
70g cooking salt
Kimchi Marinade
1 onion peeled
20g sugar
50g rice syrup (or use sugar syrup*)
1 thumb sized knob of ginger
120g garlic**
20g fish sauce
1 tablespoon of salt
80g -100g Korean chilli powder (use the coarse grained chilli flakes)
40g garlic chives (not completely necessary but I like it)


1. Cut the cabbage in half, cut the halves again to get quarters and then cut out the core and into 4cm lengths.

2. Place 2 handfuls of cabbage into a large container and sprinkle salt as you go, keep going until you have placed all the cabbage into the container. (Depending on how big the cabbage is, it sometimes fits perfectly into the container and other times it is overflowing but after a couple of hours, the cabbage gets floppy and wilts due to the salt then fits into the container afterwards.)

3. Leave the cabbage to soak in salt for 2-3hrs. (I have once left it for 6hrs as I was too lazy to finish it off but it ended up being fine.)

4. Wash thoroughly with water and leave to drain in colander. 

5. Wash the garlic chives and cut into 1cm lengths.

6. To prepare the marinade, blitz the onion, ginger, garlic with sugar, sugar syrup, fish sauce in a food processor until it resembles a paste.

7. Combine marinade with cabbage, add Korean chilli powder, 1 tablespoon of salt and garlic chives then mix through until a nice red mixture. I tend to look for an overall red colour of kimchi to determine if it has enough chilli powder. (This is when using disposable gloves whilst mixing comes in handy)

8. Place kimchi into airtight containers (I recommend glass jars with clasp lids).

9. Keep in the fridge as it will keep for a 3 months, pending on how you fermented you like your kimchi.

Handy Hints

*Sugar syrup is easy to make, I use a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water.
Example you just add 50g sugar and 50mL water into a saucepan onto medium-high heat until sugar has dissolved and bubbles and you have sugar syrup. Or if you want to omit sugar syrup just add an extra 20g of sugar.

**I’ve experimented with amounts of garlic from 60g (too little garlic) and 200g (too garlicky) and I found that 120g is a good balance.

Recommend glass jars as I’ve seen how kimchi can stain plastic containers and the smell remains even with a good scrubbing.

Use the rather old fermented kimchi for pajeon (Korean kimchi pancake).

I use a 6L decor plastc container for one cabbage.