Eight Bells

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Chicken & Mango Salad

An incredibly simple dish tonight and very quick to make. This took around 15 mins and that was just the time it took to cook the chicken.

Cut up some chicken breast and marinate in any teriyaki style marinade for an hour.
Make your salad with lettuce, cucumber, tomato and slices of tinned mango.
Fry the chicken for around 10-15 minutes until lightly browned and serve. There is no need to dress the salad.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pork & Vegetable Lasagne

This is nice for a change and not as strong as beef lasagne can be. I got to use the first of the late season winter veges that I planted a couple of months ago, the spinach was hand reared by yours truly. This will serve six or in our case two, three times (it always tastes better heated up for lunch the next day).

400g of pork mince
1 medium onion diced
1 tablespoon of oil
3 tins of italian chopped tomatoes
2 courgettes, finely sliced
2 large handfulls of spinach leaves, wilted in boiling water
2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp of chicken stock powder
1/2 a teaspoon of bacon stock
1 teaspoon each of dried oregano, parsley and basil
Salt & pepper
2 packets cheese sauce mix made with low fat milk

Cook the onion and pork in the oil till the pork is lightly browned. Add tomatoes, stock, herbs and salt & pepper and cook for around 20 mins. Meanwhile prepare the other ingredients and preheat oven to 180C.
Lightly spray your lasagne dish with oil and spread half the mince mixture on the bottom of the dish. Top with sliced mushrooms and cover with a layer of lasagne sheets. Top the sheets with courgettes, then the spinach and remaining meat sauce. Next add another layer of lasagne, run a knife right around the edge of the dish and pour your cheese sauce over the top. Grate a little cheese over the top, cover with foil and bake for 45 mins low in the oven. Remove foil after 25 mins and continue to cook. Yum.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Smoked Salmon, Mushroom and Broad Bean Risotto

After hearing from more friends in the weekend that broad beans are inedible and learning that pretty much noone knows how to prepare them I thought it was time to explain once again how they should be served. This will serve 4-5.

5 1/2 cups of reduced salt chicken stock
2 cups of Arborio rice
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons of oil
1/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
300 grams of 'cold smoked' salmon, flaked
1 1/2 cups of shelled broad beans
1 packet of exotic mushroom mix (available from most asian supermarkets)
1 tablespoon each of fresh flat leafed parsely, chives and thyme, chopped
The juice and zest of one medium lemon
Salt & pepper

Blanch the broad beans in boiling water for 2 mins and then shell. To do this just pinch a small hole in the skin with a fingernail and squeeze the bean out. Discard the shells. This is what they should look like.


And after

Heat the oil and add rice and onion, cook for 2 or 3 mins.
Meanwhile warm the stock on a low heat in a large saucepan.
Continue cooking the rice and add the stock 2/3 of a cup at a time, stir and let the stock be fully absorbed into the rice before adding the next 2/3 of a cup.
Continue till about 1 1/2 cups of stock remain, about 20-25 mins so the rice is cooked but still has a little bite. Add parmesan and mix in.
Add the salmon, lemon juice & zest and mushrooms and mix gently so as not to break up the salmon then add remaining stock. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes then add the beans, herbs and seasoning. Mix again very gently and serve.
If the risotto is too stiff loosen with a little more stock and serve with freshly grated parmesan.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Musical Fruit

My wife sets the oven clock forward 5 mins to stop her she says from being late. When I explained to her that one of mankinds greatest achievements over the centuries has been the creation of accurate time pieces and that she was single handedly laying waste to the accomplishments of some of our greatest minds, she laughed. Sometimes I just don't think she takes me seriously at all.

This is a great vegetarian meal for when you're all 'meated out'. One for you plk.

Hot Bean Dip
Pita Chips

Hot Baked Bean Dip
1 tin of refried beans
1 medium onion, diced
2 diced tomatoes
1 cup of grated cheese
The juice of 2 limes
Salt & pepper
Fresh coriander, chives and flat leafed parsely, chopped
100 grams of light sour cream

Mix together in an oven proof container and cook in a preheated oven at 160C for around 50 mins, stirring occasionally.
Cut up pita bread into chips and cook until just crisp and golden, about 15 mins.

1 avocado, mashed
3 tablespoons of light sour cream
1 tomato, diced
A few drops of tobasco sauce
Salt & pepper
The zest and juice of a lemon
Flat leafed parsely and chives, chopped
Finely diced capsicum and/or spring onion (optional)

Mix and refrigerate for an hour

Cut Pita bread into chips and bake till just crisp.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Catch Up

So once again the blog hasn't been updated for a while. We have again been incredibly busy and I just haven't had the time to update everyday. Robbie's thoughtful prose has stirred me into action once more so a quick catch up is in order.

Standing rib roast with oven roasted mushrooms and new potatoes

Middle Easterny

Tabouli, falafel and couscous with cucumber and youghurt sauce

Only the best dinner ever
The sausage is the organic free range Cumberland sausage from Soggy Bottom Holding and bought at the Hamilton farmers market. The eggs are free range and fried in rice bran oil (very high smoke point and virtually flavourless) and the chips are oven baked weight watchers brand. The sauce is of course Watties because as everyone knows it is the best tomato sauce in the galaxy.

Yum Cha at home
Instead of going to yum cha at the Chinese Masterhouse Restaurant in town for Sunday lunch we thought we would do our own. We bought frozen dim sum from one of our local asian supermarkets (steamed bbq pork buns, mini spring rolls, oven baked dumplings and steamed prawn, vegetable and pork dumplings) and combined them with asian greens and jasmine tea. Delicious.

Julia's world famous oven roasted tomato, capsicum and garlic soup
This dish has been written up previously on this blog so here is a link to the recipe, please try it, it is outstanding. Soup Recipe

Pan fried salmon, oven roasted tomatoes and new potatoes

Calamari, prawn and tomato sauce with pasta

Stuffed chicken thighs wrapped in bacon with roasted potatoes, asparagus and hollandaise
The thighs are beaten flat and stuffed with ricotta, oven roasted capsicum, sundried tomatoes, fresh herbs, salt & pepper then wrapped in bacon and roasted.

Remember if there's anything here that you need help with or you want an actual recipe for not just a picture please feel free to email me or even better post a comment or question.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thursday Night Date

Sorry no pics today, I feel slightly weird taking pictures of my dinner in a crowded restaurant.


Cullens restaurant has been around for years, owned and run by Andrew Cullen and his wife. It has had it's ups and downs as far as food quality and service go over the years but at the moment seems to be on the up. The service was great despite Julia being scared of the waitress with one of the strongest and most unrecognisable accents I've ever heard. The food was good and we got what was described on the menu which seems to be some kind of minor miracle these days. I have to say I'm not a big fan of the trend to serve dishes warm rather than hot these days and my lamb was decidedly cool. In their defense the restaurant was standing room only and it must have been crazy in the kithcen. All in all though it was a great date and we will of course return to Cullens again and again in the future.

Shared Antipasto
Duck confit, sticky spare ribs, sesame & poppy seed crusted squid, roulade of white fish, smoked salmon, proscuitto, olive oil ciabatta.

Julia, Crispy roasted duck, steamed batton vegetables, creamy garlic polenta, dark cherry jus.

Julian, Lamb back strap, stuffed with roasted peppers, roasted garlic & mint, crushed gourmet potatoes, wilted cress & jus

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mmmmm Bacony

What could be better than pork fillet wrapped in bacon? That's right, nothing. Homer Simpson knows a thing or two about tasty meals and pork products and he would love this one.
This is a very easy meal to prepare and from go to whoa takes just a bit over an hour (see Blerv I do tell you how long it takes sometimes).

Pork fillet
Streaky Bacon (needs to be decent bacon not crappy supermarket stuff that will produce endless rivers of steam and water)
Apples, thickly sliced
Baby leeks
Baby carrots
Halfords Earth Gems
Stams Apple syrup

Preheat your oven to 180C, wrap your pork fillet in the bacon and place in the oven for around 50 minutes. Put your apples in the oven at the same time.
After about half an hour begin to steam your Earth Gems and about 5 mins later begin to steam your baby vegetables. While the vegetables are steaming gently heat about half a cup of apple syrup in a small saucepan.
When the pork is ready, slice it and serve with the vegetables and apples. Drizzle the heated apple syrup over the pork and serve.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Cajun Fish For Cheats

You could make your own cajun spice recipe from some ancient secret family recipe handed down from mother to daughter and tracing all the way back to when your long distant ancestor was a cook on some plantation in New Orleans but hey that sounds like an awful lot of trouble. Why not just use Masterfoods Cajun Seasoning, apparently if it fails to satisfy they will replace it (what, with the exact same thing that failed to satisfy the first time?).

Take 1/2 a cup of plain flour and add about 1/3 of a 35g container of the above mentioned seasoning and mix.
Coat your fish in the seasoning and pan fry in a little butter till done.
Serve with wild rice and oven roasted courgette and tomatoes.
The youghurt sauce is just unsweetened greek yoghurt, grated cucumber, chopped parsley & chives and lemon juice.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I am aware that I have not been paying the attention that I once was to this blog and I mean to remedy that. I started this blog not really to record what we have for dinner but as a way to force myself to write every day and I have been slacking (yes Kate I am aware of how many times I have said it before). I am shortly going to be returning to study, at least part time and as this study will involve writing I mean to get this blog back on track. I also understand that although not many of you leave comments there are quite a few of you who do read the blog and who also cook the recipes so for you I promise to do better.
For those of you who are wondering if this French dinner party is ever going to happen, fear not. As you will be aware we are insanely busy but it will happen and it will happen this year.
Tonight we have a little more experimentation with possible dinner party ingredients. The following is to serve two.

2 slices of wholegrain or brown bread
1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
1 tablesoon of pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon of sesame seeds
The zest of a medium lemon
1/3 of an onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh flat leafed parsely, chopped
1 teaspoon each of fresh thyme and chives, chopped
Salt & pepper

Put all the ingredients in a food mixer and whiz briefly then peel the lemon that you zested so that no pith remains on the flesh, chop up the lemon and add to the stuffing. Whiz again. Stuff your birds and then rub with lemon infused olive oil and salt.
Place the poussins on a rack in an oven tray in a preheated oven at 190C for approx 50 minutes.
The 'gravy' that you can see is chicken glaze from Gourmet Direct but your local butcher will probably have his/her own version which will do just as well.
Serve with wild rice and green beans. Delicious.

Steak Sandwich

Here is a very easy and very tasty dinner for when you really can't be bothered doing a whole lot of cooking.

Roast the following in the oven

Sliced courgette
Red capsicum
Field mushrooms
Halved tomatoes

Layer the vegetables on toasted bread with sliced rare sirloin steak. Add freshly ground black pepper, blue cheese and aioli and dig in.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Yum Chicken

LOL Sandwich

Friday, September 08, 2006

Spring Rolls

It's asian again, we just can't get enough at the moment. This is one of the easiest asian style meals you could make and you really should give it a go as soon as possible, it's just so easy and so good. You can make a ton of small spring rolls or a few large ones, we used these two recipes to make about 16 medium sized spring rolls AND THEN ATE THE LOT!

Prawn, Cashew and Coriander Spring Rolls
250 grams of prawn meat
100 grams of toasted cashews
2 spring onions, sliced
1/2 a cup of fresh coriander leaves
2 teaspoons of caster sugar
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 egg white
1 packet of spring roll pastry

Combine the ingredients (not the pastry) in a food processor, don't process to a paste you want some structure and 'lumpiness' to your filling. Once 'whizzed' leave to rest while you prepare the pastry.
Have a bowl of water and a pasty brush handy and on a dry surface lay one sheet of pastry at a time and add filling. Place a spoonful of the mixture at the edge nearest to you and fold in the sides. Moisten the edges of the pastry and the fold or roll over to form a parcel.
You can shallow fry these spring rolls in oil but please don't. We found they were much better sprayed lightly with oil and baked until crisp and slightly browned in an oven at 180C (about 20-25 mins, turn once).

Chicken Spring Rolls
250 grams of chicken mince
1 onion finely diced
1 small courgette diced
1 small carrot diced
1/2 a cup of chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 tablespoon each of chopped flat leafed parsely, mint and chives

Cook chicken and onion in a little oil and then cool and put in a food processor with the other ingredients. WHIZZZZZZ!
Follow the instructions above for assembly.

Dipping Sauces

Chilli and Sesame
1/2 a cup of sweet chilii sauce
1 clove of garlic, very finely chopped
2 teaspoons sesame oil
The juice of one large lemon

The Yummy Dipping Sauce With No Name
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
1/2 a cup of cold water
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1 very finely diced red chilli
1 tablespoon of soy sauce

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Egg Noodle Soup, Chilli Pork and Asian Greens

I think we're on a bit of an asian food kick after going to yum cha again on Sunday.

1 large red chilli, chopped
1 tablespoon chilli sauce
1 teaspoon of soy sauce
300g of pork fillet
50g of whole fresh shitake mushrooms
4 cups of chicken of chicken stock
8 thin slices of ginger
3 teaspoons of oyster sauce
1 bunch of broccolini or bok choy
200g of fresh (not dried) egg noodles
1 spring onion

Combine the chilli, chilli sauce and soy sauce in a bowl.
Coat the pork fillet in the chilli mixture and pan fry on a low to medium heat until done, it should be well browned on the outside and not rare in the middle (this will take about 15 mins).
While the pork is cooking, place the stock, ginger and oyster sauce in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the broccolini and cook for 3 minutes. Cook the noodles for 2 mins in boiling water. Cook the mushrooms in a little butter until lightly browned.
Drain the noodles and place in bowls, top with the broccolini and pour over the stock. Slice the pork and place on top of the noodles with the mushrooms and the chopped spring onion sprinkled over the top.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Rigatoni and Meat Sauce

You have seen this before but this a variation on the meat sauce. This will serve 4.

400g of lean beef mince
250g finely sliced streaky bacon
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon of cooking oil

Cook onion and bacon and mince till the meat is well browned.
Add the following

2 tins of chopped tomatoes in juice
1 small tin of tomato paste
1-2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of chicken stock
1/2 a teaspoon of mushroom stock
1 teaspoon each of dried basil,thyme,oregano and parsely
1/2 a teaspoon of white pepper
1 cup of water

Mix and bring to the boil and then turn down and simmer for about 40 mins, add liquid if necessary.
Cook your pasta when the sauce is nearly ready and add fresh herbs to the sauce 5 minutes before serving (thyme and flat leafed parsely are good).
Serve with plenty of parmesan cheese.

Pork Belly

Pork Belly

Dry the pork belly, score the skin and fat, salt the skin and place on a baking tray skin side up under a pre-heated grill. Cook under the grill for 10-15 mins to crackle the skin. Keep an eye on it the whole time and move around the oven to ensure even cooking.
Pre-heat your oven to 160C (or turn on to bake and turn down if you are using an oven grill) and place prepared roasting potatoes on an upper rack and cook pork on a lower rack. Pour off the excess pork fat regularly during cooking.
Approximately half way through cooking the potatoes add the parsnips and apples. Total cooking time is about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
If pork starts to get overcooked remove from the oven and wrap in foil and stand and then return to the oven for the last 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with gravy, we used a packet Cambells chicken gravy.
Never ever cook this meal if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol as you will die.

Monster Pepper Steak

It's steak that's made out of monsters!

The steak was prepared by rubbing with oil and then pressing a lot of freshly ground black pepper into it. It was then seared in a hot pan until brown and placed in a hot oven to finish off (200C for about 10 mins).
The gravy was made by simmering a cup of beef stock and a cup of red wine until reduced by half. A bouquet garnis was added to the saucepan with the stock and wine.
Roasted potatoes in amusing shapes and green beans finish the dish.