Chicken, Pistachio and Sage Meatloaf

Getting through winter definitely requires comfort food and I think this recipe really hits the mark.  I got the recipe from the Foodtown Magazine June/June 2010 issue, which was kindly sent to me from a friend in New Zealand.  It is easy to make, kind on the budget, child friendly and also diabetes friendly.

Chicken, Pistachio and Sage Meatloaf

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500g chicken mince
250g chicken sausages, removed from their casings
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup pistachio nuts
2 eggs
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

4 slices prosciutto, finely chopped (I used bacon)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped sage

Preheat the oven to 180c.  Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium to low heat and cook the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until soft.

Place the onion mixture, chicken mince, chicken sausage filling, breadcrumbs, pistachio nuts, eggs, mustard, sage, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Mix together well.

Spoon the chicken mixture into a medium-sized loaf tin.   Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the loaf.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes-1 hour, or until the meatloaf is firm to touch and golden.

I served mine with parmesan mash and spiced apple chutney.

Roast Garlic, Potato and Leek Soup

I told you I love soup so despite the hot weather, here is another soup for you.  This one is from Super Food Ideas, May 2008 issue.  Potato soup is one of my favourites and the roast garlic gives this a beautiful flavour.  I will definitely be making this one again.

Roast garlic, potato and leek soup

2 garlic bulbs, unpeeled, cloves separated
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium leeks, trimmed, halved, washed, sliced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 cups vegetable stock
700g potatoes, peeled, chopped

Preheat oven to 180c.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Place garlic on prepared tray. Drizzle with half the oil.  Roast garlic for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender.  Stand for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.  Squeeze garlic from skins.  Discard skins.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add leeks, celery and 1 tablespoon thyme.  Cook, stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender.  Add stock, 2 cups cold water and potatoes.  Cover and bring to the boil.  reduce heat to medium.  Simmer, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Add garlic.

Remove from heat.  Transfer to a processor.  Process soup until smooth.  Stir in 1/2 cup cold water and remaining thyme leaves.  Return to medium heat.  Cook for 2 minutes or until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper.

Tangy Honey and Mustard Chicken with Tomato and Zucchini Gratin

I got the recipe for the chicken from the latest Delicious magazine (Feb 2010).  The original recipe just used chicken thigh fillets, but I threaded mine on skewers.  The boys really enjoyed this one and have named it tomato sauce chicken.

Tangy Honey and Mustard Chicken

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
8 x 100g chicken thigh fillets

Combine the mustard, honey, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and some salt and pepper in a bowl.  Add the chicken and turn to coat in the mixture.  Allow to marinate for 5 minutes.

Heat a lightly oiled chargrill pan over high heat.  Cook chicken, for 4-5 minutes each side until cooked through.

I served my chicken with celery and apple salad and tomato and zucchini gratin.  The tomato and zucchini gratin is from Bill Granger’s Holiday and is one of my favourite sides for this time of year.  We are able to get beautiful tomatoes and zucchini at the moment and this is a lovely, fresh way to use them.

Tomato and Zucchini Gratin

6 Roma tomatoes
6 zucchini
1 white onion
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3 large potatoes, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180c.  Lightly oil a 2 litre ovenproof dish.  Slice the tomatoes vertically, about 5mm thick.  Slice the zucchini to the same thickness and slice the onion into rounds.  layer the vegetables alternately in the dish, seasoning between the layers with salt and pepper. Scatter the top with the garlic, sprinkle with half the thyme and season again.

Arrange the potatoes, slightly overlapping, in a layer on top of the other vegetables.  Sprinkle with the remaining thyme, season again and drizzle with the oil.  Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes and then leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Cauliflower Soup

I know what you are all going to say, it’s the middle of summer, what on earth are you doing making soup.  Well, I just love soup and the cauliflower at the farmers markets was so fresh and beautiful.  Anyhow soup is great for anyone trying to lose weight, a liquid meal will keep you feeling fuller for longer than a solid meal, and I definitely need to shed some kilos.  Now as you may have already guessed not only is this soup delicious but also low-fat.

My version of Cauliflower Soup

1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
5 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

Add a small amount of olive oil to your pot and over medium heat cook onion until it softens.  Add celery and cook for a further minute.

Add stock, potato, cauliflower, thyme and pepper.  Simmer for 20 minutes until cauliflower and potato and cooked. 

Allow to cool slightly, blend soup, return to heat, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Rocket and Macadamia Pesto

I found this recipe in the latest Good Taste Magazine (Jan 2010).  It’s a great recipe for a light summer dinner.

Rocket and Macadamia Pesto

2 bunches rocket, ends trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves
80g macadamia nuts
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
185ml olive oil
60g finely grated parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Process the rocket, basil, macadamias and garlic in the bowl of a food processor until finely chopped.  With the motor running, gradually add the oil in a thin, steady stream until well combined.

Transfer to a bowl.  Stir in the parmesan and lemon juice.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Fennel and Parmesan Biscuits

I love cheese biscuits, they have to be one of my favourite snacks, I’m always trying new recipes, just in case I come across something extra special.  Well, I think I may have found it.   Some of the problems I have come across in the past with these recipes is not enough cheese, or the cheese being over powered by another ingredient, or the biscuit is too crumbly.

For me this recipe hits all the right notes – a great cheesy flavour, good texture and the fennel just gives it that extra lift.  The recipe is from Donna Hay Magazine Aug/Sept 09

Fennel and Parmesan Biscuits

1 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
150g cold butter, chopped
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon milk, plus extra, for brushing

Place the flour, cornflour, parmesan and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until combined.  Gradually add the butter and with the motor running, process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 

Add the fennel seeds and milk and process until a dough forms.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 15cm log.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

Preheat oven to 180c.

Slice into 5mm rounds and place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper.  Brush with extra milk and sprinkle with extra fennel seeds.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Prawn and Saffron Tagliarini

I found this recipe in the October/November edition of Jamie Oliver’s magazine.  It’s a great summer recipe and quick and easy.

Prawn and Saffron Tagliarini

Good pinch of saffron
50g butter, cut into cubes
extra-virgin olive oil
4 shallots, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
16 raw king prawns, peeled and deveined
200g tagliarini

mint leaves and chopped chilli, to serve

Place saffron in a small bowl with 2-3 tablespoons of hot water.

Melt a little of your butter with some olive oil in a large frying pan and saute shallots and garlic on a medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until soft. 

Add saffron and water and cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn heat to high and add prawns.  Cook for 4-5 minutes, until done. 

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to packet instructions.  Drain and toss into prawns with remaining butter and a ladle of pasta water.  Sprinkle with mint and chilli.

Orange, coconut and almond biscotti

I love biscotti.  I’m not a big biscuit eater, I can go weeks without even thinking about making biscuits, but there is something about biscotti.  I find myself returning to the biscuit tin.  The good thing about these is they keep in an airtight container for months so make a great gift.

Orange, coconut and almond biscotti

orange, coconut and almond biscotti

2 eggs
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
1 1/3 cups (200g) plain flour
1/3 cup (50g) self raising flour
2/3 cup (50g) shredded coconut
1 cup (160g) blanced almonds

Preheat oven to 180c.  Grease oven trays.
Whisk eggs, sugar and rind in medium bowl.  Stir in sifted flours, coconut and nuts, mix to a sticky dough.
Knead dough on floured surface until smooth.  Divide dough into two portions.  Using floured hands, roll each portion into a 20cm log; place logs on oven tray.
Bake logs about 35 minutes.  Cool logs on tray 10 minutes.
Reduce oven to 160c.
Using a serrated knife, cut logs diagonally into 1cm slices.  Place slices, in single layer, on ungreased oven trays.  Bake biscotti about 25 minutes or until dry and crisp, turning over half way through cooking.  Transfer to wire racks to cool.

From Australian Womans Weekly Bake

Scotch Eggs

I love scotch eggs, but it’s not something I’ve had for a while.  I recently found a cook book called “Like Grandma Used to Make” in a salvation army store.  It’s full of good traditional recipes and this was one of them.

Herby Scotch Eggs

scotch eggs

650g pork sausage meat (I used pork mince and gave it a blitz in the food processor to fine it up)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
I added chopped fresh chives although that wasn’t in the original recipe
2 teaspoons tomato paste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 eggs, hard-boiled and shelled
3 tablespoons plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup fine white breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying

Put the sausage meat into a bowl.  Add the parsley, sage, tomato paste and salt and pepper and mix well.

Divide the mixture into six equal pieces.  Dry the hard-boiled eggs with paper towels and roll them in a little flour until evenly coated.

With floured hands, take a piece of sausage meat and flatten it into a round.  Place an egg in the centre and wrap the sausage meat around it, pinching the join together.  Shape neatly and set aside.  Repeat with remaining eggs.

Lightly coat eggs in flour, then with the beaten egg and breadcrumbs.  Deep fry the eggs in batches, for 10-15 minutes or until they are golden brown.  I shallow fried mine.  Serve with tomato relish.

Cake Decorating

I was asked to make this cake as a favour for the University of Canberra Student Association.  I’m really pleased with the result, especially as I only had three days notice.  Not bad for a quick job.


The cake is actually two 10 inch chocolate cakes covered in chocolate buttercream.  The UCSA logo is made from sugarpaste and the writing is royal icing.

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