Category Archives: recipe

Recipe: Quick Chicken Hot Pot

QUICK CHICKEN HOT POT – takes 1 1/2 hours to prepare and cook

Method

Set the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Make a herb, lemon rind and garlic butter and gently stuff under  breast skin of whole organic chicken. Season inside and out with salt and pepper. Cover breast meat with prosciutto and place lemon halves inside cavity. Place in a Dutch oven, add 3 halved potatoes, 3 carrots and 2 cups of white wine and bake for one hour. Add a handful of green beans at the end and let them steam for a five minutes. Finish with lid off under the grill to crisp up the prosciutto.

Recipe : The best scones ever

A warm winter’s afternoon shouldn’t be wasted. I have a girlfriend dropping in for afternoon tea. So of course I have to bake some scones. This recipe is from my lovely friend Ingrid who found it in a country women’s cookbook. No wonder it’s delicious and fool-proof.

Recipe:

3 cups self raising flour
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
Good pinch of salt
 
Method
Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees celsius.
Melt the butter in half the milk( I do this in a large mug in the microwave) and then add to the rest of the milk. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and using a fork gently incorporate the milk mixture into the flour. The mix should be quite moist. Turn onto a floured bench. Press together being careful not to overwork the dough and cut into scones.
Place on a greased tray and bake until the tops are golden brown (about 15 mins). Serve with thick cream and your favourite jam.
I love this recipe because the scones develop a lovely crunchy crust but stay light and fluffy inside.

Recipe: Chocolate Banana Bread

When the temperature drops like this my ‘need-to-bake’ gene switches into full force. Crank up the oven, grab a bowl and a wooden spoon et voila! a little treat to enjoy with your afternoon cuppa – or in your lunch box.
This banana bread recipe is from Bill Granger. It is absolutely delicious. Dust it with icing sugar or toast a slice and slather it with butter.  I do find this recipe a little sweet so instead of 1 cup of sugar I use just 3/4 of a cup. And make sure your bananas are over-ripe for an extra gooey texture.
INGREDIENTS:
2 cups plain flour
2 tspns baking powder
1 cup caster sugar
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
125 g unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 cup dark choc chips
METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease a 24cm x 13cm x 7cm loaf tin. Sift the flour and baking power in a bowl and add the caster sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the bananas, butter, eggs, vanilla and choc chips. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 1 1/4 hours or until when a skewer is inserted in the centre it comes away clean.

Recipe – Chocolate fondant with lavender flower cream

 The perfect spring dessert
Yay for Spring! The lavender is out, the bees are dropping in again and the balcony plants are bursting back into life.
The lavender variety I’m growing has large soft lilac flowers with a gentler aroma than the tight hedge variety. The flowers are perfect stirred through some cream and served with a luscious oozy chocolate pudding.
Recipe: Chocolate fondant with lavender blossom cream
Ingredients:
350 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
50g soft butter
150g caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons plain flour
For lavender blossom cream
1 cup of thick cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
5-6 lavender flower buds
Method:
To make the lavender cream: beat the cream and sugar with a whisk until it is thick. Stir in the lavender flowers and set aside in the fridge for the flavours to infuse.
Grease 6 dariole moulds and place them on a baking tray.
Melt the chocolate by placing a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water making sure the bowl does not touch the water.
Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Add the flour and mix well. Add the melted chocolate and beat to form a smooth batter.
Divide the chocolate mixture evenly between the 6 moulds. At this stage the fondants can be set aside in the fridge for up to a day.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Place the fondants in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Check them by inserting a skewer. They should still be gooey and runny in the middle. They should be cooked at least a 1cm in from the edge.
When ready, turn the dariole moulds on to a plate and serve with a dusting of icing sugar and a large dollop of the lavender cream.

If the word fondant made you break out into a cold sweat in the past you have got to try this recipe.
Fail safe, delicious .. your friends and family will swoon…

Recipe: The Easiest Rabbit Stew

I have the sniffles this week. Nothing serious but if I leave it unchecked it could develop into a Dreaded ‘Flu that seems to be inflicting everyone at the moment.
In the absence of my mum’s restorative chicken soup, I went in search of something equally comforting…………. R A B B I T.
I know it’s not everyone’s idea of comfort food but that’s just because many people have a phobia about this delicious meat – my favourite white meat actually.
The key to enjoying the subtle succulent juiciness of rabbit is slow cooking. Either poach your rabbit pieces in a broth and then remove the bones to use in a pie or do what I did and go to your nearest farmers market buy a farmed rabbit, smoked pancetta, some fresh herbs, bay leaves, carrots, onions and potatoes and let your oven do the rest. This stew was so delicious – lovely fall-apart meat with a deep flavoursome sauce and sweet vegetables.

Recipe: Rabbit Stew
(adapted from a  recipe by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)
Ingredients:
1 farmed rabbit,1.2 kg (or wild if you can get hold of one) jointed
2 tablespoons plain flour, for dusting
250g smoked pancetta, cut into lardons
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, diced
4 celery sticks, diced
4 potatoes, halved
2 fresh bay leaves
 2 sprigs of thyme ( more if you like its woodiness)
500 ml chicken stock ( homemade if you have a stash)
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
salt and freshly ground black pepper
boiling water

Method:
Set the oven to 120 degrees celsius.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a casserole pot and gently fry the pancetta until it crisps and releases a little of its porky fatty juices. Transfer the pancetta to a warm plate.
Now lightly dust the rabbit pieces in flour and brown them being careful not to crowd the pot. Place the rabbit pieces with the pancetta.If you have any burnt bits of flour in your pot wipe clean with some paper towel.
Heat the other tablespoon of olive oil  in the pot and sweat your onions, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaves until they are translucent without any colour, about ten minutes.
Now add your red wine vinegar and honey and reduce by half.
Throw in your chicken stock, return your rabbit pieces and pancetta and check for seasoning. Throw in your potatoes, add enough water to just cover the rabbit and bring to the boil.
Take off the heat and cook gently in the oven for 1 and 1/2 hours or until rabbit is very soft. (I removed all the saddle and breast pieces and left the legs in for another 40 minutes until they were very tender. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of your critter)
Serve the stew hot with some rice, polenta or just on its own.
I can’t believe its not chicken
This dish will convert any rabbit phobe

Edible Balcony – Strawberry and white chocolate ganache tartlets

Winter isn’t kind to the Edible Balcony. The summer and autumn lushness has been replaced by plant stasis. But it does mark strawberry season.
These juicy red jewels have been well-worth waiting for.
This large Tioga variety is growing amongst the nasturtiums in hanging baskets.
Not as fragrant as my smaller variety in the pots but still sweet and juicy.
I still have to do a morning caterpillar patrol to make sure the slugs don’t enjoy them before I do.
They made a perfect topping for some tartlets for afternoon tea.
The tart shells are a good quality pre-bought range that come in boxes of 24.
I made a quick ganache filling using 250g of melted white chocolate mixed with 1/3 cup of fresh pouring cream. 
I sliced the fresh strawberries into quarters and glazed them with some warmed strawberry jam.
Anyone for tea?

Edible Balcony – Heirloom Radishes with garlic and anchovy sauce

After the disappointment of my failed broccoli, pumpkin and meagre pea crops… all I can say is ‘Thank God!’ for root vegetables. After harvesting a bumper pot of carrots, the radishes that survived the Aphid Attack from Outer Space were ready to come out yesterday.
These are a multi-coloured heirloom mix from The Diggers Club. Relatively quick and easy to grow even on a balcony. Just keep them well-watered. Aren’t they so pretty?

I wanted to enjoy the full flavour of my radishes so I replicated a recipe I enjoyed during my recent trip to France.
In a mortar and pestle I crushed two garlic cloves and 5 anchovy fillets ( if you can afford the Oritz brand lucky you) into a paste and then emulsified the paste with about 1/3 cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil, then added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Either pour the sauce over your radishes (and, of course, you can use many vegetables instead/as well – cauliflower florets, green beans, carrots, boiled potatoes etc) or just dip the vegetable crudites into your sauce dish.
Wow! These radishes were so crunchy with a wonderful lingering mustardy hotness. And this sauce would be wonderful just spread on crusty bread.
I think I’ll put in another lot of radish seeds if this variety is going to taste this good!.