Fabulous easy pasta

This is seriously the concoction of what I had in the fridge that day! It is so fast, fresh and fabulous that I go out of my way to ensure I have the ingredients to cook it on purpose now! My kids go back for seconds, and it freezes really well, so this simple dish is a winner in my house!

Ingredients

1 small onion, sliced

2 tsp garlic paste or 3 cloves of garlic crushed

4 sprigs box basil

A handful of parsley

350ml tomato puree or passata

6 pieces of grilled red and yellow capsicum (from the deli or jar or maybe from leftovers)

250g zucchini spaghetti – as in the fresh curly zucchini strips

Dash of olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Method

Heat a saucepan, splashing a dash of olive oil in. Add the onions and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Now add the herbs, passata and capsicum. Salt and pepper to your liking. Simmer for ten minutes. Steam the zucchini curls, then add to your sauce. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Fabulous easy pasta

Ginger cookies

Originally I started making real ginger cookies to make it on boat trips. As in, on a lake my tummy would be upset. Then I found watching cricket does the same…. Weird connection! So the natural ginger in these settles my gut down and allows me to go on a barge over to the islands, and watch that 6 get pelted over the fence!

Ingredients

250g butter, melted or very soft

200g brown sugar

1 egg

2 cups plain wholemeal flour

1 tsp ground ginger

2 cm grated fresh ginger

 

Method

Combine the butter and sugar. Then add the egg, flour and ginger, mixing all the ingredients together. Roll tablespoon portions of the mix in your hands and place on a lined baking tray, about 3 cm apart. Mark with the back of a fork (as traditionally done for ginger cookies)! Bake in 180 degree Celsius oven for about 15 minutes. Try not to eat them all in one go! Have a fabulous time making them!

Ginger cookies

Simple pork wontons

These are so delicious!! I love how the crispy outside and the warm soft inside collide in your mouth when you eat them! My son loves these, and he makes them from scratch, so if we can, you can!

Ingredients

½ stick lemongrass, finely diced

5 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 chilli, finely chopped

A handful of coriander, finely chopped

1 red onion, finely diced

1 kg pork mince

120 wonton wrappers – or just 20 – your choice!

1 egg

Method

Place the herbs and spices in a saucepan with a little oil and fry for a minute, then add the pork mince and cook until done. Set aside to cool. Put the egg in a cup and whisk with a fork for a minute. Set aside. Once the mixture is fairly cool place a heaped teaspoon in the middle of a wonton wrapper, then close over and seal with egg wash. Fry in small batches, in a small amount of hot oil, or a deep fryer if you have one. I don’t so I just fry in an inch of oil and turn over after two minutes or so, to do both sides. Drain the wontons well.

This does make 120, or for a smaller affair, you can always make the amount you need, and then use the leftover filling for other dishes. It freezes well and the flavours combine a bit more over time, so it is not a bad thing! I like to serve the leftover filling a week later in crispy iceberg lettuce cups, drizzled with a little sesame oil. I serve the wontons with a little garden salad to take the edge of the fry. However you eat these wontons, and whatever you do with all of the filling, enjoy!

Simple pork wontons

Scones

Scones are apt any time of day, be it breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea or a late night treat! I have previously posted a scone recipe here with wholemeal flour and raw sugar. This is my white flour, caster sugar version. However you make and bake your scones, just love them! They are simply a staple.

Ingredients

60 g butter

3 cups self-raising flour

2 tbs caster sugar

1 ½ cups buttermilk

1 tbs milk for brushing

1 tbs raw sugar for sprinkles if you like

 

Method

Rub the butter, cold, into the flour until it looks like crumbs. Add the sugar and buttermilk, stirring with a flat knife. Once combined, knead a little, add a little more flour if you think it needs it, and then work into a ball. Flatten out to about 4cm tall and then either use a scone cutter to press out your scones, or use your hands and freehand it. Place the scones in a round cake baking tin close to each other so they are all touching. Brush with a little milk and sprinkle some raw sugar as if you’re a faery! Bake in a hot oven around 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes or until brown. As a variation sometimes I add fresh blueberries after kneading for a pop of oozy goodness. Serve with butter, jam, fresh berries and cream… whatever your heart desires! Enjoy your beautiful scones!

Scones

Reef fish & pasta bake

So you BBQ’d your reef fish and you’ve got great leftovers. This is so scrumptious in Summer or Winter, it is the perfect homely dish to give you a big warm hug.

Ingredients

500 g reef fish

A handful of button mushrooms, sliced

500g orenchetti

500 ml cream

2 tbs butter

Handful of grated cheese

Handful of dill, chopped

Salt and pepper to your liking

 

Method

Boil the pasta to al dente as per packet instructions. In a separate saucepan combine the cream, butter, dill, mushrooms and fish. Season to your liking. Drain the pasta and add to the fish sauce. Toss around a bit and then slide into a deep dish, like a small ceramic lasagne plate. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake in the oven on 180 degrees Celsius for about 12 minutes until cheese is melted. Your kitchen will smell incredible! This dish will transport you to lazy days on the beach ending with a glass of vino as you wrap your cardigan around your shoulders, clutching your bowl of beautiful fresh baked reef fish pasta.

 

Reef fish & pasta bake

Herbed BBQ reef fish

I love simple flavours and easy food!! Buy as direct as you can to get the best reef fish. I made this for an informal affair with family, cake and good wine! It was a lovely day, and almost everyone commented how fabulous the fish was! This is sure to impress, yet is so simple. The fish really speaks for itself. Have a go!

Ingredients

A whole reef fish, gutted and scaled

1 lemon

½ handful box basil

½ handful oregano sprigs

½ handful chopped parsley

A pinch of salt

A good crack of pepper

 

Method

Chop lemon into pieces and tear up the herbs. Place the fish on a piece of alfoil or baking paper. Dot the lemon and herbs underneath and on top of the fish. Wrap the fish. Place the fish wrapped on a medium heat BBQ for 10 minutes. Carefully pick up the package and turn it over, for a further 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your fish. Serve immediately and watch everyone flock to the table!

In the picture you can see two fish, one is plain and the other herbed. Both delicious!

Herbed BBQ reef fish

My twin sister’s chocolate birthday cake

I adore my sisters. They are all fabulous and caring, loving and fun people! My youngest are twin 11 year old girls who love to cook, enjoy flavours and appreciate food! With determination and love, I set out to make the most scrumptious birthday cake I could, and this is what turned out. It is no Master Chef moment, but it is yummy!

 

Ingredients

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup caster sugar

¾ cup cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

3 tbs sour cream

¾ cup milk

1 cup hot chocolate, I use Jarrah sachets

½ cup olive oil

 

Chocolate frosting ingredients

1 ½ cups icing powder

3 tbs Hershey’s chocolate spread

2 tbs cacao powder

125g butter

Splash of milk

 

Method

Combine the sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt and stir around until mixed together. Add the wet ingredients now; eggs, sour cream, milk, hot chocolate and oil. Use an electric mixer on a medium speed for a couple of minutes. The mixture will be thin and a little glossy from the hot water in the hot chocolate. Pour the mixture into 2 baking tins that are greased or lined. For this particular cake I used a 22cm round cake tin and filled it almost half way, then poured the rest of the mix into a 10cm base high tin. Place both cakes into a moderate oven, about 180 degrees Celsius for about 35 to 40 minutes (depending on your tins) – just keep an eye on them. At the 35 minute mark if they look done touch the top and if it springs back it is ready, if not it needs a bit more. Let the cakes cool in their tins.

For the chocolate frosting I am using a new experiment! Place the butter, icing powder, chocolate spread and cacao powder in a saucepan on low heat and stir until combined and smooth. Add a dash of milk and stir vigorously. This enables the icing have a beautiful gloss.

Once your cakes are cool, assemble together with a little frosting in between, then frost the outside with as little or as much as you like. The quantity provided allows for a good coating. See, should have been a plasterer! Decorate with whatever you like – round little balls, fruits, shaved chocolate, all of the above, nothing – whatever your heart desires (or in this case the birthday girl’s requests)! I have used shaved chocolate and blueberries (the birthday girl’s have fabulous taste my dears)! Serve with love and a pleasant rendition of ‘happy birthday’! xo

My twin sister’s chocolate birthday cake