Monday, 31 March 2008

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I haven't baked anything for a while so decided to change that by baking this delicious chocolate chip banana bread. its quick & easy to make as it takes less than an hour.

Ingredients (serves 10)

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 cup choc bits
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • pure icing sugar, to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease base and sides of a 7cm deep, 13.5cm x 24cm (base) loaf pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends.
  2. Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a bowl. Stir in sugar and choc bits. Mix well. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, oil and banana in a jug. Stir into flour mixture. Spoon into loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  3. Stand loaf in pan for 10 minutes. Lift onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Lamb Shank & Pasta Soup

I love cooking in the cooler weather, and I especially love making soups. I recently made this new soup recipe I found using left over lamb from my Easter roast. it was delicious & will be made again.

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • olive oil cooking spray

  • 2 lean lamb shanks, trimmed

  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped

  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 400g can diced tomatoes

  • 4 cups salt-reduced beef stock

  • 3/4 cup small macaroni pasta

  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, finely shredded

  • 4 crusty wholegrain bread rolls, to serve


  1. Lightly spray a large saucepan with oil. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add lamb shanks and cook, turning, for 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

  2. Increase heat to medium-high. Return lamb to pan. Add tomatoes, stock and 2 cups cold water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover. Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes or until lamb is tender. Remove lamb shanks to a board. Shred meat.

  3. Return soup to the boil over high heat. Stir in pasta. Cover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until pasta is tender. Add shredded lamb and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into shallow bowls. Serve with crusty bread rolls.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Roast Pork with Honey & Maple Pears

Roast Pork makes a regular appearance at our table. I usually serve it with apples but this time after reading about pork served with pears I decided to go with that idea for a change. there's really no recipe (sorry). just cook the pork to your liking along with some potatoes and desired vegies. put the quartered pears in for the last half hour (approx). while the meats resting drizzle the pears & vegies with honey and maple syrup, then return to the oven to caramelize slightly. serve the pork with the honey maple vegies & gravy (if liked). if you can't or don't wish to eat pork this is also nice with chicken. :-)

Friday, 21 March 2008

Chicken Cacciatore

Last night (thursday) I made one of my favourite Italian dishes chicken cacciatore, for the Festa Italiana food event hosted by Marie from Proud Italian Cook & Maryann from Finding La Dolce Vita. I served the chicken with crusty bread, simple but very delicious. here's the recipe!

Ingredients (serves 4)
8 chicken pieces
plain flour, for dusting
salt and cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 cup (160ml) chicken stock
1/2 cup (125ml) white wine
400g can chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup kalamata olives
2 tablespoons oregano leaves
bay leaves

Dust chicken pieces in combined flour, salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in batches, for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and cook for 4 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in stock, wine and tomatoes, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir through olives and oregano, and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Little Lemon & Poppy Seed Cakes

These cute little cakes may only be bite sized but they're packed with tangy lemon flavour. being quick & easy to make is an extra bonus :-)

Preparation Time 10 minutes

Cooking Time 12 minutes

Makes 12

2 cups (250g) self raising flour
1 cup (200g) sugar
2 tbs poppy seeds
2 tbs finely grated lemon rind
2 tbl spoons lemon juice
1 cup (250ml) milk
1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable oil
1 egg


Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 12 x 100ml capacity muffin pan with paper cases.
Sift flour into a large bowl. Add sugar, poppy seeds and rind and mix well.
Whisk milk, juice, oil and egg together in a small jug. Pour into flour mixture and gently mix until just combined.
Spoon mixture evenly into paper cases and bake for about 12 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

You Make My Day Award

Ruth from Ruths kitchen experiments has kindly given me the *you make my day award*. thank you Ruth its very sweet of you & it means a lot :-)

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Spaghetti Bolognese

We love pasta in our home & spaghetti is one of our favourites. every time I cook spaghetti bolognese the recipe is different, I've lost count of the versions I have made of this classic pasta dish. the latest one I've made is from Australian chef Neil Perry & tho different from the usual in that you use pork as well as beef mince (makes it lovely & rich) and that you mix the pasta and sauce together before serving (I usually top the pasta with sauce), it is still delicious. the only change I made was to simmer the sauce for longer than 20 minutes, approx 1 hour.


  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ Brown Onion (Finely Chopped)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (Chopped)
  • 1 small Carrot (Diced)
  • 1 stick Celery (Diced)
  • 100 Smoky Bacon (Diced)
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 300g Beef Mince
  • 300g Pork Mince
  • 1 cup Red Wine
  • 1 tin Italian Tomato (Roughly Chopped)
  • ¾ bunch Fresh Thyme (Roughly Chopped)
  • 100g Dried Spaghetti (Per Person)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano


Heat a little olive oil in a large fry pan.

  1. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, bacon and salt all together and caramelise.
  2. Add the mince and a little extra salt and cook 3 minutes, stirring to colour the mince well.
  3. Add the red wine and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the thyme. While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water.
  6. To serve, add the cooked pasta to the sauce, stir well and spoon on to a serving plate with freshly grated parmesan.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Corn & Potato Chowder

International Women's Day

I made this soup for international Womans Day, one of the hosts is Zorra at Kotchtop two day. It's easy to make and tastes delicious. I thought its bright yellow colour was very fitting.

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 tsp butter100g ham, chopped
1 onion, sliced
500g small washed potatoes, peeled, cut into 3cm chunks
1L (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
1 440g can corn kernels, drained
1 440g can creamed corn
S & P, to taste

MethodHeat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the ham for 3 minutes. Add the onion and cook for a further 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Stir in the potatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the corn and creamed corn and simmer gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve hot.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Butterscotch Choc Chip Muffins

I love butterscotch so when I came across this recipe I just had to try it. I'm glad I did as its delicious. you can leave out the choc chips & serve the muffins warm with a caramel sauce, I might do that next time. heres the recipe for both the muffins & the caramel sauce!

2 1/2 (375g) cups self-raising flour
1 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups (310ml) buttermilk
90g unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup choc chips

Caramel sauce
3/4 cup (185g) sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) warm water
40g unsalted butter
1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) thickened cream

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 12 hole (1/2 cup/125ml capacity) muffin pan with cooking spray.
Sift flour into a large bowl and stir in sugar. Whisk buttermilk, melted butter and egg together. Add to flour, add choc chips, mix until just combined. Do not over-mix.
Divide mixture evenly between muffin pans until three-quarters full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden in colour and cooked when tested. Cool for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire cake rack.
Meanwhile, place sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir over low heat with a wooden spoon until sugar has dissolved. Simmer without stirring until a caramel colour. Remove from heat, add butter and brown sugar. Stir until dissolved. Carefully add cream to pan, take care as the mixture may spit and stir until smooth. Cool until slightly thickened. Serve warm muffins drizzled with caramel sauce.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Nice Matters Award

The lovely Rosie from Rosie bakes a peace of cake has very kindly given me the nice Matters award. Really I'm so pleased and appreciate it so much. Thank you Rosie.

The people I'm passing the award on to are

Ruth from Ruths kitchen experiments

Jeena from Jeenas Kitchen

Happy Cook from my Kitchen Treasures

Robin from Made with Love

Maria from the Goddess Kitchen

I send the award on to them with my heartfelt thanks for the kindness & encouragement they have shown me, just by visiting my blog. Thanks ladies :-)