Curry powder – all purpose

Posted on Nov 22, 2015 in Cooking


Madras Curry Powder

Posted on Nov 22, 2015 in Cooking


Musaman Lamb curry

Posted on Nov 22, 2015 in Cooking

Spice Cookbook



Red Curry Paste

Posted on Nov 22, 2015 in Cooking

Spice Cookbook



Pizza Base

Posted on Nov 22, 2015 in Cooking


Chickpea and Lentil Salad

Posted on Nov 22, 2015 in Cooking

Womens Weekly Cookbook – Simply Salads

Chickpea and lentil salad

  • 3/4 cup (105g) sun-dried tomatoes, drained, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 415 g canned brown lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 410 g canned chickpeas, rinsed, drained
  • 250 g silver beet, trimmed, finely shredded


  1. To make a dressing, blend or process ¼ cup of the sun-dried tomatoes, oil and juice until finely chopped.
  2. Place lentils, chickpeas, silver beet, half the dressing and remaining sun-dried tomatoes in a large bowl. Toss gently to combine, season to taste.
  3. Serve salad topped with remaining dressing.

Korean Chicken Noodle Soup

Posted on Nov 22, 2015 in Cooking

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 16 cups water
  • 16 peeled garlic cloves (about ½ cup)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
  • 3½ cup all purpose flour, plus ⅓ cup flour to dust
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks (about 1½ cup)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • vegetable oil
  • sesame oil
  • salt
  • fish sauce (or soup soy sauce)
  • ground black pepper

Start the broth:

Put water, chicken breast, garlic, and onion in a large stock pot and boil for 1 hour over high heat.

While it boils, make the noodle dough:

Combine flour, starch, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and 1¼ water in a large bowl.
Mix with a wooden spoon to form a lump. Knead it by hand until it forms as ball. Put it into a plastic bag, seal it, and let it sit in the fridge or on the kitchen counter for 10 minutes.

Take the dough out of the plastic bag, knead it for 2 to 5 minutes, and then put it back in. Kneading it in stages like this, and storing it in the plastic bag between sessions will make it soft and pliable with a minimum of effort.

Prepare the zucchini:

Combine the zucchini matchsticks with ¼ teaspoon salt and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
Squeeze the excess water out by hand and sautee with a few drops of vegetable oil in a pan. Set aside.

Finish the stock:

After an hour of boiling, remove from the heat. Strain. The stock will be about 13 cups at this point and it should look clear but a little milky.
Add 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons fish sauce (or soup soy sauce) or to taste. Mix well and put it back to the stock pot. Set aside.

Make garlic seasoning paste:

Collect the cooked garlic into a small bowl and mash it with a spoon. Add 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Mix well and set aside.
Pull the chicken into thin strips with your fingers and mix it in with the garlic mixture. Set aside.

Make noodles:

Take out the dough and knead it again for a couple of minutes until it’s really smooth. Divide the dough into 2 balls.
Dust a large cutting board or clean kitchen table with flour and put the dough on it. Roll it out with a rolling pin to a circle about 18 inches wide and 1/16 inch thick (1 or 2 mm). Flip it over occasionally to make it even, round, and flat. If you need to, sprinkle some flour on it when you flip, to keep it from sticking.

Evenly spread some flour on the dough, and fold it over 3 or 4 times. Cut it into thin noodles, about 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle some flour on them, and gently mix them up to separate them and spread the flour evenly.
Make noodles with the other ball of dough but repeating the steps above.

Make soup:

Bring the stock to a boil and add the noodles. Stir with a wooden spoon and cover.
Cook for 4 to 6 minutes until all the noodles float and some bubbles form on the surface. Remove from the heat.
Ladle into large individual bowls. Put some zucchini on the center of each bowl and add some chicken. Sprinkle some chopped green onion over top, and serve immediately with kimchi and few more side dishes if you have them.
To make spicy version:

Combine 2 table spoons hot pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a small bowl. Mix well and serve. When you eat, add some of the mixture to your noodle soup and eat.

Chocolate Almond Torte

Posted on Nov 22, 2015 in Cooking

Chocolate Almond Torte:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (100 grams) slivered or sliced blanched almonds (can also use whole blanched almonds)
  • 150 grams granulated white sugar, divided
  • 170 grams semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 170 grams unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar

Chocolate Almond Torte: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Butter, or spray with a nonstick cooking spray, an 8 x 3 inch (20 x 8 cm) springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

Separate the eggs while they are still cold, placing the egg yolks in one bowl and the egg whites in another. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and let stand until they reach room temperature (about 30 minutes).

Place the almonds, along with 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of the sugar, in your food processor and process until finely ground. (Don’t overprocess or you’ll end up with a grainy paste.)

Melt the chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Then place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup (100 grams) of the granulated white sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (can use a hand mixer). Beat the yolks and sugar until pale and thick (about 2 to 3 minutes). Beat in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. Fold in the ground almonds and salt.

Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment (can also use a hand mixer), and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Fold about 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it. Quickly fold in the rest of the whites and mix only until incorporated.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake has a few moist crumbs. (The top of the torte will be dry with cracks)  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. The cake will rise during baking but falls during cooling, leaving a crisp and cracked crust. Once cool, run a spatula around the inside of the pan before releasing the sides. Serve at room temperature or cold. If desired, dust with powdered sugar. Serve plain or with whipped cream, vanilla cream, or a custard sauce (creme anglaise).
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One-Pot Mujadara

Posted on Nov 22, 2015 in Cooking


  • 2 cup brown or green lentils
  • 5 teaspoons salt, more as needed
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups long-grain rice
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 bay leaf
  • curry leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 7 cups stock


Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans

Posted on Nov 22, 2015 in Cooking


  • 1 KG dried black beans
  • 2 l chicken or vegetable broth
  • 12 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, or 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes (ADD AT THE END)

Home made ginger beer – yummy, cheap Chrissy gift!

Posted on Nov 7, 2013 in Cooking, Ferments and pickles, Handmade Christmas
Home made ginger beer – yummy, cheap Chrissy gift!

Home made ginger beer – a perfect festive gift for the budget-savvy.

I’m making my friends homemade ginger beer for Christmas this year! Shhhhhhh!

It’s dirt cheap because it’s only got three ingredients: sugar, water and ginger root! Double shhhhhhhhh!

We’ve made a batch already and it is DELICIOUS; definitely of comparable yumminess to any commercially produced ginger beer (although maybe not as alcoholic).

I got it from my newfound fermenting Bible, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.

So, how do you make it? First, you need bottles… these may be obtained from around the house, as we did for our first batch.  However, if you want a more professional set-up, you can also purchase and drink a carton of beer. Tim put up his hand for this particular task… it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!

We’re buying crown caps and a capper from a home brewer supplier. You don’t have to do this, but if you don’t, your bottle lids don’t seal as well. Your ginger beer will still be delicious, but won’t be as fizzy as it would be if it were tightly sealed with proper caps.

Next, you need to make the beer starter, or ‘ginger bug’ as Katz calls it.

This is what you need for the starter bug:

Two teaspoons of fresh, coarsely grated ginger (I used a lovely organic root).

Two teaspoons of sugar (I used raw)

One cup of water (I used filtered, slightly warmed).

You also need cloth and rubber bands, but I was far too disorganised to think of that and rubber bands seem to be abundant in my house until I actually need one, so I used mesh and wool!

Stir the ginger and sugar into the water, then cover with the ‘cloth’ and ‘rubber band’. Put it in a warm spot. As I am definitely NOT dreaming of a whire Christmas here in sub-tropical Australia, it wasn’t too hard to find a warm spot. However, if you’re somewhere chilly, you could try putting your bug on a water heater or in a room that stays warm or something of that nature. An oven light is meant to be quite good.

I made two bugs. Aren’t they pretty? Now, I just leave the bug to do its thing for a night. Tick-tock-tick-tock!

This recipe for home made ginger beer was originally published in Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. I have reviewed his book more extensively in a cook book review, but suffice to say here that he is something of a guru on the ailing art of fermenting food. Katz points out that the post-refrigeration generations have abandoned a process of preserving food that had been part of our cultural practices up until that point – whereas now we freeze foods, or load them up with chemical preservatives, generations past used fermenting to culture healthy, protective bacteria to prolong the shelf-life of food.

Katz believes that this bacteria can support healthy immune function, enabling our system to build better defences against pathogens. As a result, we become more robust. While I cannot verify the science behind Katz’ claims, he does make some very plausible arguments – and the proof is in the pudding, perhaps; Katz continues a healthy and active life despite being diagnosed with HIV more than a decade ago.

Whether or not his claims are true, I can attest that his recipe yields damn good ginger beer – not too sweet, pleasantly gingery, alcoholic enough for an adults-only rating without overwhelming the consumer. Give it a go!

Old fashioned, aged Christmas cake

Posted on Dec 4, 2011 in Baking, Cooking, Ferments and pickles
Old fashioned, aged Christmas cake

This isn’t exactly a ferment, but it is definitely food-play that extends out of the boundaries of modern storage and preservation. It’s basically a cake that is preserved for several weeks via regular brandy sozzlings!

A new friend, Alanna Main gave me this recipe. It is her Grandma Sannie’s recipe. I felt very honoured to receive this treasured family recipe and even more grateful that Alanna has allowed me to share it in blog form.

This is my first attempt at making an aged Christmas cake and I am very excited! I actually made two; one slightly moister than the other, because I was unsure which would yeild better results. Here’s how I made it.


Ingredients: 1,375 g mixed dried and/or glace fruits.

Alanna used

  • 375g sultanas
  • 250g raisins
  • 250g currants
  • 400g glace fruit

I cheated here and used a bag of currants and a big bag of ‘Christmas cake mix’ from my local health food shop – it contained dried and glace fruit and nuts. Why do health food stores sell glace fruit? Anyone? Anyway, moving right along.

The cake also contains:

  • 250g butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup SR flour
  • A large can of apricot nectar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • A big bottle of brandy
  • Blanched almonds

Combine the fruit, sugar, spices and apricot nectar in a saucepan. Stir while heating to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. I loved the caramel smell and appearance at this stage. Look! Mmmmmm.

Cool this mix to room temperature.

Meanwhile, prepare a cake tin or tins. I had enough mix to fill two regular sized, round spring-form tins. First, line the tin with brown paper, doubled over, and with a high ‘collar’ above the tin. Line this with baking paper pressed firmly into the sides.


Once your cake mix has cooled, add eggs and stir. Stir in sifted dry ingredients. Pour into the prepared cake tin(s) and decorate with blanched almonds. Bake in a slow (160 degrees C) oven for 2 1/2 hours, or until a skewer pushed to the bottom of the cake comes out clean.

Pour about 1/2 a cup of brandy over the hot cake – it will give off a most satisfying sizzling sound. Wrap the brown paper around the cake. Leave it to cool.

Once it is cool, pour over another 1/2 cup of brandy.

It is now time to do what Sannie apparently called ‘putting the cake to bed’.

Wrap the cake in the paper again, followed by two layers of aluminium foil, to prevent it from drying out.

Every few weeks or so, add a bit more brandy before re-wrapping.

The cake is supposed to be at its best after six weeks – alas, I’ve left it a touch too late for that! If stored well, it can keep for months!

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