Tag Archives: Recipes

Ottolenghi’s Walnut, Fig and Goat’s Cheese Salad (+Bonus Fig and Proscuitto Pizza)

8 Mar

Everyone seems to love the Ottolenghi cookbook, so when I tried a few recipes from it and my reactions ranged from “it’s okaaay but not worth the effort” to “oh God I’m going to be sick” I figured I had done something wrong and tucked those blog posts away in shame.

I was leafing dejectedly through my Ottolenghi cookbook the other day when I saw a recipe that I knew would be fine – I’ve never met a combination of walnuts, figs and goat’s cheese that I didn’t like!

The salad is supposed to serve 4, but if it’s you are a big eater it will easily serve 2. Also I cheated a bit – I didn’t have mint and parsley so I just used a mix of random salad greens.

I think I cooked the sauce a little too long because it was quite thick at the end – more jammy than dressing-like, which meant that it clumped instead of spreading out nicely over the salad. Oh well, lesson learned!

We had lamb cutlets with the salad. It was a delicious (though somewhat high calorie) meal, and afterwards James made a point to tell me how much he had enjoyed it. =) I think he is trying to encourage me to make it again.



  • 125ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 60ml red wine vinegar
  • 50g honey
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  • 50g walnuts, broken
  • 100g soft goat’s cheese, crumbled
  • 20g mint leaves
  • 25g flat parsley leaves
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 fresh figs, halved or quartered


  1. Place all the sauce ingredients in a heavy-based saucepan, stir and put over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until reduced by two thirds. Remove from the heat and keep somewhere warm.
  2. Place the walnuts in a non-stick frying pan and toast over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
  3. Gently toss together all the salad ingredients, apart from the figs, seasoning with salt and pepper. Make sure the components stay separate and that the cheese doesn’t smear the leaves.
  4. Place the figs on the serving plate and pile the salad next to them. Drill a small amount of sauce over the figs and salad.

Also I had some leftover figs so a couple of days later I made a pita bread pizza with them.

From memory the toppings were olive tapenade, figs, brie and proscuitto, with rosemary sprigs and balsamic vinegar drizzled on afterwards.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 serve of salad: 690 calories,  62% fat, 9% protein, 29% carbs

Simple Coleslaw

12 Jan

This coleslaw recipe from Smitten Kitchen is easy to make but surprisingly delicious given its simplicity. I’m not normally one for coleslaw because I associate it with that ridiculously sweet stuff I used to get at KFC, but this coleslaw is tart and tangy and great with barbeque.

We had it with some pork burritos and the flavour was great for cutting through the greasy (but tasty!) meat. I can’t remember how many serves we got out of this but I think it was 6 as a side.


  • 1.2kg green cabbage, cored and cut into 3 inch chunks, then finely chopped or shredded
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large green capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely grated
  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise (I used 1 cup mayo, 1/4 greek yoghurt)
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar


  1. Toss all vegetables in a large bowl with 1 tsp each of salt and pepper. Whisk together mayo/greek yoghurt, vinegar and sugar, then toss with slaw. Chill covered, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour.

I didn’t think the yoghurt was detrimental to the taste at all (and in fact I’m glad it was there lighten the taste of the mayo) – next time I think I’ll try increasing the yoghurt.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 serve (assuming my split between mayo and yoghurt):  240 calories,  60% fat, 9% protein, 31% carbs

Spinach and Bacon Frittata

13 Dec

I’m a big fan of frittatas. They are full of eggy goodness, with a decent amount of protein and vegetables. This is a fairly big lunch, so I often pair it with something a bit lower in calories – like chicken breast and steamed vegetables – for dinner.

The recipe is from Taste. It’s supposed to serve 4, but as soon as I saw it I was like “nup, this is only serving 2”.

It originally used ham, but I subbed bacon because I like the taste better, and also added mushrooms for variety. You can add pretty much anything to the basic frittata mix. I think I’ll keep the arrangement of the tomatoes for future frittatas though, because I think they are quite striking.



  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pure cream
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bunch English spinach, trimmed, shredded
  • 100g bacon rashers
  • 100g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved


  1. Preheat oven to 190C. Grease a 6cm deep 19cm square cake pan and line with baking paper.
  2. Chop bacon and fry until lightly browned. Place bacon on paper towels, and fry mushrooms in the remaining bacon fat until done.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, cream, cheese and garlic cloves in a medium bowl.
  4. Arrange half the spinach in the prepared pan. Top with half the bacon and mushrooms. Repeat with remaining spinach, ham and mushrooms.
  5. Pour frittata mix over spinach mixture. Top with tomato halves, cut side up.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and set.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1/2 frittata: 656 calories, 63% fat, 32% protein, 5% carbs 

Chicken Coconut Curry Meatballs

24 Nov

This recipe is from Primal Blueprint: Quick and Easy Meals. It’s a great cookbook, and my only regret is that I bought it in e-book form. I much prefer old-school cookbooks with pages, and find it awkward to scroll through my computer to get recipes. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t cooked that much from this book, which is a pity because the paleo diet is fairly similar to how I normally eat.

This was a nice Thai-inspired recipe that was easy to whip up. I really should make meatballs more often.

The recipe used dessicated coconut instead of breadcrumbs to hold everything together (I’ve noticed that paleo guys are big on coconut). Normally I’m a little iffy about substitutions like that, but in this case I think the coconut worked very well with the other flavours.


  • 700g chicken mince (they recommend a mix of breast and thigh)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • large handful of coriander


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Use hands to form 24 meatballs.
  3. Heat several TBSP oil in a large pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot enough that a meatball sizzles as soon as it hits the pan, put all the meatballs in.
  4. Cook 2 minutes, then roll over and cook 2 minutes more (the recipe recommended 5 minutes before but I found that too much). Put a lid on the pan and finish cooking for another 6-8 minutes.

I served it with choy sum and sweet chilli sauce. I think next time, in addition to reducing the cooking time, I’m going to use about 1 TBSP less oil, because I thought it was too much. But otherwise it’s a super easy, nutritious and tasty meal – and a great vehicle for using up leftover coriander.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
12  meatballs:  780 calories,  39% fat, 55% protein, 6% carb

Thai Green Curry Chicken Drumsticks

24 Oct

This recipe has been in my regular rotation for awhile because it’s really easy to prepare and tastes much unhealthier than it actually is. When I eat it my tastebuds are like “omnomnom, this is a nice break from healthy food”, and then I realise that this is healthy food but the tastebuds are like “pft, no way” (Way!)

I think I’ll start toying around with different cuts since drumstick isn’t my favourite (the bone keeps jabbing me in the face when I try to eat around it).

I’ve tried the salad that’s included in the original recipe but it’s no good, so I usually serve this with some steamed vegetables or bok choy.


  • 9 chicken drumsticks
  • 1/4 cup Thai green curry paste
  • 2 TBSP desiccated coconut
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP water


  1. Cut 3 deep slits in each drumstick
  2. Place curry paste, coconut, sugar and water in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add chicken and season with salt. Stir to coat and leave to marinate in the fridge several hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 200C.
  4. Place chicken in a single layer on a baking tray or baking dish. Bake for 50 minutes.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 serve (3 drumsticks):  580 calories, 52% fat, 39% protein, 9% carbs

Chicken Cacciatore

9 Sep

I have a huge backlog of recipes that I’ve tried and photographed but for whatever reason (mainly laziness) haven’t blogged about. Which is a bit unfair because some of them are quite nice and worth possible entry in my fortnightly rotation. Like this chicken cacciatore recipe from Taste, which was very simple but tasty and creates leftovers for another day. I like the flavour that the anchovies add – there’s no obvious anchovy taste, just a kind of … pungency in the background (in a good way!).

I’ve resisted making it again primarily because I don’t keep white wine in the house, but I think I’ll try making it with chicken stock and see how I go. I used all chicken thighs instead of the mixture that the recipe recommended, but otherwise I kept pretty closely to it. The recipe serves 4 fairly decent sized portions.


  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 8 skinless chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives, halved
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley leaves


  1. Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in batches, for 5-7 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add onion, garlic and anchovy to pan. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until onion has softened. Return chicken to the pan and add tomato paste. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add wine. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half.
  3. Add tomato, sugar and 1/2 cup cold water. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, for 35-40 minutes.
  4. Add olives and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until heated through.
Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 serve: 440 calories, 36% fat, 51% protein, 8% carbs, 5% alcohol 

Portuguese Chicken Burger

24 Aug

Man, we are getting a lot of use out of our little Weber Baby Q. Even in the winter we’ve been grilling a couple of times a week (even in the rain!) and now the weather has warmed up we’ll probably step it up.

Starting with these lovely Portuguese chicken burgers from Taste! They are easy and don’t require long marination (i.e. planning), and have enough spice to be noticeable but not challenging. I was worried it would be too spicy, because James kept getting overpowered by the chilli fumes while barbecuing. But it was fine – I think it could have done with a bit more of a kick actually.

The burger looks kind of undercooked in the photo but I think the pinkish tinge actually came from being marinated in the chilli (or possibly the lighting). But anyway, it wasn’t undercooked – it was perfectly moist and delicious!

The recipe makes a single burger and can easily be scaled up. I had one and James had two.


  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried hot chilli flakes
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 chicken thigh fillet (about 130g)


  1. Place the lemon juice, oil, chilli flakes and garlic in a medium bowl. Season with salt and whisk to combine. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 10 minutes to marinate.
  2. Preheat a barbecue grill on medium high. Drain the chicken from the marinade. Cook on grill for 5 minutes each side or until chicken is just cooked through.

The recipe suggested serving it on a roll with garlic mayo, lettuce and tomato. If you want to be healthy you could just have it with a salad.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
Just the chicken: 199 calories, 46% fat, 54% protein, 1% carbs  

Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

7 Aug

I had a meatball craving the other day, so I busted out this recipe for meatballs which are cooked in the oven. I doubled the recipe to make 24 giant meatballs, which fits perfectly on my tray. I normally eat 4 and James eats 6, and I served it with homemade tomato sauce (recipe below), steamed green beans and fried mushrooms.

There’s no reason to not make large quantities of this recipe, and supposedly they freeze quite well cooked or uncooked. I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients – I subbed eggs for the milk and didn’t have any italian seasoning or garlic salt and only one onion but it still came out really well. I think it’s pretty much bombproof.


  • 500g extra lean beef mince
  • 500g pork mince
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce
  • 3 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Place meat into a big bowl and season with salt, onion, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, hot pepper sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well.
  3. Add the egg, cheese and breed crumbs. Mix until evenly blended, then form into large meatballs (you should be able to get 24 out of this recipe), and place onto a lined baking tray.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes.

I also made a sauce to go with it, basically stealing the sauce from this recipe where everyone loved the meatball sauce but thought the meatballs were a bit bland. This is a pretty delicious sauce – rich with tomato flavour, but still lets the meatballs be the star of the show.

The sauce to meatball ratio isn’t perfect – I think you’d probably need 36 meatballs for it to even out, and that’s with pretty generous sauce portions.


  • 3/4 chopped onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 (800g) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (160g) can tomato paste
  • 3/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent. Stir in tomatoes, salt, sugar and bay leaf.
  2. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 90 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomato paste, basil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and simmer 30 minutes more.
Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
4 meatballs: 398 calories, 41% fat, 43% protein, 16% carbs
All the sauce: 998 calories, 54% fat, 13% protein, 33% carbs


Pumpkin Gingerbread

26 Jul

Last week I was bored and decided to tackle one of the recipes that has been on my to-do list for awhile: pumpkin gingerbread.

I think in general, Australians tend to lump pumpkin in the vegetable category, and we don’t really think about it going in desserts. But pumpkin is quite sweet, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t. In the US they have pumpkin cheesecakes and pumpkin pie, and really the only thing keeping me from making them was that they required pumpkin puree.

If I lived in the US I could just buy a can, but here I had to make my own. I’m generally put off when you have to make another recipe before you attempt the actual recipe (hence my Momofuku cookbook sitting there unused so far), but like I said, I was bored.

Luckily the internet abounds with pumpkin puree methods and it’s pretty straightforward – it’s just a matter of peeling and de-seeding the pumpkin, chopping it, roasting it, then throwing it all in the food processor. Here I am draining the excess liquid.

I used about 1/3 of the puree to make pumpkin gingerbread, and froze the rest to make future pumpkin treats.

Once the puree-making is out of the way, the pumpkin bread is as easy as making any other bread. I used this recipe from Allrecipes with some alterations as recommended by reviews. I also subbed mixed spice for allspice, but that’s because I didn’t have any. The recipe makes 2 loaves, but I made 1 loaf and 3 mini loaves.

It has a gorgeous, rich flavour, and tastes like a more caramelly version of banana bread. And with bananas currently at $10+/kg and pumpkins at 80c/kg, it’s a much more economical option.

Oh yeah, while baking it made my whole apartment smell heavenly. If we ever want to sell this place I am definitely baking some pumpkin gingerbread before the inspections.


  • 3 cups sugar (I ran out of white sugar so I used 2 cups white sugar, 1 cup brown)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 425g pumpkin puree
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground allspice or mixed spice
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 165C. Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in spices.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 ,minutes (45 minutes for the mini loaves).

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 loaf: 3459 calories, 33% fat, 6% protein, 61% carbs 

Chinese Barbecued Chicken Drumettes

23 Jul

This is a blast from the past! These wings from Almost Bourdain remind me so much of the ones my mum used to make when I was little – moist, and full of this great, barbecuey flavour. It’s one of those great recipes that tastes really pro even though all you did was mix some sauces together, marinate the meat, then roast in the oven.

The flavour is much better when you let it marinate overnight, and it’s easy enough to just mix everything together before going to bed.

The original recipe specifies wings, but I always use drumettes because I am lazy and don’t like separating the wings (though I’ve used wings in my nutrition estimate, because Calorie King doesn’t have drumettes). The recipe is supposed to serve 4, but James and I normally split these 35/65 between us, so I’m counting it as 2 serves.

Mindful of the high calorie content, I usually serve this with steamed Asian greens. (That makes up for blowing my daily calorie limit on one meal right?)


  • 1 kg chicken wings
  • 1 TBSP peanut oil
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP char siu sauce
  • 1 tsp five spice powder


  1. Cut wings into three pieces at joints and discard tips.
  2. Combine oil, sauces and five spice in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat all over. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 220C.
  4. Place chicken in a single layer on a wire rack set over a baking tray. Brush remaining marinade over chicken and roast for around 30 minutes or until the chicken is well browned and cooked through.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 serve: 1238 calories, 69% fat, 26% protein, 5% carbs