Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Join me on Facebook!

Hey guys! I would love you to come and follow me on Facebook! Here is the link! Plenty of pictures, hints and regular updates! See you there! Jess

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

It's getting colder - SOUPS!!!!!

Hey there gorgeous people!

Ok, well it's getting colder..... (well for those of us in Australia anyway!). For those of you in other countries - this idea is still a great one!

I have to say that one of my favourite things about the weather getting cooler is the fact you can change your style of cooking to suit. I don't do as many salads in winter but rather yummy vegetables and warm sides to complement that perfect comfort dish.

One of my fav things to cook in cooler months is soups!!!! There are literally hundreds of different combinations and flavours and you simply cannot go wrong. You can choose to blend your soups or keep them as is but there are so many benefits to soups!!!!

You can hide veges in them and the kids wont even know. They are VERY cost effective and also very tasty. And they CAN be served as main meals, not just as an entree! Grab a crusty loaf of bread, some garlic butter and there you have it!

This time I am not going to list exact ingredients etc - I am just going to give you some combination ideas. If you want to make your own stock - go ahead!!!! It will be well worth it! If not, your store bought chicken/vegetable stock is just fine!

I have also attached some pics of different stages etc of my soups!

Happy winter cooking..........

  • Roast Pumpkin, Garlic, Onion, Sage and Bacon.
  • Potato and Leek
  • Pea, Asparagus and Blue Cheese
  • Chicken and mixed Vegetable
  • Roast Tomato, Capsicum and Bacon
  • Chicken and Sweet Corn

The ideas are endless.......

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Don't over complicate it!

Wow - did we all survive the Easter break? Ok, who ate WAY too many Easter eggs or had one too many glasses of wine! haha! Well that is what holidays are for I say. My family got to spend quality time together and yes, we got to eat some yummy food of course! We had some beautiful fresh salmon on Good Friday which was delicious! We also got given a huge mud crab from some friends of ours so that went straight in to the kitchen for some cooking - was so yummy! Stayed tuned for that recipe idea.......

So cooking all of this seafood make me come up with today's theme - Simplicity! Food does not have to be complicated. Some of the top restaurants I have been to around the world normally offer simply dishes that allow the ingredients to speak for themselves. You may only need to add 3 ingredients to a dish to enhance its natural flavour.

I sometimes think people try too hard with cooking! Making the perfect dish isn't about how many wild and wonderful ingredients you can add to it! It's simply about making the 'core' ingredient speak for itself. You shouldn't have to find some rare type of mushroom from a small farm in South America to make a yummy meal!

It's the same with the vegetables or salad that you choose to accompany your meal. Sometimes simply is best! My favourite is asparagus! Don't go put a gallon of sauce on it - fresh lemon, cracked pepper and some garlic is all you need.

Here is a dish I made recently that applies to this rule. Just stop off at your fish shop on the way home - everything else you will probably have in your fridge!

Red Emperor with fresh lemon and herbs (yep - nearly every ingredient is in the title)

  • Fish - I used red emperor as it was fresh in but again, talk to your fish monger - go with what he recommends.
  • Lemons
  • Garlic
  • Good olive oil
  • Mix of fresh herbs - dill is a must but mix in others as well.
  • Asparagus
  • Cracked pepper and good sea salt
Simply method

  • Make up some foil parcels (obviously big enough to wrap each piece of fish in)
  • Pop some oil in the bottom of each and layer 2 slices of lemon
  • Place some herbs on top of the lemon slices then place your fish on top (layering)
  • Then on top of your fish drizzle some more oil, herbs and a few more slices of lemon (this will also ensure your fish does not dry out)
  • Top with pepper and little salt
  • Wrap your fish up like a little present and place in an oven on about 180 - 200 degrees. 
The cooking time will obviously depend on the size of your fish but don't over cook! You are better to take you parcels out and check them rather than over cook! You can always pop them back in if they need a few more minutes.

I just simply cook off some fresh asparagus with lemon juice and garlic in a pan and that's all you need with this dish! 

See I told you it was simple and it's also VERY healthy with little cleaning up! Woo hoo!

Here is a few pics of mine (pic of fish is before I cooked it haha)  - try it and let me know how you go! Here's to simple, uncomplicated cooking! 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Hi everyone!!

Well I must say that I am so happy that you are all trying the ideas I have been putting up on this blog and also that you are adding your little touches to them! That's what its all about!

Ok well this recipe idea comes from a simple start! Mince!

The other night I had nothing in the fridge (well we all say that but we always have something!) haha! I did have some mince though so I had to come up with an idea to incorporate that in to my meal for that night. So this is what I came up with!

Meat, mushroom and spinach Cannelloni! Some of you may have made your own cannelloni at some point, but the store bought cannelloni is fine! Remember to chop your ingredients up finely though as you have to stuff it all into the cannelloni  tubes. I think the key to this dish is to make a really nice sauce to go with your cannelloni. I do a simple tomato base sauce with mine but I do simmer it for awhile to ensure all of the flavours penetrate through. You may even like to do a white sauce etc...

I must admit this dish is a little time consuming as stuffing the cannelloni can be fiddly! Stick in there though as the more times you stuff the tubes the faster you get at it! You can use a pipping bag, a spoon or even clean hands - whatever works for you! Take time simmering your sauce and then top with cheese - that's the best part! As this dish can be a little 'heavy' I usually just serve with some steamed green vegetables or a fresh salad - both work well.

Enjoy and let me know how your cannelloni goes!

Basic ingredients - literally use what you have in your fridge at the time

Stuffing for the Cannelloni

  • Mince - I used beef mince and I had that in the fridge. ALWAYS use premium or 5 star mince please!
  • Mushrooms - chopped finely as you have to stuff them into the tubes remember
  • Tomato paste
  • A good pasta sauce (save time)
  • Garlic 
  • Onion
  • Spinach (for this dish I used frozen but fresh could also work but would have to be really cooked down)
  • Cannelloni tubes

  • Tin of tomatoes
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sugar
  • Fresh basil
  • Dash of pasta sauce

  • Basically all you need to do for this is make a good bolognaise and just add spinach. Simmer your sauce as you would if you were making spaghetti bolognaise (just with spinach and mushrooms) and then set aside till it is cool enough to stuff the cannelloni tubes.
  • Once your sauce is cool enough, stuff your tubes and place in a baking tray. I normally put 3 tubes on the bottom (this is per serve) and then 2 on top of them - so its sort of like a pyramid per serving.
  • Simmer your sauce and then pour over your cannelloni.
  • Top with cheese and parmasen.
  • Bake until your cannelloni tubes are cooked. (Cover with foil if your cheese browns before the tubes are cooked through)
This dish is even better the next day so make enough for left overs!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

It all starts with 1 ingredient....... Squid

Hi all!

People ask me where I get ideas from for cooking my family dinner.  Its funny really, 1 night I'll do a roast and then the next I'll do some random dish I have never cooked before! That's because sometimes I just get a sudden urge for a certain type of food or a particular ingredient.And so began my philosophy of - it all starts with 1 ingredient.

It may be a case of just opening your fridge and seeing a piece of steak or chicken thighs. Or, it may be a case of what happened to me the other day - just a random 'craving' for something. I was craving squid!

So my number 1 ingredient had been decided and then it was a matter of 'building' up the idea. What else do you have in your fridge or pantry that will complement that ingredient. The below idea is what I came up with and I didn't have to think very hard. I had it all in my fridge and this is always a great idea to use left over or that last bit of zucchini etc that you have left. Also if you love chorizo as much as me - you will love the flavours of this dish. The whole time I was cooking it I was thinking - this is either going to be the best dish I have ever cooked or the worst! Thank god it wasn't the latter. My husband loved it!

As always, muck around with the flavours - add in something I didn't and let me know how you go. And as always - have fun inventing your meal!

Basic Ingredients (well the ones I used anyway)

  • 4 squid tubes (I realised though that 1 large tube is enough for a medium to good size eater) Make sure they are VERY clean but your fish monger should have done this already for you!
  • Chorizo
  • Capsicum (I had half a left over one in the fridge ha ha)
  • Mushrooms
  • Spanish onions
  • Garlic - fresh for this is better
  • Zucchini
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Chicken (not necessary but again I had a couple of left over thigh fillets cooked - throw them in)
  • Turmeric 
  • Cumin
  • Smoked paprika 
  • Rice
Basic Method - here is the easy part!
  • Cook your rice and flavour with turmeric and paprika.
  • Cook off all of your ingredients minus the squid of course in a pan. As always start with the garlic, onions etc then add in ingredients in cooking time order. For example, the Chorizo needs the longest so add it first, then the vegies and last the mushrooms as they don't need much time. Also add in all your spices! 
  • Stir your mixture through your rice and allow to cool slightly (so you don't burn the you-know-what out of your hands when stuffing the squid!)
  • Stuff your squid and pop a tooth pic in each end to secure (I have left the tooth pic in my picture so you can see)
  • Massage the outside your squid with some good quality oil
  • Pop your squid in a very HOT pan and cook on each side for about 30-45 seconds.
  • Then put your squid in a oven (about 180) for another 5 or so minutes - NO longer as your squid can get tuff if over cooked.

Helpful hint

I soaked my squid in milk for about 10 minutes before cooking - it makes sure it is nice and tender! Obviously rinse well before cooking! Serve with lemon - it makes it so yummy!

Until next time remember - it all starts with 1 ingredient.... What is your ingredient????

Monday, 12 March 2012


Hi all! I have to say that I am thrilled with how many people have logged on to this blog! Over 1000 in a week BUT don't forget to sign up to 'follow' this blog. Also, if you scroll down to the bottom of the homepage you can sign up to follow via email -then you can continue to get updates via email!

Ok, now on to today's idea! Pies! There are several reasons why I love the idea of pies. Firstly, you can make a very healthy version of the humble pie rather than the typical fatty meat pie. Secondly, you can make individual pies or you can make one large family style pie and share it from the middle of the table (my fav). And thirdly, there are so many different filling you can use depending on your mood. See, they are a great idea for so many reasons and not to mention they are SO easy to make.

One other thing I like to do with pies is to have fun with the pastry! If you are making individual pies, maybe write each person's name or initials on the top with the pastry or if making a pie for a loved one, why not pop a pastry love heart on the top!!! Cooking and meal times are about having fun so go on, do it!

Below I have listed 2 'types' of filling but I would love to hear which type of fillings you enjoy.

Ingredients for a chicken, mushroom and leek pie.

  • Chicken fillets (I always use fillets rather than breasts - as breasts can become dry)
  • Leeks
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • White wine
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Potato
  • Puff Pastry
  • 1 Egg
Ingredients for a beef, mushroom and red wine pie.

  • Dice beef
  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Beef stock
  • Red wine
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Potato
  • Tomato paste
  • Puff pastry
  • 1 Egg

Basic method

Obviously each pie's cooing methods vary slightly but they all have the same idea.
  • Whether you are using chicken or beef you need to brown off your meat first in oil and butter.
  • If cooking beef, please coat your beef with flour first. This will help brown your meat and help with thickening your sauce.
  • Take your meat out to rest while you sweat off all of your vegies and mushrooms.
  • Then it is simply a matter of adding your meat back in and cooking it down with all the vegies and red/white wine, cream/beef stock etc - depending on which pie you are making.
  • You can make your filling as thick or light as you like. 
  • Pop filling either into individual ramekins or one large pie dish.
  • Cover top of pie with pastry, egg wash and pop in a hot oven. Remember that the inside ingredients are already cooked so once your pastry is golden brown, it is ready!!!!

There are really are so many types of filling you can use but hopefully this is a start to give you a few ideas. You could also try a fish pie, lamb shank pie, vegetarian pie...............


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Veal Osso Bucco

Hi all!

Welcome back to my blog! I am so glad you are all enjoying the ideas and thank you all for the feedback. I have had a bit of a challenge setting up the blog so you can 'follow' it but I think I have fixed that now. You should be able to 'follow' the blog now and also if you scroll right to the bottom of the blog you can also follow by email! Hopefully that will make is easier for you to follow and keep up with some great ideas for you to cook!

Ok, so here is another idea for today......

By now you may have gathered that I love slow cooked meals. I just love meat that falls off the bone and the way the flavours permeate so much more when you give them time. Osso Bucco is another great cut of meat that needs to be cooked with a bit more love BUT is SO worth it! I used veal osso bucco for my dish last night but I often use lamb - they are all yummy!

Here is a basic recipe that I use but the joys of this meal is you can add in whatever extra you have in your pantry! For example, if you have a leek or a capsicum in the fridge - chuck them in. They all add flavour!


  • Osso Bucco - veal, lamb - totally up to you!
  • Flour
  • Tomato Puree
  • Tin of whole tomatoes 
  • Beef stock
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Soy sauce
  • Red wine
  • Sugar
  • Fresh herbs (which I hope you are all growing by now)
  • Salt & pepper

Basic method

  • Coat your osso bucco in flour and brown off in pan. Set aside.
  • Time to make your sauce! Have fun with it! Cook off your garlic, onions and all the rest of the above ingredients. Don't forget to add a dash of sugar!
  • Pop your osso bucco back in to your sauce and pop in a low temp oven for at least 2 hours - It will be worth it.

I served my osso bucco with some potatoes and green beans! I cooked the potatoes in some truffle oil - makes all the difference!

Here is a pic of mine! Please try this and let me know how you go!!! Happy cooking!