Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The last day of Winter - Casserole Ruby Lou

With the weather surprising us with its warmth we have been having friends over for BBQ's (allready!). This last weekend some friends brought us some amazing AC Butchery snags (Goat; Turkey and cranberry; chicken and rocket and good ol'beef)How I have missed them!
I threw together a few things: some roasted root vegetables, caramelised onions, a pumpkin, chickpea and risoni salad and a salad made up of little treats from our garden. When the weekend was over and I had to think about what I was going to put together for a mid-week meal I noticed that I still had a mountain of Ruby Lou spuds to get through........The evenings are still chilly at least. The perfect excuse to create another casserole.


1kg of beef chuck steak, cut into large chunks
5 pickling onions, peeled and halved
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into chunks
8 - 10 Ruby Lou potatoes, halved (or you can use any potato that keeps it's shape after slow cooking)
1 cup of red wine (I used Hippies Shiraz but you could use any red wine you love)
1 and a half cups beef stock
1 x 800g tin tomatoes
2 large sprigs rosemary
about 8 peppercorns
300g button mushrooms

how to make your casserole ruby lou

Pre heat oven to 180C
Pop some oil in a large pot and put it over a high heat. Add the steak in 3 batches, browning the meat and then putting it aside until all cooked. Turn the heat down a little and throw in the spuds, carrot and onions until softened. Pop the meat back in and add the wine, stock, tomatoes, rosemary and peppercorns. Bring to the boil. Once boiling, throw it in a casserole dish, cover it with foil and bake for 2 hours. After 2 hours, throw away the foil, chuck in the mushies and cook for a further 45 mins.

Serve it with broccoli spears and red wine. Perfecto!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

B-Day - Nan's Moussaka

Every Sunday, when I was growing up, all the family would head over to my grandparents place for lunch. We always had something delicious, usually a roast and if it was your birthday you got to choose whatever you wanted. Some people liked roast chicken, others roast lamb but me, I LOVED Nan's Moussaka.
The best part about making this dish is cooking the flat chips of potatoes. So heavenly. You can almost eat your fill while making it!


1 brown onion, finely chopped
500g mince
approx one kilo of potatoes (you may need more or less depending on the dish you use)
1 egg
1 and a half cups milk
salt and pepper, to taste

how to make my Nan's Moussaka

First of all, get a large frypan and warm up some vegetable oil. Peel your potatoes and slice them into large rounds (not too skinny) Fry them both sides until browned nicely. Set aside onto some absorbant paper then place in the base of your ovenproof dish. Now get another saucepan onto a burner and fry your onion in a little olve oil. When softened add your mince and turn up the heat. Keep stirring, makng sure you get all the lumps out. Meanwhile keep doing your chips as you'll need enough for a top layer too. When the mince has been browned off, place over the bottom layer of potatoes, then place the remaining cooked potato chips over the top of the mince. Now whisk your milk, egg and salt and pepper together. Pour over the whole dish. Finish off with a sprinkle of salt and pepper over the potatoes and bake in the oven for 30 - 40 mins until the egg/milk mixture is set!

Happy Birthday to all those other Virgos out there!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I heart lemon and passionfruit marmalade

After making the Tangello and Clove Marmalade it got me thinking about other citrus fruits; what other combinations would work? My thoughts turned to lemons. The juice is used a lot in jams but you don't see it used as the core ingredient very often. So then I thought about what would "go" with lemons. I'd need to add a lot of sugar, I knew that, but I didn't want that to be the sole flavour of the marmalade. Wondering around the fruit market I spyed some rather beautiful looking passionfruit. Of course!

I am sooooo happy with the way this marmalade turned out. My Hubby loves it too!

This recipe makes 2 small jars or approximately 500ml.


2 eureka lemons (they have no seeds. If you can't find them then you will need to remove seeds as you slice), cut in half lengthways, then thinly slice
750ml water
3 cups white sugar
2 passionfruit, cut in half and scraped, juice and seeds kept

how to make your lemon and passionfruit marmalade

When you have sliced your lemons pop them into a plastic container. Add the water and leave overnight (Approx 8 hours) or if you don't mind the texture of the rind then soak for about 3 hours. I have to say I like it both ways!

When ready to use pop the mix into a large heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil. Then simmer on a highish heat for 20 minutes. Now add the passionfruit pulp and 3 cups of white sugar. Bring to the boil then have on a mid simmer for about 20 - 30 minutes for the mix that you only soaked for 3 hours or if you soaked it overnight then it will only need simmering for about 10 - 15 minutes.

Wash your jars and keep them in hot soapy water in the sink until ready to use then rinse in hot water (don't dry them) and then place in the mcrowave, one at a time, for 1 minute. Have the lids in a saucepan of water on the stove on a rolling boil.

You will have to watch that your marmalade doesn't catch on the bottom and burn. Stir it every now and then to check it and pop some small plates into the fridge. When you think it may be ready or you are unsure just test some jam on a cold saucer. If it's ready it should thicken up, gel and wrinkle when you push your finger through it. When ready, ladle into your jars right up to the top, pop your lids on tightly and then you can do one of two things: You can place them into a saucepan of water, ensuring the jars are well covered then bring to the boil and boil for 20mins to create a vacuum. Check jars that a vacuum was created. OR
Once you've filled the jars turn them upside down until they have completely cooled. The old women of Tuscany use this trick which does work really well too however if using this method I would keep the marmalade in the fridge once it had cooled down.

Beautiful with croissants. That tart taste cuts through the butter perfectly.

Monday, August 9, 2010

fast food - winter garden burger

This is one meal that can be made fast! and it tastes YUM. When it comes to burgers I don't mind beetroot or cheese or even pineapple! but a few years ago I had some mince in the freezer, in the fridge I had some sad looking cherry tomatoes, some limp spinach,a few mushies on the edge and in the pantry a couple of rolls to use up. I'm sure we've all done this at some point - not wanting to make the trek to the shops so we search out the Kitchen to see what we can create?
What would MacGyver make under these circumstances?

Make sure you have everything chopped and ready to go as it's all cooked on the fly and ready to devour in about 5 minutes. I kid you not! enjoy.


1 burger per person

120g mince - per burger
some grated carrot or turnip or zucchini or nothing, it's up to you - per burger
salt and pepper and chopped parsley, to taste - per burger

2 large flat mushrooms, chopped finely - per burger
1 sprig of thyme - per burger or to taste
4 - 5 cherry tomatoes, scored at one end - per burger
5 or so pieces of baby spinach or english spinach - per burger

1 egg - per burger
bbq sauce

how to make your winter garden burger

Have 2 saucepans ready to go - one with oil the other with about 1 - 2 tablespoons butter. Score one end of each of the tomatoes. chop your mushies. Cut your rolls in half and get them ready under the grill. Take your egg(s) out of the fridge. Wash and seperate your spinach into individual pieces. Throw your mince into a bowl and add some grated vegetable, if using. Add your salt, pepper and parsley to taste. Give it a good mix then make into patties. Turn the heat on for the saucepan with the oil to about medium. Wait till it's hot enough then add your patties. Now put on the other saucepan on high heat and throw in the tomatoes. Turn on the grill to low. Turn your patties when they have browned nicely on the bottom. Throw in the mushies, some salt and thyme with the tomatoes, keep stiring. Crack your eggs next to the patties, use rings if you don't want to mix the 2. Add the spinach to the mushies and tomatoes, keep stirring. Everything should be ready by now. Take out your rolls and butter them. Top one with bbq sauce. Place your pattie on top of the sauce, then the egg. On the other half lay the spinach, the mushies and then top with the tomatoes. mmmmmmm, burger.