Miranda's salsa

1 can diced tomatoes
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeƱo, seeded & minced (less if you prefer!)
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp cumin
Fresh pepper
Salt to taste
Sriracha for the brave

Pea and Feta Risotto

Pea puree:
1 C. frozen peas
10 g butter
2 T chicken stock or water

  • Cook the peas (steam or microwave) until hot.
  • Place in a blender along with butter and stock.
  • Blend until smooth.
2 1/2 C. chicken stock
1 small leek, trimmed, sliced and washed
1 C. risotto rice
1/2 C. dry white wine
1 C. frozen peas
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
50 g traditional feta, crumbled
  • Heat stock until almost boiling. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in large saucepan. Add sliced leek and cook over a medium heat until leek starts to soften but not brown. Add rice and stir until the grains whiten.
  • Pour in wine and allow to reduce by half. Add 2 cups of hot stock and stir. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.
  • Stir in peas. Continue cooking for further 5 minutes, adding extra stock if necessary, until rice is tender. Carefully stir through prepared pea puree, lemon zest and juice and crumbled feta. Season to taste.

James' Spag Bol Sauce

According to James...

"Thousands....well one of my dearest chums has asked me for my Spag bol recipe.
So like the genome project people I'm going to share it with all.
I know, I know it's okay you don't have to tell me deep down I know.

So here goes, chop up an onion or two and gently fry it in your pot, add as garlic as much as you like, personally I like to smell like a Frenchman from 200 yards. Crumble your mince up and season, I can't stress how important it is to season the mince and to use good mince.

So season the mince ok!

While that is all mingling and the mince is slowly browning. Grate a carrot or two, chop up a pile of mushrooms and slice up a RED capsicum pepper, use a green one and it will ruin it for me and you. Throw it all into the pot and give it a stir. Add one tin of chopped tomatoes and some tomato paste/puree and some beef stock, use the good stuff here makes all the difference. Add a sprinkle of mixed herbs. Give it all another thorough stir, put the lid on turn the heat down to low, put the kettle and Dr Phil on, stir every ten mins and SLOWLY simmer a for at least one hour, two is best.

If your feeling really flash you can add a splash of red wine and or a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce. The really important thing is to use the best ingredients you can.

Next week I'll be doing toast!"

Rice pudding

1 L milk
1/4 - 1/3 C caster sugar
2 cinnamon quills
1/2 C arborio rice
1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • Place the milk, sugar, and cinnamon quills in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to help dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.
  • Place the rice and one ladle-full of the warmed milk in a large saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir until all the milk is absorbed. Continue to add the milk, 3/4 C at a time until all the milk has been used up and your rice is al dente. Make sure each ladle of milk is fully absorbed before adding the next.
  • Remove the cinnamon quills, and stir one last time.
  • Serve with ground cinnamon.

Scalloped potatoes

300 ml thickened cream
1/2 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 t salt
2 pinches of black pepper
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 kg potatoes (desiree), peeled and sliced into .5 cm rounds
  • Preheat oven to 180 C
  • Place the cream, cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  • Layer half of the potatoes evenly across teh ottom of the baking dish. Ladle over half of the cream mixture. Prepeat with the remainder of the potatoes and cream mixture.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil. Place the dish on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the potatoes are just tender.
  • Remove the foil and cook, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden.


400 g lamb or chicken, trimmed and cut into strips
1/4 olive oil
1/4 lemon juice
1 T dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 pinches black pepper
1 large onion thinly sliced
1/2 t salt
4 pita breads
1/3 cup tzatziki
  •  Place meat in a ceramic baking dish. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, along with the lemon juice, oregano, garlic, finely chopped onion and pepper to the meat. Mix well using tongs. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  • Put another tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan and place over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onion and salt and cook, stirring regularly for 10 minutes or until the onion is golden and just tender. Set aside.
  • Remove the meat from the fridge and drain any extra liquid. Saute in a hot frying pan until cooked through.
  • Serve in pitas with a dollop of tzatziki.

Sausage and Tomato Paella

3 italian sausages
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 C arborio rice
3 beef stock
1 400 g. can of diced tomatoes
1 t red pepper paste
1 t salt
  • Slice the sausages into 1 cm rounds and sautee in a large frying pan until no longer pink. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Put the olive oil the same large frying pan and place over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for5 minutes, or until the garlic and onion are lightly golden.
  • Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes or until the rice is completely coated in oil and is a little translucent.
  • Add the stock, tomatoes, pepper paste, and salt. Cook stirring regularly over low heat for 25 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Add cooked sausage for the final 5 minutes.

French Onion Soup

50 g butter
1 kg onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 thyme sprigs, leaves only
2 T flour
2 beef stock cubes, dissolved in 1 litre boiling water
1 T brown sugar
2 T dijon mustard
  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and thyme leaves. Cover with a lid and cook, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon, for 45 minutes or until the onion is soft and rich golden brown.
  • Add the flour and stir well. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the stock, sugar and mustard. Partially cover the pan with the lid and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, scraping the base of the saucepan to remove any caramelized bits.
  • Serve with toasted baguette and cheese...lots and lots of cheese.

Red lentil coconut soup

  • 2 cups red split lentils
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 fresh jalapeno or serrano chili, finely chopped, including seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh peeled and minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 can unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • fresh cilantro, coconut and lime wedges for serving
  1. Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pan and add the onions, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables have softened and start to take on some color.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and tomato paste and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the mixture is toasty and fragrant.
  3. Add the water, coconut milk, lentils and chickpeas and cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes adding the lime juice at the end of cooking.
  4. Taste and adjust with more salt or more lime juice if desired.
  5. Serve the soup topped with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro, coconut and some extra limes on the side.

Mac & cheese

Caramelized onions:
1 T. olive oil
1 white onion, chopped into thin slices

Cheese sauce:
2 T. butter
2 1/2 T. flour
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1 C. milk
1 1/4 grated cheese (white cheddar, feta, and Swiss)

Pick your favourite pasta and prepare about enough for 2-3 servings

To make the caramelized onions:
  • toss the sliced onions in the olive oil in a frying pan over low heat. Let them cook until the onions have become dark caramel in colour, being sure to stir them every couple of minutes. 
  • If they start to brown, turn the heat lower and keep them moving for a bit.
To make the cheese sauce:
  • melt butter over low heat in a heavy saucepan
  • blend in flour and seasonings.
  • cook over low heat stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly
  • remove from heat and stir in milk
  • bring to a boil, stirring constantly
  • once the sauce is quite thick, add in the cheese and stir to incorporate
Mix the sauce and onions together and pour over prepared pasta. Enjoy.

Red Wine Sauce

4 oz  unsalted butter, divided
3 fat shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 plum tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped (substitute 1/2 tsp tomato paste)
2 cups red wine such as pinot noir or merlot
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and 1/2 tbsp. Hoisen sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

  • Put half the butter into sauce pan and heat until foamy.  
  • Add the shallots and garlic and sauce briefly, just until glossy and aromatic.   
  • Stir in the tomato and saute 2 minutes more. 
  • Stir in the wine and raise the heat slightly, bring to a boil, and simmer briefly  until reduced to about 1/2 cup, ten to fifteen minutes.  
  • Stir in the vinegar and Hoisen sauce.  
  • Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a clean saucepan and, over low heat whisk in the remaining butter a little bit at a time, whisking until all of the butter is incorporated into the sauce after each addition.  
  • Season to taste with a little salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

Originally discovered over at the Mrs. Butterfingers blog.

Orange Dijon Dressing

75 ml vegetable oil
50 ml white wine vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
6 T OJ concentrate (thawed)
S&P to taste

Hazelnut Torte Filling

2 T soft butter
1 C icing sugar
2 T hot strong coffee
1 t. cocoa
1/2 t vanilla

  • Make filling
  • Spread between layers of baked Hazelnut Torte cakes.
  • Coat outside of cake with whipped cream.

Hazelnut Torte

4 eggs
3/4 C sugar
2 T flour
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 C hazelnuts

  • In blender, whirl eggs and white sugar until thoroughly mixed.
  • Add flour, baking powder and hazelnuts.
  • Blend at high speed.
  • Pour into 2 8-inch greased layer pans
  • Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes
  • Finish with Hazelnut Torte Filling.

Whipped Cocoa Cream Frosting

2 C heavy cream
2/3 C icing sugar (gluten free)
1/2 C cocoa powder
1 t vanilla

  • Whip heavy cream, icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Chill bowl for best results.
  • Perfect with Annie's Flourless Filbert Cake

Annie's Flourless Filbert Cake

2 1/2 C ground filberts (hazelnuts)
1 C sugar
2 t baking powder
6 eggs

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Butter and flour (using gluten free flour) an 8-inch round cake pan.
  • Mix filberts, sugar, and baking powder.
  • Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake until tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  • Let cake cool, then cut into two even layers.
  • Place one layer on cake plate. Spread with frosting. Place second layer on top. Spread top and sides of cake with frosting.

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