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  1. Frying Pan Apple Crumble

    April 21, 2015 by Maria

    If you like a good crumble, then you have to try this one.  It’s quick, oven-free, ticks the boxes and pleases the masses.  I recently moved house and have a Granny Smith apple tree within metre’s from my front door, so I’ve made this recipe a few times for dessert-loving guests. It has a slight hint of  ‘apple crumble deconstruction’. If you want to make this speedy dessert portable, transport the finished apples and crumble in covered bowls or containers separately, then warm in a microwave at your destination.
    Frying Pan Apple Crumble

    – 1 heaped tablespoon of soft butter (with a tiny splash of oil, I use refined coconut oil)
    -6 Granny Smith (cooking) apples (peeled, cored & sliced)
    -2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

    For the crumble

    -2 heaped tablespoons of softened butter with a splash of vegetable oil (to prevent butter from burning)
    -1 & 1/4 cups of ‘Quick Oats’ (for porridge)
    -1 cup of pecans, chopped well or pounded with a mortar & pestle (you can buy 110gram packs of pecans, this is about 1 cup)
    -2 tablespoon’s of dark brown sugar
    -1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    -2 heaped tablespoon’s dessicated coconut
    -2 tablespoon’s maple syrup

    -You can use two frypans if you have them, but it isn’t necessary. Start with your apple mixture in one pan.
    -Put butter and a touch of oil in a pan & heat until bubbling (not burning), add sliced apples and dark brown sugar.
    -Cook in pan, stirring occasionally for 6 to 8 minutes until softened (keep warm in pan or another bowl).
    -To make crumble, start with a clean, hot frying pan, add butter & oil.
    -When butter and oil bubbling, add all of crumble ingredients and ‘toast’ on high heat, stirring well, making sure not to burn the pecans (they don’t need to be black to burn)
    -When the crumble has a crunchy texture and is ‘toasted’, drizzle over the maple syrup, stir again and take off heat. Taste everything as you go and adjust sweetness according to what you like.
    -Dollop warm apples in bowls & spoon crumble mixture on top.
    -Optional: serve with whipped cream, ice cream or warm custard.

    Food-styling trivia
    The bowl you see in my photo’s today is a replica soup bowl from the Titanic (Second Class). I attended the Titanic Exhibition in Melbourne a number of years ago and fancied the second class crockery the most. From memory the bowl was $20? If you’d like a look at Titanic’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd class menu’s, including the crockery for each class, you can find the info here.

  2. Hommus

    April 14, 2015 by Maria





    I’ve tried other recipes for basic hommus but seem to like this one the best. It’s adapted from Dr Sandra Cabot’s “The Body Shaping Diet”. I prefer this hommus recipe to the one she has in “The Liver Cleansing Diet”.

    -Chickpeas (cooked) x 300gm (if using from a can, drain and rinse chickpeas)
    -Tahini (sesame paste) x 1/3 cup
    -Fresh garlic cloves, minced x2
    -Lemons (juice of) x 2 or 3 (taste recipe as you go)
    -Freshly ground black pepper
    -I also add some salt (a couple of pinches)
    Blend or grind chickpeas until smooth. Add all other ingredients, combine thoroughly. Add more tahini or lemon juice as necessary to suit your taste & to reach a smooth, but not runny consistency. This hommus has body. It’s thick in texture and satisfying.. but also more-ish!. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with paprika if you like.. or even sprinkle with something like crushed pistachio’s or pomegranate seeds. A highly nutritious spread or dip!

  3. Tuna and Chorizo Sausage Rolls

    April 7, 2015 by Maria

    A couple of weeks ago I borrowed more cookbooks from the library than I could carry.  Like many foodies, I like to read them like novels (almost). Thank goodness for the recipe anecdote… Nigella Lawson is particularly brilliant and gifted in the anecdote area.  This recipe was inspired by one I saw in Lisa McCune’s book “Hopscotch and Honey Joys” and it’s quite fitting (in a ‘random’ way) that today is William Kellog’s birthday, founder of Battle Creek Toasted Cornflake Company.  His brother John Kellog apparently invented cornflakes and Honey Joy’s (aka Honey Crackles) are the most popular cornflake recipe there is.  This recipe has no cornflakes or honey.. but the title of Lisa’s book…. oh.. you get it! ?  Lisa co-wrote the book with her friend Di Thomas..and judging from the anecdotes.. the tuna sausage roll recipe is Di’s?  I’ve changed quantities and left out some things and added some things (like the chorizo!)… and what you have is a recipe I couldn’t keep to myself.  I really had to ask myself “Do we need another sausage roll recipe in this world”? But after making them.. the answer is a resounding YES.

    Tuna and Chorizo Sausage Rolls

    *Puff Pastry Sheets x 4
    *Onion, brown x 1, grated
    *Tinned tuna, drained x 1 cup
    *Water crackers x 1 packet (crushed into crumbs, but not dust)
    *Cream x 1 cup
    *Chorizo sausage x 1, finely chopped
    *Tasty cheese, grated x 1 cup
    *Eggs x 3, beaten
    *Parsley, flat leaf, chopped x 2/3 cup
    *Salt and Pepper
    *Extra egg for glazing (or use some milk) + optional sprinkle of sesame seeds (I used black sesame seeds or ‘Nigella’ seeds)
    *For Wasabi mayo:  1 cup whole egg mayo + half a tube of wasabi paste.  Alternatively add some sweet chilli sauce to mayo or buy store-bought aioli which is fine on its own.


    -Preheat oven to 200 degree’s celcius.
    -Mix together all filling ingredients (seasoning with salt and pepper) and evenly divide among your puff pastry sheets (forming a long sausage along the length of the pastry).  Encase/roll sausage rolls whatever way you like.  I ended up with 4 long rolls, which I divided into 4 pieces each, making 16 sausage rolls in total.  You might like to make them smaller if you please.
    -Bake in oven for around 30 minutes and serve with flavoured mayo.  I think sweet chilli or wasabi mayo goes best with these. Even a garlicky aioli would be great.  For wasabi mayo, squeeze half a tube of wasabi paste into 1 cup of whole egg mayo and stir through well.  I’ve tried this recipe without the cream, substituting with evaporated milk and also used a Kransky sausage when I couldn’t get Chorizo.  The flavour factor is reduced by about 50% (when substituting ingredients) from my experience.  Proper chorizo and thickened cream add a lot of flavour.  Reduced fat cream is ok.

    Snag7  Snag5


  4. Sweet Potato Fritters (No Flour)

    March 31, 2015 by Maria

    They might not photograph well.. being grated & fried potato.. but they taste much better than they look. They’re also flourless, however if they weren’t I’d be calling them ‘Sweet Potato Latke’s’, like an orange Jewish potato pancake.  Simultaneously sweet and savoury, soft and crunchy. Tarragon isn’t my favourite herb, but a good pinch of it works wonders in this recipe.

    Sweet Potato Fritters
    *300 grams (approx) of grated sweet potato (which equates to about 1 sweet potato about 400grams in ‘supermarket weight’).
    *200 grams of peeled, grated potato (like Desiree)
    *1 large brown onion, chopped finely
    *2 free range eggs
    *1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (grated packet variety is fine)
    *1 tablespoon of sour cream
    *1 tablespoon of whole egg mayonnaise
    *1 teaspoon of reduced-salt chicken stock powder (eg. Massels brand, which is vegetarian)
    *1/3 teaspoon dried tarragon or 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped tarragon (optional)
    *Pepper & salt to taste
    *Some oil for frying (I use refined, low aroma coconut oil)
    -Before you mix the grated sweet potato & ordinary potato together, try & drain the ordinary potato as it’ll have some potato juice that can be easily squeezed through a colander or sieve. You want your moisture from other ingredients, not the potato.
    -Cook onion in a pan until soft & add tarragon, cook & stir a further 30 seconds & put onto a plate to cool a little
    -In a large bowl with grated sweet potato & ordinary potato, add the eggs, parmesan cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, stock powder & some salt & pepper.
    -Stir mixture well & add the cooked onion/tarragon & stir again.
    -Heat a little extra oil in a pan and scoop large, heaped tablespoonful’s of mixture into a medium-hot pan. You’ll actually shape the individual fritters while they’re in the pan. Just use a spoon to quickly make them the size you want.. making sure the mix is even & not unevenly distributed.
    -Pre-heat an oven to 120 degree’s celcius and have a (baking paper) lined tray ready for the fritter’s to keep warm in the oven as you make more batches.. They’ll also cook through a little more in the oven. You can’t leave the fritter’s in the frypan too long because the sugar content of the sweet potato will blacken easily – which is why it’s important you don’t have your stovetop heat on too high.
    -Cook fritter’s for around 3 minutes each side and keep warm.
    -Serve with sour cream.  Or a mixture of half plain yoghurt, half sour cream.

    Not the best looking dish to photograph but it’s all in the flavour!

    Sour cream is delicious with these fritters.

  5. Kale and Almond Gratin

    March 24, 2015 by Maria


    Here’s another way to eat kale, or you could say, another way of getting fussy eaters to eat kale.  It’s like a 2 layer, pasta-free lasagna.  The base is made up of sweet caramelized onions and kale, topped with white sauce and toasted almonds for crunch.  I added some smokey continental sausage to mine, cut into coins and browned + some sauteed mushrooms, but you can do as you please.  My recipe was adapted and inspired by Nigel Slater and his wonderful book ‘Eat’ The Little Book of Fast Food.

    Kale and Almond Gratin

    *Onions x 2 (if medium-large) or 3 if small, finely chopped
    *Baby Kale x 120g bag (snip with scissors to make smaller pieces)
    *Chicken stock (1/4 cup) – to help kale wilt
    *Almonds x 1/3 cup, roughly chopped
    *Bechamel Sauce, about 600ml quantity (white sauce you’d make for lasagne) – I added a teaspoon of Spanish hot paprika to mine which gave it an orange tinge (and not much heat, as Spanish hot paprika only has a medium heat).
    *Oil for frying (I use refined, low aroma coconut oil)
    *Optional extra ingredients:  Chorizo or Kransky cut into coins and browned, sauteed mushrooms.


    -Slowly fry and caramelize onions until golden, then set aside
    -If you’re adding anything else other than kale (like meat or mushrooms), brown these separately and set aside.
    -Saute baby kale for a couple of minutes, then add chicken stock.  The liquid will evaporate and the kale will wilt and reduce in size.
    -Make bechamel sauce, prepare a lasagne-type dish and layer the base with the caramelized onions and kale (and anything else you’d like to add).
    -Pour over bechamel sauce, sprinkle over chopped almonds and bake in a 180 oven for 15 minutes, then place under a grill to brown the top.  Serve with a salad.





  6. Dairy and Sugar Free Chocolate Icecream

    March 17, 2015 by Maria


    This icecream, is so simple to make and is also icecream-machine free.  While it uses coconut milk as its base, you don’t actually taste the coconut really in the finished product.  When your mixture is blended, if you don’t think it’s chocolatey enough, add a little more cacao.  The stuff is strong, so I’ve pulled-back on the quantity.  I’ve actually named the brand of Stevia I used because there are so many out there that have a tiny percentage of Stevia and include other sweetener’s that are sugar alcohol’s (which can cause bloating and digestive issues at minimum).  The Hermesetas ‘Stevia Sweet’ doesn’t.  I forgot about presentation and photographing the icecream properly when it was finished, so the picture above is an ‘afterthought’ (my apologies).  I also made a sugar-free ‘Ice Magic’ topping (that hardens on the icecream), which is another recipe I’m happy to share if you’re interested.  Adapted and inspired by Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar for Life book.  It’s my birthday today and also the 6th anniversary of the recipe segment on 96three.  Cheers!


    Dairy and Sugar Free Chocolate Icecream

    Coconut Milk, full fat 400ml can

    Cacao powder, raw x 1/4 cup

    Rice Malt Syrup x 1/3 cup

    Granulated Stevia (For this recipe I used Hermesetas Stevia Sweet from a jar) x 3 tablespoon’s

    Vanilla extract x 1 teaspoon


    -Using a stick blender (or similar), blend all ingredients together

    -Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze for 3 to 5 hours

    -For a “soft serve” feel, stir icecream well after 2 hours and every hour after that and consume when it’s at the consistency you’d like.  Three hours was enough for my freezer.  If it freezes into a solid block, then allow to defrost a little before serving.