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Monday, April 14, 2014

Mum's making a roast Lamb

Well, not Mum, but me. How many Aussies can remember the ad on telly with Nicole Kidman and winning dinner with Tom Cruise?

This is a fairly staple thing in Australia and New Zealand and is actually a very good introduction to lamb for any American that hasn't eaten it before.

I typically make a gravy for the veggies (here's a link to the how to from another post: and I home made some mint sauce.


Leg of Lamb boned or not
fresh rosemary
garlic cloves, sliced
root vegetables of your choice, we had butternut, carrots, potatos and sweet potato. 

Pre-heat your oven to 425F (220C)

Start by making small slits all over the lamb using a small knife and put a small sprig of rosemary and a slice of garlic into each.

 Place in your roasting tin and pop into the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350F (180C) for the rest of the cooking time. In last hour of cooking, you'll want to add your veggies, turning them after 30 minutes.

Allow a total roasting time of about 20 minutes per 1lb (500g) plus 20 minutes for lamb pink in the centre...that's how I always cook it. If you like it well done, do 30 minutes per 1lb plus 30 minutes.

Now for the mint sauce:

3/4 cup of finely chopped mint leaves (I use a small food processor)
2 tsp caster sugar (normal sugar here in the US)
1/4 cup boiling water 
1/2 cup white wine vinegar

Combine the mint and sugar in a small heat proof mixing bowl.

Add the boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the vinegar and mix well. Allow to stand for at least 15 minutes to allow flavours to develop. You can store it in the fridge in a glass jar for a long time.

And the finished dinner...

As always, enjoy!



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sausage what?...Sausage gravy.

I made sausage gravy for the first time the other night. I don't know why I waited so long to make it, because it's really super easy to make and it just tastes so good! I put it on the scones from the recipe below, but you can put it on toast with fried eggs on the side or on top.

Here the wiki for sausage gravy and some of it's variations:

Sausage Gravy


1 lb (500g) ground pork sausage
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt & black pepper to taste


Crumble and cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned. 

Stir in flour until dissolved.

Season with salt and pepper.

 Gradually stir in milk. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly.


Serve over hot biscuits, scones or toast.

You don't just have to have this for brekkie, we had our for dinner one night.



They're skons not skoans...Gran's Scones

As the title suggests, back home, we pronounce them skons, not skoans. But, no matter how you pronounce them, there a couple of things you need to do to make very good scones.

Number 1 is use buttermilk, apparently this really does make a difference, but never having had scones made any other way, I personally don't know.

Number 2 is to use a knife when you're cutting them, not a glass, as this compresses the edge and stops them from rising.

The scone is very similar to the American biscuit but the biscuit doesn't have any sugar in it and you use plain flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Anyway, this is the first time I've made scones and I thought they turned out well. I'm posting a very simple recipe straight after this one which will show what I did with the scones.

Gran's Scones


2 cups self raising flour
2 tbsps butter
1 tbsps sugar
½ tsp salt
¾ cup liquid - ½ cup buttermilk and ¼ water (the liquid must be cold)


Take a small quantity of the water and add the sugar and butter and heat to melt.

Cool and add to make up to ¾ cup of liquid which will be nearly a cupful with melted butter.

Sift flour and salt into a good sized bowl.

Make a well in the centre and add liquid, keeping a bit back in case it is too much, because flour varies. Mix with a knife and draw flour into centre. Dough should be sticky but firm, if too soft, too hard to handle.

Turn out on floured board or surface and pat or roll out after kneading (don’t knead much though because then you’ll get tough scones) to about ½ to ¾ inch thick. Cut with a knife or a cutter, but on no account cut with a glass as this compresses the edge and stops them from rising well.

I glaze with water and just pat it on very lightly.


Put onto a lightly greased slide and bake for about 10 minutes in a hot oven - 500F (250C).

Hope you enjoy!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Tie me kangaroo down!

I've been wanting to cook some kangaroo for some time and while my Mum was here visiting from Australia, I took the opportunity to torture my family with it.

I can't buy it around here in Ohio, but there's a butcher down in Pittsburgh, PA (about 1 1/2 hours from here) that sells it. I took Mum and my MIL there on Friday and took the opportunity to pick some up.

You have to eat kangaroo rare to mid-rare because it is so lean, otherwise it will be tough and you're better off eating your shoe.

I looked around the net for some recipes and found this one, which sounded good. I have to say that I would only use 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, not 3, as it was quite tart.

Kangaroo Medallions with Balsamic Glaze


200g (7oz) kangaroo fillet cut into thin medallions
3-4 tbsp clarified butter (I used olive oil...much healthier)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (as I mentioned, you might be better off with 2)
1/3 cup red wine
1 tbsp seeded mustard
1 tbsp french (dijon) mustard
1 tbsp softened butter mixed with 1 tbsp plain flour
about 2 tbsp chopped parsley (I didn't use it, I thinks it was for presentation only)
salt and pepper to taste


Slice into thin medallions and hit a few times with a meat mallet a few times to make thin.

Toss in flour and cook quickly to seal both sides. Remove from pan and keep warm while you make the sauce. You might have to cook the kangaroo in a couple of batches as you want to fry it and overcrowding the pan will make it stew.

Mix the mustards into the wine. Mix the softened butter and flour together to make a soft paste.

Tip left over oil (or butter) from the pan. Add vinegar to hot pan and bring to the boil.

Add the wine/mustard mixture and boil quickly until reduced by half. Thicken the sauce by adding globs of the butter/flour mixture, stirring until sauce thickens.

Boil for a few minutes and add the chopped parsley (which I didn't use).

Pour over the medallions.

My FIL said he liked it, but I'm not sure.

I thought it tasted great!



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pickle me grandmother - Sweet Mustard Pickles

I know, I know, it's been months since my last post...these 70 hour weeks don't leave too much time to do much, especially cooking. But, I'm going to try and do at least one post a month from now on.

If you grew up in the late 70's or early 80's in Australia, you'll recognise the first part of the title.

My grandmother used to make these occasionally and I used to have Sweet Mustard Pickles in the fridge when I lived in Sydney for sandwiches. Unfortunately, here in the US, there's only two ways to get them. Either buy them from one of the online stores or make your own. I have made it before here and I got the bug to make them again. I actually submitted them to All Recipes and they posted it:

Chanin actually put some on a hot dog the other night and said it was great, it tastes like a combination of relish and mustard, so there's another thing you can use them on.

Sweet Mustard Pickles


3.5 liters water
1 cup salt
1 large cauliflower cut into small pieces
3kg onions, diced
2 cucumbers, diced large
1.5 liters cider vinegar
1 cup plain flour
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard powder
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon ground turmeric

Make a brine with the water and salt in a large pot. Place vegetables in the brine and allow to soak overnight. 


Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are just tender. Strain off water.Make sure you don't let the veggies get too soft, like I did. The recipe will still work, but the veggies should still have a bit of bite to them.

Mix the remaining ingredients together until smooth and add to the vegetables. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until mixture has thickened. Stir occasionally to prevent mixture sticking. 


Pour into warm sterilised jars and seal immediately.

And there you have it. Be prepared for the kitchen to smell for a bit, but it's a small price to pay!



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

More delish fish!

It's been a while, hasn't it? I've been busy working two jobs and haven't had a chance to do much cooking, much to my, and Chanin's, disappointment.

But I hope to change that starting today.

I got this recipe from Aldi's website. They have a few good looking recipes there and I thought I'd give one a go. It turned out pretty well, but I think their cooking time for the beans is a bit too long, ours turned out overdone a bit.

Mustard Crusted Salmon with Green Beans


1 cup Seasoned Croutons
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
16 ounces Extra Fine Green Beans
Salt, to taste
Ground Black Pepper, to taste
16 ounces Salmon, thawed
3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 lemon, sliced into wedges


Preheat oven to 400F.

Place croutons in a food processor and pulse to form large, coarse crumbs. 

Add parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and 1 tablespoon olive oil, and pulse gently to combine. Mixture should be coarse and crunchy.

Place salmon fillets on a greased baking sheet and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread Dijon mustard evenly covering each piece of salmon. Top mustard with breadcrumb mixture. Roast salmon fillets for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through and the topping is crunchy and golden brown. 

Place frozen green beans on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste. Roast in the oven until hot and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. (The recipe called for 20 minutes, I cut it down to 15 and they were still a bit over cooked, that's why I'm suggesting 10 minutes.)

Serve the salmon with the green beans and lemon wedges.

We had this with a side of stuffed pepper casserole that Chanin had made.

This is is another pretty fast meal to get together. It takes about 5 minutes to prepare and put everything together, so it makes an excellent weekday dinner.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Homemade take away holy grail - Chiko Rolls

What the, is a Chiko Roll I hear you non-Aussies ask. At it's simplest explanation it's an Australian version of an egg roll. Here's the wiki about it and it's history: 

Chiko rolls are one of the hardest things to find a recipe for so hard in fact, that I pieced this together from a couple of different recipes and the ingredients listed on the manufacturers website. Some recipes call for curry powder or Chinese 5 spice powder which shows you how "authentic" they are. Some even call for rice, which is not even remotely associated with them. And none of them call for barley, which is an ingredient. The hardest part of making these would be the is an egg and flour pastry that I have not and honestly could not replicate. From what I can find out, the machine they use to make the pastry into the tubes is proprietary, so you just can't buy them. Most recipes call for spring roll pastry, which is way too thin. I used egg roll pastry which is thicker and works so much better, in fact, next time, I'm going to experiment with layering 2 sheets on top of each other, but for this version, I just used one.

Here is a picture of an original Chiko roll and the insides, courtesy of a mate in South Australia  named Tanya. So, thank you Tanya for ducking down the road, getting a Chiko roll and dissecting it for me!

So on to the recipe. I honestly believe that this is as close as you can get to the real thing.   

Chiko Rolls

2 tsp butter
1.5 cups green cabbage, finely shredded
1 celery stick, finely sliced
1 cup cooked barley
green beans
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, cut in half and finely sliced
200g ground beef or cooked ground lamb
1 chicken stock cube
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp sugar
8 sheets egg roll pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil for frying

Remove the egg roll pastry from the fridge to defrost.

Cook the beef or lamb until browned and crumbly. I used lamb because I had it in the freezer and the original recipe used lamb or mutton, but now they are made with beef.

Melt the butter on a medium heat in a frying pan. Add the onion, cabbage, celery, green beans and carrot to the frying pan and cook until soft.

Add the beef and the chicken stock cube and cook until heated through. Add the flour, mix in and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Lay out 1 pastry sheet at a time, keeping the rest under a moist clean tea towel.

Lay 3 tablespoons of mixture at the bottom centre of the sheet and fold the sides in to the middle and roll.

Brush the end with egg to adhere to the pastry. Cover rolls with a moist tea towel. Repeat until all the mixture is used.

Blanch in 300F oil for 5 minutes, drain and allow to cool.

Fry in 350F oil until golden.

And here is the end result...awesomeness! 

This was really one of the hardest recipes I have done so far...not in the making, but just in getting the recipe. Now that I've done it, it won't be years before I have another Chiko Roll.