Pan Fried Ricotta Gnocchi

Delightful wee pillows of fluffy potato that simply make you smile.

I’ve always loved making my own gnocchi. There’s something which I find just so satisfying about taking a humble potato & creating a fabuliciouz meal from it. Now that Mini Me & I are both Coeliac, I thought my “fluffy pillows” ,as she calls them, were yet another distant memory of our culinary past but NO! I have discovered a Gluten Free recipe which is a somewhat acceptable alternative.

Start by popping 3 large, starchy tatties into a pot of water & bringing to the boil. Make sure you leave their skins on so that no water can get into them. Once they’re cooked through, peel them whilst hot (careful not to blister the prints off your fingertips!) then use the fine side of your grater to mimic what a potato ricer would do with a nice fine shred.

Make a well (hole) in the centre & add 1 egg yolk with enough ricotta cheese to knead into a dough.

Heat some oil in a pan to shallow fry before pinching bits of the dough off to roll into balls then use your thumb to add a slight depression in the middle before placing gently into the hot oil.

Turn the gnocchi carefully to crisp up both sides before removing to drain any excess oil.

You can team them with your favourite pasta sauce or whack them through a fresh salad.

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Roast Capsicum & Tomato Soup

A full bodied soup which leaves a tingle on your tongue,

simply perfect on a chilly evening.

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Grab yourself a baking dish & bung in 2 capsicums (deseeded & quartered), 1kg of juicy red tomatoes (quartered also) & 3 garlic cloves (peeled & crushed open with the side of your knife). Drizzle over a wee bit of olive oil & whack in a 200c oven to roast for 40 minutes.

When time is up, simply transfer that lot, including all the luscious juices, into a saucepan & give it a jolly good blitz with Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) until it’s lovely & smooth before seasoning well with salt & white pepper.

Stir through an entire tub (300g) of sour cream, then gently reheat.

Pop in some cooked pasta to oomph it up a wee bit & It’s Chompin Time!

French Onion Soup

It’s well & truly soup season here on our mountain top!

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French Onion Soup is one of those super easy retro classics that every home cook should have up their sleeve.

Start by peeling a couple of large onions & cutting into thick slices.

Heat up a generous knob of butter in a stock pot & chuck the onions in with a teaspoon of sugar (I use raw sugar). Stir that until the onions are nicely translucent, they should be golden but not darkened in colour.

Throw in a dessertspoon of plain flour & cook that off before gradually pouring in 2 litres of chicken stock. Season it well with salt & white pepper.

Whack the lid on & cook that over a gentle heat for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Then it’s Chompin Time!

Potato Soup

Lusciously creamy hot soup with a flavoursome crunchy surprise,

this is Hubby’s second favourite soup that I make.

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This is hands down so dead set easy to make, you’ll be sure to whip it up all Winter long!

Heat up a good glug of oil in a pot & bung in 3 large spuds, which you’ve peeled & chopped. Pop the lid on & let them do their thing over low heat for 10 minutes.

Next, pour in 1 litre of chicken stock before throwing in 2 bay leaves & bringing to a simmer. Whack the lid back on for another 10 minutes cooking time.

Meanwhile, let’s crack on with the potato chip croutons!

Peel & dice 1 large tattie, heat a good glug of oil in a deep sided frypan, throw in 2 teaspoons of minced garlic along with the diced potato & simply toss those about to cook over a high heat until they’re gorgeously golden – how easy is that?!?!?!

Back to the soup – remove the lid & take out the bay leaves, they’ve done their job, then remove from the heat before adding in 250ml of sour cream. Give that lot a jolly good stir. Now it’s time for good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) to make his grand appearance! Whazz that soup up until sumptuously smooth & finally season with salt & ground black pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls & plop the potato chip croutons into the middle.

Fabuliciouz!

Oh, & in case you’re wondering, Hubby’s favourite soup is my Nan’s recipe I use for my Pea & Ham Soup!

Hasselback Potatoes

Gorgeously crunchy exterior meets lusciously soft interior,

creating what could possibly be described as the best ever roast tatties!

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To make these wee pillows of chippy awesomeness you will first need to crank your oven to a stonking hot 200c so that it gets ready whilst you crack on!

Peel 4 good sized potatoes before cutting them in half lengthways. Bung them, cut side down, on a chopping board before ever so carefully slicing very thin slits the length of each tattie making sure not to cut all the way through, so stop about 2/3 of the way down.

Next, gently melt a couple of tablespoons of butter over low heat. Brush the melted butter onto a baking tray then pop your sliced tatties carefully onto it. Smother the tops of the tatties in more of the melted butter by brushing on with abandonment! Don’t use it all though!

Whack into the oven for 30 minutes to bake, ensuring to brush with the reserved melted butter roughly every 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, into a mixing bowl goes 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese along with 2 tablespoons of whatever crumb floats your boat. Give it a jolly good mix & when the half hour on the tatties is up, evenly sprinkle the mix across them, shake a nice amount of paprika on & whack back in the oven for another 15 minutes to turn golden brown.

Curried Egg Filling

Aussies of my generation will well remember the good old Curried Egg Sanga in the school lunchbox!

Nostalgic love or Dear Lord let it go?!

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Nothing could be simpler than this classic filling! Use it in sandwiches, rolls, wraps or even sushi!

Use a fork to smash up a hard boiled egg before adding in a tablespoon of whole egg mayonnaise, a teaspoon of curry powder (naturally, I use the good old Keens!) then season well with salt & pepper.

Mix it all together & voila! You’re ready to spread!

I’d love to hear your memories on this one in the comments below!

Mushroom Soup

This is most definitely a lick your bowl clean worthy recipe for all those fungi loving foodies out there, and I whipped it up in only half an hour!

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This is one of the very rare recipes I’m going to tell you to measure your oil! Shock horror, I know! A good glug just won’t cut it in this one I’m afraid.

Start by heating 4 tablespoons of Olive Oil in your large saucepan over a medium heat, before melting 4 tablespoons of butter in it.

Bung in 1kg of sliced mushrooms to cook down until they’ve released most of their liquid. Grab a few out to set aside for garnish later on.

Throw in 3 teaspoons of minced garlic & just let that cook off for a minute before whacking in 3/4 teaspoon of dried Tarragon & 1 litre of chicken stock (you can use Veggie stock instead if that’s what floats your boat). Bring that lot to a simmer & allow it to cook away, uncovered, for a good 10 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat & grab good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) to blend it all well before whisking in 1/2 cup of thickened cream in a slow, steady stream.

Season ever so generously with salt & white pepper before serving in large bowls & garnishing with a flourish of thickened cream drizzled from a teaspoon & those reserved cooked mushrooms from earlier.

BBQ Polenta Wedges

Fabuliciouzly Creamy & Cheesy surprise parcels to plop on the table at your next backyard gathering, then get ready for the WOW’s chef!

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Hubby was more than a wee bit sceptical when I slipped these beauties under his nose to whack on the alter of burnt offerings (aka BBQ) but he was absolutely blown away when he tasted them & kept going back for more!

Start by bringing a litre of chicken stock to the boil before slowly pouring in 1 cup of instant polenta in a steady stream, whisking well. Keep whisking until it gets nice & thick, coming away from the sides of the pan – about 5 minutes or so.

Remove from the heat & bung in 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese & a generous amount of chopped fresh basil (about a couple of tablespoons worth should do the trick). Whisk it well to combine then season with salt & white pepper.

Pour that lot into a very well greased cake tin (I use a square one but there’s no reason you can’t use another shape, whatever floats your boat really) then pop in the fridge for a few hours to set (it needs to be completely cooled the whole way through).

When you’re ready to eat, simply turn it out of the tin onto a board, slice it into wedges, brush both sides with a wee bit of oil & whack on the hot BBQ to get gorgeously golden on each side (say around 2-3 minutes each side).

Fiesta Dip

This Mexican inspired layered dip should definitely come with a warning label that, once tried, you shall be, forever more, required to make it for every future gathering.

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I picked up this fabuliciouz wee recipe in the Northern Territory during our Top End stint. It’s just perfect for whiling away those blistering days but has served me equally well in the south on a sultry summer evening.

Grab yourself a nice dish, either quiche or lasagne, & then it’s just a simple layering game!

Layer 1 – Mix together a tin (440g) of refried beans with 2 tablespoons of salsa & spread it over the bottom of the dish

Layer 2 – Chop up 2 tomatoes (I use Black Russian as they give a much milder flavour with no acidity) along with a generous handful of Jalapeño chillies (however many float your boat!) & evenly scatter that lot over the first layer

Layer 3 – Mash up 2 gorgeously ripe avocados with just a splash of lemon juice (this prevents them from going brown so they keep that intense green colour) then smear it right in there

Layer 4 – Open up a tub (300g) of sour cream & spike it with half a packet (30g) of Taco Spice Mix then, you guessed it, slather it on top

Layer 5 – For the grand finale, crown this glorious masterpiece with an uber generous topping of grated cheddar cheese

Pop out a bowl of Corn Chips alongside & you’ve got yourself a party!

Tex-Mex Omelette

One of Hubby’s all time favourites!

It’s full of flavour, light & fluffy – the perfect way to start the day.

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Sunday morning’s are a treasured time for my fam-bam, we love to luxuriate in a long, lazy brunch & catch up on all the happenings from our busy week gone by. It’s a time to simply breathe. As such, I try to keep the culinary offerings as easy as possible to reflect this casual mood.

Firstly, open a tin of Mexican Beans & pop into a saucepan on the back burner to gently heat up whilst you get on with it.

For my Tex-Mex omelette, start by cracking some eggs (I allow 2 per person) into a bowl & whisk away until they’re light & frothy. Pour that lot into a hot oiled frypan & let it take form.

Next comes the layering stage. Gently place on one side, a slice of cheese (whatever melting type floats your boat, I’ve used Edam here) followed by a decent dollop of sour cream, salsa & the Mexican Beans.

Then, ever so carefully, fold the naked side of the egg over the filling & allow the rest of the egg to cook through. Sometimes it helps to whack on a lid to create a wee bit of steam in there.

Slide the omelette out onto a serving plate before crowning it with another slice of cheese, salsa, Mexican Beans & sour cream before getting fancy with a final flourish of parsley flakes.