Slow Cooked Lamb Hotpot

As the days get cooler & the darkness descends quickly,

thoughts turn to hearty, slow cooked comfort food.

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Quite honestly, this Lamb Hotpot is the shizel of the manizel! It’s fall apart tenderness perfectly balances with the rich flavour & ever so soft tatties – YUM!

Start off by peeling half a dozen or so potatoes & slicing them into 2cm thick discs. Also, peel & very thinly slice up 1 big onion.

Bung 500g of diced lamb into a plastic bag along with 1 tablespoon of flour & season well with salt & white pepper then shake the absolute shizenhowzen out of it to coat all the meat.

Grab your slow cooker pot & it’s time to layer up! Pop a bed of tattie onto the bottom, then scatter some of the onion before placing a wee bit of the meat. Continue with this layering ensuring that you end with a tattie layer on top.

Pour in 1 & 1/2 litres of chicken stock, whack the lid on & turn the dial to high for 8 hours of mouth watering droolfest at the lovely aromas filling your home.

Tanz Tip – if you don’t have a slow cooker then you can still make this fabuliciouz hotpot by popping a casserole dish in a 160c oven for 3 hours.

Steak Diane

A classic staple on the menu of every Aussie country pub,

my cheats version of this saucy meat will be on the table in a flash for a quick mid-week indulgence!

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My biggest time cheat with this meal is to use Veal Schnitzel cuts of meat instead of a thick steak.

I start by rubbing the meat all over with minced garlic before seasoning both sides with pepper. Then I heat up a blob (about a tablespoon) of butter in a large frypan & cook the schnitzels off completely before removing to a plate & setting aside.

Next, heat up another blob (about a tablespoon) of butter & when melted add in 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard & 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. The fancy word for what we do with that is called deglaze the pan – basically, just use the liquid to scrape up any stuck bits from the bottom, that’s all the flavour! Bung in 1/3 cup of thickened cream, give it all a jolly good stir & then simmer that lot for about 5 minutes to just slightly reduce. Throw in a good handful of dried parsley flakes & stir through before whacking back in the meat to warm up again in the sauce.

It’s Chompin Time!

Satay Steak

A super easy taste of Asia to WOW your BBQ guests this season!

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My fam-bam simply loves to host friends! We all love to cook & have a dazzling array of equipment on which to conjure up outdoor feasts.

Family ~ Food ~ Fun ~ Good Times

However, since moving to ‘tropical’ Melbourne we haven’t had much opportunity to fire up our cookers. For instance, today we are in the middle of Spring yet we’re expecting snow……

Now these Satay Steaks are far better off being handed over to the man at the alter of burnt offerings (aka BBQ) to impart that certain uniqueness of smokey char flavour, but if the weather is not playing nice, an indoor grill pan will just have to do!

All you need for this one is a whopping big mixing bowl to which you add 200ml of coconut milk along with 2 teaspoons of curry powder & 2 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter. Season generously with salt & pepper & then give it a jolly good mix up.

Bung in your thin sizzle steaks (I’ve used pork here but you can use beef or chicken, whatever floats your boat), coat them in the marinade then cover with cling film & pop that lot in the fridge overnight.

Whack the lusciously flavoured satay steaks on a hot BBQ or grill pan to cook.

How easy is that?!?!

Satay Sticks

This Oriental favourite is easier than you may think to whip up in your own home

& is sure to be a hit at Summer BBQ’s!

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I love Satay Sticks! Yep, it’s true. Whether eating out in a restaurant or grabbing a quick snack at a market stall, Satay Sticks are my weakness! I could so fancy myself with a wee street cart serving up these delicacies all day long in the steamy tropics of South East Asia.

First you’ll need to marinade your meat. I use chicken but you could also choose pork or beef, just make sure you buy the stir fry strips. Also, pop 12 bamboo sticks into water to soak for at least an hour.

Grab a mixing bowl & bung in 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice & 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil before seasoning generously with salt & pepper. Give it a jolly good mix to combine & whack in 12 chicken stir fry strips (that’s about 250g worth) to coat. Cover the bowl in cling film & pop in the fridge to marinade for at least half an hour, but longer is better to absorb the flavours.

When you’re ready to roll, it’s time to make the sauce. The sauce is what really makes a great Satay Stick for me. Heat a good glug of olive oil in a saucepan & sauté off 2 finely chopped red chillies with 2 teaspoons of minced garlic. When they’re nice & fragrant (which doesn’t take very long) add in 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of rich brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce & a 250g jar of crunchy peanut butter. Cook that gently, over a low heat, until the sauce thickens to whatever consistency you like.

While the sauce is bubbling away, grab your chicken from the fridge & pour the water off those bamboo sticks. It’s threading time! The chicken will have sucked up all that luscious marinade & you simply push the stick through the end of the strip & weave it in & out until all the meat is threaded.

Hand over the sticks to the hubby at the alter of burnt offerings (aka the BBQ) or if the weather is not playing fair, then just use a hot griddle pan on the stove top. Cook the sticks  on a medium to hot heat for about 5 minutes (the stir fry strip meat is really thin guys so cooks quickly) remembering to turn them once during cooking.

Drizzle a wee bit of that sumptuous sauce over the sticks & It’s Chompin Time!

Lemon Lamb Casserole

Our wee lemon tree may be tiny but gosh she puts out a lot of fruit!

So what’s a girl to do with so very many lemons?!?!

I think I shall declare this to be Lemon Week! 

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To kick off our celebration of citrus, a hearty casserole will do just the trick in these dying days of winter.

Start off by heating a glug of oil in a deep saucepan & sealing 500g of diced lamb, remembering to season generously with salt & pepper. Remove those straight into a waiting casserole dish.

Next, heat up a wee bit more oil in the same pan to then add in a heap of root vegetables, any type that floats your boat or you have kicking around the place, I’ve used half a dozen tatties & a few carrots in this one. Pop in a few decent teaspoons of minced garlic to flavour & just get a wee bit of colour of those veggies.

Bung in 1 litre of chicken stock on top of the veggies & bring that up to a nice boil. You’re getting a head start on the veggies cooking but also you’re deglazing the pan at the same time to ensure that no flavour is ever left behind! At this point you can choose to either thicken your sauce with a wee bit of cornflour or choose to have more of a soup for your casserole.

Pour all of that, very carefully, into the casserole dish & give it a jolly good stir to mix through the meat as well.

Gently place fresh lemon slices across the top before spraying with extra virgin olive oil (this stops the lemons from burning) & then either cover with a lid or alfoil before whacking into a 180c oven for an hour. Now, at the 40 minute mark you will lid to remove that lid or alfoil.

Remember to discard the lemon slices from the top before serving. They’ve done their job in releasing their luscious juice into the casserole & nobody wants to eat the remains!

Easy Moroccan Tagine

Nothing could be simpler than whacking together this ever so quick, totally exotic meal that will make the hubby wonder how on earth he got so lucky to be married to a domestic goddess.

This taste of the African coast is packed full of fabuliciouz flavour & is done in a flash!

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Being a busy family means that, yeah, somedays I have to pump out a meal in a hurry, but that doesn’t mean it should be boring!

Just make sure you’ve been organised enough to have soaked about 400g worth of lentils in water. Overnight is awesome, but seriously, when you get up in the morning ahead of your busy day is fine too. The trick is to get at least 6-8 hours of soaking time, lucky little buggers.

Drain your soaked lentils off in a colander & set them aside until it’s their turn for the pot.

First, simply coat 500g of diced lamb in that heavenly aromatic Moroccan spice blend you can buy in all the supermarkets, this is the absolutely essential ingredient that transforms this meal. Heat up a good glug of oil in a saucepan & just seal the meat.

Next, you want to add in half a diced butternut pumpkin, a tin (400g) of crushed tomatoes & the now drained soaked lentils. Give it all a jolly good stir, bung a lid on top & let it gently simmer away for 30 minutes.

Honestly, that’s it. Have the hubby pour you a glass of wine & relax until It’s Chompin Time!

Goulash

As you know, Hubby is Hungarian, this means he really enjoys a good feed of Goulash every now & then. With the temperature plummeting & rise in snowfall on the mountains around us, it’s the perfect time of year for me to whack one together.

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Now every region, & indeed every family, in Hungary have their own variation of the National Dish. Family ‘secrets’ abound about the Goulash & most cooks will jealously guard their recipe, always leaving out an essential ingredient when passing on the knowledge. This is the recipe, in full, that Hubby & I came up with for our wee fam-bam which all three of us hook into!

First heat up a good blob (about a tablespoon) of butter in a large pan & throw in 500g of diced chuck steak to just seal the meat, remembering to season generously with salt & white pepper.

Bung the sealed meat into a slow cooker before adding a tin (400g) of diced tomatoes, a tub (140g) of tomato paste, a few peeled & chopped carrots & potatoes along with a deseeded & diced red long horn pepper (if you can’t get your hands on one of those just use a red capsicum instead).

Stir through 3 overly generous tablespoons of paprika & season very well with salt & white pepper.

Make sure everything is mixed up well before whacking on the lid & cooking on low setting for about 7 hours. If you don’t have a slow cooker, then everything goes in the stock pot you’ve sealed the meat in, pop on a lid & gently simmer for 3 hours.

When time is up, use a big stick to make your way through the drooling neighbours who’ve gathered around your kitchen & add in a tub (300ml) of sour cream to stir through & make your Goulash really creamy.

Place butter tossed steamed potato chunks into large bowls then scoop the Goulash over the top & greedily devour to warm you up from the inside on a bitterly chilly evening.

Spring Rolls

My fam-bam hooked into these wee rippers & greedily devoured them all faster than I made them!

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Fried Rolls, or Spring Rolls, are an absolute joy to make & oh so uber easy. If you’ve never tried it yourself, you’ll wonder why & go out to get the goods! It’s also another super fantastic kids in the kitchen, get the sneaky veggies in there, kinda thing!

So start off by getting all your fillings ready. This is where you can get really creative! Use up any leftover shredded meat you have, I’ve got duck in this lot pictured, and then raid your fridge for your veggies. In mine, there’s finely grated carrots & cabbage. Next, ensure you’ve got some cooked vermicelli noodles & create your production line.

You’ll need a bowl of water & a clean tea-towel. I buy a good export quality rice paper from Vietnam (you can find those at your local Asian grocer or even the supermarkets are getting on board with the good stuff these days). Simply soak your dried rice paper in the water for a few seconds, just till it softens. This is when it is imperative that you work FAST, hence why we’ve got the production line happening.

The secret to using the rice paper is the rough side faces up as that is your inside of the roll where your filling goes, leaving the lovely smooth side as the finished exterior.

So, lay your softened rice paper on your clean tea-towel, bung your fillings in on the end closest to you (but a wee bit off the edge), being careful to not overfill it, then comes the fun part, rolling it up!

Start by taking the lip of the rice paper closest to you & tucking it in over the filling. Next, fold in each side tightly across the filling. Then, just roll it up the length to close it off.

Do each roll separately as it’s so quickly you need to work with the softened rice paper & line them all up on a plate or tray.

Heat up a copious amount of oil in your deep fryer, saucepan or wok & toss them in until they turn a nice golden colour & get crunchy. Drain on paper towel & It’s Chompin Time!

Roast Meat Fritters

All Aussie kids know that leftover Sunday Roast means Meat Fritter Monday!

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It’s an Aussie classic icon of a recipe that has comfort food written all over it! This is definetly my sort of recycling! It’s so quick, ever so easy & oh so Fabuliciouz!

Start by chopping up your leftover roast meat into small pieces & set that aside. Be mindful of sneaky hubby fingers stealing the loot!

Grab yourself a mixing bowl & into that goes 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 1 egg & then season generously with salt & pepper before whisking the daylights out of it.

Carefully mix through the batter whatever chopped up meat has survived the hubby’s carnivorous kitchen raids & we’re ready to cook.

Heat up some oil in a fry pan, we’re shallow frying so make sure it’s enough, not just a glug here. Then drop spoonfuls of meat infused batter into the hot oil, just like making pancakes really. When you see that they’ve browned coming half way up sides of fritter, then it’s time to flip them (pants on job with hot oil people!) to cook the other side.

When both sides are cooked, lift them out onto a plate lined with kitchen paper towel to drain.

I serve these with any leftover veggies as well for a completely recycled meal or they’re great on their own as snacks or even whack them on a sandwich cold for lunches through the rest of the week.

Scottish Lamb Stew

A hearty meal to ensure you warm up on a bitterly cold evening.

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Traditionally, this fabuliciouz stew was made with pearl barley, but in the interests of making it Gluten Free, I’ve opted to use split green peas instead. The result was my fam-bam demanding I make this all through the chilly winter.

So, the night before you want to make this stew, empty an entire 500g packet of green split peas into a bowl, cover with water & leave soak on the bench overnight. Don’t bother putting them in the fridge because they need to be able to draw the water in & expand.

Next morning, simply dump those peas into a colander, give them a rinse & wash them really well. Set aside to drain while you get on with it.

Grab out your slow cooker & into the pot you want to bung a healthy amount of roughly peeled & chopped veggies. I use about half a dozen or so potatoes, a couple of carrots & 1/4 of a cabbage. You may like to add in an onion too, but hubby didn’t like that so I don’t use it anymore.

Next into the pot goes those split peas along with 1 & 1/2 litres of chicken stock. Whack some lamb on top (I’ve used lamb chops & then removed the bones before serving but shanks are awesome in this as well or you could just go the diced meat if you don’t want to deal with fishing for bones – whatever floats your boat!) and that is that!

Give it all a jolly good stir to mix up & pop the lid on the slow cooker. Set the dial to low for 8 hours.

Tanz Tip – if you don’t have a slow cooker, most of the time you can just do the recipe in a casserole dish in a 180c for 3 or 4 hours.