amaretti & pumpkin risotto

Tonight’s weeknight dinner; amaretti and pumpkin risotto with spinach & dill served with shredded poached chicken.


I picked up this little pack of risotto from a local providor, and thought it a beautiful star of a mid-week dinner.

Heat a little oil in a saucepan, then add the risotto and stir for a minute til fragrant. Add 125ml of white wine and stir til absorbed, then slowly stir in 500ml of water, a little at a time til all absorbed (about 12 mins).


When cooked add in a good handful of baby spinach and some chopped dill, a little butter and season to taste.


Serve with grilled or shredded poached chicken.


Enjoy! Serves 2

//all photos my own//

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kitchen | moroccan spiced roast chicken & cauliflower barley salad

This recipe just dropped into my inbox and it looks too delicious not to share!

It’s a beautiful, seasonally transitional dish, perfect for a long lazy weekend lunch or relaxing evening meal. Who can go past the fragrant Morrocan spices? I certainly cant!

timthumbMoroccan Spiced Roast Chicken with Cauliflower & Barley Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch saffron threads
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • ½ tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.6kg whole chicken, halved
  • 1½ cups barley
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 small head cauliflower, sliced
  • 1 red onion, thickly sliced
  • ½ cup green Sicilian olives
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, sliced

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ⅔ cup parsley leaves

Method:

To make the green tahini dressing, place tahini, oil, water, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, honey, salt and freshly ground black pepper in the bowl of a small food processor. Process until combined.

Add parsley leaves and process until just combined.
Set aside.

Place cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, saffron, chilli, salt and olive oil in a bowl and mix well to create a paste.  Rub the paste into the chicken halves and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place barley and chicken stock into a deep oven tray and bake for 30 minutes.

Add cauliflower, onion, olives and chicken halves to the pan. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C and roast for a further 40 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Stir parsley and spring onions through the barley and cauliflower mix.

Serve the barley and cauliflower salad with the Morrocan spiced roast chicken and tahini dressing on the side.

Serves 4

***

courtesy of Mindfood Magazine.

 

this week | in instagram

IMG_20130224_153624 making Skinny Cow icecream into a pretty treat! IMG_20130224_154113 (1) circa 2010 @ South Coast Bawley Beach; Harley’s first trip away IMG_20130225_210054Jay, my hot Monday night date;
late dinner after seeing an FBiRadio presents ‘The Imposter’ movie IMG_20130226_221222Amber!!! Had to take this picture of Amber Valletta for Coach at the QVB on George St to send to my friend Tam. Amber & Shalom were our supermodel heros in the 90s!  20130226220559155 Feb dinner club with E & Neen at Mexico Surry HillsIMG_20130226_213321 thanks for the pretty paper stars (that I won’t be shredding) Aunty Sheela!!! IMG_20130228_070833 sunrise over beautiful Sydney during my morning jog IMG_20130228_071608 running stairs with Harley IMG_20130302_083244 little monster – Harley IMG_20130301_070652my favourite boat ‘Poppy’. I want. I will also be using this boat to escape the zombie apocalypse (hope the owners don’t live close)! 
IMG_20130227_072741 early morning boxing IMG_20130301_130116 my husband’s cool ensemble IMG_20130301_082421 this week’s Friday Flowers! Australian Natives. IMG_20130301_090040 hello friend. made by Tino @ Mano Espresso IMG_20130302_154251 a well deserved Dirty Grey Goose Martini on Friday night at Darling HarbourIMG_20130302_072608 get ready for colour & debauchery Sydney!!! Mardi Gras!!! IMG_20130302_104549 Saturday Pyrmont Grower’s Market in the rain IMG_20130302_162137 my skincare routine for the last 6 years…it’s the only skin I’ve got so I’m going to take damn good care of it! IMG_20130302_162815 my makeup ritual IMG_20130302_130653 50 shades of grey Sydney style… weekend of wet weather IMG_20130302_152750I finally hung my recently purchased artwork in our bedroom.
The three paintings are by a Swiss artist named Cristina B.
[contact via @CristinaBStudio on twitter]IMG_20130302_203534 Saturday night simple pasta for my date home alone with the couch
& Xbox Live movies!!! I will not admit to eating half a packet of skittles!!! IMG_20130303_160735 “I was going to be good Mummy but there were too many other options”!!! Harley the cavoodle
IMG_20130303_154731Sunday brunch at FFF Glebe.
Mango smoothie & pumpkin, walnut, chicken salad.

How was your week???

signature2 - melly xox

week in instagram

112013211736my zombie family hanging out on my kitchen window!
selfie
coffee from Morso
Harley bear
112013205925swordfish carpaccio at Love.Fish
Australia Day homemade salads
Banoffi pie from Love.Fish
homemade laksa
breakfast parfait
112013211530table view from Sugaroom Bar+Restaurant
dinner club at Love.Fish with the Jacksons
rainy out my window at work
macabre pretty skull vodka
our his+her’s Chanel perfume
1220139495 homemade weekend baked eggs, fresh baked mini bread rolls & Kebo coffee

chorizo cabonara & catalan market salad

Let’s not tell Jay, but if I could have a second husband it would be Jamie Oliver. That Englishman can cook!

I stalk follow him on Twitter & Instagram and he recently posted this recipe, which of course I just had to emulate for dinner.

Give it a try; it’s pukka!

jamie

For the salad

  • 25 g pine nuts
  • 1 red chicory
  • 1 green chicory
  • 2 clementines
  • 100 g baby spinach
  • 4 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 45 g Manchego cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon runny honey

For the pasta

  • 320 g dried penne
  • 70 g Iberico chorizo
  • ½–1 fresh red chilli
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 heaped tablespoons fat-free natural yoghurt

Method:

Ingredients out • Kettle boiled • Large frying pan, medium heat • Large lidded pan, high heat

START COOKING
Toast the pine nuts in the frying pan for a few minutes, tossing often • Put the pasta into the lidded pan, cover with boiling salted water and cook according to packet instructions • Finely slice the stalk ends of the chicory and click apart the upper leaves into a serving bowl • Peel and finely slice the clementines, add to the bowl with the baby spinach, then pick over the mint leaves • Shave over a tiny bit of Manchego and scatter with the hot nuts, returning the frying pan to a medium heat

In a cup, make your dressing with the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and honey, then season to taste and put aside • Finely slice the chorizo, chilli and rosemary leaves and put into the frying pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of pepper, then squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher and move everything around until lightly golden

Beat the egg, lemon juice, yoghurt and remaining finely grated Manchego together in a bowl • Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of the starchy cooking water • Toss the pasta into the chorizo pan, remove from the heat and mix well with the creamy sauce, loosening with a splash of cooking water, if needed, then season to taste • Dress and toss the salad, then serve with the pasta

Serves 4

tuck in!
tuck in!

Recipe from Jamie Oliver online [here]. My pics.

sweet as nectar | hummingbird cake

I love to cook but I wouldn’t consider myself as a baker. It’s just too finicky.

But the odd occasion arises (usually after an epic Pinning session or for a competition) that I have the urge to bake something beautiful.

Martha Stewart's Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Martha Stewart’s Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

On Sunday I got my apron on!
Warning: the results won’t be like Martha’s picture above!

Hummingbird Cake

Recipe via Martha Stewart: Hummingbird Cake [here] and Cream Cheese Frosting [here].

baking in my Retro Pop rose skulls apron!
baking in my Retro Pop rose skulls apron!
Butter Cream Frosting
Butter Cream Frosting (so hard not to keep licking the spoon!)
underwraps
underwraps
Melly's creation; Hummingbird Cake
Melly’s creation; Hummingbird Cake

IMG_20130113_182527

IMG_20130113_200542

thursday’s table

Get ready for some scrumptious seafood with this cracking recipe
from Michelle Bridges.

Perfect for the Aussie summer season!

Prawn, watercress and fennel salad

Serves 2

“This is one of my favourite recipes. It’s super nutritious and dead easy to make. Rocket is okay if you can’t get watercress.”

~ Mish Bridges

Ingredients

  • 750g cooked prawns
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 220g watercress
  • 2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

Method

  1. Peel and de-vein the prawns and place in a bowl of iced water.
  2. Slice the fennel finely, cutting out and discarding the hard part in the middle close to the root. Chop the watercress, discard the hard stalks and mix with the fennel, dill and parsley. Leave a few watercress stems for decoration.
  3. Finely chop the garlic and whisk it in a food processor with the oil, lemon juice and mustard.
  4. In a pasta bowl, mix the prawns with the salad, then pour over the dressing. Garnish with watercress stems and cracked black pepper.

Recipe & photo [via]

creative popcorn | recipes

[via]

Plain popcorn or popcorn garnished with spice mix is one of my favourite low-cal snacks but flavoured popcorn typically isn’t a huge favourite in Australia.

I’ve scoured the interwebs to find some amazing recipes, that while aren’t low in cals, look amazing & fun!

  1. Cat Cora’s Party Mix with cereal, pretzels, peanuts and, of course, popcorn, this classic snack with a spicy twist has something everyone will enjoy. Recipe found via queen Oprah online [here].
  2. Pretty Princess Pink Party Popcorn won’t taste s sugary sweet as it looks. Made with white chocolate & red food colouring its perfect for princesses young & old! Recipe found via Erin Cooks [here].
  3. I don’t think there’s anything better than S’mores Popcorn! Recipe found via Nest of Posies [here].
  4. Sugar & Spice Popcorn gets its name from a hit of cinnamon and nutmeg…delish! Recipe found via Creative Culinary [here].
  5. Here’s something for the health nuts; Popcorn Trail Mix with seeds, nuts & dried fruit. Recipe found via Good Life Eats [here].
  6. A super fun hit of caramel & chocolate with Poppin’ Popcorn Brittle! Recipe found via Ready Set Eat [here].
  7. Fit for royalty this Gold-dusted White Chocolate Popcorn will definitely impress made with cranberries, white chocolate & edible gold dust! Recipe found via Southern Living [here].
  8. For a more decadent caramel popcorn try The Best Nutty Caramel Popcorn. Recipe found via Not Quite Nigella [here].

Time for a movie night, don’t you think!?!?!

beef ragu with pappardelle | recipe

I recently wrote about gorging myself for a whole day which included this delicious pappardelle pasta dish with a tender beef ragu.

Beef ragu with fresh pappardelle

Ragu traditionally uses secondary cuts of meat which are slowly & gently cooked for hours so that the sinew breaks down and the meat is tender and juicy. For this I use my slow cooker, but you could also make it covered in a low-moderate oven (supervise this step).

Ingredients

Makes 4 regular or 3 large servings

  • Fresh made or good store-bought pappardelle pasta (thin, wide ribbons)
  • 1 large tin tomato puree (420g)
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I use whatever I’m drinking at the time, usually Shiraz, but you can use any red that has a full body)
  • 1 cup good quality veal or beef stock (I used veal because it has a more subtle flavour but whatever you do don’t use veggie stock as it changes the flavour completely; a ragu is meaty)
  • 800g chuck steak, largely diced
  • 3 bay leafs
  • sea salt / cracked pepper
  • 1 tbs butter, melted
  • 2-3 tbs plain flour
  • shaved parmesan to serve

Method

This method uses a slow cooker for part of the process. If you start this in the morning, it’ll simmer away (deliciously heady aromas), unsupervised and be ready by dinner time.

In a slow cooker, place diced beef, tomato puree, wine, stock and pepper, cover and put on 8 hour low setting.

in the slow cooker
done!

Once the meat is done, remove the meat and allow to cool slightly (to make it easier to handle) then with 2 forks gently shred each piece of meat into little fibers.

shredded beef

Strain any unwanted bits from the meat cooking liquid (the jus) and place into either a large pot or fry pan and bring to simmer.

Meanwhile, put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

To make a roux for thickening the jus in the pot/pan, melt the butter and then stir in the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until it resembles a thick paste. Add this, one tablespoon at a time, into the jus (sauce) until you achieve the consistency of a thick gravy-like sauce. Then add the meat and gently stir to soak up all the jus.

meat and thickened jus

Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to packet directions (usually 3-4 minutes for fresh pasta). Strain water, mix the pasta with the ragu and serve!

Beef ragu with fresh pappardelle

This is also nice to serve accompanied with a side salad and a glass of red wine!

Indian veggie burger | recipe

My friend Tam is a vegetarian and her Dad is Indian, so this recipe is for her!

Full article details found here on the Australian Gourmet Traveller Website

2 (about 350gm) desiree potatoes
400 gm piece of butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
200 gm canned chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
300 gm (2 cups) plain flour
6 eggs
6 wholemeal burger buns, halved
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
2 beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated
Mint yoghurt sauce
1 telegraph cucumber, seeds removed and finely chopped
300 ml plain yoghurt
1/3 cup (loosely packed) mint leaves, finely chopped

1 Place potatoes in a saucepan of cold salted water, bring to the boil over high heat and boil for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, stand to cool slightly, then peel and cut into 1cm pieces.
2 Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil over high heat, add pumpkin and cook for 8 minutes or until just tender. Drain and add to potato, then add chickpeas, cumin and coriander and mix to just combine.
3 Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add mustard seeds and cook until beginning to pop. Add seeds to vegetable mixture with coriander leaves, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and gently mix until combined. Using wet hands, form mixture into ½ cup patties and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4 Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Dust patties in flour, add to frying pan and cook, in batches, for 2 minutes each side or until golden, then transfer to an absorbent paper-lined plate. Add eggs to pan and fry to your liking.
5 For mint yoghurt sauce, combine all ingredients and season to taste.
6 Toast cut side of burger buns, top bun halves with carrot, beetroot, patties, fried egg and mint yoghurt sauce, sandwich and serve immediately

Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine

RECIPE RODNEY DUNN PHOTOGRAPHY WILLIAM MEPPEM STYLING RODNEY DUNN AND LYNSEY FRYERS