Simple Fried Rice

I can remember when I was in primary school when we learned Indonesian we did a unit on food. The best part was the day the teacher made us nasi goreng which translates to fried rice.

It was delicious and has been a favourite to eat and make ever since that day.

Here is my simple fried rice recipe.

Prep time – 15 mins, Cooking time -20 mins, Serves 6

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Simple Fried Rice

2 cups rice

1/2 cup frozen peas

2 carrots – finely diced

1/4 cabbage – finely sliced

200g chopped mushrooms

200g finely chopped chicken

100g finely chopped bacon

2 eggs

1 tbs minced garlic

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tbs sugar

1tbs sesame oil

1tbs peanut oil

  1.  Rinse rice under cold water until water runs clear. Boil rice and when cooked rinse with cold water and set aside to drain.
  2. In a wok or large frying pan heat peanut oil over a high heat. When hot, fry up chicken, bacon and garlic until the chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Add to the meat all vegies and stirfry until the carrot is soft and the peas are hot.
  4. Add rice, mixing through well.
  5. In a small bowl mix the sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar. Add to the rice mixture and stir through well.
  6. Create a well in the centre of the rice mixture and crack both eggs into the centre. Stir eggs and when they are starting to solidify mix through the rice mixture.
  7. Rice is ready when the egg is cooked throughout the rice.
  8. Serve with crushed peanuts or chopped shallots or with nothing at all (the sooner it gets in your belly the better!)
  9. Enjoy 🙂

~A

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New York Baked Cheesecake

My favourite type of cake is a baked cheesecake. I can remember when I was little whenever I was taking into town we would always stop off at our favourite German coffee shop and without fail I would get one of two things. A jam Berliner or a slice of baked cheesecake.

Each bite of this cheesecake took me right back to those cherished childhood memories.

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New York Baked Cheesecake

250g plain sweet biscuits (Scotch fingers or arrowroot’s both work fine)

125g butter – melted

750g cream cheese – soft and at room temperature

2 tsp finely grated orange zest

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 cup castor sugar

3 eggs

¾ cup sour cream

¼ cup lemon juice

  1. In a food processor pulse the biscuits until they are a fine crumble and add the butter pulsing again until combined.
  2. In a prepared 24cm spring form cake tin, press the biscuit mixture over the base and sides ensuring an even base well compressed base. When pressed in, refrigerate for 30mins.
  3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, citrus rinds and sugar with electric beaters until smooth. Add in one egg at a time beating in between then add the sour cream and lemon juice beating again until smooth.
  4. Remove the biscuit base from the refrigerator and pour cheese mixture into the tin.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for about 1hr and 15mins or until the top is just golden.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Enjoy!

-A

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Spinach and Sundried Tomato Pasta

You know when you’ve just been eating bad/naughty food all Easter long and all you want is something deliciously savoury and in no way made of chocolate? Well that’s where I am at with life this week.

I swear if I eat or even just see another Easter egg I might explode! As fantastic as it is to indulge in chocolate for a week straight there does come a time when enough is enough. So to combat all the sugary chocolaty goodness I had been consuming I fought back with this delectable somewhat fancy pants but actually really easy pasta.

Its full of semi sun-dried tomatoey goodness, creamy but with a hint of heat sauciness and of course to make it a little bit healthy a heap of spinach!

This pasta was a winner with me right away due to the fact that once I got going it was made in about 15 mins flat! How good is that for a filling midweek meal that yields loads of leftovers?

Interested yet? OK, here we go!

Prep time – 5 mins, Cooking time – 15 mins, Serves 6-8

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Spinach and Sundried Tomato Pasta

2 packed cups baby spinach leaves

150g semi sundried tomatos

2 chicken breast fillets –  chopped into bite sized pieces

500g pasta of your choice

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2tbs chicken stock powder

2 cups cream

1/4 cup parmesan cheese – plus extra to serve

Salt and pepper to taste

1tsp oil to fry chicken – you can use the sundried tomato oil3

1. Put a large pot on to boil pasta and place pasta into pot when bubbling.

2. Place chopped chicken into a large frying pan and season with chicken stock powder and fry until golden and cooked through.

3. Add tomatos, cayenne pepper and cream to chicken. Stir through.

4. When creamy sauce is hot add parmesan and stir through.

5. Once pasta is cooked drain and return to the pot. Wilt spinach through the creamy chicken then add the creamy chicken sauce to the pasta and stir through.

6. Serve with some extra parmesan on top of pasta and enjoy!

-A

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Chocolate Tart

I recently spent the Easter weekend with my Mum in Cairns. I don’t get to see her as often as I would like, so this year I promised myself and her that I would make an effort to spend more time with her despite the 400 km distance between us.

So like the old days when I still lived at home, when we come together there is usually a lot of food related activities to be had! When I was little we would always be making something in the kitchen, usually baking on the weekends when we had time away from school and work.

Almost like making up for lost time, this weekend we baked up a storm, making two of these delicious chocolate tarts (one for Mum’s great neighbours and one for us) and one very yummy New York Baked Cheesecake, soon to be shared on The Strange Couple.

This tart is super easy and anyone should be able to make it. We did use a food processor but if you’re feeling strong enough you could mix the pastry dough by hand too. The chocolate filling is divine and ridiculously simple to make. You might consider this as the perfect dessert next time you’re entertaining guests (or just want something chocolaty for yourself!).

Prep time – 30 mins, Cooking time – 30 mins + 30 mins setting time, Serves 8-10

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Chocolate Tart

Base

1 ½ cups plain flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

¼ cup icing mixture

180g cold butter – chopped

Filling

½ cup cream

30g butter – chopped

200g dark cooking chocolate – chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and prepare a tart tin about 34 x 11.5cm with a little butter and flour.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder and icing mixture, place into a food processor with the cold chopped butter. Use the pulse setting to process the mixture until it resembles crumbs. Add about 3 table spoons of iced water and process again in pulses until the mixture comes together to form clumps. Ensure mixture is moist by pinching a bit of the mixture, if it looks too dry add a touch more iced water.
  3. When clumping, remove the dough from the processor onto a flat surface and roll out with a rolling pin to about 5mm thickness and make sure it will be long and wide enough to fit your tin. This recipe should yield more than enough dough to cover the dimensions of the tin.
  4. Lay the pastry into the prepared tin and lay some baking paper on top of the pastry and fill with dried rice or beans and bake for 15 mins, remove the rice or beans from the pastry and bake for a further 15 mins or until the pastry is dry and cooked through. Allow to cool.
  5. For the filling heat the cream, butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat until the chocolate begins to meld. Remove from the heat and stand, stirring often until melted and smooth.
  6. When pastry base is cool, pour in the chocolate mixture and smooth out.
  7. Place tart in the fridge until the chocolate has set.
  8. Serve with fresh cream and berries and enjoy!

~A

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Easy Meringue

This is the easiest Meringue recipe you will ever find. I decided to make a meringue after my last post Orange Poppy Seed Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Glaze. The curd required 5 egg yolks and I was left with all the egg whites. I don’t like waste, and I rather like meringue so it only made sense!

This meringue can me made into small rounds, or as large bases for toppings of cream and fruit.

With only two ingredients, why not give it a go 🙂

Prep time 5 mins, Cooking time 3 hours, Serves 8

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Easy Meringue

4 egg whites

220g caster sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. In a bowl beat egg whites on low with an electric beater until the whites start to go foamy and bubble, turn beater to high and continue until eggs form soft peaks.
  2. Begin to add the sugar, about 1 tbs at a time, over the course of 2-3 minutes the eggs should turn stiff and glossy.
  3. Line a baking try with grease proof paper and begin to spoon out your meringue mixture. It’s at this point that you can get creative, forming your meringue into shapes, or just a slab.
  4. Reduce the oven to 140 degrees C and place tray into oven. Leave to bake for 35-40 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave in place for a further 2-3 hours to dry out.
  5. When cool, top with your favourite fruits and cream and enjoy!

~A

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Orange Poppy Seed Cake with Passionfruit Curd & Glaze

This weekend I went to visit my friend today who until recently has been in hospital recovering from quite a large surgery. I didn’t want to go empty handed so I decided to make cake! Because well, you know, these situations need cake…

So to the internet I went, searching for something to make out of the ingredients I already had in the pantry. The star of the show had to be the passionfruit as I had a big tin just sitting there waiting to be eaten. I found a few recipes that I thought looked easy enough and would combine well to make something pretty special, so here it is, my Orange Poppy Seed Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Glaze.

Prep time – 20 mins, Cooking time – 30 mins, Cooling time – 2 hrs, Serves 12

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Poppy Seed Cake with Passionfruit Curd & Glaze

Cake

2 ½ cups plain flour plus more for dusting tins

2tsp baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cup caster sugar

Zest of 1 orange

225g unsalted butter room temperature, plus more greasing tins

2 large eggs lightly beaten, room temperature

1tsp vanilla extract

1 cup milk, room temperature

2 tbs poppy seeds

Curd

Check out this link for our yummy Passionfruit curd!

Note: This recipe will make much more curd than needed for the cake so make sure to store and use for other goodies coming up on the blog 🙂

Glaze

1 cup icing sugar

3 tablespoons passionfruit pulp

1 tablespoon orange juice, freshly squeezed

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C; place oven rack in middle position. Prepare two 20cm round cake tins; grease and line with baking paper then grease and flour baking paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine orange zest with the sugar and mix through, it should resemble semi-wet sand when completely mixed.
  3. Add soft butter to sugar mixture and using an electric beater mix until smooth, drizzle in eggs slowly, all the while beating the mixture through. Add vanilla last and combine.
  4. Into your flour pour your sugar mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to combine slightly, then return the electric beater and mix thoroughly.
  5. Fold poppy seeds into cake batter until evenly distributed.
  6. Divide batter between the cake tins and bake for 20mins, then check and rotate pans from front to back, then cook for a further 10mins or until a skewer comes cleanly out of the centre of the cake.
  7. When baked transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool. When cool to touch turn out cakes, and set on racks top-side up. Cool completely.

Glaze

  1. In a medium bowl sift the sugar, add the passionfruit pulp and orange juice and whisk well to combine. The mixture should be just thick.

Assembling your cake

  1. Remove any remaining baking paper from the cakes. If your cakes are slightly rounded at the tops you will need to slice the rounded top off the bottom layer so your cakes stack well.
  2. Place bottom layer of the cake on your chosen serving platter and spread about ¼ cup of curd over the top. Carefully place the top cake over the curd layer and press lightly down to make some of the curd just start to ooze out the sides.  If you wish to have multiple layers feel free to repeat this process until your cake is the desired height.
  3. Once layering is complete chill your cake in the fridge for 1 hour. This will help later when you add the glaze.
  4. When cool, pour the glaze over the top of the cake and allow it to run down the sides. Allow glaze to set before serving – about ½ an hour.
  5. Find some friends to share with and enjoy!

~A

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Lemon Basil Pesto

I love this pesto on hot toast with sliced tomato and loads of freshly cracked pepper, and I plan on using it with some freshly made pasta in the near future too. Its a wonderful addition to a cheese, crackers and wine evening and it is such a good way to use your basil if it suddenly grows like crazy!

We had a single lemon basil plant that I picked up at the local markets quite some time ago. It just plodded along, not growing overly well, but not dying either so we let it stay. Then when it go so hot over summer the poor thing just gave up, went to seed and died. 6 weeks later and with the help of a heap of rain we suddenly have a garden bed full of young basil plants. When you have about a square meter of basil to work with pesto seems like the logical choice. Having said that we still have about 1/2 a square meter left after today’s cull! I will have to think about what to make next 🙂

Prep time – 15 mins, Cooking time – 5 mins, Makes about 500ml

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Saki modelling for scale, the basil can be seen behind her!

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Lemon Basil Pesto

4 packed cups lemon basil (regular basil is fine too!)

1 ½ cups grated parmesan

1 ¾ cups extra virgin olive oil

1 cup pine nuts, roasted

6 cloves garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, line a baking tray with foil or baking paper.
  2. Place pine nuts evenly over the tray and roast for 3-5 mins or until golden brown.
  3. Once pine nuts have been roasted, place all ingredients into a food processor and blend for around a minute.
  4. Remove pesto from processor and place in your favourite jar, and enjoy!

~A

P.S. Props to Sweet Phi Blog for the inspiration behind this recipe, I altered her ratios just a wee bit to make the pesto more to my tastes – that’s the great thing about cooking, you do you!

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Smoked Salmon Fillet with Parsley Potatoes & Cream Cheese Spread

I love when my Husband decides to cook, and I love how he always knows he can ask me for help! Today, he came up with this meal all on his own, I couldn’t be more proud.

Smoking meat has become a regular thing in our household. Bacon, steaks, chicken, fish, you name it, we smoke it! Today however was the first time we smoked salmon fillets in our Nipper Kipper smoking box. Now I am asking myself “Why didn’t we do this sooner?!”.

This meal is easy and delicious, even if you can’t smoke it, the salmon would be just as delicious pan fried in some butter, or even baked in the oven.

Next time you are out to impress, why not try this?

Prep time – 10 mins, Cooking time 30 mins, Serves 4

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Smoked Salmon Fillet with Parsley Potatoes & Cream Cheese Spread

4 fillets salmon, skin on

8 baby chat potatoes

1tbs butter

Small bunch fresh parsley – chopped finely

1/3 small red onion – chopped finely

225g tub cream cheese

½ cup dark brown sugar

2 cups balsamic vinegar

Small bag rocket

4 tbs grated parmesan cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Place your potatoes on to boil.
  2. If you have a smoking box, or small BBQ that will allow you to smoke meat, do so to the salmon according to your smoker’s instructions. Place salmon skin down, and smoke for about 25mins. If you do not have a smoker, feel free to pan fry or oven bake (covered).
  3. While salmon is smoking, heat the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a shallow frying pan or saucepan over a medium heat, stirring every few minutes. Keep at a simmer for 20mins, or until the glaze is reduced by half and will coat the back of a spoon.
  4. While glaze is reducing, prepare your cream cheese spread by combining the cream cheese, chopped onion and half the parsley and mix well, set aside.
  5. When potatoes are cooked, drain and add remaining parsley and butter, stir until the potatoes are coated.
  6. On your serving plates take a small amount of rocket as a side salad and sprinkle each with about a tablespoon of parmesan.
  7. When the salmon is cooked, assemble your meal with salmon skin side up, salad, cream cheese and potatoes, and drizzle everything lightly with the balsamic glaze.
  8. Enjoy!

~A

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Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli

There is nothing better than stumbling upon food inspiration and then thinking about making that meal for a few weeks, and then finally being able to make it and it being better than your wildest expectations! That’s exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago, and tonight I finally had a chance to create this delicious, protein packed dinner.

My inspiration came in the form of another food blog called Show Me The Yummy, their Thai Peanut Noodles made my mouth water just looking at them. I knew I had to make them because a) noodles and b) Asian flavours. That’s like totally my thing! I knew I would never get away with just noodles and egg for dinner, the hubby would never allow it (the man needs his meat!), so I chucked in some chicken and broccoli (because I’ve eaten really badly this week – stress eating as Saki-pup was in vet hospital for a few nights – I thought I should add something green).

This dish was a hit, hubby loved it, Saki (now home) loved it when I dropped some chicken and I super duper loved it!

Why not give it a try yourself 🙂

Prep time – 15 mins, Cooking time – 15 mins, Serves 6-8

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Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken & Brocolli

180g packet of ramen noodles

1 heaped tbs minced garlic

¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbs dark brown sugar

1 tbs sesame oil

1 tps fish sauce

¼ cup smooth peanut butter

Sides

2 skinless chicken breasts – diced

1 large head of broccoli

Topping

Fried eggs (as many as you need per dish)

1 bunch spring onion – finely sliced

Fried spring onion

Sesame seeds

Chilli flakes (optional)

  1. Put noodles on to boil as per packet instructions and mix all sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Stir fry the chicken in a small amount of oil and when no longer pink add broccoli and stir fry until just soft. Set aside and keep warm once cooked.
  3. When cooked, drain the noodles and mix sauce through while hot.
  4. Fry eggs in a lightly oiled non stick pan. Keep sunny side up and cover with a lid to cook the top, you want these slightly runny as the yolk mixes amazingly with the peanut noodles.
  5. Place noodles in a bowl and top with chicken, broccoli and egg, and garnish with spring onion, sesame seeds and chilli flakes.
  6. Enjoy!

~A

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Creamy Chicken and Spinach Pasta

This is one of the easiest and yummiest pasta recipes I know how to make. It’s at the point now that I don’t even use a recipe , I usually just go by feel, but tonight I decided to actually work out how much of everything I use and here it is just for you! This does make quite a lot, so feel free to dial back the amounts if you don’t want left overs.

Prep time – 10 mins, Cooking time – 20 mins, Serves 8

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Creamy Chicken and Spinach Pasta

2 skinless chicken breasts – diced

1 large brown onion – finely sliced

1 tbs minced garlic

1tbs chicken stock powder

250g frozen chopped spinach

600ml cream

½ cup water

500g pasta (I used large spirals)

3 heaped tbs wholegrain mustard

½ tbs honey

Salt and pepper to taste

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  1. Put a large pot on to boil for the pasta while preparing the ingredients.
  2. Put pasta in to cook. In a large frying pan/wok on a medium heat cook onion and garlic in some olive oil until onion is soft then add the diced chicken. Sprinkle chicken with stock and cook until chicken is slightly golden and no longer pink.
  3. Add water, spinach, cream, mustard and honey and stir through.
  4. Once pasta is just cooked add to chicken mixture and cook for a further 10 minutes on a low heat.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Enjoy!

~A

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