In The Kitchen

This section was meant to be full of delicious recipes that I have whipped up in my kitchen now that I am temporarily ‘unemployed’. It is looking rather sad and empty so I am going to start the ball rolling with the first relishy thing I have made with produce from my own garden…..Bread and Butter Pickles!!

I have never actually eaten a bread and butter pickle before but as my cucumber plants were delivering about 6 a day I have had to think what I can do with them to use later when they are out of season. This is actually a lovely crispy crunchy tasty accompaniment to a cheese platter or a cheese sandwich for that matter and are very easy to boot!

Thanks to ‘taste’ for the recipe.

5 large Lebanese cucumbers, trimmed into 5 mm thick slices

2 small brown onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon salt

375 ml/1.5 cups apple cider vinegar

215 g/1 cup caster sugar

2 tsp mustard seeds

2 tsp coriander seeds

large pinch of ground turmeric.

Place the cucumber, onion and salt in a bowl and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to soften ( I left mine for 24 hours and it still worked). Rinse the cucumber mixture in a colander and pat dry with paper towel.

Place the vinegar, sugar, mustard and coriander seeds and turmeric in a saucepan over medium heat and cook stirring for 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Add the cucumber mixture and bring to a simmer.

Transfer the mixture to clean dry glass jars. Seal and invert for 2 minutes. Set aside for at least 1 day to develop the flavours. Refrigerate once open. Lasts ages.

I bought a set of 6 glass jars to make jam. They come complete with seals and lids etc and may be worth investing in if you think you are going to become a relish or jam queen.

2015-03-13 18.24.52


My chicken pie


12 chicken thigh fillets – chopped into bite size pieces

1 tsp each of salt, pepper and allspice

200g butter

3 chicken livers chopped (optional)

1 large onion chopped

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2-4 rashers bacon chopped

3 tbsp each of brandy and port

2 cups cream


cornflour if necessary to thicken sauce.

Season chicken with the salt, pepper and allspice and brown in butter. Remove from pan. Saute livers, onion, bacon and mushrooms. Return chicken and add port and brandy. Add cream and reduce until nice consistency. Thicken with cornflour is necessary. Cool.

Put chicken mixture into individual pie tins or one large one and top with puff pastry either homemade or shop bought.

Glaze with egg wash and bake in a hot oven until golden brown.


20150404_170019 Happy hour nibblesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Naughty nibbles….!!


Veggie Pakoras

The River Cottage Australia Book launch at Tallwood, Mollymook was a nice foodie affair and of the three courses they cooked from the book I think the entree was my favourite. Veggie Pakoras with minty yoghurt gave me a tasty crispy naughty feeling balanced with the goodness of veggies to make you feel like it was good for you after all…..

300g chickpea flour (besan)

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

water as needed

4 cups/1 litre rice bran oil or similar, for deep frying

1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small, bite size pieces

1 potato cut into 1cm thick slices

1 eggplant cut into 1cm thick slices

salt flakes

minty yoghurt

1cup/250ml natural yoghurt

1 tsp caster sugar

juice and zest of 1 lemon

small bunch mint, leaves picked

Combine the chickpea flour, chilli powder and turmeric a bowl. Slowly pour in about half a cup of water and whisk the batter together. It should be pretty runny, though thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Fill a large heavy based saucepan with the oil and bring it to around 180c.

Combine the yoghurt, sugar, juice and lemon zest and mint leaves in a bowl. Give it a quick whizz with a hand blender and pop it to one side (or finely chop by hand )

Dip the veggies in the batter and then deep fry them working in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pot. As soon as the batter is golden and crispy use a slotted spoon to remove the pakoras and drain them on some paper towel.

Season with a sprinkling of salt and serve them hot with the minty yoghurt.


Yummy, crispy and good for you!!!



Lemon and Lime Tart


1.5 cups plain flour

1/4 cup sifted icing mix

100g butter

1 tbsp cold water

squeeze lemon juice

Bind together and line a tart tin – bake blind @ 200c for 10 mins.


5 eggs + 1 yolk

3/4 caster sugar

3/4 cup King Island Cream

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tsp lemon and lime rind

Whisk eggs, yolk and sugar until frothy. Add cream and just before baking add the citrus juices and bake at 170c for 30-40 minutes until just set.



lemon curd

Lemon Curd

125g butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

juice of 3 lemons

grated rind of 1 lemon

Combine in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water until it emulsifies and comes together. Takes about 10 minutes.



preserved lemons

Preserved Lemons

20 lemons

120g coarse salt

2 cinnamon sticks

10 cloves

12 black peppercorns

3 bay leaves

extra lemon juice if required.

Clean lemons and cut in half lengthwise and then into quarters but not all the way through. Sprinkle salt on the inside flesh and close up the fruit. Place in a large sterilised jar. Repeat until all the lemons and the salt are used, pushing them down firmly in the jar, slipping in the spices as you go. Cover the lemons with juice and leave in a warm place for 30 days turning upside down every day.



As summer is on it’s way and our thoughts go to eating outdoors I thought I would share some of my favourite salads and dips with you all….

Lemon. olive and fetta hummus

Lemon Hummus

200g marinated fetta in oil

425g can chickpeas drained and rinsed

2 garlic cloves crushed

1/4 preserved lemon flesh, roughly chopped

2/3 cup mint leaves and extra for garnish

2 tbsp thick greek yoghurt

1/3 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives plus extra for garnish.

Drain the fetta, reserving 2 tbsp of the oil. Combine fetta, chickpeas, preserved lemon, mint, yoghurt and reserved oil in a food processor and process until combined and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and stir in chopped olives and season to taste.

Serve topped with extra olives and mint and drizzled with olive oil.




2-3 ripe avocadoes

1 red onion finely chopped

1-2 fresh green chillies finely chopped

juice of 2 limes

sun dried tomato strips (or semi dried tomatoes) chopped

coriander – chopped

salt and pepper to taste.

Mix together and cover closely with gladwrap to stop discolouration. Preferably leave for an hour or so to deepen flavours.


Glass Noodle Salad – add prawns, salmon or grilled chicken for a more substantial meal.

noodle salad

1 packet of vermicelli/cellophane noodles (soaked according to the packet)

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 large spanish onion sliced finely

3 tbsp chopped shallots

2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander

2 tbsp fresh mint chopped

1 long fresh red chilli finely sliced

100g peanuts, crushed to garnish.

Toss everything together and taste for the balance of sweet, salty, hot and sour.




Chickpea, pumpkin and crispy bacon salad

2 kg butternut pumpkin cut into 1.5cm cubes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove garlic crushed

12 slices thin bacon or pancetta

2 x 400g tins chickpeas drained and rinsed

1 cup chopped coriander

salt and pepper


1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove garlic crushed

Combine pumpkin, garlic and oil and roast in a 180 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until tender. Fry bacon/pancetta until crispy. Cool and break into pieces.

Combine the dressing ingredients and when ready to serve toss everything together.


This is a lovely (and very easy) french dish using summer fruit.

Peach and cherry clafoutis


375g fresh pitted cherries

4 medium peaches

1/4 cup blanched almonds

2 tbsp plain flour

3/4 cup milk/thin cream

1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tbsp brandy

45g cold unsalted butter

pinch salt.

Halve and skin the peaches. Arrange cut side up in a large gratin dish and sprinkle the cherries around them. In a food processor grind the almonds with the flour. Add milk, sugar, eggs, brandy and salt and blend into a batter. Poor over the fruit and dot with the butter. Sprinkle liberally with extra sugar and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden. Cool about 10 minutes before serving with extra cream.


salsa verde

This is a lovely bitey version of salsa verde, I like it quite strong but you may want to start with the smaller quantities and add according to your taste. It is delicious with a chunky steak, with a meaty fish or even roasted vegetables or buttery new potatoes.

Mixed Herb Salsa Verde:

1 large bunch mixed soft fresh herbs, I use flat leaf parsley, basil and mint.

1 large clove garlic

2 tbsp capers – drained

3-6 cornichons

2-6 anchovies

1 heaped tbsp french mustard

4 tbsp EVO

1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar


Pick and roughly chop the herb leaves in the centre of a large chopping board. Add the garlic, capers, cornichons and anchovies and continue chopping and mixing it all together until fine.

Scrape everything into a large bowl and add the mustard, oil and vinegar. Have a taste and season with s&p. Add more oil or vinegar until you get it just right for your palate.


Tonight’s supper – chicken caesar salad (with our own lettuce and eggs) and a fresh mango and raspberry cake -YUM!!

2015-10-30 19.04.32

2015-10-30 20.12.00


Especially for Gretel……

Chicken in Brandy wine sauce – a recipe passed down from Aunty Pat.

Chop up some chicken thighs into bite sized pieces and toss them in some seasoned flour. Fry them in butter and olive oil until golden. Add 1-2 cups of white wine and reduce. Add the same amount of pouring cream and reduce, adding 1 chicken oxo cube and a generous splash or 2 of soy sauce. If you have some to hand add an extra swirl of brandy and cook until it’s a lovely sauce consistency.

Yummy, easy and addictive!


We had the yummiest ham to date this Christmas and baked it using Jamie Oliver’s sticky asian glaze – it was delicious!!  Also a side of ocean trout a la Pete Evans with a hummus and herb topping and then sprinkled with pomegranate seeds for a festive touch. Together with fresh prawns, oysters and a lovely roasted veg and couscous salad with harissa dressing, potato salad, caprese salad and roasted pumpkin and chickpea salad we had more than enough for 10 of us and we lived off the leftovers for days!!!




6 red capsicums, roasted,peeled and cut into 1cm slices , juices reserved.

4 tbsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves finely sliced

2 onions finely sliced

pinch chilli flakes

150ml passata

2 tbsp aged red wine vinegar.

Heat oil in the pan over medium heat and add garlic, onion and chilli and cook for 10 minutes or until soft. Add the passata,the capsicum strips and the reserved juice and cook for another 15  minutes or until reduced and thick. Take off the heat and add the vinegar and salt to taste.

I roast my own capsicum with 1 tbsp oil in a hot oven until blistered and softened – about 20 minutes. Remove and put in a bowl and cover with glad wrap to steam for about 30 minutes. When they are a bit cooler, peel off and discard the skins and seeds and keep the juice. Cut the flesh into strips and if doing ahead of time you can store the strips in the fridge for up to 2 days.


Avocado and Pistachio Cake

1/2 cup shelled pistachios

70g butter at room temperature

1 cup/220g caster sugar

1 large ripe avocado peeled stoned and mashed

1 tsp almond extract (optional)


1/2 cup/75g sr flour

1/2 cup/75g plain flour

1/2 cup/ 60g almond meal

3/4 cup icing mixture

2 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line the base and sides of a loaf pan with baking paper. Place the pistachios in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and the sugar in a bowl until well combined. Add avocado and almond extract.Beat until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in combined flour,almond meal and pistachio meal. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 45 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Set aside in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Combine the icing sugar, lemon juice and spread icing evenly over the cake. Sprinkle extra chopped pistachios over the top to make it look pretty.

Yummy and almost a salad as it contains avocado!!!


With our orange tree laden with ripe fruit we are trying loads of different ways to use them and we always come back to a’whole’ orange cake. The Man of The House had a yen for some old fashioned icing so voila we mixed the two ideas for a tasty afternoon treat. This isn’t too sweet as the entire orange is used and the skin gives it a pleasantly bitter tinge making you feel a bit less guilty!

2 small oranges

125g melted butter

1 cup milk

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup self raising flour

1 cup caster sugar

1 cup ground almonds


1-2 cups icing sugar

10g butter (very soft)

2 tablespoons orange juice

orange zest to decorate

Preheat oven to 180°C/160ºC fanforced. Grease a 24cm fluted ring or bundt pan. Cover oranges with cold water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Drain and repeat. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Roughly chop the oranges removing any seeds. Process oranges until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and mix in butter, milk, eggs, flour, sugar and almond meal until combined. Pour mixinto prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Stand cake in pan for at least 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and cool.

Combine all icing ingredients until smooth and thick enough to ice cake. Pour over cake and top with orange zest.


This is a great dish for when you have guests as you can cook it a day or two in advance saving yourself from slaving in the kitchen and enjoying a glass of the pinot with them instead….

Beef Cheek Bourguignon

80ml Olive Oil

6 beef cheeks (about 300g each) or use Chuck steak if you can’t find cheeks.

1/2 cup plain flour

500g golden eschalots peeled

6 cloves garlic thinly sliced

500ml pinot noir

1.5 litres beef stock

400g bacon or speck cut into 2cm slices

2 handfuls of swiss brown mushrooms sliced

5 sprigs thyme plus extra to serve

3/4 cup flat leaf parsley coarsley chopped plus extra to serve

Preheat oven to 150°C/130°C fan forced. Season beef in flour and brown in oil in 2 batches. Reduce heat and fry eschalots until just beginning to colour about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and deglaze pan with wine. Transfer mixture to flameproof casserole dish, add beef cheeks,stock, bacon,mushrooms and herbs and cover with lid. Increase heat and bring to a simmer before transferring to the oven to braise for 31/2 – 4 hours until meat is very tender. Remove beef and reduce sauce on stove top until a coating consistency is achieved, about 20-30 minutes. Return beef to sauce and scatter with extra herbs. Serve with Paris mash or polenta. Winter aint so bad after all…..


Chicken braised with mushrooms and thyme.

.10g dried porcini mushrooms

100g button mushrooms

150g swiss mushrooms

150g portobello mushrooms

3 tbsp olive oil

2 small brown onions sliced

2 tsp chopped thyme leaves

80g rindless pancetta, 1/2cm dice

1 tsp seasalt

600g skinless chicken thigh fillets cut into quarters

1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1/2 tbsp dijon mustard

1/4 cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup pouring cream

freshly ground pepper

  1. Soak porcini mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and chop. Slice button and swiss mushrooms. Cut portobello mushrooms in half and slice.
  2. Heat half the oil over medium high heat in a deep wide saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Cook the onions with the thyme, pancetta and salt for three minutes then add the mushrooms (except porcini)and cook until the ingredients turn golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add remainingoil topan and brown chicken pieces. Return mushroom mix to pan, add porcini, worcestershire sauce and mustard and cook for a minute. Deglaze with wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the crunchy bits. Add stock and bring to the boil. Turn the chicken and simmer with the lid on for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the cream and continue to simmer until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened. Add pepper and serve.
  5. ********************************************************************************

6 thoughts on “In The Kitchen

  1. So hungry reading all of these. You always make the yummiest things. Can you please post the chicken recipe your kids all rave about, would love to make it for my kids too 🙂


  2. I love reading your blog, Well done Susie.
    I meant to write a blog for our french home but never got to do it. I shall start something, Thank you for the inspiration. Julie – french_manoir.


    • You’re welcome Julie! My daughter suggested starting mine when we moved as an easy way to let everyone know how we were settling in and it has been a really enjoyable process for me and a great visual diary of our new life. You can even print the blog creating your own little book! Seeing your comment in my kitchen section has reminded me that I haven’t added anything here for ages so I shall address that soon, thankyou! Susie 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s