Month: July 2014

Momofuku Style Pork Steam Bun


I have always wanted to try these little pillows of goodness ever since my brother had told me of eating them in New York, I think he paid $8 for 2 tiny ones. With this recipe you will be able to stretch the dollar A LOT further.

The sweet fluffy buns, succulent juicy pork and the freshness  of the pickles will leave you wanting more and more and more….I do have to mention that I cheated on the buns and bought a pre packaged Banh Bao Flour Mix from my local asian supermarket, I didn’t even know they made it pre packaged like this – heaven sent!  The hard work isn’t done for you though, you will still have to knead the dough, let it rest and knead again and roll out. The buns can be made and steamed ahead of time, store in the fridge for 1 day or in the freezer for 2 months. I was lucky enough to have some Pork Belly already poached sitting in the freezer, just defrosted it, sliced into pieces and shallow fried-done! You could also use Char Sui Pork or Peking Duck.

This recipe would have to be one of my favourites, right up there with the Twice Cooked Pork Belly with Citrus Caramel Dressing.

Momofuku Style Pork Steam Buns


1 package of pre mix Banh Bao flour mixture*

1.5 kg Pork Belly, poached in masterstock, sliced into 5cm pieces

1/2 jar hoisin sauce

1 spring onion, finely julienned or sliced

Cucumber Pickle

2 lebanese cucumbers, thickly sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 tablespoon salt


  1. To pickle cucumbers, add the salt, sugar and cucumbers to a container or jar, shake to cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour. Its amazing, as the salt and sugar draw all the moisture from the cucumbers and the jar fills up with a beautiful sweet/salty liquid. They will last 1 month in the fridge.
  2. Start the pork buns per packet instructions. I decided to shape mine like envelopes (momofuku style) I have made them the traditional way before and I found this way alot easier “always like easier”. It makes about 12-16 buns. Divide your dough up, roll into circles about 1/2 cm thick, place onto a piece of baking paper, spray the bun and using a chopstick, fold the bun over the chopstick and then remove. First time I did these they stuck together, so the oil should prevent this from happening. Place buns into  a large steamer, be sure not to place them too closely together as they will expand . Buns should take about 10 minutes. Cover the cooked buns with a tea towel and continue with the rest.
  3. Heat enough oil in a large frypan or wok to shallow fry the pork belly, will take about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towel.
  4. To assemble, brush the buns with hoisin, layer with  the pork belly, pickled cucumber and  garnish with spring onion.

Pan Seared Tuna and Soba Noodle Salad with Ponzu and Wasabi Dressing


 I love it when friends and family give me fresh produce to cook with, they must think I’m a foodie of some sort – haha- who me?!?

I was given a beautiful fresh piece of tuna, I kept the flavours simple, added some different textures and only lightly seared the tuna. WOW… is the only word to describe how amazing this dish was. The recipe was adapted from a Valli Little (of course, my fav) recipe.

Pan Seared Tuna and Soba Noodle Salad with Ponzu and Wasabi Dressing


1 tablespoon sunflower oil

400 g centre-cut sashimi-grade tuna, available at your local fish market

1/4 cup  white and black sesame seeds

200 g buckwheat soba noodles

1 cup frozen soy beans (edamame), blanched and then placed in cold water*

1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into long thin slices

1 punnet snow pea sprouts, trimmed

1-2 avocado, sliced

4 spring onions, sliced on an angle, only the green part


2 teaspoons caster sugar

1/2-1 teaspoon wasabi paste, I used 1/2 teaspoon and it was plenty for my palate

1/3 cup (80ml) ponzu (citrus soy)*

2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine)*

2 teaspoons fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime


enough oil to deep fry in

1/2 cup lotus roots*


  1. Heat the oil in a frypan over high heat, sear the tuna for 15 secs each side, continuously turning. Allow to cool slightly.Combine sesame seeds on a clean board or plate and roll the cooled tuna in the seeds to cover.Wrap tuna tightly in cling film, twisting ends to secure. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or till ready to serve.
  2. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a  jar, shake and set aside.
  3. Cook the noodles and beans together, will take about 5 minutes, drain and place in cold water.
  4. This step is optional. For the lotus root crisps, I found that I had to twice cook them to get them crispy. I defrosted them in some warm water, patted them dry with paper towel, deep fryed them in a wok or saucepan @165c for a couple of minutes, removed  and  drained. Increased the temperature of the oil to 185c, ready for when I’m about to serve.
  5. Meanwhile, remove tuna from fridge and slice 5mm thick. Toss noodles and soy beans with the half the dressing, divide among the plates or a large platter then place the cucumber, sprouts, avocado, spring onion on top, lay the tuna over the salad and finish with remaining dressing. Lastly, quickly deep fry your lotus root crisps @185c for 1 minute, till light brown, drain and arrange on plates or platter.

*endamame beans and lotus root can be found in the  frozen section at your asian supermarket. Mirin can be found in your local supermarket, asian section and the ponzu (citrus soy-thats what is written on my label) will be in found in a asian supermarket.

Ancient Grain Salad with Ras el Hanout Lamb Meatballs


I finally found a recipe that used Freekah as the main element. It’s another crazy superfood that I found, with more than four times the fibre content then brown rice, high protein, good prebiotic effect, low fat, rich in calcium, iron and zinc and overall Freek-ing good for you !! Haha… Just had to throw that line in there! It’s very similar to brown rice in flavour and texture. You will find it in the health food isle of your supermarket and  health food stores. This recipe was adapted from one of my favourite homecooks Valli Little, I think I have a little piece of her in every recipe, I try, adapt or create!

Ras el hanout Lamb Meatballs with Ancient Grain salad

Serves 2-4


Lamb Meatballs
500 g lamb mince
1/2 tbsp ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend, available from supermarkets or you can make a version of it yourself)
1 clove garlic minced
1 tbsp ginger minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Ancient Grain Salad
1 cup dry Freekah cooked per packet instructions ( I used chicken stock)
1 can of brown lentils , washed and drained
1/3 cup mixed seeds and nuts (pine nuts, pumpkin and pepitas)
1/2 cup of sultanas or craisins
1 cup coriander and italian parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup mint leaves, chopped

Juice of a lemon
1/4 cup oil
1 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper


  1. Combine all lamb meatball ingredients and mix well. Shape into balls and place on tray , cover and place in fridge till ready to cook.
  2. Cook the Freekah according to packet instructions, drain and combine with the lentils. I toasted my seeds and nuts slightly in a small frypan before adding to salad, purely optional, I think it gives a nice crunch. Then add the sultanas or craisins and herbs.
  3. Whisk up dressing ingredients, season to taste and pour over salad, mix through with a fork, gently, trying not to break the lentils. Place in fridge until meatballs are ready.
  4. Heat a fry pan with 2 tablespoons of oil and cook the meatballs until done, alternatively line a baking tray with baking paper and cook @180c fan forced 15-20 mins ( you don’t get the caramelisation on the outside of the meatball if you use the oven). When ready drain on paper towel, serve with salad and Greek yoghurt.

    You could use the ras el hanout on a butterflied leg of lamb or a whole chicken, just mix with 2tbs oil and marinate.
    Freekah will last 3 days in the fridge.

Atlantic Salmon with Wasabi Soy Dressing


I cannot believe I have only been eating salmon for 2 years, what have I been missing out on!?!I love asian flavours with salmon,  it keeps the flavour fresh and lets the salmon shine. The soba noodle salad can be served warm or cold and you could use  salmon with the skin on. This dish would also work well with brown rice or quinoa.

Wasabi Salmon with Noodles


2 spring onions
4 x pieces of salmon
2 tsp oil
250 g somen or soba noodles, cooked per packet instructions

asian greens, steamed

1/2 to 3/4 tsp of wasabi paste
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar or sake
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp black  and white sesame seeds


  1. Finely slice your spring onion length ways and place in a bowl of cold iced water and set aside.
  2. Place all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.
  3. Heat the oil in a fry pan and cook salmon to your liking.
  4. To serve, place noodles on a plate, top with salmon, pour over dressing, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with the curled spring onion.

*Limes can be quite expensive, I try to buy mine in bulk whenever possible and then freeze. Just microwave 30 secs and slice in half till ready to use.

Thai Quinoa Salad with Chilli Lime Prawns

Quinoa crazy at the moment. This little grain is the superfood of superfood. It is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids, has twice as much fibre as most other grains, high in iron, rich in magnesium, high content of manganese (which is an antioxidant), high in Riboflavin (B2) and the obvious Paleo, gluten free, low fat and low carb.
Inspired by Asian flavours, I wanted to create a salad with the sweet, sour, salty balance. My best friend did not have faith in me that these flavours would work well with Quinoa, I proved her wrong – HA! This dish can be made a couple of days ahead, would be great for a bbq lunch or just a simple starter. 

Thai Quinoa Salad with Chilli Lime Prawns

3/4 cup quinoa (cooked per packet instructions)
1 med carrot , julienned and diced or grated
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed and finely diced
1 small capsicum, finely diced
1 small asian shallot
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 to 3 tablespoon of palm sugar
1 small chilli, finely chopped , de-seed to reduce heat
Chilli Lime Prawns
1 kg fresh prawns, deveined and heads removed, threaded onto a skewer if you like
Juice of 2 limes
6 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
2 large chilli sliced, 3 if you like it hot
4 tbsp oil

  1. Cook quinoa per packet instructions. I always cook mine in chicken stock, adds more flavour.
  2. To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. Set aside.
  3. For the salad, place the quinoa and salad ingredients in a large bowl, toss, add the dressing. Place in the fridge. Salad can be made a couple of days ahead.
  4. Combine the prawns and marinade, place in fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
  5. To cook prawns, heat a oiled frypan or bbq and cook until golden. They wont take very long, as they have been tenderising in the lime juice.
  6. To serve, place quinoa salad on a plate, top with the prawns, thai basil, kaffir lime leaves (finely chopped) and a lime wedge.

Zucchini Mini Muffin Bites


 How hard is it to create a high protein, low sugar, dairy free snack?  Its not. These Zucchini Mini Muffin Bites will satisfy those late night munchies when the kids are asleep or the 3pm slump when dinner seems so far away. They give you the satisfaction of eating something naughty, but are totally guilt free. They are free from refined sugar, grain and gluten free and dairy free. All you need to do is mix the dry, mix the wet and combine. Simple I know, the hardest part is not to eat them all.

 Zucchini Muffin Bites


1 3/4 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon bi carb soda

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1 tablespoon macca powder (optional)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

50grams cacao nibs, dairy free dark chocolate or 70- 80% dark chocolate (sugar free), roughly chopped

1/4 cup nut of choice, roughly chopped

4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

1 banana, mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

155ml coconut cream (small can)

1 cup zucchini, grated and moisture squeezed out


  1. Preheat oven to 180c fan forced. Grease a mini cupcake/muffin tray with a little coconut oil.
  2. Combine almond meal, bi carb, cacao powder, macca powder, mix with a whisk to remove any lumps, then add chia seeds, chocolate and nuts, mix.
  3. Whisk all wet together, adding the zucchini last and stirring it through.
  4. Fold the wet mixture into the dry, do not overmix or the batter will become very oily.
  5. Fill the mini muffin holes 3/4 full with mixture, you may have left over mixture.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Test by touching the top, if they bounce back they are ready. Let cool in tray, they will be very delicate.  To remove, run a knife around the edges and pop them out.
  7. Store in the fridge for 1 week or freeze for 2 months

Twice Cooked Pork Belly with Citrus Caramel Dressing



Here’s another drool worthy dish, Twice Cooked Pork Belly with Citrus Caramel Dressing. You can view this recipe and more here.Its from The Spirit House, Yandina, Queensland, an award winning restaurant.
The ingredients list is long, but hooray, there is no skill required and all of the components can be frozen. I always double the amount of pork belly, poach it and then freeze both the pork belly and masterstock seperately. The master stock can be re-used for chicken, duck, quail or spatchcock. With any cut of meat once its been cooked it can be frozen again.
The Citrus Caramel Dressing can be frozen also, it makes alot.


 You will impress the pants off anyone by whipping this dish up for a dinner party or  lunch time bbq, all the hard work has been done. You will only need to defrost, slice and deep fry the pork pieces, heat up the sauce and make an asian salad …delicious!! All ingredients can be found at your local asian supermarket, local supermarket and farmers markets.

Twice Cooked Pork Belly with Citrus Caramel Dressing


Masterstock Recipe

2 litres water

250ml shaoxing wine

125ml light soy sauce

75ml dark soy sauce

100grams yellow rock sugar

2 pieces tangerine peel (I just use orange peel)

2 pieces cassia bark

4 star anise

1 knob of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped*

4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved


  1. Bring all the ingredients to the boil in a very large pot, simmer for 10 mins.
  2. Preheat oven to 200c, place pork belly in a deep oven tray,  pour over the hot masterstock, cover with foil tighly and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Once cooked, remove pork belly and place in the fridge overnight.
  3. To freeze masterstock, strain into a container, leave to cool in the fridge, then place in freezer. Will last 6 months in freezer.

Citrus Caramel Dressing


4 coriander roots, roughly chopped*

50 grams ginger, peeled and roughly chopped*

30 grams  tumeric, peeled and roughly chopped*

500grams palm sugar

500ml orange juice

4 kaffir lime leaves*

2 star anise

1 piece cassia bark

50mls water

1 lemon grass stalk*


  1. Using your mortar and pestle, pound the coriander, ginger and tumeric to a paste (alternatively you could use a food processor).
  2. Heat a large saucepan with a little oil, fry off the paste until starting to colour, add the sugar, water and cook until sugar dissloves. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil, reduce heat and reduce to a syrup like consistency. Strain and cool. Store in fridge or freezer.


To serve

If pork is frozen, defrost in fridge overnight. Heat oil in a deep fryer or wok to 190c, cut the pork into 4 cm pieces. In this next step I have found the pork spits when cooking, so make sure you  have a splatter screen or lid for your deep fryer or wok. Deep fry 4-5 pieces of pork  for 3-4 min, they will turn a nice golden colour. Drain on paper towel.

Arrange the Twice Cooked Pork Belly over an asian salad and drizzle with the Citrus Caramel Dressing .

* all of these ingredients I store in my freezer in snap lock bags.

Tomato Chutney


Friday night treats are always exciting when Tomato Chutney is involved – burgers, sausages, steak, potatoes, even eggs – this Tomato Chutney is your best friend. The recipe has  sweet and savoury notes, with a hint of cardamon and cloves. It’s a one-pot wonder, just let it simmer down for a couple of hours and watch how it transforms into a pot of mouthwatering goodness. The Tomato Chutney will keep in the fridge up to a month. This recipe makes enough to give to family and friends – share the love, I say!

Tomato Chutney


1.5kg tomatoes, cored and diced

800g red onion, diced

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

300ml red wine vinegar

8cm piece ginger, finely chopped

8 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of ground cardamon

3 cloves, ground in a mortar and pestle or 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 chilli (optional) I like to keep some separate and add some chilli powder at the end


  1. Place all ingredients into a very large pot and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hrs until reduced by half and has began to get glossy and thick.




Tempura Zucchini Flowers stuffed with Smoked Salmon, Ricotta and Dill



I was very excited to discover that my local fruit and veg store now stocks Zucchini Flowers. The manager could see the excitement on my face and asked –what are you going to make with them? of course I replied –stuff them with ricotta…he stopped me mid sentence and said- you should try it with smoked salmon, so I did and that is how the recipe came about- Tempura Zucchini Flowers stuffed with Smoked Salmon, Ricotta and Dill.
I made  a chive oil and used a smidge of Caramelized Balsamic Glaze, it was lovely and light. I’m going to try Roasted Capsicum and Tomato Puree next time. Since making these and talking to a few friends they gave me inspiration to use risotto in the filling, similar to  Arancini Balls – how delicious!


Tempura Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Smoked Salmon, Ricotta and Dill


160 g smoked salmon
1/2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
1/2 tsp horseradish cream
2 tbsp cream
3 tbsp ricotta

squeeze of lemon
salt and pepper

10 zucchini flowers

1 egg, lightly whisked
1 cup chilled soda water
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour


  1. Combine the smoked salmon, dill, horseradish cream, cream and ricotta in a small food processor and blitz until well combined, scrapping the sides as you go. Taste, season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Fill a piping bag or snaplock bag with mixture, set aside.
  2. Prepare the zucchini flower by opening it up and removing the yellow stamens, they will just snap off . Pipe your mixture into the zucchini flower till it reaches the splits in the top, seal the flower by twisting or pressing together.
  3. To make tempura, add whisked egg with the soda water,  add the flours, only mix enough to combine, it will be lumpy.
  4. Line a tray with paper towels. Bring a deep fryer or saucepan one third full with oil to 180c, test with a bit of bread, it should brown in 15 secs.
  5. I did 2 at a time, dip in batter and place into oil, they will take 2 mins, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel, continue with the remaining flowers.
  6. Serve with your desired accompaniment.

Baked Eggs with Chorizo Patatas Bravas


I was having a difficult time coming up with a name for this dish, its not Spanish, Turkish or Greek. Maybe I could name it “European Baked Eggs”…. This recipe came about by mistake as usual, using only ingredients I had to make a “man worthy” dish for my husband that didn’t involve bread, pasta or rice. Being extremely successful in the ” the most awesome meal you’ve cooked” from my husband, it needed to be shared. Its a very versatile dish and the ingredients can be played around with, a bit more heat if you wish or even a whole chilli. Substitute the chorizo for bacon (wont have that nice spicy kick though), zucchini would be a nice addition also.

Baked Eggs with Chorizo Patatas Bravos

(serves 2)


500g potatos, peeled and cubed

1 small red capsicum, diced

1 small red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 small chorizo, halved lengthways and sliced

1/2 teaspoon cummin, oregano, smoked paprika

pinch of cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

1 400g can beans (butter, kidney or canellini)

1 400g can diced tomatoes

4 eggs

50g baby spinach

1 tablespoon oil


  1. Pre heat oven to 220c, fan forced. Place potatoes into a pot of salted cold water, bring to the boil, cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Strain and return to pot, cover in oil and shake. Pour onto a prepared baking tray, roast for 10-15 minutes. Once ready, remove tray from oven and reduce the temperature to 200c. Set cooked potatos aside whilst making the chorizo mixture.
  2. Heat a large oven proof fry pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, saute the capsicum and onion until soft, add the garlic and chorizo, add the spices and cook until aromatic. Pour in the tomatoes and cook until reduced slightly. Add the beans, roasted potatoes, along with the baby spinach, cook until spinach starts to wilt.Take frypan off heat, make 4 wells in the mixture, crack your eggs into each well,  season with salt and pepper and place into oven  for 8-10 minutes. Cook until the whites are just firm if you like runny yolks.