This is a great recipe, but the real star of this dish is the rice. It’s one of those versatile recipes that you can build so many simple meals around. You can’t really tell from the photo, but the flavour comes from a mixture of cumin seeds, caraway seeds, turmeric, garlic & onion. A great combination.
I’ve actually tagged this as a ‘kids’ recipe because it’s one of my boys’ favourite dinners – just the rice on it’s own with a few peas thrown in. I don’t blame them. It’s pretty great. In fact this would be up there as one of our top 5 family meals. It’s simple, it’s flavoursome and I know that as long as I have thawed mince on hand, I can have a great meal on the table in 20 mins.
If spicy mince isn’t your thing, try serving the rice with sliced tandoori chicken breast or a simple pumpkin and cauliflower curry. Yum!
Indian rice pilaf with spicy mince
Recipe source: The Australian Women’s Weekly
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1/8 tsp. ground turmeric
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock
500g beef mince
1½ tsp. curry powder
1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce
¼ cup water
4 green onions, sliced thinly
2/3 cup frozen peas
Coriander leaves, roughly chopped, to garnish
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion, garlic, seeds and turmeric and cook until onion is soft. Add rice and stir over heat until rice is coated with oil. Add stock, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to very low. Cover & cook for 12 minutes.
While rice is cooking, heat remaining oil in a frying pan. Add mince and cook until browned. Add curry powder and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in sweet chilli sauce, water, green onions and peas. Cook, stirring occasionally until peas are soft and heated through.
During this time, keep an eye on the rice and once it has cooked for 12 minutes, remove from heat, keep lid on and stand for another 5 minutes or until rice is tender.
To serve, top pilaf with spiced mince and coriander leaves.
A simple photo for a simple dish!
I was invited to brunch recently where we each brought something to share. There were a few things to consider when planning what to take – nothing too sweet for 10am in the morning, something that would travel well and most importantly, nothing complicated.
I decided to try a slightly fancier version of my everyday breakfast of Greek yoghurt, rolled oats and blueberries. Not everyone has a palate for the tartness of Greek yoghurt, so I toasted the rolled oats with shredded coconut and brown sugar for a little crunchy sweetness.
All the berry cups were eaten, including mine, so I’m going to call it a success. I think I’ll also use this in the future as a quick & refreshing dessert. Any leftover crumble can be stored in the freezer in a Ziplock bag. The only danger being that the crumble tastes delicious on vanilla ice-cream as a late night treat!
Berry cup with brown sugar crumble
1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup natural Greek yoghurt
1/4 cup traditional rolled oats
1/4 cup shredded coconut (not desiccated coconut)
2-4 Tbsp. brown sugar
In a small bowl combine rolled oats, coconut & brown sugar. Add brown sugar to your taste. Toast in moderate oven until oats & coconut are turning light golden brown. Divide berries between two small glasses (I used frozen berries). Dollop yoghurt on top & sprinkle generously with oat mixture.
This recipe comes with a warning: if you have no sense of self-discipline (like me) then I suggest you run as far away from this as possible. Seriously.
If you think you’re safe because you’ve never been a fan of Rocky Road, then let me tell you that this will convert any Rocky Road hater. Believe me.
I know, I know. I’m building a pretty tall pedestal for this recipe. But it tastes fantastic and any time I have served it someone has asked me for the recipe. See for yourself.
Recipe source: my friend Nicole
2 x 200g blocks of Cadbury’s dairy milk chocolate, broken into pieces
250g bag Pascall’s pink & white marshmallows, cut into halves
4 x Fry’s turkish delight bars, chopped into peanut-sized pieces
1/2 to 1/3 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
Lightly grease a small slice tray and line with baking paper. Ensure all ingredients are prepared – chopped, measured etc. because once the chocolate has melted you will have to work quickly.
Melt chocolate in a glass or metal bowl over simmering water. Ensure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl to prevent chocolate from burning. Stir chocolate occasionally until all the chocolate pieces have melted and the chocolate is smooth.
Remove saucepan from heat but keep bowl about hot water in saucepan. This will prevent the chocolate from cooling too quickly. Work quickly and add all other ingredients, stirring until everything is covered in chocolate. Transfer mixture to slice tray and refrigerate until firm.
- Quantities of add-in ingredients can be adjusted to suit your taste
- The quality of ingredients you use will affect the final result – I always use Pascall marshmallows
- For a nut-free version you can substitute crispy M&Ms (thanks to Dawn for this tip!)
This soup ain’t pretty. In fact I almost gave up on this post altogether. But what this soup lacks in good looks it makes up for in flavour, so here I present my Spicy Bean & Bacon Soup in all it’s unattractive glory.
If you’re not a fan of artichoke hearts or have never tried them, give them a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised!
PS. My apologies to my (few) readers who have been waiting patiently for this long overdue post. I’m having a blog dilemma and still can’t decide if this has taken my recipe fascination from happy hobby to blog burden. Stay with me – I’m getting back on track!
Spicy Bean & Bacon Soup
Preparation time: less than 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
1 brown onion, chopped
4 bacon rashers or 8 short-cut rashers, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
440g can artichoke hearts, quartered
440g can crushed tomatoes
440g can cannellini beans, drained
1/3 cup sundried tomato pesto
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced chilli (or to taste)
Celery tops (approx. 1/2 cup)
Salt & pepper to taste
Fry bacon, onion and garlic in large saucepan until onion is soft. Add pesto and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add carrot and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Add tinned tomatoes, artichokes, cannellini beans, celery tops and chilli. Refill empty tomato can with water and add to soup. Continue to add water until soup is desired consistency. (I like my soup chunky so I only added 2 cans of water). Bring to the boil then reduce and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
The celery tops have a strong flavour, so don’t get too excited when adding them to the pot.
Drive it like you stole it!
These were my first introduction to the world of kids party food (thanks Caitlin) and I couldn’t believe that something so creative could be so simple. I especially love that the expressions on the Tiny Teddy’s faces seem to match their race car driving perfectly.
Like this one…
He must have gotten into a fender-bender on the track. Or maybe he’s still peeved about what happened earlier…
Sorry little buddy.
Tiny teddy racing cars
Fun size chocolates (Mars bars or Milky Ways)
Musk Life Savers
Small quantity of chocolate icing (or a chocolate icing pen)
Lay out all of your ingredients. Cut your musk lollies in half & chop the legs off the Tiny Teddies (apologising to each one of course).
If you are using homemade icing you can make your own piping bag by putting it in a Ziplock bag and snipping the corner edge. Pipe a dollop of icing onto each Smartie.
Glue the Smarties onto the side of each chocolate bar. Put a little dollop of icing on the ends of the musk lollies and stick your steering wheels on the front of the cars. Lastly put a little icing on the cut ends of the Tiny Teddies and put the drivers behind the steering wheels. You might need to push the teddies down into the chocolate bar, but don’t push too hard or you’ll end up with smashed cars. Refrigerate to set the icing.
Moving house is not fun. In fact I read somewhere that it’s the third most stressful thing you can do, after death and divorce. Yep, that sounds about right. But I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel of boxes when my pantry was unpacked and the recipe books were settled on the bookcase.
So it’s time to get my cooking mojo on in the new kitchen!
Everyone seems to love this simple slice and I’m always asked for the recipe. Which doesn’t surprise me considering I asked my friend Jodie for the recipe the first time I tasted it!
Chocolate coconut slice
Preparation time: barely 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup coconut
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs cocoa powder
125g butter, melted
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a small slice tray with baking paper. Mix all ingredients until well combined. Press into slice tray and bake for 25 minutes. Cover with chocolate icing while still hot and sprinkle with coconut. Allow to cool before serving.
300g icing sugar
20g cocoa powder
3 tsp butter, softened
2 Tbs milk (or more if needed)
Combine all ingredients and add additional milk until the icing is smooth in consistency and easy to spread.
This isn’t so much a recipe but rather a brilliant little idea. In our house we call these ‘the man salad’ because they are the first thing my husband requests whenever we host a BBQ and every time they are served they are eaten by the dozen by the men and kids. In fact, you can see one of my little monkeys hovering in the background waiting to pounce…
Just one more minute Harrison!
Because they are such a novelty for the kids, they also make a quick and easy lunch during the week. My little monkeys love to be involved in the preparation too but the olives tend to go missing before they make it onto the toothpicks.
Greek salad bites
Recipe source: I spotted these in a magazine once but I don’t know which one or when
Cherry tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters
Pitted Kalamata olives, cut into halves
Continental cucumber, cut into circles then into quarters
Fetta, cut into cubes
Olive oil (optional)
Assemble salad bites on toothpicks starting with tomato wedge, then olive, cucumber and finish with fetta. Drizzle lightly with olive oil just before serving if desired.
The cherry tomatoes I used were extra large, so I cut them into quarters. If your tomatoes are small, halves will look great too.
The fetta can crumble easily so I would suggest keeping the salad bites in the fridge until just before serving. Also, don’t push the toothpick all the way through the fetta because it will break the cheese. I’ve tried both hard & soft fetta and both of them become fragile when skewered so choose one that has great flavour.
I love simple cooking and I especially love having recipes on hand that I can throw together at a moments notice with what I have in the pantry. Enter teacup apple crumble!
I cheat and use tinned pie apples which makes this an excellent ‘emergency’ dessert. The emergency being an unexpected dinner guest or a serious dessert craving…
While I try to avoid using too many tinned ingredients, these pie apples come in their purest form. That is no added colours, preservatives, sugar or salt – just 100% pure cooked apple. They were actually recommended to me by my children’s health nurse when my first born was starting solids. They were cheaper than tinned baby food and just as good. I’ve kept a tin or two in the pantry ever since.
Teacup apple crumble
Preparation time: 8-10 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
1 x 400g tin of pie apples (I use Ardmona brand)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp self-raising flour
3 Tbsp desiccated coconut
1 Tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Fill 2 or 3 teacups with pie apples. Combine all other ingredients in a medium bowl and use fingers to crumble butter through dry ingredients ensuring you remove any lumps from the brown sugar. Finished mixture should be a fine crumble.
Top teacups with crumble mixture and bake in oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before handling and serving as the teacups will be very hot. Serve with a dollop of ice cream, cream, vanilla custard or all three!
Serves: 3 moderate serves or 2 generous ones
Don’t you just want to dive head first into that bowl? Or it that just me? Am I talking out loud?
This bean salsa will take your average plate of nachos to the next level. Usually my husband gets a wee bit antsy when I start experimenting and making changes to an already perfect meal… like nachos. But this is one experiment that got the hubby seal of approval and has since become a staple in our house.
If you like a little heat try a medium or hot salsa instead of mild, or add a few jalapeno slices to your nacho pile. The leftover salsa is great as a topping on a simple green salad.
Bean salsa nachos
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
2 x 440g tin red kidney beans
1 bunch coriander (reserve a few leaves for garnish)
1 x 300g jar of chunky tomato salsa
Grated cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 200C.
Rinse and drain red kidney beans. Transfer half the beans to a food processor or the bowl attachment of a stick mixer. Rinse and dry coriander on paper towel and add to beans. Pulse beans and coriander until roughly chopped. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Add remaining beans and tomato salsa and stir to combine.
Layer corn chips and cheese in an oven proof dish using approximately 1/3 of the bean mixture to add dollops of salsa throughout the layers. Cook in oven until cheese has melted and corn chips have heated through. Top corn chips with more bean salsa and sour cream to serve.
For a healthier version as pictured above, skip the cheese. Try it – the bean salsa adds so much flavour you’ll hardly miss it!
Bean salsa will keep in the fridge for a few days.
Just before my next grocery shop, I always reach a point where the fridge is looking pretty sad. The good stuff has long been eaten and all that’s left is the questionable cheese and a few forgotten veggies floating around in the bottom of the fridge. You know the ones I’m talking about – yellowing broccoli, limping carrots, wrinkly capsicum, miserable cabbage.
Enter ‘clean out your fridge’ sang choy bow!
I empty the veggie drawer onto the kitchen counter and anything that remotely resembles an edible vegetable gets thrown in the mix (if it’s turning to fluid, give it a miss). I was tempted to call this ‘no recipe’ sang choy bow because I’m not sure I’ve ever made it with the exact same ingredients twice. But the great thing is that regardless of what you’re throwing in with the mince, it’s almost impossible not to end up with a healthy meal full of colour and flavour. Just make sure you’ve always got a portion of frozen chicken or pork mince on hand and you’ll be ready to go!
‘Clean out your fridge’ sang choy bow
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
500g chicken or pork mince
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tsp minced garlic
1 heaped tsp minced ginger
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
Lettuce for ‘cups’ (iceberg or baby cos)
4-6 cups mixed vegetables, finely diced, grated or processed
(I used onion, carrot, red capsicum, zucchini, mushroom, cabbage, broccoli, green chilli)
Salt & pepper to taste
Break apart lettuce and find the best leaves for ‘cups’, rinse and set aside to dry.
Dice, grate, chop or process vegetables so they are all fairly similar in size. I finely diced the onion, red capsicum, zucchini, mushroom and green chilli, grated the carrot and processed the broccoli.
Cook mince in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large wok or frying pan. While the mince is cooking, use a wooden spatula or egg flip to break up any lumps. You want the mince to break down into very small pieces similar in size to the finely diced vegetables. Transfer cooked mince to a bowl and put aside.
Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to wok or pan. Add garlic and ginger. Gradually add vegetables starting with firmer ones like onion and capsicum. Add remaining vegetables until all have begun to soften. Return mince to pan, add sauces, salt and pepper to taste and combine well.
Spoon mixture into lettuce cups and serve immediately. Alternatively, serve mince in a large dish on the table and let your guests help themselves.
Serves: 4-5 (depending on the amount of vegetables added)