Monthly Archives: April 2010

Osso Bucco & White Chocolate Panna Cotta


OK…have had a busy couple of days over the long weekend…had two lots of guests on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Saturday night we had Osso Bucco & Risotto and for dessert we had Panna Cotta, both were very yummy, but the Panna cotta was mmmmmm, delicioso! (sorry have been watching to much Dora with Emma!)  Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the Osso Bucco and Risotto, but did get one of the Panna cotta.

Osso Bucco & Risotto Milanese
Serves 4.

4 osso bucco pieces;
salt and pepper;
2 tbsp plain flour;
2 tbsp oil;
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced;
1 large brown onion, diced;
1 large carrot, peeled and diced; 1 celery stalk, diced;
1 tbsp tomato paste;
1 tin diced roma tomatoes;
200ml dry white wine;
1 1/2 cups beef stock;
1 sprig thyme;
1 bay leaf,
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped;
2 cloves garlic finely chopped;
zest of one lemon, finely grated or chopped.

Risotto Milanese:
30g butter;
1 cup arborio rice;
1 medium onion, diced;
1 clove garlic, finely sliced;
200ml dry white wine;
1 litre chicken stock, heated up to a gentle simmer;
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 160C

Put flour, salt and pepper in a large plastic bag, then pop the meat in and coat completely. Shake off excess. Heat oil in a heavy based frypan and add meat pieces. Do not overcrowd the pan – do this in two lots if you need to. Saute the meat for 3 minutes on each side until meat is browned. Remove meat and place in casserole dish.

Add onions, garlic and a little more oil if you need to and sauté for 3 minutes until soft. Add to casserole dish with carrot and celery.

Return pan to the heat. Pour wine in and scrape up the meat bits as the wine sizzles. Burn off the alcohol and then add tomato paste, stock, tomatoes and season lightly with a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Bring to the boil, stirring often, then pour over the meat and vegetables. Add thyme and bay leaf to the casserole.

Place in oven and cook, covered, for 90 minutes to two hours or until the meat is fork-tender and the sauce is thickened. Remove from oven and let rest, covered, on the stove top while you make the risotto.

Heat butter in a large saucepan and add onion and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes until onion is soft, then add the rice. Coat the rice with the butter and allow the grains to heat up in the hot oil.

Add wine, cook off, stirring all the time, until the wine is absorbed into the rice. Add the hot stock – it MUST  be hot – a 1/2 cupful at a time. Add the stock, then stir until the boiling rice has absorbed all the liquid, before you add some more. The next 20 minutes will see you adding, then stirring, adding then stirring. Think of this as the zen of risotto. Don’t rush it and don’t walk away. Be at one with your risotto.

Towards the end of the 20 minutes, check the rice to see if it is al dente. It should  be soft, not have a hard centre but still have a little give in it. Remove rice from the heat and stir in the parmesan and adjust for seasoning. The cheese will melt leaving the rice creamy.

Gremolata: mix together the parsley, garlic and lemon zest

Serve Osso Bucco on a bed of risotto, with casserole juices and vegetables around the sides. Sprinkle each piece of meat with some of the gremolata for a final zing.

White Chocolate Panna Cotta

White Chocolate Panna Cotta

Makes 6 rich desserts (mine only made 5, but they were larger glasses)

300ml carton cream;
3/4 cup milk;
150g white chocolate, chopped up roughly;
2 tbsp caster sugar;
1 tsp vanilla extract;
2 teaspoons gelatine;
1 tbsp just-boiled water

Arrange 12 plastic drinking glasses (about 1 cup capacity) and put them on a baking tray, one inside the other to make 6 doubly insulated cups. (I used stemmed glasses instead)

In a small saucepan, combine cream, milk, chocolate, sugar and vanilla. Stir over low heat until melted and smooth — do not boil.

In a small jug, whisk gelatine into water vigorously with a fork until dissolved. Cool slightly. Blend into cream mixture.

Pour mixture evenly between prepared moulds. Chill, covered, for 3 hours or overnight, until set.

To serve, fill a small deep sided bowl with hot tap water. Remove panna cottas from fridge and remove the outer cup from each pairing. Dip the bottom of the plastic cup mould into the hot water for just 10 seconds. Turn onto a plate and gently squeeze the sides of the mould to release the panna cottas.

Serve panna cottas with some berries – strawberries are wonderful – on the side.

Both recipes from


Cayden’s request for Tea – Fish Cakes


Most weeks when working out the food menu for the week we give Cayden two nights where it’s his choice for tea (Mum has veto!).  We found this has worked incredibly well to get Cayden to eat his tea, not just on the nights he picks, but right through the week.  He is even good about eating the food he doesn’t particularly like now, because he knows his choice is coming around soon!  This week Cayden’s choices were Fish Cakes and Risotto!  Risotto was Tuesday nights tea and Fish cakes was tonight’s tea.  Recipe from taste

Fish Cakes

Fish Cakes

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 500g potatoes (such as pontiac or desiree), peeled
  • 440g can red salmon
  • 1 small onion, peeled, grated
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 20ml (1 tbs) lemon juice
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 40ml (2 tbs) milk
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • Sunflower (or similar) oil, to fry
  • Mayonnaise, to serve


  1. Cut the potatoes into rough chunks. Boil or steam until tender, then mash until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl to cool.
  2. Drain the salmon and remove any bones. Add to the potatoes with the onion, celery, dill and lemon rind and juice. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well together, then use your hands to form into 8 patties. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Beat together the eggs and milk in a bowl. Place flour and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Dip each patty in the flour, then in the egg mixture and lastly in the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add patties (in batches) and fry both sides until golden brown. Serve with a dollop of mayonnaise and the cucumber salad.
  • Cayden’s verdict was that he would like a stronger tasting fish in the cakes
  • I used sour cream instead of mayo
  • Make sure you pat patty’s into a disc before putting in the fridge – no cracks that way!
  • Both kids ate them without issue…so that’s always good!

Playgroup and other goodies!


Tomorrow is playgroup…Emma is gearing up for it, or has been all week!  Made some muffins this time…and oh my they do taste good, sinfully rich, but good!  Recipe from

Chocolate Caramel Muffins

Chocolate Caramel muffins


1 1/2 cups self-raising flour;
1 cup soft brown sugar;
2 eggs;
1 cup sour cream;
2 tsp vanilla essence;
250g dark chocolate;
125g butter;
1/2 cup cocoa;
2 packets round caramel-filled chocolates such as Rollos


Preheat oven to 180 C. Place 12 paper cups into 12 hole muffin tin.

Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the sugar to mix well.

In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then add the sour cream and vanilla and mix well.

In a third bowl, break up the chocolate into small pieces, then melt the chocolate and butter together in a microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir, then cook on HIGH in 30 second bursts until chocolate is melted and glossy. Sift in cocoa and mix well to combine.

Tip egg mixture into flour and combine gently, stirring until just folded in. Pour in chocolate mixture and fold in gently to combine. Half fill muffin cups, then add 1 or 2 Rollos to each muffin – poke them down into the centre of each muffin. Top with remaining muffin cake mix, ensuring they are well covered.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

A gift

Darren has a colleague leaving his work tomorrow, so I thought I’d box up a few muffins and send them in.  Picked up these cupcake boxes from a local kitchen store…don’t they look the coolest!  Will make great presents, actually have a birthday for a friend coming up…guess what they are getting!!!

Have to include a photo of my gorgeous girl at playgroup … photo taken by my good friend Tania Tanti

Emma at playgroup

Also made some biscuits…White Chocolate and Cranberry shortbreads, these are a favourite in this house…they are good, I have to stop eating the mix before the are even in the oven!  Recipe from Taste

Mmmmm.... shortbread!

White Chocolate & Cranberry Shortbreads


  • 250g butter, at room temperature
  • 125g (3/4 cup) icing sugar mixture
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 300g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 75g (1/2 cup) craisins (dried cranberries), coarsely chopped
  • 100g white chocolate, finely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Use an electric beater to beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl until very pale and creamy.
  2. Stir in the flour, craisins and chocolate. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and bring the dough together.
  3. Roll tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls. Place, about 5cm apart, on the trays. Use a fork to flatten slightly. (See note) Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill.
  4. Bake, swapping trays halfway through cooking, for 15-18 minutes or until golden. Set aside on the trays for 5 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Also have fitted in a bit of sewing last night…need to make a part of a gift for Sunday night, so have made 2 pot holders  to go with the other bits and pieces I have collect for my friend.  Happy how this has turned out, even though I didn’t have anything to follow!

My Amy Butler Oven Mitt!

Now I think I will toddle off to bed…goodnight my friends!

ANZAC Biscuits and Butter Chicken!


Busy day today getting things done after the weekend…a mountain of washing, changing the beds all those fun houseworky things!

Today I made some Anzac Biscuits and for tea we had Butter Chicken…both recipes came from

Will do nicely for school snacks and to have with a cuppa!


Makes 24 chewy biscuits.

1 cup (150g) plain flour
1 cup (90g) rolled oats
1 cup (85g) desiccated coconut
3/4 cup (155g) brown sugar
125g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the oats, coconut and brown sugar.

Put the butter, golden syrup and 2 tbsp water in a small saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until melted. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.

Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place on the trays, about 5cm apart. Press with a fork to flatten slightly. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Set aside on the trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack so they cool completely.

My Mum & Step-dad had tea with us tonight, and I served up Butter Chicken.  Well the second attempt I did….the first one would have blown my mouth apart, let alone the kids and Mum! Darren will like it so will freeze the sauce up in batches for him to use!

Butter Chicken & Rice

Butter Chicken

450g boneless chicken meat;

salt and pepper;
2 tbsp vegetable oil;
2 tbsp butter;
2 tbsp vegetable oil (extra);
1 onion;
1 tbsp finely grated ginger;
2 garlic cloves, crushed;
1 tsp cayenne pepper;
2 tsp garam masala;
1 tsp cumin;
1 tsp salt;
800g canned tomatoes, chopped;
150ml runny cream;
fresh coriander leaves, if you have them


Cut the chicken into large bite-sized chunks and season well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a frypan and fry the chicken until the skin is browned but the flesh is only half-cooked.

To make the sauce, heat the butter and extra oil in a heavy-bottomed frypan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Add spices and salt, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes or until the oil comes to the surface. Gradually add the cream, stirring constantly, without boiling. If the sauce is too thick add a little water or chicken stock.

Add the chicken pieces and gently simmer for 10 minutes until cooked through. Scatter with fresh coriander if you have it, and serve with warm rice.


  • For the first sauce I doubled the recipe.
  • For the first sauce I made I followed this to the letter, except I only put 1 1/2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper.
  • For the 2nd sauce, I had to make a few changes as I ran out of a few things!
  • I used powdered garlic and ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garam marsala
  • I also used ghee instead of butter to both fry the chicken and the sauce.
  • I also used a bar-mix to blend the sauce before I put in the chicken…gave a nice smooth texture.

Sunday – a day for family


Today we’ve had a fairly quite one…which has been lovely.  The weather has been glorious for both days of the weekend.  Today Darren and Cayden had Auskick this morning, I made a chocolate cake for lunches and snacks, and we did a spot of geocaching ( explains all!) in our local area.  The kids had a ball, but unfortunately we were not successful with our cache hunting!  There has been a lot of earth moving in this particular area and I think the cache has met with a front end loader!  All was not lost as we discovered a good playground and the kids had a play, plus Tonks got walked!

Emma was getting tired!


And the Chocolate cake was made from this blog.  Verdict; a big cake…made 2 lamington tin size.  Both kids weren’t too impressed with it, but I will ice it and see if we can get some takers!  Probably not a cake I would do again though.

Saturday’s Sausage Rolls


Weekend’s here, time to get things done around the house!  First port of call was Paint Spot to pick up some decking oil to seal the decking boards that we’ve done, next port of call was the shopping centre for some odds and ends…including getting some numbers for Cayden’s new footy jumper (he only received it Friday night and it’s only been taken off for bed!)  Came home and did the decking oil and then got onto lunch which we decided to have sausage rolls…a family favourite here!

Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls

Makes approx 30

500g sausage mince
1 carrot, grted
1 onion, finely diced
1/3 cup dried breadcrumbs
1 tspn italian herbs, or parsley,

3 sheets of puff pastry cut in half

Mix first 5 ingredients together…get your hands in and really mix it well!
Make an egg and milk wash by mixing 1 egg and 1/4 cup milk together.
Wet your hands and form large handfuls into long sausage shape and place on edge of pastry sheet. Roll up in 1/2 a sheet of pastry…seal edge with egg and milk wash.  Brush top of pastry with egg wash and sprinkle paprika lightly over the top .  Cut log into 6 bite size sausage rolls … or make them large by only cutting in half if you prefer.
Continue making sausage rolls until all meat is used.
Bake in a moderate oven 180C for 20-30min, until brown and cooked through.

Tonight for tea the kids had home made chicken nuggets and we had some gnocchi in a tomato, onion and butter sauce.  When we were at the shopping centre this morning they had some taste tests of gnocchi fried up…was so good that I bought some there and then (and I don’t generally like gnocchi!)  So tonight I fried up some gnocchi and this sauce from smitten kitchen’s blog.  Was good! (not the best of photo’s)

Fried gnocchi with tomato, butter and onion sauce

Lunch with the girls!


Today I cooked lunch for the girls…and as one is a Vegetarian it gives me a chance to try different things!  We had a Vegetable Korma with boiled rice and some Turkish bread.  Was pretty good if I do say so myself!  I found the recipe at another blog … This is a great blog for finding cheap economical yummy recipes.  Anyway here is todays try;

Vegetable Korma

Vegetable Korma

4 cups of a combination of any of the following – chopped cabbage, green beans, carrots, kumera, potatoes, pumpkin, peas or cauliflower;
1 small onion, sliced;
2-3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter);
salt to taste;
coriander leaves for garnish.

Korma Sauce:
1 cup shredded coconut;
1 small onion, extra;
2 cloves garlic;
2cm piece ginger, peeled;
2 tbsp plain yoghurt;
1/2 tsp poppy seeds (optional);
1 tsp cumin seeds;
1 tsp coriander seeds;
3 green chillies, de-seeded and chopped roughly;
2 dry red chillies (optional);
2-3  black peppercorns;
1/2 tsp fennel seeds;
1 small stick cinnamon;
1 cardamom;
1 tbsp unsalted cashew nuts;
1 small tomato;
2 tsp lemon juice

Korma Sauce:
Blend all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Steam the vegetables over a double boiler, or in a microwave for five minutes or until about half done. Remove and set aside.

Heat the ghee and fry the sliced onion till it starts changing color.  Add the blended masala (sauce) and fry till the oil starts leaving the sides of the sauce. This will take a minimum of 15 minutes. Even if the sauce sticks to the bottom of the pan, don’t worry. The more it fries, the better the dish will taste. If the sauce starts sticking to the pan, lower the heat and sprinkle a little water and continue frying, stirring continuously.

When the korma sauce is fried well and turns aromatic, add the half-cooked vegetables and salt to taste.  Add some water to thin a little. Mix well and bring it to a boil on low heat until the vegetables cook through. Remove from heat.

Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with steamed rice or naan.


  • I only used 1 green chillie as I’m not a chillie fan, but I could have used 1 1/2 and it would have been fine.  On the same notion I didn’t add the optional chillie!
  • I only had sweetened yogurt…didn’t notice the difference
  • I found it a bit bitty with the shreaded coconut…maybe mince it up a bit more…although the girls liked the texture!
  • I only had walnuts, so used them as a substitute for the cashews.

And Emma sat up to Vegemite Sandwiches!!!

mmmm, vegemite!

And this was dessert…some of the left over jam tart;

photo thanks to Tania