Monday, 18 June 2018

Cooking for Gudgie 4

I LOVE winter.

Just one of the reasons is comfort foods. Sauce, carbs, umami flavours out the wing wang!

We don't really have a winter in Brisbane. But I like the non-humid 3 months we get between may and July with sunny days, maximums under 30 and minimums that range between 9 and 13. 

What is more comforting than spaghetti: not much. 

Here we have gourmet meatballs from IGA ($3.80 clearance), some spaghetti, a jar of pasta sauce, Raguletto if I remember corectly, and old veggies that I totally mum-sneaked into the sauce, in this case, red capsicum, wilty broccolini (just the stems) and a can of Italian marinated mushrooms.

Boil pasta, halve rissoles, roll into balls, brown. When browned add finly diced veg, sautee for 2 mins, add sauce, season to taste. PRESTO. 
Price per plate: $1.50
(made 4 serves)


I just bunged everything in the oven really.

Well obviously, there's more to it than that. I par boiled the potatoes, everything was oiled and seasoned, temperatures were changed and meats were rested.

I would really rely more heavily on a celebrity chef, or a proven recipe if you want to know how to cook a roast, because, in all honesty roasts scare the poop out of me.  I just really fluked this one.

Bonus tip: roasted celery is REALLY delicious.

I've been watching my foodie programmes lately, many of them featuring Mexican food/chefs.

One thing I'm finding is that everything is very clean and simplified over there.

Generally a tex-mex, cali-mex, or aus-mex has so many individual items which seem to all flow into a lava stream of gooey, guaco-salsa-sour cream-meat juice mess down the arms.

I tried a simple one. Last night's potatoes, mushrooms, capsicum, oil, salt pepper, and some spices, on a heated tortilla with a very light sprinkle of cheese for Gudge and a smear of avo for myself. It was really something. I liked it alot. 

How's this for a super yum Sunday brekky?

Pikelets from a pack, an apple, sliced finely, simmered for a few minutes with butter and cinnamon sugar and a dollop of some natural yoghurt mixed with maple syrup... WHAT?! yep, so easy. 

Approx price per serve... ONE DOLLAR FIFTY (This is how cafes make ALL of the money)

And lastly for this week some lovely eye fillet ($14.99/kg at T Bones), with as many un-boring veg I could fit on the plate.

Roasted cauliflower: way nicer taste and texture than steamed.

Sauteed cabbage with butter, garlic and lardons of kranski.

Sauteed beans.

A mixed sprout salad with fresh radish and french dressing.

I had to butcher the whole eye fillet myself, but I ended up getting 6x  170g fillets at a cost of $2.33 per steak.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 8 June 2018

Cooking for Gudgie 3

We had some great eats this week! 

Starting with delicious ribs. There were marinated lamb ribs from IGA.

I popped them in the oven, only set to about 150, with water in the tray for about an hour.

I decided to make my potato salad see recipe here and some zucchini chips which turned out AMAZINGLY.

Cut zucchini into chip sized pieces, then flour, eggwash, and crumb, then throw in the oven. They were so good.

Also served up some steamed broccolini. Really good meal.

Price per plate: $4

A coworker told me about a recipe for Lentil Cottage Pie and I was desperate for some veggies and thought it sounded wonderful!

Recipe here

I'm not usually one to follow recipes but I haven't cooked with lentils very much so followed it pretty much step by step, except changed the spiced veggie mash for potato mash.

I have to say, this pie was one of the best pies I've ever tried. The texture was incredible with the lentils al dente, and the mouth-feel was actually preferable to mince based pies as it didn't have the fattiness of beef mince.

This recipe has five stars on and I totally concur with that rating.

Price per serve: $2.50

Burger Night!

I've whinged so many times about burgers on this blog and I probably will more.

It's so not hard to make a good burger that I almost can't believe I pay $18 for more-often-than-not average burgs. But I will continue to... Sigh.

This Burger has Rump steak- cooked to medium rare and rested for 15 minutes. The secret to steak is resting. Please rest your steak. Then sliced for manageability.

Also melty cheese, leaf mix, sauteed bacon and onion, semi dried tomatoes, egg (runny for me, over medium for Gudge), avocado (in season and cheap as chips right now), mayo and BBQ sauce on a toasted Tip Top burger bun.

Could have used a smidge more BBQ sauce and I forgot to salt the eggs, otherwise- real good.

I really like steak burgers lately.

Price per burg: $7

Found this Queensland made Cider at Sense of Taste Portside. If you find them, I really recommend! Apart from the cute as heck lable, it's a very easy drinking cider that isn't too dry or sweet, a really nice mid-range cider. $14/4 pack

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Cooking for Gudgie 2

I've been sick this week. A chest infection or some such. Needless to say there has been many meals that have not been worthy of a photo, but would be more at home on CookSuck  (if you haven't read this before, be prepared for vulgarity and many lols).

However I did manage to get some dishes out. 

Firstly I marinated some pork chops with salt, pepper, olive oil Cayenne and Chinese five spice before pan frying and resting. I served this up with the simplest potato salad (sans bacon and egg) and a bruscetta of tomato, avo and fresh zucchini served on lightly toasted sourdough baguette.

Potato Salad recipe

Potatoes (I don't even differentiate between varieties, these were baby potatoes)
White onion diced very finely
Whole Egg Mayo (such as Tomy, Hellmanns etc)

Peel and chop potato into approx 1 inch cubes/pieces
Boil in generously salted water til just tender
While still warm add diced onion, mix gently
Wait about ten minutes before adding a very generous amount of mayo salt, and pepper.

This salad is really good served still warm topped with chopped parsley and or spring onions.

Pork chops were from T Bones for $3.99/ kg in bulk trays . As I am writing this, Woolies is currently doing pork chops from $16 to $21/kg. Supermarket chains are not good value for buying meat!

Approx price per plate: $3

Gudge and I were having our friend JC over for dinner as a thank you for ordering some computer parts for us.

I decided a curry smorgasbord (ummm, 2) would be a good plan for cooking ahead of time.

I discovered the BEST Curry Kit (actually my mum did and gave me a pack, I then sent her back to buy me 10 more)

It's this, and it's insanely good.

I also had this pack, which was also excellent. I used 2 packs of each.

Both packs come with 3 sachets, paste, sauce and spice sachets.

For the Malaysian Curry I used about 1.5kgs of pork (a mix of loin and chops) and about 8 small potatoes.

The Daal I added just a few extra veg.

I ended up having enough curry to feed the 3 of us, my two housemates, and approx 7 lunch portions.

To complete the meal I had pre-made garlic naan, poppadoms, home made raita (yogurt, cucumber and mint), chutney and a small salad of banana, desiccated coconut, lemon juice and a touch of malibu.

Price per plate/person:
Pork Malay Curry: $1
Daal Curry: $1.50
Sides: $4.50

My favourite hug meal: Won ton soup.

Braise chicken thigh in stock, soy sauce, fish sauce, salt, pepper and chinese five spice til cooked through, take out and shred, return to stock, add ready made won tons and any julienne veg you have, at last minute add thinly sliced radish and fresh herbs.

When we were in Hobart, atop the revolving restaurant, Gudge ordered a dish of gnocchi in a pumpkin sauce, he had mentioned at the time, he loved the sauce and that it tasted like pumpkin soup. This stuck with me and I thought I'd have a little experiment with the concept using a homemade pumpkin soup we had in the freezer.

I boiled up some spaghetti. While this was on, I heated the soup in a fry pan, I added a jar of chargrilled capsicum, some salt, pepper, cayenne butter and olive oil.

Then drained the spaghetti and stirred through the sauce.

Topped with a little cheese  spring onion and parsley. It was delicious, and Gudge tells me... on par with the restaurant.

When I used to work in the city, I would frequent Rolld for lunch. One of my favourites was their noodly, salad thing with meat... as I would call it... further research would indicate what I enjoyed was


A salad with a twist, bun thit xao fuses the sticky sweetness of beef with rice noodles and fresh herbs that pack a punch. To be enjoyed sitting with friends over lunch or as a light dinner option, bun thit xao is a delicate meal that perfectly pairs distinctive Vietnamese flavours. The freshness and zest of this dish served at room temperature makes it a great warm or cool weather option.
Craving something super healthy, but not all cold (as we've just started winter here), I thought I'd give this a shot.
I actually surprised myself. I bought a premade Asian salad mix, some rice vermicelli, red caps, brocolini, marinaded some chicken thighs for just a few minutes then pan fried. Did noodles with some veggie stock and hey presto... It was super yummy. I used the dressing from the salad but added some soy, fish sauce, lemon juice and sweet chilli, and it sealed the deal. 

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Cooking For Gudgie 1


So I've decided that I'm going to go back to something I used to do when I first started this blog, and that's actually talk about what I cook.

I love cooking, and my Gudgie and I have an arrangement, I cook, he cleans. We're eating out less these days as well, so it makes sense, I can still have something to write about this way.  I would also like to let everyone know that cooking at home can be really inexpensive. Don't get me wrong, it can also be VERY expensive, it's all about using hints and tricks.

Wednesday night, a very simple but very tasty dinner of home-made potato and leek soup, served with a cheese and salad baguette.

The soup had been frozen from the last big batch I made, the baguette was a really yummy sourdough baguette, with avocado, mesculin mix, vine tomatoes cheese and mayo.

Approx price per person Soup $1 p.p baguette $4 p.p. total cost $5 per head

These Kievs were half price from Coles at 4 for $5. I had purchased zucchini from T-Bones for 89c a kilo, organic beans were $3 on special and the vege mash was down to $2 at Woolworths. The greens were sauteed in a frypan with olive oil, butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Total prep and cooking time for meal was 30 minutes, total cost per head: under $4.

Served with a zucchini muffin from the easiest and best recipe ever, (also's most popular recipe) Zucchini Slice Recipe

Saturday night binge night consisted of 2 McCains pizzas with add-ons, cornchips, home made guacamole and sour cream.

Pizza 1 was a supreme base, with my most recent and favourite discovery of Ajvar: a Middle Eastern smokey eggplant, capsicum and garlic spread/paste. It's so good! (around $8-10 for a big jar ~800g)

I also added to the pizza: mushroom, capsicum, zucchini ribbons, cheese, salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic powder. Garlic powder being one of my other most favourite discoveries and I rarely ever use fresh garlic at all anymore.

Pizza two was a meatlovers base to which I added mushroom and capsicum, salt, pepper and garlic powder

Avos don't cost a million dollars a piece anymore, so have been gobbling them up.

Guac recipe:

2 avos
1 tomato
1 tbs sour cream
1 small dribble sweet chili
garlic powder

Approx price per head $7.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Sono Portside

A very thoughtful gift from my best friend of a gift card for Christmas and the fact that Papa is a retired explorer now about to head off on another mission felt like a great reason for us to indulge in a delicious lunch at the beautiful Sono Restaurant at Portside Hamilton.

Sono took out the award for Best Japanese Restaurant in Australia in last years' Restaurant and Catering Awards. Having eaten there before, I knew it was well deserved.

photo courtesy of The Weekend Edition

My father visited Japan not long ago and the cuisine was one of the highlights for him. Me, I just love pretty much anything Japanese and am a fiend for good quality sashimi.

It's a scorching hot day in Brisbane, and we start with a refreshing beer. I order a Nigata Sparkling Mango Beer ($14), and papa, a Suntori Premium ($12).

The Mango beer reminds me of the fruity undertones present in many German Kristals, lots more "beery" than a Matso's and quite creamy.

Having already assessed the menu situation I pipe up immediately to suggest a Large Sashimi Platter might be in order ($55). Dad makes his choice of  Gyu Tataki (Seared Wagyu) ($18) and Scallops with Miso Mayonnaise ($23) we choose to round the meal out with Potato Salad Japanese Style ($14).

The service is impeccable here, the wait staff so pleasant , efficient and smiley.

First to come out was the Wagyu. It was delicately seared, still showing the gorgeous marbling that Wagyu is known for. I haven't raved about Wagyu in the past when I've had it as a steak, but I think that's because to truly appreciate it, it needs to be served just like this.

Accompaniments of garlic, ginger and chili all fresh and minced, finly cliced spring onion and soy to dunk. By adding combinations of each made for such a wonderful mouthful. A touch of lemon pushed it up a further gear.

Next out was the delicious potato salad and green salad.
As German's we know potato salad, and this one was deleicious...mashed, seasoned perfectly... would have as a meal on its' own.

 The large sashimi platter is stunning. Absolutely beautiful presentation and fresh, fresh fish, including but not limited to: salmon, salmon belly, tuna, kingfish, snapper and trevella.
The salmon belly was perfect, as was the regular salmon and tuna, but when fish is this fresh, you just tastes beautiful.

Our scallops with miso mayonnaise came out just after our sashimi, and the scallops were lovely, but it was the totally drinkable sauce that made this dish, we ended up saucing up everything and asking for a spoon so we could savour every last drop.

We enjoyed every bite and every moment of this lunch. It would be very easy to go overboard and order a million meals off the menu, but it would certainly rack up on the bill quickly.

I can't wait for my next visit though.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Eating Hobart Again

My Gudgeon and I visited Hobart recently. I wanted to show him the city I one day wish to live in.

I remembered how beautiful and friendly it was, I had almost forgot how good the food was down there.

I'm here to remind you.

We arrived to our North Hobart airbnb early afternoon on the Tuesday, had a couple of beers and had a little Google to see what was around. We stumbled on an amazing sounding menu from a little nearby pub called The Winston Alehouse and Eatery, a really interesting menu of modern American. We wandered down to have a look.

Painter's Cottage.
The pub itself was really lovely, an older style with a jovial crowd enjoying the daylight savings evening.

We decided on the Eggplant Parmy Burger and the Deep Fried Burrito and side of pork. With mac n cheese sticks to start, but everything to come out at the same time.

Mac n cheese sticks were scrumptious as mac n cheese anything should be. The Parmy buger was amazing so much flavour, perfect textural combinations and great chips. The burrito comes with an array of sides, it's super crispy on the outside and the insides of rice and beans is so tasty. I love that you can add which bits and bobs from the sides as you want to.

We decide already that this is not only one of our favourite pubs ever, but this is some of the best Americana food either of us has ever tried. Also proving that this kind of food can still be fresh and crisp and not just drowning in cheese and oil.

Day two: we have coffee from what will become our favourite coffee shop, Providence Cafe. Perfect coffee every morning of our trip, and very handy being right across the street. We head off to Richmond (my favourite, and Australia's oldest bridge), Pirates Bay, Blow Hole and Devil's Kitchen then Port Arthur) I pack us ham and cheese croissants and crackers and dip to take with us. We also have a sneaky fish and chips overlooking Pirate's Bay. 

Providence Cafe

 This day happen's to be valentines day, which neither Gudge have any time for, so we have party pies, pizza and beer for dinner after our adventure. It was great.

Day 3 we start with a light breakfast of croissants, topped with spinach and feta dip, and a side salad of tomatoes and basil from our Cottages garden with some Tasmanian Camembert.

Today is our downtime day. We have a wander around the boutiques along Elizabeth Street in North Hobart then make our way into town, checking out the Waterfront, Salamanca, City Centre. We stop into another great little pub called Republic Bar and Cafe for an afternoon beer in the beer garden before a little relax at home before our dinner date.

I had reserved us a table at The Point Revolving Restaurant atop the Wrest Point Casino. I chose this particular restaurant for a few reasons. Firstly it had REALLY good reviews, I thought the views would be spectacular, I thought it might be a bit naff, (I LOVE naff), and lastly I LOVE casinos.

We start with a glass of Tassie bubbles for myself and a Beer for Gudge overlooking the water.

We then head up for our 7 pm booking. The sun had been setting around 9 pm while we had been there, so I thought it would be really nice to spend a few hours watching the change from daylight through twilight then nighttime.

We weren't disappointed with the view. 

We order a bottle of Jansz Bubbles and have bread brought to our table. It's served with locally produced Tasmanian Butter... VERY happy cows. 

Our amuse bouche is absolutely gorgeous, buttery cod wrapped in nori, served with rice, saffron cauliflower and enoki muchrooms.

I start with 3 local oysters with shallot vinaigrette, they are perfect. So fresh.

Poor Gudge doesn't eat seafood, we'll have to work on that if we do ever move to Tassie. He's missing out.

I've mentioned this many times before: I love steak tartare. I love steak and getting it in it's purest untouched form is such a delight.

The steak is just beautiful, and not overpowered by mustard, onion or capers, just flavoured and seasoned to perfection. The traditional egg yolk and capers are served as emulsions with crispy bread. One of my most enjoyable tartares yet.

Gudge orders the quail ras el hanout, barley, labneh.

The Ras el hanout is a north african spice mix, the labneh is the soothing yoghurt mix.

He loved this dish.

For my main, I order the prawns- cooked at your table, flambe, Mediterranean with eggplant caviar.

As we are ready for our main however, they tell me the prawns tonight wont be the way suggested on the menu, but in their more popular 'lemongrass curry' style, which didn't bother me initially and watching them flambe was very theatrical.

However as I began eating, I was disappointed, I didn't want curry prawns. Especially at $55! 

The waiters were very apologetic, and I felt for them, as they themselves had just been told this. But If I had known, I probably would have selected something completely different from the menu. 

A fairly mediocre main, unfortunately.

Gudge rates his main of potato gnocchi, pumpkin, pepitas and spinach very highly. I taste it: Instant food envy.

He always rules when ordering Vege mains. 

A delicious side of broccolini with truffle butter. 

We don't order dessert but get a lovely, dramatic (and complimentary) treat...

Delicious frozen, gilded chocolate coated ice cream balls, that have the table next to us gasping with delight and envy.

Our waiters were so divine, personable and friendly, the service was excellent, and the pure novelty of a 77 minute 360 degree rotation was worth the visit. Such a shame about my prawn main, but there is no way I will let that detract from a truely memorable experience.

And actually not naff at all.

We spend the rest of our evening drinking Ameretto Sours and playing roulette and have a really nice night.

It's saturday and we're off to Mona, we decide to have brekky at our favourite coffee shop before heading off. Perfect coffee as usual, and for me a fantastic toastie: poached chicken, avo and cheese on turkish. It's fantastic.

Gudgeon enjoys his avo and haloumi on sourdough very much.

After a wonderful day at Mona (you HAVE to go!), we look for a bite for dinner, we stop into Capital, who let us have a table without a reservation, dispite being booked out! I'm so glad they did, our pork belly, gorgonzola and mushroom pizza is AMAZING!

 As is our cheesy garlic bread. We probably could have fit in another pizza. it's base was perfect for me, and the toppings were a great combination and just the right amount. I also love that it has no red sause, a trend I am really moving on from.

Our last day we stop into local cafe Room For A Pony, as Providence is closed on Sundays. Even though food had a wait of 45 minutes, I'm so glad we got to try this place. It was full of happy dogs and good coffee

My three cheese on toast is the thing dreams are made of.

Gudgeon's avo and smashed feta with poached egg does the trick too.

I love you Hobart.
Be back soon.