A few days ago, my neighbor’s girl dropped by in the late afternoon. We made some simple noodles together. Her mum had been unwell for a few weeks. So it was nice for the keen 11 year old to learn to cook a meal for the family.
When she popped over again today, she brought me a few lemons from their trees. So I made this simple, gentle and aromatic tea with the lemons – perfect to enjoy on a rainy autumn afternoon.
Method is as follows:
Winter is (nearly) coming to Sydney and it is getting cold for some Sydneysiders. Don’t laugh – today is 12-16 degree Celsius and many of us were shivering.
So I made a tummy friendly lamb shank soup with potato, carrot and quinoa. To spice it up a little, I added clove, bay leaves, cumin, paprika, chili flake and black pepper. I cooked it in a pressure cooker so it was an easy one-pot meal.
Recipe is as follows:
On the weekend a few friends dropped by for lunch. I cooked a simple roast cattleman’s beef using the blasting method.
I learnt the blasting method by accident. A few years ago I picked up a round beef roast from the supermarket. I then realized that the meat was so lean, it was one of the most difficult roast to cook. Reportedly the only way to cook it was to blast it in a at 240°C/ 460°F in an oven, then turned off the heat and cooked it with the remaining heat for a few hours. I fell in love with the blasting – the smoke, the aroma and the juicy and tender meat we enjoyed.
For lunch I bought a 2kg cattleman’s cut from our local butcher. I rubbed the meat with oil, salt, 2 tsp of cumin and 2 tsp of turmeric. I then laid the meat on a rack over a drip tray. I preheated the oven for 30 minutes at 240°C/ 460°F, then cooked the meat for 15 minutes before turning off the oven. The roast was cooked for further 2 hours with the remaining heat. The smell was unbelievable and it made me so hungry!
I served the beef with some roast vegetables which I first cooked in microwave to 90%, then finished cooking under a grill with some oil, salt and rosemary. For FODMAPers, carrots, Japanese pumpkins and potatoes are good options for roasting as it contains no FODMAP.
Last Saturday we had a few families over for lunch. I was busy all week and didn’t have time to prepare a cake. I decided to make one of my easiest cake – layered cheese cake with Nutella hazelnut cocoa.
So simple, you don’t even need a recipe.
First, I prepared the cake mix with 2 packs of Betty Crocker vanilla cake, boosted with a cup of almond meal and a cup of desiccated coconut to make it more dense and moist. I baked the cakes in 2 rectangle trays so the cakes were nice and flat. I then freeze the cakes overnight before I cut then into 1cm thickness slices, lengthwise.
The next day I used a mixer to combine 4 x 250g packages of Philadelphia cream cheese (at room temperature), 3-4 tablespoonful of Nutella, 4-5 tablespoonful of sugar and a dash of kumquat juice. Then I assembled the layered cake – a layer of cake, a layer of Nutella cream cheese mixture. Then I covered the sides with more Nutella cream cheese. I shaved some dark chocolate on top as decoration. I returned the cake to fridge for a few hours before serving.
I love this cake – easy to make, not as heavy as a cheese cake, but still moist, dense and satisfying.
At my little boy’s school, teachers and kids sell cakes together on election days. I love the looks in the kids’ eyes when I bring up my cup cakes – the oohhs and aahhhs make me & my little boy super proud.
Here are my contribution to the cake stall this year – 6 dozens of cup cakes.
I can’t say I am an expert of smoking – I only learned about it a year ago from ‘A Food Blog by a Old Fat Guy’. I love this blog from the far away land – as I read, I could smell the forest from the mountains in Canada.
Dreaming of the forests, l bough the closest thing I could find – apple wood chips from Tasmania. I have only a small bag, but it lasted a while. I did 4 lots of smoking with this – rainbow trout fillets, American ribs, salmon and pork belly. OMG, so very delicious!
I don’t have a smoker, but I have a super heavy duty 16-quart stainless steel stock pot that can cook ‘waterless’. It has a adjustable small hole in the lid which is perfect for checking out how much smoke has built up in the pot. I only used a small amount of wood chips which is sufficient for the size of the pot. Fish fillets can be cooked in about 20-30 minutes; meat requires further cooking after 30-40 minutes of smoking, which can be finished off on the BBQ.
I am quite time poor so I don’t use brine. For fish, I rubbed a little sea salt, a little sugar and some oil prior to cooking. For meat, I rubbed my favorite spices, salt and oil.
I like smoked salmon the best – rich, smoky and satisfying, with deliciousness lingering in your month for many hours after the meal.
I served the smoked salmon with a fennel, carrot and rocket salad, drizzle over a dressing with lemon juice, strawberry jam and sesame oil. I will post the recipe shortly.
Here is a quick write up of the very simple process: