Friday, 23 January 2015

Apple & Maple Pork Chops

This week my husband and I are enjoying experiencing 'Empty Nest Syndrome'. It's weird really not having any children at home and in all seriousness I'm not sure I'm looking forward to the time when it becomes a permanent thing in my life. Anyway right now I'm determined to embrace the positive side, like a tidy house and hardly any washing and ironing and plenty of time for me.

Embracing the me thing has meant a distinct lack of grocery shopping so dinner has often meant a dig around in the freezer to see what I can find. Last night I found pork chops. Now my husband is for some strange reason not a big fan of the humble pork chop (I love them) so I went hunting for a recipe to jazz them up. 

The recipe had to include ingredients I already had at home as remember I'm trying to avoid all forms of grocery shopping until absolutely necessary.

This is what I made:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    4 (about 800g) pork loin cutlets, trimmed
    1 Granny Smith apple, cored, cut into thick wedges
    1 red apple, cored, cut into thick wedges
    4 French shallots, peeled, quartered
    3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
    125ml (1/2 cup) boiling water
    60ml (1/4 cup) Maple Syrup
    1/2 chicken stock cube, crumbled
    Mashed potato, to serve
    Steamed green round beans, to serve


    1. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. 
    2. Season the pork. Cook for 5 minutes or until browned underneath. Turn the pork.
    3. Add the combined apple, shallot and thyme to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until pork is browned and almost cooked through. Transfer the pork to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.
    4. Cook the apple mixture for a further 2 minutes. 
    5.Combine the water, maple syrup and stock cube in a jug. Stir into apple mixture for 2 minutes or until combined. 
    6.Return the pork to the pan and cook, turning once, for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens. 
    7. Divide pork and apple mixture among plates.
    8.Serve with mash and beans.



    * Recipe from here

Friday, 12 December 2014

Boiled Fruit Cake

I make this Fruit cake every Christmas and today it was time to make it again. 

It's easy and delicious. 


1kg mixed dried fruit
250g butter, chopped coarsely
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup sherry or 50ml bottle of Queen Brandy Essence combined with 200ml water
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
4 eggs, beaten lightly
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1/2 cup pecans
3/4 cup macadamias


1. Line deep 22cm- round cake pan with 3 thicknesses of baking paper, extending paper 5cm above side.

2. Combine fruit, butter, sugar, 3/4 sherry or brandy essence mixture and water in a large saucepan; stir over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil.

 3. Remove from heat; transfer to a large bowl; cool

4. Preheat oven to 150 C (130 C fan-forced)

5. Stir in orange rind.

6. Stir in beaten eggs
7. Then add sifted dry ingredients.

8.  Spread the mixture into the pan.
9.  Decorate the top with nuts.

10.  Bake for 3 hours. Brush hot cake with remaining sherry; cover with foil; cool in pan overnight.



Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Fresh Pasta

You may remember my post on making homemade gnocchi? Well this weekend Livvy and I tried our hand at making fresh spaghetti.

I had actually bought the pasta machine from Aldi three years ago for only $10.00 but its remained in its box, until now, mostly because I did not have the bench space in my old kitchen to tackle such a messy task.

It was a fun way to spend a Saturday night with the family and we all pitched in!

There's always a taste tester in the family!

and someone who likes to stir.

You can find my recipe for an authentic tomato sauce here.


Of course washing down an Italian feast with a good red is always imperative!

And if I do say so myself, we did a damn good job!

We simply followed a recipe from and it was delicious and not too difficult! Below is the one we followed.

  • 2 2/3 cups (400g) Italian '00' flour or high-grade flour, plus extra, for dusting4 (59g each) eggs, at room temperature.

    Place flour in a mound on a work surface. Make a large well in the centre, then break eggs into it. Using a fork, gently beat eggs, while, with your other hand, secure the walls of the well. Continue stirring with the fork, drawing in flour until mixture is very thick, then, using your hands, work in remaining flour.
    Once flour is incorporated, knead the dough (it should be firm and not sticky) for 5 minutes or until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
    Divide dough into 6 pieces. Flatten 1 piece with your hand until 3mm thick. Dust lightly with flour. For machine-rolled pasta, set your pasta machine to its widest setting, then feed the dough through 4-5 times, folding it in half each time and turning it 90 degrees until it is smooth and the width of the machine. Repeat feeding the dough through, without folding, narrowing the settings on your machine, 1 notch at a time (the highest number being the thinnest setting), until you reach the second last setting, then place pasta sheet on a flour dusted work surface. Repeat with remaining dough. 
    For machine-cut pasta, drape pasta lengths for 10 minutes or until slightly dry. Feed dough lengths, 1 at a time, through cutting attachment on your pasta machine, then scatter lightly with flour and place on a tray.
    Bring a large (5-6 litres) saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add pasta, stir once and cook until al dente*, then drain. Serve immediately with favourite sauce.


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Slow Roast Tomatoes

Yesterday I went to Newcastle's Farmers Markets and bought these beautiful tomatoes.
I also bought some sour dough bread and plenty of pumpkin to make soup.

I decided to Slow Roast the Tomatoes for dinner.
Firstly I halved the tomatoes horizontally and placed them skin down on a baking tray. I added a few slices of garlic to each tomato and sprinkled with brown sugar. Next I drizzled the tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and put into a slow oven.

After about an hour in the oven the tomatoes are soft and lightly charred. Set aside to cool.

The next thing to do would be to sprinkle with basil, but I didn't have any, so I grated Parmesan cheese over the top.

Toast some sour dough and place tomato on top.

 Smash the tomato onto the toast.

It is a perfect accompaniment for the soup. I promise there won't be any leftovers!



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