Friday, November 20, 2009

Soy beef with tatsoi salad

This Asian-style beef salad is high in iron and low in carbs.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 600g piece eye fillet steak, sinew removed
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) soy sauce
  • 1 tsp peanut oil
  • 2 cups bean sprouts, trimmed
  • 3 spring onions with bulb, thinly sliced
  • 80g baby tatsoi leaves* or baby Asian salad leaves*
  • 1/2 firmly packed cup coriander leaves
  • Dressing

  • 1 small red chilli, seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) lime juice
  • 1 tsp caster sugar


  1. Cut the steak into two long strips, then toss with the soy sauce and marinate at room temperature for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook for 3 minutes each side until rare and slightly charred, or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate and rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Add sprouts, onion, tatsoi and coriander. Thinly slice the beef and add to the salad, toss gently to combine and serve immediately.

Notes & tips

  • * Tatsoi and Asian salad leaves are from greengrocers and selected supermarkets.

What's in season - November

Chinese greens

Whether they're stir-fried, gently steamed or added to soup, Chinese greens are an easy-to-prepare and nutritious addition to many meals.
Many Chinese greens are members of the crucifer family and have been cultivated since the fifth century. It has only been in the last decade or so that we have been introduced properly to them in mainstream greengrocers, and Australians have since embraced their use in many meals. Each vegetable has more than one name due to the different Chinese dialects, which can be confusing. Chinese greens are high in vitamins A and C, and are deliciously crunchy and nutritious when eaten raw or quickly stir-fried or steamed.


Tatsoi: Has a mild flavour and can be used raw or cooked. Its leaves are darker and smaller than other Chinese greens and have distinctive long, white stalks.
Baby tatsoi: Leaves are used in salads and can be snipped straight from the punnet for a garnish.
Bok choy: Also known as pak choy or Chinese cabbage, it has dark-green leaves and a white stalk.
Baby bok choy: The most common Chinese green, it is light green and usually sold in bunches of three.
Choy sum: Produces small yellow flowers, which gives it its other name of Chinese flowering cabbage. Its long, pale stalks and fragile leaves are suited to stir-frying and steaming.
Hong Kong choy sum: This smaller variety has very thin stalks and is delicate in flavour.
Gai lan: Often referred to as Chinese broccoli. The best method of cooking is to quickly stir-fry or blanch to retain its crisp texture.
Chrysanthemum leaf: Featuring a taste similar to spinach, this green is a great addition to soups.

Buying and storing

  • When buying, look for firm stalks that are bright in colour and blemish free. The leaves should be free of bruising or wilting.
  • Store in plastic bags in the crisper section of the fridge to keep them fresh. They should then be used within three days of purchase.
  • When preparing Chinese greens for cooking, cut off the base where the stalks join and separate the leaves for washing. Alternatively, greens such as baby bok choy can be cut in half and rinsed under cold running water.

Tips & facts

  • Chinese greens pair well with soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, chicken, pork, seafood, garlic, ginger, chilli, noodles, rice, fermented soybeans, green onions, tofu, butter, Chinese five spice and Sichuan pepper.
  • When cooking Chinese greens you don't have to use an Asian approach. They are also lovely sautéed in a little butter with fresh herbs, as you would cook other vegetables.
  • Gai choy, has a distinctive mustard taste which is why it is also known as mustard green. Its flavour makes it perfect for pickling. Pickled vegetables are a great match for many Asian dishes.
  • Chinese greens are best cooked quickly and at a high temperature. Blanch them quickly, stir-fry in a wok or steam. They should be cooked at the last minute.
  • The Chinese love their greens so much, they eat on average one kilogram per day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Carambola iced tea

Preparation Time 

30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 carambola (star fruit), sliced crossways into 5mm slices
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 18g (1/4 cup) Ceylon orange pekoe tea (Twinings brand)
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • 1.75L (7 cups) boiling water


  1. Place carambola slices on a baking tray and drizzle with half the lemon juice. Cover with cold water and place in the freezer for 6 hours or until frozen.
  2. Combine tea leaves, mint and sugar in a large heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes to brew. Strain tea through a fine sieve into a large jug and add remaining lemon juice. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool.
  3. Pour tea into tall glasses. Remove carambola ice from the freezer and break into pieces, with one carambola slice in each piece. Place a few pieces in each glass and serve immediately.

Notes & tips

  • Allow 6 hours freezing, 15 mins standing & 30 mins cooling time

What's in season - November


Commonly called starfruit, the carambola originated from the tropics of Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia.

What is it?

Carambola is a pale-yellow to green fruit with ribbed edges and firm flesh. When sliced horizontally, it looks like a star.

Is it good for me?

It's a good source of potassium and vitamin C, and a source of dietary fibre.

Buying and storing

Look for firm, evenly coloured fruit that's free of blemishes. Store green fruit at room temperature. Once it turns yellow, store in the fridge for up to one week.


Rinse in cool water and trim the edges of the five ribs before slicing.

Cooking tips

  • Slice crossways and combine with passionfruit and papaya for a refreshing fruit salad. Serve with yoghurt.
  • Slice crossways into star shapes and serve as "crackers" on a cheese platter.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Corned Beef

Tonight's dinner is Corned Beef crockpot style.

A big hunk of corned beef
(mine was about 2 kgs)
3 tblspns of brown sugar
1 cup of vinegar
Water to cover beef
Cook for 8 hrs slowly


Edited to update with dinner plated.
Sorry took photo with my phone.

Creamy mashed potato, steamed beans and carrots
and melt in your mouth Corned Beef.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Steak and asparagus salad

Preparation Time 

12 minutes

Cooking Time 

6 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 3 sirloin steaks
  • oil, for brushing
  • 75g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 100g baby spinach
  • Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • salt and cracked black pepper


  1. To make the dressing, whisk together the oil, dijon, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Cut fat from steaks and brush with oil, salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium-high and cook steak to your liking. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
  3. Blanch the asparagus spears in boiling water then plunge into iced water. Set aside.
  4. Drain asparagus, toss with spinach and tomatoes, and divide between four plates. Slice steak and place on top of salad. Add dressing and serve.

What's in season - November


There are three varieties of asparagus: green, white or purple. White asparagus is similar to green, although it's not exposed to sunlight. Purple asparagus is sweeter.

Is it good for me?

Asparagus contains dietary fibre, beta carotene, vitamin E and folate.

Buying and storing

Look for bright spears with compact tips. Trim ends and stand in a glass with 1-2cm of water. Cover with a plastic bag and store in fridge for up to five days.


Snap off woody ends. Tougher spears also need peeling.

Cooking tips

  • Blanch, slice and add to scrambled eggs.
  • Dress white asparagus with hollandaise.
  • Brush spears with olive oil and cook on the barbecue for a few minutes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blueberry Scones


  • 250g strong (baker's) plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g unsalted butter, chilled, diced, plus extra to serve
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 punnet (125g) blueberries
  • 175ml buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Dust a large baking tray with flour.
  2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a large bowl and mix well. Add the butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar, blueberries and buttermilk, and mix to form a dough.
  1. Dust your hands with flour and form the dough into a 20cm round. Mark 8 wedges in the dough with a knife. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden. Allow to cool, break the scones into 8, then split in half and spread with butter.

What's in season - November


Native to North America, blueberries are one of very few foods that are naturally coloured blue.

What are they?

Blueberries are small in size with smooth dark skin that's covered in a fine white powder known as "bloom".

Are they good for me?

Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fibre, and provide the body with beneficial anti-oxidants.

Buying and storing

Look for firm, plump berries. To store, place in a single layer on a plate lined with paper towel. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to five days.


Rinse under cool water and enjoy.

Cooking tips

  • Fill bought pastry tart cases with fresh ricotta. Drizzle over honey and top with blueberries.
  • For a delicious fruit salad, toss blueberries, lychees and raspberries in a bowl. Serve in a halved coconut shell.

Friday, November 6, 2009



The globe artichoke is a flower with several layers – green outer petals, purple inner petals, a hairy, inedible ‘choke’ and a tender heart. The edible parts are the heart, stem centre and base of the petals. The heart is also available canned in brine or marinated in oil.

Look for small to medium-sized bright, heavy artichokes with tightly closed leaves and a fresh-looking stem.

Artichokes are a rich source of soluble fibre, which helps maintain blood glucose
levels and bowel health. They’re also high in vitamin K, vitamin C and folate.
Refrigerate artichokes in a plastic bag for up to one week.

Preparation, cooking, eating
Use stainless steel when preparing or cooking fresh artichokes, as aluminium and iron cause discolouration. Remove outer petals. Slice off the top third of the artichoke to expose the centre. Rub cut surfaces with lemon juice. Boil for 30 minutes or until base is tender. Remove a petal. Dip white base in sauce (optional). Place in mouth and pull through closed teeth to remove flesh. Discard petal. Repeat. Remove and discard the choke. Scoop out the edible heart.

Artichoke, bean & feta salad

Artichoke, bean & feta salad

Preparation Time - 30 minutes
Cooking Time  - 17 minutes

Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 8 globe artichokes
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 x 500g pkt frozen broad beans, thawed, peeled
  • 350g green beans, topped, tailed
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice, extra
  • 1 tbs tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g feta cheese, crumbled
  • Trim each artichoke stem to 3cm. Peel away the 2 layers of outer leaves (or until the base of leaves are yellow/green in colour). Cut each artichoke in half and remove choke (furry part) near base of leaves. Place in a large bowl of water and add lemon juice.
  • Cook broad beans and green beans in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Drain well. Place in a large bowl and set aside until required.
  • Drain artichokes and cook in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until tender when pierced with a skewer in the thickest part. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Add to the bowl with the green beans and broad beans.
  • Combine the olive oil, extra lemon juice, tahini and garlic in a small bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • To serve, place the artichoke, green beans and broad beans on serving plates. Top with the crumbled feta and drizzle with the tahini dressing.
Notes & tips
Note: You can prepare this recipe to the end of step 3 up to 6 hours ahead. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge. Continue from step 4 just before serving.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Go bananas and enjoy one of the oldest known fruits.
Thought to be native to South-East Asia, the banana is one of the oldest known fruits. There are hundreds of types of bananas, but in Australia the most common varieties are the cavendish and the lady finger.
High in natural fruit sugars, vitamins B6 and C, and potassium, this fat-free fruit is a great high-energy snack.

Bananas are available from supermarkets all year round, but are at their best in summer and autumn. Look for firm fruit with unblemished skin.

Store at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Keep bananas away from avocados, apples and other fruits that release ethylene gas, which accelerates ripening.

Bananas are usually eaten raw, but they can also be fried and served with ice-cream, or mashed and added to cakes. Great with cream, maple syrup, honey, cinnamon, chocolate and yoghurt.

Banana cake with passionfruit icing

Banana cake with passionfruit icing
Preparation Time - 20 minutes
Cooking Time - 40 minutes

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 155g (3/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 50g (1/3 cup) plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 160ml (2/3 cup) buttermilk
  • 2 large overripe bananas, mashed

Passionfruit icing

  • 25g (1/3 cup) shredded coconut
  • 125g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 80g (1/2 cup) icing sugar mixture
  • 2 tbs unstrained passionfruit pulp


  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush an 11 x 21cm (base measurement) loaf pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base and 2 opposite long sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing it to overhang slightly.
  • Use an electric beater to beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until just combined.
  • Stir in half the combined flours, and half the cinnamon and ginger until just combined. Stir in buttermilk, remaining combined flours, cinnamon and ginger, and banana until combined. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the surface.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven. Set aside in the pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack for 30 minutes or until cooled completely.
  • Meanwhile, to make the passionfruit icing, heat a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the coconut and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until toasted. Remove from heat. Use an electric beater to beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and passionfruit pulp in a large bowl until pale and creamy.
  • Place the cake on a serving platter. Use a round-bladed knife to spread the icing over the cake. Sprinkle with coconut and cut into slices to serve.

Notes & tips

  • This cake will keep in an airtight container out of direct sunlight for up to 3 days.
  • You'll need 2 passionfruit for this recipe.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Corned Beef Fritters

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
  • Diced corned beef
  • Oil

  • Sift flour into bowl and make a well
  • Slowly pour in milk and mix
  • Beat egg - add and mix
  • Mix until smooth - all lumps removed
  • Add beef
  • Add oil to frypan
  • Pour batter into frypan (pikelet size)

  • When bubbles have popped, flip over

  • Cook for 2-3 mins more

  • Remove from frypan and drain on paper towel
  • Serve warm

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's in season - November

From blueberries to zucchini, find out which fruit and vegetables are at their very best and cheapest in November:
Honeydew melons
Red papaya

Silver beet
Chinese greens
Gai lan (Chinese broccoli)
Green beans
Hass avocado
Spring onions/green shallots
Snow peas
Sugar snap peas
Sweet corn

Source -