Another great recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi

IMG_5529 pumpkinAt a time when cooking, cook books, restaurants and ingredients are so popular, when gadgets and gizmos are everywhere telling you how they will make our lives easier. It is easy to forget that there are two things that money can’t buy when it comes to making food taste amazing. Love and time. It can be love for the product, love for the person you are serving, love of cooking but there needs to be some feeling going into the preparation and you need time. It doesn’t matter how quickly you can cook a meal, it tastes better when you have set aside some time to prepare it. All over the world there are people who don’t consider themselves culinary geniuses taking time to prepare a nutritious meal for their loved ones. I know you all are yelling at me but I don’t have time!  The great thing is that you can build meals that will work for the week. Like if you make a spaghetti bolognese sauce one night it can be the lasagne sauce later in the week. If you roast these ginger tomatoes for this salad they will be wonderful with another meal later in the week so make sure you make plenty. Try thinking ahead and using the meals ingredients as building blocks. With this recipe the meal is great on its own or a side dish. Can even be eaten cold for lunch.


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Yotam Ottolenghi’s Butternut Squash with Ginger Tomatoes and Lime Yogurt
Serves 4

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed (we call this butternut pumpkin)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
6 plum tomatoes, halved
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 small red chili, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup/120 grams plain whole milk yogurt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 organic lime
Handful fresh corianer or basil leaves
2 tablespoons roasted, chopped cashews
1 tablespoon fried shallots, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 465 F/240 C. Cut the squash in 1-inch slices and toss with two tablespoons of the oil, two teaspoons of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Spread out on a large, parchment-lined baking tray and roast for 35-40 minutes, until golden-brown. Set aside to cool.

2. Turn down the oven to 340 F/170 C. Put the tomato halves skin-side down on a parchment-lined baking tray, sprinkle with a quarter teaspoon of salt, drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil and roast for 80 minutes, until softened.

4. Put all the ingredients for the lime yoghurt in a small bowl, add half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, mix well and put in the fridge until ready to serve.

5. Spread out the squash on a large platter and arrange the tomatoes in between. Drizzle over the yoghurt, sprinkle over the cilantro, cashews and shallots, if using, and serve.




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Oh what a wonderful thing Christmas is. Not because of what is under the tree but for what it does for people. Children travel kilometres to be with parents and siblings.  Partners struggle to find a way to see both sides of their families while not spending the day apart. People put grievances behind them and come together and make it a special day. Nothing has the power on an annual basis to bring people together Like Christmas. I am one of the lucky ones who had all my immediate family sitting around the table with me as well as both my parents and my children’s partners.  This is reason to celebrate by preparing a special meal.

This year I served Cured Ocean Trout with Salad as an entree followed by Turkey and Ham, Roast Potatoes and Beans then for dessert Cherry Tart and Almond Ice-cream. My mother was kind enough to help me by bringing in a Terrine and a Mango Cheesecake. I was also lucky enough to have a friend bring me a whole cooked and basted Ham. Christmas catering is so much easier when you have magic helpers.

It was a wonderful meal and we all enjoyed ourselves.

Cherry Clafoutis Tartlets with candied almond ice-cream


70 gm (2/3 cup) almond meal
100 gm caster sugar
10 gm plain flour
250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream
120 gm eggs (about 2)
60 gm egg yolks (about 3)
300 gm cherries, pitted
2 tbsp kirsch (optional)
Candied almond ice-cream
200 gm flaked almonds
1 litre (4 cups) milk
250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream
200 gm egg yolks (about 11)
330 gm (1½ cups) caster sugar
200 gm blanched almonds
For greasing: oil
Sweet pastry
180 gm softened butter
75 gm icing sugar, sieved
2 egg yolks
250 gm (1 2/3 cups) plain flour

For candied almond ice-cream, preheat oven to 180C. Scatter flaked almonds over an oven tray and roast, shaking occasionally, until golden (4-5 minutes). Meanwhile, bring milk to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add flaked almonds, remove from heat, set aside to infuse (1 hour), then blend in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve lined with muslin, squeezing to extract as much liquid as possible and yield 750ml (discard solids). Add cream to yield 1 litre, adding more if necessary. Whisk yolks and 180gm sugar in a bowl until pale. Bring almond milk to the simmer then pour onto yolks, whisking continuously to combine, transfer to a clean saucepan and stir over low-medium heat until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly (6-8 minutes). Cool in a large bowl placed over ice then freeze in an ice-cream machine. Freeze until firm. Meanwhile, scatter blanched almonds on an oven tray and roast, shaking occasionally, until golden (5-6 minutes). Keep warm. Combine remaining sugar and 100ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir to dissolve sugar then simmer until mixture reaches 121C on a sugar thermometer. Stir through warm almonds until sugar crystallises (3-4 minutes), pour onto a lightly oiled oven tray and cool, then break into coarse pieces. Process in a food processor until coarsely ground, stir through ice-cream (reserve 2 tbsp for serving). Freeze until firm.
For sweet pastry, beat butter in an electric mixer until smooth, add sugar, beat to combine. Beat in yolks one at a time, then beat in 25ml iced water. Sift flour onto a work surface, make a well in the centre. Add butter mixture, rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Bring pastry together with the heel of your hand, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (3 hours). Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick, line six 7cm-diameter tart tins, trim edges and refrigerate to rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Scatter almond meal on an oven tray and roast, shaking occasionally, until golden (2-3 minutes), set aside to cool. Combine sugar, flour and almond meal in a bowl. Whisk cream, eggs and yolks until smooth in a separate bowl, add sugar mixture, stir to combine. Set aside to rest (30 minutes).
Combine cherries in a bowl with kirsch, gently fold though batter, pour into tart cases and bake until golden and just set (20-25 minutes). Cool slightly, remove from tins and serve with candied almond ice-cream, scattered with reserved candied almond.
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After, when it is all over!

IMG_6233It is hard to believe in nine days we will be finished with Christmas Day. All that preparation, all that anticipation and now all you have left are memories and leftovers!

I’ve mentioned before how I am the queen of leftovers and Christmas is no exception. Doesn’t matter if it’s ham, turkey or Christmas cake and pudding, they can all be put to good use and they won’t even look like leftovers.

One of the essentials for using up leftovers is pastry. You can make it from scratch or there are some great brands available, even gluten free. If you slice your ham and turkey into small pieces and add potato and other vegetables they will make wonderful pies and pasties for boxing day.

For those of you with too much Christmas pudding or cake I have a recipe that will turn the cake into lovely chocolates to give people for new years.

Here is the recipe

Chocolate fruit cake truffles

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Of course everyone will have different amounts of leftover cake so you might need more or less of these ingredients.

  • 1
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 200 g dark chocolate for covering

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  1. Crumble the cake in a food processor or with your hands until fine crumbs form.

  2. Place the 100g dark chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and melt, then combine with fruit cake until the mixture is moist and easy to roll into balls.

  3. Line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Roll 2 teaspoonfuls of cake mixture into a ball. Place on the prepared tray. Repeat with remaining cake mixture. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm.

  4. Meanwhile, place the rest of the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Stir with a metal spoon until the chocolate melts and is smooth.

  5. When the fruit cake mixture is firm take out of the fridge and roll in the chocolate. Place these on another prepared tray. You can make the chocolate smooth, rough or decorate it with nuts or anything that you fancy.

I am speaking about using Christmas leftovers this Friday 18th around 1.30pm on 612 ABC so tune in if you need some more ideas. I will also be speaking about Hospitality with Heart this is a special evening that people from the food industry have teamed up with Logan charity YSF to prepare a wonderful Christmas meal on Christmas eve. One hundred and fifty victims of domestic violence, homelessness, mental illness and children living in foster care will enjoy Christmas dinner with white table cloths, candles and fantastic food. Natascha Mirosch and Jerome Dalton started this idea and have a crowdfunding initiative to help fund the dinner the link is

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