Saturday, December 28, 2013

Green Mango Chutney

So, here is the thing, there a at least a million mango chutney recipies out there! 

The mango has to be green, but not rock-hard.  Fortunately my mangoes seem to work well as they are green but go a little soft.  You will just have to try them out for yourself to see what works for you.
Also, make one batch and see what you like about the spice, this can be adjusted to suite your own taste.

This is an Indian style chutney, there is also a Thai style that uses tamarind paste, I will post it later.

Keep your hands wet when peeling, or put on rubber gloves so the sap of the mangoes does not affect your skin. The sap can be caustic.


 Green Mango Chutney

Rating : Moderate


  •  4 cups green (underipe)  mangoes, peeled, seeded, cut into strips or chunks
  • 3 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cups white or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes - or fresh chilli to taste.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 4 cardamom seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 5 black peppercorns, crushed


  1.  Place the mango into a large pot. Crush the ginger and garlic using a mortar and pestle until they become a smooth paste and add to the mangoes. Stir in the sugar, salt, chilli flakes, cumin, cardamom pods and seeds, cinnamon stick and cloves. Cover and leave to stand at room temperature overnight.
  2. The next day, place the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Make sure your mangoes are cooked to your satisfaction at this stage, as once the vinegar is added they do not cook much more.
  3. Stir in the vinegar and peppercorns and cook for 1 minute more. Cool before filling into sterilised jars.

I have included another recipie that I have not yet tried, but it sounds great:
Grandma Sheldrake's mango chutney recipe.
It was a prize winner at the Sydney Royal Show for years.

12 large green mangoes.
1 tablespoon ground ginger. 
500g brown sugar.
4 red chillies.
1 tablespoon salt.
1 tablespoon mustard.
1 cup treacle. 
500g pound chopped raisins or sultanas
1 large onion, chopped.
few pieces green ginger. 
750 ml mild vinegar.

Peel and slice mangoes and boil until soft in half the vinegar, together with other ingredients EXCEPT sugar.
Make a syrup with the sugar and rest of vinegar.
Add the mango and boil all till fully thickened.
Bottle when cold.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lemon and ricotta tart

Lemon and ricotta tart

What a hit this is!  I made 2 of these for Christmas 2013, and took one to a friends for boxing day, and it was loved by everyone.  It is a very light Italian dessert I first saw on "Two Greedy Italians" made by Antonio Carluccio (who is a genius!).

I actually vary the recipie, by not using mascarpone, just a little cream, and cheating by using a ready made sweet pastry flan from Woolworths.  It does not necessarily need to be made with puff pastry.   I also put fresh grated lemon peel into the mixture. I make my own candied orange and lemon peel, but you can just buy some ready made.

Lemon and ricotta tart

Rating: Moderate


For the pastry
  • 1 x 400g/14oz ready-made puff pastry
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 lemon, finely grated zest only
For the filling
  • 300g/10½oz ricotta cheese
  • 200g/7oz mascarpone cheese
  • 200g/7oz candied peel, roughly chopped
  • 125g/4½oz caster sugar
  • 6 free-range eggs, separated

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface to a 3mm/⅛in thickness. Use the pastry to line a 25cm/10in pastry case. Cover with a damp cloth while you make the filling.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, mascarpone and candied peel with 100g/3½oz of the sugar and five of the egg yolks until smooth and well combined.
  4. Whisk the egg whites in another large, clean bowl until fluffy. Whisk in the remaining sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.
  5. Using a large metal spoon, fold the whites into the ricotta mixture, then pour into the pastry-lined tart tin.
    Beat the reserved egg yolk in a bowl. Fold in the overhanging pastry and brush with the egg yolk. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through and the filling has a slight wobble in the centre.
  6. Set aside to cool for two hours, then sprinkle with lemon zest

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Honey glaze for Christmas ham

I made this for Xmas 2012 and it was sensational.  The recipie comes from Gordon Ramsay's Christmas.  I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful local butcher who smokes his own hams, so all I have to do is glaze and heat it.
This year I am going to stud it with orange slices instead of cloves.  Make the glaze the day before, and keep in the fridge.

 Rating : Moderate

Honey Glaze for ham


  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 50ml Madeira wine
  • 25ml sherry vinegar
  • 125g honey


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Lift the ham into a roasting tin. Snip and remove
    the strings and then cut away the skin from the ham, leaving behind an even layer of fat. Lightly score the fat all over in a criss-cross, diamond pattern, taking care not to cut into the meat. Stud the centre of each diamond with a clove. Pour half of the glaze over the ham and roast for 15 minutes.
  2. Pour on the rest of the glaze and return to the oven for another 25–35 minutes until the ham is golden brown, basting with the pan juices frequently. It also helps to turn the pan as you baste to ensure that the ham colours evenly.
  3. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Pork Apricot and Pistachio Stuffing

An absolute classic way to make the stuffing without having all the mess and problems of getting it out.  Tastes wonderful too.  I make it the day before and cook on the day, but this is lovely served hot or cold.

Be light on the chopped apricots or it can overpower the dish.

Pork, Apricot and Pistachio Stuffing

Rating : Moderate.


  • 350g pork mince
  • 100g spicy sausage (Merguez/Chorizo)
  • handful finely chopped chopped apricots
  • handful finely chopped pistachios
  • 1 grated apple
  • grated lemon zest
  • coarsely chopped parsely
  • sage leaves
  • salt and pepper


  1. Place pork mince in a bowl, season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add grated apple, add chopped apricots, nuts, lemon zest and parsley. Mix thoroughly.
  3. On a sheet of tin foil (aluminium) drizzle olive oil, line with sage leaves and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place half of the pork mince meat on top of the sage and make a groove down the centre with your finger.
  5. Place the spicy sausage inside the groove and cover with remaining pork mince meat.
  6. Lift the edge of your foil and roll, being sure to roll it nice and tight. lift back foil to check sage is in right place! Roll and twist the ends while pushing in to make a perfect cylinder.
  7. Cook at 200 C/400 F for 40-45 minutes


Beef Wellington the Gordon Ramsay Way.

Many thanks to Gordon Ramsay for this recipie.  I first saw it on a TV show, and made it for Christmas.  I have made Beef Wellington before, but this is just wonderfully simple to assemble to the day before.

This serves 4 and is rare - I cook it for longer at the lower heat until it has an internal temp of 65 degrees Cent.  from medium beef (no rareness in the centre) as my family don't like rare beef!

Rating : Difficult (for the advanced cook)
               This requires advanced cling film wrapping and pastry skills.


  • 400g flat cap mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 750g piece of prime beef fillet
  • 1-2 tbsp English mustard
  • 6-8 slices of Parma ham
  • 500g ready-made puff pastry
  • Flour, to dust
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

    • 400g flat cap mushrooms, roughly chopped
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Olive oil, for cooking
    • 750g piece of prime beef fillet
    • 1-2 tbsp English mustard
    • 6-8 slices of Parma ham or prosciutto
    • 500g ready-made puff pastry
    • Flour, to dust
    • 2 egg yolks, beaten

    1. Heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.
    2. Put the mushrooms into a food processor with some seasoning and pulse to a rough paste. Scrape the paste into a pan and cook over a high heat for about 10 mins, tossing frequently, to cook out the moisture from the mushrooms. Spread out on a plate to cool.
    3. Heat in a frying pan and add a little olive oil. Season the beef and sear in the hot pan for 30 secs only on each side. (You don't want to cook it at this stage, just colour it.) Remove the beef from the pan and leave to cool, then brush all over with the mustard.
    4. Lay a sheet of cling film on a work surface and arrange the Parma ham slices on it, in slightly overlapping rows. With a palette knife, spread the mushroom paste over the ham, then place the seared beef fillet in the middle. Keeping a tight hold of the cling film from the edge, neatly roll the Parma ham and mushrooms around the beef to form a tight barrel shape. Twit the ends of the cling film to secure. Chill for 15-20 mins to allow the beef to set and keep its shape.
    5. Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface to a large rectangle, the thickness of a £1 coin. Remove the cling film from the beef, then lay in the centre. Brush the surrounding pastry with egg yolk. Fold the ends over, the wrap the pastry around the beef, cutting off any excess. Turn over, so the seam is underneath, and place on a baking sheet.
    6. Brush over all the pastry with egg and chill for about 15 mins to let the pastry rest.
    7. Lightly score the pastry at 1cm intervals and glaze again with beaten egg yolk.Put into the hot over (200 degrees C)
    8. Bake for 20 minutes , then lower the oven setting to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and cook for another 15 mins. Allow to rest for 10-15 mins before slicing and serving with the accompaniments. The beef should still be pink in the centre when you serve it.

  • 400g flat cap mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 750g piece of prime beef fillet
  • 1-2 tbsp English mustard
  • 6-8 slices of Parma ham
  • 500g ready-made puff pastry
  • Flour, to dust
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

  • 400g flat cap mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 750g piece of prime beef fillet
  • 1-2 tbsp English mustard
  • 6-8 slices of Parma ham
  • 500g ready-made puff pastry
  • Flour, to dust
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

  • 400g flat cap mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 750g piece of prime beef fillet
  • 1-2 tbsp English mustard
  • 6-8 slices of Parma ham
  • 500g ready-made puff pastry
  • Flour, to dust
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

  • Chocolate Amaretti Pudding

    This is an old Italian recipie I first saw on "Two Greedy Italians"  by Genaro Contaldo.  Interesting that Antonio Carluccio taught Genano, who taught Jamie Oliver.  And so the wonderful Italian food goes on.

    Basically, this is a sweet white sauce, spiked with Amaretto and chocolate, so if you have a favourite recipie for the sweet white sauce,  (I have a cornflour one!) just use it.  It is not too sweet, and silky smooth.

    I always add a splash of the liqueur at the end to enhance the flavour, and do not add the extra chocolate, but try the recipie as is first before adjusting to your own family tastes.  Of course, this will be just as good with other liqueurs.

    Chocolate Amaretti Pudding

    Rating: Easy.


    • 500mls warm milk
    • 2 tablespoons castor sugar
    • 1 tablespoon flour.

    • 1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur
    • seeds from 1 vanilla pod
    • 50 grams unsalted butter
    • 100 grams chocolate.

    1. Place the first 3 ingredients into a saucepan on medium heat and whisk with a balloon whisk for about 3 minutes.  Add the amaretto and vanilla pod.  Turn down heat and add the butter and chopped chocolate.  Add another 25 grams of chocolate if you desire.
    2. Stir with a spoon now until you see bubbles on the edges.  Then take off the head and keep stirring for a few minutes.  It will cool slightly and thicken.
    3. Pour into cups and serve with crushed Amaretti biscuits on the top.


    Nigella's Meringue ice cream with chocolate sauce

    Many, many, thanks to Nigella Lawson for this little number.  Prepare the day before and enjoy.
    You can put some raspberries into the cake if you like, or make a raspberry sauce instead of chocolate.

    Rating : Easy Peasy!!


    For the meringue gelato cake
    • 300ml/10½fl oz double cream
    • 30g/1oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids, minimum)
    • 1 tbsp Elisir San Marzano (or coffee liqueur and/or rum)
    • 8 meringue nests
    For the chocolate sauce
    • 250ml/9fl oz double cream
    • 125g/4½oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids, minimum), finely chopped or in buttons made for melting
    • 2 tbsp Elisir San Marzano (or coffee liqueur and/or rum)
    • 250g/9oz raspberries, to serve

    Preparation method

    1. Line a 450g/1lb loaf tin with cling film, making sure you have enough overhang to cover the top later.
    2. Whip the cream until thick but still soft.
    3. Chop the chocolate very finely so that you have a pile of dark splinters, and fold them into the cream, along with the liqueur.
    4. Now, using brute force, crumble the meringue nests and fold these in, too.
    5. Pack this mixture into the prepared loaf tin, pressing it down with a spatula as you go, and bring the cling film up and over to seal the top, then get out more cling film to wrap around the whole tin. Freeze until solid, which should take around eight hours or overnight.
    6. About an hour before serving, make the chocolate sauce. Pour the cream into a saucepan and add the tiny bits of chocolate. Put over a gentle heat and whisk as the chocolate melts, taking the pan off the heat once the chocolate is almost all melted. If the mixture gets too hot, the chocolate will seize, whereas it will happily continue melting in the warm cream off the heat.
    7. Add the liqueur, still off the heat, and whisk again to amalgamate the sauce completely. Pour into a jug, whisking every now and again until it cools to the desired temperature. If you feel the sauce has thickened too solid, then stand the jug in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes, whisking frequently, before pouring. Or I whisk in a shot - about two tablespoons - of hot espresso.
    8. To serve the gelato cake, unwrap the outer layer of cling film, then unpeel the top and use these bits of long overhanging wrap to lift out the ice-cream brick. Unwrap and unmould it onto a board and, using a sharp, heavy knife (dipped in hot water between each slice) cut the frozen meringue cake into slabs to serve. I like to zig-zag a little chocolate sauce over each slice and sprinkle a few raspberries alongside on each plate.

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

    Pear, Apple & Saffron chutney

    Thanks to Gordon Ramsey for this one.  I have never seen chutney be devoured at our house before.  This recipie makes about 1 - 1/2 of those big jars you get Polish cucumbers in.  I don't know how long it lasts, as it goes in a couple of weeks at our house.  Once you make it, leave it for at least a week to mature.

    Make sure the pears you use are very firm, not soft, and use the best quality saffron you can afford.  I am lucky enough to have some from Spain and some even better quality that my son bought me in Egypt.  The better the saffron, the more of an earthy quality the chutney seems to have.  Also, if you like your chutney hot, just throw in some dried chilli.  I find that Gordon Ramsay is brilliant at mixing spices, and that the mix in this is just right for Christmas.

    This tastes wonderful with ham.

    Pear, Apple and Saffron Chutney

    Rating : Easy to Moderate


    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 small onion, peeled and chopped
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    50g knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
    Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    ½ –1 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
    250g light unrefined soft brown sugar
    250ml white wine vinegar
    4 firm pears (such as Williams), about 650g
    1 small cooking apple, about 350g, peeled, cored and chopped
    125g sultanas
    2 pinches of saffron strands
    Finely grated zest and juice of 2 small oranges
    2 tomatoes, diced


    Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and sweat for a few minutes with a touch of seasoning - to soften but not colour. Add the grated ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Sauté for another 1–2 minutes. Add the sugar and stir over a medium heat until it has dissolved, then add the wine vinegar.

    Peel, core and chop the pears and apple. Add to the pan with the sultanas, saffron and orange zest and juice. Bring to the boil and boil steadily for about 15 minutes, until the liquid has reduced down to a syrupy consistency and is thick and lovely.

    Add the diced tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, by which time the chutney should be well reduced and thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning with a little salt and pepper.
    While still hot, spoon the chutney into clean, sterilised jars and seal. Store in a cool, dark cupboard or the fridge and use within 6 months – the flavour will improve with time.


    Friday, December 6, 2013

    Strawberry Jam

    I make this jam when strawberries are cheap, and usually small and not overly ripe.  You can easily upscale the recipie just using the same proportions of equal weight jam and sugar.  In fact, this recipie works for any kind of soft fruit jam (e.g. not a marmalade).

    Make sure you sterilise the jars first, I usually put them through the dishwasher (including lids) at its highest temperature the day before, then warm them in the oven at its lowest while making the jam.

    I usually make only this amount, and then make some other jam for variety.  4 punnets makes me 5 of those skinny bottles of jam. Plenty for this family.

    For more tips check out this link to the ABC :

    Strawberry Jam

    Rating : Moderate

    1kg - (4 punnets) of strawberries
    1kg white sugar
    1 lemon.

    Take the stalks off the strawberries, if they are very large, cut them to a smaller size.  Put into a large heavy pan with the juice of 1/2 a lemon.  If you think it needs a little water, add only 1/4 cup of water.   Slowly bring to the boil.  Boil the fruit until it passes the following pectin test:

    Pectin test:

    In a small glass place 1tablespoon of mentholated spirits (yes!). Then place a small teaspoon of the jam mixture into the spirits and let it cool. It is at the right stage when it balls up into a jelly. This means the pectin is right and the jam will set correctly. You can add a little more lemon juice if it is not working well. If it just will not set you can add a little jam setter pectin that is available from most supermarkets.

    Once the correct pectin is reached, add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved.  You can tell the jam is completely ready once it is reduced and 'blobs' off the spoon.

    Pour the jam (careful it is hot!) into the warm jars, right to the top.  Cover with a piece of celephane and leave to cool completely - overnight.  Then put the lid on once it is cold.

    Store in cool dry place.


    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

    The emergency Christmas Cake.

    This cake can even be made the day before it is needed and it will taste great!  It originally comes from the Australian Women's Weekly, but I have made a few changes to it.  If you don't have access to glace fruit at short notice, just substitute extra dried fruit.  If you have time you can 'seed' the cake with Grand Marnier ever few days.

    Rating : Moderate to easy

    If you have 2 days
    Place in a bowl, and leave overnight:

    1-1/4 kilos of dried mixed fruit
    60g glace pineapple
    60 g glace apricots
    125g glace cherries
    juice and rind of 1 large orange, and one small lemon
    1/2 cup Grand Marnier (you can use brandy)
    1 green apple grated (optional)

    If you only have 1 day - place all of the above in a large saucepan, heat gently to plump the fruit and leave to cool before using.

    Step 2
    Using an electric mixer, mix 250g butter and 1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed) until light and fluffy, add 4 eggs, one at a time.  Mix well between each egg.

    Add this mixture to the fruit and mix well.  If you like nuts in your fruitcake, now is the time to add around a cup full of almonds or pecans.

    Sift in 1-1/2 cups of plain flour, 1/4 cup of self raising flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons of mixed spice.  Mix in well to the mixture.

    Place in a greased and papered tin, and cook for around 3 hours at 150 degrees centigrade.

    When it comes out of the oven, and is still hot, baste with 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier.  Cool in the tin and when cold, cover with tin foil lined with baking paper and keep in the fridge.  (Because this cake has so much butter it needs to be in the fridge in Australian conditions). 


    Sunday, December 1, 2013

    Lime and Coconut Pancakes

    Put the lime in the coconut!
    OH MY GOD! I made the most amazing pancakes ever. I was watching a Gordon Ramsey cooking show and he made pancakes with coconut, coconut milk, and then made a lime syrup. Serve with mango for an even bigger summer hit, or just squeeze some lime over the pancakes.
    Fantastic. Just out of this world. I think pancakes will forever be made with coconut in our house.
    For a fun song :  Of course, would have tasted even better if I could have brought back some of that fantastic coconut syrup from Hawaii!

    Rating: Easy 

    First, make a syrup out of sugar, water, plus the  juice and rind of one lime. 
    Taste to ensure you love it.
    Serve this to pour over your pancakes
    Simply make your usual pancake mixture  (I use the mixture from pancakes on the rocks) and add some coconut to the mixture. 
    Make the pancakes on a griddle as you normally would.
    Serve with the syrup.

    Creole Xmas Cake

    I have no idea where I found this recipie, but it is delicious, there is a lot of alcohol in it but it does not taste of alcohol.  I have only ever made it with the specific mix of fruit, never with a "mixed fruit" packet.  I keep this in the fridge until xmas day (wrapped in baking paper and then foil) so it does not get exposed to hot temperatures. 

    The texture of the cake is almost pudding like, and I think it would make a great Xmas pudding, next year we will give it a go.  Cherry brandy is very hard to come by, and I have to thank a long time friend Dave for getting me some, it should last a few Christmas Cakes.

    There are a few options you have, so read the whole recipie first!  Baking it can be a bit tricky, if you have a fan forced oven lower the temp by at least 10 degrees, and make sure you keep an eye on this cake as it can burn easily.  Also, line your tin with a few layers of newspaper and then the baking paper, this insulates the cake as it cooks.  I have also cooked this cake with a pan of water in the oven - although I don't know if it made any difference. 

     It is made in two steps, 1 week apart.

    RATING: for an advanced cook, with some time on their hands.


    STEP 1
    500 g raisins
    60g chopped pecans
    60g glace chopped cherries
    125g chopped prunes
    250 g currents
    125 g mixed peel
    2 teaspoons vanilla essence
    2 teaspoons bitters
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons each of Brandy, Dark rum, Port, Cherry Brandy and water.

    Place all the ingredients into a large pot, simmer for 10-15 minutes.  (This is done to plump up the fruit, so if the fruit is quite plump and fresh simmer for 10 minutes, if not, go for 15)
    Leave covered in a container for 1 week  (by this time it will have absorbed all the alcohol and the spices are mellow).

    STEP 2 - 1 week later.

    Soften 280g unsalted butter to room temperature, mix in electric mixer with 280g brown sugar until light and fluffy.
    Add 5 eggs, one at a time, until fully combined.
    Turn off mixer, and combine with the fruit using a wooden spoon.

    In a sifter, place 280g of plain flour.  Take out one tablespoon full, and replace this with 1 tablespoon of self raising flour.  Sift into fruit mixture and combine well.

    Place the mixture into a large 30cm tin that has been lined with baking paper.  Cover the top with a 'tent' of foil that has a hole in the middle to stop it burning.  Bake for 4 hours at 150 degrees centigrade.  Take the foil off after 3 hours.  Let it cool in the tin.

    NOTE 1: Alternatively you can put this mixture into smaller tins and bake for less time.  Watch the cake as it has a tendency to burn on top.  My 6 inch tins only take about 1 hour.

    NOTE 2:  This cake is very nicely decorated by placing pecan nuts in a pattern on the top.  Again, you must watch out for burning!

    NOTE 3:  I mix about 1/2 cup with brandy, rum and port; then pour this over the cake when it comes out of the oven - delicious!