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A really useful cookbook





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A really useful cookbook

Anthony telford

The Basics: A really useful cookbook Anthony telford

First published in 2009

Copyright © Anthony Telford 2009

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. The Australian Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or 10 per cent of this book, whichever is the greater, to be photocopied by any educational institution for its educational purposes provided that the educational institution (or body that administers it) has given a remuneration notice to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) under the Act.

Allen & Unwin

83 Alexander Street

Crows Nest NSW 2065 Australia



(61 2) 8425 0100 (61 2) 9906 2218

National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry:

Telford, Anthony, 1970-

The basics : a really useful cookbook / Anthony Telford.

978 1 74175 214 4 (pbk.)

Includes index.



Cover and text design by Phil Campbell Cover photograph by Greg Elms Indexes by Puddingburn

Printed in Australia by Ligare Book Printer, Sydney




7 6



3 2


To Sapphire Ocean, my seventh child and newest cook in the family


In loving memory of my mother, Jeanette Caroline Telford (19421984)

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Every great project requires the commitment of a significant few. I thank those committed to this book immensely. To the Allen & Unwin team led by the sage Sue Hines, including editor Siobhán Cantrill, copy-editor Susin Chow, publishing assistant Andrea Rejante, cover and book designer Phil Campbell and cover photographer Greg Elms. For inspiration I thank the doyens of Australian cookbook writing: Margaret Fulton, Joan Campbell, Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer. To Vassy Kritharelis, the as-yet-undiscovered talent of domestic cookery, thank you for the recipes, recipe testing and editing. Thank you to my dearest friends who have also inspired me and encouraged me past the deadline:

Vee Waterston, Vassy, Anne-Marie and Kylie, Nicola Archer, Adam Cohen, Ren Marley, Rish and Lynds, Sue Shepherd, Alistair McLeod and David Carruthers. Most importantly, I am eternally grateful to my family. To my beloved Victoria for your support and the often unrewarded work of a motherknow that it will come back to you sevenfold. And to my children whom I live for: Jesse, Harley, Ty, Alannah, Indiana, Chile and SapphireI love you.

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‘A cook must be born a cook, he cannot be made.’ This is a quote from the chef Louis E. Ude,

a quote I used in the introduction to my first book The Kitchen Hand: A Miscellany of Kitchen Wisdom. I recklessly questioned the nature of his statement only to realise after deciding to write this book that he was not simply being philosophical but he was indeed correct. I

will come to why this statement is relevant to this book shortly, but firstly let me explain how I realised its validity.

I grew up as one of three boys to a well-respected agricultural scientist. A rural life

dominated my first 16 years. Through my parents I was privileged to witness the law of the land: the realisation that Mother Nature is the boss, that the ‘hunter–gatherer’ gene has not been extinguished from modern man. As long as I could remember, my backyard had been an edible kitchen. What I find interestingthe point which adds credibility to Udes’ remarkis that my two brothers were exposed to the very same environment. Yet my younger brother Paul is a barrister and enjoys the very last stage of an ingredients journey with little interest as to how the dish was createdfortunately he married an Italian lady who is innately in tune with food, thanks to her heritage and her mamma. My older brother Cam, who is a captain in the armythe last bastion of mass-produced gruelwas more interested in the workings of things electrical

than the simple pleasures that home-grown produce can provide. So why was I constantly drawn to the kitchen? To my brothers I say: it wasn’t to get out of digging post holes, straining fences or any other fundamental back-breaking chore. Nevertheless, the interest I had in food came from deep within, a trait not shared by blood. My parents were a formidable ‘paddock-to-plate’ duo. My father’s deft hand at growing food was only matched by my mother’s creativity in cooking or preserving it. How devastating it was when at the age of 14 my mother died. I had not only lost my mother, but one half of this inspirational team. It was soon after this life-changing experience that I looked to cooking as my life’s path. This book is a long-awaited tilt at acknowledging the influence of not only my parents but also friends, contemporaries, my family (including my brothers) and the world’s cooks, past and present. The Basics: A Really Useful Cookbook was, from the outset, intended to be both of those things: basic and useful. What you will find is a wealth of recipes from times past that are as relevant today. These are recipes I grew up with and you can set about cooking with confidence. More importantly, it is the hints and tips that accompany each recipe that set this apart from all other cookbooks. Keeping in mind the opening statement, I recognise that not everyone thinks of cooking in the same way. That in fact, no matter the upbringing, an individual seems almost predestined to be who they become. And so, for those not born to be a cook, this book will,

I hope, assist in making life in the kitchen just that bit more enjoyable.

I have endeavoured to minimise mistakes and discrepancies in this book, but should they appear, I take full responsibility. Enjoy.






the useful recIpes

Chicken soup with matzoh balls Crab chowder French onion soup Gazpacho Minestrone Miso soup Mushroom soup Pea and ham soup Potato and leek soup Pumpkin soup Seafood gumbo Tomato soup Vegetable and barley soup



1. Breakfast





Bircher muesli Boiled eggs French toast Fruit salad Hash brown potato Omelette Scrambled eggs Slow-roasted tomatoes Super fluffy pancakes



















2. dIps and accompanIments





Baba ghanouj


Cooking whole fish Crab cakes Fish fillets, pan-fried Fish pie Garlic prawns Prawn cocktail Salmon patties Salt and pepper squid Seafood crepes Tuna bake


Caramelised onions



Chilli jam









Mint jelly



Onion jam









Quince paste



Salsa verde







Tomato chutney



Tomato relish


Apricot chicken Chicken Kiev Chicken liver parfait Crispy skin chicken breast Peking duck Roast chicken Roast duck with cherry sauce Roast turkey buffet


Tomato jam








3. soups





Cauliflower soup Chicken and sweet corn soup





6. Meat 





Pasta salad



Baked ham Barbecue-style spare ribs Beef casserole Beef stroganoff Bolognaise sauce Braised beef brisket Braised lamb shanks Chilli con carne Corned beef Cottage pie Lasagne Meat loaf Moussaka Osso buco Rissoles Roast beef Roast lamb Roast pork and crackling San choy bao Sausages and mash with pepper sauce Steak and kidney pie Thai beef salad Veal schnitzel


Potato salad



Rice salad







9. grains and Pulses 




Couscous with preserved lemon and saffron 204


Fried rice Lentil burgers Macaroni cheese Firm polenta Soft polenta Risotto Spaghetti carbonara (traditional, no cream recipe) Spaghetti carbonara (westernised creamy version) Spring rolls






















10.  dressings, sauces and butters 




Savoury Sauces Aïoli Caesar dressing Cocktail sauce Garlic butter Ginger soy Hollandaise Mayonnaise Mee goring sauce Napoli sauce Pad Thai sauce Red wine sauce Plum sauce Satay sauce Shallot dressing Sweet and sour sauce Teriyaki sauce Thai chilli sauce White sauce Vinaigrette Yoghurt dressing Sweet Sauces Apple sauce Butterscotch sauce Caramel sauce






7. Vegetables 





Baked potato in cream Bubble-and-squeak Corn on the cob Pickled vegetables Potato mash Ratatouille Roasted vegetables Vegetable and noodle stir-fry Vegetarian lasagne Zucchini slice























8. salads 





Caesar salad



Chef’s salad









Greek salad



Green salad



Niçoise salad



Chocolate sauce


Basic biscuits Biscotti Carrot cake Cheese twists Chocolate brownies Chocolate crackles Chocolate fudge 1 Chocolate fudge 2 Coconut ice 1 Coconut ice 2 Cupcakes Devil’s food cake Flourless chocolate cake Flourless orange cake Friands Fruit cake Fruit mince pies Gingerbread people Hedgehog Honeycomb Hot cross buns Hummingbird cake Lumberjack cake Macaroons Marshmallows Melting moments Meringues Muffins Nanaimo bars Peanut brittle Pecan biscuits Pikelets Praline Quiche Lorraine Raspberry cheesecake Sausage rolls Scones Spanakopita Sponge cake Swiss roll Tea cake Toffee Vanilla slice


Raspberry sauce





11. Desserts 





Apple and rhubarb crumble Apple pie Apple strudel Baked cheesecake Baked quince Baked ricotta cheesecake Banana split Brandy snaps Bread and butter pudding Bread and butter pudding with soy Chocolate mousse Chocolate self-saucing pudding Christmas pudding Crepes Junket Lemon delicious Lemon meringue pie Lemon tart Pannacotta Pavlova Peach Melba Pecan pie Pumpkin pie Queen of puddings Raspberry fool Stewed rhubarb Rice pudding Sticky date pudding Summer pudding Syrup pudding Tiramisu Trifle Yoghurt and lemon mousse Zabaglione







































































12. Cakes, BisCuits anD Pastries 





Almond bread Anzac biscuits Baklava Bacon and egg pie Banana bread Banana cake





13. toPPings 




Basic icing Cream cheese frosting




Devil’s chocolate frosting Custard Italian meringue Lemon curd Pastry cream Marmalade Strawberry jam








14. Drinks 


Banana smoothie Eggnog Hot chocolate Lemon and ginger tea Lemonade Punch







15. Basic recipes 


Apple, prune and spice stuffing Beer batter Blini Chicken stock Clarified butter Club sandwich Crème fraîche Croutons Curry powder Dashi stock Fish stock Fondue Frittata Garlic bread Garlic confit Lavosh Nachos Pasta dough Sweet pastry Sweet shortcrust pastry Shortcrust pastry Quick puff pastry Choux pastry Pizza dough Preserved lemons Sugar syrup Vanilla sugar Vegetable stock





























The really UsefUl informaTion

Avocados Beans Cheese Chillies Chocolate Corn Cream Eggs Fats Fish Flour Herbs Lemons Meat Mushrooms Oil Onions Pasta Pastry Potatoes Poultry Quinces Rice Salt Sauces Seafood Spices Sugar Tomatoes Food allergies, intolerances and food additives Basic pantry essentials Essential kitchen equipment Cooking techniques Basic preserving Conversion charts




































The inDexes

recipe inDex 


General inDex 



xxxxxxxxxxxx 1. Breakfast xxxxxxxxxxxx


Bircher muesli

Serves 2 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup fresh orange juice ½ cup natural yoghurt ¼ cup currants or sultanas ¼ cup chopped dried apricots pinch of ground nutmeg large pinch of ground cinnamon

1 Granny smith apple, grated, to serve

2 tablespoons natural yoghurt, extra

1 cup seasonal fresh berries, to serve


1. combine the oats, juice, yoghurt, currants or

sultanas, chopped apricots, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir well. chill overnight.

2. To serve, stir in the grated apple, put into

serving bowls and garnish with the extra yoghurt and the berries.




* You will needlarge

bowl, vegetable peeler, grater, cup, liquid and spoon measures and a large spoon.

* When in season,

passionfruit is a wonderful addition to bircher muesli, so try adding the pulp of 4 passionfruit to this

recipe. If you cannot wait for the season to begin, use

a small can of passionfruit

pulp, readily available at

the supermarket.

* There are many varied

recipes for bircher muesli and it should be remembered

that this recipelike all recipes in this bookis just

a guide and so the addition

of a favourite ingredient or removal of any ingredients that are not so liked is easy and encouraged.

* For gluten intolerance,

the use of ‘oat’ style cereals can be substituted. One

in particular is made from rice-meal; however, like most foods that are a gluten substitute, the end result will certainly have a different texture, one which coeliacs are quite used to.

* For a dairy-free option,

simply replace the yoghurt with the same quantity of orange juice, or any other fruit juice, like apple,

pineapple, mango, apricot or peach.

* Fruit yoghurts can be

substituted for natural yoghurt, the only difference being that the end result

will be just a bit sweeter.

* Any dried fruit can be

substituted for the ones

mentioned in the recipe, as long as the overall quantity for this recipe doesn’t exceed ½ cup.

* Other spices that could be

used in this recipe include mixed spice or allspice to replace the cinnamon and nutmeg. If no spices are on hand, simply omit from the

recipe altogether.

* As much as bircher muesli

is intended for breakfast, it makes for a great after- school snack for very hungry children.

* Once made, store the

muesli in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days. Even though it may last up to 5 days, it does begin to break down too much by day 3 and is considered a fresh product

once the orange juice is added.

* Mixing in freshly grated

apple adds a refreshing crunch to the bircher muesli.

Topping with yoghurt and berries is just one example of how to serve this dish. Serving a dollop of bircher muesli with cold milk is simple and still delicious. Chopped fresh banana or

melons can replace the fresh berries.

Boiled eggs


hens’ eggs, room temperature water


1. There are many written methods for boiling an

eggsee Hints and tips for why this one is the best.

2. Gently place room temperature eggs into a saucepan

and cover with cold water by at least 5 cm.

3. Bring the water to the boil, then turn down to a

barely recognisable simmer for 810 minutes for hard- boiled eggs. for the best results, the water should not be boiling. see Hints and tips for soft-boiled eggs.

4. remove from the water with a slotted spoon and drop

into cold or iced water to stop the cooking. Boiled eggs in the shell will keep in the fridge for 7 days.



* The only reason why eggs

-------------------------- are hard to peel once boiled is because they are very

* You will needsaucepan

and slotted spoon.

* As tempted as you are to

drop eggs from the fridge into boiling water, stop now and read on. The main reason eggs crack when boiled is due to temperature difference. A cold egg cooked in hot water will most probably crack, and no amount of salt or vinegar in the water will prevent this. All salt and vinegar can hope to achieve is to quickly set the egg white that flows from a cracked egg. The other reason is that eggs cooked in a rapid boil are knocked about, causing the egg to crack.

fresh. The fresher the egg, the harder it is to peel. The best eggs for boiling

and then peeling are those that are about 2 weeks old. Keep the really fresh ones for poaching, frying or scrambling and for making cakes.

* For really soft eggsboth

yolk and whiteuse the method mentioned, but remove

the eggs after 23 minutes instead of 10 minutes. These are also known as ‘coddled eggs’.

* For soft yolks and set

whites, cook for 5 minutes. For a medium cooked yolk, cook for 67 minutes.

* All these times are

approximations and much depends on the size of the egg, temperature of the egg and even the temperature of the water added in the beginning.

French toast

Serves 4 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


250 ml milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

150 g butter

4 slices of sourdough bread or thickly sliced white bread (french

bread stick and turkish bread will also work)



1. Place the eggs, milk, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla

essence in a bowl and whisk.

2. Heat a frying pan or the flat plate of a barbecue

(on lowest setting) and melt the butter. soak each

slice of bread in the egg mixture until wet through.

3. Place the soaked bread in the pan or on the flat

plate and cook until golden brown. turn and cook the other side. It is important to cook on a lowmedium setting so the egg mixture cooks and sets, rather than cooking on a higher heat which will burn the outside and leave the inside soggy.

4. Once cooked, transfer to a plate and serve with

your choice of toppingsbacon, maple syrup, honeycomb butter, fresh berries, ice-cream or lemon and sugaror simply eat it on its own.



* Cooking French toast in

-------------------------- butter adds to the richness of the dish.

* You will needcutting

board, bread knife, weight, spoon and liquid measures,

sauté pan or frying pan.

* Adding milk to the eggs

is optional. Using just eggs mixed with the spices and

sugar will give a richer and

more eggy flavour.

* French toast, like

pancakes, is great for a special weekend breakfast. French toast is certainly much easier to prepare than pancakes and is a great place to start for beginner cooks.

* You could take 2 pieces

of bread and sandwich sliced bananas or grated apple

between them, then dip the sandwich in the egg mixture before frying.

* This dish is also known as ‘eggy bread’ in the UK; and

in France, it is known as ‘pain perdu’.

* For a child’s birthday

party, use star- or people-

shaped cutters to cut

shapes from the bread before cooking.

* Try serving French toast

as a dessert instead of a breakfast dish.

* French toast is often

served as a sweet dish but can work as a savoury

alternative. Try replacing the cinnamon, vanilla and sugar with 1 cup grated parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Dip the bread in the egg mixture before cooking.

Fruit salad

Serves 4 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

¼ rockmelon (cantaloupe), peeled and seeds removed ¼ pineapple, peeled and cored

1 apple, peeled and cored

2 bananas, peeled

1 cup green grapes, washed

2 passionfruit

natural yoghurt, to serve


1. cut the rockmelon, pineapple, apple and banana into

roughly 2-cm pieces.

2. Mix all the fruit in a bowl then serve with fresh,

natural yoghurt.

3. store the fruit salad (without the yoghurt) in an

airtight container for up to 2 days.




* You will needcutting

board, cook’s knife, peeler, paring knife, cup measure, bowl and storage container.

* This is the most basic

fruit salad recipe and can therefore be adapted to any fruit, but please consider the following tips.

* When cutting fruit, it is

recommended that all fruit is cut the same size, but not necessarily the same shape. This means fruit can be cut into large pieces, about

5 cm, or into small pieces,

1 cm or lessbut don’t be

tempted to mix the two sizes as it will look odd, and the smaller pieces can become damaged and mushy from the size and weight of the larger pieces.

* Never be tempted to add

many fruits to a fruit salad to make it impressive.

Sometimes a combination of

3 well-matched fruits is

better than having a mixture of 10.

* Fruit salad is best eaten

on the day or, at the very latest, the next day. Some fruits will certainly last longer; however, once mixed, some soft fruits will rapidly break down.

* Bananas, being a very soft

fruit, should only be added just before serving. Once mixed and then stored, banana in a fruit salad will begin

to soften quickly and become brown and mushy, making a great fruit salad look unappetising the next day.

* Think about matching hard

fruits (as in the recipe) or soft fruits (as in the examples below).

* Melon fruit salada mix

of equal parts watermelon,

rockmelon and honeydew.

* Mixed berry and mango

saladonce in season, make the most of fresh berries and counter their tartness by adding a mango cut into small pieces.

* Pineapple, papaya and mint

saladmix ½ pineapple,

1 pink papaya (peeled and

black seeds removed) and

¼ cup shredded mint.



2 pink grapefruit and 1 lime (mint would go well with

this salad).

Citrus fruit salad

oranges, 6 mandarins,

* Banana, strawberry and

passionfruit salad3 bananas, 300 g strawberries and 3 passionfruit (the passionfruit will prevent the banana from browning).

* Strawberry, grape

and mango salad500 g strawberries (hulled and

quartered), 500 g green grapes (washed) and 3 mangoes (cut into 2-cm pieces).

* Tropical fruit salad

make use of any tropical fruits like papaya, lychee, mango, longan, dragon fruit, pineapple, star apples,

carambola (star fruit), chocolate pudding fruit, mangosteen and bananas.

HasH brown potato

Serves 4 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

500 g (about 2 large) potatoes

2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

2 tablespoons butter salt and pepper, to taste


1. scrub the potatoesthey do not need to be

peeledthen coarsely grate. squeeze the grated potato slightly to remove some of its water (this makes for a crispier end result).

2. heat a 30-cm frying pan, preferably nonstick, over

mediumhigh heat. add the oil and butter.

3. When hot, add the potatoes and push down with a

spatula to spread evenly in the bottom of the pan. sprinkle the top with salt and pepper. cook until the bottom is browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Do not try to flip until it is browned, or the potatoes might stick.

4. flip the hash brown, cut into sections if

necessary, and cook another 10 minutes, or until browned and crispy on the other side.

5. serve immediately, or cool and simply reheat in the

microwave or preferably in a hot oven (210°c) for

5 minutes.




* You will needgrater,

bowl, weight and spoon measures, nonstick frying pan and spatula.

* There are many different

styles of hash browns. This recipe is about as easy and as fast as they comeand is, in fact, that of a Swiss potato dish called ‘Potato rosti’. Other recipes suggest boiling and mixing the potato with all kinds of ingredientsthey’re not wrong. So the term ‘hash brown’ becomes quite loose, especially when made with sweet potato or even carrots.

* A standard supermarket

potato is all that is required, this usually means a Sebago, Coliban or Nadine.

* To avoid discolouration

of the grated potato, work quickly and squeeze the moisture out as soon as possible. If making a large batch, keep the grated potato in water until ready to assemble, then be sure to thoroughly squeeze out all the water before cooking.

* If using a nonstick pan,

the use of oil and butter can be eliminated to reduce fats

in the diet.

* For a variation, after

squeezing excess moisture from the grated potato, try adding 1 egg yolk, 1 onion (finely chopped) and

¼ teaspoon hot (or mild) paprika. Instead of paprika, ½ teaspoon of finely chopped herbs like rosemary or sage marry well with potato.

* Or add the kernels from

a cob of corn to the recipe with 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, ½ red capsicum (chopped) and 1 fresh red chilli (chopped). Then top this with Guacamole and bacon.

* Once cooked, top regular

hash browns with crispy bacon then grated cheese and finish in a hot oven for 5 minutes.

* Remember, if using a

nonstick pan, use a plastic spatula not a knife to flip

the hash brown and cut it.

* Here’s an easy way to flip

the whole hash brown: slide the hash brown out of the pan

and onto a plate. Invert the pan over the plate and the hash brown and turn the whole

thing over together. The browned part is now on top.

* A large disk of hash brown

can be used as a pizza base for those with wheat and gluten intolerancesimply top with all your favourite pizza goodies.

* When cooking individual

hash browns, do not overcrowd the pan at the risk of the hash browns sticking together

as they cook and tearing apart as they are turned.

* Individual hash browns

can be used as a base for eggs Benedict, instead of an English muffin; in which case it becomes quite a different dish, especially if ham is

replaced with smoked salmonyum! This is especially good for those with wheat and gluten intolerance.

* For a cocktail party or

dinner party, cook small hash browns then top with smoked salmon and crème fraîche, or trout dip and chives, or

sour cream and salmon roe, or simply mayonnaise and capers.


Serves 1 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


large eggs


tablespoons warm water

large pinch of salt flakes

pinch of ground white pepper

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon olive oil


1. combine the egg, water, salt and pepper in a bowl

and whisk until well combined. The water evaporates as the omelette cooks making it light and fluffy.

2. Place a nonstick frying pan over mediumhigh heat,

add the butter and olive oil and heat until the butter begins to bubble without browning.

3. add the egg mixture to the pan. as the egg begins

to set, use a rubber or plastic spatula to move the egg from the outer part of the pan to the middle, to allow the uncooked egg to fill any exposed parts of the pan.

4. When half-cooked and still runny on top, add any

flavours you like (some ideas are listed opposite) and continue to cook until set or better still cook the top of the omelette under the grill section of the oven. This will only take 12 minutes.

5. remove from the heat and shake the pan to loosen

the omelette from the base of the pan. shake the omelette to one side, tilting so that the top third can be folded over, and then turn onto a plate.




* You will needcutting

board, cook’s knife, bowl, spoon measures, whisk, spatula, shallow frying or sauté pan or crepe pan.

* This recipe is a classic

French-style omelette which means it is folded as it is served. Another version is the Spanish omelette which is not folded, but served flat from the pan. Fans of the Spanish omelette have been known to cook their omelette in a shallow terracotta baking dish, eating it straight from the dish.

* A simple mixture of

chopped fresh herbs can be added to the egg mixture. A quantity no more than

1 tablespoon of chopped herbs like parsley, thyme, sage, oregano, mint, chervil or tarragon can be used in any combination.

* Bacon, spinach and goat’s

cheese omelette1 rasher of bacon (chopped and fried),

1 cup spinach (chopped and

wilted by cooking it in the pan after the bacon), and ¼ cup goat’s cheese (crumbled). Loosely mix all ingredients in a bowl, ready to place in the middle of the half-cooked omelette. The goat’s cheese can be replaced with fetta, ricotta, brie or grated cheddar.

* Mushroom, tomato and

spinach omelette1 cup sliced Swiss brown mushrooms (cooked in 2 tablespoons olive oil), 1 ripe tomato (peeled, de-seeded and

chopped), and 1 cup spinach (chopped and wilted by cooking it in the pan after the mushrooms). Loosely mix all the ingredients in a bowl, ready to place in the middle of the half-cooked omelette. Fresh tomato can be replaced with ¼ cup semi- or sun-dried tomatoes. Spinach can be replaced with rocket. Mushrooms can be replaced with grilled artichoke


* Try other fillings like

some of the combinations

mentioned in the hints and tips list for frittata.

* An omelette is considered

a benchmark for any good chef, a sign of solid

training and of a good understanding of the basics. In some kitchens, fail the

omelette test and you fail to get the job. Domestic cooks need not place so much pressure on themselves, just remember practice makes perfect.

Scrambled eggS

Serves 2 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

46 eggs (depending on size) 2 tablespoons thick cream (35 per cent fat) salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 75 g butter chopped chives, to garnish


1. in a bowl, crack the eggs, add the cream and season

with salt and pepper.

2. Whisk lightly with a forkthe whites and yolks

don’t have to be completely mixed and the mixture should contain some air; over-whisking the mixture expels the air and makes for heavier scrambled eggs.

3. Melt the butter in a heavy-based nonstick pan over

medium heat. When the butter begins to bubble, add the egg mixture and reduce heat to low. as it begins to cook and thicken, fold the thicker bits towards the centre of the panuncooked egg will moat around the cooked egg. repeat this process until the eggs are close to ready but still a little runny, then remove from the heat and move the mixture once or twice more as the heat of the pan will complete the cooking.

4. serve immediatelyscrambled eggs become tough and

dry if you attempt to keep them warm. Garnish with the chives or other fresh green herbs.




* You will needbowl, whisk

or fork, weight measure, silicon spatula and nonstick pan.

* For great tasting eggs,

try to source eggs from a farmers market or at the very least use free range eggs.

* The degree to which people

like their eggs cookedwhether scrambled, poached, fried or boiledcan vary greatly. However, the two most common are runny and hard. This is very true when making scrambled eggs, so as much as this recipe calls for the eggs to be just set, some may feel it necessary to cook them to within an inch of dust; this is completely up to the individual. Expect that in restaurants eggs should always be ‘just’ cooked, and it is up to the customer to express ‘firm’ or ‘well done’ when ordering.

* If cooking scrambled

eggs for more than 2, then unfortunately it becomes a lengthy process. Too many serves in one pan, although achievable, will create havoc with overcrowding, possibly causing much spillage. Also, it would mean the eggs are exposed to heat for a longer period, meaning that while some parts of the eggs are not cooked, other parts are

beginning to overcook, become rubbery and then watery.

* Cooking scrambled eggs

on a high heat can be done;

however, there is the risk of browning parts of the eggs and leaving unsightly spots throughout the mixture. Also, eggs are a delicate

protein that do not respond well to high heat.

* Adding creamas this

recipe suggestsresults in very smooth, creamy and decadent scrambled eggs. Replacing the cream with milk or low fat milk can be done, but be very careful not to overcook the eggs as it will toughen the mixture and leave you with a heavily weeping mass of tough egg curds and watery milky whey as the proteins in milk also overcook and coagulate.

* For lactose intolerance,

use 2 tablespoons of water

instead of cream or milkagain, so long as the mixure is only just cooked, this version of scrambled eggs can still be quite amazing. Water added to scrambled egg mixture can create fluffy eggs as the water begins to steam the beaten eggs.

* Surprising as this may

seem, serving scrambled eggs

for an entrée at a dinner

party can be quite a hit. A regular serve of scrambled eggs (2 eggs per person)

plus some smoked salmon and

a small green salad is a

very acceptable way to begin

a meal.

* For an extra special

treat, just as the eggs are nearly ready, add

1 tablespoon mascarpone

cheese or crème fraîche or

2 tablespoons goat’s cheese.

Stir once or twice and serve.

* This recipe for scrambled

eggs can be slightly undercooked and then poured onto 2 tortillas. Top each one with ¼ avocado and a slice of good ham then roll like a burrito, place on a tray and top with a small handful of grated tasty cheese. Bake in a hot oven (210°C) for 5 minutes. Breakfast Burrito! Tabasco

sauce or a fresh salsa made

of 1 fresh tomato (chopped), ½ red onion (chopped),

2 tablespoons chopped

coriander, salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil will finish this breakfast or brunch meal.

Slow-roaSted tomatoeS

Serves 48 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


roma or vine-ripened tomatoes


tablespoons olive oil


tablespoons salt flakes


tablespoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 110ºc.

2. slice the tomatoes in half and place, cut side up,

on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

3. Brush or drizzle with the olive oil. sprinkle with

the salt and pepper.

4. roast in the oven for 3 hours.

5. remove from the oven, cool and keep refrigerated,

covered, for up to 5 days.




* You will needcutting

board, cook’s knife, spoon measure, baking tray and baking paper.

* These tomatoes freeze well

for up to 2 months.

* Try adding 2 thinly sliced

garlic cloves, placed on the tomatoes, before roasting.

* The marriage of basil and

tomato is perfect, so try adding 6 basil leaves. You can also use other herbs like oregano, parsley, mint or thyme. Chop the herbs finely and sprinkle over the tomatoes before roasting.

* Finely chop 4 shallots

or 1 small brown onion and sprinkle over tomatoes before roasting. Shallots are favoured over onions as they tend to be less pungent, but they are a bit more fiddly to peel and chop.

* Roasted tomatoes are

fantastic with breakfast, in a salad, chopped into a frittata, served with roasted or grilled meats, or on a mezze or antipasto platter.

* Once cooked, drizzle

tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and scatter with goat’s cheese; serve with a simple salad or as a side dish.

* To use with pastapeel

skins from the roasted tomatoes and place in a food processor, then blitz to make a simple yet full-flavoured

passata (fine tomato sauce). Homemade tomato sauce is an indispensable ingredient in

any kitchen, especially for beginner cooks looking for an easy meal.

* For good storage of the

roasted tomato sauceplace the hot puree in sterilised jars and seal with a lid. The heat from the sauce will create a vacuum while cooling.

* For a juicier sauce, try

cooking the tomatoes at a higher temperature for a shorter time. Preheat the oven to 170ºC and roast for 1½ hours until softened. These tomatoes are less intense but still very tasty; try grilling or pan frying when reheating, or simply

puree to use as pasta sauce.

Super fluffy pancakeS

Serves 7 children and 2 adults xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

750 ml milk or buttermilk

8 eggs, separated few drops of vanilla essence (optional)


g self-raising flour


g caster sugar

about 125 g unsalted butter, for cooking


1. in one bowl, mix the milk or buttermilk and egg

yolks, whisking until the egg yolks are combined. at this point the vanilla essence can be added, if using.

2. Place the egg whites in a second, large bowl, ready

for whisking.

3. in a third large bowl, sift the flour and sugar,

making a well in the centre. Pour the milk mixture into the centre of the flour/sugar mixture and begin combining with a wooden spoon, slowly drawing in the flour to form a thick batter. Do not worry if the mixture is excessively lumpy. By not whisking the milk mixture into the flour, you ensure that the flour is not overworked thereby tightening the batteralso, the lumps NeVer appear in the final pancakes.

4. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form then

fold into the batter.

5. cover and allow to rest in the fridge for 1 hour

although i’m unbelievably impatient and usually cook them straightaway.

6. cooking them requires the use of a large frying pan

(or barbecue flat plate if you’re a large family) set on lowmedium heat. add a good knob of the butter and melt. spoon in the pancake mixture according to your preferred size. When bubbles begin to appear evenly on the surface, turn over. The second side will only require 12 minutes to cook.




* You will need3 bowls,

whisk or electric beaters, large spoon, egg flip or spatula, frying pan, butter knife, weight and liquid measures.

* This super fluffy pancake

recipe takes a little extra time and uses 3 bowls. Do not shy away, as the results are sensational.

* The mixture can be halved

as it makes a very large batch (enough for my 7 children and us parents). Any leftover batter will last until the next day; after that, however, the egg whites will begin to lose their bubbles and the mixture will become grey and lifeless.

* Toppings can range from

the usual suspectsmaple syrup, lemon and sugar, grilled banana or fresh berriesto the more exotic, poached rhubarb, blueberries in vanilla syrup, confit pineapple or honeycomb butterall of which love ice-cream!

* Leftover mixture can

also be cooked into smaller pancakes, refrigerated and used in school lunch boxes the next day.

* Whisking the egg whites

is entirely optional. The egg whites certainly do make

a difference, giving the

pancakes a ‘light as air’ texture. But time and washing up permitting, simply beat

the whole eggs into the milk and stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Remember to not overwork the batter.

* Cooking the pancakes in

butter gives the edges of the pancakes a crisp, frilly side which is a delight to eat and

a great contrast to the soft, fluffy centre.


xxxxx 2. Dips and Accompaniments xxxxx


BaBa ghanouj

Makes 4 cups xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

2 medium eggplants

1 garlic clove, crushed juice of 1 lemon


g tahini


g natural yoghurt

¼ teaspoon allspice salt flakes and freshly ground pepper, to taste


1. Prick the eggplants all over with a fork.

2. Place each over a naked gas flame, set to medium.

cook for 57 minutes, turning constantly until blistered and blackened. alternatively, this can be done on the barbecue grill but will take much longer.

3. eggplants are cooked when very soft to press. Place

in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

4. When cool enough to handle, drain excess liquid and

gently remove skin with a small knife. allow the skin to come away from the flesh without force (any flesh coming off with the skin will have a bitter flavour).

5. in a bowl, mash the eggplant pulp with a fork or

place in a food processor and mash using the pulse button. Drain well, discarding any juice from the eggplant.

6. combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl, add

the eggplant and mix well.



some palates. The eggplants

-------------------------- can be pricked and then roasted in the oven at 220ºC

* You will needcutting

board, knife, fork, weight and spoon measures, 2 bowls, spoon and food processor


* Pricking the eggplant all

over allows the heat to reach the centre and it will cook

more evenly.

* Cooking the eggplant over

a naked flame imparts a very smoky flavour to the dip. This flavour can be too strong for

until completely soft, then continue as per the method given.

* Baba ghanouj as a dip

should be drizzled with

excellent extra virgin olive oil and a few grinds of fresh


* Baba ghanouj is fantastic

served with meats instead of a sauce. It’s especially good with grilled pork and lamb cutlets.

* As a spread on rolls

and flat bread with roasted vegetables, cold roast meats and salads, baba ghanouj is a

healthy alternative to butter or margarine.

* This recipe should yield

enough dip for 10 people when served on its own with crusty bread and vegetable batons.

* Refrigerated, baba ghanouj

will last up to 7 days. Before serving, bring to room temperature to enhance the flavours.

Caramelised onions

Makes about 1 cup xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

100 ml olive oil 3 red or brown onions, peeled and sliced


1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over

medium heat.

2. add the onion and cook until beginning to wilt.

Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for a further 20 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid the onions sticking to the base of the pan.

3. once golden in colour, remove from the pan and

cool. store in a sealed container or jar in the refrigerator. caramelised onions will last 57 days covered and refrigerated.



* Even though red or brown

-------------------------- onions are called for in this recipe, purple onions, white

* You will needcutting

board, cook’s knife, paring knife, liquid measure, roasting tray, saucepan and wooden spoon.

* Keep onions in the

fridgethis is the best way to avoid crying when cutting the onion. The cold of the

fridge subdues the substance known as ‘allicin’ which is produced when the onion is cut into.

* Don’t confuse caramelised

onions with onion jam. Caramelised onion refers to the browning or ‘caramelisation’ of the sugars that are naturally present in onions. Onion jam, you will notice, is made with sugar.

onions, pickling onions and even shallots will make good alternatives.

* Adding fresh herbs is a

nice option. To the above

recipe, try adding in the beginning 1 sprig rosemary or 2 sprigs thyme. Or add 1 bay leaf and 5 black peppercorns.

* Caramelised onions have

a wide variety of uses. For breakfast, they make a great addition to any fry-up.

Even spread on toast with a few pieces of grilled bacon or avocado for a simple breakfast idea. Try also adding to an omelette.

* For lunch, use the onions

in a roll or sandwichor as an accompaniment to an

antipasto plate with goat’s

cheese, olives, roasted garlic and toasted flat bread.

Mix some caramelised onion in

a quiche or frittata.

* At dinner, any time a

roast or grilled meats are to be served, use caramelised onions as an alternative to mustard and sauce. They also marry brilliantly with roasted vegetables, grilled vegetable salad, or leftover

vegetables that have been made into bubble-and-squeak


breakfast the next day.


into pasta dishes just

before serving or spread over

a pizza base. Probably the

most famous way of serving caramelised onions is with gravy, grilled sausages and mashed potato; and they are

great to serve with sausages and mash with pepper sauce.

Chilli jam

Makes about 4 cups xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


red capsicums



100 ml olive oil


garlic cloves, minced


long red chillies, sliced in half lengthways, seeds removed and chopped


ml malt vinegar


g brown sugar

2 teaspoons salt


1. Place capsicums on a roasting tray lined with

baking paper and bake at 250ºc, turning every

5 minutes until the capsicums are blackened on all

sides. remove from the oven and place in a bowl to cool before peeling.

2. Peel the tomatoes while the capsicums are roasting.

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. With a small kitchen knife or paring knife, remove the tomato stem area. score the opposite end of the tomato with a criss-cross pattern. cook the tomatoes in the boiling water for 20 seconds. remove, cool slightly and peel off the skins. slice the tomatoes in half (between the top and bottom) then, using a teaspoon, remove the seeds. chop roughly and set aside.

3. Peel the capsicums and discard any seeds and stem.

chop into small pieces.

4. heat a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and

add the olive oil.


add the garlic and chilli and fry gently for




add the chopped capsicum and tomato and cook for



method cont.

7. add the vinegar, sugar and salt, cook on medium

heat for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat slightly and cook until the jam has thickened.

8. pour into a sterilised jar (if storing), cool,

cover and refrigerate. if using immediately and often, store in a jar or plastic container with a lid and keep refrigerated.




* You will needcutting

board, cook’s knife, paring knife or small kitchen knife, roasting tray, baking paper, heavy-based saucepan, weight, spoon and liquid measures and a wooden spoon.

* Peeling the capsicum and

tomato may seem like a lot of work, and it is a step that could be skipped; however, it is important as both capsicum and tomato skin do not break down when cooked and stay stringy and chewy in the jam if not removed.

* To skip roasting, peeling and de-seeding the capsicum, simply buy 300 g roasted capsicum from a good delicatessen and roughly chop before adding to the recipe.

* 6 large whole tomatoes

will yield about 600 g peeled

and de-seeded tomato.

* It may seem strange

that there is lots of

capsicum and tomato in a

dish called chilli jam. Fortunately, capsicum, tomato and chilli are all from the ‘nightshade’ family of plants with the first 2 ingredients adding body to the jam. Chilli on its own, as a jam, would be too

strong and would require too much mucking around to get enough even for a small jar.

* The chilli heat in this recipe is very mild, therefore if you require some real chilli kick in your jam, add 48 bird’s eye chillies to the recipe, preparing them the same way as the long red chillies but being extra careful in handling the smaller hot chillies. After handling small hot chillies and even

after washing your hands, there will be chilli residue on your hands for an hour

or moreso be careful. Try washing your hands with straight lemon juiceit will help.


Makes about 2 cups xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

2 ripe avocados ½ cup lemon juice salt


1. carefully cut each avocado down to the seed using a

sharp knife. Turn the avocado around the blade of the knife to cut it in half lengthways. Twist the halves in opposite directions, lifting as you twist to reveal two halves, one with the seed still attached. To remove the seed, give it a short, sharp chop with the knife; this will bury the blade a few millimetres into

the seed’s woody surface. Twist the knife and the seed is free.

2. scoop the flesh from the skin using a spoon. Place

in a bowl and mash with a fork, keeping it quite chunky.

3. add the lemon juice and salt to taste.



* Use basic guacamole

-------------------------- instead of butter or margarine on salad

* You will needcutting

board, sharp cook’s knife, bowl, cup measure, spoon and fork.

* This is the most basic

and original recipe for guacamole. Adding other ingredients is a matter of taste. Following is a more recognised recipe which can have all or just some of the mentioned ingredients

mixed into the basic recipe:

2 fresh tomatoes (finely

chopped), ½ onion (finely

chopped), 1 bird’s eye

chilli (finely chopped) and

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander.


* Use with nachos as an

alternative to sour cream.

* Serve as part of an

antipasto platter.

* To refrigerate, cover

with a film of plastic wrap to prevent browningit will keep for about a week.

* If you want the guacamole

to be of a thicker consistency, add ¼½ cup of fresh breadcrumbs.

* For a smoother

consistency, blend in a food


* Lime juice can be

substituted for lemon juice.

* You can stir through

cottage cheese or sour cream

for a variation.


Makes about 600 g xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

250 g dried chickpeas


litre cold water


tablespoons tahini

4 garlic cloves, crushed juice of 4 lemons salt


1. place the chickpeas in a large container and cover

with the water. soak overnight.

2. Drain the chickpeas, place in a large pot, and add

enough fresh cold water to cover by 10 cm. simmer until tender, about 1 hour.

3. Remove from the heat and drain, keeping some of the

cooking water.

4. process the chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon

juice in a food processor, adding just enough of the cooking liquid to bring the mixture to a creamy consistency. season with salt to taste.



remembering they double in

-------------------------- weight and size.

* You will needcutting

board, cook’s knife, large pot, weight and spoon measures, food processor, plastic spatula and bowl.

* When simmering the

chickpeas, to prevent foam forming on the water’s surface, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the water before it comes to the boil.

* The older the chickpeas

the longer the cooking time.

* Once cooked, the chickpeas

can be placed in cold water so the loose skins float to

the top.

* When soaking and cooking

dried chickpeas, it is worth

* Canned chickpeas can be

used as a substitute for the dried variety; be careful when seasoning because the canned varieties are already salted.

* Do not salt the water when

cooking, this will toughen the chickpeas.

* Use hummus as a dip or as

a spread in rolls, flat breads and sandwiches.

* When serving as a dip,

drizzle with extra virgin

olive oil and sprinkle with a

few pinches of paprika.

* As an alternative to extra

virgin olive oil, drizzle

with olive oil infused with

basil or chilli.

* Try adding 2 teaspoons

ground cumin to the hummus.

* Hummus can be served warm

as is traditional in the east of Turkey. In fact hummus is the Arab word for chickpea.

* Dried chickpeas can be

soaked and cooked a couple of days in advance and kept in the fridge.

* Cooked chickpeas can be


* Changing the water once it

has reached the boil reduces intestinal gas because the

indigestible sugars which cause the gas dilute in the water.

* Store dried chickpeas in

an airtight container for no

more than 1 year.

Mint jelly

Makes about 1 litre xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

1 kg Granny smith apples 500 ml water

½ bunch mint, washed and chopped with the stalks

1 cup cider vinegar white sugar


1. roughly chop the apples; leave the skin on and do

not core.

2. Place the apples, water and mint in a saucepan over

medium heat and cook gently until the apples are soft and pulpy, about 20 minutes.

3. add the vinegar, remove the pan from the heat and

mash the apples with a potato masher.

4. set up a pot with a colander or large strainer

lined with muslin cloth sitting on top. Pour the apple mixture into the cloth-lined strainer and leave to drain overnightdo not squeeze the mixture unless a cloudy jelly doesn’t worry you.

5. Measure the strained juice and pour into a saucepan

then add an equal quantity of sugar. Place the pan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and use a spoon to remove any scum forming on the surface. simmer for 15 minutes or until the temperature reaches 103105ºc on a sugar thermometer.

6. Pour into 4 x 300-ml hot sterilised jars, and allow

to cool before sealing. The jelly will continue to set

over a few days. keeps in a cool dry place for 1 year. once opened, refrigerate.




* You will needcutting

board, cook’s knife, saucepan, cup, weight and liquid measures, potato masher, wooden spoon, colander, muslin cloth, 4 x 300-ml preserving jars and lids and sugar thermometer.

* It’s important to

understand that homemade mint jelly does not look like the commercially prepared stuff. Homemade is more of a golden amber colour, not bright green. Bright green can be achieved by adding a few drops of green food colouring and 1 teaspoon dried mint to give that ‘real’ mint effect to the jelly.

* There is never any need to

peel or core fruit such as apples when making a jelly, this adds to the flavour and helps to make the jelly set. See Basic preserving.

* Although the sugar and

vinegar preserve the jelly, the biggest risk is mould. Keeping the jelly at room temperature for 1 year can be done, but if this makes you nervous, then store it in the refrigerator. Once opened, all preserves must be refrigerated.

* Several things may have

an effect on the jelly not setting. 1. Not enough pectin in the fruittart apples, like Granny Smiths, are required due to the higher amount of pectin than sweet eating apples. 2. The amount of sugarsugar helps the

jelly set, therefore the ratio of sugar to liquid must be right. 3. Evaporationsimmering the liquid at the end needs to be done long enough so the required amount of water evaporates, leaving the right proportion of sugar to liquid; this is why a sugar thermometer is used.

* Sometimes a jelly will

not have set when everything

seems to have gone right; to try to remedy this, bring back to the boil and add some cream of tartar or lemon juice.

* A clear jelly can only be

achieved by the undisturbed straining of the fruit puree.

Force it through and the jelly will be cloudy.

* A very firm jelly may

‘weep’, sometimes seen in homemade jams and jellies given out by relatives. This weeping is a result of too much acid being added to the mixture.

OniOn jam

Makes about 2 cups xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

200 g white sugar

50 ml water 2 large onions, finely diced


ml port



1. Place the sugar in a pan and add just enough water

to soften. Bring to the boil then allow to simmer until it is quite dark in colourthis is the caramel.

2. add the onion immediately, followed by the port

(being careful not to have it splatter on you), then

stir to combine the ingredients. at this stage, the caramel may form clumps; do not panic as these will dissolve.

3. season with the salt.

4. reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the onion

is thoroughly cooked and takes on a dark brown colour. have water by the pan as the jam tends to lose all of its liquid before it is ready, so add a little more to keep it moist.

5. once thick and fragrant, remove from the heat.

onion jam can be served warm or chilled and will store, covered, in the refrigerator for 46 weeks.




* You will needcutting

board, cook’s knife, weight and liquid measures, saucepan and wooden spoon.

* Onion jam is great with

chicken or duck liver pâté and any meat terrines as well as with roast beef or lamb.

* Onion jam is fantastic

served with very ripe brie or camembert. For a more basic taste, whip some room temperature cream cheese until soft, spoon into a bowl then dollop with onion jam and serve with plain biscuits. Crusty bread served with blue cheese and onion jam is a great way to finish off a dinner party.

* Substitute the port for

balsamic vinegar for a different yet stunning onion jam.

* Serve onion jam in

burgers, as an accompaniment for a hot breakfast or simply

with grilled meats.

* As a delicious snack,

serve onion jam alongside Persian fetta (which is creamier and less salty than regular fetta cheese), roasted or garlic confit and crusty bread.

* Use red or brown onions in

this recipe.

* Many recipes will ask

that the onions are cooked

in butter until naturally caramelised (see caramelised onions) then the remaining ingredients are added. That method is fine as well but I

prefer a ‘jam’ or ‘preserve’ made without dairy products just in case somebody is allergic to dairy.


Makes about 8 cups xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


cups well packed basil leaves


garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

1 cup pine nuts or walnuts (or a combination of the two) 1½ cups extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper

1 cup freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese (or a combination of the two)


1. Place the basil leaves and garlic in a food

processor or blender and process until the basil is

finely chopped.

2. add the nuts and process until the nuts are also

finely chopped.

3. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow,

steady stream. after the oil is incorporated, turn off the machine and add the salt and pepper to taste. add the cheese and process until combined.

4. if not using immediately, store in an airtight

container with a thin coating of olive oil on top to keep the pesto from going dark. Pesto covered with oil will keep well in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.




* You will needcutting

board, cook’s knife, cup measure and food processor or blender.

* 4 cups of basil leaves

will require about 2 large bunches of basil. If this seems too much, simply halve the recipe.

* Using just pecorino cheese

and increasing the quantity of garlic to 8 cloves will make a more intense, sharply flavoured pesto.

* Toasting the pine nuts

will also add flavour. To do this, place the pine nuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven at 200ºC, tossing every 34 minutes until evenly brown. This is a job that requires the cook to stay in the kitchen as the pine nuts will burn easily.

* The amount of olive oil

can be adjusted depending on the desired final consistency

(thicker or thinner). Try adding or removing ½ cup olive oil.

* Mix 1 tablespoon pesto

through 4 tablespoons softened butter and keep in the fridge. It can be sliced and placed on top of hot meats just before serving.

* Cut a chicken breast in

half, spread with pesto and a generous slice of camembert cheese and a thin slice of prosciutto, secure with

a toothpick and bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes until the chicken starts to turn golden.

* Use on a pizza base

instead of tomato sauce.

* Chopped basil browns

quickly so add a layer of oil to the top of the jar to prevent it from discolouring, and the pesto will keep longer because air is kept out.

* Use pesto as a sandwich


* Pesto can be frozen for

up to 6 months. The easiest way to control portions is by freezing in ice cube trays,

and once frozen, transferring to a clip lock bag.

* Serve as part of an

antipasto platter.

* Add a generous dollop to


* Toast good quality bread

in a moderate oven, spread

with the pesto and serve as


* Add pesto to roasted

asparagus, stir through gnocchi, risotto, scrambled

eggs or omelettes, or mix

through a potato salad.

* For the advanced cook,

add more parmesan and less oil, and use as a filling

for homemade tortellini or ravioli.


Makes about 1 cup xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves (1 bunch) ½ cup extra virgin olive oil about ¼ teaspoon salt flakes


1. Puree the ingredients in a small food processor

until a smooth paste is formed. (or, pound the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle, then start adding the basil, pounding until pasty, and blend in the olive oil.)

2. serve immediately or, like pesto, cover with a thin

layer of olive oil and refrigerate for up to 5 days. it will freeze successfully if done in small amounts.



* Pistou is associated with

-------------------------- the French provincial soup similar to minestrone. The

* You will needcutting

board, cook’s knife, cup measure and food processor or mortar and pestle.

* Pistou is the French

version of Italy’s pesto. Therefore they are very similar in quantities and usage. The main difference is the French pistou does not have the nuts and parmesan cheese included in the pesto.

pistou is served on the side or added to the individual bowl.

* This is the most

traditional and basic pistou recipe; a common variation has the addition of ½ cup grated parmesan cheese stirred in at the end.

* Like many traditional

recipes, there are many variations based on the area where the raw ingredients are sourced. Therefore it should come as no surprise that some recipes for pistou contain

parmesan, nuts, tomato or even hamany of which would be considered correct depending on which provincial cook you spoke to.

* See pesto for more tips on

how to use pistou.

Quince paste

Makes about 3 kg xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

3 kg quinces

white sugar 150 ml lemon juice, strained

3 cinnamon sticks


1. choose quince which are yellow with a slight green

tinge to them. this indicates that the quince is still a little under-ripe which in turn means the pectin

levels are higher. Wash any ‘down’ from the surface of the quinces and chop roughlyat this point there is no need to peel or core the fruit. place the chopped quinces in a saucepan with 750 ml water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until soft.

2. Drain off the excess water and pass the softened

fruit through a sieve. Weigh the quince puree then place in a deep, heavy-based pot with an equal weight of sugar. add the lemon juice and cinnamon sticks.

3. Use a long-handled wooden spoon to stir over

low heat, then increase the heat and boil until the mixture turns pink and begins to thicken. as it thickens, it is important to stir constantly so the paste doesn’t catch on the base of the pot and burn.

4. once thick, pour the paste into sterilised jars or

containers. Leave to cool before covering. if properly sealed in sterilised containers, quince paste will last at least 1 year in a cool, dry area. once opened, keep refrigerated.



alchemy-like cooking act that

-------------------------- inspires many cooks. The raw quince has flesh as pale

* You will needcutting

board, cook’s knife, weight and liquid measures, a long-

handled wooden spoon, lemon juicer and a large heavy- based pot.

* A native fruit of Persia,

quince are said to be the fruit of love. But it’s their

as a ghost and is so hard it verges on being inedible yet it is nothing short of a culinary miracle that it transforms into a soft, ruby- red, beautifully perfumed food.

* Quince paste is a delicious accompaniment to

any cheese plate, especially suited to blue cheese and ripe brie.

* Quince paste can be served with roast pork or roast turkey. Or make a sauce by heating 4 tablespoons quince paste, 4 tablespoons water, 4 tablespoons port and the zest of 1 orange, season with a small amount of salt, strain and serve on the side.

SalSa verde

Makes about 2 ½ cups xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

1½ tablespoons salted capers


cup flat-leaf or curly parsley leaves


cup mint leaves


cup basil leaves


garlic cloves, minced


anchovy fillets

1 cup olive oil lemon juice salt and pepper


1. Wash the capers and soak in fresh water for an

hour. Drain and squeeze dry in a tea towel.

2. in a food processor, blend the capers, herbs,

garlic and anchovies until combined. alternatively,

you can use a mortar and pestle and pound the ingredients into a paste.

3. With the machine still running, gradually add the

olive oil.

4. When a thick paste forms, turn the machine off and

stir in the lemon juice.

5. season to taste, transfer to a jar or bowl and

cover with a layer of oil to seal; keep, covered, for up to 7 days.




* You will needcutting

board, bowls, sieve, cup measure, food processor or mortar and pestle and plastic spatula.

* Salsa verde directly

translates as ‘green sauce’.

* For a different version of

this sauce, omit the capers and anchovy fillets and add 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.

* To make a ‘sweet and sour’

green sauce known as ‘Salsa verde agrodolce’, add to the basic recipe 4 tablespoons lemon juice or red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons caster sugar and 2 slices white bread with the crusts removed.

* The herbs used in salsa

verde can vary according to what you have fresh at hand. Parsley is recommended in all combinations with the addition of 2 other fresh green herbs, such as mint, basil, sorrel, marjoram, sage, tarragon, thyme, watercress, chervil or coriander to name a few.

* Salsa verde is served

with fish, seafood, chicken, grilled and boiled meats,

and chargrilled or roasted vegetables.

* Salted capers can be

substituted with pickled caperswhich are more common in the supermarket. However, salted capers are a far better product compared to

the more readily available, spongy, pickled variety.

* It is recommended to cover

the salsa with oil for longer storage. Without the oil, the salsa will need to be used within 23 days, after

which the salsa will begin to oxidise and lose flavour and pungency. The salsa can also be frozen in ice cube trays; once frozen, place the cubes into a clip lock bag.

* Drizzle some salsa verde

in minestrone.

* Serve with pasta as you

would pesto pasta.


Makes about 3 cups xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


g kalamata olives, pitted (see Hints and tips)


g capers, rinsed


g anchovy fillets


ml olive oil


1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and

blend until smooth. or chop and then pound in a mortar

and pestle, leaving the oil until last.

2. store, covered with a thin layer of oil, in a

sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.




* You will needfood

processor or mortar and pestle, weight and liquid measures, plastic spatula, cook’s knife (optional) and jar for storage.

* Pitting olives is as

simple as squashing the olives either with your fingers and removing the pit or by placing the olive on a cutting board and squashing it with the base of a glass or bottle, then removing the pit.

* Tapenade can be made using

large green olives. Any style of olive can be used, just make sure that olives kept in a brine are soaked for 30 minutes in cold water before using to remove the salty flavour. However, don’t buy pitted olives, especially the Spanish variety; they will not lend enough flavour and you will be disappointed.

* The capers should be

rinsed under cold water and squeezed dry in the hand to

get rid of the briny taste.

* The addition of

2 teaspoons seeded mustard to the above recipe after

blending is recommended.

* 2 tablespoons balsamic

vinegar can be added for extra kick in the tapenade.

* To sweeten and add body

to the mixture, add 1 cup chopped dried figs.

* Try adding chopped leaves

from a sprig of thyme to the blended mixture.

* Mince or chop 1 garlic

clove and add before blending the mixture.

* In some recipes, the

addition of 100 ml dark rum or brandy can replace 100 ml olive oil.

* A little goes a long

way. Smear a thin layer of tapenade on a piece of bread, taste and adjust the amount according to personal taste.

* Tapenade is often served

as an accompaniment or appetiser with chargrilled flat bread or sourdough bread.

* As a stir-through pasta

sauce, try adding an extra

clove of minced garlic and a cup of Italian tomato sauce (sugo casa) then stir into the cooked pasta before topping with torn flat-leaf

parsley leaves.

* For an easy pasta sauce

add tapenade and tinned tuna in olive oil to hot pasta.

Sprinkle with some fresh oregano and finish with some crumbled fetta cheese.

* Smear some tapenade mixed

with equal parts ricotta under the skin of a roast chicken before baking in the


* Spread tapenade on round

croutons or bruschetta then

top with your favourite ingredients to serve as a light lunch or dinner starter.

* Tapenade can be used on a

pizza base rather than tomato sauce.

* Serve tapenade as part of

an antipasto plate.

* Press out small rounds

of puff pastry with a 5-cm pastry cutter, brush with

tapenade, top with a slice of potato, sprinkle with dried rosemary and flaked salt and bake for 15 minutes at 180ºC.

* Add chilli to taste or

juice of ½ lemon. You can also add ¼ cup roasted mushrooms or ¼ cup sundried

tomatoes (finely chopped).

* Substitute black olives

for green olives and replace the anchovies with ¼ cup

ground almonds.

* Substitute the anchovies

with 50 g tinned tuna.

TomaTo chuTney

Makes about 1½–2 litres xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

1 kg ripe tomatoes, peeled (see tomato jam)

500 g brown onions, peeled and cut into 1-cm dice

1 tablespoon salt


g sultanas or raisins, chopped


ml white vinegar


g brown sugar

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cloves


1. Dice the tomatoes and place in a glass or plastic

bowl with the onion. sprinkle with salt, cover and refrigerate overnight. The following day pour off excess liquid.

2. Place the tomato and onion mixture in a pot and

bring to the boil.

3. add the sultanas or raisins, vinegar, sugar and bay

leaves, and simmer until the sugar dissolves.

4. in a small pan or wok, toast the curry powder and

spices for 30 seconds. remove the pan from the heat, and add some liquid from the tomato mixture to form a paste. Then add the spice paste to the chutney.

5. simmer for 1½2 hours or until the mixture

resembles a soft jam consistency. remember to stir

occasionally to prevent it from burning.

6. Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal with a lid.

cool before storing in the pantry. keep refrigerated




after opening.

flavours to marry.

* You will needknife,

cutting board, bowls, weight, liquid and spoon measures, heavy-based saucepan, frying pan, wooden spoon, a strong heatproof bowl or ladle and preserving jars with lids.

* Try adding 500 g peeled

and diced Granny Smith apples to this recipe.

* Toasting the spices brings

out their fragrance; however, it is an optional step in this recipe. Do keep in mind that it is a 30-second job and adds greatly to the end result.

* Peeling the tomatoes may

not seem all that important, especially given the time it takes. But it really is essential as tomato skins do not break down once cooked and remain as chewy strips not dissimilar to rubber bands. Keep in mind that tomato chutney will last for months on end and so the extra time taken to peel the tomatoes is certainly more than made up for in preservation time.

* Like tomato relish,

chutney is best stored for 46 weeks (preferably several months) before using to allow the vinegar to mellow and the

* Tomato chutney, with its great preserving power, is always good to have on hand for barbecues and roasts. It’s also great with homemade pies, or spread on rolls or sandwiches.

* For a green tomato

chutney, substitute the red, ripe tomatoes for green (unripe) tomatoes and add 250 g peeled and diced Granny Smith apples. Cook as per the method given.

* Consider the tomatoes

used when making a chutney. Depending on the variety and the natural sweetness of the tomato, the amount of sugar used can vary. Green tomatoes will need more sugar than sweet red tomatoes. Even red tomatoes differ in natural sugars. Do not expect your first batch to be your best; the more you make and refine the recipe, the better it will become.

* As always, any homemade

preserve stored in a nice bottle and labelled with a funky name makes for a great

gift all year round.

TomaTo relish

Makes about 2 litres xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

1 kg ripe tomatoes

500 g (about 4 medium) onions, diced

1 tablespoon salt

300 g brown sugar

12 cups malt vinegar

1 tablespoon dry mustard powder

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon mixed spice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper ¼ teaspoon ground cumin


1. Peel the tomatoes (see Hints and tips) and roughly