Saturday, 24 September 2011

Jool's pregnant pasta


Jamie Oliver is one of my favourite chefs, and in his latest cook book Jamie's 30-minute meals (approx RRP $45.00) has some great easy recipes. They are supposed to be quick, but depending on how fast you work and the amount of people you are serving time can vary.

 For an online version of the recipe visit

 You will need a food processor for this recipe.

4 spring onions
1 carrot (peeled)
1 stick of celery/pieces
1–2 fresh red chillies
1 x 6-pack of good-quality sausages (approx. 400g)
1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
500g dried penne (or any pasta of your liking)
4 peeled cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

To start off put a large saucepan of water on the stove and bring to boil. On another stove top put a large frying pan on high heat. 

1. Chop up the spring onions, carrot and celery into 3cm pieces and put in the food processor. Add the chilli/es with stalk removed and blitz. (Mine didn't have celery because the local Woolworths had no celery pieces in stock)

2. Add the sausages, fennel seeds and oregano to the processor and continue to blitz until mixed well.

3. Drizzle some olive oil in the hot fry pan and add the sausage mixture. Breaking it up and stirring as you go.

4. While cooking the meat, the water for the pasta should be boiled. Season the water with a bit of salt and add the pasta and cook to cooking instructors. Stirring every few moments to avoid the pasta sticking.

5. Once the meat has been broken up and cooked, crush 4 peeled cloves of garlic into the mixtute.

6. Add 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and the tinned tomatoes and stir through.

7. Check to see the pasta is ready.Drain the pasta and pour it back to the saucepan (and don't put it back on the heat).

8. Add the cooked meat mixture into the pasta and stir through.

9. The pasta is now done and ready to serve
For a side I made a basic salad composed of cucumber, cherry tomatoes, mixed salad mix and can of sweet corn kernels.

Dinner is served!

Good food, good times!

Wagaya Japanese Restaurant @ Haymarket


For Patrick's birthday I planned a surprise. But first was to to go to Wagaya (Level 1, 78-86 Harbour St Haymarket NSW 2000) for dinner. It is a modernised Japanese restaurant with a great atmosphere. And the best thing about it is the touch screen menu. Everything is ordered by the touch of a button and that also includes receiving the bill.
There is over 100 different items on the menu from all different sushi & sashimi to ramen and also the option of hot pot. Here is a few of the lovely wagaya wonders.

Scallop and garlic fried rice $10.90
A basic and delicious rice dish that goes with everything on the menu. A great way to start the Japanese feast.

Lightly grilled salmon sushi $8.30

Rainbow roll $10.30
One of the more popular and nice sushi roll. Filled with colour and different types of seafood delights on the top including prawn, salmon, king fish and tuna.
Deep fried chicken Karaage $7.30
Deep fried goodness! Karaage chicken can never disappoint and everyone loves a good friend piece of chicken.

Salmon Sashimi $7.30

Spider roll $9.40

Home made Gyouza $6.50 (for 5)

Ika fri $7.90

Chicken nankotu $6.50
This was a strange dish but it said 'common' on the menu so thought why not give it a go. From the taste and bite, it seemed to be parts of cartilage coated in batter and fried. It was crunchy. Not sure if I would order it again. 

Lightly grilled salmon and scallop sushi $12.50

Near the end of the meal we decided to play sushi roulette. The gist of sushi roulette is that there are 6 pieces of sushi on a plate, and one has an excessive amount of wasabi compared to the others. So everyone picks one, and eats it at once and just wait to see who gets the wasabi bomb. And to the birthday boy's luck he got the wasabi bomb!

Sushi Roulette $9.90

There is not such thing as a birthday without a birthday cake. I ordered a cake from the old oak patisserie ( It is a little patisserie inside the met centre (on george street). It was a wide range of cakes and from the ones I have tried I have not been disappointed!

Cross section of the Immortal Sin
Baked cheesecake base, chocolate mousse and a final layer of caramel mousse topped with drops of chocolate mousse

Good food, good times!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Strawberry Delights


In need of a quick and easy dessert? Well there is nothing easier than chocolate dipped strawberries with a twist. 

Normally, chocolate is accompanied with strawberries by a fondue or fountain, but after getting some creative insight from lush berries ( I decided to make my own little twist on the wonderful fruit that is in season.

1kg strawberries (equated to about 45 strawberries)
Crushed peanuts
Mini marshmallows
Shredded coconut
1 bag of nestle dark chocolate melts (375g)

1. Wash strawberries and leave to dry. (You can dry them using a paper towel or tea towel if you are short for time)
2. Melt the chocolate in a saucepan, and constantly stirring. (I used the double boiler technique where you fill the saucepan with a little of bit of water and place a bowl (or a double boiler) over the saucepan. Ensuring the the bowl doesn't touch the water or the chocolate will burn.)
3. Leave chocolate to slightly cool.
4. Place crushed peanuts, mini marshmallows and shredded coconut into 3 separate bowls.
5. Line a spare tray with greaseproof paper to prevent the chocolate from sticking.
6. Holding the strawberry by the steam/leaves and dip in chocolate by rotating. Allow any excess chocolate to drip off and dip into any of the stations. (If strawberry has no stem, or leaves start to fall off, poke a toothpick into where the stem is supposed to be for easier dipping technique).
7. Place on to tray. 

NOTE: Depending on the weather, and time, storage changes. I made these right before I went to a friends birthday, so the weather was relatively cold and so the  strawberries were setting on the tray whilst I was making them. However, if you are making it on a relatively hot day you will need to work fast and refrigerate immediately. And if you are making them a few hours before the event, put in the refrigerator.

The Set-Up

The final products

It very easy to tweak this concept. Some ideas are:
Various crushed nuts (macadamia, pistachio, hazelnut)
100s and 1000s
Milk or white chocolate chips
White or milk chocolate melts
Crushed biscuits (oreos, arrowroot)

Good food, good times!