Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dark Chocolate Sauce with Shiraz

This is a very good sauce. Very good. Seriously good.

Now, I'm not sure on the exact amounts of stuff as I do a lot of "eye-balling" in the kitchen. But this'll give you a good start.

The idea is you want the sauce to still be pourable when it cools, but still be tasty and chocolaty.

Here's what you need:

2 cups of dark cooking chocolate (melts or pieces from a bar)
1/2 glass shiraz wine (and the other half for the cook)
3 tbsp butter
1/2 whipping cream *update* 1/2 CUP whipping cream, darned typos

What do you do?

This is easy. Chuck it all into a thick bottomed saucepan. Lowest heat possible. Stir or whisk it as the chocolate melts. As soon as the chocolate is melted and everything is stirred together, turn the heat off.

You can use it hot, or use it as cold.

This year for the Christmas morning brunch everyone had a dish of this chocolate sauce for use. Most just dipped the fresh strawberries in the sauce. I, of course, dipped pretty much everything in the sauce including rolled up shaved prosciutto. It was very tasty! I even dipped chocolate sea shells in the chocolate sauce, mmmmmmm. I even poured a bit into my champagne glass and then filled the glass with a vanilla and cream flavoured sparkling wine (from Nurioopta). Yummy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


More holiday recipes! Woo-hoo!

This is one I've made for the last 3 holiday feasts, but this year it'll be substituted with my peanut butter cheesecake with hot fudge topping.

So, like *what* does panforte mean? Hmmmm, let's see... "forte" means "strong", and "pan" means "pan", which could be Peter Pan. Ahhh, *peter* is slang for penis, so I guess this would be a penis that's strong? Like an erection?

No, no, I'm joking! If you like nuts and chocolate, then this is for YOU.

One Continental Panforte

What you kneed:

130 gms (a bit over 1/2 cup) macadamia nuts --note: I use cashews since they are a LOT cheaper here
130 gms chopped walnuts
130 gms slivered (not silvered) almonds
150 gms (2/3 cup) chopped, pitted, dates
180 gms (3/4 cup) sultanas --raisins are dried red grapes, sultanas are dried white grapes; you can use raisins if you like
250 gms (1 cup) cooking chocolate --you know, the kind for melting
60 gms (1/4 cup) desiccated coconut
125 gms (1/2 cup) flour
125 gms (still 1/2 cup) cocoa powder
125 gms (really! still 1/2 cup) icing sugar
60 gms (1/4 cup) butter
125 gms (gosh, still 1/2 cup) apricot jam
75 mls (1/3 cup) cherry brandy (leave a shot or two for the cook)

What you due:

Chuck all the nuts, fruits (sultana counts as a fruit here), coconut, flour, cocoa, and icing sugar in a bowl. Mix it all together.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler. (If you don't have a double boiler, then here's a neat trick (came up with it myself): put the choc and butter in a metal bowl, place the bowl over the top of a pan of boiling water. Duh! One instant double boiler! You can paypal me whatever amount you'd like for that tip.) Add the apricot jam and cherry brandy to the melting mixture and stir well.

Once the double boiler stuff is melted, then add it to the bowl of dry stuff and mix thoroughly.

Grease (butter) and line* (wax paper or grease-proof paper) a deep cake dish (or pretty much anything that'll go in the oven) and bake for 30 mins in a 150 C (300 F) oven.

When you pull it out, it'll seem moist and sticky but will firm up upon cooling.

Once it's cooled (at least two hours), pop that baby out and slice it up! Oh, it'll keep for weeks if you so desire (yeah, right!).

*you really don't need to line the dish, once it's cooled, just float it in a sink of hot water for a minute and then it'll slide right out.

This sucker weighs over 3 and a half pounds! Chocolate, nuts, brandy, etc! Ahhhhh, I'm not responsible for any increased waistlines... You've been warned.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bananas Flambe'

These are so easy and so tasty! You just need to make sure you've got good, solid bananas. If your 'nanners have gone too ripe, then make banana jam instead.

But, if you've got fresh, solid 'nanners, then try this:

Bananas Flambe --Dingo Dave style

What you knead:

Some firm bananas, pealed, and halved lengthwise
At least a half cup of butter
Half a cup (or so) of raw sugar
A splash of high quality rum

Before I start with the "what you due" section, there's a few points I'd like to write about regarding the above stuff.

Bananas vs plantains... Hey, anyone know Don King's phone number? Sounds like a good fight to me.

For those of you knot (not) in the know, a plantain IS a banana; just larger and starchier. musa paradisica is the latin term for a plantain. Since a plantain is much starchier (I love that word: STARCHIER) than a standard banana --musa sapientia-- you have to make sure it's cooked longer than a banana. So if you are using plantains in this recipe, make sure you slice them thinly and cook them longer.

Trivia: You've all scene (seen) seens (scenes) of a jungle on the Telly (TV) where banana trees abound --Oh Puuuuuh-leeeeaaaassssseeee try to say that fast! But it may interest you to know (and then again, maybe not) to learn that a banana plant is botanically classified as an HERB. Gotta love them big herbs. Yo, Herb! Is that you dude?

Next topic: sugar... raw sugar is what used to be known as brown sugar yonks ago (a long time ago). Brown sugar now means ugly refined sugar with ultra-processed molasses added --YUCK! So... Raw Sugar Is Cool.

High Quality Rum: I don't think I need to talk about the fact that 151 from the Windies is best, eh?

Oh crap, almost forgot: what do you get when you heat butter and sugar in a saucepan? You get butterscotch (duh). Guess what? It orginates from the same area as Scotch! You know: Scotland. Traditional butterscotch is a hard candy-like treat; the mixture is allowed to cool, then it hardens, then you eat it. The wonderful butterscotch topping that you are all familiar with that is put upon your ice cream has lemon juice and cream added to it while cooking the mix in a double boiler. Let me know if you want to know how to make your own, no worries.

Ok, back to the recipe:

What you due

Melt the butter and sugar in a fry pan. When it's melted, put the bananas in. Turn them after a few mins so that they are browned on both sides (hey, it's just sugar). Then toss in the splash of 151 dark rum (reserving enough for the cook), then light it (if you have a gas cooker you don't need to light it, it should light itself).

When the flames die down (die flames, DIE), serve it up over vanilla ice cream, making sure you pour lots of the flambe'ed butterscotch topping over it.


BTW, I have gathered all the fixin's for this year's Holiday Feast. Well, except the fresh stuff, I'll be getting that daily. Anywho, starting Monday the Twenty-Oneth I'll start posting holiday recipes complete with pictures. I'll even give you detailed details on how to make WP's infamous Charlotte Rouse.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Spicy Roasted Almonds

Yes, it's that time of the year when everyone roasts nuts. Anyone remember the old joke about Chet's nuts? This post has nothing to do with Chet's nuts.

These almonds are spicy. If you don't like spicy, then just halve (or quarter) some of the seasonings.

Now, I've done this for a small amount of almonds (the cockatoos ate the rest before I got to the trees) so just double or ten-tuple everything if you've got a lot of almonds.

What you need:

1/2 cup of shelled almonds (with the skin on) --that's 50 grams or about 2 ounces.
3 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 or 2 tbsp crushed garlic

What you do:

Add everything except the garlic to a steel saucepan or wok. Heat on low heat for 5 or 6 minutes (the almonds will have just started to plump up). Stir often and keep them nuts moving.

After 5 or six minutes, add the crushed garlic. Stir together. You can turn the heat off one or two minutes after adding the garlic. Keep it moving cus you don't want anything to burn.

Turn the whole mess onto a plate and let it cool.

Last thing... ummmmm, eat them! With a beer! While watching sports!

BTW, these are some of the most tasty treats to me.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cream Cheese Made Easy

Or should this be "Cream Cheese for Dummies"? Hmmmm... nah, then I'd be insulting a very smart lady in Squarebanks working on her PHD with classes like Ice Physics and the like.

This recipe is basically a "How to make curds without rennet and then what to do with the curds", nothing fancy. And the next day you'll be enjoying wonderful cream cheese with chives and smoked salmon on your bagel. Aren't I nice?

BTW, does it surprise you that a bloke who makes his own Worchestershire Sauce also makes his own cream cheese? No, doesn't surprise me either.

This is kinda a variation on curds for cottage cheese, but instead of using buttermilk to separate the curds, I use lemon juice. See, when you use buttermilk and milk --1 part buttermilk to 4 parts regular milk-- you have to be very careful with the temp kept at 82 C or 180 F. With lemon juice you don't have to be so careful, and you don't need nearly as much lemon juice as you would buttermilk.

Notes: when making anything cheesy, make sure you use stainless steel. No aluminium, no teflon coatings. Also, I use full cream milk powder, much cheaper that way. And keep the whey as it makes a great soup base. You can easily sterilise your cloth for the curds by tossing it in boiling water for a minute.

What you need to make 1 and 1/2 pounds of really good cream cheese:

1 gallon (about 4 litres) of whole milk
1/4 cup lemon juice (doesn't need to be exact)
1 bit of sea salt

Isn't that simple!!!! There's a few non-food items you'll also need:

Large thick-bottomed stainless steel pot

A stainless steel slotted flat spatula (you'll find good ones in the barbecue section of your local outdoors shop)

A strainer (metal mesh)

Large hankerchief (cleaned and sterilised) OR a chex cloth (cleaned and sterilised) OR cheesecloth (cleaned and sterilised)

One of them clip on cooking thermometer type thingies (if you aren't good at estimating temp of simmering milk)

Some kind of heat source (I recommend a stovetop, but if you are camping then a campfire will do)

What you do:

Put the milk in your pot. Turn the heat on LOW. As the milk heats, stir it regularly with the spatula making sure to scrap the bottom so the milk doesn't burn to the base of the pot. When the milk gets to 70 to 80 C (158 to 176 F) add the lemon juice. Amazingly enough, curds will start to form! WOW! Just like your magic kit you had as a kid!

Stir with the spatula and MAKE SURE YOU SCRAP THE BOTTOM so the curds don't stick to the bottom of the pot. After a minute of stirring, turn the heat off. The curds will continue to form, no worries.

Let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Scrap the bottom of the pot with the spatula so no curds stick to the pot.

Line your strainer with your chex cloth (or whatever you are using) and strain the curds over a bowl (or your soup pot if you are making soup that day and need the whey).


Hmmmm, the whey... If you aren't making soup that day or the next, then put the whey in a freezerable container. I've frozen whey before and it still makes a good soup base. Remember to let the whey cool to room temp before freezing, of course.

Or you can just drink the whey! It's very tasty, trust me.


So what to do with the curds in the cloth lined strainer? Simple, bring the corners of the cloth together and tie them up tight. Then tie two corners of the cloth over your faucet in the kitchen sink. Let it drain overnight.

Obviously, don't run the faucet while the curds are hanging there!

The next day...

Plop the drained curds into a bowl. Add a couple pinches of sea salt. Mix it all together with a spoon, and beat the mix with the spoon until it's creamy.


You now have about a pound and a half of cream cheese that'll keep in your fridge for a week.

Now comes the fun part: THE TASTY ADDITIONS!

At this point I'll usually divide it into four smaller bowls, and add flavourings to each bowl. Perhaps I'll mince up some smoked salmon and add that to a bowl of the creamy goodness. Maybe minced chives in another. Minced fresh tomatoes are always good. So's fresh chopped basil leaves. Minced onion? Why not! Heck, use your imagination! Mix 'n' match!

There's quite a lot of other things to do with the curds and you don't even need a cheese hoop! BTW, it's easy to make your own cheese hoop from a can...

I know many of you from my other blog were expecting something like SHISHKABOB KANGAROO BALLS, but don't worry cus that's coming soon to a theatre near you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cheese, Cheese, Glorious Cheese!

Ah, yes. That wonderful concoction starting with the most basic food... Milk. Why do I consider Milk the most basic food? Cus that's what all mammals start eating! Can't get no more basic than that.

I'll be delving into the history of cheese; myth, legend, fact, guess, etc, in future Cheese posts. I'll also talk about some of the basic tekneeks for making different types of cheeses.

BTW, are you lactose intolerant? No worries, in about a month you can eat cheese and drink milk, not a problem. Heck, it's all about restarting your body's own natural production of lactase which swtiched off when you stopped eating/drinking/consuming lactose as an infant.

I thought that a good way to start off a cheese series would be to list the different kinds of cheeses there are. Well... that would take a long while. So what I've done is pared down the list so it doesn't include variations of the original. It also doesn't include regional knock-offs of other types of cheese.

Some quick examples of what's not on the list:

You won't see Fontal, Fontinella or Fantina on the list as they are all imitations of the original Fontina cheese.

You also won't see Wisconsin Cheddar listed, nor any other type of Cheddar produced away from the Cheddar Gorge on the outskirts of Somerset. Why? Well, it's not that I'm being a snob, but why list all the different types of Cheddar made around the world when the original will do. Why does the original listing work for all the other types? Cus they are all made from the same process. See, if somebody in Wisconsin or New Zealand makes a cheese using the identical process as Cheddar Cheese, then why add a new listing?

However, American Cheddar is listed as the process to make it is different from the original Cheddar.

I've also not listed some variations of an original cheese if the variation is made in the same place. For instance, Peneteleu Cheese is not listed as it's made in the same area and the same process as Kaskaval Cheese.

Heck, France alone claims over 500 different types of cheeses. However, many of them are variations of an original type. So why list them all?

You may notice Monterey Cheese, but not Monterey Jack, nor Jack Cheese. Why not? They are all made in the same place (Monterey Valley, California, USA) from the same process and just marketed differently.

See? Easy!

Hey, that's my logic and I'm sticking to it. Besides, this is my food blog and I can post what I want; it's up to you if you want to read it or not.

Alrighty, here's THE LIST.

Aisy, cendre de
Allguaer Rundkase
American Cheddar
American Cheese
Ancien Imperial
Baker's Cheese
Bel Paese
Blue Cheese
Blue Dorset
Box Cheese
Buttermilk Cheese
Cacio Fiore
Carre de l'Est
Christian IX
Cooked Cheese
Cottage Cheese
Cream Cheese
Danish Export
Devonshire Cream Cheese
Egg Cheese
Farm Cheese
Fiore Sardo
Flower Cheese
Formaggini di Lecco
Formaggini di Montpellier
Formaggio di Pasta Filata
Frisian Clove
Fromage a la Creme
Fromage Fort
Goat's Milk
Gray Cheese
Hand Cheese
Hay Cheese
Holstein Skim-Milk
Hop Cheese
Hvid Gjetost
Island of Orleans
Kosher Cheese
Mainzer Hand
Markish Hand
Mecklenburg Skim
Mondseer Schachtelkase
Mont Cenis
Mont d'Or
Old Heidelberg
Olmutzer Quagrel
Ovcji Sir
Petit Suisse
Pickled Cheese
Pineapple Cheese
Pont l'Eveque
Port du Salut
Potato Cheese
Process Cheese
Quesa anejo
Queso Blanco
Queso de Bola
Queso de Cincho
Queso de Crema
Queso de Hoja
Queso de la Tierra
Queso del Pais
Queso de Prensa
Queso Fresca
Radolfzeller Cream Cheese
Rayon Cheese
Red Cheese
Reindeer Cheese
Roll Cheese
Royal Brabant
Sage Cheese
St. Benoit
St. Claude
St. Marcellin
St. Stephano
Salame Cheese
Sandwich Nut
Schleische Sauermilchkase
Serra da Estrela
Silesian Cheese
Sir Iz Mjesine
Sir Mastny
Sir Posny
Spiced Cheese
Tibet Cheese
Trappist Cheese
Twdr Sir
Washed Curd Cheese
West Frisian
Westpahlian Sour Milk Cheese
White Cheese
Yogurt Cheese

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Prawn-Flavoured Miso and Seaweed Soup

Ever done any cooking with prawns (shrimp)? Ever had to shell them? Did you ever wonder what you could do with the "heads" and the rest of the shells besides chucking them in the bin? Well, you are about to find out what you can do with them.

This easy and tasty soup makes a great side dish to whatever you are doing with the shrimp (prawn) meat for the main course.

Here's what you need:

Prawn (shrimp) shells and heads from about 1 pound of shrimp (prawn)
1 or 2 tbsp light miso paste
1 or 2 sheets of yaki-nori seaweed (the kind you make sushi rolls with)
8 to 10 cups of water
a large saucepan
a heat source

There's some optional stuff, like shitake shrooms, chillis, or some of the prawn meat, but the above will give you a very nice, refreshing soup. Oh, the light miso paste refers to the color and has nothing to do with reducing calories.

What you do:

Dump the prawn shells and heads into your saucepan along with the water. Crank up the heat source, cover and simmer till the liquid is reduced by around half. This'll take anywhere between 30 mins (minutes) and an hour (3,600 seconds).

Remove from heat. Take a potato masher and mash the shells (while still in the broth) to extract every last bit of prawny goodness from them. Strain to get rid of the shells. Put the strained broth back in the saucepan and add the miso paste. Put it back on the heat to bring it up to a simmer.

A couple of minutes (a few hundred seconds) before serving, shred the seaweed sheets into the soup. Let it stand for a minute.

Serve it up!

Tasty, simple, healthy!

Makes about a litre. If you want more soup, then use more water initially.

If you are using dried shitakes, try reconstituting them in half water and half dry sherry --it'll take an hour or so depending on how dry they are (if they've been in your pantry for a few years it'll take a long soak). And add the reconstipated shitakes to the soup the same time as the miso.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Holiday Feast 2008/2009

Before I begin typing in this years menu, let me tell you that this is to feed the brood from dec 23rd to Jan 3rd. Yes, life pretty much comes to a halt for 2 weeks down unda.

Now, I still haven't decided what's gonna be served on which day, and there'll be a couple of days of leftovers spaced throughout. I also reserve the right to add any menu item I want to. Hmmmph!

Please note, with the exception of the Christmas fruitcakes and the puddings that have been in the pantry for 6 years, pretty much everything is made from scratch. No, I don't go out and milk the cow's for the cream... you know what I mean!

At this point there is no particular order, or rhyme or reason to anything; I'm just jotting down the stuff that I plan to prepare.

Holiday Feast 2008/2009 Menu

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with hot fudge sauce (does this surprise you?)

2 Christmas fruitcakes

2 Roast chooks with all the fixin's --that includes stuffing, gravy, spuds, etc

Dave's Polynesian Pork Roast --yes, it's wrapped in banana leaves and slow roasted

Souvlaki chicken with tabouli and tzatziki

BBQ Roo burgers

Teriyaki Roo burgers

Dave's extra special chips

Homemade pizza

Grilled Basa fillets

Homemade crumpets and cream

Charlotte Rouse (you'll love it, I'll put up pics of the process)

Potato Salad


Candied Sweet Potato with marshmallow and cherry topping

Waldorf salad --with mom's special dressing

Herbed, baked spuds

Pineapple glazed ham

Herbed, baked pumpkin

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Mexican buffet with all the fixin's (let your imagination run wild on this)

At least 2 sushi platters

Various chocolates


Many salsas

Banana jam

Pineapple sherbet

Pineapple topping

Pineapple tarts

Pineapple Coconut pie

Pineapple meringue pie

Chocolate mint Chocolate chip ice cream made with fresh choc mint from the garden

2 Xmas puddings

Fresh plate of homemade dolmades

Pitcher (or 4) of margaritas

case of Cascade's

case of Boag's

Strawberries and cream

Champagne and strawberries

A few cases of vino

Apples and bleu cheese

some champagne

Devonshire Cream Tea --made from homemade scones, fresh whipped cream, and fresh picked strawberries.

I'm sure I've left something out, but you kinda get the idea... If I don't gain 15 pounds this year then I'll consider this holiday wasted!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quick and Easy Dinner Rolls

I have a confession to make... I make all our bread. Loaves for sandwiches and toast, pizza dough, foccacia, bruschetta, dinner rolls, cheesebread, zucchini bread, corn bread, etc. The confession is: I now use a bread machine for the dough!

I know, I know... Sacrilege! Blasphemer!

Well, does it help that the batter breads are still made in a bowl? So's the corn bread. So's the biscuit dough. Even the doughs made in the bread machine are also still rolled out and shaped by hand! Heck, even my homemade pasta (no pasta maker, just a rolling pin and really strong forearms --no carpal tunnel yet!) is completely from scratch!

OT how many guys do you know that actually make their own ravioli?

And I do toss and twirl the pizza bases to shape them! Oops, SPLAT, there's another mess on the floor to clean up...

So, can you, like, maybe, sorta forgive me for using the bread machine for the dough? Pretty please?

So, here's my standard recipe white bread and rolls. It all gets chucked into the bread maker on it's "dough" setting. If you're making it by hand I'm sure you'll figure out how to make it since you've obviously made dough before. If you've never made dough by hand and don't have bread (dough) maker, then I'll put some instructions up for ya, no worries.

BTW, I use the bread machine for dough cus I'm making at least a loaf everyday. And today I'll be making pizza dough in it along with a loaf of rye. It really just saves boatloads of time.

Dingo Dave's Quick and Easy Dinner Rolls:

What you need:

375 mls water (that's about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tbsp raw sugar (that's about 2 tbsp)
1 tsp of sea salt (or somewhere close to that)
3 tbsp olive oil (yes, it must be olive oil)
4 1/3 cups high quality flour (at least 10.9% protein)
2 tsp dried yeast

What you do:

If you have a bread machine, then chuck it all in your bread pan (don't forget the paddle!!!) and set it to your "dough" setting. Should take about 90 mins (minutes).

If you wanna make the dough by hand...

Warm the water slightly and add the sugar and the yeast. Let the yeast "proof" for ten mins (it'll "foof" on the top of the water). Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the proofed yeast mix and the olive oil. Mix well. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8 or ten times. Remember: when kneading bread dough, only use the "heels" of your hand, DON'T dig your fingers into the dough.

Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover the top of the bowl with a damp, warm towel, and let rise in a warm place for an hour (turn your oven on for a minute, then turn it off: instant warm place!).

After an hour, the dough should have doubled in size. Punch the dough down and then turn it onto a floured board.

SEE? Wasn't the bread machine way so much easier????

BTW, remember I'm not too worried about how my food pics looks, they are more to give you the general idea. Besides, I'm usually way too busy in the kitchen to get good food pics. Unlike my parrot pics, of course.

Anyways, no matter how you make the dough, here's what it'll look like after you take it out of the bread maker or take it out of the bowl:
ball of dough
Please note this morning's loaf on the bread rack and tonight's chicken soup stock in the large pot.

Grab a small hunk of the dough, about this size:
tiny hunk of dough
Please note, this size is for dinner rolls with the soup. When I make burger rolls for the kangaroo burgers I'll make em a bit larger.

Give it a quick roll between your palms:
rolling around

And it'll look like this:
finished dough roll

I cook mine on one of my pizza stones. Just sprinkle a bit of polenta (or corn meal if you are in North America) on the stone so the rolls don't stick. Put the first one in the centre (center):
one roll
Note, that's not crumbs on the pizza stone, it's polenta. Also, the potato is to be diced up and tossed in the soup. The end of the bread is for bread crumbs.

Load up the pizza stone with the rest of the rolls:
lotsa rolls
Note the amount of space left between the rolls

Now get a brush, some olive oil and a bowl
olive oil brush dish

Brush, brush, brush...

Pop that sucker in an oven at 180 C (around 360 F) fan forced, or 200 C (395-400 F) if not fan forced. 20 to 25 mins.

When they come out they'll look like this:
done rolls 01

And here's another view:
done rolls 02
Please notice that I diced up the spud, seared the pieces in a wok with some olive oil and flour, and added it to the chicken soup while the rolls were cooking.

After about five mins, pull the rolls apart and let them cool on a rack. If you've left them in the oven too long and the tops are too crispy, then after about 20 mins of cooling put them in a plastic bag. The rest of the steam will soften the tops and they'll still be perfect.

Remember, if you are gonna use them for roo burgers, instead of rolling them out to 11 or 12 rolls, you'll want 6 or 7 ro

Monday, November 3, 2008

Whipped Cream Strawberry Chocolate Strawberry Biscuit Cake

Whew! With a title like that I should win some searches, I tells ya! *wink*

Before I begin, I have a question I'd like to ask: Is anyone on a diet? If you answered "yes, jerk, I am on a diet" then this just may not be quite the thing for you at this point in time. Unless you're way up in the cold arctic, and then it's ok. We all know you need loads of calories just to stay warm, let alone jogging, skijoring and mushing with the huskies in an Interior winter.

DISCLAIMER:I do not profess to take good food pictures. The food looks way better than is depicted from my lame, indoor photo skills. I do, however, take really really good outdoor parrot pics so have a look at my other blog if you wanna see good pics... cus you won't see 'em 'ere!

First, you need to make the biscuit dough (and cook it). You don't want it to be too flaky, so for this I use softened butter instead of cold butter or even *gasp* shortening.

Biscuit dough

2 cups flour
1 tbsp raw sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup SOFTENED butter
2/3 cups of milk with one egg beaten into the milk

To make the biscuit

This is easy. Add the first 4 ingredients to a bowl. Mix it together. Plop in the softened butter (it's easy to soften butter in Aus; just leave it on the counter for a bit) and mash it all together with the tines of a fork. Pour in the milk/egg mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon.

The dough will seem a bit sticky, that's ok. Turn it out onto a well floured surface and knead it a few times till it's not a soft and not sticky anymore. Take half the dough and form it into a round about 6 inches in diameter. Do the same with the other half. Stack one on top of the other and toss it in an oven. 375 for 25 to 30 mins should do the trick.

The two halves will separate easily when you take them out of the oven. Note: if it's not done when you pull the halves apart, just put them back together and back in the oven for a few more mins, no worries.

Once it's done, take it out of the oven, pop the top and bottom apart and let them cool. Why, look! Here's the top half cooling:
top biscuit cooling

While the top and bottom are cooling, you get to make your whipped cream.

What you need:

450 mls whipping cream (1 2/3 cups)
2 to 3 tbsp raw sugar

What you do:

Combine the two ingredients in a bowl. Get out your electric mixer and beat the heck out of it till it's whipped. Takes about 5 mins. If you cheat and get a can of that spray cream not only will you be missing out on some great flavors, but you'll also be putting an obscene amount of gunk into you.

Once your cream in whipped, you get to hollow out the top and bottom. Just use a small spoon and start scrapping. Little bit at a time now... what's done can't be undone, ya know!

Here's the bottom scrapped:
hollowed bottom biscuit
Notice the bag with the scrapped stuff in it? Yeah, KEEP IT! It freezes nicely, no worries. The next time you are making stuffing you'll be thankfull you kept it...

Here's both bottom and top hollowed out:
both biscuit halves hollowed

Spoon the cream in both halves:
with whipped cream

Slice up four or five fresh strawberries. Layer them in the cream of the bottom half:
with strawberries

Top now goes on TOP of the bottom:
put together

Got 3 mins? Good, time to make the chocolate sauce.

What you need

200 grams dark cooking chocolate
2 or 3 tbsp butter
100 mls (1/3 cup) cream

What you do

Put it all in a saucepan. Low heat. Whisking consantly. A couple of mins later you've got chocolate sauce!

Now let it cool for 15 or 20 mins. Go read a book... I'll be here when you get back.


Ok, sauce is cool but still pourable? Right? Right! It should look something like this:
choc sauce

So pour the sauce on! Here's what it'll look like now:
pour it on

Get some more fresh strawberries. 5 or 6 should be fine. Slice em up. Put the strawberries on the top and around the sides of the cake.

But wait! Oh no! I didn't let the chocolate sauce cool enough before I put the strawberries on! Gaaaaackkkk! Sliding strawberries:
sliding strawberries

I did put everything in the fridge to set after I put the strawberry slices on, should had it in the fridge for about five mins and THEN put the slices on...

I'm a failure...

But hey, it'll still taste good!

Almost forgot; you'll have a bit of whipped cream left over. So when you slice this sucker, just put a dollup of the leftover whipped cream on, no worries.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grilled Tomatoes

As the summer approaches down here in the land of Oz, you may notice something about this food blog. What may you notice, pray tell? You just might notice a lot of recipes using tomatoes.

Why tomatoes? Well, we have 9 tomato(e) plants growing in pots on the bricked patio overlooking the pool. It gets nice and roasty toasty warm there, loads of daylight too, and I give 'em plenty of water and fertilizer (cow poop; in fact they started growing in a mix of half potting soil and half cow manure --makes the plants smell really good).

One of the plants is a truss tomato(e) and that sucker's first flush is gonna be 20 to 30 tomatoes! Mmmmmmmmmm... Last year we got over 100 from just 3 plants (no trusses) so this year I'd be expecting over 300.

That's a lot of tomatoes.




I still have a few jars of semi-sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil and fresh basil from last season. I also still have a jar of the end of season green tomatoes that I pickled.

I think we'll be eating a lot of tomatoes over the next 8 months :)

OT 95 F in the shade Friday... A little bit warm for middle of spring...

The sauce for this is the same as I use for my fish recipe that everyone down here loves, or at least those who've tried it.

The sauce is basically half olive oil and half lemon juice (or lime juice), a bit of salt, some ground white pepper, and some tarragon. Whisk the heck out of it and a nice emulsion forms.

The other day I was grilling up some basa with the above marinade, and I realised I had made too much marinade. I then noticed that we had 3 big, fresh, juicy tomatoes just sitting there on the kitchen table begging to be eaten.

Hmmmmm, thought I... perhaps I can thick slice them and grill them and drizzle the excess marinade on them? Oh, wait a sec! How's abouts I cut em in half and let the sauce soak into them before grilling? Yeah, that'll work!

They were a HIT! I mean a huge hit! The cool thing is that they kinda make there own little bowls of tomatoey goodness. Gobble, smack, slurp!

Here the recipe:

Whut Yoo Knead:
3 tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (or half lemon/half lime juice)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper (or black, no worries)
1 to 2 tsp dried tarragon leaves

Whut Yoo Doo:

Toss everything except the tomatoes in a bowl. Then whisk like crazy. The sauce will form an emulsion. Very very very tasty.

Slice each tomato(e) in half. Latitudinally, not longitudinally (that means if the stem is the north pole, then slice along the equator). Put the halved tomatoes on a plate with the cut side UP. Spoon the sauce over each half (that'd be six halves) and let them sit for an hour (while you go prepare whatever else you are having for dinner).

Crank up your grill (I have a six burner gas barbie) to high. Let the grill get really hot, then turn off the gas. Place the tomato(e) halves on the grill with the cut side DOWN. Close the lid.

In about 10 to 15 mins, open the lid, and plate them suckers up! Serve them with the cut side UP, and they'll each become their own little bowl of tomatoey goodness.


I'm sure you can do the same thing under a broiler (on the lowest temp possible) in the kitchen. I wouldn't suggest making them in an oven cus I think they'd soften up way too much. But hey, you can always try! But if you have a gas grill, it's easily done. Charcoal, no worries; just move the coals to one side after getting the part of the grill where you are putting the tomatoes nice and really hot.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cheesy Steamed Cauliflower

This is a main dish. Yes, that's right. It'll feed 3 hungry adults --provided they all like cauliflower, of course. It's dead easy to make and is quick. Heck, I'll bet even Ishmael could make it (but I doubt he'd eat it).

Here's what u knead:

one big ole cauliflower
1 litre full cream milk
1/2 cup cream
1 cup white wine
ground white pepper
2 to 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup minced onion
corn flour (corn starch for you yanks)

What to due:

Cut the cauliflower up into large sized chunks --depends on the size of your steamer, the chunks should be as big as you can make them and still fit into the steamer. Don't forget to steam the greens too, very tasty and nutritious!

They'll need to steam for a good 30 mins and the sauce only takes 10 mins. That'll give you an idea of when to start the sauce. The sauce really makes this dish, yum!

Put the milk, cream, and white wine in a large saucepan heat it slowly. Keep the flame low as you don't want to scald the cream, but you should be able to get it bubbling without burning it. Add 1/2 tsp sea salt, and a few good shakes to white pepper --this is to YOUR taste.

Once the sauce in simmering, start sprinkling in the corn starch (corn flour for you Aussies) while whisking like crazy. Once the sauce is as thick as you like it (it should be fairly thin for this so that it soaks into the cauliflower) then add the minced onion and the CHEESE. Mmmmmmmm, cheese... drooooo-al...

Turn the heat off the sauce and let it sit for a few mins while you plate up the big cauliflower chunks. Liberally ladle the sauce over the cauliflower and use some process to get the food from your plate into your stomach.

Use a beer instead of the white wine
Use some cayenne powder
Use some garlic
Use some bleu cheese along with the cheddar
Parmesan along with the cheddar works well too
Serve with piping hot, soft, fresh, homemade bread (with lots of butter)


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sweet And Spicy Cabbage

Whoa, hold on a minute. Just cus I can hear the groans from way down in Oz doesn't mean it's not good! In fact, it's very good. Well, at least to me it is.

As many of you are aware, I tend to experiment a bit. Sometimes in the kitchen even! Most of the kitchen experiments are pretty successful, once in a while something bombs totally, and once in a while something is awesome (like the special meat balls last night).

This one is one of the awesome ones. Provided, of course, that you like cabbage and spicy food. Otherwise, I don't think you'll enjoy this.

But if you're brave and like spicy food and cabbage, then read on.

This whole thing started when I noticed that I had some leftover cabbage the other day (just steamed a bunch, it was very mad) and I didn't want it to go to waste. Hmmmm, I'll just thin slice it (shred) and marinate it in *something* to have on the side tonight with the fish stir-fry.

6 hours go by while the shredded cabbage marinates...

Well, that sure didn't "take" the flavors well. Let me add some more sugar and then simmer the mess.




Ah, ready to have as a side dish!

Not ultra yummy, but tasty.

*The next morning*

*picture dave staggering down the stairs in his robe*

*to feed the birds*

*and the cat*

*dave is hungry*

What's this? Some leftover cabbage! Well, the spices will help clear the sinuses.



*Eat some more*

WOW!!!! That's great! Now I just need to remember how I made it...

Which brings us to:

Dingo Dave's Sweet and Spicy Cabbage

Please note that this is a very ad hoc recipe...

What you need:

1/8 (or so) of a cabbage head, shredded
1/4 cup very thin sliced red onion
1/2 cup fermented white vinegar (never use distilled, I took organic chem and I know where the distilled garbage comes from)
1 cup white wine vinegar
3 or 4 cups haitch-too-o (water)
2 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves crushed garlic (or 2 tbsp of the jarred stuff)
1 to 4 tsp chil(l)i flakes (just how hot do you like it?)
1 cup raw sugar

What you do:

This is so easy. Even you blokes or blokettes that can't cook can do this!

Put everything EXCEPT THE CABBAGE AND THE ONION in a saucepan. Whisk the heck out of it so the sugar is dissolved. Crank on the burner and simmer for 15 mins (stir it once in a while, eh) and then let take it off the heat. Toss in the cabbage and onion, cover, and let it sit for a few hours.

A few hours later, turn the heat back on. Boil it till there's almost no liquid left. Strain off the liquid. Let the cabbage and onion cool, then cover and toss that puppy in the fridge till the next day (or even two).

If you like spicy and if you like cabbage, then this is awesomely good!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chocolate Covered Spiders Legs

Oh me, oh my! Doesn't this sound just deliciously decadent? I mean, come on! Who would want to coat some big ole hairy spiders legs in chocolate? Ummmm, right...

BTW, I'm putting this on my main blog too. But the title will be Chocolate Covered Sarah Palin Legs. That oughta get a wee bit of traffic.

It's amazing the recipes you find when you flip through the magazine stand at the supermarket checkout. This is one of those...

Now, I don't really like following things EXACTLY, so first I thought that I'd use the hot fudge sauce from my now world famous Frozen Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Hot Fudge Sauce. But then I remembered my sauce is more fudgy like when it cools, and I need the chocolate to set. Ok, I'll follow their instructions.

Then I thought, "Heck, this is Oz! There's spiders galore. I think I'll go find some." This proved a little more difficult than I had anticipated since I needed really big spiders. I was hoping to find a colony of Huntsman or Wolf spiders. But no, I only found little teeny ones and one of them was drowned in the pool!

See, here's proof (and just click on any of them to see em full screen size):

Hmmmm, he'd be a bit soggy, not very crunchy.

Then I thought of this bloke:

Definitely the right size, but it might be poisonous.

Or how about this one?

Nah, way too pretty. Besides it eats the mosquitos around the pool.

Well, heck! Guess I might as well follow the whole darned recipe, sigh.

Chocolate Covered Spider Legs

What you need:
1 bag of fried noodles, 100 grams (these are them crunchy ones!)
200 grams (almost a POUND) of dark cooking chocolate
2 tbsp of peanut butter (crunchy or not, I used smooth cus I was out of crunchy)

What you do:
This ain't rocket science! First, break the cooking choc into the smallest pieces you can (it melts faster, I'd explain but it involves Thermodynamics and Latent Heat of Fusion or some such crap) and put the choc and peanut butter in a large microwave proof bowl. Nuke that sucker on high for a min or two. Pull it out, stir it all up. If the choc isn't melted all the way, pop it back in the microwave for 15 to 30 secs.

Once it's all melted, add the bag of fried noodles. Mix it together, but be careful so you don't break the noodles.

Take a plate or cookie sheet and put a piece of wax paper on it. Spoon the chocolately peanuty noodley goodness on to it. I made 14 little piles of spider legs on mine, see:
chocolate spider legs

Pop that tray in the fridge so the chocolate sets.

And then (this is the really clever part) eat them! We'll be having ours for dessert tonight as we watch the season finale of the latest Dr Who!

Dr Who spoiler alert
There's a Dr Who spoiler alert approaching...
It's still approaching...
Rose is back!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Seafood Chowder

This may seem to be a fairly simple menu item, but no matter how you make your chowder and whatever you put into it (clams, prawns (shrimp), crab, fish chunks, mussels, etc) there are a couple of very important techniques to getting it right.

For those of you in the US who make your own New England Clam Chowder, you'll feel right at home with this.

There are also many many different ingredients you can use. I'm going to give you the recipe as I made it two nights ago, and then give you a bunch of different things you can use/substitute. That way no matter where in the world you are and no matter what local ingredients you can lay your hands on, you'll always be able to make Dingo Dave's Seafood Chowder!

Oh, I tend to make it slightly different each time, depending on what I have in the pantry and the freezer that day or what was fresh at the fish shop that morning. So there's no real hard and fast rule, except for a couple of techniques.

On with the show!

Dingo Dave's Seafood Chowder

What you need:
2 or 3 rashers of bacon cut into small pieces
bacon fat from the above bacon (this is IMPORTANT)
1 can (400 mls or about 14 oz) coconut cream
200 gms small whole prawns (1/2 pound small shrimp) with the shells on
1 litre seafood stock (made from the above prawn shells)
1 whitefish fillet cut into small chunks (I used hoki)
small can of crab meat (or fresh if you've got it)
1/2 to 1 litre milk (2 to 4 cups)
a small minced (or diced) onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
3 or 4 small diced potatoes
sea salt
ground black pepper
ground white pepper
1 tbsp dried basil
1/4 cup flour
a couple of litres of H-TWO-OH(water)

What you due:

Firstly, make the seafood stock (start this a few hours before you want to make the chowder). To make it you'll need to peel and devein the prawns. Toss the veins (alimentary tract, ahem...) but keep the heads, shells, legs etc and throw them in a big ole saucepan. Add a litre (4 cups) of water and boil the heck out of it. Once it's almost boiled down, add another litre of water and boil for a short time. Let cool. Take a potato masher and mash down the shells --this is to extract every bit of flavourful prawny goodness from the shells. Strain the stock (this is IMPORTANT). Save the stock, dump the shells.

Ok, your seafood stock is made, no worries.

Now for the nuts and bolts.

Cook the bacon pieces in the pot you plan to make the chowder in (use a low flame). Once the bacon is done to your liking (crispy or not, your call), remove the bacon but LEAVE THE BACON FAT IN THE POT. Add the diced potatoes to the pot, and cook in the bacon fat for a few mins; stir regularly. After a couple of mins, add the minced onion, some salt, some ground black (or white) pepper and a bit of dried basil. Stir it around. You should have some very nice aromas by now; just keep the heat low so nothing burns. Add the flour and mix well.

Yes, you'll have some browned on gunky looking stuff in the pot along with the spuds and onions. Don't worry, you're about to take care of that.

Now add the seafood stock you made earlier in the day. Give everything a good stir and use your wooden spoon to scrap the bottom and sides of the pot. Ain't deglazing pots great? Very flavourful. Oh, and, ummmmm, it's a FRENCH cooking technique!

Now add the coconut cream and about 1/2 litre of milk (2 cups). Let it simmer for a few mins.

While that's simmering, you get to sear the spices and seafood.

I use a wok, but feel free to use a saucepan if you'd like.

To the wok add the olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, fish chunks, crab meat, prawn (shrimp) meat. Crank the heat to HIGH and sear that stuff while tossing/stirring regularly. It'll only take 2 to 3 mins.

Dump the entire contents of the wok into the chowder pot. Also add the bacon pieces. This is the point where you can add more milk if you think the chowder is too thick. I, however, feel that chowder can never be too thick --but that's just me.

Let it simmer for a couple of mins, then serve it up! Have a fresh made loaf of bread or a fresh cobb or a fresh baguette around for dunkers.

This is seriously good!

And now for the substitutions and garnishes!

Well, most of you may not want to make your own fish stock. I can respect that, really! So get a bottle of clam juice instead. Oi! Can't find clam juice, use white wine! Don't drink? Don't worry, the alcohol will cook off.

Fake crab can be subbed for crab meat, no worries.

If you sub clams for the prawns, then DON'T sear them and only add them to the chowder in the last couple of minutes --otherwise they'll be really tough and chewy.

Don't like coconut (heathen scum)? No worries, just use milk cream instead.

Allergic to lactose? Well... this really isn't the recipe for you, sorry.

Garnish with any herbs you want, just make sure they are fresh; chives, basil, parsley, coriander (cilantro if you are in N.A.) etc.

Want it spicy? Add a tbsp or two of vindaloo paste to the wok when you sear the seafood and spices. Oh YEAH! That'll get them capillaries dilated!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ham and Egg and Cheese Cupcakes!

???? Like, Ummmm... ham, eggs, cheese and cupcakes? What the hell are you thinking this time dave?

Gosh, I get asked questions like that daily, hourly, minutely!

Now to be fair to me, I did NOT come up with this. I read it in a magazine at the grocery store checkout counter. I thought it sounded really good. I even thought it should taste really good too.

Can I lay claim to this? Well, I did use different herbs (mainly cus I didn't have the ones they used) and I would've loved to use some different cheeses... But it just so happened that I had everything needed in stock (except the fresh herbs they used, so I used ones I had). I also used shaved ham instead of proscuitto (how the heck do you spell that???)...

THEY ARE GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like seriously tasty!!! I'm making these whenever I have the fixin's for them. One of the great things about them is you can make one or a dozen so that if someone in the house don't like 'em, then you can still make them as a side dish for yourself!

And they are simple and easy to make. You can also modify them to your taste buds as I'm sure your taste buds are much different from mine (I hope).

On with the show:

Ham, Egg and Cheese Cupcakes:

What you knead:
one muffin tin that'll make six muffins or cupcakes
6 to 12 slices of shaved ham
6 eggs
1 or 2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp minced scallion
2 or 3 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
Pinch of chili powder

What you due:

First, preheat your oven to high heat. While it's preheating, do the following:

In a bowl, mix the feta, cheddar, coriander leaves, scallion and chilli powder together. Then use the butter to grease your muffin/cupcake dish. Line each cupcake hole with shaved ham so that the ham forms a "cup". Put a tbsp or two of the cheese mixture into the ham holes. Then carefully crack an egg over each "cupcake" --don't break the yolk! Top each "cupcake" with the rest of the cheese mix.

Put that sucker in your hot oven for about 12 to 15 mins. When the egg is done to your liking ( I like the yolk slightly runny for this) then it's done.

The ham and whatever cheese and egg leaked through will form a nice cupcake, with savory, herbed, egged goodness in the middle. Pop them suckers out and serve 'em on the side with whatever you are having for dinner.

I made breaded fish fillets with a fresh salad along with these puppies last night. Plates were licked clean by all.

I'm terrible at food pics, but here's what the whole spread looked like. Ah, the two ham, egg and cheese cupcakes are on the upper right of the plate.
ham and cheese cupcakes

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go make a 3 cheese sauce to go over a steamed cauliflower. Adieu amigos!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bacon Wrapped Fish Fillets with Pineapple, Peanut, and Coconut Curry

Oi, don't that sound like a mouthful? That's cus it is, and a darned tasty one at that! If you like fish and pork, then this is the dish for YOU. Mmmmmmmmmm... I drool on the keyboard as I type this and remember the flavours... ahhhhhhh...

Ok dave, take a deep breath and calm down; your stuffed pumpkin will be out of the oven soon so you can eat. Mmmmmmm...

Oops, back to the topic. So, like, what kinda fish? I used basa. Basa is a freshwater white fleshy fish found in the Mekong Delta (that'd be Vietnam). I do believe it's a type of catfish. I wouldn't want to use US catfish for this as they are darned flavourful on their own (deep fried with a cajun chili dipping sauce). Basically, any small whitefish fillets will do. Hake, Whiting, Hoki, Basa, Cod, Halibut, whatever.

One of the nice things about this is that it only takes 20 mins and it'll feed four hungry adults (provided they like bacon and fish, of course).

A note about Bacon... American bacon is from pork bellies, whereas Canadian bacon, UK, Aus, Kiwi, etc is from the pork back. The difference: The belly pork is fattier than the back pork. Thin-sliced American bacon probably won't work too well for this as it would crispy up before the fish was done; I'd suggest for you US'ns to use either Canadian bacon, or thick sliced US bacon.

Alrighy, here we go with Dingo Dave's Bacon Wrapped Fish Fillets with Pineapple, Peanut, and Coconut Curry.

What you need:

4 whitefish fillets (I used basa, but hoki, hake, cod, or halibut would be fine)
8 LONG slices of THICK bacon


For the curry sauce:
one can (400 ml or 16 oz) coconut cream
1/3 to 1/2 cup finely chopped pineapple
one good sized handful of coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
2 to 3 tbsp of minced onion
a couple of tbsp olive oil and a 1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tsp prepared lemon grass
1 or 2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
pinch or two of chilli powder
1 or 2 tsp turmeric powder

Optional garnish stuff:
thin sliced red capsicum (red bell pepper)
fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
parsley sprigs
fresh basil leaves
etc (use your imagination)

What to do:

First, put your rice on to cook. 1 cup of uncooked should be enough, but don't short yourself as leftover rice is a very good thing to have in the kitchen. Short, long, medium, jasmine, basmati, whatever you prefer. You should have some rice cooking technique where you can go away and leave it for 20 mins, and then POOF perfect rice. A microwave oven makes a great rice cooker.

Once the rice is on, wrap each fish fillet with two slices of bacon. You don't need to pin the bacon on with toothpicks. Start cooking the bacony-fish either on your big grill hotplate, or a large frypan. Low heat. You can also bake it in a hot oven, but if you do that you'll want to get them in the oven before the rice as they'll take 20 or so mins to cook in the oven. I prefer the hotplate on the outdoor grill thankyouverymuch.

Once the bacony-fish starts cooking, you'll start the curry. Put the olive oil and sesame oil in a wok, add the pineapple, onion, and peanut. Crank the heat medium-high. Just when the wok starts to sizzle, add the rest of the curry stuff. Toss it every ten or 15 secs so it doesn't burn, then after 2 mins (you'll smell WONDERFUL spicy aromas) add the coconut cream, stir, and turn the heat down low.

By now, it should be time to turn the bacony-fish. They really only need 7 or 8 mins a side. It should smell really really really good by now.

While the fish finishes cooking, give the curry a stir every minute or so. Give it a taste, adjust seasonings: if it's not spicy enough for you then add some more chili powder, if it's too hot then add some cream, if it's too tart, then add a bit of sugar.

It should all come together 20 mins after you started the rice. Each plate gets a bed of rice, then the bacon wrapped fish, and the curry sauce poured over the top. It'll look something like this:

bacon wrapped fish fillets

I know, my parrot pics are a heckuva lot better than my food pics, but I was rushed a bit.

Oh, I didn't have any fresh red bell peppers, so I added some dried ones to the curry --as I'm sure you can tell from the pic, eh? Garnish with whatever herb you'd like. Or not, your choice.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chicken Coconut Curry

This is one of those dishes you make when you have some leftover chicken from the chook roast you did the night before. You really don't need much chicken meat, just make sure you've got plenty of chicken stock from the roasting pan.

This can easily be made into a flamethrower dish if you are so inclined. As much as I like spicy and hot foods, I *do* like to actually taste the subtle flavouring nuances of the meal.

Holy CRAP! I can't believe I just typed "subtle flavouring nuances" without even thinking about it! Gack! Somebody pass the pitcher of cheap american beer, a chili dog, a platter of nachos, the buffalo wings, and turn the channel to pro wrestling, QUICK!

Sorry about that... back to your regularly scheduled culinary blog...

Chicken Coconut Curry

What you need:

1 to 2 cups leftover, cooked, diced, chicken meat
1 can coconut cream (400 ml or 12 oz)
a small dollup sour cream (if it's too spicy for you)
1/2 cup cream (in case it's still too spicy for you)
2 cups chicken stock from last night's roast chook
1 tbsp chicken stock powder (if you don't have last night's chicken stock)
1 cup of basmati rice (or any long-grained rice)
1 or 2 tbsp olive oil

Spices needed:
2 tbsp vindaloo paste (really really really HOT stuff, you may want to use less)
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp prepared lemon grass
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp turmeric powder
small handful of finely minced onion
1 tbsp minced ginger

What you do:

Put the rice on to cook. Whether it's in your microwave, rice cooker, or stovetop. Remember, 1 cup of rice to 2 (or 2 1/2) cups of water.

Put the coconut cream, chicken stock and diced chicken into a large saucepan. Low heat, simmer with lid on.

While the rice is cooking and the saucepan is simmering, you get to prepare the spices! The spices AND the way they are prepared is (are) the key to this dish! So if you don't do anything else I say, just make sure you prepare the spices PROPERLY! Excuse me while I get off my soapbox now.

Put the 2 tbsp of olive oil in a wok. Flame on medium to medium high (depends on your cooker). Now, you're going to be adding the spices all at once so while the oil is heating (should only take 1 min at the most) you can add all the spices (including the minced onion) to a bowl. As soon as the oil is hot enough (just BEFORE it starts to smoke) add all the spices at once. Move the searing spices around well, toss them a few times, use a wooden spoon, do what you'd like to keep it moving while hearing that wonderful sizzling sound. No, I don't have pics of this procedure cus it's over so fast! One or two minutes in the wok should do it. You'll be smelling some of the most GORGEOUS aromas you've ever smelt... hmmmm can aromas be gorgeous?

Add the seared spices to the saucepan with the chook stock, coconut cream and chook pieces. Give it a good stir. Cover and let it simmer til the rice is done.

Ta-Da! From start to finish only 18 mins!

Oh, wait... you are gonna ask where the cream and the sour cream come into play, aren't you? Just before the rice is done, give the curry a taste. If it's too spicy, then add the sour cream and stir well. If it burns your mouth, then add not only the sour cream but the cream too. If it's still too spicy, then maybe you'll believe me when I tell you that vindaloo paste is very hot!

Nah, all joking aside: 3 of the 4 house folk down here think a quick grind of black pepper in a soup pot is spicy, and they all LOVE this dish! The trick is to sear the spices first.

Serve it over the rice, have plenty of fried pappadams on the side.  

Friday, August 1, 2008


I found a recipe for brownies the other day. Now, I've got shelves of cookbooks and loads of baking recipes, but this one I found I just had to try. The fact that I had everything in the house for them and I needed to make dessert for that evening had a wee bit to do with it too.

I can honestly say that these were the best brownies I've ever made and have ever tasted.

Now, I didn't use non-stick spray as Rachel does. I buttered the baking dish instead. I also did the optional chocolate chunks (dark cooking chocolate worked great).

So where can you find this really really really good recipe for brownies?

Right here, at Rachel's cooking blog. She's offered to mail me a bunch of different chilli peppers when she found out we can't get a lot of the really good ones down here in Oz, but I had to pass on that as AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service --or something like that) would've stopped them suckers at the border! Oh well, thanks anyways.

I really will post something original of mine soon. Just gotta find the time in between all these naps I'm taking as I recover from staying up late to watch all the Tour stages live.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beef Soup

Sometimes even the simplest recipes can be the best. This is one of those times. You may not realise this, but I tend to cook without recipes. Now, I do have a very good idea of where I'm going with a dish, what food/herb/spices goes well with whatever, what technique works with what type of meat or veggie or fruit, etc. Around 75% of the time, it's turns out great and everyone enjoys it. Perhaps 20% it's a so-so, but plates and bowls are still empty. The remaining 5% is split between, "let's not have that again", and "HOLY SHIT! This is the best darned thing I've ever tasted! Whatever you did write it down so you don't forget cus we all want to have this every meal for the next century!!!"

This soup dish fell into the final category. *pat, pat, patting myself on back*

It involved a bit of leftover too. I'm very good with leftovers. If I was on Iron Chef and Chairman Kaga announced the theme ingredient of Leftovers, then I'd blow them all away! I'd even take them all on at once! Ha! It's gotten to the point where I actually plan for leftovers and have sorta figured out what I'll do with them for lunch the next day. Like this morning, for example. Had some leftover mashed spuds and some leftover sugared carrots. Hmmmmmm, add some bread crumbs, an egg, some seasonings, mix it all together and form into patties. Fry in leftover bacon fat. TaDa: great potato cakes!

Meat is also hard for me cus I've got to make it so my MIL can eat it (and like it too). Hmmmm, 80 yrs old, suffering from Crohn's Disease for the last 60 years (had 5 operations in her twenties and don't have much guts left), not many molars left, and her medications makes her taste buds have wild moods swings. For instance; she's loved lamb her whole life, then about a year ago she said she can't stand the taste of it no matter what is done. Sigh... Beef is even harder cus she loves the taste, but it has to be cooked very carefully for her so that's it's very tender. Needless to say, grilled steaks are out for her (but not for me!). Fish is no problem for her, but shellfish has to be cooked certain ways for her. Even chicken has to be cooked carefully for her... But at least I've gotten them to like spices! Keep in mind, these people used to have seizures if more than one small grind of pepper was put into 2 gallons of soup.

Now, since this post is titled Beef Soup, can you guess which type of land-based protein critter is to be used????? Yup, it's BEEF. All of our really tender good beef is very very very very expensive, so we buy cheap cuts and then I get creative.

To get the beef tender enough for her and for the onions to really "cook in" I knew I'd need to start this soup about lunchtime. Fortunately, it's like maybe 5 mins of work every couple of hours.

Here's what you need:

4 small, tough, cheap, possibly inedible, beef rump steaks
1 leftover baked potato
1 medium onion (rough chopped)
2 fresh carrots (diced)
lots of water
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp dried oregano
lots of salt
1 to 2 tsp ground black pepper
bacon fat
2 potatoes (peeled and diced)
1/4 cup unbleached flour
one really big pot with a lid
a wok
wooden spoon for stirring
some sort of heat producing device, I recommend the side burner of your gas grill
fresh baked cobb for dunkers
serviettes (napkins to you US'ns)

Well, those last ten you can probably figure out on your own, I guess.

What you do:

Cube the beef. Try to trim off as much of the grisle and fat as you can. The cubes should be the size of small dice. Heat half (about 2 tbsp) the bacon fat in your big soup pot, and add the cubed beef in just BEFORE the bacon fat starts to smoke. Fry it up for a minute or two, turning frequently so all sides of the cubes are well browned. Yes, you'll have some stuff start to stick to your soup pot but don't worry.

Now add a couple of cups of water. Stir well while using your wooden spoon to scrap all the really good tasting bits off the bottom of the pot. Once that is done, fill the pot to 3/4 full and turn the heat down waaaaaaay low. Add the rough chopped onions, the bay leaves, basil, oregano, pepper, some salt (you can always add more later). 

Put the lid on it and go away for an hour. This may be a good time to take a nap :)

After an hour, top up the water level to 3/4 and give the broth a taste. Add more salt if needed and whatever other seasoning you think may help. Add the diced carrot it.

Put the lid on it and go away for another hour. Hmmmm, time for another nap perhaps?

Oh yeah: if you didn't make a fresh cobb pull-apart loaf of bread this morning, then you really should have started that BEFORE you took your FIRST nap.

After the next hour, skin the leftover roast spud and chop it up finely. Add to the soup, and top the water back up to 3/4 of the pot. Taste the broth, and adjust the seasonings. Dig out the 3 bay leaves and chuck em. Turn the heat off and let it sit for an hour COVERED.

After that third hour (and another nap???), heat the rest of the bacon fat (about 2 tbsp) in a wok and add the diced potato. Fry and toss for around two mins. Then sprinkle with the flour, stir it around, and add to the soup. Put the soup pot back on low heat for 30 mins.

Serve that sucker up in some LARGE bowls cus I can tell you everyone will want lots and lots. Fresh bread for dunkers!

This is really good, I'm not joking.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mild Malaysian

I do have to apologise for offending anyone who's reading this from SouthEast Asia... Please keep in mind I cook for a family that (until recently) thinks a pinch of ground black pepper in 2 gallons of soup is spicy and hot!

Fortunately, I've (slowly) gotten them to see the good side of spices and their uses in food. The key I've found is not to overdo it, and have plenty of cream and sour cream around to "dampen" the spices if I've miscalculated for their sensitive taste buds.

Can you tell I like to experiment in the kitchen? Huh, CAN YOU? Yes, I do like to experiment in the kitchen. 18 out of 20 times it comes out fine, 1 out of 20 is crap, and 1 out of 20 is DAMNED GOOD TUCKA!

Just a note, this will serve 4 adults with normal appetites. So, like, vary the amounts depending on how many you're serving, eh?

This recipe is one of those "Damned Good Tucka" ones... Hmmmmm, what shall we call it? Think, think, think... Ah! Got it!

Dingo Dave's Spicy Coconut Fish Over Rice

Yeah, that's a good name for a recipe, cool! Normally I like to use fresh stuff in my cooking (no preservatives or "flavour enhancers") but there I times when I have to dip into a jar of something. Fortunately, most everything in jars and cans down here (in Oz) don'ts gots no preservatives and other crap in it.

Here we go, kiddies:

What you knead:

2 or 3 tbsp olive oil (or peanut oil if you have it)

1/4 cup of minced onion
1/2 tsp to 3 tsp chilli powder (your palate, not mine)
1 tsp prepared garlic (or one crushed garlic clove)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (keeps cancer away)
1/2 tsp dried mint leaves
1 tsp prepared ginger (or 1/2 inch grated ginger root)
1 1/2 tsp jarred lemon grass
2 tbsp tamarind paste

1 or 2 tbsp raw sugar

small can of bamboo shoots
a pound of white fish, cut into bite sized chunks (I usually use hake or hoki)
one can of coconut cream (400 mls down here, I think that's 12 oz in the US)
sour cream for garnish (optional, this is in case you have someone who doesn't like spices)
fresh coriander leaves (cilantro for you US'ns) for garnish

cooked long grain rice --hey, you gotta serve it over something!

What you due:

Put the oil in a wok and turn the gas to medium-low. At this point you'll want to start your rice cooking. For the rice I use Basmati or Jasmine, but any long grain will do. Start it cooking as you would normally (18 mins in microwave, eh).

To the hot oil add the next 8 ingredients. You'll notice I separated them so you can easily count to eight. Give the spices a quick stir and after 45 secs to a min add the water from the can of bamboo shoots. Stir it quickly and you'll find you have yourself an AWESOME smelling reddish sauce. Then add the sugar and give it one more quick stir.

The fish pieces (chunks or whatever you'd call them) go in now. Toss them around in the wok to thoroughly coat them in the sauce. Turn the heat down to low.

Pour in the coconut cream and the bamboo shoots. Give it a good stir and then let it simmer gently for 10 mins.

Well, ten min later it's done! And your rice should be done to (did you remember to put the rice in the rice cooker 18 minutes ago?).

Serve it up over a bed of rice, yummy! If you've added extra chilli and someone in the household doesn't like spicy food, then just put a dollop of sour cream over the top of theirs, no worries. Garnish with sprigs of fresh coriander and there ya go.

This is really, really, really tasty and I've been told by the clan (from the Scottish border country) that I can make it any time I'd like to. Keep in mind that these are people that used to break out in a sweat just by looking at a mild chilli pepper.

BONUS: Got some prawns? Add them in the same time you'd add the fish. Got some water chestnuts? Add them in the same time as the bamboo shoots; same goes with any veggies you want to put in, no worries.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Veggie Soup Stock

This is so tasty! It's something I've wanted to try for a while and was finally able to cus we got some fresh corn with ALL the husk on. Now I know many of you are going to say to make tamales with the husks, and others of you are going to say to grill them with the husks on (I love em that way) but no one else in the household down here will touch them that way. To them, the corn cob has to be boiled... for a long time... sigh; heathens they are!

So I always end up with a huge pile of corn husks and nothing to do with them (yes, I'll make tamales for myself and grill mine in the husk but there's still a lot left over).

So how's about making soup stock with them!? Why the heck not? Here we go with

Dave's Veggie Stock

What you need:

a big pile of fresh corn husks
lots of water
lots of sea salt
ground black pepper
dried onion flakes (I make my own)
dried red bell pepper (I make my own of them too)
dried basil

What you do:

Fill your largest stock pot with water, toss in all the corn husks. Sprinkle with sea salt, cover, and crank some heat under that sucker. Turn the heat way down once it's boiling, push down any floating corn husks (use something besides your bare hand), and then go away for an hour.

When you come back in an hour, top the water up, sprinkle in some more sea salt, add some ground black pepper, onion flakes, dried red bell pepper strips and some dried basil. Put the lid back on and go away for another hour.

Ok, you've now come back; it's been a total of two hours since you started the whole process. The stock in your stock pot should be tasting pretty darned tasty right about now. Now's the time to adjust the seasonings. Add more salt or pepper if you think it needs it (hey, they are your taste buds, not mine). If it's too salty you have two options. One is to add more water without adding more salt (I don't favor this as it dilutes the overall flavor of the stock), the other is to add a chunk or two of raw potato and simmer for another 15 to 20 mins. Take the chunks of potato out (they will be darned salty after having absorbed a lot of the salt in the stock) and do what you'd like with them (I usually chuck them in the freezer and use them to add to mashed spuds when I need to). And now your stock has been desalted without the rest of the flavor being diluted. Presto!

Well now, you should have about a gallon of good veggie stock. It should only have cost you 50 cents, maybe a dollar. You had the corn husks anyways cus of the corn cobs, a small handfull of onion flakes and a few strips of dried bell peppers are pretty cheap especially if you dry your own, and who doesn't keep salt, pepper and basil in their kitchen? Go run to a store RIGHT NOW and price how much a PINT of veggie stock is, and then look at all the crap that's been added to it! Are you back? Yeah, see: it's much better to make your own!

What to do with the stock? Well, you can use it as soup broth right now, no worries. You can toss it in the freezer for future use. Use it the next time you are making a risotto! Makes a great cream soup too! Use your imagination and your kitchen ingenuity and you'll be amazed.

Yeah, a gallon of veggie soup stock for 50 cents... pretty darned good the way food prices are, eh?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Hot Chocolate Sauce

Ummmmm, this is... really... really... really... awesomely delicious. Every time I make it the whole thing disappears quickly. Please take note that I am plagerising myself as this has appeared previously at my other blog. Here, I'll even put a pic up of the finished product:

Looks tasty, don't it?

And here's how to make it:

Frozen Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Hot Chocolate Sauce and Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust

What you need:

For the crust:
1/3 to 1/2 pound of crunchy chocolate chip cookies
2-3 tbsp melted butter --slightly cooled
1 tbsp milk

For the Filling:
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup of cream
1/2 pound softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar

For the chocolate sauce:
1/3 to 1/2 pound dark chocolate --chopped coarsely
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup cream

What you do:

In a food processor, process the cookies until the are a fine texture. Then add the butter and milk; process some more.

Press the crust mixture into a buttered pie or flan dish. Chuck it in the fridge for an hour to harden and set.

For the filling; add the peanut butter and cream to a small saucepan, then mix/whisk over low heat until it's combined. Let it cool. While that's cooling, mix the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixers (you know, the kind with the beaters you licked as a kid?), until it's smooth. Then stir in the peanut butter mixture thoroughly.

Put the filling into the crust (duh), then chuck it all in the freezer overnight.

The next day...: Just before serving, make the hot chocolate sauce. Put the dark chocolate and butter and cream in a small saucepan and heat slowly while stirring (you don't need a double boiler for this).

Now, in order to get the frozen cheesecake out of the dish it's in you'll want to fill a sink with about an inch of hot water.  Carefully place the dish with the cheesecake in the hot water (it'll float, trust me) for about 45 secs to a min. Remove from the water.  Then just pop the frozen cheesecake out of the dish to slice it up, no worries. The hot water melts the butter that you buttered the dish with while still keeping  the crust and filling frozen. Neat trick, eh?

Then (here's the easy part): slice the frozen cheesecake and top with the hot chocolate sauce.

Oh yeah, this hot chocolate sauce can be used for LOTS of things; use your imagination!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Yes, I realise that some of you in the US may not even know what a crumpet is. I had heard of them but had no idea what they were when I arrived down here. They are SOOOOO tasty! I prefer them with just butter, but you can slather anything on them you can think of. Whatever you'd put on toast, waffles, or pancakes goes great on crumpets.

When a friend of ours visited in 2001, she had crumpets for the first time ever. Everyday she was here she had crumpets for brekkie. When she got back to Anchorage she tried in vain to find a place that sold crumpets, but to no avail. She had to wait 6 and a half years before having another crumpet (she visited recently).

Anyways, I thought I do a public service recipe for those of you starved for crumpets and are in a land where you can't get them. Even if you are in a land where you can buy them premade at the shops you definitely want to make them yourself. Much, much better than pre-packaged. My mum-in-law is from the land of crumpets and she says that mine are much better than store bought ones.

When I started to formulate my crumpet recipe, I did a bit of searching around on this internet doohickey (you may have heard of it) and found that most from scratch were yeast based. I didn't want that cus I wanted mine to be quick and easy.

So I did what any good kitchen bloke would do: Made it up as I went! And guess what? First time was a charm! Am I good or what? No, don't answer that.

You'll want some good quality cooking rings, 10 cm (4 inches) in diameter. I make mine on my big ole outdoor grill hotplate so I can make several at once. If you're doing them on the stovetop you'll want a good, thick, flat griddle pan (cast iron is best) and you should be able to make 2 to 4 at a time depending on your griddle size. Grease the rings and griddle surface well (I like to use bacon fat) unless your cooking rings are nonstick like mine :)

Dave's Quick Crumpets

What you need:
4 cooking rings
one good griddle surface
2 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
4 tbsp butter
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups of water

I know it seems like a lot of liquid for only 2 cups of flour, but the batter should be just runnier than pancake batter.

What you do:
Melt the butter, and then set aside to cool. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Beat the eggs and water. Chuck it all together (make sure the butter is cooled) and mix the heck out of it. You want it to be smooth, not lumpy like waffle or pancake batter. Don't be afraid to use a whisk.

Consistency: Thinner than pancake batter, that's for sure. I started with 1 1/2 cups water and added 1/4 at a time to the batter till it got as thin as needed.

Crank the heat on your hot plate or flat griddle. Grease your rings and the griddle and put the rings on the cooking surface (they get hot, careful!). Then turn the heat down as LOW as possible! These suckers will need 4 to 7  mins before flipping so you don't want the bottoms to burn.

Pour the batter into the rings till each ring is half full. They will rise all the way to the top during cooking, no worries. Holes and bubbles will form as they cook: that's supposed to happen! You'll know they are ready for the rings to come off cus the tops won't be "wet" when they are ready. This'll happen after 4 to 7 mins of cooking depending on your griddle temp. Carefully take the rings off (use tongs, they'll be hot) and flip the crumpets over to brown the top --takes about a minute.

Taadaa! Perfect, quick crumpets! Eat them hot with anything slathered on them or let them cool and pop them in the toaster when you're ready to eat them. They freeze great and can be toasted straight out of the freezer.

Aren't I so nice to share this with you?

Here's a pic of the finished product so you'll know I'm not pulling your leg:

The choice of toppings in the pic are butter, strawberry jam, and lemon butter.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008



Hmmmm, now how many different spellings are there for hummus... humus, humous, hummos, humos, hommus, homus, homos, hommos, hommous. I think that about covers it, no worries.

How many different ways are there to make hummus (sp)? An unimaginable amount! Really, there's lots. There ain't nothin special about mine. But what will make this post special, you ask? I'm going to give you a bunch of tips, tricks, variations and more info than you could possibly want about humos (sp) and it's ingredients.

Ready? Here we go!

Firstly, let me say that if you buy premade humous (sp) in a store then you are wasting money and your health. Make it fresh! Cheaper and better for you (meaning no preservatives nor trans fats). It is also the EASIEST thing you'll ever make. Well, except for maybe that cracker plate you served with processed cheese goop on top of each cracker and thought you were being clever and sauve; you naughty person you.

Back to the post.

Some of you in the US may have heard of garbonzo (garbanzo) beans and some of you may have heard of chick peas. Guess what? They are the exact same thing! They are also one of the most healthiest things you could eat, and when made into humous (sp) you'll have pretty much a super food.

Canned or fresh chick peas? I use canned, but only because down here in Oz the ingredient list is: chick peas, water, salt. I can handle that, no worries.

What the heck is tahini? Quite simply, tahini is ground up sesame seeds. That's it. This is also one of the best things you can eat, and it has a very long shelf life even without preservatives. Why? Cus it's got something that other seeds don't have: Sesamol. Sesamol is a natural preservative so your jar of stone ground sesame seeds (which is tahini) will last a long time without the oils breaking down.

You can make your own tahini, but most shops sell it in a jar. How do you know which to buy? Just look for the brand where the sesame oil has separated and is on top of the goop. That's the one you want. Oh, and make sure the ingredient list has only one thing: sesame seeds. Just give it a quick stir to re-emulsify it. Also don't worry about it getting cloudy if you store it in your fridge; it's supposed to do that at cooler temps.

Alrighty then; on with the recipe!

Hummus (and all the spelling thereof)

What you need for the basic recipe:

One food processor
One can of chick peas --425 grams, drained (I think that'd be about a 12 oz can for those of you in that other hemisphere)
2 tsp tahini
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp sea salt
1 or 2 tsp olive oil (if needed)

Supplemental bonus stuff:
Please note: I wouldn't try all of these together

cumin powder
coriander powder
chilli flakes
white pepper
lemon juice
lime juice
roasted garlic
powdered sumac
black pepper
curry powder

Mix and match depending on the style you'd like.

Moroccan: sumac, aniseed, cardamon, lemon
Mexican: cumin, coriander, chilli, lime
Indian: curry powder, black or white pepper
Eastern Med: roasted garlic, oregano, onion

this list can go on...

What you do:

This is easy! Chuck it all into a food processor and push the button. "Push the button, Max!" Ummm, that quote is a reference from Jack Lemon shouting to Peter Falk about 50 or 60 times during the movie The Great Race, circa 1960's. I have it on DVD (good sword fight scene in it too).

Back to the recipe...

Ahhh, ummm... that's it! Now wasn't that so easy? And very very very very healthy too.