Posts tagged cooking techniques

A meal that would blow Honey Boo Boo’s mind!

Luckily I crawled out from under my highbrow rock last night and discovered the pleasures of Honey Boo Boo. Of course I’d HEARD of her, but I’d never SEEN her. What a revelation.

Anyway, the cooking segments from the show particularly caught my attention. Like this one where a regular piece of chicken breast is grilled, smothered in butter-like substance, and shredded into cook-in-the-bag rice, which had about a cup of margarine mixed through it. The final piece-de-resistance was the entire meal being drowned in store bought BBQ sauce. And voila, dinner ready.

And the vegies? Well look, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they’d already had their 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit before dinner preparations began.

The basic concept of their meal doesn’t offend me at all. Chicken & rice is one of life’s great pleasures. We eat it all the time at VSHQ. A regular is this Jerk Chicken which I serve with this Caribbean Rice. Delicious. Or this chicken & brown rice salad. ALSO delicious.

In Vegie Smugglers book 2, there’s a yum ‘red-cooked chicken’ – cooked in Chinese master stock. Served over rice, this will have you swooning. Or also from Book 2 (which will be out of print within months – get in soon if you want a hard copy edition), is this pilaf, which is SO good. And easy enough that Honey Boo Boo’s momma might want to give it a try.

Honey boo boo might leave off the coriander.

Honey boo boo might leave off the coriander.


Easy Chicken pilaf

2 tbsp olive oil
500g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed (chicken breasts are too dry in this dish – you can use them but will need to add extra oil)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled, grated
1 zucchini, peeled, grated
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1–2 tsp garam masala
1½ cup long-grain rice (try basmati)
3 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup sultanas
1 cup frozen peas

Chopped red chilli, coriander leaves and peanuts (optional),
to serve

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Heat the oil in a large stove-to-oven dish over medium heat. Brown the chicken for 3–4 minutes each side. Remove and set aside.

Add the onion to the dish, stirring until starting to go golden, then add the carrot, zucchini, garlic, ginger and garam masala. Continue to stir for 2 minutes until the vegies are soft. Add a touch more oil if the pan is very dry.

Pour in the rice, coat all the grains well before adding the stock. Return the chicken to the dish. Cover and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and stir through the sultanas and peas. Re-cover and set aside for 5 minutes more.

Serve as is for the kids. Top with chili, coriander and peanuts (if using), for the adults.

SERVES 2 ADULTS & 2 KIDS

 

Toddler Recipes: What (and how) to feed fussy eaters

My new book is in my shop now! You can download a preview copy here…..

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What are you cooking this Christmas?

Gloriously home made good cheer.

Gloriously home made good cheer.

How are your kids faring in the lead up to Christmas? Mine are nearly jumping out of their skins with excitement. Me? Not so much. For the grown ups, it’s a bit more stressful, don’t you think? So much to do! So much to remember!

To negotiate it all with the minimum of fuss, I resort to LISTS. And I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’m a chronic planner. Long ago I learned that my brain is unreliable, so don’t be surprised to walk into my kitchen and find I’ve got a running sheet for Christmas day, which starts at the time we want to eat and works backwards all the way to what time I need to preheat the oven. Sure, it’s a bit uptight, but for me it means that I don’t have to think, just do, which I find easier after an early afternoon glass of bubbles!

My menu for Christmas day is nearly set. Is yours? I’ll love to see your recipe links and ideas. Shall we do a bit of recipe sharing? You all pop yours in the comments below and here’s what I’m cooking this year…

Christmas Eve – I get off lightly, just turning up to my side of the family with a green salad and the traditional pudding, which is already in the fridge, ready to go.

This year, the other side of the family is coming to our house for Christmas day. There are only 9 of us, so I can do the traditional lunch without too much trouble. I’ll serve a starter platter of good crackers with smoked salmon, capers, chives, and lemons. Freeform sounds good to me – everyone can compile their own morsels. (If you like these flavours, and want a more formal starter, check out this smoked salmon & cheese tart recipe – it’s REALLY good).

For main, it’s a roast turkey. I’m going to use this recipe from Taste. I tested the stuffing on a roast chook last weekend and it was delicious (I used sourdough breadcrumbs). On the side I’m thinking that this green salad with mango looks good and some hassle back potatoes.

For dessert, I’ll crumble meringues into parfait glasses, along with chunks of Christmas cake, ice cream and some poached cherries (I’ll cook them in a sugar syrup with vanilla & cinnamon).

To nibble afterwards? Well, it’s gotta be rumballs. My gorgeous granny used to make them and as soon as I pop one into my mouth I’m bombarded with happy memories of childhood and love.

A cuddle in a recipe.

A cuddle in a recipe.

Rumballs

1 packet plain biscuits (I like Milk Arrowroot)
395 g can condensed milk
1 cup desiccated coconut, plus ½ cup extra, for rolling
3 tbsp good-quality cocoa powder
3 tbsp rum

Line a plastic container with baking paper. Tear some extra sheets so that you can store layers of the balls easily.

Place the biscuits in a large plastic bag and use a rolling pin or your fist to smash them up into crumbs. Tip into a large mixing bowl.

Add the condensed milk, coconut, cocoa and rum. Stir to combine. Use your hands to roll bite-sized balls. Toss in the extra coconut and place in your container. Seal and refrigerate for 2 hours.

MAKES ABOUT 60

ps….**CHRISTMAS DELIVERIES**

Wanting to buy Vegie Smugglers cookbooks as gifts? Make sure you place orders within the next couple of days – especially if you’re far flung. Of course e-books can be bought anytime – you’ll be sent an automated download link at the time of your purchase.

pps… **I’M ON HOLIDAY!**

After nearly 4 years of regular blogging, I need a break. The shop is still open and I’ll still be checking Facebook & emails, but to replenish my creative juices I’m taking a few weeks off (in the background I’ll be finishing off my new cookbook and Thermomix e-book).

Thanks to all of my regular readers – I hugely appreciate your ongoing support of this blog and my business! So have a wonderful Christmas, happy New Year and I’ll see you at some stage in January. xxx

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Mashed potato IN YOUR FACE… errrrr, actually….

…the mashed potato is in your pizza dough.

It’s a little trick taught to me by my friend Trish who grew up in her parent’s Italian restaurant. And it’s a great trick. If you use just the mashed insides of baked potatoes, you’ll add in the starch and help your bases to crisp up. If you add in regular leftover mash, the dough becomes light and lovely. Either way, it’s a great idea for potato smuggling (as is gnocchi – click for that recipe here).

An easy dough – fun to make & great to eat.

An easy dough – fun to make & great to eat.



Pizza Dough

3 cups bakers flour (plus 1/2-3/4 cup more as you knead the mash in)
7g sachet dried yeast
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup warm water
1 cup mashed potato (Use leftovers or bake or microwave 2 small jacket potatoes, then mash the insides)

Add all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Pour over the oil and water. Mix together to form a rough dough.

Turn it onto a floured bench. Knead for a minute then add in half the potato. You’ll need to sprinkle over the extra flour as you go – the potato makes it pretty gloopy (but quite fun). Continue adding mash and the extra flour. Knead for about 5-7 minutes. Eventually you will have added enough extra flour in to get the mix back to being a smooth dough. (You won’t believe me at first, when the mix is slimy and weird, but trust me and carry on).

Pop it into an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave somewhere warm to prove for 30-40 minutes until doubled in size. Then punch out the air, divide into 3 pizzas and top with whatever toppings suit your family.

Cook for about 15-20 minutes at 220C.

MAKES 3×12 INCH BASES (these bases are quite filling – 3 feeds my family of four)

If you don’t know how to ‘throw’ a pizza base – I followed the technique in this video. It worked well and provided a frisson of risk and plenty of kitchen laughs.

Don’t forget to top it with my six-vegie pizza sauce.

This recipe makes plenty - freeze some of this too.

Six-vegie sauce to morph pizza into a super-smuggler.

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How to guarantee vegie-smuggling success (and a giveaway)

Some people like to smuggle vegies by cooking them, mashing them and re-adding them to dishes where they get cooked again and served to unwitting children. Have you heard of this method?

Unless your child is severely vegie-resistant and you’re looking for a starting point that guarantees success, I would avoid doing this. Why?…
1. By the end of this process, most of the vegie’s nutritional benefits are gone.
2. It’s too much work for time-poor parents to manage.
3. The kids don’t learn how delicious healthy eating can be.

I prefer a ‘chop chop’ method. Start with gorgeous fresh, raw produce and grate it or chop it into such small pieces that kids can’t easily identify or pick it out of their dinner.

People have complained to me, ‘but you’re not hiding the vegies – I can see them!’ to which I’ll reply, “yes, because you want your kids to realise that vegies are there, but to still eat them anyway’. If the little bits are all cooked together into a delicious and tasty whole meal, the kids will eat it (of course there are exceptions!) Mostly though, if they can’t identify exactly what vegie is what and if they’re enjoying the meal then their motivation to protest will be low.

The aim is to eventually get kids eating the way you do, so you might start off grating everything, but after a while you can move on to chopping and dicing things finely. Then the pieces can get bigger and bigger until you’re just cooking like normal. This process can take a couple of years and possibly you’ll have to backtrack if you push them too far (if you see them crying, with a huge chunk of zucchini on their fork, you’ll know that you need to go back to grating for a while).

So I recommend everyone take the time to buy a good kitchen knife and learn to use it (there’s a stack of videos online showing you how). You don’t need to be a whizz, just competent and safe. Buy yourself a good grater, too.

And also rely on gadgets to do the work for you. I use my mini-stick blender all the time. I use it to make breadcrumbs, chop vegies, whizz up homous and even make banana ice cream.

You can WIN this baby.

You can WIN this baby.

Luckily for one reader, today I’ve got an Avancer food processor to give away. In the larger machine you can make coleslaw, combine meatball mixtures, blend soups – all bound to give you vegie-smuggling success.

This meatball mix will be a doddle in it…

Hidden veg meatballs in an ALL VEG soup. Genius. And delicious.

Hidden veg meatballs in an ALL VEG soup. Genius. And delicious.



Italian meatballs

Make a double batch of these meatballs and freeze. They work great in all kinds of tomato soups and pasta sauces (like this one).

500g pork/veal mince
1 slice stale bread (any type)
2 tsp Italian herbs
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
1/2 red capsicum, roughly chopped
1 egg, lightly whisked

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line your largest baking tray with foil and spray well with olive oil spray.

Use your food processor to make breadcrumbs with the bread. Also add in the garlic and herbs and blitz to get heavenly, fragrant breadcrumbs.

Quickly blitz the carrot, then the capsicum. Pop in the mince; toss the egg on top and pulse to bring the mix together. Pop on some kitchen gloves and roll meatballs and place on the tray. If you have the time and patience, keep them nice and bite-sized (plus they cook faster).

Spray the meatballs with more oil spray and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the tray, carefully turn them over and return to the oven for 10 minutes more until golden outside and fully cooked through.

Makes enough for 2 adults and 2-3 kids, depending on what you add them into.

_____________________________________

WANT TO WIN THE FOOD PROCESSOR? You need to be a Vegie Smugglers subscriber, based in Australia. And since Avancer have given me the prize, you might want to check out all the Avancer products here. Simply enter by commenting below about which vegies you find the hardest to get your kids to eat. Entries close Thursday Oct 24, 8pm AEDT. ****THANKS FOR YOUR ENTRIES! AVANCER HAVE PICKED THE WINNER – CONGRATULATIONS ALISON WHITE, HOPE YOU ENJOY THE FOOD PROCESSOR!

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Holiday treat – rocky road

Last week I promised chocolate. Being a woman of my word, here’s a fab little chocolate treat just in time for the school holidays.

Cooking with the kids can be a fun educational way to spend a couple of hours together. If your kids aren’t naturally inclined towards the kitchen (like mine), then the best way to get them involved is to cook treats. Unlike the marble cake or chocolate slice from previous holiday posts, this recipe has the advantage that it’s a no-oven winner, which means that you’ll have the recipe wrapped up before anyone can stutter “I’m bored” or “what time can I play PS3?”.

And unlike those showy-offy sponges or uber-posh macarons, rocky road’s charm is in it’s randomness. Each piece is special, just a little bit ugly and best of all you can’t really get it wrong, which all appeals to a down-to-earth lass like myself.

Bumpy and imperfect, just like life.

Bumpy and imperfect, just like life.

Rocky Road

4 full cups of chunks –choose any or all of…
Marshmallows, cranberries, goji berries, sultanas, currants, dried strawberries or pears, shredded coconut, nuts (peanuts, pecans, pistachios, macadamias) turkish delight, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas
200g block dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tbsp golden syrup
25g butter
¾ cup dark chocolate melts (or more dark chocolate, roughly chopped)

Line a 18x28cm slice tray with baking paper.

Mix your choice of chunks in a large bowl. Place the 200g chocolate, syrup and butter into a small saucepan over gentle heat and stir to melt. Remove from heat, tip in the extra chocolate (I like melts, since they quickly stick into the mix, but they’ll stay chunky enough that you’ll get good chocolate chunks through the finished mix). Pour into the dry ingredients. Combine well, tip into the tray and refrigerate.

MAKES 24 SQUARES

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What’s the oldest jar in your pantry?

There was much fanfare and celebration the other day as I finished a jar of Chinese 5-spice powder before the best-before date.

I’d never had that wonderful experience before, instead usually finding it stuck in the back of the pantry along with the Tobasco, curry powder and whole cloves. Usually it’s the section of the kitchen that just gets tipped straight into a garbage bag before I move house. You know, the whole back row of ingredients with the use by date of 2006.

So, ‘smug’ is probably the word I could use to describe my sense of joy as I scraped the dregs of it out from the bottom of the wee glass container. “I am a proper, hardcore COOK.” I thought to myself. Actually I probably said it out loud. I save all my most stunning and witty comments for myself, when I’m alone during the day.

What about you? What’s your ingredient that sits frustratingly forgotten? Do you even own a jar of 5-spice? If I was a proper foodie I’d be whipping up my own batch of it, but I’m a mum and as you all know we’ve got about 8,000 more important things to do rather than concoct our own mix of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel.

Luckily for me, my kids have always devoured all Chinese flavours, loving the salty hook and if your cupboard is bare of this spice mix then I recommend you buy some and try out one of these 5-spice dependent recipes.

I never take an easy, tasty and popular meal for granted!

Pork stir-fry

vegie smugglers plum sauce chinese-style meatballs

Chinese-style meatballs.

Pork & rice balls – recipe in 'Vegie Smugglers 1'.

Pork & rice balls – recipe in ‘Vegie Smugglers 1’.

For more Chinese flavours (without the 5-spice), try the Fish Congee, Ma Po Dofu or Sang Choy Bao.

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Do I love my thermomix? You might be surprised…

Take me to your leader.

Take me to your leader.

So last Thursday, the mothership landed. A lovely Thermomix consultant named Kellie dropped in and got me going on the device that will do everything – revolutionise my cooking, fold my washing and felate my husband.

With true cult fevour I spent the next three hours making a risotto, 12 muffins, 1 tub of cashew nut butter and bread. The next day I made bread, homous and jam. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to perfectly soft-boiled eggs, more bread and a soup. (Am I sounding a bit ‘hungry caterpillar’ yet?)

And do I love it? Well, I am actually a bit more reserved than you might imagine. As my hubster eloquently put it – “it’s very German, seems to be more about food production than cooking”. And I reckon he’s nailed it. There’s not much art to it, but heaps of efficiency and repeatable results. Since though, families do deal in food production most of the time, a thermy is never going to be a wasted investment. The amount of dishes you can cook in the time you have changes drastically and the type of things you’ll cook alters too. Bread was never high on my to-do list, but it has been easy to whip up two loaves in two days. Score. And I can easily see how it will increase the amount of stuff that I’ll make from scratch, using wholefoods, and that’s a huge win.

But there’s hype to sift through, too. Making muffins in it was annoying. All the mixture stuck in the blades. I think it’s easier to mix muffins in a single bowl and then divide the mix out. The homous was delicious, but I can also make delicious homous in mini-food processor. I find it’s more about the recipe than the gadget.

If though, you’re not a keen cook and owning a thermy gives you the encouragement you need to make these things, then obviously I’m not going to be critical – my end goal is just to get people cooking, so if the thermy gives you the confidence you need to try it, then that’s awesome.

My biggest gripe though, is that the machine is for right-handers, not left-handers like me. Everything needs to be done clockwise around the blades and I actually find this difficult with my non-dexterous hand. In the end I rebelled and dug out my sticky muffin mix using my left hand – in the process taking some significant gauges out of the fancy $18 spatula. So I need to try and reprogram my brain and get my right hand working better. I’m sure those Germans are actually doing me a favour, forcing my brain to rewire thus helping me ward of dementia for an extra year or two.

But at $1939, it’s frustrating that I couldn’t order a left-handed blade set.

So for me, it’s going to be a great extra tool to have in the kitchen, but one lacking in a bit of soul. It does a great job of churning out food and I am looking forward to revisiting a few of my old recipes to give them a thermomix tweak. Stay tuned.

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A (bad) chip off the old block

There was a parenting dilemma this morning as school athletics day dawned at the same time as Miss F developed an acute tummy ache. Complicating things, she and I DID both have a tummy ache earlier in the week after too much tapioca pudding.

Not known for her sporting prowess, and slightly crushed after last year’s last place, it was time to pull out the parenting big guns in order to discover the truth. “So sweetie, is your tummy too sore for a special lunchbox? Usually I would put chips and a couple of lollies in for today, but should I just keep it to plain food?”

But she was onto me, and my tactics. “Yes, just plain food, mummy.” Sniff, sniff. Rub tummy tentatively.

She thought she had a temperature too. The thermometer thought otherwise, which is always a relief – give the decision making over to a third party, I say.

In the end I had to opt for honesty. “I think your tummy is sore because you don’t want to go to the athletics carnival.”

My honesty was rewarded with her honesty. “Maybe a bit.” And then the tears came and she had a good cry. Obviously then it was time for a rousing speech about being a team player, cheering on your friends and housemates who ARE good at running, and having a go. All of these things are really important in primary school, I said.

And the whole time that these clichés were dribbling out of my mouth, my mind was diving back and remembering the horror and hell of the athletics carnival for those of us who weren’t coordinated and couldn’t do better than last place, even when we were trying our hardest. It’s horrible to see your child failing in the same areas that you failed at.

Luckily she has talents in other areas and I think it’s good for her to experience ineptitude. Keeps her modest and ready for the real world. So I fed her an acidophilus capsule, drove her to school and by the time she saw her friends, she’d perked up and looked set for a happy day. But it was hard to push her out into the world knowing that she is likely to experience the same humiliation that I went through as a child.

What she doesn’t know, is that after year 8, I’m likely to follow in my own non-sporting mum’s footprints and let her have the day off each year rather than be subjected to spirit-crushing public teen-humiliation.

So I can't run, but I can arrange my potatoes all fancy smancy.

So I can’t run, but I can arrange my potatoes all fancy smancy.

Speaking of chips (nice segue), this vegetarian cottage pie has a sliced potato topping that avoids the hassle of having to make mash. The trick is though, that they need to be sliced as thinly as possible, laid out in just one or two layers and cooked for a good 40-50 minutes.

You'll never know this cottage pie is meat free - promise!

You’ll never know this cottage pie is meat free – promise!

Vegetarian cottage pie

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled, grated or finely diced
1 zucchini, grated or finely diced
½ red capsicum, diced
1 cup mushrooms, finely diced
1 cloves garlic, minced
400g can brown lentils
400g can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp BBQ sauce
Sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
Pepper
1 cup frozen peas
125g can corn kernels, drained
2 large waxy potatoes, peeled

Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil and once hot toss in the onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring often. It should be almost cooked before you add in the carrot, zucchini, capsicum and mushrooms. Keep it all moving around for another 5 minutes so until the vegies have softened. Add in the garlic and stir for another minute.

Pour in the lentils, tomatoes, sauces and thyme. Season well, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Stir through the peas and corn then pour the mixture into either one large or several small ovenproof dishes.

Take your time and slice the potatoes as thinly as you can (a mandolin is ideal, but a sharp knife and patience will do a good job).

Place them over your dishes, overlapping so that they look pretty.

Brush the top with either some melted butter or a spray of oil spray. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden and the potatoes are tender.

SERVES 2 ADULTS & 2 KIDS

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50 shades of appliances (and a July giveaway)

Last winter I had a short and intense love affair with my slow cooker. At first I was a novice and a bit nervous, but I overcame my slight hesitation once I experienced some food thrills. I swooned as I discovered that I could make beef stews, fabulous dumpling topped casseroles and even chicken satay and it ONLY TOOK 8 HOURS. Sigh.

Perhaps it’s flighty, but this winter, slightly bolder, I was looking for something new. After a taste of appliance life I was wanting more and I find now that I’ve been seduced away by something much more hardcore. Like a red room of pain that holds such threat and the promise of such pleasure I’ve been lured into the world of PRESSURE COOKING, where I can make all the same stuff BUT IN 20 MINUTES.

Admittedly there’s a time and place and both. Each has nuances to offer. I can’t imagine dumplings being so great in the pressure cooker and I can’t get my slow cooker to simmer away thickening a sauce in the way my pressure cooker does.

But why limit yourself to just one when you can swing and have the best of both worlds, right? Which is why this month’s giveaway prize is so totally exciting. It’s the Kambrook Pressure Express Digital Pressure Cooker, valued at $120 and it has all the joys of a pressure cooker PLUS a slow cook function. YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL.

I have the exact same model and it’s awesome. To get you inspired, here’s a recipe that originates in the Woman’s Weekly slow cooker book. It’s a great combination of flavours and works really well tweaked as a pressure cooker recipe.

Joy in 8 hours, or 20 minutes? Whatever takes your fancy.

8 hours, or 20 minutes? Whatever you can handle.



Pressure cooker Italian Beef Stew

1 cup red wine
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Italian herbs
2 tbsp olive oil
8 pickling onions, peeled but left whole
250g bacon
12 button mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
Pepper
1 kg chuck steak, cubed
1 bulb fennel, diced
2 large carrots, peeled, thickly sliced
1/2 cup grated pumpkin

Combine the wine, paste, vinegar and herbs in a bowl or jug and set aside.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium/high heat. Add the oil then brown the onions and bacon. Toss in the mushrooms and cook for several minutes, turning often-ish. You want to get nice browned spots on your onions and the bacon to be cooked through.

Toss over the garlic and stir for 30 seconds before adding in the tomato mixture. Bring it all to a strong simmer, then tip it into the pressure cooker along with the bay leaf, meat, fennel, carrots and pumpkin.

Following the safety instructions, seal the lid, bring to pressure and cook for 20 minutes.

Release the pressure. Serve over mash or pasta, topped with parsley.

Serves 2 adults and 6 kids.
_________________________________

HOW TO WIN?

I’m thinking you need a challenge in order to win this fabulous prize. How about comment below with a rhyme or limerick or some clever sentence about how much you like to COOK. (see, it’ll be very easy for you to get the sponsor’s name in there – which might just make them happy enough to donate more prizes in the future). Other conditions? You must be living in Australia – you must be a Vegie Smugglers subscriber and I would strongly urge you to check out the Kambrook Facebook page and also check out their Perfect Pantry blog – which is no hardship considering it’s packed with great recipes.

Entries close next Thursday July 18 at 8pm AEST. **CONGRATULATIONS TO MELANIE WHO WON THE COOKER WITH HER LOVELY RHYMES….

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What’s your secret?

pens

Do you have a dirty little secret? I’ve got a few. Like this secret pen stash. So sick am I of having my stationery pinched that I’ve had to resort to hiding it away from the prying eyes of my family.

Also, I’m having a bit of a secret EOFYS sale. You can shop at the Vegie Smugglers store and receive 10% off everything before June 28, midnight. Just enter discount code EOFYS10.

What do you think of my girlfriend who has a secret credit card? (Just so that her husband can’t put an exact dollar value onto her personal purchases.) Do you think it’s ok to keep a financial secret from your spouse? I actually think this is a pretty big secret.

Much more innocently, today’s recipe has secret vegetables. As do all my recipes. I like my kids to eat healthy and develop an enjoyment of savoury flavours without too much fuss. Sure, they eat lots of recognisable vegies too, but sometimes a few secrets are ok.

Since these wontons are a bit fiddly to make, they seems like a perfect recipe for the school holidays. Get that dextrous child labour those gorgeous children of yours to help you out.

The kids will have fun wrapping these.

Get the kids onto wrapping these.



Basic Pork Wontons

This recipe uses half a supermarket tray of mince. Feel free to make a double batch and freeze half of the mixture raw, ready to wrap and steam another day.

2 spring onions, roughly chopped
3 button mushrooms
½ carrot, peeled
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sweet chilli sauce
250g pork mince
Packet of 30 gow gee (or wonton) wrappers

Use a food processor or mini food processor to blitz together the vegies, garlic, ginger and sauces.

Add in the mince and blitz to a paste. Scoop heaped teaspoons of mixture into the centre of your wrapper. Use a finger dipped in water to wet half the circle, fold over and press well to form a seal.

Bring a saucepan of water to a strong simmer. Steam dumplings over it in a steamer basket or tray for 8-10 minutes until cooked through.

Serve these as is with soy sauce or in an Asian-style broth with some other vegies.

MAKES 30

No food processor? Just finely chop, grate and mix ingredients in a bowl.

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