Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Let's Get Technical - Great British Bake Off 2015 Pastry Week

With the start of a new season of Great British Bake Off I realised I hadn't finished posted the results of last season's Let's Get Technical.

I will post these without further commentary apart from how delicious they were and I think i managed them ok! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Nettle, potato and garlic soup aka glove up soup!

When Life gives you buy gloves!

As you can see Life has given me an abundance of free food in the form of stinging nettles. They fill the backyard near the chicken coop and thanks to the prickles the chickens don't eat them. 

Nettles spread like no ones business so if you aren't the best gardener (like me) you can just say you dedicated your garden to your love of nettles.

The only down side to nettles is they grow in the winter when it's dark by the time I get home so it's not a convenient mid week ingredient without some forward planning.

While a soup is the easiest use I think they slip into any recipe that calls for some greens so my next plans are to try them in a pesto and a ravioli.

To prepare them I pick the leaves off the stem and rinse thoroughly in cold water. I also don't touch them without gloves even after they are cleaned.

When it comes to nettles slogans from my youth come in very handy 
"if it's not on it's not on!" 

The chickens can disappear into the depths of the nettle maze, I assume their feathers protect them from the prickles. (Wish my pants did!) 

The giant "tomato sauce day" colander so that's a lot of nettles. 

Nettle, potato and garlic soup

  • 2 brown onions chopped
  • 6 large potatoes quartered skin on
  • 1 head of garlic peeled (less if you don't like garlic as much as I do)
  • 3-4 cups of nettles (it's not a precise measurement its rather just however many nettles you have)
  • Olive oil
  • 2L Stock approx (chicken, veg or just water)
  • Add a splash of olive oil to a pot.
  • Sauté onions till just soft.
  • Add potato, garlic and cover with stock.
  • Simmer until potatoes are falling apart approx. 30 mins.
  • Add nettles, cook for 1 minute
  • Blend till smooth.
  • Season and serve with a crusty roll and far too much butter!
  • Cream (150ml) can also be added to the soup if you like a creamier soup 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Spicy Capsicum and Bacon Pasta

I really enjoy making connections through social media so am thrilled to be taking part in the Andrew in the Kitchen series #fdbloggerfriends.

A "get to know you" series featuring food bloggers he follow on twitter.  Andrew asks the bloggers about themselves, their blogging and to create a new recipe.

As we are getting into the chiller stages of winter in Melbourne I wanted something that was full of flavour, comfort and a bit of spice to keep me warm.

This spicy capsicum and bacon pasta is quick to prepare so that in no time you'll be on the sofa under a blanket ready for an evening of Netflix and chill....winter chill...or the other type if so consensually desired.

Spicy Capsicum and Bacon Pasta Serves 4-5 
  • 100g mix of bacon and pancetta
  • 2-3 red onions sliced 
  • 3-4 large red capsicum sliced (seeds removed)
  • 4 garlic cloves sliced
  • 5 long red chilli 
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 100g pecorino grated
  • Handful chopped parsely
  • 500g rigatoni


  • Add olive oil to a pot on medium heat
  • Gently fry  bacon and onion for a couple of minutes
  • Add capsicum and garlic and cook on low for about 15-20 minutes
  • Boil pasta as directed
  • Add chilli and mix through
  • Increase heat and add 1/2 cup of pasta water and stir through
  • Drain pasta and add to the pot (turn off heat)
  • Mix the sauce through the pasta with parsley and half the grated pecorino
  • Serve topped with more pecorino 
I had always thought I didn't like chilli till I really tried it and now I'm hooked!

I like the mix of bacon and pancetta but you can use just one if you prefer

The key is gentle heat you don't want char grilled capsicum on this occasion.

A good sprinkle of parsley from the garden 

A glass of red and you're in business...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2016 - Come Together with Cake

The Eurovision 2016 final is only a few hours away and increasing thoughts of will it be Australia, Russia, France, Bulgaria, Austria or Cyprus that we will all be meeting at next year.


2014....on fire

The Eurovision logo cake is a bit of a Chow Down to Eurovision highlight and this year is no exception.
I have made a cinnamon cake as an homage to Swedish buns and then decorated with a basic icing and a whole heap of fondant and metallic food paints.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Eurovision and my all our favourites wins!!

Cinnamon Come Together Cake
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 2 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • In a mixing bowl add the eggs and sugar
  • Beat with an electric beater till fluffy, paler and thicker about 2 minutes
  • Add the milk, oil, cinnamon, flour, and baking powder.
  • Beat till smooth, don't over beat
  • Grease a 16.5cm dome cake tin
  • Pour batter into tin
  • Bake in a 170°C oven for about 50 minutes
  • The cake will be cooked when a skewer comes out clean
  • Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack

Almost identical??

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2016 Good Morning Australia

With the incredible performance of Dami Im last night in Semi Final 2 it makes perfect sense to have an Australian focus on the Chow Down to Eurovision....Breakfast!

Apart from crazed screaming it is difficult to put into words the feeling of being in the Globen arena and witnessing the response to Dami's performance. People jumped to their feet applauding in the biggest reaction of any song for the night. 

I could not be prouder of Dami representing our country to show the amazing talent and diversity that makes us a great and potential Eurovision winning nation? (I know better not put the mockers on it)

So for everyone back in Australia getting up at 5am to cheer Dami on you are going to need a good hearty breakfast......which would also work in Stockholm after leaving Euroclub in time for breakfast! (yet to find a kebab van) 

I have kept the Eurovision flavour drawing from Spain with a simple hot breakfast you can just pop in the oven.
You can make the sauce ahead and just put it together at 4.30am so its ready for when the Eurovision theme tune rings out at 5am!

Spanish baked eggs
  • 1 large brown onion diced
  • 4 large roma tomatoes chopped
  • 1 red capsicum de-seeded and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 4-5 large potatoes cooked
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 chorizo
  • 100g pancetta
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 3 red capsicums
  • 6 eggs
  • Chilli optional
    • Sauce: Add a large splash of olive oil to a heavy based saucepan
    • On a very low heat add diced onions and simmer for about five minutes
    • Add the chopped tomatoes and capsicum and simmer on low for about 20-30 minutes
    • Blend
    • Roughly chop the cooked potatoes
    • Slice the chorizo and pancetta 
    • Roughly chop red onion, capsicums and tomatoes
    • In a large pan add more olive oil
    • Lightly fry chorizo, pancetta and red onion
    • Add potato, tomato and capsicum 
    • Add sauce and stir to combine
    • Make indents with the back of  ladle and crack in the eggs
    • Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes (15 if you like a runny egg)

    You can add more eggs if required....just squeeze them in

    Top with some sliced chilli to give you that extra wake up call

    Some previous Chow Down to Eurovision breakfast dishes:

    Wednesday, May 4, 2016

    Chow Down to Eurovision 2016 - Dami Im Answering The Call With Cake

    Its a very special day in Stockholm with the first on stage rehearsal for Australia in Eurovision 2016. Dami Im has been sensational at the live performances I've seen, so I can't wait to see what she has in store the Eurovision stage. 

    SBS and the #DamiArmy have been asking Australia to answer the call but you know when Julia Zemiro declares they are going to need more catering it's my cue to get on board.

    The Chow Down to Eurovision has featured many dishes inspired by Eurovision songs but the only other dish created specifically for a single performer is the Conchita's Phoenix Linzer Torte and well we all know what happened to Conchita....#JustSaying

    The security guards at EuroClub have told me how much they love the new Carpenters album, so let's hope that translates into votes!

    This outfit is the "going to the ball puffy dress" version of the dress Dami wore in the tv commercial. 

    With Eurovision rules you can only have 6 people on many if they are made of cake?

    After 11 shops this was the only doll I found that wasn't blonde!
    Should have gone to ebay as they had a great diversity of dolls.

    The base of the cake is a dense chocolate cake and then there is a whole army, or should I say DamiArmy, of fondant!

    Wishing Dami Im the best time in Eurovision 2016. We are all behind you!

    For the ultimate in Eurovision party food, which contestant from this year would you most like to have as a cake?

    Monday, May 2, 2016

    Chow Down to Eurovision 2016 Come To Eat

    Come To Eat

    Good Evening Europe and Good Morning Australia,
    it is with immense pleasure that I kick off Chow Down to Eurovision 2016 Come To Eat live from Stockholm.

    With 2016 being the year of format changes for Eurovision, the Chow Down to Eurovision (never one to miss a party) will also have a couple of format changes.

    This year instead of presenting a dish for every country there will be three main elements to this year's Chow Down to Eurovision.

    • Come To Eat where I will try the local delicacies Stockholm has to offer
    • Selected dishes to assist with Eurovision food and party ideas from an Australian perspective
    • I've got a cake to bake, when Eurovision and cake collide
    Don't forget you can follow my adventures in Stockholm on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram via #MrSauceatESC

    In episode One in The Chow Down to Eurovision 2016 Come to Eat food adventure I try Kex Choklad (even though I call it Chokolade)

    Did I get off the plane in Japan???