Posts tagged Sides

Fully Loaded Truffle Accented Hasselback Potatoes

Who doesn’t love fully loaded potato anything?! Roasted potatoes gives us such a beautiful, comforting, starchy base that it just begs to be loaded up with a myriad of toppings to add to the awesomeness!

Roasted potatoes can take many forms – you can have anything from the classic cut potatoes, the funky smashed chats for maximum crispy surface areas, to the fancy looking but very simple Hasselback potatoes!

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What I ate: Crab Salad Roll

You know that time of the week where you have spare cooked crab meat in your fridge? No? You don’t? You ate it all?

Well I usually do too, but I was convinced for long enough that I should try something new with the crab (rather than simply give my usual answer, “EAT IT”) that I came up with this speedy and crab salad roll recipe!

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Pomelo Salad

Happy Lunar New Year y’all!!! May you prosper, enjoy good grades, languish in good health, live a long life and just generally have a good time in the year ahead. If you’re not familiar with it already, Chinese New Year happens in the first 15 days of the lunar calendar cycle, and I see it as an excuse for Chinese (and Vietnamese and Thai) all over the world to see their family and friends, and party and feast hedonistically and guilt-free for slightly over two weeks.

Which is why I would like to share the recipe for this pomelo salad – pomelo is meant to signify abundance so it’s lucky to eat. And besides, it’s darn tasty.

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Beer Brined Chicken Wings

With Australia Day just round the corner, I have been racking my brain trying to create a recipe to serve up to my friends. After all, isn’t Australia Day all about kicking back in the sunshine with a cold beer in hand, barbecue sizzling away?

Then it hit me. How do you match the barbecue and the beer? Beer brined chicken wings, of course!
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Party Food Roundup: The Sides

So we’ve covered mains, and canapés, and sometimes the poor sides get, well, sidelined. There’s always the usual pasta salad and potato salads, but here’s my take, on some of the sides I’ll be making for Christmas.

1. Heston Blumenthal’s Mac and Cheese

All the comfort of mac and cheese, but with the poshness of truffle oil and a white wine cheese sauce. Comforting and impressive at the same time! Recipe here.

2. Tuna, beans and Beetroot Salad

A salad you can make entirely from pantry ingredients, which would free up some space in your over-packed fridge. Practical, and tasty!

3. Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Maybe the most maligned vegetable ever, mostly because many people just boil them to death. Get the recipe for hearty brussel sprouts here!

4. Spicy Cambodian Mushroom Dip

For a spicy Cambodian kick to your meal, try this mushroom dip as a condiment. Great with crudités, or with your barbecued steaks.

5. Peach, Mango and Crispy Prosciutto Salad

A pure celebration of summer, this salad can lighten a rich Christmas lunch. Especially in an Australian summer. Recipe here!

Pomegranate Iced Tea

Like an ominous feeling creeping up the back of your neck, I can just feel the stale heat of summer creeping in through the end of the spring breezes. And because I’m an absolute wuss about the heat, I’ve got a recipe for a rosy pink fruity iced tea that will chase the sticky heat away.
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Peaches, Crispy Prosciutto, Roquefort and Truffle Honey Canapes


The holiday season is drawing near, and so is the season of fantastic produce!!! This year, peaches caught my eye, and I have soft spot for peaches grilled with a touch of butter. And you know what goes well with stone fruit? The salty cured porky goodness called prosciutto.

And how better than to share that with friends than to put it on a canapé for the holidays?

This recipe is so simple I almost didn’t want to call it a recipe.

I used:

Peaches, pitted and cut into 8ths
Prosciutto, 1 slice per canapè
Rocket, to garnish
Truffle honey

To pit the peaches, just half it vertically, and twist gently to separate the two halves. It can get a bit soft when the peaches are really ripe, so it might get a touch fiddle-y. Then, carefully, use a paring knife to take the pit out. Cut each peach half into quarters, giving you 8 wedges per peach. Give it a bit of colour in a pan or under a grill with a touch of butter.

For the prosciutto, lay out flat pieces on a non-stick pan on medium heat. Some of that fat will render out, and the prosciutto will start curling slightly and get crispy. When it’s all nice and brown – it will still be slightly limp – place them on to a flat tray lined with paper towels. You can keep them warm in the oven, or even do them the day before. They stay crispy in an airtight container for up to three days.

The rest is just an assembly job. Place two wedges of peach on your cracker, one if your cracker is small, and crumble over the roquefort. Or any blue cheese you like. Top with the crispy prosciutto and arrange on a platter. Drizzle over honey and scatter over rocket for colour and some flavour.


And there you have it, canapés that are easy to assemble, and can be prepared ahead of time. What’s your favourite canapé for the party season? 

Sea Urchin Chawanmushi


I’m starting to think that I’m a complete Japanophile. Japanese food is one of my go-to comfort foods, and many of the ideas that come to me in the middle of the night – yes I’m that obsessive about food – seem to revolve around Japanese flavours and ideas.

So when it came to coming up with canapé ideas for my little dinner party, the classic Japanese chawanmushi came to mind, but I was going to serve them in sake cups! Aren’t they cute??

Now I know that by definition chawanmushi should be steamed in tea cups, but sake cups are just the perfect size for canapés, and allows your guests to try a variety of things without getting too full!

If you’ve never tried chawanmushi, it is a light, moreish, delicate Japanese steamed savoury egg custard that can have a variety of ‘toppings’, from chicken, to gingko nuts, to mushrooms, to fish cakes…whatever floats your boat.

I happened to get given extremely fresh sea urchin from Cando Fishing – who also gave me lots of information about when’s a good time to buy sea urchin – and I thought that I should keep the actual egg custard simple.

I used:

  • 3 large eggs (60g)
  • 2 cups of dashi (500ml)
  • 2 tsp of light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of mirin
  • Baby shimeiji mushrooms

The important ratio here is that of the eggs to the dashi. You can use some other stock, if you’d like, but I find it simpler to make my own dashi by softening some konbu (kelp) in water, bringing the water up to about 60C, removing the kelp after about 10-20 minutes and adding dried bonito flakes. Simply bring the water up to a simmer, and simmer it till you like the flavour (about 10 minutes for a small batch). Strain, and you’ve got your dashi!

Let the dashi cool before you add them to your beaten eggs and strain. Then pour them into your prepared containers, add your ‘toppings’ (not the sea urchin, though) and steam. Because the egg mixture is so delicate, it’s a good idea to par-cook or fully cook your toppings before adding them into the raw egg mixture. I just lightly simmer the shimeiji mushrooms in some stock or salted water before adding them to the bottom of the cups. Remember to keep the mushroom water though – it’s incredibly tasty and ends up being like a mushroom stock that you can use somewhere else.

Then cover your little cups of goodness with some foil and steam them till they are just set. They will never really stop wobbling till they’re pretty much overcooked, so I find that turning off the heat when they’re at the stage of the softest silken tofu, the mixture changes to an off-white, opaque colour, and leaving it to finish in its residual heat is the most effective.

Then carefully lift them out and using a tea spoon, gently top them with sea urchin – if you’re using any. You can also just serve them straight out of the steamer as is – I know that it’s a breakfast favourite for me. I find that it’s a great starting canapé because it really whets the appetite, and prepares your guests for more.


If you like my sea urchin ideas, why not try my oysters with sea urchin butter, and sea urchin shooters! 

Kotlet Burger

I have a new found enjoyment of Persian food. The rice, the stews, the liberal use of turmeric…it all culminates in a beautifully delicious end product that speaks of decades of recipe refinement.

There is one particular recipe that ingeniously uses potatoes, mince, onion and spices to make little patties that are delicious over rice, with a fresh tangy side salad. Kotlets – which to me sound like cutlets – seem like a great way to stretch out the meat supply. I can’t actually find any history on these delicious morsels, but most Persians that I speak to recall these as their childhood favourite.

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