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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Italian Breadcrumb Recipe

I can still remember vividly, the aroma of my mums cooking wafting through the house and the wonderful memories it brings back. One of my dad's favourites was forequarter lamb chops done in egg and breadcrumbs. Sometimes mum would add some italian seasoning to them as my dad loved all italian and greek food.
I have changed her recipe for this slightly to give it a little bit of extra tang. I have also omitted the egg and milk, to buttermilk.


1 cup dry breadcrumbs (could use cornflake crumbs)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley - chopped (can use 1 tablespoon dried)
2 tablespoons oregano ( 1 teaspoon dried)
1 desertspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon basil ( 1 teaspoon dried)
2/3 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

You can store these in an airtight container for several days in the refrigerator and up to a week if using dry herbs.
Dip chicken breasts, lamb or pork chops in buttermilk first then into the breadcrumbs.
Place in a baking dish with a thin layer of olive oil.
Bake in oven at 180C for between 45 mins to 1 hour, depending on thickness of meat.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ricotta and Mushroom Tart Recipe

This uses Filo Pastry which is available in the refrigerator section at your supermarket. My mum used to make this recipe using shortcrust pastry and you can use that if you prefer. I think that this is so much nicer, using the Filo. It is very easy to make and great to serve with a lovely tossed italian style salad or just on it's own for lunch.


5 sheets filo pastry
60g butter
250g fresh mushrooms - sliced
2 cloves fresh garlic - crushed
1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
200g fresh ricotta cheese (can use light)
2 eggs - slightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream (can use light)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
extra 75g butter - melted
sea salt and freshly ground cracked pepper


Preheat oven to 180C.
Melt the first lot of butter in a frying pan and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook on high for a couple of minutes until they soften slightly. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute. Stir in the thyme, rosemary and nutmeg. Remove the mushrooms from pan and drain off the liquid.
Place filo pastry under a damp tea towel so they wont dry out. Take a sheet out and brush with the melted butter and fold in half. Place another sheet on top and repeat the process. Then line the pastry into a 23cm shallow tart tin with a loose base, allowing it to overhang the edges.
Beat the ricotta, eggs and sour cream together and season to taste. Spoon half the mixture into the tin, then add the mushrooms. Top with the remaining ricotta mixture and bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until firm. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over top to serve.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Caesar Salad and Dressing Recipe

I love to try out Caesar Salads at good restaurants to see if they actually make the dressing themselves or just use bottled.
I have been known to cheat sometimes but when I take the time to make my own, it is just so much better than any you will find in a bottle.
I have used the traditional recipe here but if you want it a little bit creamier, add a couple of tablespoons of light sour cream to it when blending. It is just that little bit more delicious.
For a more substantial meal, I put chicken in mine. You can use a barbecued one from the supermarket. I like to use fresh breasts. Slice them fairly thinly and dip in egg and cajun breadcrumbs. Fry very quickly in shallow peanut or olive oil for just a couple of minutes on each side. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to absorb the oil. When cool, place over salad.


2 baby cos lettuces
4 - 5 rashes rindless bacon - chopped
1 tablespoon good virgin olive oil ( I use the light flavour one)
small can anchovies
50g shaved parmesan cheese
4 hard boiled eggs
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper (optional)


Separate the lettuce leaves and wash thoroughly in cold water. Dry with a clean tea towel, making sure that remove any wilted bits. You can either leave the leaves whole or cut them in half lengthways and then across once.
In a frypan, heap the oil and fry the bacon until lovely and crisp. Remove and place on paper towels to absorb any oils left on. When cool, mix with anchovies and cheese through the lettuce.
Make your dressing and pour over salad. Halve or thickly slice the boiled eggs and place over the top of salad with a little extral shaved parmesan cheese on top. Season with salt and pepper if prefered.


2 eggs
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic cloved - crushed
1 - 2 anchovies - chopped
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons light sour cream (optional)


Bring some water to the boil in a small saucepan. Put eggs in and only boil for 1 minute. Remove immediately and run under cold running water until cooled down. Remove shells.
In a small mixing bowl or glass jug, mix the all the ingredients apart from the olive oil. Combine well and while whisking, add the oil, a little at a time in a steady stream so it combines together well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
If you are adding sour cream to it, you add it to the ingredients from the start of mixing.

Any bread can be used but I love to use Turkish bread as it is just a lovely variation. Slice into 6 - 8 mm slices. Mix a little olive oil infused with crushed garlic. Brush lightly over both sides of the turkish bread and place oven at 180C for about 12 - 15 minutes or until lovely and golden. Remove from oven and cool before adding to salad.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cream of Asparagus Soup Recipe

I have always loved asparagus recipes and can remember my mum making dad aspargus soup as it was one of his favourite.
This is a lovely rich one that is easy to make and very low carb so if you are following a low carb diet, you will love this recipe.
Once you have tasted home made soups you will never eat ones out of a can ever again.


1 kg fresh asparagus spears
1 medium size brown onion - finely chopped
1 large tablespoon butter
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves - chopped (can use basil in the tube)
1 litre vegetable stock
250 ml cream ( 1 cup)
celery salt ( about 1/2 teaspoon)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Remove the woody part from the asparagus spears. Remove the tips and blanch them in boiling water for just a minute or two. Rinse in cold water and set aside for later use. Chop the spears into large chunks.
Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onion and cook for a few minutes over low heat until transparent and slightly golden. Add aspargus chunks and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Stir continuously so it doesn't burn.
Add the vegetable stock, basil and celery salt. Turn heat up and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and cook, with lid on for approx half an hour. Test and when the asparagus is well cooked, remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Process in a blender until lovely and smooth.
Return to saucepan and add the cream. Do not allow soup to boil. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the asparagus tips to soup and serve immediately.
Serve with lovely fresh crusty bread or home made garlic & herb bread.