Category Archives: family dinner winners

One pan roasted chicken and potatoes

Thursday’s radio spot saw me veer away from the sweets (quelle horror!) to show a steady course to one of my go-to one pan roasts. The big tip here is to have a rare moment of organisation when you buy your chicken pieces. Throw them in a snap-lock bag with the marinade before poping them in the freezer. It means on the night you’re going to have it all you need do is defrost the chicken, toss with the potatoes and roast. As my friend Beth says, BANG.

dinner winner


One pot wonder

  • 1kg chicken pieces (drumsticks, wings, pieces that are on the bone)
  • one lemon, cut into chunks
  • few lugs olive oil
  • a handful mix of fresh herbs (eg tarragon, sage, parsley, thyme)
  • 4 garlic cloves, slightly crushed but skins still on
  • one onion, cut into chunks
  • heaped dessert spoon of dijon mustard
  • good pinch of salt and a healthy grind of pepper
  • 6 potatoes, cut into wedges
  1. Combine the chicken with the marinade in a bowl or large snap-lock back and combine thoroughly
  2. Marinate for a long as you’ve got – ideally a couple of hours at least
  3. Preheat your oven to 180C
  4. Tip the chicken pieces and potatoes into a baking dish and toss together, add a few more lugs of olive oil if everything’s not getting nicely coated with the marinade. You could probably sprinkle over some more salt and pepper here as well.
  5. Bake for about an hour or until everything is nice and golden with some crispy bits and charred bits and basically a pan of ridiculous goodness.


Come here my little dumpling…

Dumplings make everything better. That’s it really. I had a complete brain fart the other week but a dumplings session with Woogs, Sarah and the world righted itself toot sweet.

And don’t be nervous about working with the gow gee wrappers, they are remarkable robust and if sealing them with the little fancy folds is too intimidating then just moisten the edges fold the pastry over and voila, gorgeous half moons of goodness.

Now, what follows is two recipes for you. The first is the one I have always used in the past, the other from Adam Liaw, winner of Season 2 of MasterChef Australia. I made this on the weekend and think it worth including here. The flavour is a lot more delicate and look, it’s just so easy.

I tend to make a big batch of the filling and then freeze containers of what is left over so I can whip up another batch down the track. Sorted.

Goodness on a plate.

Pork and garlic chive dumplings

  • 250g fatty minced pork (do not come over all healthy on me, you need the fat for flavour)
  • 1 egg
  • 1tbsp very finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped garlic chives
  • 2tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 40 gow gee wrappers
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well, for a good 10 minutes and season well

All about flavour

Adam Liaw’s pork dumpling filling

  • 1kg fatty pork
  • 1 cup finely chopped and blanched Chinese cabbage
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2tsp grated ginger
  • 1tbsp white vinegar
  • 2tbsp cornstarch
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp white pepper
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and knead for about 10 minutes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
  2. Use it as is or add other flavourings now. (I’ve used some rehydrated Chinese mushrooms finely chopped and finely chopped water chestnuts)

To assemble and cook:

  1. Place a heaped teaspoon of mix in the centre of the wrapper, dab water around the edge and seal. Make sure there’s no air in the pocket with the meat. Either seal as a half moon shape or then bring the bottom of one side up, and again and again to make a little parcel.
  2. If using in a soup or to simply boil, drop into boiling water and once they rise to the surface cook for a further two minutes and then remove.
  3. For pot stickers – heat a little oil in the frypan and add the dumplings. Brown a little and then add water half way up the sides of the dumplings. Keep cooking, shaking the pan a little every now and then until the water has evaporated and the dumplings are left to fry again.
  4. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Ready for cooking


Pot stickers, gyoza, whatever you call them they’re tasty

Citrus Beef Stir-fry

I’m always a bit reticent to post these sorts of recipes because I fear the cultural travesties I’m committing may send some into apoplexy, but DUDES, this is so so good. I initially lifted this from a blog with the best name ever, Crepes of Wrath and have just altered it slightly.

There’s a chicken version I’ll post soon too. Both of these dishes enter the hallowed halls of the rarefied family dinner loved by all.

Citrus Beef Stir-fry
via Crepes of Wrath

  • 1 kg beef (I use sirloin steak or the pre-cut stir-fry beef from our lovely butchers if it’s on special) sliced thinly (and you all know the trick to getting really thin slices it to cut the beef when it is semi-frozen?)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plain  flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup oil, for cooking (now, I used this amount and next time would definitely only use half, if that)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tsp sriracha or other chili garlic paste (I used Sambal Oelek)
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar (CoW used balsamic vinegar)
  • 3/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (I used freshly grated)
  • 1/4 cup black vinegar
  • juice of 2 oranges (I used limes)
  • zest of 1 orange (again, I used limes)
  • 1/4 cup water (I used stock) mixed with 1 tbsp cornstarch
  1. Combine the beef with the egg, salt, pepper, flour, cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of oil – best do this with your hands to ensure it all gets well coated
  2. Heat the oil in a wok then add the beef, and cook over high heat until it’s getting a nice crisp to it.
  3. In a separate frypan cook the garlic, sriracha, green onions, 1 tablespoon of black vinegar and the sesame oil for about 5 minutes 
  4. Combine the soy, sugar, ginger, 1/4 cup black vinegar, orange (or lime) juice and zest and then add them to the frypan
  5. Keep tossing your beef so it’s nice and crispy
  6. Bring the sauce to a light boil then add the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup of water. Heat everything until is starts to thicken, about 3-4 minutes
  7. Pour over the beef and toss to coat, then cook for another 3 or 4 minutes until the sauce is as thick as you’d like it to be. 
  8. Serve over rice with greens.

Penne with four cheeses

Make this now.

No really.

You must.


Penne with four cheeses
The Australian Women’s Weekly, August 2010

  • 500g penne
  • 375ml pouring cream
  • 200g grated parmesan
  • 100g fontina*, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 100g provelone, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 100g gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley**
  1. Preheat oven to 220C*** and cook the pasta until just al dente
  2. Heat the cream to boiling point (but do not boil)
  3. Take off the heat and stir in half the parmesan and all the other cheeses and stir until melted (I put it back over low heat to get it all sufficiently melted)
  4. Add some freshly ground black pepper and taste for whether it needs salt 
  5. Combine the cheese sauce with the pasta then stir through the parsley and spinach
  6. Pour into a large baking dish and top with the remaining parmesan  
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until browned and crispy on top
  8. Serve immediately. 

* If you can’t get fontina then substitute with gruyere, edam or emmental
** Totally forgot to add this
*** I only had the oven on 180C (because I never read recipes properly) and was really happy with how cooked it was. Just keep an eye on it as you don’t want it to dry out.

Slow roasted lamb with rosemary, lemon and anchovies

I have a penchant for slow roasted lamb and my seven hour lamb recipe is the most popular page on this whole blog. I know! I was sure those posts about depression, anxiety, giving birth and breast feeding would hit the high hit market and bring me the big bucks. Now I just feel cheap and used.


So, lamb. This was inspired by Chocolate and Zucchini’s slow roasted lamb shoulder. I have kept the quantities pretty vague as it depends on the size of your leg and it really is pretty flexible – add more rosemary if you like it, more garlic if it’s your thing, go without the garlic if you feel like it. I will say though, don’t, just don’t omit the anchovies. I know I know, lots of people ‘hate the anchovy’ but in this you certainly don’t taste anything remotely like it but it adds a complex saltiness that is incredibly moreish. So look, just relax and go with it. It is an absolute sensation.

Slow roasted lamb with rosemary, lemon and anchovies

  • 1-2 large sprigs of rosemary
  • rind from 1-2 lemons (peeled thinly using a vegetable peeler)
  • 10 anchovy fillets
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons whole mustard seeds (I’ve used wholegrain mustard before and it works a treat)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • A good splash of balsamic vinegar
  • An equally good splash of olive oil
  • 2-2.5kg leg of lamb or lamb shoulder
  • white wine
  • stock
  • 2 onions
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 stick celery
  1. Put everything except the lamb (obviously) in a mortar and pestle and pound the absolute crap out of it.
  2. No really, you want it all reduced to a paste so don’t use one of those pissy little useless ones.
  3. OK, use a blender if you must but you get a much nicer texture if you put a bit of elbow grease into it.
  4. Rub the paste all over the lamb and let it marinade for as long as you can
  5. Preheat the oven to 220C and bring the lamb to room temperature
  6. In a baking dish place the roughly cut up onions, carrots and celery and then put the lamb on top of it
  7. Pour a couple of glasses of wine and stock into the base of the baking dish
  8. Roast at 220C for 30 minutes
  9. Turn the meat and turn the temperature down to 120C (or a smidge higher if your oven isn’t fan-forced)
  10. Cook for 2.5hours, turning the meat every half hour or so
  11. If your baking dish starts to dry out then add some more stock (mine does this as it’s a hot fast oven and I always forget to turn it down low enough due to pathetic obsessive tendencies of thinking it won’t cook in time)
  12. If it’s browning too quickly cover with some foil
  13. Once it’s cooked remove from pan, cover and set aside.
  14. Tip everything in the pan into a sieve and using the back of a large spoon or ladle push all those beautiful juices through, discard the pulp, return to the stove and add a little more stock if it needs thinning out.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
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