Lamb Stew

Winter is well and truly here now folks. To add to that, it’s been pretty rainy and grim generally. One way to warm things up a bit is to tuck into a warm comforting meal such as my lamb stew!

I got inspired to create a stew after visiting Harris Farm supermarket for the first time ever and discovering their discounted meat and veggie shelves. Picked up a “soup mix”* for $2 which has just enough of everything to make a good base for usually a soup but I adapted a bit and made a stew instead. They also had some heavily discounted lamb about to reach its expiry date (passed the smell test when I cooked it, don’t worry).

Alas, I now had majority of the things I needed to make a warm bowl of delish. There is a little bit of prep in the beginning but this is very much a set and forget dish.

Lamb Stew (serves 3-4)

What you’re going to need

500 g diced lamb (shoulder cut)

2 small potatoes/1 large potato, chopped into medium sized pieces

1 large carrot, cut into 1cm thick pieces

1 stalk celery, roughly chopped

1 tin tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup chicken stock

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 large clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon oregano powder

cracked salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. In a large fry pan with a lid, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add in the lamb and onions to brown off.
  2. Once browned, reduce the heat to low and add all other ingredients.
  3. Stir well and then allow to simmer on a low heat for at least 2 hours.
  4. Serve with your choice of sides e.g. grains (rice, quinoa, couscous), greens (beans, broccolini) or on its own with some fresh bread.

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*Soup mix packs generally contains the following ingredients – potato, onion, celery, carrot, parsnip, suede, parsley. I opted to use the parsnip and suede for other dishes as their flavour can be quite overpowering in a dish if used in incorrect quantities.

Pan Fried Chicken in Tomato Sauce

All about comfort food at the moment. Even better if I can make something that tastes awesome with barely any washing up. I’ve made this with ingredients that most people would probably have at home (understanding at the moment, you could have quite an assortment of things based on availability in the shops). Alright it’s a Monday night, long day at work, enough rambling. Straight into the recipe!

Pan Fried Chicken in Tomato Sauce (2 portions)

What you’re going to need

1 chicken breast, chopped into small even pieces

1 medium potato, chopped into small even pieces

1/3 cup kalamata olives

1 tin crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 clove garlic, sliced into large pieces

1 teaspoon sweet paprika (to taste)

1 teaspoon onion powder (to taste)

1/2 tablespoon dried basil (use fresh basil if you have it)

cracked salt and pepper

olive oil for frying

Method

  1. Place the potatoes in a pot of water and bring to the boil.
  2. Whilst the potatoes are coming to the boil, heat up some olive oil in a large fry pan. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken and lightly brown it. Once it has changed colour, take out of the pan and set aside.
  3. Back to the fry pan, turn down the heat and add the tin tomato, tomato paste, garlic and spices. Stir until well combined.
  4. Add the chicken back in and olives. By this point the potatoes should be boiling or close to it. Once they have reached boiling point, strain them and then add them to the tomato sauce. Let the tomato sauce simmer on the stove for about 10 minutes.
  5. Serve hot. You could have this with rice, couscous or veg.

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Lamb and Feta Meatballs

It’s been a hot minute since I last wrote and the world has changed. Alas, all this time at home is helping bring back my creative flair. I’ve recently moved house and being home-bound for the foreseeable future, I have plenty of opportunities to cook new dishes.

I had the cravings for meatballs and I picked up some lamb mince during my last grocery shop (let’s be honest, grocery shopping at the moment is a bit of a lottery). These are easy as to make, basically just chuck everything in a bowl then cook ’em up!

Lamb and Feta Meatballs (makes 11-12)

What you’re going to need

500g lamb mince

1 egg

1 slice bread, crusts removed and torn into small pieces (less than 1cm squares)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/3 cup tasty cheese, grated

30g feta

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1-2 tablespoons milk

salt and pepper to season

olive oil for cooking

Method

  1. In a small bowl, place the bread and milk to soak.
  2. Whilst the bread is soaking, add the mince, egg, parsley, grated cheese, garlic, salt and pepper into a bowl.  Once all the milk is absorbed/the bread is soaked, add the bread to the remaining mixture.
  3. Mix the bowl contents with your hands (I find this is the best way to mix everything and break up the mince properly. I usually wear disposable gloves for ease of cleaning my hands afterwards)
  4. Once mixed, take a portion of the mince mixture in your hands to roll into a ball shape. Press your thumb into the top to make a hole and place the feta inside. Cover the hole with mince from the other side of the ball. Repeat step until all the mince mixture and feta are gone. Mixture yields approximately 11-12 meatballs.
  5. In a large fry pan, heat the olive oil to a medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook through (~15 minutes depending on size).
  6. Serve hot with your choice of condiments. I chose to have them with hummus and salad for a light dinner.

Poached Chicken Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing

We’re into Week 2 of lighter lunches. So far, so good. Getting enough flavour in there to keep me entertained.

I’ve always been a big fan of poached chicken. I tried it for the first time a few years ago at work funnily enough (yes, sometimes office catering is decent) and I really liked it! As someone who always quadruple checks that my chicken is cooked properly, i feel this is a pretty foolproof way to cook it properly and have it taste good. I do use breast meat but it still stays incredibly juicy even if you feel like you may have poached it for too long.

I have used similar ingredients to my other salad (sweet potato was $2.50 per kg on the weekend!) and I am obsessed with the Coles brand Marinated Danish Feta so that made a comeback.

Alright, let’s get stuck in.

Poached Chicken Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing (makes 3 lunches)

What you’re going to need

Salad

2 chicken breasts

2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup quinoa

1 medium sweet potato, chopped into small, even pieces

generous handful baby spinach

30g feta

Dressing (rough estimates, adjust to taste)

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped herbs (I used basil, oregano, sage and parsley)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

pinch of salt

Method

  1. In a large saucepan, place the chicken stock and breasts on a medium heat to poach. (Note: Cooking time will vary but if you are using fresh not frozen chicken, it will take at least 30 minutes. Ensure you have enough liquid to cover the chicken. Add tap water to adjust.)
  2. Whilst the chicken is cooking, roast the sweet potato in the oven with olive oil and salt to season. Cook until you can stick a fork through and it comes out easily.
  3. While your chicken and sweet potato are cooking, prepare the dressing. In a jug, add all of the dressing ingredients to taste. Whisk well and store in a jar/reusable container.
  4. After the chicken has finished poaching, remove from the saucepan and set onto a chopping board. Keep the liquid as this can be used to cook the quinoa.
  5. Cook quinoa as per packet instructions. (Note: I personally find quinoa pretty bland and tedious to cook. However, I have found cooking smaller quantities in the microwave works wonders. Added bonus, use the chicken stock to add more flavour.)
  6. Once everything is cooked and cooled slightly, you can start to assemble. Slice the chicken into even pieces. Place into a large bowl.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients into the bowl and mix well. If serving straight away, add as much dressing as desired. If storing for later, add dressing each time you serve it to avoid the dressing sitting at the bottom of your salad.

 

Pasta Salad with Greens

It has been way too long since my last post. Life got busy but I am so glad to be back.

I’ve had a bit of a change with my meal prepping routine for work lunches. Have shifted from fully loading my freezer to prepping fresh food for at least 3 meals of the week and then I can delve into my freezer stash.

I’m a big believer that a salad should always have carbs (don’t @ me). These can be any carbs you want, whatever makes you feel happy. I chose pasta this week but mixed it in with plenty of other tasty stuff.

I absolutely loved this salad and I hope you do too.

Pasta Salad with Greens (makes 3 lunches)

What you’re going to need

3 cups pasta

generous handful baby spinach

100 g green beans, chopped into smaller pieces

3 slices prosciutto, chopped into smaller pieces

handful kalamata olives

20 g feta (or as much as you like…you do you)

juice of half a lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

cracked pepper

Method

  1. Cook pasta as per packet instructions.
  2. Whilst pasta is cooking, cook the prosciutto and beans in a fry pan with a small amount of olive oil. Remove pan from the heat once cooked.
  3. Once pasta is cooked, place the pasta in the pan with the prosciutto and beans. Add in the spinach and olives and stir well.
  4. Add in the lemon, olive oil and cracked pepper to taste. Top with feta.

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Chicken Noodle Soup

‘Tis the season to get sick unfortunately. We’re fast approaching winter, it’s getting chilly in the mornings but at least it’s still warm during the day. I’m a big soup fan but they can be quite time consuming to make in order to get the depth of flavour you want. However when you’re sick, the last thing you want to be doing is cooking up a storm for hours just to get that perfect broth.

Alas, I have a possible solution. A lot of the time, simple is best. And for me when I can barely breathe through my nose and I’m coughing up a lung, all I want is a nice flavoursome broth and some carbs. So think – broth and noodles. To make this a bit more substantial, I added in some chicken. Sounds like it’d take hours right? Wrong! I made this delicious soup in 30 minutes. Here’s how you can too.

Chicken Noodle Soup (serves 1)

What you’re going to need

2 cups chicken stock (I used 1 Chicken Stock Pot )

1 cup water

1 small onion (skin on), roughly chopped

1 clove garlic (skin on), roughly chopped

1 small carrot (skin on), roughly chopped

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 portion dried noodles (I used Chang’s Long Life Noodles but you can use any instant noodles)

a handful shredded BBQ chicken

olive oil

Method

  1. In a medium non stick saucepan on a medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, garlic and carrot. Fry until onions and garlic begin to soften and brown.
  2. Once mixture in the saucepan is fragrant, add the chicken stock, water and peppercorns and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. During the last 5 minutes of simmering, cook your noodles as per packet instructions (ideally have noodles that cook in a bowl of boiling water so you can set and forget)
  4. Remove the broth from the stove top and strain your liquid into a heatproof jug.
  5. Add the strained liquid back into the saucepan on a low heat. Add in the noodles and chicken and stir well. Keep on the heat for 2 minutes and then serve immediately.

Chicken Noodle Soup

 

Lamb ragu with fettucine

I am very much a Summer baby but I am enjoying the fact that it has started to cool down so I can start doing my low and slow dishes! Last time I tried doing a ragu it unfortunately didn’t turn out very well so I was put off a while… (a year or so) but I appeared to have redeemed myself with this one because the meat was succulent, pulled straight off the bone and the sauce was rich as.

I find that with a lot of good tomato based sauces you have a few staple ingredients and it’s just about alternating the ratios to switch over the dominant flavour. This time, I really wanted the tomato flavours to sing through and so you will see based on the measurements below that that is the result you will yield if you follow my recipe.

I chose to serve this dish with pasta but you could easily serve it with mash, roasted veggies or even on a burger.

Lamb ragu with fettucine (serves 6-8)

What you’re going to need

Roasting the lamb

2kg lamb shoulder (bone in)

2 cloves garlic, roughly sliced

5 sprigs rosemary

5 sprigs thyme

1 brown onion, roughly chopped

1 cup chicken stock*

1/2 cup red wine

cracked salt and pepper to season

olive oil

The sauce

2 rashers of middle bacon with fat on, sliced into small pieces

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 carrot, finely grated

500ml Passata

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup chicken stock*

handful fresh basil, roughly chopped

cracked salt and pepper to season

olive oil for frying

For serving

500g fettucine, cooked per packet instructions (I used Barilla’s Collezione range for this recipe found here)

*I used chicken stock in this instance as it was all we had at home at the time. If you have a preference to beef, lamb or vegetable stock feel free to switch it out. 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. In a large baking tray that can hold liquid, place the lamb shoulder inside, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and the herbs. Place the stock and wine in the tray around the meat. Throw the garlic and onion into the liquid. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the outside has browned.
  2. After 45 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and cover with foil (caution, tray will be very hot!). Return the tray into the oven and reduce the temperature to 120-130 degrees Celcius and cook for at least 5 hours. (if you have time to cook it longer, do so!)
  3. Once the meat has cooked in the oven for at least 5 hours, remove the tray from the oven and transfer the meat to a clean chopping board so you can begin shredding. Using two forks, begin to shred the meat (removing any excess fat) until you have collected as much of the tender meat as you can. Set aside.
  4. In a large fry pan or casserole dish, heat up some olive oil on a medium heat. Add in the bacon, garlic and carrot and fry off until fragrant and bacon has changed colour. Add the passata and shredded meat and stir well.
  5. Once the passata and shredded meat are bubbling, reduce the heat and add the wine and stock. Mix until well combined and leave on a low simmer for at least 30 minutes. (The ragu will be quite thick already so this is more about building extra flavour into the meat)
  6. With 5-6 minutes to go, cook the fettucine and add in the fresh basil into the ragu. Serve immediately to ensure best results.

 

 

Tagliatelle with Napoletana Sauce

I just love the versatility of using a tomato based sauce. It works beautifully on its own as simple passata with seasoning or you can amp it up and throw a heap of veggies in, or pretty much any kind of meat and maybe even some cheese!

So the Sunday night ritual continues and the dilemma of how can I make an amped up sauce that suits one who doesn’t like cheese, one who won’t eat a non meat dish and the other who wants more than “just” bolognese.

I’ve over killed it with mince at the moment so decided not to use it and went with chorizo instead as the meat option. I love the flavour it gives the dish and it’s a bit more substantial than bacon or pancetta. I also used Barilla Napoletana Sauce as my tomato base and added in a heap of veg to make it an even more nutritious meal.

To make this a complete dish, I used Barilla Egg Tagliatelle as the base and to mix through the chunky sauce! I love the texture it has and it holds the sauce really well. It also cooks really quick (5 minutes in boiling water).

So if you’re salivating and to want to give this dish a go, keep on reading for the recipe!

Tagliatelle with Napoletana Sauce (serves 4-5)

What you’re going to need

250g pack Barilla Egg Tagliatelle

1 jar Barilla Napoletana Sauce

125 g chorizo, sliced evenly (1 sausage)

3 medium cup mushrooms, sliced thinly

generous handful baby spinach

1/3 medium zucchini, finely grated

1/3 medium carrot, finely grated

handful pitted kalamata olives

6 basil leaves, roughly chopped

salt and pepper to season

1 tablespoon olive oil for frying

Method

  1. Prepare a large saucepan with salted water and place on a low heat.
  2. In a large frypan, add the olive oil and bring up to a medium heat. Once hot, add the carrot and zucchini and fry for 2-3 minutes. Once softened, add the napoletana sauce. Before discarding the jar, half fill with water and shake with the lid on to get the extra sauce stuck to the sides of the jar. Add the water from the jar to the sauce. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
  3. Once simmering, add the sliced mushrooms and spinach and reduce to a low heat.
  4. In a small frypan, fry the chorizo until cooked. Drain on some paper towel and set aside.
  5. Once water is boiling, cook the pasta as per packet instructions. Whilst the pasta is cooking, add the chorizo and olives to the sauce. With 1 minute to go, add the basil.
  6. Serve immediately on warmed plates. (your choice if you want to mix the pasta through the sauce or serve the sauce on top)

Disclaimer: The Barilla Pasta and Napoletana Sauce were provided as a gift. I only support and endorse products that I have used or cooked with myself. 

 

 

 

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack

I love a good Sunday roast and since I cook dinner at home every Sunday, guess what was on the menu tonight. Lamb! Served up with roasted veggies, it is a treat. It is a all round crowd pleaser at my house and it is easier to cook than you think!

I’m just providing the recipe for the lamb rack. Feel free to serve this with any sides that you like but simple roast veggies always do the trick if you get stuck!

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack

What you’re going to need

1 frenched lamb rack roast (~400g)

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/2 loaf bread, crust removed (I used pane di casa)

zest of 1 lemon

handful fresh parsley

handful fresh thyme

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. Remove lamb rack from packaging and trim any thick excess sinew. (a bit of fat is good so don’t cut it all off, just the harder bits that won’t render down in the oven)
  3.  On a lined baking tray, place the lamb in the centre and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Whilst the lamb is browning, prepare the crumb. In a pulse blender/food processor, place the crust-less bread, herbs, lemon and seasoning and blitz until well combined and a creates a chunky crumb.
  5. Once the 15 minutes have elapsed, remove the lamb from the oven and spread the dijon mustard over the top and sides. Add the crumbs evenly and cover as much of the lamb as possible leaving the bones exposed.
  6. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Pull out of the oven and leave to rest on the tray for 8-10 minutes before slicing.

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack

Chicken Sausage Casserole

It’s the long weekend, it’s cold and I am being especially lazy. Alas, I still wanted to cook something delicious and healthy for dinner tonight. I went with an adaptation of my mum’s sausage casserole.

Let’s get straight into it

Chicken Sausage Casserole (serves 4-5)

What you’re going to need

8 medium chicken sausages (mine were parsley flavoured)

1/2 cauliflower, roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped evenly

1 potato, chopped evenly

1 potato, sliced thinly using a mandolin

50 grams fresh green beans, chopped evenly

500 mls/2 cups reduced salt chicken stock

2-3 tablespoons cornflour

1 tablespoon cream

salt and pepper to season

olive oil for frying

Method

  1. Place mandolin sliced potatoes in water and bring to a boil. Once boiling for 30 seconds, remove from heat and strain. Set aside.
  2. In a large cooking pot that can be used on the stove top, add some olive oil and bring to a medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until lightly brown. Remove from pan, slice into even pieces (~1cm each) and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  4. In the same cooking pot, add an extra drizzle of oil and add all the vegetables. Fry the veggies for 2-3 minutes. Add in the chicken stock, cream and cornflour. Leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes until sauce begins to thickens. Add the sausages back in. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. In a large baking dish, add the casserole mix and top with the mandolin potato slices. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and spread with a pastry brush. Season with salt and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until potatoes on the top are golden brown. Serve hot*.

*Recipe is freezer friendly, save your leftovers!