Cinnamon Shortbread


A little twist on the traditional Scottish shortbread!

We always had a tin of homemade shortbread in the cupboard when I was growing up in Edinburgh and with our current wintery weather here in Australia I thought a little warming cinnamon might make a pleasant change.

What can I say ……….. there’s none left! It must be good!

Makes 20 biscuits. You can also freeze the unbaked dough and the baked shortbread.


220g butter

120g caster sugar plus a little extra

300g plain flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Process the butter and sugar.

Add the flour and process until coming together as a dough.

Spread out a large piece of plastic wrap on your work surface.

Tip the dough onto it and form into a long sausage, around 5-6cm diameter.

Pop in to the fridge for 30mins at least.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Centigrade. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Take the dough out of the fridge and unwrap, keeping the plastic wrap under it.

Sprinkle a little sugar along the sausage and roll around until completely covered.

Slice the dough into discs, around 1cm thick.

Place the biscuit dough onto the prepared sheets and place them in the oven.

Bake for 25 mins and then allow to cool on a wire rack.



Pork Belly With Star Anise and Orange


The crunchest of crackling and most spoonable meat make this a brilliant way to cook a humble pork belly!

This size of piece feeds 4-6 depending on sides, I like something green to go with this, stir fried broccoli with pine nuts is nice!


1.6 kg piece of pork belly, scored finely

75mls gluten free soy sauce

400mls water

4 star anise

2 cloves garlic, sliced roughly

1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, sliced

2 large spring onions, topped, tailed and cut roughly

zest of one orange

1-2 teaspoons salt


Combine the soy sauce, 100mls water, star anise, garlic, ginger, onion and zest in a shallow oven proof dish.

Add the meat skin side down and marinade for 1 hour.

Turn the right way up and marinade for 4hrs at room temperature if cool enough.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade.

Wipe the skin of the pork with kitchen towel roll and rub in the salt, try not to let it fall in the marinade as it is already salty!

Pop the meat in the oven for 30mins.

Remove, turn the heat down to 150degrees Centigrade, add the remaining water and cover well with tin foil.

Bake for 3 hours.

Turn the oven back up to 220 degrees centigrade.

Drain all of the pan juice and set aside.

Return the meat to the oven, turning regularly until the skin is crisp.

Allow to sit for 20-30 mins.

While the meat rests, skim the fat from the pan juices and sieve out any lumps. Pour into a pan, reheat gently and check for seasoning.

Serve the meat with rice and pan juices over the top.

Lemon, Garlic and Parsley Chicken Wings


An all time classic marinade that just screams fresh to me.

Our lemon tree is laden at the moment and I suspect that lemons will be featuring a lot more in the coming weeks.

I have cooked these in the oven, it is winter here, but, they taste even better on the BBQ with crispy skin and garlic, yum!

Serves 4-6.


1.4kg chicken wings, tips removed and cut in two

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 lemons juiced

large handful parsley leaves, chopped

50mls olive oil

salt and pepper


In a large bowl combine the garlic, lemon, parsley, oil, salt and a good grinding of pepper.

Add the chicken wings, mix well and allow to marinade for 2-6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Lay the chicken pieces on the prepared tins. Brush over any extra marinade.

Pop into the oven and bake for 35-40 mins, basting every 10mins with the pan juices.

Allow to cool a little before serving.


Chocolate Brazilian Coconut Kisses


We seem to be going through a South American phase in the kitchen just now and I’m not complaining!

I have made Brazilian coconut kisses or Beijinhos de coco before and they were lovely but I just wondered if a wee bit of chocolate might improve them even more.

Don’t  be tempted to use regular chocolate, due to the sweetness of the condensed milk you need dark chocolate to balance it!

Makes 26-28. Do not store them in the fridge, you won’t be able to bit them!


395mls condensed milk

30g butter

100g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids

150g desiccated coconut


In a heavy based pan, warm condensed milk and butter to just below simmering.

Stir continuously until the milk thickens to the point where you can draw a spoon through it and it doesn’t immediately run back in on itself. It will probably take 15-20 mins.

Add the chocolate and beat vigorously until the chocolate is completely melted and combined.

Add 100g coconut and beat to combine.

Set aside to cool.

Once cool enough to handle, pour the remaining 50g of coconut onto a plate.

Take small quantities of mix and roll into balls, around 2cm diameter.

Roll the balls in the coconut and then set aside, repeat with the remaining mixture.

Broccoli Soup With Gorgonzola Cheese


I remember as a child my parents having lots of dinner parties and for a while Broccoli and Stilton soup was regularly on the menu.

Jump forward a few years, or decades, and I’ve got some leftover Gorgonzola loitering in my fridge and two enormous heads of broccoli, well, it had to be done!

The Gorgonzola has a much milder and creamier flavour so my boys manage the blue cheese flavour very well and as they all love broccoli this soup cannot go wrong!

This soup freezes well, hence the large quantity as I always freeze half.

Serves 8-10


60g butter

1 onion, diced

1 medium potato, peeled and diced

1.4kg broccoli, stems roughly diced and florets

1.2l chicken or vegetable stock

600mls full cream milk

200g Gorgonzola cheese, roughly diced

salt and pepper


In a large pan, melt the butter over a medium heat and add the onion, diced potato and diced broccoli stem. Cook until the onion is soft.

Add the stock and milk, bring up to a gentle simmer and cook until the broccoli and potato are cooked through.

Add the broccoli florets and simmer gently until cooked through.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the Gorgonzola, stir well to let the cheese melt completely.

Using a stick blender, blend the soup to a smooth consistency. Season well.

Reheat gently and serve.

Simple Roast Chicken With Chimichurri Sauce


The boys and I recently went out for dinner to a Brazilian BBQ restaurant which was a huge success with my carnivores, I have never seen them eat so much!

One of the side sauces served with the barbecued meat was  Argentinian Chimichurri and it was a massive hit, so, home again we have been experimenting with our own version which lifts the most humble of chickens to stellar levels of taste!

This chicken can also be barbecued, just remember to let it rest after cooking.

Roast the carcass at the same time as the joints and then add the meat bones and pan juices after dinner to form the base of a simple stock.


1 x 1.8kg chicken, jointed into 10 pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

25g  fresh parsley leaves, chopped finely

25g fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon very finely diced fresh green chilli

140mls olive oil

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar


Preheat the oven to 200degrees Centigrade.

Combine the chicken, olive oil and a really good dose of seasoning in a bowl.

Place the chicken joints, skin side up on a baking sheet and bake for 35-45mins, basting every 10mins until golden and the skin is crisp.

While the chicken cooks, combine the parsley, coriander, garlic, chilli, oil and vinegar. Set aside.

Once the chicken is cooked, let it rest for 15-20mins, serve with a little sauce spooned over the top with extra on the table for people to help themselves.

Baked Eggs in Mushrooms With Parmesan


These make a lovely alternative for breakfast, lunch or a light supper.  Add a salad to make them go a little further.

When choosing mushrooms for this you need a very large mushroom that is thick and it’s sides are intact, any cracks and your egg will disappear through them!

I cooked these mushrooms in the oven but they will happily cook on a BBQ flat plate at a medium heat so you don’t burn the base.

Serves 2-4.


4 large portobello mushrooms

4 eggs

4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated

4 tablespoons fresh gluten free breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade.

Take a mushroom, remove the stalk and scoop out a little of the flesh, making enough space for the cracked egg.

Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and place on a baking sheet.

Crack an egg into each mushroom.

Combine the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Sprinkle the cheese crumbs over each egg.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins, I like to bake them until the white is cooked but the yolk is still a little runny.

Spicy Pork Pockets


These little pockets are a big hit with the boys.

As odd as it sounds adding the avocado to the cold filling, I think that it adds a lovely unexpected element and sneaks something green into the unsuspecting kids!

You can make mini versions of these as a party nibble and make ahead and freeze works well too, just omit the avocado if freezing.

Makes 16.


1kg minced pork

30-50mls olive oil

2 onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 chipotle chillies in adobe sauce, chopped

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano

200mls light sour cream

75 g fresh coriander, leaves and stalks chopped

2 large avocados, diced

375g fillo pastry

100-150g butter, melted


In a large pan, heat the oil over a medium heat and cook the onions for around 10mins until soft.

Add the garlic and cook for one minute.

Turn the heat up to high and add the pork, chipotle chillies, ground coriander, smoked paprika, ground cumin, salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned.

Add the fresh oregano and sour cream to the pan, allow to simmer gently until most of the liquid has evaporated, set aside to cool.

Once the pork is cold, add the fresh coriander and avocado.

Preheat the oven to 180degrees Centigrade.

Take a sheet of pastry and brush it with butter, top with another sheet, brush again and add another layer. Cut the pastry sheets in half lengthwise.

Take a 16th of the meat mix and spoon onto the bottom short corner of the cut sheet. Fold into a triangle and then keep folding over, working your way up the pastry strip to the top.

Brush the edge with butter to seal.

Set aside on a baking sheet and repeat until you have 16 pockets.

Brush the tops with butter and bake for 25-30mins until golden.

Cointreau and Chocolate Truffles


I am not a huge fan of desserts and puddings, but, give me a good cheese board and a chocolate truffle and I’m yours!

Once made the truffles only last for three days in the fridge but freeze really well.

Makes 16 x 2cm truffles.


175g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids

175mls cream

35g butter

45mls Cointreau

20mls Greek full fat yogurt

3 tablespoons cocoa powder


Process the chocolate until finely ground.

Heat the cream, butter and Cointreau in a pan over a medium to low heat.

Bring the cream up to the simmer point.

Turn the processor on with the ground chocolate, with the motor running, slowly pour the cream mix in, process until smooth.

Add the yogurt and process again.

Spoon the chocolate mixture onto a plate and pop into the fridge for 6 hours.

Pour the cocoa powder onto another plate, take small quantities of the truffle mix, roll into a ball and then roll in the cocoa, set aside and repeat with the remaining truffle mix.

Paprika Chicken


This chicken sits quite happily in the fridge for 24 hours to deepen the marinade flavour and darken the outside of the meat. I cook in a preheated oven or it is excellent cooked on the BBQ.

I like to buy a whole chicken and then cut it into 8-10 pieces, that way, everyone gets a bit that they like and everyone gets some crispy skin which is part of the pleasure of this chicken.

Serves 6.


1 x 2kg chicken, jointed into 8-10 pieces

60mls olive oil

2 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

2 tablespoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder

1 tablespoon salt

Freshly ground pepper


Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, cover and leave to marinade for at least 12 hours if you can.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and spread the chicken out.

Bake for 40-50 mins until fully cooked.

Allow to sit for 20 mins if you have time.