Salted Chocolate Caramels

The start of the school hols here in Western Australia calls for a sweet treat in our house.

Ingredients

130g salted butter

395mls condensed milk

200g brown sugar

2 tablespoons golden syrup

2 tablespoons glucose syrup

100g 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate

Salt flakes

Method

Line a small tin, 15x25cm, with baking parchment.

In a heavy based pan, heat the butter, condensed milk, sugar and syrups very gently over a low heat.

Once the sugar has dissolved, slowly bring up to the boil and simmer very gently for five minutes until thickened.

Take off the heat, stir in the chocolate and stir until combined and lump free.

As soon as the chocolate has dissolved, pour the caramel mix into the prepared tin and smooth out.

Sprinkle over a few salt flakes and pop into the fridge until cold. Once completely set, using a sharp knife, cut into squares.

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Sausage and Apple Casserole

Yet more comfort food here!

Apples and good pork sausages are a match made in heaven! I tend to use nice fat pork sausages, I get 10 to a kilo and sweet red eating apples as that’s what tends to be in the fruit bowl.

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

20mls oil

2 red onions, finely sliced

1 kg pork sausages

4 sweet apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

500mls chicken stock

3 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.

In a large oven proof pan, heat the oil over a medium heat and cook the sausages for 5 minutes until the skins have some colour.

Remove the sausages, set aside, add the onion to the pan and cook until soft, around 10 minutes.

Set the onions aside with the sausages and add the apple to the pan, fry over a high heat until they have coloured a little.

Return the onion to the pan, stir through the apples, top with the sausages.

Spread the mustard over each sausage.

Pour the stock into the pan, cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Uncover the pan and return to the oven, bake for a further 25-30 minutes until the sausages are golden.

Moroccan Spiced Potatoes

I love potatoes, the ultimate comfort food!

They are a great way to fill the boys up and they pair so well with onions and spices.

If you have leftovers, reheat gently and serve for breakfast with a poached egg on top.

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

750g baby potatoes, skin on, cooked

30mls oil

2 onions, halved and cut into 1cm wedges

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes

1/2-1 teaspoon salt flakes

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Pepper to taste

Fresh dill

Method

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium heat, cook the onion until softened, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

With the pan over a medium to high heat, add the potatoes, crushing them a little with your hands as you go.

While the potatoes are beginning to brown, use a mortar and pestle to lightly crush the coriander, cumin, thyme, chilli and salt.

Once the potatoes are beginning to get some colour, add the coriander mix, sesame seeds, cooked onion and garlic slices.

Stir constantly over a medium heat until the potatoes are golden and the onions are browning.

Sprinkle over the fresh dill and serve.


Chicken With Saffron And Thyme

The colour of this chicken is amazing, and the taste is just as good!

The quantity of saffron may seem a little odd, the saffron I buy, comes in a tiny box and weighs 0.5g so I use half a box, a really good pinch would be an equivalent. By chopping the saffron you get more colour but it is as light as a feather so be careful not to lose any.

Also, don’t wear your favourite white top, it’s guaranteed to get stained as will your hands so metal spoons and tongs are the go here!

Serves 6.

Ingredients

30mls boiling water

0.25g saffron, chopped 

800g chicken breast, sliced 

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves

Salt and pepper

A little oil for the pan

Method

Pour the water into a non staining bowl, add the saffron and swirl around.

Once the colour has been released by the saffron add the chicken, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper to the bowl, stir with a metal spoon and then pop into the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Heat a large frying pan, I use a 32cm pan, over a medium to high heat and add a little oil. 

Using tongs, lift individual strips of chicken out of the bowl and lay them in the pan, don’t overcrowd them.

Cook for 4-5 minutes and then turn them, cook until cooked all the way through. Set aside somewhere warm and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Beef Jhal Faraizi

One of the best ways to use up leftover roast beef and potatoes.

This has a bit of heat to it but if you like your food spicier then, throw a sliced red chilli in when you are cooking the onion.

Serves 4-6 depending on sides. When it comes to frying the eggs, I take a straw poll of those eating and just cook enough for them with no spares!

Ingredients

900g potatoes, cooked and peeled

1-2 tablespoons oil

500g cooked roast beef, cut into 0.5cm dice

1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon chilli flakes

2 medium or 1 large red onion, diced

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 handful fresh coriander

6-12 fried eggs depending on appetites

Method

Boil the potatoes with their skins on, drain and set aside to cool.

Once cool enough to touch, peel the skins from the potatoes and dice roughly to 1cm.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, I use a 32 cm pan for this.

Add the seeds and chilli flakes, once fragrant, add the beef and onion.

Cook over a medium heat until the onion has softened.

Now add the potatoes, turmeric, salt and pepper. Turn the heat up high and let the potoatoes catch a little on the pan to get some colour.

If they aren’t  browning up enough for you, turn the grill on and slide the pan under, being careful not to melt the handle!

Once the potatoes have some colour, stir through the coriander, fry the eggs and serve with the eggs on top.

Slow Cooker Spice Rack Pork


At the beginning of winter I bought a slow cooker and a few months later I am a complete convert on nights when we are all coming and going.

The seasoning for the pork is very simple but don’t be tempted to add more liquid, it really doesn’t need any.

I love chimichurri and it goes so well here, cutting through the rich meat and adding a gorgeous splash of colour.

Serves 8. Any leftover meat freezes well with the pan juices and the boys have wraps with salad, pork and chimichurri for school in the days after we have this.

Ingredients

2kg boned pork shoulder/pork butt cut into 5-7cm dice

1 large orange, juiced

3 teaspoons dried thyme

4 teaspoons dried oregano

3 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Chimichurri Ingredients

20g parsley leaves

80g fresh coriander, leaves and stalks

1 green chilli, deseeded

1 lime juiced

2 garlic cloves

75mls olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Combine all of the pork ingredients in the slow cooker.

Cook on high for six hours.

To make the chimichurri…….

Process all of the ingredients, add a little more oil if you need to.

Chicken Nibbles

This is my gluten and egg free version of every child’s favourite, popcorn chicken.

Serves 4-6 depending on appetites!

Ingredients

WET INGREDIENTS

1kg chicken breast, diced 1cm

50mls buttermilk

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

DRY INGREDIENTS

230g chickpea flour

2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

Method

Get out two large bowls, measure the ingredients out at the same time, it saves you measuring out the spices again later.

So, all the wet ingredients in one bowl and all the dry ingredients in the other.

Combine the wet ingredients well and pop them into the fridge for 2-4 hours.

Heat your deep fat fryer to 170 degrees.

Take handfuls of the chicken and tumble the chicken pieces through the dry spice and chickpea mix.

Fry in batches for 4-5 minutes until cooked through and golden.

Drain on kitchen towel roll and repeat with the remaining chicken.