Thursday, December 13, 2012

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs on a Bed of Lemon Thyme Couscous with Spinach

 Despite the uncountable times we’ve been to Ikea, (we even had our car stolen from the parking lot once), I have never tried their cheap Swedish Meatballs. I always end up with 6 hot dogs and a frozen yogurt. To be honest I never really knew what made Swedish balls different from normal balls. So when I was watching Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals and he whipped up a batch, I saw what I was missing out on.
In the last decade I have grown fond of all things Swedish as a result of Jess’s lineage on her Mom’s side. Her Grandparents filled my wardrobe with clothing tastefully sporting the Swedish flag and colours, so I think this meal will get the stamp of approval.

Like most things I cook I did not follow the recipe and made addition and subtractions based on availability, taste and whim.   

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Enchiladas Rojas

The title for this post, “Enchiladas Rojas”, may technically be wrong but I liked it more than “Wet Burrito”. Basically I made meat wrapped in a four tortilla baked with a red chilli sauce smothered with cheese and sour cream.

This will probably be the last Mexican inspired dish I make for a while because it came awfully close to becoming a Fail. My cavalier attitude towards cooking frequently gets me into trouble in the kitchen. I have trouble with simple things like frying an egg, pouring anything from one container to another, and my true Achilles heel is the quantity of spicy things I add to dishes. I love hot food but prefer flavour over ass melting heat.

I barley reigned myself in before this meal was a write-off but the collateral damage ended up being Jess’s food was on the dry side due to the limited amount of sauce I used on hers. This made 10 enchiladas with extra red sauce.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lemon, Lime Sorbet

Continuing my mini Mexican fiesta I decided we needed something that you would easily be able to eat on its own or be able to douse in tequila and make a drink out of it. We also needed something sweet because Jess assures me she would actually die if she didn’t get some kind of treat after dinner. We considered making margaritas but instead settled on Lemon, Lime Sorbet.

I have really been on a roll making simple things that I had never considered making before and Sorbet does not disappoint. Making Sorbet is about as easy as making buttered toast so unless you’re my Dad you can probably do this.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Homemade Tortillas

I love most Mexican food and was pretty depressed when I realized that New Zealand and Australia are way behind the curve when it comes to providers of Mexican treats. I did find a bottle of Cholula Hot Sauce at the local market and decided to take matters into my own hands and have a bit of a fiesta by putting Cholula on everything edible.
I had already decided to make Shrimp on the Barbie! and was left to decide what I was going to do with BBQ’d shrimp slathered in Cholula. Years ago when I was in Mexico on a family vacation the absolute best thing I ate was garlicky shrimp wrapped in a flour tortilla sold by this little old lady in any alley between two buildings. Dreaming of that wrap I decided I was going to make shrimp tacos.
My primary concern was that store bought tortilla shells were not going to do my shrimp justice. I also wanted smaller diameter tortillas so that I could justify eating a plateful of them. The only solution would be to venture down the path of making my own Tortillas!
It turns out that it is really easy to churn out amazing flaky soft Tortilla shells with minimal effort and maximum food hero-ness. I vow to never buy Tortillas ever again! I am close to saying that these are the absolute best thing I’ve ever made but I did make a pretty amazing plate of“Ants on a Log” a while ago.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Shrimp on the Barbie!

The combination of travelling to Australia and having a food component to our Blog made this Post mandatory. Every time we talk to anyone at home we hear some version of Paul Hogan’s “…Slip another shrimp on the Barbie” quote from a commercial before his Crocodile Dundee days.

Before NZ and Aus we imagined the people here grilling every meal every day. It turns out the Canadians grill as often as anyone here. The only appreciable difference is that people here grill in public parks surrounded by family and friends. At home it is more common to see some poor husband in the yard wearing snow pants trying to survive long enough to make dinner (usually on a grill big enough to feed the block).

I suppose I cheated because I cooked prawn instead of shrimp. I don’t know the difference between them and only asked for the biggest most alien looking thing that I could throw on the grill.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Grilled Cheese with Rosmary and Gouda

I have recently become obsessed with putting rosemary on everything. I put it on the standard meat and potatoes, but have also been throwing it in sandwiches a wraps and pizzas. The tastiest application of rosemary for me has been the ultra simple “Grilled Cheese” sandwich.

Grilled cheese has been a staple cold weather, hangover, sick remedy that I have always eaten with tomato soup. I always loved when my Mom would whip up a grilled cheese sandwich and a tin of tomato soup. Generally the idea would be to dunk the sandwich in the soup but my aversion to hot (temperature hot) foods always left me eating them separately. I haven’t been sick or drunk so far this week so I don’t really have a reason for the making the sandwich other than as a vessel of transport for eating rosemary. I have also tossed in some anchovies as well making it a real "grown up" sammy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Greek Style Gyro Burgers

Now that I have Jackaroo for all my grilling needs it has given me the opportunity to expand our food preparation options to exclusively grilling.

A couple days ago we went to the “Yeero Shop” for donair/yeero/gyro/kebab and had an amazing beef something in a pita; the only downside was the price. At 25 bucks for a couple Yeero and lemonades I was full but my wallet was empty.

Today we were deciding our daily grilled meal and decided on burgers. The only issue eating burgers here is that they do not have the sharp yellow American cheddar that I have been craving so we settled on a Mediterranean flavoured burger. We lucked out with some of the food we had in the pantry and after a quick trip to the corner store we were soon munching on the most delicious juicy fresh pita burgers. There is no replacement for a standard burger but this was the next best thing.


I have never really understood people that buy premade burgers. They are pretty much the easiest thing to put together and always taste better. I made 8 “normal” sized burger patties.


-          800g fresh ground beef
-          ¼ cup chopped fresh oregano
-          Juice from ½ a lemon
-          Couple spoons of tzatziki
-          1 egg
-          Bread crumbs (I just crumbled up the butt of an olive loaf that I had made a few days ago)

Mix everything together and form into burgers. I saw on a TV show that said if you wet your hands before you start mixing beef for burgers or meatballs the meat won’t stick to you - making the clean-up a little easier.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Strozzapreti – Priest Stranglers

Disclaimer: No Priests were strangled in the making of this recipe... I also still hate the Celtics despite the head to toe green outfit.

I have been spending most of my free daytime hours at the Marrickville library using the free Wi-Fi and applying for jobs. The library is great but the job hunt has been fruitless at this point. After I finish my self imposed quota of 10 – 20 job applications I reward myself with scouring the library’s collection of cookbooks. It is rare that I actually follow a recipe but one jumped out at me from David Rocco’s “Made in Italy”. David is a fellow Canadian that has split his time between Toronto and Italyshowcasing rustic Italian dishes.

The recipe is a twist on the standard pasta recipe that yields pasta with a little extra kick and an even better story. The story behind the name Strozzapreti – Priest Stranglers is that these poor Italian housewives were diligently running their households when the local priest would drop by looking to spread the word and fill their bellies at the same time. The housewives would whip up some pasta putting a kink in the noodles hoping the unwitting Priest would choke on it. It seems a little complicated to try to off a Priest with pasta but I guess I’ve never really considered it. I’ve only included the pasta part of the recipe and made changes from my experience. The recipe is for 6 servings and is accurate, we fed five but Jess tossed a plate of finished pasta on the floor before we started cooking.


White Bread

As someone who came into cooking as an adult I have been practising making simple things that can compliment more complicated dishes. Bread is something that generally scares me when I think about making it. It is something that can be devoured in seconds or pushed off to the side in favour of something tastier. I lean towards savoury herb breads that you can slather with butter and sop up sauces with. I have been working with a different bread recipe than before and I think this one is actually better for adding some sweeter ingredients and using with jams, jellies, or French toast.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Steak with Flavoured Butter

I bought a $15 charcoal grill named “Jackaroo” from K-mart and decided I would try my hand at grilling some steak for dinner. We have not had a BBQ for nearly a year so I was eager to get something on the grill.
I have never really grilled on charcoal so I purchased a fairly inexpensive cut of meat (just in case I ruined it) and decided I’d spice it up a bit with some flavoured butter.
Making flavoured butter is about the easiest thing you can possibly do. I made Parsley Garlic butter.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Almond Filo Dessert

We moved out of our apartment yesterday and I wanted to use our kitchen to make something good before we start our travels and are using the luxurious accommodations of New Zealand hostels…

I was watching a TV show here called “World Kitchen”, and was inspired to create this unique treat from Morocco: Almond-filled Filo Snake. I made many adjustments to this recipe because I was trying to use up extra cupboard ingredients. Below is the actual recipe but I have noted my changes too.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Toasted Asian Subs

If you have ever been out for a night with me in Calgary you will know I love Toasted Asian Subs. My Dad can be credited with getting me to try one years ago when he would bring random “scary” foods home for the family. He convinced me once that a jalapeno was a type of pickle with disastrous results… me running around the house screaming my head off foaming at the mouth like a rabid banshee. As I get older it turns out that I really enjoy “scary” foods.

My lunch opportunities are pretty limited at work so I decided to make a bunch of subs on Sunday, and then eat them over the week. It was a good plan at first, but the subs ended up being too good to resist and my rations immediately depleted.