Recipes to relish (3 ways with pineapple, mango and lime chutney)

[Recipe 1] SUNSHINE CHUTNEY (pineapple, mango and lime) transforms into
[Recipe 2] CHICKEN TOSTADAS with SUNSHINE CHUTNEY
[Recipe 3] PULLED PORK TACOS with APPLE SLAW and SUNSHINE CHUTNEY 
[Recipe 4] MAPLE-GLAZED PORK FILLETS with SUNSHINE CHUTNEY

We’re chutney chompers from way back, and the top shelf of the fridge is home to oodles of jars. Sunshine Chutney (pineapple, mango and lime) is our favourite. Make it and you’ll be dolloping it on just about everything, I promise. It makes a nice gift too – my boys teachers scored a jar for Christmas!
Mango Season is over in Australia, but this chutney can be made with frozen mango cheeks, and there’s no greater way to ward off Seasonal sadness than a sweet, sticky spoonful of sunshine on your slow-cooked Winter meat. I’ve shared our three favourite ways to enjoy Sunshine Chutney below.
TOSTADAS are crispy mini tortillas, topped with classic Mexican ingredients. We love tostadas el pollo, topped with avocado, leftover shredded roast chicken, a dollop of Sunshine chutney and scattered coriander. These are ace for a party, but you can be like Cher in Moonstruck and serve hors-d’oeuvres for dinner too!
PULLED PORK TACOS – my version of the Mexican classic, tacos al pastor. I seriously think my 8 year old would happily live on these.
MAPLE-GLAZED PORK FILLETS – if you haven’t cooked pork tenderloins before, go add them to your shopping list pronto! These are the perfect mid-week dinner. They take 20 minutes to roast and they’re SO juicy and lovely, especially with a hefty plop of Sunshine chutney 🙂

Sunshine chutney (pineapple, mango and lime). One Equals Two. 3 ways with Sunshine Chutney (pineapple, mango, lime). One Equals Two.[Recipe 1] Sunshine chutney

Ingredients: (makes 1.5–1.8 kilos/3.3–4 lb chutney):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 long red chillies, de-seeded, finely chopped (retain seeds for extra oomph, if liked)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1½ tablespoons freshly-grated and chopped ginger
6 large or 8 small just-ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped (approx. 5 cups chopped mango)
1 small ripe pineapple, peeled and chopped (approx. 3 cups chopped pineapple)
1 large firm pear, peeled, cored and chopped into small cubes
60 ml (¼ cup) lime juice (from 1–2 limes)
2 teaspoons lime zest (from 1–2 limes)
1½ cups verjuice (verjus)
2 cups caster sugar (superfine sugar)
½ teaspoon sea salt

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, chilli and mustard seeds. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes until just softened; taking care not to burn.
Add all other ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 1– 1¼ hours uncovered; or until thick and jammy. Stir occasionally, and keep a close eye on the chutney towards the end of the cooking process, to ensure it doesn’t stick and burn. It should look like a thick, sticky orange puree with softened pineapple chunks, and it will firm up further on standing.
Divide the chutney among hot, sterilised jars. Store chutney in a cool, dark place.

  • Use good quality fruit that is not over-ripe. Fully ripened fruit contains less pectin, the substance that makes jams and chutneys set. It’s best to use your fruit as soon as possible after buying.
  • Frozen mango cheeks can be used in place of fresh mango if out of Season.
  • Double the ingredients for a bulk quantity (12 cups) to share with friends. Cooking time will be slightly longer, around 1½–1¾ hours.
  • I always add a pear or two to my chutneys and jams as they’re high in pectin which helps achieve a good set even if your hero fruit is beginning to over-ripen. Lime also contains a high amount of pectin.
  • Verjuice is available at large supermarkets and specialty food stores. In Australia, Maggie Beer’s verjuice is the best quality and flavour (IMHO)! Replace the verjuice with apple cider vinegar if unavailable (I’ve tested this recipe with both).
  • Resist the desperate urge to enjoy your chutney immediately! Allow it to further firm up for at least 24 hours, preferably longer, before using.
  • Chutney in properly sterilised jars will keep in a cool, dark place for up to ten months. Refrigerate after opening.

Chicken tostadas with sunshine chutney. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 2] Chicken tostadas with Sunshine chutney

Ingredients (makes 25):
25 x 9cm tostaditas (deep fried tortillas)
1 large avocado, sliced
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (from ½ a roast chicken)
♦ ½–1 cup sunshine chutney (see Recipe 1, above)
1 red (purple/Spanish) onion, thinly sliced

Fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped

Arrange tostaditas on a large serving platter, or little individual plates (pictured).
Place 2 slices of avocado on each, top with 1 tablespoon shredded chicken, a couple of thin slices of onion and ½ tablespoon sunshine chutney. Scatter with fresh coriander and serve at once.

  • Deep-fried tostaditas are available in-store and online from from El CieloIf unavailable, make your own by placing mini corn tortillas on a tray lined with baking paper. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil and bake in a hot oven until crisp, 12–15 minutes. Alternatively, mini corn tortillas can be fried in hot, shallow oil, about 2–3 minutes each side until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.

Pulled pork tacos with sunshine chutney. One Equals Two

[Recipe 3] Pulled pork tacos with Sunshine chutney

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 x 14cm soft white corn tacos (tortillas)
2½–3 cups pulled pork (recipe here), warmed
Apple slaw (recipe here)
♦ 1 cup sunshine chutney (see Recipe 1, above)
Fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped, to serve

Lightly oil a non-stick frying pan. Pan-fry the tortillas in batches, for ten seconds each side, until softened. Wrap in a clean tea towel to keep warm, as you prepare the remaining tortillas.
To serve, spoon reserved pulled pork down the centre of each tortilla. Top with apple slaw and a good dollop of sunshine chutney.
Scatter with fresh coriander and serve at once.

  • Pulled pork can be warmed carefully in a small covered saucepan, or in the microwave (drizzle with the reserved cooking juices, cover with cling film, and microwave on high for 1–2 minutes). Don’t make it too hot!

Maple-glazed pork fillets with sunshine chutney. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 4] Maple-glazed pork fillets with Sunshine chutney

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 free range pork fillets (tenderloins), 250-300g each
1 tablespoon olive oil
♦ ½–1 cup sunshine chutney (see Recipe 1, above)
Glaze ingredients:
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 heaped teaspoons smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon dried chilli powder (or more, as liked)
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Mix glaze ingredients together in a small bowl, and brush over the pork fillets with the back of a soup spoon.
Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add pork and sear on all sides until nicely browned, 4–5 minutes total.
Transfer pork to a tray lined with baking paper, and drizzle with any remaining glaze.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 15–20 minutes, until pork is cooked through. Remove from oven. Transfer pork to a board, cover lightly with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
To serve, cut the pork into thick 1cm (½”) medallions. Arrange on plates and drizzle with any juices left on the tray. Serve with a dollop of sunshine chutney.

  • Pork fillet is also known as pork tenderloin, and is the eye fillet that comes from within the loin. It’s super tasty and lean; and is best cooked quickly in a hot oven as it can dry out if overcooked. Don’t make the mistake of buying pork loin, which is quite a different cut to a tenderloin and requires a longer cooking time. Read here for more information.
  • Leftover cooked pork fillet can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Thinly sliced leftover cooked pork fillet is THE BEST in sandwiches! Serve with Sunshine chutney and cos (Romaine) lettuce.

Pig out

[Recipe 1] SLOW-ROASTED PORK BELLY TACOS with PINEAPPLE GINGER RELISH and CRACKLING transforms into
[Recipe 2] MIXED RICE SALAD with PULLED PORK, LIME and PEANUTS

“So THIS is why the big bad wolf wanted to eat the 3 little pigs”!
So said my 6-year old after his first-ever taste of pork belly crackling. We were a bit startled by his cheerful nonchalance! He couldn’t get enough of it, those oily little fingers reaching out for more and more; and frankly neither could I. I hadn’t had crackling in years, and before last weekend had never actually cooked it myself.
Oh boy was it good; and the beautiful melt-in-your mouth meat it encased was pretty damn excellent too.
I weighed up Jamie and Nigella‘s cooking methods. Jamie gives his pork a sharp burst of high heat to start with, then turns the oven down for the slow-cooking process. Nigella cooks hers in reverse, slow-roasting first with a hot blast at the end. I chose Jamie’s technique as it required my attention at the start of the process, then could be ignored until finished – ideal for weekend cooking.
I improvised and threw together a simple zesty marinade which worked a treat. The lovely pork belly was served up in soft tacos with pineapple ginger relish, a concoction I made up by adding bits and pieces to the saucepan until it tasted nice, and hot damn did it go well with the pork!
These tacos are my version of one of my favourite Mexican dishes – Al Pastor style pork and pineapple. You can sample the real deal in Melbourne at Mamasita, Fonda and our local, Eat Drink Love Taco in Carlisle Street. Al Pastor style pork is cooked on a huge vertical spit and served up in tortillas with finely chopped onion, lime, coriander and fresh pineapple. So good!
Amazingly we had quite a bit of leftover pulled pork, which I used the next night in a fab mixed rice salad with lime and peanuts; using Rice Plus, a locally-made product my friend Judy got me hooked on. It’s fantastic, a combo of black sesame seeds and grains including brown rice, black rice, red basmati, millet and quinoa. I always have a pack in the cupboard. I’ve made this salad a few times, and usually add chopped leftover roast chicken, but the pork was a fabulous inclusion. This recipe makes enough salad for lunch the next day (nothing better than lunch waiting in the fridge for you in the morning). My boys love the salad too, although I modify theirs slightly – see ‘fussy kid tip’ below. Now, onto the recipes…

Slow-cooked pork belly with cracklingPork belly tacos with pineapple relish[Recipe 1] Slow-roasted pork belly tacos with pineapple ginger relish and crackling

Ingredients (serves 4–6 for two meals, ie. tacos serve 4, salad serves 6):
2 kilo (4 lb) whole free-range pork belly
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1½ cups freshly-squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 corn cobs, silk and husks removed (to reserve for the mixed rice salad)
Olive oil, extra, for brushing corn
Pineapple ginger relish, to serve
Fresh coriander (cilantro), to serve
10 white corn tortillas, to serve (mine are from El Cielo)

Score the thick pork skin with a very sharp knife, in rows. Don’t cut all the way down to the meat – about 5mm (.2″) deep is perfect. Brush the skin all over with the oil, and sprinkle with salt.
Mix the orange juice, cumin, cinnamon and paprika together and pour into the bottom of a shallow, heavy baking pan. Pop the pork piece on top. Brush the marinade up the sides of the pork. Don’t brush the skin, as it should remain dry.
Note: if you’re using a baking dish that’s tricky to clean, you may wish to line it with a couple of layers of foil.
Allow the pork to marinate, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Keeping it uncovered allows the skin to remain nice and dry which is a must for good crackling.
Preheat oven to 250°C (480ºF).
Roast the marinated pork belly for 30 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 150°C (300ºF) and roast for a further 3 hours, until skin is golden and crispy. With 30 minutes of cooking time remaining, place the oiled corn cobs in the oven on a separate small tray, and roast together with the pork, turning once after 15 minutes. Total cooking time is 3½ hours.
♦ Remove the corn cobs and reserve both for the mixed rice salad.
Remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
To serve, remove the crispy crackling from the top and break into pieces. Pull the pork belly apart with two forks.
♦ Reserve 1–2 cups (as much as you can spare) cooked pork for the mixed rice salad.
Serve the remaining pork belly with warmed tortillas and pineapple ginger relish, scattered with coriander. Serve the crackling on the side.

  • Reserved cooked pork can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.
  • Fussy kid tip: my boys loved their pork tacos with fresh guacamole instead of the pineapple relish. I served them a bowl of fresh pineapple on the side.
  • When using coriander (cilantro) leaves, freeze the white roots. They’re great for adding to home-made stock, or pounding into a paste for flavouring curries and stews such as Black bean, coconut and fish stew. Strip the tiny ‘hairy’ roots off before using.

Mixed rice salad with pork and peanuts

[Recipe 2] Mixed rice salad with pulled pork, lime and peanuts

Ingredients (serves 6):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red (purple/Spanish) onion, finely chopped
2 cups (450g pack) gluten-free RicePlus, uncooked
♦ 2 reserved roasted corn cobs, kernels removed with a sharp knife
1–2 cups reserved cooked pork belly, chopped
Sea salt

1 cup coriander (cilantro), chopped
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
60g roasted peanuts, chopped, to serve
Lime and ginger dressing:
2 limes, juiced and zested (⅓ cup juice)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey, warmed slightly
1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
1 heaped tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion over a medium heat for 3 minutes, until just soft.
Add the Rice Plus and 4 cups of water to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes (this will help any excess liquid to be absorbed).
♦ Add reserved roast corn kernels and reserved pork. Season well with salt.
(At this stage you may like to decant some of the undressed salad to serve to kids – see tip below).
Make dressing by combining ingredients in a screw-top jar. Shake until combined. Pour dressing over salad and toss gently. Add coriander and parsley and serve, scattered with chopped peanuts.
Serve at room temperature.

  • Fussy kid tip: For 2 kids, remove 2 cups of the rice salad before you add the dressing, coriander and parsley. You can serve it with reserved pork, but if you wish to keep the pork all to yourselves (bwahahaha – evil laugh); do as I do and stir a small, drained can of tuna in olive oil through the rice salad. Both my boys love this. A classic tuna, corn and rice salad! It’s equally nice made with leftover chopped roast chicken too. My 6-year old adds a huge slosh of tomato sauce (ketchup) to his, and the 10-year old stirs through some mayo.

It’s the veal thing

[Recipe 1] DUTCH VEAL ROLLS (blinde vinken) and BRAISED RED CABBAGE with APPLE (rode kool met appeltjes) transforms into
[Recipe 2] SWEDISH MEATBALLS with CRANBERRY and GOJI BERRY JAM
……………..
Reuban sandwich
“If it smells like someone let a wicked fart loose in your kitchen, you’re on the right track.”
I intended to make my own fermented sauerkraut for this post, but when I came across that particular comment whilst browsing food blogs, I chickened out. That, and reference to possible contamination by pesky microbes had me dishing up Braised red cabbage with apple (rode kool met appeltjes) instead. While not strictly sauerkraut as it’s not fermented; it comes pretty close in flavour. It’s my own take on my dad’s recipe – the cabbage is simmered in chicken stock with fresh apple, Dijon mustard and spices, and is quite delicious! You’ll find so many ways to use the leftovers during the week – this little picture shows our lunch at work on Thursday, photographed on a cutting mat (see tips/ingredients below the main recipe).
Braised red cabbage is the perfect accompaniment to Dutch veal rolls (blinde vinken). The name translates literally as ‘blind finches’, a classic quirky Dutchism. They’re lovely spiced logs of minced veal and pork, traditionally wrapped in paper-thin slice of veal, but I prefer to use pancetta. I also like to add grated apple (firm pear works well too). They’re simmered in stock and my boys LOVE them as they’re basically fancy sausages.
Cranberry and goji berry jam on sourdoughBy making double the quantity of Dutch veal roll mixture, you can serve up Swedish meatballs later in the week (or later in the month if you choose to freeze them)! Unsuspecting family members will have no idea this is the same mince mixture, rolled into balls. I’ve served them up Ikea-style (minus the horse meat); with mashed potatoes and home-made Cranberry and goji berry jam (I’d love to make Swedish lingonberry jam, but where on earth can one buy lingonberries in Australia)? I threw the goji berries in on a whim and they added a lovely tartness to the sauce. Goji berries are packed full of protein and vitamins, in fact they apparently contain 500 times more vitamin C than oranges! After much experimenting, I’ve found that simple is best with this jam. No need for vinegar, onion or wine. It’s gently sweetened with maple syrup and has a nice burst of zing from the ginger and lemon zest. Delicious! Recipe link is here. We spent 5 days at Apollo Bay Music Festival last week, and this jam went down a treat on sourdough smeared with White Castello cheese (pictured).
So, we didn’t miss the sauerkraut at all, but one day I’ll work up the courage to whip up a batch. Has anyone made it? If so I’d LOVE to know if it was a success, and if the resulting putrid-smelling kitchen was worth it.

Blinde vinken (Dutch veal rolls)[Recipe 1] Dutch veal rolls (blinde vinken) and braised red cabbage with apple (rode kool met appeltjes)

Ingredients for braised red cabbage with apple (makes 4 cups):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red (purple/Spanish) onion, finely chopped
2 large green apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 small head red cabbage, shredded, inner core discarded
1¾ cups (435ml) store-bought or home-made chicken stock, plus extra ¼ cup if required
½ cup (125ml) apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon marjoram

2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Ingredients for Dutch veal rolls (serves 4 for 2 meals):

4 slices wholemeal bread, crusts removed, cut into pieces
½ cup (125ml) milk
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) humanely-farmed veal
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) free range pork
½ cup chopped parsley
1 small red (purple/Spanish) onion, very finely chopped
1 large green apple, peeled and grated

½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon marjoram
2 eggs, lightly whisked
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
100g (3.5 oz) thinly sliced pancetta
Olive oil, for frying, extra

1 cup (250ml) store-bought or home-made chicken stock, or veal stock
Pan-fried kipfler potatoes, to serve

For the braised red cabbage with apple (this can be made up to 3 days in advance):
Heat oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Fry onion and apple for 5–8 minutes, until onion is soft and transparent and apple begins to turn golden brown.
Add mustard seeds. Cook for for 1-2 minutes. Add cabbage, stock, vinegar, mustard, cloves, marjoram and brown sugar. Simmer over a low–medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add a splash more stock if it is drying out. Season.
Set aside until required. Braised red cabbage can be served cold or re-heated gently on the stovetop. It improves with age so is best made at least the day before.
For the Dutch veal rolls (these can be made up to 3 days in advance, or frozen):
Soak bread in milk for 5 minutes, and gently squeeze out.
Place minced meat, parsley, onion, apple, spices and eggs in a large bowl. Add the squeezed-out bread. Mix well and season.
Divide mixture in half (approx. 650g/1.4 lb), and reserve one portion for the Swedish meatballs.
Roll the remaining veal mixture into eight log shapes. Wrap each in pancetta.
Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frypan. Add veal rolls and gently fry until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cook in two batches if required, and return to the pan when cooked. Pour in stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 8–10 minutes. Turn the veal rolls over and simmer for a further 8 minutes.
Remove veal rolls from the pan and keep warm on a plate covered with foil. Bring pan juices to the boil and simmer until reduced by half. Drain in a fine mesh sieve. Set aside strained juices and reheat when required.
Serve the veal rolls and pan juices with braised red cabbage and pan-fried kipflers or thickly-sliced rye bread.

  • Uncooked Dutch veal rolls can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. Place baking paper between the layers. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Drain on kitchen paper to absorb excess moisture before cooking.
  • Braised red cabbage can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. The flavour improves with time.
  • Braised red cabbage is fabulous in a Reuben-style sandwich (pictured in the intro text) with Edam cheese, pastrami and Dijonnaise (2 teaspoons Dijon mustard mixed with 2 tablespoons mayonnaise). 
  • Braised red cabbage is also delicious served with pork schnitzels, Slow-cooked beef brisket, Pulled pork or served up Dutch-style, nestled on a bed of endive and potato mash with a big fat rookwust sausage resting on top (my Dad’s specialty).
  • If you don’t have the time or inclination, you can buy ‘kapusta czerwona’ (braised Polish red cabbage) by the jar at European delicatessens – the flavour is very similar to Dutch braised cabbage. Warm gently on the stove-top.

Swedish meatballs (Ikea style)

[Recipe 2] Swedish meatballs with cranberry and goji berry jam

Ingredients (serves 4):
Half quantity (approx. 650g/1.4 lb) reserved Dutch veal roll mixture
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
2 cups store-bought or home-made chicken stock
150ml (5 fl oz) cream (I use light cooking cream)
Creamy parmesan mashed potatoes, to serve
Cranberry and goji berry jam, to serve

Steamed green beans, to serve
Chopped fresh dill, to serve

Roll mixture into 20–25 walnut-sized balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes if time permits.
Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frypan. Add meatballs and brown well on all sides, about 8 minutes. Cook in two batches, transferring to a plate lined with kitchen paper.
Add flour to pan, and cook, stirring for about one minute. Gradually pour in stock and cream and bring to the boil. Return meatballs to the pan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through.
Serve meatballs and their sauce with Creamy parmesan mashed potatoes and Cranberry and goji berry jam, with a side of steamed green beans. Scatter with chopped dill.

  • Meatballs can be frozen, raw, for up to 3 months. Place baking paper between the layers. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Drain on kitchen paper to absorb excess moisture before cooking.
  • If you don’t have a deep-sided non-stick pan; cook the meatballs in a shallow-sided non-stick pan first; and transfer them to a deeper pan for cooking in the sauce.
  • The Cranberry and goji berry jam is beautiful served with sourdough bread, spread thickly with White Castello cheese (pictured in the intro text).
  • Dried wild goji berries are available from health food stores or online from Loving Earth.
  • I always buy 300ml (10 fl oz) tubs of cream, and freeze the leftover 150ml (5 fl oz) cream in its tub. Nearly all my recipes that contain cream use 150ml. Allow the cream to defrost in the fridge overnight and use it for this recipe again or for:
    Caramelised onion and goat’s cheese tart or
    Chicken and leek pot pie or
    Creamy pumpkin fettuccine with toasted walnuts or
    Sticky date pudding with toasted hazelnuts or
    Roasted red capsicum and fresh herb tart

Loafing around

[Recipe 1] BEEF and PUMPKIN MEATLOAF transforms into
[Recipe 2] OVEN-BAKED BURGERS with THE LOT
……………..
Daggy dinner alert! Meatloaf!
We secretly love meatloaf. It’s right up there with tuna casserole in the retro dinner department, but honestly it’s really good. Leftover meatloaf is soooo tasty too, sliced thinly in sandwiches, with chunky relish and rocket (arugula). It’s great for picnics and lunch on the go. My boys just love it.
Make double the beef and pumpkin mixture and you can conjure up some fab oven-baked burgers with the lot* to have later in the week. These are perfect for a quick weeknight dinner and they’re roasted so they’re less fatty than fried burgers.
The burger recipe makes 6 patties. You can freeze the two unused ones, uncooked. I love having spare burgers in the freezer for the kids, for those nights when the husband and I are craving a big fat steak.
I know the ingredients list looks a bit long and spooky, but it is so easy to put together, I promise. Everything is basically thrown into a big bowl and mooshed up.
The mixture is full of hidden pumpkin and grated carrot. You can trick it up and experiment with it too. Over the years I’ve replaced the 2 cups of grated pumpkin with cooked lentils, tiny cauliflower florets, grated zucchini (courgette)… you name it!
You can of course use the mixture to make two meatloaves instead, or indeed two batches of burgers. Both freeze really well uncooked.
*Is ‘burger with the lot’ an Australian expression? I’m not sure. In old-fashioned burger places here, it refers to a hamburger containing all the available fillings; which can often mean it will include pineapple, a fried egg and sliced beetroot!

Beef and pumpkin meatloaf[Recipe 1] Beef and pumpkin meatloaf

1 large red (purple/Spanish) onion, very finely chopped
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon sea salt + freshly cracked black pepper
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce

1 kilo (2 lb) minced (ground) beef
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) pork
2 large carrots, finely grated
200g (7 oz) peeled butternut pumpkin (butternut squash), grated (equal to 1½ cups)
1½ cups dry bread crumbs
1½ cups chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Easy spiced tomato chutney (or store-bought chutney), to serve 
GLAZE:
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Heat oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin seeds and cook for 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
With a hand-held whisk, lightly beat the eggs, salt, pepper, milk, Dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce and sweet chilli sauce until combined.
Add to the minced beef and pork in a large bowl, along with the carrot, pumpkin, breadcrumbs, parsley and the cooked onion and garlic. Mix thoroughly with your hands.
Reserve half the mixture (1¼ kilos or 4 tightly-packed cups) for the oven-baked burgers with the lot.
Press remaining mixture into a lightly-oiled loaf pan, and turn out onto a tray lined with baking paper. You can pat the mixture into a free-form shape if you prefer, but I find using a loaf tin as a mold works beautifully.
Make the glaze by mixing the ingredients in a small bowl. Brush all over the meatloaf.
Bake for 60–70 minutes, until lovely and crisp on the outside and cooked through.
Allow to rest for ten minutes. Cut into thick slices and serve with steamed vegetables or salad, and tomato chutney.
One meatloaf yields 8 thick slices.

  • Cooked beef and pumpkin meatloaf can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge and should be used within three days. Uncooked meatloaf can be frozen, whole (in a loaf tin to retain its’ shape), for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and cook per instructions. Glaze just before cooking.

The ultimate burger. With hidden veggies.

[Recipe 2] Oven-baked burgers with the lot

4 soft wholemeal (wholewheat) buns, warmed in oven, toasted, or lightly char-grilled
♦ 1¼ kilos (4 tightly-packed cups) reserved beef and pumpkin meatloaf mixture
Olive oil, for brushing (or olive oil spray)
Easy spiced tomato chutney (or store-bought chutney), to serve
CHOOSE YOUR EXTRAS:
Lettuce
Sliced cheese
Sliced tomato
Whole cornichons or sliced pickles
Sliced avocado
Thinly sliced red (purple/Spanish) onion or caramelised red onion jam

Preheat oven to 220°C (425ºF).
Shape reserved beef and pumpkin meatloaf mixture into 6 patties. Freeze two for later!
Place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush or spray patties lightly with olive oil.
Roast patties for 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
Layer burgers and your chosen extras on each bun base. Pop the tops on and serve.
Makes 4 (plus two extra patties for freezing!)

  • Uncooked patties can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge and should be used within three days, or they can be frozen, with baking paper between the layers, for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and bake per instructions.

Porklife

[Recipe 1] PULLED PORK with BBQ SAUCE and CARAMELISED APPLES
transforms into

[Recipe 2] PORK PO’BOYS with APPLE SLAW
……………..
Texan-style pulled pork is one of our favourite, er, pig-outs. It’s totally lip-smackin’, and goes down beautifully with caramelised apples and a glass of cider. My boys just love it. You’ll need to whip up a batch of my home-made kick-arse BBQ sauce to cook the pork in – it’s lovely and tangy, with a bit of bite; and is super easy to make. It yields a large quantity of sauce and it freezes well, so you can make these recipes again at a later date.
The pork is slow-cooked for at least 4 hours, so it’s most definitely a weekend meal. Reserve half the pulled pork, and some of the BBQ sauce though; and you can serve up amazing Pork po’boys with apple slaw as a second meal in no time.
Po’boys are traditional Louisiana-style submarines stuffed with any type of warm meat or fish (chicken, roast beef, shrimp, oysters, crab, fried catfish or… pulled pork). They’re always dressed with salad and we love stuffing ours with apple slaw – can’t have pork without apple 😉
The key to a perfect po’boy is the bread – it must be crusty with a soft centre. The long white rolls sold at Vietnamese bakeries fit the description perfectly.
There are countless theories as to the origin of the term po’boy, but the most widely-accepted story (which I discovered here) is that they were invented by Clovis and Benjamin Martin, brothers and former streetcar drivers who opened a restaurant on St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans in the 1920s. When streetcar drivers went on strike in 1929, the brothers took up their cause and created an inexpensive sandwich of gravy and spare bits of roast beef on French bread that they’d serve the unemployed workers from the rear of their restaurant. When a worker came to get one, a cry would go up in the kitchen: ‘here comes another poor boy!’ The name was transferred to the sandwiches, which eventually became known as ‘po-boys’.
Gawd, all this talk of 1920s America has reminded me of Boardwalk Empire. Season 3 starts in 8 days. Not that I’m counting sleeps or anything…
Ciao for now.

Pulled pork with caramelised apples. One Equals Two.Pulled pork with caramelised apples and BBQ sauce. One Equals Two.[Recipe 1] Pulled pork with BBQ sauce and caramelised apples

Ingredients (serves 4 for 2 meals):
1.75 kilo (3.8 lb) piece free-range boned pork neck (pork scotch fillet)
1 cup home-made BBQ sauce, plus extra to serve
Caramelised (caramelized) apples:
2 tablespoons (30g) butter
2 large green apples, cut into eighths
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon verjuice (verjus)*

Preheat oven to 150°C (300ºF).
Place pork into a small, close-fitting, ovenproof pot.
Add 1 cup of cold water to the home-made BBQ sauce and stir well. Pour over the pork piece. Cook, covered, for 4–5 hours, basting with the marinade once every hour, until the pork is very tender. Test to see whether pork is tender after 4 hours. If not, return to the oven for a further 30 minutes and check again.
Meanwhile, make the caramelised apples. Melt butter in a heavy-based frying pan. Add apples and brown sugar. Cook, covered, over a medium-high heat until the apple is golden brown and caramelised, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat and stir in verjuice. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes on high, uncovered, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat and set aside. Apples can be warmed when pork is ready to serve.
Remove pork from pot, place on a board and allow to rest, completely covered with foil, for 15 minutes.
♦ Reserve ½ cup pan juices for the Pork po’boys with apple slaw.
Discard remaining pan juices. With two forks, pull the meat apart into shreds.
Reserve half of the pulled pork (about 2–3 cups) for the Pork po’boys with apple slaw.
Pile remaining pork onto a large platter. Place warmed caramelised apples and extra BBQ sauce into serving bowls, and allow everyone to help themselves. Yummo.

  • *Verjuice (or verjus) is made from the juice of unfermented grapes. The wonderful Maggie Beer, Australian cook and writer, has been producing verjuice since 1984. Hers is available world-wide, in large supermarkets and specialty food stores. If unavailable, replace with apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar.
  • Reserved pulled pork can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Fussy kid tip: I peel a couple of the caramelised apples and puree them for my boys – pulled pork and apple sauce! Yum.

Apple slaw. One Equals Two.Pulled Pork Poboys. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 2] Pork po’boys with apple slaw

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 crusty French bread rolls, split lengthways
2–3 cups reserved pulled pork + ½ cup reserved cooking juices (see recipe 1)
Apple slaw, to serve
1 cup home-made BBQ sauce

Cut through bread rolls.
♦ Lightly warm the reserved pulled pork. This can be done carefully in a small covered saucepan, or in the microwave (drizzle with the reserved cooking juices, cover with cling film, and microwave on high for 1–2 minutes). Don’t make it too hot!
Stuff the bread rolls with the warmed pulled pork.
Add apple slaw and drizzle with home-made BBQ sauce. Serve immediately.

  • Fussy kid tip: My 5-year old isn’t too keen on coleslaw so I serve his po’boy with avocado, grated carrot and tomato sauce (ketchup). We polish off the leftover coleslaw for lunch at work, with sliced poached chicken stirred through.

Rowdy, with a chance of meatballs [2]

Sophia Loren Cookbook cover[Recipe 1] BEEF, PORK and RICOTTA MEATBALLS transform into
[Recipe 3] LASAGNARONI
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Have been spending way too much time faffing around on Pinterest lately. It’s a glorious time-waster, but where else would I have discovered this photo of Sophia Loren? It’s from her 1971 Cookbook, In Cucina Con Amore (In the Kitchen with Love), which I covet so badly.
The photo segues quite nicely into an Italian-inspired dish don’t you think? This is the third recipe to use reserved portions of beef, pork and ricotta meatballs and sweet tomato pasta sauce. It’s a fab cheesey lasagna-like macaroni dish, which I’ve named Lasagnaroni. My boys positively hoover it, and the whole family have minutes of fun playing Find the meatball.
If you’re feeling creative go ahead and bestow your own fancy name upon it, for everyone’s amusement. We like Soccer balls in the mud or Monster eyeballs in the swamp. Buon Appetito.

Macaroni cheese with meatballs

[Recipe 3] Lasagnaroni with meatballs

Ingredients (serves 4-6):
2 tablespoons olive oil
♦ 1 quantity (approx. 600g/1.3 lb) beef, pork and ricotta meatballs
♦ 1⅓ cups (600g) sweet tomato pasta sauce (or store-bought)
400g (14 oz) dried macaroni (or short-cut bucatini)
1 cup frozen peas (or fresh, shelled – see notes in recipe)
Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon (15g/½ oz) butter
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
1¼ cups (310ml) milk
1 cup (100g) grated Gruyère cheese
½ cup (50g) grated mozzarella, for scattering
½ tablespoon olive oil, extra, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Lightly oil a large casserole dish and set aside.
Place remaining olive oil into a large non-stick frypan.
Add beef, pork and ricotta meatballs and brown well on all sides.
Pour in sweet tomato pasta sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook macaroni in boiling water until al dente. Don’t overcook it as it will continue to soften in the oven. Add frozen peas for the last 2 minutes boiling time (fresh peas will need about 4–5 minutes). Drain macaroni and peas and set aside.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour, and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Gradually add the milk, stirring continuously. Return to the heat and stir for about 3–4 minutes until thickened. Add Gruyère and mix well.
Place half the cooked macaroni and peas into the prepared casserole dish. Pour over meatballs and tomato pasta sauce. Season.
Layer the remaining macaroni and peas on top. Pour the Gruyère sauce over the top, and scatter with grated mozzarella. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Stand for 5 minutes before serving.

  • I love Gruyère and nearly always have it in the fridge. If unavailable it can easily be replaced with grated extra tasty cheese.
  • Leftovers can be taken to work for lunch, or to school in a thermos. Microwave or reheat in a low oven, covered in foil.
  • If you don’t have a deep-sided non-stick pan; cook the meatballs in a shallow-sided non-stick pan first; and transfer them to a deeper pan for cooking in the sauce.

Porktastic [2]

[Recipe 1] PORK, PINE NUT and PANCETTA MINI MEATLOAVES transforms into
[Recipe 3] PORK and FENNEL CANNELLONI
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I’ve had a bit of a mental week and am now completely pooped; so it was with some gratitude that I peeped into the freezer and spotted a planned-over portion of pork and pine nuts (how’s that for alliteration)! I’d reserved it from making Pork, pine nut and pancetta mini meatloaves a while ago.
In a moment of madness, I threw caution to the wind and used the mixture for a Pork, fennel and spinach cannelloni instead of Fusilli with pork sausage and lentils and it was so yum. So… I figured I’d save myself the trouble of posting the usual two recipes, and share this one with you instead.
You’ll find the original recipe post here. It yields about 1½ kilos (3 lb) of pork and pine nut mixture – you’ll need ½ kilo (1 lb) for this cannelloni recipe, and the remaining 1 kilo (2 lb) can be refrigerated or frozen to make the Pork, pine nut and pancetta mini meatloaves (or two more dinners of fusilli or cannelloni) at a later date. This pork and pinenut mixture is fab to have in the freezer, as you can whip it out on a weeknight for a super-quick no-brainer dinner.

Pork, fennel and spinach canneloni

[Recipe 3] Pork, fennel and spinach cannelloni

Ingredients (serves 4–6):
700ml (24 fl oz) tomato passata (tomato puree)

♦ 500g (1 lb) reserved pork and pine nut mixture (uncooked)
250g (8 oz) fresh ricotta
¼ cup (25g) grated parmesan or romano
250g (8 oz) frozen spinach, thawed, liquid thoroughly squeezed out
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
250g (8 oz) fresh cannelloni sheets (or lasagna sheets – see notes after recipe)
1 cup (100g) grated mozzarella

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Lightly grease a 6cm deep, 32cm x 22cm (12½-inch x 8½-inch) oven-proof lasagna-style dish. Spoon one cup of passata over the base.
Place reserved pork and pine nut mixture in a large bowl. Add ricotta, parmesan, spinach, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Moisten each cannelloni sheet separately in a bowl of cold water before using.
Spoon about ¼ cup pork and ricotta mixture along the short side of a cannelloni sheet. Roll up to enclose the filling.
Repeat procedure with remaining cannelloni sheets. Arrange the cannelloni seam-side down in a single layer over the passata.
Pour remaining passata over cannelloni. Scatter with mozzarella. Cover with foil (make it ‘tent’ up so it doesn’t stick to the cheese) and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn oven up to 200°C (390ºF), and bake for a further 15–20 minutes, until golden and bubbling.
Serve with a simple salad or Roasted pumpkin and baby carrots with cumin – this can be cooked in the oven alongside the cannelloni.

  • If cannelloni sheets are unavailable, you can use fresh lasagna sheets. Cut 6 lasagna sheets into twelve 10cm (4-inch) x 15cm (6-inch) pieces.
  • You can freeze grated mozzarella (in 1 cup/100g lots) for up to 3 months.
  • Unused cannelloni and lasagna sheets can be frozen in a ziplock bag for up to 2 months.
  • Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the thawed spinach – I pop it in a sieve above a bowl and push down hard on it with the back of a spoon.
  • Use measuring cups with handles for easy scooping of messy filling ingredients!Measuring cups with handles

Rowdy, with a chance of meatballs

Dish for rings and jewelry[Recipe 1] BEEF, PORK and RICOTTA MEATBALLS transforms into
[Recipe 2] OVEN-BAKED TOMATO, SPINACH and MEATBALL RISOTTO

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Nothing elicits a louder YUM from my boys at dinnertime than meatballs. These are lovely and light with the addition of ricotta. You’ll end up with four lots of beef, pork and ricotta meatballs with this recipe, so you can bung the rest in the freezer and defrost when required.
The trick with meatballs is to work the mixture with your hands first. The heat from your hands will soften the fat and help the mixture come together, preventing your meatballs from falling apart during frying. I take off my rings for this gross task, and place them in my little crying onion dish.
Recipe two is a fab Oven-baked tomato, spinach and meatball risotto, using reserved beef, pork and ricotta meatballs. Look for the orange diamonds in the recipe for hints on how many meatballs to set aside for this dish. This baked risotto is super-quick to make as there is virtually no stirring required. I know risotto purists will scoff, but I love a no-stir risotto. I’d much rather have a nice glass of red while my dinner cooks itself.

Meatballs with tomato pasta sauce

[Recipe 1] Beef, pork and ricotta meatballs

Ingredients (makes 100 meatballs; serves 4 for 4 meals):
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for frying meatballs
3 brown onions, very finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 kilo (2 lb) minced (ground) beef
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) pork
125g (4.5 oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated
250g (½ lb) fresh ricotta
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 eggs, beaten
1½ cups (125g) fresh sourdough breadcrumbs
1½ teaspoons salt
For tonight’s dinner:
1⅓ cups (600g) tomato pasta sauce (store-bought or home-made)
400g (14 oz) dried spaghetti
Extra grated Parmesan cheese, to serve 

Heat olive oil in a non-stick frypan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Place into a large bowl and allow to cool. Add minced meat, Parmesan, ricotta, parsley, eggs, breadcrumbs and salt. Using your hands, mix and squash the mixture together until well combined.
Using your hands, roll level tablespoons of the mixture into balls. Divide meatballs into 4 lots (approx. 650g/1.4 lb or approx. 25 meatballs for each lot), placing baking paper between each layer. Freeze or refrigerate until required.
Reserve one quantity (approx. 600g/1.3 lb) of beef, pork and ricotta meatballs for the tomato and basil risotto with meatballs.
Heat extra olive oil in a large non-stick frypan, over medium heat.
Fry tonight’s meatballs in two batches until browned and just cooked, approximately 8 minutes. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Wipe pan clean and pour in tomato pasta sauce. Add meatballs. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in boiling water until al dente. Drain.
Serve meatballs and tomato sauce warm, over spaghetti, scattered with Parmesan cheese.

  • Humanely-farmed veal can be used in place of pork.
  • Uncooked meatballs can be frozen for up to 3 months. Place baking paper between the layers. Defrost overnight in the fridge and drain on kitchen paper.
  • To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, remove the crusts from day-old sourdough bread and coarsely chop. Whiz in a food processor. Fresh breadcrumbs can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Instead of 4 lots of meatballs, use the mixture for 3 lots of meatballs and 1 lot of burgers. Simply shape 1 portion of the mixture into 4 or 6 patties and freeze until required. These burgers are delicious cooked on the BBQ. Serve in hamburger buns with lettuce, tasty cheese and tomato relish or caramelised red onion jam.
  • 
If you don’t have a deep-sided non-stick pan; cook the meatballs in a shallow-sided non-stick pan first; and transfer them to a deeper pan for cooking in the sauce.

Baked risotto with meatballs

[Recipe 2] Oven-baked tomato, spinach and meatball risotto

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 tablespoons olive oil
♦ 1 quantity (approx. 600g/1.3 lb) beef, pork and ricotta meatballs
1 small red (purple/Spanish) onion, chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped (approx. 5mm/1/4-inch cubes)
1½ cups (315g) arborio rice
400g (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock (store-bought or home-made)
3 cups (100g) baby spinach leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese to serve
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick frypan, over medium heat.
Fry meatballs in two batches until browned and just cooked, approximately 8 minutes. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in an oven-proof (preferably cast iron) pot, on the stove-top. Add onion and carrot and cook for 5 minutes, until onion is softened.
Add rice and cook for a further 2–3 minutes, stirring, until grains are well-coated. Add tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil. Remove from stove-top. Cover pot, and transfer to the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pot from oven and gently stir in cooked meatballs, spinach salt and pepper. Return pot to oven and cook for a further 10–15 minutes or until liquid is mostly absorbed, spinach is wilted and rice is tender.
Serve, scattered with Parmesan and parsley.

Honey, I shrank the burgers

[Recipe 1] SCOTCH EGGS transform into
[Recipe 2] MINI BURGERS with HIDDEN VEGGIES
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This week Scotch eggs morph into tiny Mini burgers. Scotch eggs have long featured on my ‘kooky UK meals to try’ list (along with Toad in the Hole, Spotted Dick and Bubble and Squeak), and a couple of months ago I gave them a burl. Delicious! As we’re coming up to Easter, I figured now was the perfect time to share them.
Scotch eggs are traditionally coated in sausage meat, but I just can’t bring myself to deep-fry a ball of sausage (easier to just rip my arteries out); so I use a mixture of beef and pork mince, which has more flavour, more iron and much less fat! I also throw in some mustard and onion for extra bite.
I’ve experimented with this recipe quite a bit, and although scotch eggs *can* be baked (lightly oiled at 200°C/390ºF for 25 minutes); they’re really much yummier deep-fried, with that lovely crunchy golden coating. I’m not at all adverse to the occasional deep-fried treat!
Double-crumbing is a technique I learned from the Dutch, and it makes for an extra crispy crust, whilst ensuring the scotch eggs don’t split open during cooking.
By making double the beef/pork mixture for the scotch eggs you can whip up a batch of gorgeous little Mini burgers with hidden veggies later. Look for the ♦ orange diamonds within the recipe, for instructions on how much beef/pork mixture to reserve for the burgers.
My beautiful friend, and Japanese culture junkie, Janet, introduced me to the tiny burger snacks at the ubiquitous Breadtop, an Asian bread/pastry chain popping up all over Australia. The bun itself is like a cross between brioche and a puff of air, and it holds a tiny cold hamburger patty, a smear of tomato sauce, a minuscule slice of cheese and a tiny leaf of lettuce. That’s it! Gone in two mouthfuls, but absolutely delicious. You can so easily make them yourself for the kids lunchboxes. Freeze the patties and little buns separately (you can buy the buns in bags of eight at Breadtop, or in bulk from Costco); defrost them overnight, and assemble in the morning. Two per child should suffice. Such a lovely change from boring sandwiches! They’re also perfect for kid’s birthdays, and adult parties (add a teaspoon of fennel seeds with the onion to ramp up the flavour).

Scotch eggs. Via One Equals Two

[Recipe 1] Scotch eggs

Ingredients (serves 4 for 2 meals; ie. 6 scotch eggs + 12 mini burgers):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, very finely chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) beef
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) pork
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried, if unavailable)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

¼ cup plain (all-purpose) flour, for coating
3 eggs, extra, beaten, for coating
1¼ cups dry breadcrumbs, extra, for coating
I litre (34 fl oz) vegetable or peanut oil for deep-frying
Easy spiced tomato chutney (or store-bought chutney), to serve

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 4–5 minutes, until soft. Drain on kitchen paper and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, mix together the cooked onion, mustard, beef, pork, thyme, salt, pepper, ½ cup breadcrumbs and 1 beaten egg. Process until well combined; or mix and mash with your hands.
♦ Reserve half the beef/pork mixture (about 2 cups or 600g/1¼ lb) for the mini burgers.

Divide the remainder of the beef/pork mixture into 6 even portions, patting each piece into a flat oval shape, the size of your palm.
Coat each of the 6 peeled, hard-boiled eggs in flour. Wrap each floured egg evenly in a portion of beef/pork mixture, making sure they are smooth and completely covered.
 Dip each mince-coated egg into the extra beaten egg, then roll gently in breadcrumbs until well-coated. Double-coat by repeating the egg and breadcrumb stages. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, reserving a couple of eggy breadcrumb lumps for testing the oil temperature.
Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Heat vegetable oil in a deep saucepan on the stovetop until it reaches 180°C (350ºF). If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test whether the oil is ready by dropping a breadcrumb lump in the pot. It should sizzle as soon as it hits the oil.
Deep-fry the scotch eggs (in two batches if necessary) for approximately 4–5 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
Remove scotch eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Place on a tray lined with baking paper paper and bake in the hot oven for 7 minutes (this will ensure meat is cooked through).
Serve warm or at room temperature with Easy spiced tomato chutney and a green salad or Green beans and toasted pine-nuts (pictured).

Mini burgers. Via One Equals Two

[Recipe 2] Mini burgers with hidden veggies

Ingredients (serves 4, makes 12 little patties):
1 medium carrot, grated on fine zester holes
1 small zucchini (courgette), grated, chopped, liquid squeezed out with your hands

2 tablespoons oat bran (or wheatgerm)
♦ 2 cups (about 600g/1¼ lb) reserved beef/pork mixture
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

To serve:
12 mini buns or dinner rolls
Butter or baby cos (romaine) lettuce
Thinly sliced cheddar cheese
Tomato sauce (ketchup)

Put carrot, zucchini and oat bran into a large bowl.
Add reserved beef/pork mixture.
Season. Mix and mash it all together well with your hands. Shape mixture into twelve tiny patties, about 5 cm (2″) diameter. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Heat extra oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry mini burgers until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes each side. Drain on kitchen paper.
Serve mini burgers in little buns with lettuce, sliced cheese and tomato sauce.

  • Cooked patties, and little buns, can be frozen with baking paper between the layers, for up to 3 months. Defrost as required, for lunchboxes.
  • Patties can also be frozen uncooked, for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge.
  • As these patties are tiny, it’s very important to ensure the onion, carrot and zucchini are chopped and/or grated into very small pieces or your burgers will fall apart when cooked. The tiny zester holes on your grater are perfect for carrot. I grate zucchini on the normal grater holes though as it gets too watery. Give the mound of grated zucchini a good extra chop afterwards to make the pieces smaller.
  • You can use this mixture to make four large patties instead of mini burgers. Pop them in the freezer for a quick mid-week dinner.

The bun also rises

[Recipe 1] PORK, GINGER and BOK CHOY FRIED RICE transforms into
[Recipe 2] LITTLE STEAMED WHOLEMEAL PORK BUNS
……………..
Pork, ginger and bok choy fried rice
is a quick and easy midweek dinner with an added bonus: by reserving some of the beautiful spiced pork mixture you can whip up a batch of fab Little steamed wholemeal pork buns for another meal! The pork mixture freezes excellently.
I love DIY Yum Cha and these little buns are super tasty, and quite healthy as they contain wholemeal flour. My boys just love them. In fact, my 4-year old has been known to need a lie-down after gorging himself on them.
The Pork, ginger and bok choy recipe contains basmati rice. Traditionally you’d use jasmine or plain white rice for a dish like this, but I love using basmati as it’s much lower GI. Here are the comparisons. Prepare to be amazed.
Low GI foods (slow energy release; ie. your best choice) = 55 or less
Medium GI = 56–69
High GI = 70 or more
Brown rice: GI 50
White basmati rice: GI 58
White glutinous rice: GI 86
White short-grain rice: GI 83-87
White jasmine rice: GI a whopping 109!

Pork and ginger rice

[Recipe 1] Pork, ginger and bok choy fried rice

Ingredients (serves 4 for 2 meals):
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1½ teaspoons sesame oil
½ cup (125ml) hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
750g (1½ lb) minced (ground) pork
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
tablespoons grated fresh ginger
5 spring onions (scallions), white parts only, thinly sliced (reserve green parts for serving)
Note: you’ll reserve
of the above ingredients, cooked, for the buns in recipe 2.
1 tablespoon soy sauce, extra
1 bunch bok choy (or choy sum), leaves trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, chopped into small match-sticks
4 cups cooked basmati rice, cooled (you’ll need 1⅓ cups uncooked rice)
½ cup (50g) bean shoots (bean sprouts)
1 small red birdseye chilli, de-seeded, finely chopped*
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve

Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and hoisin sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat oil in a wok over high heat until just smoking. Add pork, garlic and ginger and stir-fry until golden brown and just cooked, about 2 minutes. Carefully drain off any liquid – hold back the ingredients in the wok with a large pan lid, while you pour. Wipe any dribbles off the side of the wok so they don’t ignite!
Add the white spring onions and hoisin mixture and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes.
Remove wok from the heat.
With a large spoon or soup ladle, remove about ⅓ of the ginger pork mixture, or 1½ cups (325g), for the little steamed wholemeal pork buns. Set aside (see storage tips below).
Return wok to heat. Add the extra tablespoon soy sauce, bok choy and carrot, and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes, until bok choy wilts.
Add cooked rice, bean shoots and chilli* and toss over medium heat for 2 minutes until rice is heated through. Season to taste.
Divide amongst four bowls, scatter with coriander and chopped green ends of spring onions and serve hot.
*Chilli can be added separately, to adult serves only.

  • Cook double the rice and freeze half for next time. Cooked rice freezes really well, for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, and break up with a fork before using.
  • Rice should be well-chilled before using in this recipe; and preferably made the day before and refrigerated (or defrosted overnight). If you have time, spread the rice out on a tray before using, and place in the fridge, uncovered, for at least 1–2 hours, to dry it out a bit. This will ensure your fried rice retains separate grains, and is not too gluggy.
  • Planned-overs (reserved ginger pork mixture) can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months, so you can make the buns another time.
  • Fussy child tip: I find both my boys will happily scoff this rice if it’s served without bean shoots, so I scoop out their serves before adding the bean shoots to the wok.

Little steamed wholemeal pork buns

[Recipe 2] Little steamed wholemeal pork buns

Ingredients (serves 4–6, makes 15 buns):
1 tablespoon corn flour (cornstarch)
2 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
♦ 1½ cups (about 325g) reserved ginger pork mixture
Bun dough:
½ cup (125ml) warm water + ½ cup warm water extra
4 teaspoons (2 x 7g sachets) dried yeast
¼ cup caster (superfine) sugar
1½ cups (225g) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup (150g) wholemeal plain (wholewheat all-purpose) flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon peanut oil
Sweet chilli sauce, to serve

Mix corn flour and water together. Place into a small pan with the Chinese 5-spice powder.
Add reserved ginger pork mixture to pan.
Bring to the boil. Turn down heat and simmer until mixture thickens, about 2–3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make bun dough. Combine ½ cup warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Stand in a warm place for 5 minutes until frothy.
Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir. Add yeast mixture, extra ½ cup warm water, salt and oil. Stir to form a soft, sticky dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth. Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl. Cover and put in a warm place (see tips below recipe) for an hour or until the dough doubles in size.
Divide dough into 15 pieces (cut dough into 3 large pieces first, roll each into a fat log, then cut each of the 3 logs into 5 portions). Pop the dough pieces back into the covered oiled bowl as you work, to prevent them drying out.
Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, shape and flatten each dough portion into a 7cm round, about ½ cm thick.
Place a heaped teaspoonful of pork mixture into the centre of each round. Stretch dough up around the filling by pleating along the edges. Bring the pleats up and twist and seal them together at the top. This lovely, noisy little youtube clip illustrates the technique. Repeat the procedure until all buns are ready, popping them on a tray covered with cling film as you go.
Line a bamboo steamer with 5 individual squares of baking paper, or waxed cupcake paper liners (one per bun).
Place the first 5 prepared buns (these will have rested sufficiently while the others were prepared), smooth side down, into the steamer. Don’t overcrowd your basket or they’ll stick as they expand. Cover with steamer lid. Place steamer over a wok or pan of boiling water. Make sure the steamer doesn’t touch the water.
Cover and cook for 8–10 minutes, until puffed, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a bun comes out clean. Repeat with remaining buns. Serve with sweet chilli sauce.

  • If yeast mixture doesn’t thoroughly froth it should be discarded, as it’s well and truly deceased. Try again with new yeast.
  • ‘A warm place’ to put your bowl of dough can be in a sink of warm water, in the laundry when your dryer is on, or even in a warm car!
  • Leftover little steamed buns can be stored in the fridge for up to two days. They are fab for lunch boxes.

Porktastic

[Recipe 1] PORK, PINE NUT and PANCETTA MINI MEATLOAVES transform into
[Recipe 2] FUSILLI with PORK SAUSAGE and LENTILS
……………..
Welcome folks. For my inaugural post I figured we’d start with some pork on our forks! The first recipe is for scrumptious (even if I do say so myself) Pork, pine nut and pancetta mini meatloaves. We call them, ahem, PPP Loaves. They’re kid-friendly as they’re quite sausagey, but the fennel flavour is sophisticated enough for adult palates too. My boys just love them.
The meatloaf recipe allows for a good stash of planned-overs (look for the orange diamonds); in this case a flavoursome pork and pine nut mixture to be set aside for two further meals of Fusilli with pork sausage and lentils. This is a super-quick dish (no chopping up or frying of onions required) and you can prepare it while the pasta is cooking. Delicious!
PS. If you’re feeling energetic you could make the pasta sauce while the meatloaves are baking. There’s nothing more satisfying than a bulk cook-up, and the resulting well-stocked fridge or freezer.
You could also choose to use the mixture for a double quantity of meatloaves (they freeze really well cooked, and are excellent sliced in sandwiches); in which case you’d double all the meatloaf ingredients from the breadcrumbs down.

Pork, pancetta and pinenut mini meatloaves

[Recipe 1] Pork, pine nut and pancetta mini meatloaves

Ingredients (serves 4 for 3 meals; ie. 1 serve meatloaves, 2 serves pasta sauce):
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 leeks, white parts only, sliced lengthwise, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 kilo (2 lb) minced (ground) pork
500g (1 lb) good-quality sausage meat
(see notes)
1 cup (70g) fresh breadcrumbs (2 slices day-old sourdough, processed)
1 medium carrot, finely grated on zester holes
½ cup (60g) pine nuts, toasted

2 eggs, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8–12 large thinly-sliced pancetta pieces (approx. 150g/5 oz)
To serve:
Easy spiced tomato chutney (or store-bought tomato relish)
Green beans with toasted pinenuts

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the leek for 6–8 minutes, until soft. Add fennel seeds and cook, stirring, for 1–2 minutes until aromatic. Allow to cool in a large bowl. Add the pork mince, sausage meat, breadcrumbs, carrot, toasted pine nuts and eggs. Mix well with your hands until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper and mix lightly.
This mixture will yield 2 kilos (4 lb) of pork and pine nut mixture. 1 kilo (2 lb) is required for the pork, pine nut and pancetta mini meatloaves.
Reserve the remaining 1 kilo (2 lb) of pork and pine nut mixture for the Fusilli with pork sausage and lentils (yields enough sauce to serve 8).

Grease eight ⅔ cup (160ml) capacity mini loaf pans (or friand, muffin or cupcake pans). Line each pan with pancetta, allowing the sides to overhang.
Divide 1 kilo (2 lb) of the pork and pine nut mixture among the prepared pans, pressing mixture down firmly. Fold pancetta over to enclose the filling.
Bake meatloaves for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
Drain any juices from the pan and carefully run a knife around each loaf to loosen.
Serve sliced, with easy spiced tomato chutney and green beans with toasted pine nuts. You can toast the pine nuts for the meatloaves and the green beans at the same time.
Makes 8 mini meatloaves.

  • For good-quality sausage meat, slit open free-range pork sausages and squeeze meat from the casings.
  • Pancetta is cured Italian bacon made of pork belly meat, and is available at delicatessens. Replace with very-thinly sliced bacon or prosciutto if unavailable.
  • Refrigerate and use Recipe 1 planned-overs (uncooked pork and pine nut mixture) within 3 days. Uncooked mixture can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Meatloaf leftovers are excellent for lunch. Serve sliced in a sandwich with tomato chutney and cos (romaine) lettuce. Yum!
  • You can use any type of bread to make fresh breadcrumbs: white, rye, wholemeal (wholewheat) or – my preference – sourdough. Save scraps of leftover bread and freeze for up to 3 months, removing large pieces of crust before processing.
  • Dark green leek offcuts can be used in stock.

Fusilli with pork sausage and lentils

[Recipe 2] Fusilli (spiral pasta) with pork sausage and lentils

Ingredients (serves 8):
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, grated

♦ 1 kilo (2 lb) reserved pork and pine nut mixture
2 heaped tablespoons tomato paste/concentrate
2 x 400g (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 x 400g (14 oz) cans lentils, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked lentils – see notes)
2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for serving

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g (14 oz) dried fusilli (spiral pasta) per 4 people

Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan, and add grated carrot.
Add reserved pork and pine nut mixture.
Cook over low heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Break up large lumps with a spoon, retaining a few mini meatball-sized chunks for texture.
Add tomato paste, tomatoes, lentils, cinnamon sticks and ⅔ cup of water and simmer, covered, over a low heat for 15–20 minutes, until thickened. Stir occasionally. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks. Stir through parsley and season with salt and pepper.
If serving four people, divide sauce into two portions of 1 kilo (2 lb) each. The remaining 1 kilo batch of pasta sauce can be refrigerated or frozen for another meal (see notes).
Meanwhile, cook fusilli in boiling water until al dente. Drain.
Stir pork and lentil sauce through fusilli. Serve, scattered with extra parsley.

  • Left-over tomato paste can be frozen in 1 or 2 tablespoon lumps, individually-wrapped in cling film; ready to plop into your next pasta dish.
  • 2 x 400g (14 oz) cans lentils, drained, will yield 2 heaped cups cooked lentils. For 2 heaped cups cooked lentils, cook 1 cup dry lentils in boiling water for 45 minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse. I often cook up a load of lentils, and freeze them in 1 or 2 cup portions to use when required.
  • Although this sauce is lovely served as is, feel free to add extra veggies such as grated zucchini (courgette), baby spinach leaves or chopped silverbeet (Swiss chard).
  • Freeze leftover parsley stalks, and use in sweet tomato pasta sauce or home-made chicken stock.
  • Reserved pasta sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Note: if you’ve used frozen planned-overs of pork and pinenut mixture, pasta sauce should not be frozen.