It’s been too long I did not cook something new and worthy to put in my blog. Finally, today I have a few hours free and I am back in the kitchen with a new recipe 🙂

The weather has certainly become colder and colder these past few weeks as we are now truly in winter. I got the 51st issue of Donna Hay magazine that showcases 25 fast soups for winter. I love having a hot soup for dinner during winter and there are a few recipes in the magazine that I would like to try. This is one of them 😛

This chicken and corn soup has simple ingredients and is very easy to make. It has Asian influence and in the original recipe, Donna also uses grated fresh ginger, which will give the soup the extra warmness. I did not use the ginger because I did not have it in my pantry. *Sigh* 😦

The soup still turns out really yummy and is perfect to accompany the freezing night. It’s chunky and fulfilling; the creamed corn makes the soup a little thick and the corn kernels are sweet. I serve it with some steamed broccoli (extra veggie boost :)); some toasted bread would be nice too!

Chicken and corn soup

(adapted from the recipe in Donna Hay magazine, Jun/Jul 2010 issue 51)

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lt chicken stock. I used 2 chicken stock cubes in 1 litre of water.
  • 1 can (410 gr) creamed corn
  • 200 gr frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • steamed broccoli florets or other greens such as spring onion and coriander to serve.

Step 1. Steam the chicken breast for 10 minutes until cooked. Allow to cool down, then shred the meat.

Step 2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the onion, garlic and cook for 4 – 5 minutes or until browned. Add in the shredded chicken meat and stir until well combined.

Step 3. Add the stock, creamed corn and corn kernels and cook for 15 minutes. Add the soy sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4. Serve hot in soup bowls and garnish with some greens.



This duck ragout is to die for…! It’s so delicious and comforting. An absolute gem for winter 🙂

This recipe is from ‘My Kitchen Rules’ program in channel 7; a cooking game show where the contestants are 10 teams of two people from the states of NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and WA. The teams competed against each other to transform an ordinary home into an instant restaurant.

This duck ragout recipe is from team WA, Holly and Grace. We absolutely love this dish, girls!!

The dish needs about 3 hours to cook, but it’s very easy to make. Easy preparation, the majority of the time is to let the duck with the rest of ingredients simmer and mingle! 😀

I used dry pasta from the supermarket. Of course you can make fresh pasta yourself as per the original recipe.

Pasta with duck ragout

(recipe from ‘My Kitchen Rules’, by Holly and Grace (team WA))

(serves 4)

  • 4 duck marylands
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • fresh parsley, to garnish
  • 500 gr pasta. I used dry spaghetti from the supermarket.

Step 1. Place the duck, wine, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, bay leaf and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour. Drain duck and vegetables, reserving marinade.

Step 2. Heat oil in a large heavy based saucepan. Add duck, in two batches. Cook until browned all over and sealed. Remove from pan.

Step 3. Add vegetables to same pan. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Return duck to pan with tomato paste, stock and reserved marinade. Bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 2 ½-3 hours or until duck is very tender.

Step 4. Remove from heat. Discard the bay leaf and remove the duck. Cover to keep warm. Simmer sauce, uncovered, until thickened. Remove from heat. Cover to keep warm.

Step 5. Meanwhile, remove soft duck flesh from bone and shred. Return to the saucepan.

Step 6. Cook the pasta as per packet’s instruction in salted boiling water in a large saucepan. To serve, divide the pasta over plates and generously spoon over the duck ragout. Garnish with fresh parsley.


Chicken satay is one of the many favourite dishes from Indonesia. There are many varieties of chicken satay dishes; one in particular I love is chicken satay with peanut sauce. The chicken meat is cut into small cube pieces, then skewered into bamboo sticks, then the skewers are grilled over the hot charcoal. The chicken satay is served with peanut sauce and rice or with ‘lontong’, which is rice cooked in banana leaf.

I found this recipe from TasteSpotting website. The recipe uses many spices to marinate the chicken pieces. The peanut sauce is optional here as the chicken satay are already flavoursome. The peanut sauce is very easy to make as it uses store-bought peanut butter :). I reduced the amount of vinegar used in the sauce and I also ended up heating up the sauce in a saucepan to cook the raw garlic and ginger (I am not too fond of raw garlic taste).

I used skinless chicken breast fillet and cut them into 2cm x 3cm cubes. The size is entirely up to you; I didn’t cut them too small so it wouldn’t take too long to prepare the skewers and to cook them. I used a grillpan to grill the satay.

Chicken satay with peanut sauce

(adapted from the recipe by Kate, the Parsley Thief)

(makes 15 satay)

  • 750 gr boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Step 1. Cut the chicken breasts into 2cm x 3cm cubes and put them in a container, or resealable bag.

Step 2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender & puree until smooth. Thin with a bit of water, if necessary. Pour the marinade over the chicken & chill for at least one hour, or overnight.

Marinate the chicken overnight

Step 3. Heat a grillpan over medium fire. Thread the chicken onto skewers. If using bamboo skewers, soak them ahead of time in water, to prevent burning. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side. Serve the satay with steamed rice and peanut sauce.

Peanut Sauce
(makes about 1 cup)

  • 2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2.5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled & chopped
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • water to thin

Step 1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add water as necessary to thin to desired consistency.

Step 2. Pour the sauce into a small saucepan and heat over low fire until the sauce is about to boil. Stir regularly.

Peanut sauce

Chicken satay with peanut sauce


‘I love fresh basil and coriander’

This recipe is another one from the cookbook ‘Egg’ by Alex Barker. With the eggs, we’ll make simple omelettes to make parcel wrappings. For the fillings, it’s Thai-inspired stir fry mince pork cooked with fish sauce, tomatoes, chillies and herbs.

Fresh coriander is used in the book. Since I have fresh coriander and basil in the fridge and cannot decide which one I should use, I decided to use both herbs. The mince pork filling is tasty; it’s sour, salty, spicy plus you get the fresh flavour from the herbs. What a contrast to the delicate taste of the eggs. Best served with hot steamed jasmine rice 🙂

Thai-style pork parcels

(adapted from ‘Egg’ by Alex Barker, 2000)

(makes 4 parcels)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 300 gr minced pork
  • 3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 4 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 small handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 small handful fresh coriander leaves
  • salt and black pepper
  • extra basil and coriander to garnish


  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil

Eggs and fish sauce

Step 1. Heat the oil in a wok, add the garlic and onion, and fry for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the pork and fry for about 8 minutes until lightly browned.

Step 2. Stir in the fish sauce, sugar, tomatoes, chilli, salt and pepper; simmer until slightly thickened. Mix in fresh basil and coriander.

Step 3. To make the omelettes, whisk together the eggs and fish sauce. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add a quarter of the beaten egg mixture and tilt the pan to spread the egg into a thin, even sheet. Cook until the omelette is just set, then spoon a quarter of the filling into the center. Fold into a neat square parcel by bringing the opposite sides of the omelette towards each other – first the top and bottom, then the right and left sides.

Step 4. Place the parcel onto a plate, folded side down. Repeat with the rest of oil, eggs and filling. Garnish with fresh basil and coriander and serve with steamed rice.

Thai-style pork parcel served with steamed jasmine rice

It’s seriously good 🙂


This pie recipe is from the cookbook titled ‘Egg’ by Alex Barker. This cookbook is the first cookbook I bought, and this was wayyy back before I love cooking :). Obviously I was not keen to cook when I bought it, but was mesmerised by the photos inside the book 😛

'Egg' by Alex Barker

This pie is a simple pie made from smoked cod fillets, potatoes and eggs :). It’s pretty healthy indeed. The egg whites were whisked until stiff, and this makes the pie light and fluffy and no need to add cream or milk or lots of butter :). The smoked cod fillets can easily be found in most supermarkets. They are already salty, so do not season the potato mash with too much salt.

Smoked fish and potato pie

(adapted from recipe by Alex Barker – ‘Egg’ by Alex Barker, 2000)

(serves 4)

  • 500 gr smoked cod, soaked for 20 minutes in cold water
  • 500 gr cooked, peeled potatoes, kept warm
  • 50 gr butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped spring onions, plus extra to garnish
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper

Smoked cod - soak for 20 mins

Brushed potatoes for the mash

Chopped spring onions

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Drain smoked cod, place in a large pan, cover in cold water and bring to simmering point. Poach the fish for 5-7 minutes until it flakes easily. Cool slightly, then drain well and remove the skin and bones.

Smoked cod flakes

Step 2. Mash the potatoes thoroughly with the butter, spring onions, egg yolks, salt and pepper. Stir in the flaked fish and lemon juice. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the potato and fish mixture.

Step 3. Spoon into a buttered, deep ovenproof dish and bake for 45 minutes or until golden on top.

Spoon the mixture to ovenproof dish and bake

Smoked fish and potato pie


I think I got a few recipes for caesar salad in the cookbooks I have. I like this particular one that I found in the Epicure tabloid from The Age newspaper. The dressing is a lighter and healthier version than the classic caesar dressing, as it is made from yoghurt rather than mayonnaise. The anchovy fillets give a hint of saltiness, you will hardly notice it is from anchovy. I suggest not to use more than 1 garlic clove (and not too big one either), as the garlic is really strong and hot. Also, do make sure you crush the garlic well. I used mortar and pestle to crush the garlic, and also the anchovy so it is easier to combine the ingredients to  make the dressing.

This salad makes a complete meal with the roast chicken, croutons, eggs, bacon and crisp cos lettuce leaves. I used chicken maryland fillets; do trim the fillets and remove the fat.

Chicken caesar salad

(recipe by Jill Dupleix, published in Epicure The Age, Tuesday 26 Jan 2010)

(serves 4)

  • 4 x chicken maryland fillet, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 thick slices bread. I used 1 burger bun.
  • 6 slices lean bacon
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, quatered
  • 2 x baby cos lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan

Baby cos lettuce

Caesar dressing

  • 2 tablespoons yoghurt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Step 1. To make the dressing, whisk the yoghurt with the crushed garlic, anchovy fillets, mustard, honey, lemon juice, parmesan, salt and pepper until smooth. While whisking, gradually add the olive oil until runny. Lighten with water if required.

Step 2. Heat oven to 180ºC. Drizzle the chicken fillets with 1 tablespoon olive oil and lemon juice, season well and bake for 25 minutes until cooked. And then set the oven to grill and grill the chicken for 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Place the chicken to a plate to rest.

Step 3. Cut bread into big bite-sized croutons and toss in the remaining oil. Grill the croutons and the bacon for 5 minutes or until crisp, tossing once or twice. I used the same baking tray I used for the chicken. Chop the bacon into small pieces.


Step 4. Cut the lettuce into big bite-sized pieces. Gently toss with the croutons and half the dressing and arrange on the serving bowls. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and scatter on top. Add the quartered eggs and bacon pieces, drizzle with the remaining dressing and scatter the grated parmesan.

Chicken caesar salad


After browsing through the whole Masterchef Australia Cookbook, I decided to cook Poh’s chicken rendang with coconut lace pancake as the next dish to try out. It is not only a quite interesting dish, but also one of the easiest dishes to make from the book.

Poh’s chicken rendang is different from most curries or rendangs as it is dry and crispy.

Chicken rendang with coconut lace pancakes

(from Masterchef Australia the Cookbook volume one 2009, recipe by Poh)

(serves 4)

  • 500 gr skinless chicken breast fillets
  • ¾ cup (70 gr) desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 5 eschalots or 1 large red onion, roughtly chopped. I used red onion.
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 cm piece ginger, finely sliced
  • 2 cm piece galangal, chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. I used olive oil.
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

Ingredients for chicken rendang

Coconut lace pancakes

  • ¾ cup (105 gr) plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) coconut milk
  • oil, to grease the pan

Ingredients for coconut lace pancakes

Step 1. Steam or poach the chicken breast (I steamed them for about 15 minutes). Cool and then shred finely.

Shredded chicken

Step 2. Dry fry coconut in a frying pan or wok until golden. Set aside. Dry fry spices until toasted and fragrant. Set aside.

Step 3. Place eschalots/red onions, garlic, ginger, galangal and lemongrass in a blender and process to form a fine paste. Heat oil in a frying pan and cook paste over medium heat until fragrant and caramelised.

Step 4. Add chicken, dry spice mixture, coconut milk and sugar to onion mixture. Cook until the sauce has reduced slightly. Add toasted coconut. This will absorb most of the sauce. Keep cooking until mixture is quite dry and forms a golden crust on the underside, and keep tossing until all the chicken has a crispy, golden appearance.

Step 5. To make the pancake, whisk flour, salt and eggs in a large jug or mixing bowl until completely smooth. Add coconut milk to make the batter the consistency of pouring cream. Pass mixture through a sieve to give a very smooth texture.

Step 6. Heat a lightly oiled non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Make sure the pan is sufficiently hot before attempting a pancake. Using a jug or an empty milk carton, pour a thin stream of the batter in a zigzag motion. Repeat the action to form a crosshatch pattern. To complete the pancake, circle around the outer edge of the crosshatch pattern.

Step 7. Using a wooden spatula, flick up an edge and gently pick the pancake up with your fingers. Flip onto the other side and cook for 2 seconds. Place the pancake on a plate. Repeat with the remaining pancake batter.

Step 8. Serve the pancakes hot or at room temperature with the chicken rendang.

Poh's chicken rendang with coconut lace pancakes

The pancake is a bit tricky to make 😛 as you need to make sure you only pour a thin stream from the jug and at the same time you have to form a pattern. It took me about 3 pancakes to finally make an okay one :D. Using an empty milk carton is probably easier (as suggested by Poh), but I didn’t have one.

I am very happy with the dry chicken rendang; it’s tasty (I would add more chilli powder next time :P) and crispy. I still have some leftovers which I keep in the fridge and I would have it with steamed rice for tomorrow’s lunch 🙂

Thanks Poh for an interesting dish 🙂


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