Pork Wonton Soup (serves 4)

Well I have have some exciting news! I will now be conducting cooking classes for children aged 7-11 on a monthly basis at the Annerley soccer club, Brisbane. For my first class we cooked a Pork Wonton Soup. The idea was to get the kids to learn how to make a chicken stock (the ultimate basic key recipe) and then learn how to turn it into an Asian broth. The class worked well thankfully and the kids had a lot of fun wrapping the dumplings and especially eating.

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So, the classes are $30 per child and include lunch and dessert. If you are interested you can contact my partner in cooking, Mon, at simone@monsgroupfit.com

The dessert we did was my <a href=”RecipeEtonMess”>Cheats Eton Mess</a>.

Here is the recipe for the Pork Wonton Soup:

Ingredients:

Stock (makes 4 Litres)

1 kg Chicken wings (separated in 3 parts – thigh, wing and tip)

1 tbs olive oil

1 brown onion (roughly cut)

1 carrot (roughly cut)

4 cloves garlic (bruised and roughly chopped)

1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns

3L water

Pork Filling

4 coriander roots

1 tablespoons ginger root (finely sliced)

1 tablespoons of spring onion (finely sliced)

500g pork mince

1 tablespoons fish sauce

½ tbs Shaoxing wine or sweet sherry

1 tsp whole white pepper

1 tablespoons light soy sauce

48 square wonton wrappers (6-8 per person)

Sprinkle of plain white flour

Soup

1 tbs oyster sauce

1 tbs fish sauce

Dash sesame oil

2 corn cobs (kernels removed)

Garnish

Handful of bean sprouts

Handful of coriander leaves

1 spring onion finely sliced

Method:

1. For Stock, heat oil in a large pot on medium heat and brown wings.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients.

3. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1-2 hours.

4. Strain and return liquid to the pot.

5. For wonton filling, grind peppercorns to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle.

6. Add coriander roots, spring onion and ginger and pound to a paste.

7. Combine with mince, fish sauce, soy sauce and sherry in a large mixing bowl and mix well.

8. To make wontons, layout wonton wrappers and place a marble sized ball of filling in the middle.

9. Dip your finger in water and run down the edges of the square.

10. Fold to make a triangle then join 2 bottom corners together.

11. Sprinkle plain flour on tray and place filled wontons on. So they don’t stick.

12. You can refrigerate them for later or use them straight away if you are eating soon.

13. For broth, add oyster sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil. Mix through.

14. Add wontons and kernels and cook for 6-7 minutes trying one first to see if the wontons are cooked.

15. To serve, place 6-8 dumplings with broth in a bowl and garnish with spring onion, coriander leaves and bean sprouts.

16. Enjoy!

Some pictures from the class:

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Cheat’s Eton Mess

Did you know that the Eton Mess was first served at an annual cricket game between Eton College and Winchester College and then became a revelation? Okay I must confess… that is one of the many tales, but I like that one the most. This is my family’s way of making a beautiful Eton mess without going to the trouble of baking your own meringues.

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Ingredients:

1 packet of ready made mini meringues (if you want to make your own I suggest this recipe)

1tbs orange blossom water

2 punnets strawberries (destalked and halved)

½ cup caster sugar

2oomL thickened cream

½ cup Gippsland blood orange yoghurt (can use your own type and flavour)

Seeds of half vanilla pod

55g pure icing sugar

Method:

1. Mix strawberries with the orange blossom and caster sugar

2. Let rest for 20 minutes

3. Meanwhile, whisk cream, vanilla and icing sugar until soft peaks and fold in yoghurt

4. Using wine glasses, layer the strawberries at the bottom to create the first layer

5. Cover with a layer of cream and yoghurt mixture

6. In your hands, crush meringues on top to create third layer

7. Repeat again finishing with strawberries and a couple whole meringues

8. Enjoy

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Dad’s open lasagna of beef ragú and porcini cream (serves 6)

Yesterday we cooked a special lunch for my Nan and Pop. My Dad cooked his awesome Beef Cheek Ragú Lasagne and I made a Tunisian Orange and Almond cake. It was a beautiful sunny May Sunday and because it was a long weekend, we could all relax and enjoy a long lunch. I have asked Dad to share his recipe with you and I hope you take the time to try it someday. Take it away Dad!!

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Okay, trust me when I say I know a thing or three about cows. Growing up with a family “milker” and a family “eater” meant we always had at least two beasts sharing our acreage in rural Fernvale. One thing I know about the big boppers is that they poo a lot. I know they poo a lot because my bro and I made a living out of collecting and selling cow paddies to the city-slickers for garden mulch. Number 2 cow fact is no matter how tame and docile your pet cow is, don’t show off in front of one of those paddy-buying city-slickers and climb underneath them. I still have a bald spot on the side of my head to remind me. The final thing I know about cows is that they chew all day long. ‘Chewing the Cud’ must surely make their cheeks the toughest muscle known to humanity. So why the hell would anyone want to eat them? They are sold in the dog food section after all and only cost a couple of bucks a kilo. Well don’t let this put you off. Just like any gristly meat, cooked the right way – long and slow, beef cheeks make a splendid meal. My Open Lasagne of Beef Ragú and Porcini Cream has become a family favourite and I’d love to share the recipe with you. Remember to cook ahead of time because the ragú will need at least 8 hours cooking time. For this reason, I like to do a big pot capable of feeding 20 or more and freeze 3/4 for another day. You can halve or quarter the quantities to suit.

Ingredients

Ragú

2 Kg beef cheeks – trimmed and cut into large chunks (3 pieces per cheek)

4-5 onions (I used 1 brown, 1 red and 5 large golden shallots) – thinly sliced

500g speck – diced

4 cloves garlic – finely sliced

2 carrots – diced

2 stalks celery – diced

1 red capsicum

500ml tomato passata/puree

500ml red wine

1lt beef stock

Bunch of fresh thyme – leaves removed from stems

Extra thyme for garnish

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ground pepper

Grated parmesan

Strips of peeled parmesan

Porcini Cream

2 large golden shallots

bunch of fresh thyme – leaves removed from stems

15g dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup of pouring cream

1/4 cup white wine

50g butter

Teaspoon truffle oil

Salt and ground pepper

Pasta

This pasta recipe is one of Matt Morans and makes a lovely silky lasagna sheet perfect for this dish.

500g ’00’ flour (very fine and perfect for pasta)

8 egg yolks

3 whole eggs

2 teaspoons olive oil

Method

1. Preheat oven to 130C (250F).

2. Using a sharp knife, remove the tough layer of white tendon on the top side of cheek. Trim any other obvious bits of fat, gristle or tendon but don’t bother trying to get it all – it would take you forever and it will all render down anyway.

3. Cut each cheek into 3 pieces and dust each chunk in flour.

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Vegetables

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4 stages of beef cheek preparation

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Preparation is the key!

4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy based oven proof pot and saute the beef in batches for a couple of minutes or until browned. Remove and set aside.

5. Add another tablespoon of olive oil in the pot and saute the onions until softened. Remove and set aside.

6. Again with the olive oil and this time saute the speck for a couple of minutes. Remove and set aside.

7. Repeat with another splash of olive oil and cook off the garlic, celery, carrot, capsicum and thyme. Remove the vegetables and deglaze the pot with the red wine.

8. Add the beef stock and bring to the boil. After 5 minutes, reduce heat and add everything back into the pot. Stir to combine all the ingredients, add the pepper and salt and turn the heat off.

9. Cut a round piece of baking paper (cartouche) and sit on top of the ragú and put the lid on your pot. Place in the oven and put the timer on for 6 hours.

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Ragu ready for the oven

Once the timer goes, the beef should be nice and soft. Take out of the oven, remove the cartouche and stir in the tomato passata. Place back in the oven and cook for a further 2 hours.

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A whole 8 hours in the oven.

Pasta Preparation

Time to prepare the pasta.

1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until they resemble breadcrumbs. Remove and place on a floured work bench.

2. Kneed until smooth, wrap in cling-wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes to firm.

3. Remove and split into 4 balls. Put 3 back into the fridge and start rolling the one ball through a pasta machine. Working your way through the dial settings until you reach the second thinnest (8 on mine).

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4. Lay out on bench and dust with flour, working it over with your hands.

5. Cut into 20 cm strips and hang to dry.

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Pasta sheets out to dry.

6. Repeat with another ball of pasta dough.

7. Prepare a large pot of salted water (5 ltrs water/tablespoon salt) and have ready to turn on.

Porcini Cream

1. Soak the dried porcinis in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove the now-soft porcinis from the water (keeping the coloured water for later) and finely chop.

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Chopped porcinis, golden shallots and freshly picked thyme from our own garden.

Melt the butter in pan and add the shallots. Saute until golden and add the thyme and porcinis. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add the white wine and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the porcini water, truffle oil and cream and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season to taste.

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Simmering porcini cream

Serving

1. During the Porcini preparation, place the ragú on stovetop and bring to simmer. Also turn the salted water pot on high.

2. Once the pasta water is boiling, place 6 pasta sheets into the water and cook for 2-3 minutes.

3. Carefully remove using silicon tongs or slotted spoon.

4. Repeat another 2 times until you have 18 cooked sheets (3/person).

5. Place a sheet of the cooked pasta in the centre of a large dinner plate.

6. Add a large spoon of the ragú on top.

7. Put a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese over the ragú then place another sheet of pasta on top. Top again with ragú, parmesan, pasta, and ragú.

8. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of the porcini cream around the plate and then top the lasagna with a couple of slices of the peeled parmesan and thyme for presentation.

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Serve with a simple green salad and glass of red wine (a chianti if you can!).

Elliot made a delicious Tunisian Orange and Almond cake to follow and the adults enjoyed a glass of chilled Lemoncillo.

Bellissimo!

Crispy confit chicken wings with seared scallops, corn and vanilla velouté & corn and coriander puree

On the school holidays, I found a MasterChef competition that was based on the mystery box. To win you had to use at least three of the six ingredients. There was chicken, corn, vanilla, scallops, cardamon and coriander. The award was huge and I desperately wanted to win.

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I asked Kym Machin (Spring) for inspiration and he gave me some great ideas and offered me time in Spring’s cooking class kitchen to practice the dish. Chef Ben was also a big help when cooking and writing the dish. Unfortunately I didn’t win but I may have a chance for the top 50 dishes that win a MasterChef pack. Even though I wasn’t the winner, it was the experience that counts!

Ingredients:

Chicken Wings:

12 chicken wings

Leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme

1 clove of finely diced garlic

A large handful of rock salt

Enough duck fat or neutral oil like grapeseed oil to cover chicken

Stock

4 cobs of corn (kernels removed and reserved)

1L water

¼ bunch of whole thyme

¼ bunch of coriander stalks

Leftover chicken pieces from step 1

5 cloves of roughly chopped garlic

Velouté

All of previously made stock

Most of the kernels reserved from stock

1 small brown onion diced

2 cloves garlic finely sliced

2 vanilla beans scraped off pods

1tbs oil

120ml cream

Puree

Handful of finely chopped coriander leaves

Unstrained half of corn and vanilla velouté

Serving

12 scallops detached from shell, roe and muscle

Small handful of whole coriander

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Method:

Chicken Wings:

1. With a sharp knife cut through each chicken wing at the joints, keeping the middle section and putting aside the other two pieces for later on.

2. Mix the garlic and thyme with enough rock salt to cover the chicken.

3. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. Lightly rinse the salt off the chicken with running water.

5. Place into a saucepan and cover with warm duck fat.

6. Cook on a low heat until tender, roughly 1½ hours.

7. Pull out the two bones and any knuckles that might be left in the chicken.

8. Set aside chicken meat.

Stock

1. Place all ingredients except kernels in a pot and simmer for 1 hour.

2. Leave to cool and strain, reserving liquid.

Velouté

1. To blanch the corn kernels, boil enough salted water to cover.

2. Then add the kernels and blanch for a couple of minutes.

3. Strain and rinse in cold running water.

4. Reserve a small handful for garnishing.

5. In a medium pot with oil gently sweat down the onions (about 3 minutes).

6. Add the blanched kernels and garlic.

7. Cook gently for about 2 minutes.

8. Add the cream, stock and vanilla.

9. Simmer until reduced by about 2/3 (allow 30-45 minutes)

10. Season with salt.

11. Blend reduction until as smooth as possible.

12. Strain the velouté mixture, forcing it through with a spoon, reserving the solids for the puree and the liquid for the velouté.

Puree

1. Add coriander to puree and mix.

2. Set aside.

Serving

1. Place the velouté and puree in bowls and place over pots of simmering water to keep warm.

2. Spread the wings out on a baking tray and place them under a grill.

3. Once browned turn them over to crisp the other side.

4. Meanwhile heat a touch of oil in a pan and fry the flatter side of the scallops for 1 minute. This side is the upper serving side.

5. Turn scallops to complete cooking (15 seconds).

6. To plate up, place a dollop of puree on the serving plate and smear.

7. Place 3 chicken wings and 3 scallops on top of the puree in alternating order.

8. Pour the velouté in a small bowl and place to the side of the plate.

9. Place 4 or 5 leaves of coriander and a couple of corn kernels randomly on the plate.

10. Enjoy!

Crisp Bacon, Avocado & Sweet Chili Toast

This breakfast has been loved by my family for years. It is very simple and can be enjoyed any day of the week. There are no exact quantities with this as you should just be able to throw it together in the morning. Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

Bacon Rashes

Avocado

Half a lemon

Sweet Chili Sauce

Sourdough Bread

Pepper

Olive Oil

Spreadable Butter

Method:

1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on medium-high.

2. Add bacon to pan and cook until crispy.

3. Meanwhile scoop out the avocado and season with lemon and salt and pepper.

4. Toast the sourdough.

5. Spread butter on the toast.

6. Add the avocado on to the toast.

7. Pour a drizzle of sweet chili on top of the avocado.

8. Top with the cooked bacon.

9. Crack pepper on top.

Enjoy!

‘Popcorn Prawns’

My father and I struck a deal that if I did a solid 3 hours of study I could eat lunch at Swampdog. Swampdog is a fish and chip shop.  You’re probably thinking why am I so enthused about eating at a fish and chips store? Well it was awarded the sustainability award by the Queensland Good Food Guide. The store bought my interest with the line “Not your average fish and chips” and immediately I begged my Dad to take me.  After reading a couple reviews on Swampdog, the ‘popcorn’ prawns sounded like the go which the reviewer said was a favourite.

Knowing the Princess (my sister) loved oily, crispy and deep fried dishes I told her about them and she was very excited.

Once study was over I told Dad where the eatery is located and we were on our way. It took us 10-15 minutes to get there and we were surprised to see the lack of parking space. After 10 minutes of driving around trying to find a park we gave up!

We all drove away disappointed and sad especially the Princess.

I decided to make it up to the Princess so we made our own ‘popcorn’ prawns.

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They were delicious, crispy and yum paired with a side of homemade mayonnaise. We cheered up the Princess and also had a really easy to make lunch. I have added the recipe below. Feel free to use chicken as well to have variety like we did. Enjoy!

Crispy ‘popcorn’ prawns (serves 4)

Ingredients

20 shelled and deveined medium green prawns

¾ cup of rice flour

½ cup of corn flour (gluten free)

2 teaspoons of paprika

Three quarters of a cup of cold water

Pinch Salt and grind of Pepper

Small pot of sunflower oil  (700mls)

Method:

Heat up a small pot of oil till nice and hot on medium high.

Meanwhile whisk flours and paprika together with cold water until a nice runny batter forms – add the water a bit at a time till you get the right consistency.  Too runny and the batter will fall off the prawns.

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Dip a few prawns into the batter at a time and them drop them carefully into the small pot of oil being careful of oil splatter.

Cook the prawns in batches until crispy and browned (2-3 mins).

Drain on a paper towel.

To serve, place the prawns on a plate and serve with your favourite dipping sauce.

Enjoy!

Beef Faijitas

After eating delicious fajitas at my friend’s Mum’s Mexican restaurant, I decided that I would give them a go.

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I based my recipe around one that I found in the paper but because the recipe used salt-reduced taco seasoning (a BIG no-no in the family), I made up my own spice mix. I did use packet tortillas, but my Mum and I are looking into making our own. This meal is a great, simple and enjoyable meal to make whenever you want!

Ingredients:

2 beef porterhouse steaks, cut into strips

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cayenne powder

1 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, cut into thin wedges

1 red capsicum or bell pepper, seeded, thinly sliced

6 large tortillas

Bunch of coriander

Sour cream

1 Avocado

1 lime/lemon

Mexican or normal rice (A good Mexican rice recipe HERE)

Method:

1. Place the beef in a bowl.

2. Add spices and toss.

3. Marinate for 2 or more hours.

4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and cook beef until browned.

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5. Take beef out and place aside.

6. Add the onion and capsicum and cover, stirring occasionally until softened. Tip: If the bottom of the pan looks a little burnt, don’t worry and deglaze it by adding some tap water to the pan and scrapping the burnt bits of the bottom. The burnt bits are most likely the spices and they’re the yummy bits.

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7. Once softened, add the beef back to the pan and reheat.

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Extras:

8. Place one tortilla at a time on a frying pan and cook until soft, warm and slightly browned.

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9. Halve an avocado and scoop out its flesh.

10. Dice into small cubes and add a squeeze of lime/lemon and a grind of pepper and salt. Mix together.

To serve

11. Place a long strip of beef, capsicum and onion in the middle of the tortillas. Spread the avocado and sour cream on one side of the tortillas and the rice on the other. Scatter coriander on top of the beef. I usually add some chili sauce (such as tapatio or habanero) on top of mine but you don’t have to. To finish roll the tortilla up and pig out!

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Chocolate Fondants

After school today I had time to cook something in the kitchen. I had a craving for something sweet and I decided to cook chocolate fondants. I made the mixture earlier so I could get it all ready after Dad’s chicken pie for dinner. These little beauties take a while to be mastered and I had a couple of problems with the cooking time (2 flopped), but if you can master them they will be a great dessert to make!

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Ingredients:

140g unsalted butter (plus extra for buttering)

100g plain flour

140g dark chocolate (70%)

85g caster sugar

3 eggs

3 egg yolks

Good quality vanilla ice-cream to serve

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

2. Butter and flour six 140ml ramekins.

3. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water. Hint: Do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl otherwise the chocolate will set on the bottom of the bowl. Melt until glossy and thick.

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4. Whisk the caster sugar, egg yolks and eggs together until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage. Hint: Ribbon stage is when you hold the whisk over the bowl and the running mixture folds over itself. It should also be creamy, thick and hold its shape.

Below Picture: The egg mixture in my family’s trusted Kitchen Aid.

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5. Pour the melted chocolate over the egg mixture and sift on the flour. Fold the flour into the mixture carefully.

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6. Divide the mixture evenly across all ramekins leaving a bit of space for the mixture to rise.

Hint:  If you have a dodgy oven like me, first cook an extra one to test. After cooking for 9-10 minutes grab a knife and run it around the outside of the test fondant to loosen. Carefully flip the ramekin upside down. This is where having a spare one for testing comes in handy – mine was not cooked enough and collapsed into a pile of goo. If this happens to you cook the good batch for an extra couple of minutes.

The fondants should be cakey on the outside and gooey in the centre.

7. Remove from the oven and let rest for 1-2 minutes.

Hint: To serve, dip a clean spoon in a glass of hot water before taking a scoop of ice-cream and placing on top of the fondants. Enjoy!

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