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Blackbean – Free Registration


I recently heard from another foodie friend about this new app coming out called Blackbean. It’s a new spin on the restaurant directories that we are all so used to using. This one gets pictures and specials from restaurants in your area, but as they are cooking them! It’s not ready yet, but check out the video and signup for an invite once it is launched. It’s free, too.

Kumar from Masterchef evicted!


My favourite contestant from this year’s series of Masterchef , Kumar Pereira has been evicted tonight. I loved to watch him throughout the 2011 season and thought he really brought some good fun and positive energy to the show. Kumar, I wish you the best of luck with your endeavours, and I can’t wait to see he new illustrated cookbook you are planning!

ABC Delicious : More Please!


I have just bought this cook book.
I am so happy I bought this cook book. It is spectacular. The photos make you want to eat the food right off the pages! The ingredients are divine and easily purchased or picked from your garden. It is broken up into the seasons and each has a suggested meal plan so you can easily create a simple meal or an indulgent dinner party. ABC Delicious More Please by Valli Little is inspiring, beautiful and each recipe is stunningly simple!

Delicious Oyster Recipe


Well, we finally won something…..a seafood tray! I am not a huge fan of any seafood except fish and the occasional prawn, dripping with sauce, more like a bit of prawn with your sauce kinda thing! My husband on the other hand loves it all, so he was happy happy that he won. He decided he wanted to make the oysters really good by cooking them…..somehow. I suggested the Worcestershire/Kilpatrick style without the bacon, as we didn’t have any, but he wanted to make something completely original! He is quite chuffed with himself because they were delicious and just what he felt like to eat! I will have to say, even though I couldn’t bear to eat one, they did look rather delicious and tempting! Maybe next time!

What You Need:

  • 1 doz oysters
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1/2 onion
  • cheese, finely grated
  • salt and pepper

What You Need To Do:

Heat the oven to 170 degrees and line a baking tray with scrunched up foil or baking paper. This helps to hold the oysters upright. Finely dice the onion and the tomato, mix together and place a spoonful on each oyster. Season with the salt and pepper and then sprinkle on the grated cheese. Place the tray in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

If you are serving them nicely, as opposed to eating them straight off the baking tray as he did, (well it was Sunday night dinner, you know the toasted sandwich/leftovers/make your own type of dinner!) place some rock salt on a plate before putting the oysters on top. This will keep them upright so all the juice doesn’t run out. Serve with some lemon wedges.

Feta, Tomato & Spinach on Turkish


Hello!  Yes, I know it has been ages since I have put any recipes or photos on Nattycook but I have been extremely busy with working, studying and now managing the canteen at my children’s school!
I will ease back into it with a simple lunch recipe.  Well actually it is really nice for dinner if you add some roasted pumpkin or sweet potato.  A lovely lady that I work with is really into vegetarian and organic foods so when we work together we have Fine Food Tuesday!  This is one of the favourite meals we make the most.  You can also add avocado, capsicum, snow pea sprouts, whatever you like.  Sometimes we put homemade pesto on the bread.

What You Need:

  • Turkish Bread
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Baby english spinach leaves
  • Onion finely sliced
  • Cucumber
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fetta cheese

What You Need To Do:

There are a few ways to make this really tasty.  You can simply toast the bread in the toaster or under the grill but if you really want to ramp up the flavour brush the bread with some oil and grill it on a hotplate, the bbq is perfect!

Once the bread is toasted, put it on the plate you are going to serve it on because you don’t want to be moving it around too much!  Drizzle some of the oil over the bread to moisten.  Layer the spinach, cucumber, tomato, onion and fetta over the bread and pour a little more oil over the salad.  Next tip a little of the balsamic over the top.  You need to moisten the salad enough so some of the oil and vinegar mix and soak into the bread a little ( this is divine!).  Season with a little salt and pepper and dig in!

It’s a really easy and quick meal to make and really flexible with the ingredients.  I usually try to use red onion but I didn’t have any today so I had to use brown.   You can even reduce the balsamic over a low heat and add some brown sugar to sweeten it up if you like.  This makes a really tasty sticky dressing that is perfect with the fetta!  Enjoy and I will try to take some more photos soon!!

Bacon Egg & Spinach Tart


I like these as a nice treat for breakfast!  They look fancy but are easy to put together and take the fuss out of having everyones breakfast cooked at the same time!

What You Need:

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1/2 bunch spinach (silverbeet)
  • 6 rashers bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper

What You Need To Do:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.  Wash and finely chop the spinach and cook it with the olive oil and the garlic, until wilted.   Transfer this to a dish and let sit for a while.

Finely chop the bacon and fry in the same pan as the spinach and garlic.  Cook lightly, about 3 minutes, then drain on paper towel.

Cut the thawed pastry sheet into 4 equal squares and place each square into a muffin tin hole.  Remember to spray the tin first!!

Make sure the spinach is not too wet, you may need to lightly squeeze out the excess liquid and divide equally between the four pastry cases.  Divide the bacon and then carefully crack an egg into each case.  It is good to crack the egg into a bowl first so if you break the yolk you can use it for something else because they look better with the yolk whole.  Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven

Cook for about 10 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs and whether the pastry is golden brown and flaky.

Serve with some rocket and a light dressing and some cherry tomatoes.  You could also add some fetta cheese or put the cherry tomato with the spinach and bacon, for some extra flavour.  Makes 4.

Easy Cheesecake Recipe


easy-cheesecake-recipeThis cheesecake is my most favourite type of dessert cake!  It is a very basic recipe that you can add all sorts of flavours to.  I made a blueberry syrup to go with the cake but you can top it with anything…..caramel, melted choc, lemon curd….!!!

What You Need:

Filling

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 1 x 400g tin condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Base

  • packet of sweet biscuits, crushed ( Nice or Butternut Snap)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

What You Need To Do:

Crush biscuits into a fine crumb, mix with melted butter and press into base of springform tin. Refrigerate while making the filling.

Mix, with an electric beater, cream cheese, condensed milk and vanilla until very smooth.  It helps if the cream cheese is at room temperature.  Mix in the lemon juice and pour into the base.   Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.  Top with your favourite flavours, or serve, as is, with some delicious thick cream.

Alvin Evicted from Masterchef and makes website


Sad news tonight as Alvin was finally evicted from Masterchef Australia. In the tough final battle, contestants were asked to make a 8 layer vanilla cake to impress the judges. With all finalists performing well, Alvin got voted off in a close battle and now looks set to launch his own food website. I will keep an eye out and put  a link up whenever I find it. Go Alvin and congratulations on doing so well on Masterchef.

Update : looks like Alvin’s new website is at : Cinnamon Pig > http://cinnamonpig.com.au/

Spooky Cake Pops


spooky-cake-popsI thought I might cook something for the school disco the other night. It is a fundraiser for the school so I was happy to help! I have been very interested in the Cake Pops that Bakerella has been doing lately so I thought I might give them a try. They were perfect for the spooky theme and apparently they were a hit! So, thank you Bakerella for your wonderful inspiration!

What You Need:

Cooked cake

  • Icing
  • Chocolate to melt
  • sticks
  • assorted lollies for decorating

What You Need To Do:

This is such a fun thing to make. I haven’t listed any quantities because it’s all about the consistency of the mixture rather than the amount of each product! Basically you need to break up the cooled cake into fine crumbs and mix in some icing or you can buy the ready made tins of frosting. Mix it well until it is fudge like and roll into balls. Using the stick pierce a whole in the bottom of the ball ready to take the stick when you dip them. Place these into the freezer on a baking sheet until they are firm.

I made skulls, so I shaped them a little so when they were dipped in the chocolate you could see the indentations for the eyes and the cheeks. The werewolves were just rounded cylinders. You can make any shape you like!!

Melt the chocolate over a pan of boiling water. Dip the end of the stick into the chocolate and place it into the hole you made earlier. The choc helps it to stay in place. Now dip the whole cake ball into the melted chocolate. Tap it a few time to get rid of any drips. It helps to have a box or piece of styrofoam ready to stick the pops into so they can set.

Have your lolly decorations ready to stick on the setting chocolate. I waited until the white choc had set and then used a tube of black icing to draw on the skull features and then stuck the eyes into the icing. For the werewolves I dipped them, let them set and then brushed on some more choc on the front, waited for it to start setting and then used a skewer to mark the choc to look like the hair and then quickly stuck the eyes, nose and teeth on!! Fiddly, yes, but they turned out pretty good!

The kids absolutely loved them and they sold out at the disco!! The great thing about these is you can make any type you want for whatever occasion! Check out Bakerella for fabulous inspiration, they are sensational!!!

Yes I am still here!


I have been extremely busy lately trying to get into the routine of working, studying and doing some volunteer work (related to my study). Also, my children have a far better social life than me with friends, sleepovers, school and play days!! So I have been feeling a bit like a chaffeur/hostess/maid to everyone!! Of course, I love it and am happy my kids are settling into their new schools well, but it hasn’t left me much time for fancy cooking. We have almost been having baked beans on toast lately! I was happy to cook something for the school disco the other night, and finally dusted off the camera and took some photos! Enjoy