Tag Archives: Garlic

Leeks, White Wine and Mussels


I happened to be at the Ballina Fisherman’s Coop recently when I spied this rather brilliant product. Kinkawooka Shellfish distribute 1 kg live, cleaned, scrubbed and de-bearded mussels in a bag that retail for around $15/kg. The product is fresh, tasty and easy to use. So, as usual, I jumped before I looked. I acquired some without even considering what I might actually do with them. Nevertheless, I wiped something up that fit the bill.

Leeks, White Wine and Mussels

[ Serves: 4 | Time: 60 Minutes | Cost: $18 ]
[ Joes Rating: 3 / 5 | My Rating: 3.5 / 5 ]


1 kg farmed mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
1.5 cups white wine
1 leek, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon butter
drizzle olive oil
Wholemeal pasta to serve
salt and pepper to taste

The packaging for Kinkawooka Shellfish’s live mussels.


  1. In a deep sided pan, sauté the leek in a little olive oil. When fragrant, add the garlic and stir well.
  2. Add the wine to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the mussels and stir once. Place the lid over the pan and sauté for 8 minutes.
  3. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Stir the butter and parsley through the sauce and over the mussels. Season to taste.
  4. Serve hot with pasta and crusty bread.

Remove any that don’t open; they were dead and may be tainted. All mine opened; a testament to their freshness!


  • I loved this product; there is nothing like fresh produce to remind you of the simple things in life. Even though they were cleaned, I did pick over them and notice that they were a few with tiny beards still in place.
  • Joe and Brittany both loved the sauce and pasta but hated the mussels. Neither are seafood fans so guess what? More for me!
  • Diabetic Note: There is nothing bad here. I have opted to avoid using cream in this dish but I did use the butter as a lower fat content substitute. Nevertheless, there is only a tiny amount so the only real carbohydrates in the dish comes from the pasta you serve it with. I used wholemeal fettucine.
  •   And best of all, my Australian Sustainable Seafood Guide doesn’t recognise farmed mussels as being an unsustainable harvest and give it the green tick. Its one of very few seafood items that does get a green tick.

Mussels for me! With some berry ice tea. So yum!



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Gourmet Garden Cook Off: Lamb Cutlets

It’s here!

Today is the day I cook off in the semi finals of the Gourmet Garden Cook Off. A full report will follow, but I thought Id share with you what I will be cooking.


[ Serves: 3  |  TIME: 30 MINUTES  |  COST: $10  ]
[  JoeS RATING:  4.5  / 5  |  MY RATING: 4  / 5 ]


6 organic lamb cutlets – cleanly Frenched
1 cup bread crumbs
2 Free Ranged Eggs
1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Thyme Paste
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Rosemary Paste
zest of 1 lemon
20g butter
splash of oil
salt and pepper


  1. To prepare the meat, ensure that the bones are perfectly Frenched, leaving a raw exposed bone at the end. Use aluminium foil to wrap the exposed bones to keep them clean until serving.
  2. In one bowl, scramble the egg and set aside.
  3. In one bowl, add the bread crumbs, garlic, thyme, and rosemary and lemon zest. Using your finger tips, mix the ingredients to ensure even distribution.
  4. Using the aluminium covered bones for ease of handling, dip the meat into the egg wash, using a spoon if necessary to ensure the meat is evenly covered in egg wash. Drip off excess.
  5. Lay the egg covered meat into the bread crumb mixture and use a spoon to ensure that the bread crumbs evenly coat the meat. Use the back of a spoon to press the meat down into the mixture before shaking off excess.
  6. Repeat the egg wash and bread crumb stages to apply a double coat of crumbs to each cutlet.
  7. Add the butter and a splash of oil to a warmed frying pan and bring to a moderate heat. Place the cutlets into the pan and cook for 4 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Remove the cutlets from the pan and allow to rest on a plate for 4 – 5 minutes before serving. Cover the meat with aluminium foil to keep it warm.
  9. Serve with seasonal vegetables and yoghurt dressing.


  • I will be serving this meal with seasoned vegetables tossed in garlic butter.
  • Diabetic Note: This meal isn’t too bad. It’s a little naughty with the bread crumbs but the vegetables have no carbs in it so it is balanced over all. Be gentle with the frying, though. Excess oil isnt always good.
  • Ethical Note: I had to decide what to cook for this meal that would take less than 30 minutes to prepare, cook and plate. I have decided to do a family favourite but put my own spin on it with the organic and free ranged choices. Hopefully my message will reach a larger audience.
  • Stay tuned, guys – I promise to post the results of the competition in about eight hours after the competition.

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Vegetable soup fit for the gods!

When I was a child, my Grandmother would make her version of vegetable soup. It was rich, hearty and full of gooey chunks of rich cheese. This is my version of her dish.

[  Serves: 6 – 8  |  TIME: 3 HOURS  |  COST: $6 per pot  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]


1 – 2 litres vegetable stock
1 cup potato
1 cup sweet potato
1 cup pumpkin
1 onion
1 tomato
½ cup  carrot
½ cup  zucchini
½ cup  squash
½ cup  cauliflower
½ cup  broccoli
¼ cup green lentils
¼ cup yellow split peas
¼ cup pearl barley
2 tablespoons shredded parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic


4 bite size pieces of pecorino per bowl
salt and pepper to taste
parsley to garnish


  1. Dice the onion. Skin the tomato and put aside. Cut all remaining vegetables into bite size pieces.
  2. In a large pot, heat a little oil. Add the onion and garlic and fry off until transparent and fragrant.
  3. Add the potato, sweet potato, pumpkin carrot, split peas, lentils, barley and stock. Reduce to a slow simmer and cook with the lid on for an hour or two. The pumpkin should dissolve to enhance the stock while the sweet potato and potato hold their form.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients including the tomato and simmer lightly with the lid off for a further hour or so until all vegetables are tender. The stock should thicken to the desired texture.
  5. To serve, add a few small chunks of pecorino cheese to the bowl and cover with hot soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve with crusty bread.


  • This is a perfect dish for a slow cooker. Sauté the onions and garlic in a saucepan before adding them to the slow cooker with peas, lentils, barley and root vegetables and cook for 4 hours. Add the softer vegetables and cook for an additional two hours before serving.
  • I grew up with this soup so I know the awesomeness of the cheese in the soup. I realise it sounds exceptionally strange and I would only do it with a very strong sharp cheese such as a pepper pecorino, but the cheese melts to a chewy gooey consistency that mostly holds its form. Finding a piece on your spoon is like a sudden surprise and burst of flavour – the pot of gold beneath the rainbow. I highly recommend you try it for yourself! (So what if I had six pieces of cheese in my bowl. Who’s counting, right?)
  • Serve it hot for the best taste. I always make a huge stock pot full and we have it for lunches for days without anyone getting bored with it.
  • Diabetic Note: This soup is the very picture of hearth, healthy winter dinners. There is such a small amount of barley and potato in the meal that it doesn’t really count towards carbohydrate exchanges. I usually have it with a slice of hot crusty bread (divine for dipping!) to make sure I have enough carbs in the meal.
  • Ethical Note: Using vegetables in season means that they have not been shipped from far and wide (often overseas!). All the better for the economy and environment if you use local produce. Finally, organic lentils and legumes mean the very best in farming practices for sustainability and that one small purchase wont hurt the hip pocket because of their low price.

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Pork with Plum Sauce – Gourmet Garden Blogoff

Hmmm, pork. So tasty… And do you know what’s better than pork? Organic free ranged pork! The other day at the farmers markets I bought a lovely piece of collar butt pork from Sunforest Organic Meats. We grabbed some local organic veggies for steaming and Joe suggested the most delightful accompaniments to jazz up an otherwise ordinary meal; Chilli Plum Sauce and Garlic Butter. Welcome to heaven!

Organic grilled pork with plum sauce, steamed vegetables and garlic butter.

[  SERVES: 8  |  TIME: 10 MIN  |  COST: <$4  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 3.5 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]

Ingredients – Plum Sauce

375 g plum jam
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste
½ teaspoon Gourmet Garden Hot Chilli Paste
½ teaspoon Gourmet Garden Ginger Paste

Method – Plum Sauce

  1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and summer until reduced to a desired consistency.
  2. Serve hot but note that the sauce will solidify upon sitting.

Hmm, sauce. Sweet, sticky, silky, spicy sauce!

[  SERVES: 2 – 4  |  TIME: 2 MIN  |  COST: <$2  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]

Ingredients – Garlic Butter

1 – 2 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon  Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon shredded parsley
freshly ground pepper to taste

Method – Garlic Butter

  1. In a small bowl or container, mash all the ingredients together.
  2. Place a dollop on hot steamed vegetables to add a special something.


  • Oh yum! This pork and the plum sauce was a marriage made in heaven. In fact, I am pretty sure this plum sauce just became a favourite sauce for our family. These quick, cheap and easy condiments will make any meal taste heavenly. It doesn’t take much to jazz up a normal family meal. Just imagination!
  • The plum sauce will thicken on sitting, but a little heat will see it back to its delicious silky sweet liquid form! It can be stored in the fridge for several days in an air tight container until needed.
  • Garlic butter is pretty much made of winning and can be used in everything from vegetables to bread. You can store any left over garlic butter in an air tight container in the fridge for a few days or so.
  • Diabetic Note: hahahaha…… oh right. yes. Ummm…. Diabetics… I hate to break it to you but… jam = bad. (I know! Here, share my tissues *sob*) There is SO much sugar in the jam that it’s probably best reserved for special dinners. And used sparingly. (I am sure licking the plate clean of any sweet sticky goodness wont add any additional calories…). The butter isn’t good for you either, but its tasty! Again, sparingly. (I know, I know, I’m the fun police!)
  • Ethical Note: If we all switched from beef to more sustainable meats such as pork and poultry, most of our climate change issues would almost disappear. Every small change we make as individuals affects the world we live in, for the good and bad. Make a commitment to switch one meal a week to an organic option, and give the earth that sustains us a bit of a break. One meal, one step, one earth.

Dinner was so awesome that everyone wanted their fair share.


Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Food: Ethical Eating


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Potato, Leek and Garlic Soup

Ahhh winter. The time for fluffy pajamas and hot soup! And today, I get to eat hot soup while wearing fluffy pajamas! WIN!

Read the rest of this entry »


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Roast Pumpkin and Garlic Soup

Its autumn! That means soup time. Lots and lots of delicious, nutritious, hot steamy soup! A few years ago, I stumbled upon a recipe in a magazine in a doctors waiting room. It was so long ago now that I can’t possibly give it the appropriate credit it deserves, even though I have made several changes over the years.

[  SERVES: 4  |  TIME: 90 MIN  |  COST: <$3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING:  3.5 / 5 |  BrittanyS’ RATING:  4 / 5]

Soup Ingredients

1 litre vegetable stock
1 small – medium butternut pumpkin
1 onion
1 head of garlic
olive oil

Soup Method

  1. Skin and cut the pumpkin in to large pieces for roasting. Peek and quarter the onion. Cut the top off the head of garlic.
  2. In a baking tray, toss the prepared vegetables with rosemary, olive oil and seasoning. Roast in a moderate oven until caramelised. You will need to check the progress every 20 minutes, but it should take about 50 minutes.
  3. Allow vegetables to cool before use.
  4. Carefully remove the garlic from the skins and place the pulp into a blender. Add the remaining cold roast vegetables and any liquid remaining from the roasting process. Pulse and process until smooth. Add vegetable stock as you need if the purée is too thick to blend.
  5. In a small saucepan, add the purée and remaining stock. Stir well and serve when hot. Season as needed.

Bread Ingredients

4 slices whole grain wraps
roast capsicum
home-made hummus
basil leaves

Bread Method

  1. Tear the basil leaves and spread randomly over two pieces of bread. Add some cheese and capsicum as desired. Season.
  2. On two “lids”, spread hummus generously but evenly. Place the lids over the bottoms and place under a grill for 10 minutes – until crispy and the cheese has melted.
  3. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.


  • The soup is so tasty but can be a bit rich. A dollop of cream would be delicious for those who do not have to watch their calories.
  • This soup is quite textured as the rosemary doesn’t purée down well.
  • There is a whole head of garlic in this soup. Don’t have a bowl right before a first date.
  • Diabetic Note: I had to add the flat bread to this meal to add in some carbohydrates. You could add some potatoes into the mix if bread isn’t your thing. This soup, on its own is quite lacking in carbohydrates, so be careful.
  • Ethical Note: Using season vegetables is a wise ethical choice for the environment and your hip pocket. At the end of the season, excesses are often cheap and left to rot. Preparing and freezing meals such as this will allow you to enjoy the tastes long after the season has ended.

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Sourdough Pizza Crusts

The sourdough battle continues. I am now onto my fourth sourdough starter in just over a month and a half. My starters get to about 10 – 14 days and dies. My current starter *seems* to be ok, so I decided to experiment. Using this Sue Lau recipe as a guide, I made some delightful sourdough pizzas. The crusts were light, thin and crispy and I will definitely be using this recipe again.

[  SERVES: 3  |  TIME: 120 MIN  |  COST: <$4  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 5/5  |  MY RATING:  4/5 |  Brittanys’ RATING:  4/5]

Crust Ingredients

1 cup organic flour
1 cup sourdough starter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt


  1. In a bowl, mix all the crust ingredients together. If the dough is too moist / too dry, add more flour / starter as needed. Knead lightly and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Turn oven (and / or preheat pizza stone) to the hottest setting to start its preheat.
  3. After resting, work the dough for 15 minutes. Once it is quite elastic, divide it into thirds and allow it to rest for a further 30 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle flour on your counter top / work bench and use a rolling-pin to shape the dough. Turning it a quarter turn each roll will help give it a round shape.
  5. Prick the base with a fork several times and bake on a pizza stone or pizza tray for four to five minutes.
  6. Top your pizza with your favourite ingredients and bake for an additional five minutes.
  7. Enjoy while hot!

This was my pizza. It was topped with a drizzle of olive oil, roast garlic smeared into the oil and base, caramalised pumpkins as described above, crumbled Nimbin Valley Dairys Lemon Billy goats cheese, torn baby bocconcini, freshly chopped chives, thyme, salt and pepper. Sometimes, the simple flavours win the day.


  • It’s important to note that this dough will not raise much (if at all). The resting and kneading allows the dough to be workable and elastic, but does not encourage much of a rise.
  • If you would like to make roast pumpkin, garlic and sweet potato like I have here, prepare the roasted vegetables ahead of time. Cut the vegetables into bite size pieces. Skin the garlic but leave the cloves whole. Place the vegetables and garlic into an oven tray and sprinkle with olive oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes, until caramelised. (The cinnamon gives roast vegetables such as pumpkin and sweet potato a delightful flavour and enhances their natural sweetness).
  • I departed from the original recipe in several places. In my version, I gave the dough an extra knead. This activated the gluten in the dough and made it much more pliable. This dough had a beautiful texture and was very easy to work with.
  • We enjoy thin pizzas. If you enjoy a thicker base, double the crust ingredients quoted.
  • Diabetic Note: My blood glucose levels were slightly elevated after this meal, but that was to be expected. Be mindful of your serving size and limit your cheese (my pizza is the one above and has a reduced amount of cheese). I also opted to avoid sauces which are high in sugar.
  • Ethical Note: I used my sourdough starter for this. To feed sourdough, half of the mixture is discarded each time. That half can be used for things such as this. Reduce your waste, support local produce, live long and prosper! (ok, well, only if you are a vulcan….)

This was Joe's pizza. The base was layered with tomato and garlic pizza sauce, garlic flakes, sliced chorizo sausage, roasted butternut pumpkin and sweet potato, whole roasted garlic, torn baby bocconcini, generous amounts of grated light tasty cheese, oregano, basil, chilli flakes, chives and salt and pepper to taste.




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Fettuccine with braised vegetables

There are times when I surprise myself. This dinner worked but honestly, it was all ass, and no class. Do you have days when you just fluke an awesome meal?

[  SERVES: 6  |  TIME: 15 MIN  |  COST: <$5  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 3.5/5  |  MY RATING:  3.5/5 ]


Equal portions vegetables. We used:

  • Carrot
  • Zucchini
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato
  • Baby Broccoli

300 ml Vegetable Stock
shaved Romano cheese
1 tablespoon corn flour
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook fettuccine as directed.
  2. Boil the vegetables gently in the stock until they are cooked. Do not over cook.
  3. Mix a little corn flour and water in a glass and slowly add into vegetable mixture until desired thickness has been attained. Stir continually to avoid uneven glugginess.
  4. Drain pasta and stir through vegetables and sauce. Season and garnish with shaved cheese.


  • Quick, easy and delicious. A great way of using up left over vegetables at the end of the shopping week.
  • Diabetic Note: The pasta is a little scary, so watch your serving size.
  • Ethical Note: Using up all your vegetables with meals like this is a great way to reduce your waste. Better for your hip pocket too!

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Leftovers & Pasta surprise!

About an hour ago, Joe and I decided it was time to eat. We tossed around the usual luncheon ideas when he mentioned there was some plain wholemeal spaghetti left over from his dinner a few nights ago. The cogs started to turn, and this is what we just dined on!

[  SERVES: 2  |  TIME: 15 MIN  |  COST: <$3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4.5/5  |  MY RATING:  4/5 ]


3 cups leftover cooked pasta
2 big handfuls rocket
1 cup cherry tomatoes
½ cup chopped yellow capsicum
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
small handful pine nuts
2 tablespoons  crushed garlic
good drizzle of olive oil
shaved peccorino romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a warm dry skillet, roast the pine nuts before placing aside.
  2. In the skillet add olive oil and garlic before frying it off slightly til fragrant. Add the cherry tomatoes and capsicum, stirring well to coat evenly. Heat through and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and toss through the pasta. Again, ensure it gets a good coating of oil, garlic and that the vegetables become well incorporated. Stirring continually.
  4. Remove from heat and gently fold through the rocket and parsley. Season well with salt and cracked pepper.
  5. Garnish with grated hard cheese and pine nuts. Eat immediately.


  • Everything in todays meal was in the fridge. I didn’t organise anything ahead of time. Even so, these flavours just worked fantastically. Joe wants more, but alas, it was leftovers so there is none  left!
  • It could have used a freshen up with a tiny amount of lemon juice, but that’s probably more to do with me being fussy than anything else.
  • I am not usually one to give much salt to my cooking, but I did with this dish, and I am glad I did. The saltiness worked a treat against the sweetness of the tomatoes and the garlic flavours. Careful not to go over board, though!
  • Diabetic Note: My plate was the back one, and as such, it was a smaller server, and was mostly vegetables rather than pasta. Instead of eating bread, I supplemented my meal with a piece of fruit (citrus) and my Blood Glucose Levels should be happy for it.
  • Ethical Note: The average household wastes far too much food. Where possible, try incorporating your left overs into a quick make up meal such as this.
  • Pesto (

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Cabbage Rolls

I honestly can’t tell you what inspired this dish. Perhaps it was the gorgeous photos on Kathy Man’s blog. I tend to think it was influenced by the fact that there was a whole cabbage in my weekly box of fresh local vegetable from Fruitos. Whatever the reason, I am here to tell you the results were delicious!

[  SERVES: 3  |  TIME: 30 – 40 MINUTES  |  COST: $4 – 5  TOTAL ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  4 / 5  |  MY RATING  2.5 / 5 ]

1 cabbage, cored with leaves separated


250 gm pork mince
½ onion, diced
½ – 1 cup cooked brown rice
¼ cup bean shoots, cut coarsely
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic
salt and pepper to taste


2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon garlic
1 teaspoon corn flour


  1. Mix all ingredients for the filling in a bowl and set aside in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot half full of  water to the boil. Place one cabbage leaf in the water at a time for about three minutes or until semi transparent and soft. Remove from the water and place into some cool water for 30 seconds.
  3. Place the cooled cabbage leaf onto a board. Place a tablespoon of mixture at one end of the cabbage leaf. Fold the sides up and carefully roll the cabbage to form a parcel. Use toothpicks if necessary to hold the roll in place.
  4. Place the rolls into a steamer when complete. Steam for about 20 minutes or until cooked.
  5. Mix the cornflour in a little water and set aside. In a small saucepan, mix the stock, oyster sauce and garlic with a whisk.  Bring the sauce to a gentle boil before slowly adding the corn flour mixture, whisking continually. The sauce is ready when it is slightly thickened and has a silky appearance.


  • This dish was so simple, yet so yummy. It looks gorgeous plated up with some steamed greens. Makes me look like I have some skills!
  • I felt the rolls needed something. I was hoping the bean sprouts would provide a little crunch, but of course they cooked so they became quite soft. In reflection, some pine nuts would have been a great addition, or perhaps some celery. Joe loved them just as they were and was looking for more after devouring his three.
  • I used a regular round white cabbage, however I think it would have been easier and taste better with a wombok cabbage. If you do use a regular cabbage, cut out the thick centres, as they wont roll well.
  • Diabetic Note: There is not much in the way of carbohydrates in this dish, so add a little extra rice to your plate.
  • Ethical Note: Where possible, try to lower your carbon footprint by sourcing local produce. Also, keep an eye out for free range pork mince which is starting to pop up in the major supermarket chains.

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