Spanish style mussels in tomato sauce


1 link chorizo sausage or cacciatore sausage, diced 
2 Tbsp olive oil or butter 
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
1 bullhorn pepper, red, diced

1 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. crushed chilli pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 large garlic cloves, minced
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and blended
1 Tbsp tomato purée 
1/2cup white wine
4 Tbsp cream
Handful finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
750 g fresh mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
French bread or focaccia to serve


In a heavy based pot, cook the sausage in oil until brown over medium-high heat, about 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Scrape up any large brown bits and discard. Drain off all but 2 Tbsp of fat. 
Add chopped onion, paprika, pepper, red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper and half of the parsley. Cook, stirring, until onions are tender, about 4 minutes. Add wine and cook for further 3 minutes. 
Add the garlic and tomatoes and a cup of water, and cook, stirring, for 20 minutes or until the water has almost disappeared. You can blend the mixture using an immersion stick blender at this stage. 
Stir in sausage. Add mussels and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover, cooking until the mussel shells have opened. Stir a couple of times. 
Remove from heat. Take out mussels with a slotted spoon and place in a serving dish. 

Add the cream and parsley and ladle the tomato mixture on top of mussels. 
Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve immediately with French bread for dipping.



Jamie’s Italian – London

On my last layover in London I visited Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant in London, Covent Garden.

Many of our crew had already dined there and I had heard only good reviews. I had to check it out for myself. I love Jamie’s shows!

The food was simple, rustic and delicious, portions were generous.  And quite cheap for London!

Wine selection is great. Atmosphere vibrant. They have quite a large garden but it was just closing when we got there. It was Wednesday night.

Definitely not a place for a romantic or quiet dinner 🙂

Great for small groups and catch-ups with friends.

The restaurant was absolutely full, people were waiting at the bar. They don’t take reservations.

We arrived quite late at 9:30 pm and when we’re leaving at 11 pm there were still people arriving.

Definitely worth a visit!

Prawn Linguine - entree size

Prawn Linguine – entree size

Back bar

Back bar

Black Angel Spaghetti - entree size

Black Angel Spaghetti – entree size

Fish Plank for 2

Fish Plank for 2

Election Day

Today is Election Day here in Australia.

Being the good Aussie I am, I got to the polling booth early, yesterday afternoon. Missed out on the sausage sizzle today. Arrgh! If only I knew… Must remember for next time.

Archie came with me and received plenty of attention from all the volunteers shoving all the propaganda in your face.

There was a young girl next to me in the booth yesterday. She asked me in a shaky voice if she’s allowed to phone her mum to help her with filling of the ballot paper. Poor thing, didn’t have an idea. I asked her who she wants to vote for, her answer “for the Sex party” didn’t surprise me. I just laughed to myself and remembered how confused I was when I at barely 18 had to vote for the first time, all by myself. I think I went for the Greens back then.

Well, that’s how it is. Will see what the future brings and which party will get the leadership for the next 3 years.

Not that I’m into politics or anything.

I just went so I don’t get fined. Hehe.

Today is also the first day of fermentation of my sourdough starter. I purchased a dehydrated starter pack on eBay. I tried to grow my own sourdough bacteria a while ago but failed miserably.

This time it’s a proper, functioning starter, I hope. First promising bubble appeared on the surface today, yay.

I’m sure I’ll be baking my own sourdough bread in no time! Fingers crossed.

We’ve been baking our own bread for at least three months now. None of the preservative-laden commercial bread for us anymore.

I’ll post the recipe for my home-made bread very soon. It’s so easy. All you need is time. And flour 😉

Day 1, first bubble

Day 1, first bubble

TV is full of the Election stuff tonight. Boring.

Weather turned cold and rainy again. I was so stoked to wear t-shirt on our walks with Archie last week. Spring is my favourite season I think.

Time for a glass of wine and some of my comfort food red pasta dish.

Good night


Party food made easy – chicken and feta sausage rolls


What’s a party without a sausage roll?
I know it’s easy just to go and grab a box from the frozen section at the supermarket. But do you know what’s inside? Inferior meat encased in anaemic-looking puff pastry. At least that’s what they look like to me. I never had much luck making them look golden. It must be the years of deep-freezing. There’s no taste to them other than saltiness. So…..

Put that apron on and let’s get baking.

You maybe wouldn’t dream of putting feta in a sausage roll, but it makes these taste so mellow …and because chicken mince is pretty flavorless, this will give it a little zing.
By all means, leave it out if you don’t like cheese.

Makes up to 24 mini-rolls (depends what size you want them)


500 g chicken mince
30 g feta, crumbled
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
1 egg lightly whisked
1 small onion, diced finely
handful finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce (tomato or barbecue will also do)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3 sheets of ready-made puff pastry
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Little milk for brushing rolls

Optional for decoration
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds


Preheat oven to 200°C
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine.

Place a 2″ high roll of mixture along one edge of a pastry sheet, close to the edge. Roll tightly until edge of pastry is on the underside. If you wish to, you can brush the edge with a little milk to make it stick better.

Carefully cut your roll into mini-rolls – whatever size you like.
Repeat for each pastry sheet.

You can freeze the rolls at this stage.
Place rolls on a baking paper-covered plate and put in the freezer. Freeze for 2-3 hrs.
When they’re thoroughly frozen you can transfer them into a container or a zip-lock bag.

If you’re baking your rolls now, place them on a baking paper-covered baking sheet and space them evenly – without them touching each other.

Brush the tops lightly with some milk and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Serve hot with tomato sauce or sweet chilli sauce.


Chia, yoghurt and oats for breakfast


Soak overnight:
1/3 cup oats in
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup plain yoghurt
add 1 Tbsp chia seeds
Stir together, cover with foil and place in the fridge.

Enjoy in the morning topped with fresh strawberries, banana, dollop of your favourite jam, apple and cinnamon, the combinations are endless.

For added sweetness drizzle with 1 Tbsp agave syrup or honey.

Crustless silverbeet quiche



1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large leek, sliced
1 bunch silverbeet
4 rashers of bacon, sliced thinly
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (sharp cheddar works well)
4 eggs
1 cup milk


Preheat oven to 190 C
Wash and pat dry the silverbeet, trim off the white stalks.
Rouchly chop the silverbeet.
Heat oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Add bacon to pan and fry for 1 minute.
Add leek and silverbeet to pan and cook until it is tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk the eggs, milk and cheese together in a bowl.
Fold the silverbeet mixture into the egg mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Spray pie dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Pour mixture into pie dish and bake in oven for 35 – 45 minutes.

Quick Beef Phô


( serves 4)
2L (8 cups) beef stock (home-made if possible)
2 thick slices of ginger
1 medium brown onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
3 star anise
2 cinnamon quills, lightly bruised
2 tbs caster sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) fish sauce
375g flat rice noodles
400g beef eye fillet, very thinly sliced
4 cups of bean sprouts
1 – 2 long red chillies, seeds removed, thinly sliced
1 cup each of basil, mint and coriander leaves, to serve

Step 1
Place stock in a saucepan with ginger, onion, garlic, star anise, cinnamon, sugar and fish sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain, discarding solids, then return soup to pan. Cover and return to the boil.
Step 2
Meanwhile, prepare noodles according to packet instructions. Drain well.
Step 3
Divide the noodles among warmed soup bowls, then top with the sliced beef fillet. Pour over the hot soup mixture (the heat will gently cook the meat) and top with the bean sprouts. Serve garnished with chilli and fresh herbs.