Recipe – Beef Stroganoff

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3 days ago, I put up a picture of an action shot of my beef cooking in my kitchen. It was about to become the yummiest beef stroganoff I’ve ever made and I had so many people asking for the recipe that I thought I would put it on my blog to share with all of you!

I know that it not a traditional recipe but it still is a crowd pleaser in my family and I hope it will become one in your too. This dish is delicious by itself or with brown rice, steamed veggies (if you’re feeling healthy) or pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 15gm dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I use continental reduced salt stock pots de solved in 2 cups of water)
  • 1TBLSP Dijon mustard
  • 2tsp dried tarragon
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup frozen peas and corn
  • 400gm beef tenderloin, cut into strips about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 1TBSP black cracked papper
  • 1tsp salt
  • oil for cooking
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Method:

  1. Combine the chicken stock and dried porcini in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.
  3. With a slotted spoon, lift the porcini out of the stock, chop coarsely and set aside.
  4. Strain the broth through a sieve and set aside.
  5. Slice onion into even pieces and set aside
  6. Heat fry pan on a high heat and once up to temperature, add 1TBLSP of oil and beef. Do not move beef until the outside of one side of the meat is golden brown then move beef around the fry pan until just cooked and remove now cooked beef from fry-pan and let it rest in a clean bowl (this will create a nice flavour for your sauce).
  7. Lower the heat of the fry pan to a medium heat.
  8. Add another 2TBLSP of oil in fry-pan and add onion and salt (make sure you get all the brown bits from the beef from the bottom of the fry pan in this step). cook  onions until there is no more raw onion smell and is translucent.
  9. Add smoked paprika, pepper and 1/2 cup of the chicken stock to the fry pan and allow it to thicken into a sauce. Gradually add the rest of the chicken stock (in 1/2 cup batches) allowing the liquid to thicken in-between each addition.
  10. On the last addition of the chicken stock, add the Dijon mustard and the dried tarragon to the cup before adding it to the fry pan.
  11. Add porcini mushrooms to the fry pan.
  12. Now add the frozen peas and corn and let it thaw out in the fry pan.
  13. Add cooked beef back into the fry pan and turn off heat.
  14. Check seasoning, mustard and tarragon flavour. Add any changes to the dish before adding sour cream.
  15. Stir through sour cream just before serving.
  16. Enjoy!
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The New Kids On The Block

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I’m sorry that I’ve been a bit AWOL lately, I have been away on holidays in Brisbane for an awards night and a wedding and have had a wonderful time (now I must come back to reality I suppose).

While I was away, I ate out ALOT (so much so that my partner and I put on 3kgs). One thing I couldn’t get over is how every time I go back to Brisbane, there is the explosion of new beautiful bars and restaurants which was dubbed the new hip place to be, so much so that I find it hard sometimes to keep up!

You know the ones.. they don’t take reservations because they are so popular and busy (they are the new and exciting thing of course) or if they do, they are booked out for months in advice (sometimes even before the restaurants grand opening) and if you don’t have a reservation then you go to the bar section of the restaurant and desperately hope that there is a last minute cancellation or you’ve buttered up the maître d’ that they take pity on your and your friends and try to squeeze you in for an hour before one of the clients who have actually reserved a table turns up.

There was one of these nights in particular that stood out to me, I had parked my car in a café area near the city that used to be impossible to find a available space because it was so busy and headed to one of these above mentioned new and hip restaurants for a catch up with one of my very close friends.

As I was walking through the café complex, I noticed that it wasn’t as busy as it usually had been, a Japanese place in particular was very quiet with a few staff sitting around folding napkins to pass the time. Now this Japanese restaurant used to be one of the hip new places that didn’t take reservations because they were so popular and as a I walked around the side of the building I noticed that a section of the restaurant which usually sat approximately 50 people, now had its lights off and housed a large amount of equipment that hadn’t been used in a while. This made me a little bit sad as I had fond memories of this place when I lived in Brisbane so the sight of this restaurant being so quiet stirred up a feeling of being left out and forgotten inside of me and it made me wonder.

Would the new hip places that I have been to on this trip come to the same fate?

Has it now become about experiencing the newest thing rather than the food and service or are the new places just doing it better than the previous?

Is there so many restaurants opening in a week that its hard just keep up with them, let alone going back to a restaurant that you’ve been too before (even if you’ve enjoyed yourself)?

Has food now become like a fashion season were you’re only popular for a short amount of time before your clients are off to the next new thing that’s just opened, resulting in shorter and shorter life spans for the restaurants?

As a new restaurant, how do you retain a healthy customer basis after the hype is over and they are no longer the “new kid on the block” if your clients are the foodies chasing the next best thing?

With all these thoughts swirling in my mind, it started to scare me that someone like me who loves to go out and enjoys food so much might be contributing to this cycle where restaurants won’t be around for a long time anymore and family restaurants that have been around for generations, being handed down through the family will become so rare as we scramble to the newest place to be seen.

Is it just going with the times that nothing lasts forever anymore?

Our cloths, cars, electronic equipment no longer last more than a season or a couple of years and are designed to be replaced. Will this become the fate of the restaurant industry as well?

Only time will tell but its interesting to ponder!

Hints and Tips – Reviving your Bread Rolls

 

Its lunch time and your looking down at the bread rolls that are a couples of days old?

They are still edible but lets fact it there’s nothing like the taste of eating fresh bread so what if I told yoyo that there is a way to revive your old bread rolls so they become beautiful and fresh again?

Pretty cool I know so let me show you the steps 🙂

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees fan bake
  2. tear off a square piece of baking paper (or large enough to cover your bread roll).
  3. Place baking paper under colds running water and crimple paper up on your hands and set aside.
  4. Tear off a square piece of aluminium foil (or large enough to cover your bread roll).
  5. Place aluminium foil on bench top and then place wet baking paper on top.
  6. place bread roll in the centre of the baking paper and wrap baking paper and bread roll up inside aluminium foil.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the bread roll is warmed through.
  8. Take bread roll out of the foil and baking paper and serve bread roll immediately.
  9. Enjoy!

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Spiced Lentil Hot Pot

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This has to be my partners new favourite winter warmer meal when we are home alone together!

A little warning though… lentils are fabulous for you, they are high in protein, good/healthy carbs and… extremely high in fibre so even though these lentils are certainly Moorish, I would recommend that you don’t want to go too overboard with them!!!

Makes: 4 main sized portions

Ingredients:

  • 200gm brown onion
  • 1 medium red chilli
  • 400gm tomato
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 300gm premium French style lentils
  • 1 tsp. Master foods Greek seasoning
  • 1 TBSP. Gravox traditional gravy powder
  • 1.2ltrs water
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 1 medium spring onion for serving

Method:

  1. Finely dice brown onion, chilli, garlic cloves, and tomato and place in separate piles on a plate or chopping board.
  2. Finely chop spring onion and reserve for later
  3. Heat a large metal pot on the stove top and once it is to a medium heat, add 2TBSPof olive oil
  4. Fry onion until translucent and then add garlic and cook for another minute until garlic is cooked through
  5. Add tomato to pot and cook until tomato chunks start to break down
  6. Add red chilli and cook for another 30 seconds
  7. Once chilli has been added and cooked, add water and allow water to come to a simmer.
  8. Add lentils and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until lentils have become al dente.
  9. Add Greek seasoning and gravy powder and allow the sauce to thicken slightly (if you would like a thicker sauce add 1 TBSP corn flour with 1/4 cup water, make a slurry and add to the pot to thicken up).
  10. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
  11. Just before serving, add spring onion.
  12. Enjoy!

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Supermarket Edible Plants

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This week I discovered something amazing!

I can grown herbs from the items that I buy from the supermarket 🙂

I had heard that you could do this while I was teaching a cooking class last week so I decided to put it to the test. While walking through the fruit and veg section of my local supermarket on my day off, I came across some loose spring onions with the roots still attached and decided to grab some to use for dinner that night as well as put the white section and roots of the spring onion in some water and see if they would sprout.

As soon as I chopped off the roots and put these babies in a glass with water I was filled with anticipation. Would I be able to successfully grow them? I had never been a great grower of plants in the past (to be honest most plants I’ve been given have died). For those of you that have been following my blog would know that I’ve just recently created a herb garden, and yes half of the plants have died however I know that the ones that have now survived will be bullet proof as they have escaped that clutches of death by what I like to call “Eloise’s not so green thumbs”.

Each day I lovingly looked over these little guys to make sure that they were getting the love and attention that they deserved. Each day I would put them out on the veranda to make sure they got some sunlight and in the afternoons I brought them inside so they didn’t feel the winter cold. As the days progressed I could see some little sprouts creeping up from the side of each of the spring onions, for some reason I could feel myself getting overly attached to these little guys, feeling like a proud parents watching their little ones growing up!

I knew by now that  if these spring onions would die on me I would certainly be devastated. I’m trying really hard with these little guys not to love them too much as I believe that last time I tried to grow something I was so scared that I would kill the plant that I loved the poor little herbs to death…. not good I know but give me a break as I’m new to this 🙂

Its now been five days since I started this experiment and I’m happy to inform you that the spring onions are doing extremely well and now also that some basil friends to keep them happy while they are growing. Then next question is how do I know when its time to plant these little herbs and what do I need to do to make sure that they are going to settle into their new place in my herb garden and grow up nice and strong?

I’m so happy that I’ve took on this challenge and I’m looking forward to seeing these little guys grow and not have to buy herbs from the supermarket every again.

Word of mouth

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Most of us know that word of mouth can be the best advertising for almost any business. I’m sure that we have all been the person who gives advice to our friends, family and co-workers on our experiences from time to time. This can either make or break a business and with the internet making it easy for people to put their experiences for the whole world to see, it can be easy to make assumptions on a place without even stepping through the door.

This is where the people that you know and trust become invaluable.

Recently my partner and I travelled from Perth to Brisbane with our two girls for what I would like to call our “blended holiday”. This was a great experience and I found that catching up with my family and friends exposed us to some fabulous new places that had been discovered in our absence. I had also done some research myself and had found things that I could tick off on my foodie bucket list that was family friendly (what a magical experience this was).

After the “blended family holiday” with our girls, my partner and I travelled down to Sydney for a romantic long weekend away. This created more friends giving us some amazing suggestions on where to go and what to do while we were in Sydney. We found ourselves having a better experience than we could ever have hoped for as the places we went to were enjoyed by people we already knew and it cut down the time of researching activities and together we could instantly decide what to do as we had a huge list of awesome places that was recommended to us.

For me, there is something so completely special about being taken to a place that your friends and family have recently fallen in love with or have a great memory of a place they visited while on holidays. It automatically creates a sense of wonder, excitement and also you can sit back a relax knowing that someone who knows you, has recommended a place that they think you will also love as much as they did and that, for me, cannot be beaten.

So as your foodie friend I wanted to share some fabulous places (and the links) I that was recommended to me and as a result I visited and fell in love with on my travels in Brisbane and Sydney. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did 🙂

Brisbane:

Il Barocco Palazzo Versace – Gold Coast:

http://www.palazzoversace.com.au/il-barocco

Provenance Craft Bistro – Chermside:

http://www.provenancecraftbistro.com/home/

LONgTime Restaurant – Fortitude Valley:

http://longtime.com.au/

Putia Pure Food – Banyo:

http://www.putiapurefood.com.au/

Sydney:

Buckley’s – East Circular Quay:

http://www.buckleyssydney.com.au/#!

Bar Tapavino – Sydney CBD:

http://tapavino.com.au/

De-Vine Food and Wine – Sydney CBD:

http://devinefoodandwine.com.au/

Burger Project – World Square Shopping Centre:

http://burgerproject.com/

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Café – Circular Quay:

http://www.guyliancafe.com.au/

4fourteen – Surry Hills:

http://www.out4dinner.com/place/466/4-fourteen

Gelato Messina – Surry Hills:

http://www.gelatomessina.com/au/

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Savoury Almond Meal and Quinoa Muffins

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These quinoa muffins are great for a healthy and quick snack while you’re on the go. I’ve made these a couple of times and as of today have passed the recipe on to my mother so she can cook them and I’m happy to report that the whole family has certainly given the big thumbs up to these little beauties!

Once you’ve got the hang of the consistency of the mixture, you can make any combinations you like (savoury or sweet).

Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 230gm quinoa
  • 250gm almond meal
  • 100gm brown onion
  • 100gm red capsicum
  • 80gm vintage cheddar cheese
  • 100gm bacon
  • 1/2 medium red chilli
  • 2 x 59gm eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • olive oil for cooking

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 220 degrees fan bake
  2. Bring a medium pot of unsalted water to a rolling simmer and add quinoa.
  3. Simmer quinoa for 10 minutes or until the texture has become al dente when you taste it
  4. Drain quinoa in a fine sieve and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  5. Cut onion, capsicum, cheese and bacon into a 1cm dice and place items in separate piles on a chopping board or tray.
  6. Finely dice chilli.
  7. Heat frypan to an even medium heat and add olive oil, cook bacon until it just becomes crispy then add onion to fry pan and cook until translucent. Turn of fry pan and let it sit.
  8. In a large mixing bowl add almond meal, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, baking powder.
  9. In a separate mixing bowl break whole eggs and beat until loosened.
  10. Add onion, bacon, capsicum, chilli and cheese to egg bowl and mix to combine.
  11. Add wet ingredients to the large mixing bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well until combined.
  12. Place combined mixture until silicone muffins wells and place in the oven.
  13. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and cooked.
  14. Allow to cool for 5 minutes
  15. Enjoy while warm!

Eloise’s Edible Garden

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My foodie obsession has gone to a whole new level (you might say that I get carried away when it comes to anything with food). I have decided to bring some more responsibility in my life in the form of looking after some living herbs.

Now I must admit, right here, right now that I am no green thumb in fact I have not really had much success in keeping anything plant wise alive but this year I feel like I have matured enough to take on the conscious effort to look after another living soul all by myself and that I am ready to finally expand my knowledge of food by growing them.

 Above is a picture of my beautiful herb garden, well to be honest this is what it looked like when I first created it. What I have found is that I am full of great ideas (I’m certainly the creative type) however I’m not so much in the follow through.

The first day that I created the herb garden I didn’t go and buy the herbs until late afternoon. What I didn’t take into account is that herbs can get stressed too like humans when they get moved and replanted, this combined with being watered in the late afternoon and a very cold night the first time in their new home causes the poor little herbs to get freezer burn.

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Now this devastated me, I thought I was ready, I thought I had grown so much now that I’m almost 30 but as you can see I tried and failed.

So with my tail between my legs I thought, what do I do?

Crawl under a rock and understand that I’m not ready to look after another life or get my stubborn pants on and try again?

Well I decided to grow in another way by learning from my own mistakes. I looked at the plants and decided I would love them in the hope to nurse them back to health. This time I was realistic and knew that some of them wouldn’t survive however my natural personality fault of looking at life through rose tinted glasses left a little bit of hope lingering that all of the little herbs would survive.

My persistence with the plants resulted in a few of them slowly coming back to health after a couple of weeks and a lot of TLC. Now they aren’t out of the woods just yet however I have now found a new determination and also realised that I can grow something in my herb garden if I take a bit more time to research what I best for the plants instead of looking at the ideals of what the herb garden could be.

Life creates challenges (big or small) in our journey that can motivate us to grow. In my now “older” and “wiser” age, I’m becoming a big believer in trying new things and if you don’t succeed the first time, add a little more love to the mix and you never know what will happen 🙂

Why I Teach When Im Hungry

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So last night I found myself not as passionate in the cooking class that I was teaching, I felt a bit flat. Although my clients feedback was fabulous, I felt like it was a struggle to get through the 3 hours and I can put it down to one thing…. I ate too much before I went to work!

Now this might sound weird but  think about this, when you’re on you way  to go to a new or favourite restaurant that you’ve been waiting all week to go to, the anticipation of what you might order is exciting what the whole experience is going to be especially with an empty stomach. Its the same when I go into a class, I have found that I need to have an empty or what I like to call “a comfortable” stomach to really feel the passion and excitement of the food that the clients are creating.

When I’ve eaten too much before a class I feel heavy and lethargic and with a combination of 3 hours of public speaking nerves in a class and the pressure of entertaining clients this can be a bad mix.

I also always try to eat something completely different for dinner from what I’m teaching that night to keep the passion of the food at its peak. When you think about it, its like once you’ve had your meal and someone asks you how it was you can honestly say that it was good but you are now satisfied so its no longer exciting and that comes through in your discussion while teaching.

Its taken me a while (like a whole year) to figure out my perfect stomach balance but I think I have found it now!