Recipes Archive

Beef and Red Wine Stew

In the cooler months there is nothing nicer than a delicious stew. This is an old family favourite. The quality of the finished product does depend on the quality of the wine though. Don’t put into the pot anything that you wouldn’t serve in a wine glass to your guests. Today I opened a bottle of Tulloch Cabernet Sauvignon from the Hunter Valley where I live in Australia. Supporting the locals is what it is all about. One glass for me while I cook of course – just to make sure that the wine is okay and give me fortitude while cooking.

The blade beef cut is the best for flavour and just falls apart with cooking. Make sure that you keep some of the fat on the meat to add to the flavour of the dish. Get your butcher to bone out the blade and it’s cheaper if you cube it yourself.

I love the smell it leaves in the house when you arrive back home after a day at work and the electric crock pot is no fuss.


  • 2kg blade roast, cubed
  • 1 ½ cups of Tulloch Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2 brown onions – cut Julianne
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 tbsps. Plain flour
  • 2 tbsps of Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


In a pan on a high heat, brown the onions and whole garlic in the olive oil.

Don’t burn the onions but get them quite brown. This adds a lovely caramelised flavour.

Tip onions and garlic into a medium crock pot. In small portions, add the cubed meat to the pan and brown the meat.

Add meat to the crock pot and continue until all meat has been browned. Add the water into the pan, stir in the flour and bring to the boil. Add to the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients. Salt and pepper to your preference.

I cook the stew for approx. 6 hours of cooking on automatic setting. The meat should be falling apart and the gravy shouldn’t need any further thickening. I served this stew with a sweet potato mash and baby broccoli.

Serves 8 good sized portions. Freezes well

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Corned Beef is a Family Favourite

One of my favourite meals is corn beef with vegetables and white sauce. As a kid most of our meals involved corned beef in some way. We killed our own beef and after a week of eating fresh meat the rest of the beef was corned to preserve it. It was placed in large brine vats in the cellar and taken out as needed as we had no other way of storing it.

There are many different ways to use the cooked corned beef and I will explore more of those in later Blogs. I have included the recipe below so if you haven’t been confident in cooking it- give this way a try.


1 x 2kg piece of Corned Beef (feeds 8 people)

½ cup of Malt Vinegar

½ cup Brown Sugar loosely packed

One medium sized brown onion

8 Cloves and 6 Bay leaves


Place all ingredients in a large pot.

Cover the meat with cold water and bring to the boil.

Turn down the heat to a steady simmer and cook for 1 hour for each 1kg of meat.

Test the meat by inserting a sharp knife into the middle of the meat. If the juice is clear, turn off the pot and leave the meat in the pot to cool down.

Serve it hot after the meat has rested. Make sure you cut it against the grain.


To get the maximum out of your corned beef, don’t cut it until it is completely cold – best left overnight in the refrigerator. You can then slice it thinner and it won’t fall apart on you. Don’t discard the juice from the pot. I will give you a great recipe for a lovely sauce that you need this juice for. Don’t throw out the onion, recycle it into another meat dish – ie: a stew.

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Honey Rice Bubble Slice

This is an old family favourite and it only takes 5 minutes to make and 5 minutes to set.  No baking – how easy does that make it. It’s a great last minute slice to make for the kids and I vary it a lot by adding different flavours and treats. The slice in the picture has dried figs added to it.


  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups Rice Bubbles
  • 3 tablespoons of honey.


  1. Prepare a medium slice tin with baking paper.
  2. Put the rice bubbles in a bowl.
  3. In a saucepan – melt the butter, honey and sugar together.
  4. Bring the mixture up to the boil without stirring it. Cook for approximately two minutes until the colour changes and the mixture starts to get tacky like toffee.
  5. Tip the hot mixture into the rice bubbles and mix immediately until the liquid coats the rice bubbles completely. Be quick as it will start setting quickly.
  6. Tip into the prepared slice tray.
  7. Using a large dry spoon – flatten out the mixture and press down into the tin until level.
  8. Leave to cool. Cut into slices.
  9. Store at room temperature. The slice will last about two weeks.
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There is enough liquid in this mixture to add extra ingredients. I often add a 1 cup of chopped dried fruit ie: apricots, figs, sultanas or try a mixture of roasted nuts, pumpkin seeds or coconut. A favourite for the kids is M & M’s or chocolate buttons. If you are adding other treats to the slice – mix them in well with the rice bubbles first to that it is well mixed before you add the liquid – with the exception of chocolate – just leave that to sprinkle over the top.

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Watermelon Feta Salad


Half a seedless watermelon

150gms Fetta cheese

½ Spanish Onion – julienned finely

100gms Baby Spinach

Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar


Cut the skin off the watermelon and cut into cubes. Crumble the Fetta cheese into the bowl. Add the onion slices and the baby spinach. Mix all the ingredients in a large serving bowl with the exception of the vinegar.

Mix well. Drizzle the Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar over the salad just before serving.

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Christmas Biscuits that delight the children

The easiest way to get kids involved with making biscuits is cutting out shapes from cookie dough. It’s a quick process to make the mixture but a real delight to have fun with shapes and of course eat the end product.

This time of year means that by having a batch of Christmas biscuits on hand, you are always prepared if visitors drop in.

I can remember many hours in the kitchen baking biscuits with my Nanna. The goal once the dough was rolled out on the bench was to use up every scrap of dough and make the most amount of different cookies as possible. Of course the fun was in eating the uncooked dough – just to make sure that it was right before it went into the oven. Waiting for the baked biscuits to cool was hard for such an impatient cook but to quality control them again once cooked and still warm was heaven.

Nanna would always say that they would be no good if they tasted terrible raw, or no good if they didn’t taste delicious once they were cooked. The challenge was always there.

I just loved the decorating part. Icing, chocolate and sprinkles would end up everywhere – but who cared when they looked amazing and tasted so good. Snowmen, angels, stars, Christmas trees and baubles all got a thorough coating with icing or a dip in melted chocolate to start the transformation.

It’s been a delight to watch my granddaughter Tilly enjoy the same process too. She is well and truly on the way to becoming a great cook now – common sense being a key prerequisite in this process.

She has been doing an amazing job.

Let me share with you the recipe that we used:


  • 125g butter left at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup sifted plain flour
  • 1 cup sifted self-raising flour
  • 1 egg
  • splash of milk
  • dash of vanilla essence


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until you get a soft creamy mixture.
  • Add the salt, vanilla essence and egg and mix.
  • Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, and mix with each addition.
  • Add splash of milk if needed and mix. Mixture must be dry to touch.
  • Tip the dough onto a lightly floured bench top. Knead the dough until it is well mixed. Roll it out until about 5mm thick.
  • Cut using a cookie cutter shape. Keep remoulding and rolling out until all the dough has been used up. You may need to re-flour the bench from time to time to stop the dough sticking.
  • Put onto flat trays and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them and when they are golden brown take them out to cool.
  • Change the flavour by adding 2tsps of cinnamon or ginger or mixed spice to the mixture as you are making it.
  • Decorate with sprinkles, nuts, sugar (coffee flavoured sugar is nice), hundreds and thousands or dip in melted chocolate, or icing and finish off with creative flair.

Makes about 20 – 25 biscuits.

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