Monday, 28 May 2012

Fried Chicken & Coleslaw

I have so many horrid memories of coleslaw; mainly due to my childhood dislike of mayonnaise (oh, how times have changed!). From the overly dressed, flaccid lump of cabbage and carrot in Singapore's faux-American restaurants (looking at you Denny's) to making bucket loads with my mum for a BBQ we were having. In her defense, there were over a hundred people expected, but I hope to never again serve anything from a yellow, plastic bucket.

In spite of the scars from my younger years, I have been caught up by the current Melbourne obsession with Mexican and American food. And although Lush did actually grow up living (and eating) the American
dream I have decided to be the first to bring Team-USA to our blog.

This is a great weeknight meal when you're having friends over. Messy food and eating with your hands is always great way to ensure the night stays casual and relaxed. The chicken wasn't as KFC tasting as I
would have liked so I have upped the spices in the recipe below. If you would like some further inspiration, I am a big fan of Homesick Texan.


For the Chicken
150g plain flour
4tsp paprika
125ml buttermilk
1kg chicken pieces (your choice of which cut)
Vegetable oil for deep frying

For the Coleslaw
200g sour cream
150g mayonnaise
2tsp apple cider
2tsp white sugar
1tsp dijon mustard
1/4 white cabbage, shredded
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, grated
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1 apple, grated (if you like a bit of sweetness)


  • Whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar & mustard (I use a jar to shake & combine)
  • Toss all coleslaw ingredients together and season.
  • Combine flour & spices on a plate and pour buttermilk into a bowl. Coat flour in buttermilk followed by flour and shake off excess.
  • Heat oil for deep frying (170 or when bread dropped in turns golden after 15 seconds).
  • Working in batches, drop chicken into oil (don't let it splash!) and fry on each side for 10mins or until golden. Drain before serving.


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Hot Cross Buns

Over the Easter break, we were lucky enough to go away with a few close friends, one of whom was kind enough to share his Hot Cross Bun Recipe.
 One of my favourite parts of Easter is enjoying hot cross buns for breakfast or an afternoon snack. I usually stock up on a few packs and freeze them at the end of Easter so I can enjoy them for a couple of weeks after the Easter weekend, but a year or so ago I decided to try my hand at making my own so I could enjoy them as long as I want. I was surprised to find they're not quite as difficult to make as I was expecting.

Following is the recipe from my most recent batch. I find that with every making it evolves slightly, with additional spices and fruit or slightly different ratios. Don't be afraid to experiment yourself, and post back any suggestions in the comments!


For the buns
1/3 cup castor sugar
2 x 8g sachets dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm milk (about 45C is ideal for yeast)
600g plain flour
a pinch of salt
2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
60g butter, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup currants
1 1/2 cup sultanas
Freshly grated orange zest (to taste)

For the cross paste
1/2 cup plain flour
2 tsp castor sugar

For the glaze
1 tbsp water
1 tsp gelatin powder
1 tbsp castor sugarMethod:


For the buns

Combine sugar, yeast and milk in a bowl, stir until sugar is almost dissolved, and rest covered in a warm place for about 10 minutes or until frothy. I find the yeast mixture is normally ready by the time I've completed the next two steps.

Lightly coat the currants and sultanas in flour (this isn't critical, but makes it easier to get the fruit to spread evenly through your dough).

Sift flour, salt and spices into a large bowl (a 5 litre ice cream bucket is quite handy because the mixture ends up quite large) and rub butter into flour mixture with fingertips. The butter and flour should be well combined and an even texture.

Stir in yeast mixture, egg, peel, currants and sultanas until well combined.

Cover and rest in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until mixture has doubled in size.

Pre-heat oven to 220C.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. You might need to sprinkle more flour over the dough and surface as you go, depending how sticky it is (a tea strainer is useful for this). This is a helpful video if you haven't kneaded before.

Divide dough into 16 even pieces and roll into balls. To keep them an even size, it helps to halve the dough, then continuing halving three more times until you have 16 pieces.

Place balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper. The balls should be about 1 cm apart as they support each other when they rise. Rest covered for 10-15 minutes to allow the balls to rise while you make the cross paste.

For the cross paste

While the buns are rising, put together the mixture for the cross paste. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and mix with water until you have a smooth paste consistency. The paste should be reasonably thick so the crosses don't run down the side of the buns.

Using a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle (or a snaplock bag with the corner snipped off), pipe crosses onto the buns.

Bake for 20 minutes or until browned.

For the glaze

Dissolve gelatin in a small amount of water (see this link for a lump free way of dissolving gelatin - patience is a key ingredient to avoid lumps). Add castor sugar and a small amount of boiling water. Stir to dissolve.

While hot, brush buns with warm glaze then allow to cool on rack.

Enjoy toasted and slathered with butter!


Monday, 14 May 2012

Chocolate Flourless Torte

I am always on the look out for recipes of delicious, quick and easy desserts.

When preparing a dinner party for friends I usually end up underestimating the preparation time for my first two courses. Something to do with guests arriving and my desire to gossip rather than chop. Having a big open-plan kitchen only encourages this! Luckily, I know that the day will be saved by some deliciousness that I already have baking in the oven.

This recipe is pulled from one of my multitudes of Delicious magazines spread over the coffee table (although as I have now swapped to an SBS Feast Magazine subscription there is a bit more variety around the house). Valli Little calls this a torte, but to me it is more of a flourless chocolate cake.

NOTE: this is not something to leave on the bench unattended. My housemates managed to polish this off in less than a day!


  • 210g roasted pecans (cooled if you roast them)
  • 180g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 220g butter, melted
  • 1 1/2tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the over to 170 Celsius and line a medium sized spring form tin. If you want a perfect edge to your cake then grease the pan and dust with flour.
  2. Use a food processor to grind pecans and chocolate until finely ground.
  3. Beat egg yolks with sugar until thick and pale. Slowly add in butter and vanilla.
  4. Stir in pecan-chocolate mixture.
  5. Beat egg whites until firm peaks.
  6. Whisk a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture then gently fold-in remaining until combined.
  7. Pour into pan and gently shake so that it settles. Make sure not to knock it too hard or you will lose all the air from the egg whites!
  8. Bake for 50mins; until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  9. Cool in the pan. Don't be worried when it collapses - its meant to be quite a dense cake.
  10. Dust with cocoa or icing sugar to serve warm with cream.


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Cheesy Crab & Zucchini Risotto

A cold winter night in Victoria, what better way to warm up than with a cheesy risotto.

Inspired by Glutton’s Thermomix Crumpets, and with another offer of the holiday house on the Mornington Peninsula that came with it's own Thermomix (TM) I began to investigate. And can you believe – you can still make a creamy perfect risotto without stirring (simply because the TM does it for you). I used two recipes as my inspiration, one from the Community website, another from a Thermomix Blog.

As with Glutton’s Crumpets, a TM isn't necessary for this recipe other than to save you all that stirring - so I've put the instructions for both below.


  • 2 zucchini meduim quartered and sliced
  • 1 cup crab meat
  • 200 g mozzarella cubed
  • 1 red onion peeled and quartered
  • 2 stalk Celery
  • 30 g Butter
  • 300 g Aborio Rice
  • 800 ml stock
  • 200 g white wine
  • 50 g parmesan cheese,
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Grate mozzarella and parmesan 4 secs speed 8 set aside 
    • (NO TM = grate by hand)
  2. Chop onion and celery 4 seconds speed 5,  
    • (NO TM = chop very fine by hand)
  3. Add butter and sauté 3 minutes, 100 deg , speed 1 
    • (NO TM = use a saucepan and sauté for 5 min on medium heat)
  4. Add rice and cook 2 minutes at 100deg on REVERSE +speed 1 
    • (NO TM =heat on medium for 3 min – until rice is coated)
  5. Add wine, stock, crab and zucchini cook for 18 mins at 100degs on REVERSE + speed 1.5
    •  (NO TM = add zucchini & crab, and heat wine and stock in a separate saucepan)
    • Then add 1 cup warm liquid to begin and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed. 
    • Continue adding 1/2 cup warm liquid at a time, stirring constantly, until it is nearly absorbed between additions).
  6. Remove risotto from the TM into a large bowl.
  7. Stir all cheeses though until melted and creamy.
  8. Leave to absorb for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.


I don’t think it was necessary to add so much mozzarella – so I might half the amount next time I cook this recipe.

Delicious and winter warming – perfect with a glass of wine (but then, what doesn't work with wine!).


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

As the colder months of winter approach – it’s the perfect time to start making those delicious soups. One of my favorite is Jerusalem Artichoke Soup – well worth the effort of peeling them.

To start – you will need to carefully select your Jerusalem Artichokes (they should be firm and fresh – not mushy)


  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves (peeled but whole)
  • 20-30 medium Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into dice sized chunks 
    • Note: The most difficult part by far is peeling the Jerusalem artichokes – be sure to leave about 45min for this.
  • 4 peeled, and diced potatoes
  • 3 Bay leafs
  • 1 litre chicken stock 
    • (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option, and gluten-free stock if cooking gluten-free)
  • Nutmeg (to taste – about 0.5 tsp)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Cream to dress


  1. Melt the butter in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat (I used a large cast iron one)
  2. Microwave on high the diced potatoes for 4-5 min (until 80% cooked)
  3. Sweat the onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes and microwaved potatoes for 5 minutes. (Be Careful not to brown them)
  4. Add the chicken stock (homemade stock is always best), and bay leafs and simmer till the Jerusalem artichokes are cooked (tested by inserting a skewer into them – should push in easily) – approx 15-25 min. 
  5. In a blender - purée the soup in batches (when using an upright blender only fill the blender a third of the way)
  6. Once all blended returned to the saucepan and add nutmeg, pepper and salt to taste.

Serve with drizzle of cream on top and fresh bread.