Simple Sushi

Well this is definitely one to get your kids onto. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make sushi or california rolls as the larger ones are known here. Zachie & I went to the supermarket and bought Sushi rice, one of those bamboo mats you use to roll up the sushi, some nori paper and the vinegar that you use to flavour the rice.

We already had tuna, cucumber, carrots, avocado etc to use as fillings so we were all set to have a go – now the first attempt I have to say was very impressive. I did undercook the rice slightly, but it was okay, there is certainly a reason they call it sticky rice.

So I simply followed the recipe on the packet of rice, which pretty much says to cook a cup of rice in 375 mls of water, you have to rinse the rice first, bring it to the boil and simmer for 10 mins then let it sit for 10 mins.

Then transfer it to a plate and add about 3 tbsp of sushi vinegar, stir it around & fan it so it cools down as quickly as possible. Once it’s cold/cool then you’re good to go ahead and use it.

I mixed a tin of plain tuna with some mayonnaise, julienne some cucumbers & carrots, you could also add capsicum & sliced up some avocado.

Just spread the rice over the nori paper to within 2 cms of one edge and right to all the other edges, put your toppings on and roll up. It really is that simple, Zachie had a great time making it & eating it as well!

Definitely something to add to your repertoire if you & your family love sushi!


Almond Shortbread

Zachie has a best friend from kinder so we made some biscuits to take for morning tea when we went to play there last week. These biscuits are gorgeous, easy to make and you can quite easily change them from Almond shortbread to Lemon Shortbread but swapping the Almonds for Lemon Zest.

I do like the rustic look of just taking little clumps of the mix and baking them, but you can roll them into balls and press them down with a fork if you want something more uniform.

You Will Need:

250g Butter, softened

3/4 Cup Caster Sugar

2 Cups Plain Flour, Sifted

1tsp Vanilla Essence

100g roasted Almonds, roughly chopped

Pre heat your oven to 170 degrees celsius. Cream the butter & sugar until it’s really light & fluffy, add the vanilla essence mixing to combine. Sift the flour over the mix and beat slowly ensuring it is well combined. Tip in the chopped almonds and mix well. Refrigerate for about 5-10 mins.


Either roll or shape into 2-3 cm balls and place at intervals on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in a moderate oven for 10 mins or until just golden, allow to cook before storing. This recipe makes approximately 20 -30 biscuits depending on the size.

Spaghetti Marinara

This is my easy cheats version of Spaghetti Marinara made with just a few simple ingredients, as Hubby always takes last nights dinner to work for lunch the next day this makes for a very easy friday night dinner as left overs aren’t required.

I am usually making this for 2 adults & 2 kids, the kids mostly have just the pasta with tomato sauce and 2 or 3 prawns, so if you’re serving more just increase the quantities accordingly.

You will need:

A handful of Shelled Prawns

8 Mussels, cleaned with the beards removed

large scoop of Pippies, Clams or Vongole depending on what you call them

1 finely diced brown onion

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 400g tin crushed italian tomatoes.

handful of freshly chopped italian parsley

Salt & Pepper.

Olive oil

1/2 a pkt of spaghetti (or more depending on how hungry you are)

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. When it’s boiling add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. (approx 12-15mins) Heat oil in a frying pan and add the garlic & onions and saute until translucent, add the tomatoes, rinsing out the tin with a little water and add that to the pan as well.

Bring to a simmer & allow to cook so the liquid is reduced and the sauce thickens, add the cleaned seafood and stir, cover with a lid (or oven tray as my frying pan doesn’t have a lid) and allow to cook until all the shell fish have opened. Discard any that don’t open as they could be off and therefore make you sick. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Drain the pasta and either toss into the sauce or vice versa & Va bene dinner is served.

Just remember the purists among us will say no parmesan cheese with seafood (I think it’s because it makes the seafood taste sour)

Perhaps serve with some crusty bread to mop up the juices


In a Moroccan kitchen there are some essential ingredients and equipment just like there are in any kitchen. One of the main things you must have are the ingredients which go towards making chermoula.

If you’ve been following the blog, or my recipes you will notice a bit of a trend especially since the 1st of August which marked the start of Ramadan & the start of Moroccan month in our house. The trend being mainly Moroccan inspired cooking. As part of that you need a recipe for Chermoula.

It’s a bit like Pesto but perhaps more versatile in that it can be added to almost any savoury dish from Fish to Carrots. We will quite often marinate chicken thigh fillets, wings, drumettes or spareribs in chermoula before barbequing.Lamb fillets, steaks or chops & rump steak for kebabs. You can also put chermoula on sardines, all over a whole snapper or any white fish before either barbecuing or pan frying.

Add a teaspoon or two to boiled carrots with some olives and you have a classic Moroccan salad. You could also use it as a dressing for roasting vegies or a vegetable tajine.

This quantity will make a fairly considerable amount and it can be kept in a glass jar covered with olive oil for at least a month.

You will need:

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley

1 bunch of coriander (Cilantro)

4 large cloves of garlic, crushed

2 Tbsp ground cumin

2 Tbsp Paprika (smokey is great too)

Juice & zest of 1 large lemon

Good pinch of Sea Salt & 4 grinds of black pepper

1/2 – 1 Cup of extra virgin olive oil

You can process this in a food processor if you wish, but it’s not essential.

Fill your sink with cold water and thoroughly rinse the parsley & coriander to ensure all the dirt & grit has been removed – this is particularly important with the coriander. Drain and dry lightly with a tea towel. Place on a chopping board and chop until fairly fine. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.

Add the all the other ingredients and mix well to combine, depending on how large your bunches of herbs are will depend on how much oil you need, you don’t want it to be drowning in oil, but you need it to look wet. Check the taste, you want the lemon/olive oil ratio to be similar to a salad dressing and be able to taste all the other spices as well.

Store in a glass jar and cover with olive oil. Place in the fridge and use as required. Generally speaking I would cook about 500g of protein for a meal and therefore use about 2-3 large spoons of this chermoula mix as a marinade.


Self Saucing Chocolate Pudding

So we held a vote & I thought the Raspberry Frangipane Tart was going to take it out, but it was neck in neck at the end & the Self Saucing Pud is the easier by far so we’ll start with that one! I can’t take the credit for this, it’s my Mummy’s recipe and it’s fantastic! By all means double the recipe if you are serving 4 or more people.

You will need:

1 cup Self Raising Flour

½ Cup White Sugar

Pinch of Salt

1 Tbsp Cocoa

2 Tbsp Butter

½ cup of Milk

Sauce – ½ Cup Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp Cocoa

1 ½ Cups hot water

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Melt the butter & milk in a large saucepan, sift dry ingredients into the saucepan & mix into a firm dough. Pour into a greased baking dish – 4 cup capacity.

In a small bowl mix the cocoa & brown sugar, then sprinkle over the pudding dough, pour over the hot water & bake for 30 mins or until set.

Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream or Cream.

Lamb & Cauliflower Tajine

1 Brown Onion Diced

4 Carrots, peeled, cut in half length wise and then in half width wise

handful of chopped Italian Parsley

6 Lamb Loin or forequarter chops

1/4-1/2 a Cauliflower head

1 Tomato halved

2tsp Ground cumin

2 tsp Paprika

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/3 cup water

Place the onions & spices in the base of your tajine or a cast iron pan. Add the chops and allow to brown slightly. Remove chops and place the sliced carrots on top of the onions, then layer the chops on top.

Cut the cauliflower into small flowerets and lay over the top of the chops, place the tomato on top, pour in the water and sprinkle a little extra, salt, cumin & paprika over the cauliflower. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer. Leave to cook slower for at least 2 hours or until almost all the water has evaporated. If you’re using a cast iron pan then you may need to add a little extra water and keep an eye on it as it seems to get hotter & hold the heat for longer than a tajine.

Serve with crusty bread & a garden salad or greens.

P.S. I was NEVER a fan of cauliflower but this has completely changed my mind, I even ate it by it’s self… no white sauce in sight!