Mexican Cups

March 28, 2015 at 7:35 am

Mexican cups recipe

When thinking of a recipe to create for the Pampas blogger search competition I could not go past a family friendly recipe that would also make great leftovers for lunch and school box fillers.

The flaky, pastry and mince filling is a great combination and let’s face it who doesn’t like to eat with their hands?

There seems to be some special kind of enjoyment as you pick these colourful cups and take your first bite……first there is a slight crunch then a big hit from the Mexican spice mince which is then enveloped by the grated cheese, finely chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes and dollop of sour cream. Each mouthful is perfect. Sure a little mess is to be had and fingers are to be licked but that is the best part! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we all did.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cups chicken stock
  • 500 g lean beef mince
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 red capsicum diced
  • 1 green capsicum diced
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder (more if you like it hot)
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 700ml passata
  • season with salt and pepper
  • 4 sheets puff pastry, thawed cut into squares

For toppings

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Grated cheesed (I used tasty)
  • Deseeded and diced tomato
  • Sour cream

METHOD

1. In a deep 30cm sautee pan, add oil on medium heat. Once heated add onions and stir for 2 minutes. Add the green and red capsicums and cook until they are all soft and translucent. Add herbs and spices and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

2. Turn heat on high and add mince and cook until browned breaking out any lumps. Season.

3. Reduce heat to low and add the passata and stock. Partially cover simmering for 30 mins stirring occasionally. Check seasoning again. Leave cover off for a further 20 min or until the sauce thickens stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick.

4. Take off heat and spread on a flat baking tray to cool quickly.

5. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

6. Cut thawed puff pastry into squares and lightly spray 3 x ¼ cup capacity muffin trays with oil. Place the squares in pressing firmly.

7. Place the cooled beef mince in the pans.

8. Lift the edges of the puff pastry and slightly fold to encase the filling. Bake in oven for approx.. 25 mins or until the pastry is puffed and dark golden brown. Stand for 10 mins and serve with toppings. Enjoy!

Mexican cups recipe

Noosa International Foods and Wine Festival 2015

March 8, 2015 at 5:39 am

Photos from this year’s home cook competition.

Greek Kebabs with Fetta in foil and Tiyanopsoma

March 8, 2015 at 4:09 am

This was the winning recipe for me as the Victoria Finalist of the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival 2014.

Greek Kebabs with Fetta in foil and Tiyanopsoma recipe

Kebabs (makes 8 skewers)

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 small 8 inch skewers
  • 600g Beef Mince
  • 1 egg
  • 1 + 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh continental parsely, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 onion grated
  • 2 pinches nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

METHOD

1. Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly for a couple of minutes “kneading” it by hand.

2. Roughly separate mixture into 8 and mould each portion around the skewer covering just over half way down the skewer. Flatten slightly to ensure even cooking. Lightly oil each side using the 1 tablespoon olive oil.

3. Cook on a large shallow frypan or griddle on medium heat for 3 minutes on each side until golden turning over a few times to avoid burning. Rest on plate and cover in foil ready for serving.

Fetta In Foil

INGREDIENTS

  • 150g feta block per person (600g total – I used Bulgarian feta. You can choose otherwise if you wish)
  • 1 small red capsicum, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 small green capsicum, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and then thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tsp dried oregano

METHOD

1. Place each portion of feta on a large piece roughly 40 cm diameter of foil, folded in half, in the centre.

2. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add a mix of red and green capsicums and red onions. Sprinkle with 1 tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp olive oil. Fold each horizontal together and crimp/fold together . Pull the sides together and meet in the middle. Crimp together with the horizontal folds ensure it is fully closed and no juices escape.

3. Cook on a grill plate or on grill function on high in oven for approx. 25 mins or until the feta starts to soften (you can feel this by pushing and feeling the foil)

Tzatziki Dip

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small cucumber sliced in half lengthways, deseeded and finely chopped
  • ½ tblsp chopped mint
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 cup thick Greek Yoghurt
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • Sprinkle salt

METHOD

1. Mix all ingredients together and leave in fridge until ready to serve.

TIYANOPSOMA (breads in frypan)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tbslp olive oil to knead the dough and oil fingers when rolling breads
  • Oil for frying

METHOD

1. Put all ingredients in a bowl (excluding oil). Knead in bowl and rest for 5 minutes. Knead dough with 1tablespoon oil.

2. Portion the dough into 8 and using the remaining oil roll each piece into a circle roughly 12 cm diameter give or take.

3. Heat oil in a small frypan on low to medium heat and place each bread in one at a time cooking 1 minute on each side until puffy and golden brown. Rest on paper towel and repeat till finished. Cover with foil until ready to serve.

4. Prepare the mince and skewer the kebabs. Set aside. Make Dip. Set aside in fridge. Prepare Fetta in Foils, Set aside until you start cooking process (these take approx. 25 mins). Prepare dough, portion, roll.

5. Put the feta in foil on Medium heat on Grill Plate (turning over half time) or in an oven grill for approx. 25 mins.

6. Cook the Kebabs whilst feta is cooking and the TIYANOPSOMA simulataneously

Serve, Eat and be Merry!

My Noosa International Food and Wine Festival Entry

March 8, 2015 at 3:49 am

Here is my 2014 video entry which talks about why I am so passionate about cooking, what I can offer to others and why I deserve to be at the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival.

This is for the home cook competition, sponsored by Qantas.

Thank you

Sofia

One Pot Lemon Chicken

March 8, 2015 at 3:41 am

One Pot Lemon Chicken

There is something comforting about this dish. When other children were coming home to BBQ chicken and chips, I would come home to the aromatic bliss of cloves and all spice. Although the potatoes are fried off separately I call this a one pot lemon chicken meal, as they are cooked a second time in the pot with the chicken. It is the simplest, foolproof, tastiest lemon chicken, Greek style. You simply cannot get this recipe wrong, it is that easy.

The chicken will melt in your mouth and the twice cooked potatoes will make you want even more. I have used chicken chops this time around but my mum always made it with chicken Marylands, making it an affordable budget friendly meal. We love to serve ours with a traditional Greek salad.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 chicken chops or marylands
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • 1kg potatoes (I used 4 large), cut into quarters
  • oil for frying the potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 5 whole allspice piemento
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano + ½ tablespoon extra
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt + 1 teaspoon extra
  • 1 ½ cups oil + 1 tablespoon extra
  • ½ cup water + ¼ cup water extra

METHOD

1. In a bowl, rub ½ tblsp oregano, ¾ tblsp salt and 2 tsp of the lemon juice onto the chicken.
You will need a large 30 cm deep pan with lid.

2. On medium to high heat add 1 tblsp olive oil. Brown the chicken placing skin side down for about 4-5 minutes. Turn over brown. Turn over again skin side down and cook for a further 2 minutes.

3. Add 1 ½ cups oil, lemon juice, juices remaining from chicken in the bowl and ½ cup water.

4. Sprinkle the nutmeg, cloves and all spice piemento on top. Put heat on low and add lid. Cook for 45 minutes turning chicken over twice, the last time being skin down.

5. Meanwhile deep fry the potatoes until golden and par cooked. I used a 20 cm deep saucepan and filled it with oil 8cm deep for frying.

6. Add the potatoes to the pot with the chicken when the 45 mins is up and sprinkle with remaining oregano, salt and ¼ cup water.

7. Put lid on and carefully give the pot a little shake to distribute ingredients. Cook for a further 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

Enjoy your one pot lemon chicken!

Noosa International Food and Wine Festival 2014

February 10, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Below are the photos from the 2014 Noosa International Food and Wine Festival. I was so excited to be the 2014 Victoria finalist of the home cook competition. Read more about the announcement on the official page here.

For my video entry click here

Click here to view my 2014 winning Victoria finalist recipe

Christmas Waffle Cones

October 11, 2014 at 4:18 am

Christmas waffle cones

INGREDIENTS

  • Mini waffle cones
  • Queen Fine foods royal icing
  • Green food colouring (for smooth and thick consistency)
  • Edible decorating e.g. sprinkles.

METHOD

1. Smooth onto the waffle cone using a knife gently spreading it round.

2. Decorate cone with sprinkles. Work quickly before the icing sets.

3. Use as an edible decoration on your Christmas table or serve with a scoop of ice cream for dessert. Enjoy!

Chocolate Brownie Gelato

October 11, 2014 at 4:11 am

Chocolate Brownie Gelato

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Litre Queen Make at Home Gelato, chocolate or any plain good quality chocolate ice cream
  • 1/2 batch of brownies (batch from scratch or use a packet).
  • 1/2 cup grated 70% dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup moist coconut flakes
  • Cherries for decoration

METHOD

1. Make gelato as per instructions or allow store brought one to soften.

2. Roughly break up your pre-made brownies into small pieces after cooled. Once gelato is ready mix in the brownie pieces. In a tin line the sides and base with overhanging cling wrap.

3. Place chocolate gelato and brownie mix in tin and cover tightly with wrap.

4. Once gelato is frozen remove cling wrap and coat in grated chocolate. Top with moist coconut flakes and fresh cherries.

This creation was one of my submissions to the Queen Make at Home Gelato win a Trip to Italy Competition 2012.

Leftover Chicken and Lentil pizza

October 11, 2014 at 4:04 am

Leftover chicken and Lentil pizza

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 x Large round pizza bases coated in a pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated pizza cheese
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red capsicum diced
  • 1 green capsicum diced
  • 1 tin lentils rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups roughly shredded chicken
  • 1 large tomato thinly sliced
  • 3 boconcini roughly torn

METHOD

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

2. In a fry pan saute red onion, with olive oil with red and green capsicums until soft for about 5 -10 minutes on low heat stirring occasionally. Season.

3. Sprinkle grated pizza cheese between 2 bases. Add onion mixture on top of 2 bases.

4. Add chicken with lentils, sliced tomatoes and torn bococcini.

5. Sprinkle with oregano and place in oven until crisp and cheese is golden. Enjoy!

Lighter Moussaka

October 11, 2014 at 3:57 am

Lighter Moussaka

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 3 eggplants
  • Olive Oil spray
  • 1/2 cup grated permesan
  • 500g Lean beef mince
  • 500g Pork mince
  • 810g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large red capscium
  • 1 large red onion finely chopped
  • 2 cups stalt reduced chicken stock
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tsp Gourmet Garden Mediterranean Herbs
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tblsp tomato paste

Bechamel:

  • 500ml no fat milk
  • 25g butter
  • 50g flour
  • Pinch of nutmeg

METHOD

1. Grill 4 medium potatoes sliced to about. 5mm 3 eggplants sliced lengthways. Add Olive oil spray and 1/2 cup grated parmesan.

2. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.

3. Line 3 trays with baking paper and spray with olive oil. Line the eggplants and potatoes and season and spray with olive oil. Place in oven for approx. 20 minutes until potatoes are just starting to soften and change colour slightly and eggplants are golden brown. Set aside.

4. In a large pan heat oil on medium heat and add onions and stir until starting to soften.

5. Add the garlic, capsicum and carrots, season and cook stirring occasionally until soft. Adjust heat to high and add mince stirring until browned.

6. Add tomato paste, stir. Add crushed tomatoes and chicken stock. Adjust heat to low and allow sauce to simmer partly covered until sauce starts to thicken, remove from heat.

7. For Bechamel In a small saucepan add butter, melt. Add flour and with a whisk stir continuously until it comes away from the sides. Add half the milk, whisking constantly until starting to thicken then add remaining milk and whisk until bechamel becomes thick. Add nutmeg, stir. Set aside.

8. Lower heat in oven to 180 degrees. In a square baking dish line a layer of eggplants then a layer of mince. Add a layer of potatoes then a layer of eggplants then another layer of mince. Top with Bechamel sauce then sprinkle with parmesan. Bake until golden brown. Allow to rest about 20 minutes before serving.