Category Archives: Recipes

Lime Sorbet

Thanks to David Lebovitz, I am making sorbets on a weekly basis now. Here is one that I am making on a regular basis due to having access to the yummiest limes at the moment.

Picture coming soon!

Makes approximately 1 Litre

2 ¼ cups water
¾ cup sugar
1 lime (skin washed especially if sprayed)
¾ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tbsp vodka or gin (or whatever your sin)

1. Place 1 cup of the water in a saucepan with the sugar and grated zest of the lime.
2. Heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved (do not let it boil!)
3. Remove from heat and add the remaining water (preferably chilled water)
4. Allow sugar syrup to chill in refrigerator.
5. Mix in lime juice and alcohol of choice.
6. Freeze in your ice cream maker*.

1. The alcohol is not necessary however it helps to stop the sorbet from getting too icy, making scooping much easier.
2. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can put the mixture in the freezer (preferably in a baking tin) and take it out after about 45 mins to stir it up (mix all the icy bits around). Repeat this every 30 minutes until it is frozen (up to 3 hours).

Related Posts:
Lemon-Orange & Cointreau Sorbet

Pho-tastic Pho

I have been on the hunt for the BEST Pho recipe ever for at least 5 years now. I have asked so many Vietnamese for a recipe but they often dodge the question or simply shrug and say, ‘It’s just beef soup!’ If only it were that easy…

Yesterday I embarked on a 5 hour cooking bonanza and I tried a new recipe I found on the SBS website and Inside Cuisine (the recipes are exactly the same!). Apparently it is Luke Nguyen’s recipe but the SBS site doesn’t give him credit for it… who ever made this recipe, they deserve a thousand Pho-kisses because I will love them long time for it. 🙂

I now realise the difference between all the crappy recipes and this awesome one lies in using Cassia Bark NOT Cinnamon (Same, same but different? I think not!) AND char-grilling the garlic, ginger and onion prior to roughly chopping it and adding it to the stock. The char-grilled onion was an immediate reminder of the Pho I tasted in Vietnam and the traditional Vietnamese restaurants I visit every time I go to Melbourne or Sydney. I’m salivating just thinking about it… mmm.

So what do you do with your Pho that isn’t in this recipe? Have you got a better recipe?

The condiments

The condiments

The Pho-king Pho-tastic Pho!

The Pho-king Pho-tastic Pho!

2kg (4 lb 8 oz) oxtail (ask your butcher to chop it into 3cm/11/4 inch pieces)
4 tbsp salt
1 unpeeled garlic bulb
4 large unpeeled onions
150g (51/2 oz) unpeeled ginger
2kg (4 lb 8 oz) beef brisket
185ml (6 fl oz/3/4 cup) fish sauce
80g (23/4 oz) rock sugar
1.6kg (3 lb 8 oz) fresh rice noodle (you will need about 200g/7 oz per person)
400g (14 oz) trimmed sirloin, thinly sliced
4 spring onions (scallions), sliced freshly ground black pepper
Coriander (cilantro) sprigs
2 birdseye chillies, sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges

Spice pouch
8 cloves
5 star anise
2 cassia bark, about 10cm (4 inch) in length
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
40cm (16 inch) square piece muslin cloth

In a large pot, submerge the oxtail in cold water, add 3 tablespoons of the salt and soak for 1 hour, then drain.

To make the spice pouch, dry roast each ingredient separately in a frying pan over medium heat until fragrant.

Cool, then coarsely grind using a mortar and pestle or small spice grinder. Add the ground spices to the muslin square and tie up tightly in a knot. Set aside.

Heat a barbecue grill or chargrill pan over medium-high heat and grill the unpeeled garlic, onions and ginger evenly for 15 minutes in total until all sides are blackened.

Now peel the blackened skins and discard them, and then roughly chop. (By doing this, the garlic, onion and ginger becomes sweet and fragrant, releasing more flavour into the stock.)

Put the oxtail, brisket and 6 litres (200 fl oz) of cold water in a stockpot and bring to the boil. While the stock is boiling, constantly skim any impurities off the surface for 15 minutes (this will ensure a clean, clear broth), then reduce the heat to a low simmer.

Add the fish sauce, remaining 1 tablespoon of salt, rock sugar, garlic, onions, ginger and spice pouch.

Cover and simmer for 3 hours, or until the stock has reduced to almost half.
Strain the stock through a muslin cloth. Remove the brisket, set aside to cool, then thinly slice.

Blanch each portion of noodles in boiling water for 20 seconds.

Drain, then transfer to a serving bowl.

Place three or four slices of brisket on top of the noodles, followed by three or four pieces of raw sirloin. Pour over the hot stock to cover the noodles and beef.

Garnish each bowl with 1 tablespoon of spring onion, a pinch of black pepper and a coriander sprig.

At the table, add chilli and a squeeze of lime.

Salmon with Orange and Fennel salad

Salmon with Orange and Fennel Salad served on Brown and Black rice

Salmon with Orange and Fennel Salad served on Brown and Black rice

Things have been hectic again in the Batchelor household. We barely have time to relax in the evenings. I started my final teaching placement, the husband has started his teaching degree, and BG started childcare full time- not without the illnesses that come with starting childcare and not to mention the sleepless nights that accompany it. As a result I think I’ll be blogging my life in pictures for the next few weeks. It’s only taken me 2 months to come up with the idea! lol!

So here is our dinner last night. The recipe is from my father in law (the salad with salmon part). He normally serves it with white rice but I’m going through an all natural and as much organic as possible phase right now. The rice was surprisingly more tasty than I thought it would be! What’s your latest food find?

If you are after the recipe, just comment below. If I get 5 requests I will post the recipe 🙂

Take care

Cake Balls

I’m sure you have all heard of Cake Pops, the cakes on a stick invented by Bakerella… well I’ve had a problem with these since I wanted to make them. I love the idea of Cake Pops and I love how cute they all look (if only I could make them look so gorgeous!) but…

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Home-made Shepherd’s Pie

This is another recipe that I had at my sister’s place. When I asked her for the recipe, she sent me 2 recipes with a note saying, ‘I mix these two up’. I loved her approach because I prefer to use recipes as a guide only whenever I can so that I can make it up to my taste AND then I have a recipe I can claim is all mine (evil laugh).

BG loves it too by the way…

Do you have a meal you have made up from a few recipes combined?

I have now made this twice in the past 2 weeks as it is super easy and super delicious.


400g mince (beef or lamb or both)
Butter (enough to sweat the veges)
1 medium brown onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 carrot, cut into 1cm pieces
broccoli, cut into 1cm pieces (put in as much as you like but I match it in quantity to the carrot)
500mL beef stock
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 tbsp thyme, chopped
1/2 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp corn flour, mixed with 1 tbsp water to make a paste

The Potato Top
3 potatoes, skinned and cut into 2cm pieces
butter to taste
milk (enough to get your mashed potato wet but still able to hold itself)
50g Tasty Cheese, grated


1. Turn on oven griller (if yours takes a while to get to a high heat).
2. Put the potatoes on to boil.
3. Melt the butter in a fry pan and add the onion and carrot. Cook until onion is almost translucent.
4. Add the broccoli to the pan and fry for a further 2 mins.
5. Add the meat and brown (try to separate the meat so that it cooks into small minced pieces).
6. Once the meat has been browned, add the beef stock, thyme and rosemary and simmer until the liquid halves.
7. Check your potatoes and if ready, remove from boil and drain.
8. Add the corn, peas and corn flour paste to the meat mix and stir thoroughly (the corn flour is supposed to slighty thicken the remaining stock like a gravy so keep stirring until you have the consistency you want).
9. Mash your potatoes while adding the butter and milk slowly until you have the right consistency.
10. Transfer the meat to an oven proof pie dish put potato mash on top and then the grated cheese (spread evenly over top).
11. Put the pie under the grill until the cheese has melted and turned golden in parts.
12. Serve (with salad).

You can put just about any vegetable into this and mine ends up half veges and half meat. I have put zucchini in my pie as well. It’s a great way to increase the vege intake for your kids.

Tandoori Puffs

Last Saturday I was able to do the shopping all on my own while BG napped and Daryl did his Uni assignment. Before I went I made up a shopping list as I usually do to match the meals I have planned for the week.

I feel like our culinary experiments have waned lately and I really enjoy trying new meals in the kitchen. As a result, I went to my usual online recipe diectory for some inspiration. As a result there are a few things I am going to try this week but on Saturday night, we tried the Tandoori Puffs. They were absolutely delicious and we were gland there were left overs for lunch the next day.

I made changes to the recipe while I made it by adding onion and changing how the chickeis cooked because it called for the chicken to be cooked in the microwave – gross! This would be good if you were time poor however I’m personally not a fan. I won’t judge you for doing it though 🙂

2 chicken breasts, cut into 1cm pieces
2 tbsp tandoori paste
1/2 medium onion, thinly chopped
4 sheets frozen puff pastry, half defrosted
1 tbsp milk

2 tbsp Greek Yoghurt
2cm piece of cucumber, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
mint, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 220C.
2. Mix the cut chicken breasts, chopped onion and tandoori paste in a bowl and cook in a non-stick fry pan until chicken is cooked through. Put aside.
3. Cut each of the pastry sheets into 4 squares of equal size and then layer the 4 squares on top of each other. You should have 4 layered squares (4 serves) when you are finished.
4. Spoon the chicken mix into the centre of the squares and brush the edges with milk.
5. Place squares with chicken into the oven for 20 mins or until the pastry is puffed and golden on the edges.
6. To make Tzatziki, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and set to the side (in the refrigerator).
7. When the squares are ready, remove from oven and serve with a dollop of Tzatziki in the middle of the puff.

Southwestern Chicken Soup

As you all know (well the regular readers anyhow), I recently went on a last minute trip to Los Angeles (and Toronto) to see my sister (and brother). While I was there I enjoyed all the liberties that come with not living in a compound and country where going for a leisurely stroll is out of the question. It was great 🙂 One of the liberties I enjoyed was great food and my sister did not disappoint when she made this soup for me.

I have always thought that one of the best things about getting out of PNG for a bit is the fact that I could roll around in the aisles of the grocery stores if I wanted – and believe me I have wanted to just out of sheer delight at the selections. BUT the funny thing is that since my trip, I have started to notice all the things that I can get in a supermarket over here that aren’t part of the standard stock in Australia.

We have a new supermarket in town – yes peoples that is BIG NEWS! Many of us made a special trip down there just to check it out and be amazed at what we believe will be temporary cleanliness (but I must comment on how they are obviously taking great pride in their new supermarket… I have NEVER seen cans of baked beans lined up so perfectly on a shelf- I will attempt a sly photograph on my next shopping excursion). Anyhow, back to the point… I tried to get Black Beans in Australia and had to go to a specialty store if I were to find any but they had some in the supermarket here (PNG) AND I wanted powdered sugar and found it easily here! I guess there will be some conveniences I will miss…

So the Southwestern Chicken Soup…


2 Chicken Breasts (cut into stirfry strips)
1 Litre Chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Pinto Beans
1 can Black Beans
1 cup frozen corn
1 green capsicum (pepper)
1 red capsicum (pepper)
1 tin small green chillis, chopped (I used 5 fresh small green chillis)
1 medium onion cut into wedges (I then halved those wedges)
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
Fresh coriander to taste
2 tbsp Lime juice

1. Sear the chicken in a fry pan and just before removing from the pan, pour lime juice over it and then place it in the slowcooker.
2. Place the rest of the ingredients into slowcooker, except coriander. Stir to mix.
3. Turn slowcooker on for 6 hours.
4. At the 5 hour mark, add the coriander (as much as you prefer) then leave for the remaining hour
5. Serve or freeze.