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down under…

(a culinary trek around the globe with a 4 year old foodie).

I decided last week that we really needed to start learning more about our planet. And in my house, what better way than through food.

Each week Isaac will pick a country from the giant map he has hanging in his room. We will research facts and make at least one meal indigenous to that country.

This week he pointed to (as he called it) “the big island”, also known as Australia.

He claimed a spot on the couch and helped me look up recipes online. We talked about Kangaroos (a lot), I read an article about the woman who claimed a “Dingo ate her baby”, he thought calling me “mate” was a double bonus because he was pretending to be a pirate and after about 3 hours we both decided we were versed enough in Australian facts to  pass as Aussies  at least make a meal the natives would be proud of.

We settled on  Aussie Meat Pie and Pork & Fennel Rolls.

(we did not make these on the same day, that would be meat OVERLOAD)

Off to the store for ingredients.

Thankfully there was no Kangaroo in the meat pie recipe,(I found more than a few that did )  There are some things I don’t want to explain to a very curious 4 year old  with a vivid imagination and questions I am not prepared to answer. Plus, I don’t think our local spectacle grocery store carries it.

Fun fact about Australia: Apparently, the first European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per person than any other community in the history of mankind.

Now that, is interesting.

We made it back from the grocery store scar-less, unless you count the scars on my retinas from seeing one too many women dragging one of their 20 children around like a rag-doll, swearing loud enough for everyone 6 isles over to hear, and filling carts with enough soda and fried food to feed a small nation, oh wait, she IS feeding a small nation.

Ok.Focus. Back to the recipes.

Aussie Meat Pie


     900g (2 lbs) beef rump steak, trimmed, chopped (round steak)      (note: I used my food processor to “mince” the steak, and it worked great)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
3 rashers bacon, trimmed, chopped (a rasher is 1 slice of bacon)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 cups beef stock
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1 pie shell (I cheated and used a deep dish crust I bought at the store)
1 sheet frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, partially thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten

Process steak until mixture resembles mince. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and bacon. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until golden. Add mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up mince, for 6 to 8 minutes or until browned.
Add tomato paste and flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until combined. Add stock and thyme. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce has thickened and meat is tender. Season with pepper. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Fill pie shell with steak mixture. Top with puff pastry. Trim excess. Press edges together with a fork to seal. Using a small sharp knife, cut a small cross in pie top. Brush with egg. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden.

Pork & Fennel Rolls


 1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard powder
1 onion, finely chopped
80g sliced pancetta, chopped
450g (1 lb)  pork mince –  (I used ground pork)
1 1/2 cups  fresh breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoon  parsley
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 eggs, lightly beaten
375g (1 package, 2 sheets)  frozen puff pastry, thawed

      Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a tray with baking paper. Toast first two spices in a dry frying pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Pound the spices in a mortar and pestle (or coffee grinder like I did) until finely ground. Stir in mustard, set aside. Return pan to medium heat. Cook onion and pancetta for 5 minutes or until onion softens, stirring. Add spices, then cool.
Add onion mixture to a large bowl with pork, crumbs, parsley, zest and half the egg. Season and mix well, then refrigerate until needed.
Lay both puff pasty flat on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Shape pork into two sausages, about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Place 1 sausage on each pastry rectangle, then roll up to enclose. Turn rolls seam side down, brush with egg. Cut on an angle into 2 inch pieces, then place on tray and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked. Serve with chutney. I made a tomato chutney.But I think any would be tasty with these rolls. Or even without, they were yummy!

Tune in next week to see where the foodie takes us.


Posted by on pmpWed, 04 May 2011 18:04:46 +000004Wednesday 4 , 2011 in Culinary trek around the globe, Recipes


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my big fat greek fritter…

keftedes (kɛfˈtɛðɛs)


a Greek dish of meatballs cooked with herbs and onions

The newest issue of bon appetit arrived with my mail the other day. I need to take a moment to tell you how much I like love this tantalizing, culinary publication. When it is delivered to my house, I eagerly tear off the protective plastic wrapper, and sit down to oogle over the pages, no matter what may be going on in my household. (yes, I have been known to shush anyone who tries talk to me – how dare they interrupt this joyous monthly event! ) The only flaw I have with this beloved magazine is that the photos do not come with a scratch and sniff feature. (Ok…I think you get the point).

While devouring each page, I found a recipe that I knew I must try immediately, and would have that day but did not have all the ingredients…..sigh. But today I did. Well, all except one. Fresh mint was no where to be found. So I opted to omit that one ingredient.

zucchini keftedes with feta and dill

1 1/3 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed and grated on large holes of boxed grater

– grate onto a clean kitchen towel, spread evenly. Sprinkle zucchini with 1 tsp course salt; let stand at least 30 mins and up to 1 hour. When time is up, wrap zucchini in towel; squeeze out as much liquid as possible – (note this will stain your towel, so don’t use one of your fancy “when company comes over” towels). Place zucchini in medium bowl.

Mix in 1/2 cup of thinly sliced green onion and 3 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dry

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon finely grated or chopped lemon zest

and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

add and mix all of the above ingredients to the zucchini

it will look something like this


gently stir in 1 cup of panko bread crumbs and 1 egg (Slightly beaten)

and last but not least stir in 1 cup of feta cheese:

Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.

Using 2 tablespoons of mixture for each, shape into 2 -inch-diameter patties, place on baking sheet.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour


Pour enough canola oil into large skillet to a depth of 1/4 inch, heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add patties to skillet. Cook until golden and cooked through, adjusting heat if they brown to quickly, 3 – 4 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels. Serve with dill greek yogurt sauce.    – 1 Cup of plain yogurt, 2 Teaspoons dill.

kali orexi ! (bon appetit)


Posted by on pmpWed, 06 Apr 2011 21:37:32 +000037Wednesday 4 , 2011 in Recipes


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