Monday 30 November 2015

Chicken Wraps With Chipotle Mayo And Salsa

Chicken, mayo and chillies?  Yep sounds good to me.  This is a terrible confession for a food blogger but I have never made my own mayonnaise.  I know!  I can hear you gasp from here.  I did think for a minute when I saw this recipe that I would use bought mayo, but then I thought better of it.  So for the first time in living history, you will find me attempting home made mayo.  Plus a few other bits and pieces:=)  

I am making my version of this recipe from the book What Katie Ate; Recipes and other Bits and Bobs by Kate Quinn Davies.  This is the final book of the year being perused and used in The Cookbook Guru Book Club.  Everyone is welcome to join in!


500g. chicken breast tenderloins (or fillets cut into strips)
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs of mint leaves, roughly chopped
sea salt and black pepper to taste

chipotle mayo:

1 egg yolk
1 tbs lemon or lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup (250mls) of light olive oil - I used 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/2 of peanut oil 
2-3 tinned chipotle chillies, finely chopped
2 tsp sliced pickled jalapeño chillies, also finely chopped

chunky salsa:

4 ripe tomatoes
1 red onion
1 green capsicum (bell pepper)
salt and pepper
1.5 tbs sherry vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have)
2 tbs olive oil

To serve:

8 tortilla wraps
2 avocados, sliced or diced
handful of coriander leaves
mint leaves (optional)
lime wedges (optional)


Place the chicken tenderloins or strips in a shallow baking dish

Make the marinade by whisking the lime zest and juice, garlic, oil, mint, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl

Pour the marinade over the chicken, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes

Put all the ingredients for the mayo in a narrow jug and whizz with a stick blender till thick and smooth

Cover and place in the fridge till needed

Bake the chicken strips at 180C for about 10 minutes (take the clingfilm off!)

De-seed the tomatoes and cut into wedges, slice the onion finely, and chop the capsicum into small chunks

Place them in a bowl; add salt and pepper, vinegar and olive oil and toss together

Warm the wraps in the oven for a few minutes on low-about 170C

Each person can make up their own wrap by spooning on some chicken pieces, mayo and salsa in the middle of the wrap
Add avocado slices, coriander leaves, mint leaves if using and extra lime squeezed over if desired

Fold the bottom of the tortilla over the filling, then fold one side to the middle, then the other side so you have a tortilla envelope

Serves 4


Jalapenos can be bought in a jar at the supermarket (I got mine at IGA)
Chipotles may not be easy to find; I bought pepper chipotle sauce at Coles, and organic salsa de chipotle at an organic grocer - Katie says you can use the sauce instead, so there:=)

If you want to make the mayo by hand (eek!), whisk the egg yolk, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small but deep bowl; gradually add the oil and keep beating in till it is thick and smooth; then stir in the 2 kinds of chillies which will need to be very finely chopped

Katie's recipe asks for chicken fillets to be beaten thin, marinated and grilled, then sliced.  I don't have a grill so I figured baked tenderloins would be the go.  (Whisper, whisper - you could even chop up a roast chook from the shops).

whisking the marinade

baked for 11 minutes 

trying to make mayo!  

disaster struck!  Huge mayo failure (sorry about the thumb)  

Well folks, my first go at mayo was a disaster.  It simply would not emulsify no matter what I did.  Mr P. googled it for me, so I added more juice and another egg yolk, and I kept beating but nothing happened.  After 30 minutes of pulling out my hair and lots of swearing, I took the advice Mr P. found for me, which was - sometimes the mayo wins! 

So yep bought mayo it was!  Just add the finely chopped chillies and seasoning to a cup of bought mayo.  I squeezed in a bit of lime juice for flavour too.  We like it hot in this house so I added both types of chipotle sauce to the mayo.  I kept adding it till it was hot enough, but start with a couple of teaspoons. 

chipotle mayo   

ready to wrap and roll! 

It may be heresy to say this, but I am not a huge fan of this book.  I don't really like the well-worn look of it, or the dark pages.  And I am not fond of the heavily styled look of the recipes. Sure it can be attractive, but after a few pages, everything starts to look the same. 

But more importantly, I had to go through this book at least half a dozen times before I found a recipe that appealed to me.  Katie says that she is one of those people who likes to make canapes for 50 (!); clearly she is a person who likes detail and repetition, which I am not so keen on.  

I'm afraid it was all a bit of a disaster for me trying to get this recipe up as I fell prey to a ghastly virus last week.  (And of course the Great Mayo Disaster didn't make me any fonder).  Perhaps that has coloured my view of the book, but sadly I have to say it ain't my fave and it is happily going back to the library this week.  

red and green jalapeños

Sunday 29 November 2015

My Sunday Photo 29 November 2015

street art under the railway bridge  

I really love public art and installations.  As we drive around the city, I am always on the lookout for anything new.  We saw this yesterday as we were out and about buying Xmas presents.  Oh boy, was it hot and humid!  And there were crowds everywhere due to Xmas markets and the big climate change march.  

I love this piece of street art.  It is really huge, and I thought that the barbed wire gave it an edgy look.  There are a number of other piers (the name for a bridge's column) with different artworks, but this is my fave!  


Tuesday 24 November 2015

Watt Restaurant And Bar

the newly refurb'ed industrial chic look at Watt Bar    

Surprisingly for a riverside city there are not that many places where you can eat while watching the (brown) waters flow.  Unless you want to pay mega bucks in the CBD, you are confined to a tiny number of eating places on the river.  One of these is Watt, which is located at the Powerhouse New Farm.  It has recently undergone refurbishment, and now comprises New Farmer's Kitchen, and a bar which offers share plates, and tasty morsels.

One recent sunny Saturday, Mr P. and I grabbed the SIL (sis-in-law) and took a drive to New Farm to check out the new surroundings and food.  SIL said this was her first time ever at the Powerhouse, but she does live up the coast so she has an excuse.:=)

It was mid-afternoon and we were all starving so we speedily perused the menus.  Mr P. kindly headed off to the bar to place our order.  The staff were friendly and efficient (he reported back). And he was impressed with their prompt and polite service, which is not always a given these days.

a glass of Chandon for me - $11  

you guessed it!  ginger beer for Mr P.  (oops-didn't get the price)   

smoked mozzarella and mushroom croquettes $12  

These were delicious; packed full of cheesy, mushroomy flavour, crisp on the outside and unctuous on the inside.  I have had my share of croquetas lately at various tapas establishments and these were a darn sight better.

salt & pepper squid with coriander and citrus $14   

These weren't quite as successful as the croquettes.  They were a little limp, and didn't have a huge amount of flavour to them.  I am not sure if the coriander was meant to be leaves or ground but I couldn't really taste it (or see it) either way.

rosemary salted chips w/- aioli $9  

The chips were crispy and hot but once again the flavour was a bit hard to find.  I am not sure why chefs are holding back on the seasoning these days, but I like to see salty flakes sparkling on my chips like diamonds.  Sadly I didn't get that so I was a teeny bit disappointed.  SIL asked me plaintively: "where's the rosemary?" "Dunno," was my answer.  Perhaps diners could be given a small bowl with the seasoning so they can add their own to their heart's content?  

buffalo wings w/- Frank's sauce $14  

This was a delicious and generous serving of spicy wings.  I think I ate most of them; well, Mr P. doesn't eat meat on the bone (I know!) and SIL is careful with her eating. They had lots of flavour and just enough sauce to coat them.  Just a suggestion - perhaps a finger bowl or wet wipes could be provided with this dish?

prawn sliders on brioche buns $12     

There were in fact 2 of these on the plate which surprised and pleased me.  Once again, we thought this was a generous serving.  The slider had good flavour, with a soft bun which went well with the prawn filling.  A few leaves added a bit of freshness and contrast.

hot dogs $10

Mr P. enjoyed the hot dogs which were annointed with mustard and tomato sauces. "Better than average," was his comment after wolfing them down.  He also said they needed more mayo; mayo? all I see is cheese:=)

There was a friendly and tranquil atmosphere here.  Families with small children, couples and even a student with her books spread out around her were all taking advantage of this riverside establishment.  I couldn't help thinking how wonderful it would have been if the restaurant engaged more with the river; for instance having seats built over the water (probably Council regs. against that).

If you are after more substantial eats, try The New Farmer's Kitchen.  There is a pre-theatre dining menu, and a child's menu for the "little farmers".  The menu proclaims their use of fresh, local and seasonal produce.  And if you feel like having an event here, there is a private dining room and function spaces.  

if you are lucky, you may get to see the resident water dragon 

Watt Restaurant and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Monday 23 November 2015

My Sunday Photo 22 November 2015

tulip sculpture at Bowral New South Wales  

This photo is from our recent trip to Canberra.  As we drove from Sydney, we stopped at this little town for a break.  This gorgeous garden was full of Spring flowers and a few sculptures, including this tulip.  We had missed the Tulip Festival by a couple of weeks but there were still heaps in bloom.  Such a restful and beautiful place to stop.


Thursday 19 November 2015

Sophie Dahl's Flourless Chocolate Cake - And A Book Review

smothered in crème fraiche and berries   

Of course we all love watching Nigella and Jamie, but one of my favourite TV cooks is Sophie Dahl.  Sophie Dahl?  I know Roald Dahl, you may be thinking (her grandfather). Sophie was a model in a former life, and a plus size at that.  She changed course to become a writer, a cook and a mum.

Sophie's recipes are usually healthy, and often vegetarian as her hubby Jamie Cullum the musician is a card-carrying vego.  That's not to say that she doesn't indulge in OTT desserts like this one, which is pulsating with chocolate and cream.  I love watching the calm way she goes about her business, while indulging herself and the viewer with the occasional bit of poetry read out loud.


300g. of chocolate - 150g. of dark and 150g. of milk - chopped into small pieces
225g. caster sugar
225g. softened butter, cubed 
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 tbs vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated
180mls boiling water


125g. raspberries
125g. strawberries
200mls tub of crème fraiche


Grease and line a 23cm springform pan
Pre-heat your oven to 180C

Throw the chocolate pieces and the sugar into a large processor; pulse till it is like fine sand

Tip the butter, coffee, vanilla and egg yolks into the processor

Next beat the egg whites in a glass bowl till stiff 

Pour the boiling water into the processor

Now add the egg whites all at once if you can fit them - I had to add half the whites and blitz for a few seconds, then I added the rest and blitzed the whole mixture for 10 seconds

Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 45-55 minutes; you will know it is ready when the top has deep cracks and it doesn't wobble

Leave in the tin to cool for a couple of hours

Then take off the ring and the base and place on a serving plate

Whack it into the fridge to get cold

When you want to serve the cake, smother it in the crème fraiche, and heap on the berries


Use a large processor for this.  Mine is huge and it still spilled a bit, so do it in 2 batches if necessary

Place the tin on a baking tray if you are worried about spillage in the oven

Use 59g. eggs if possible; I used 66g. ones and I think that is why the batter was too much

Sophie said to beat the egg whites in a glass bowl.  I do what I am told, but you can use another sort of bowl if you wish

You can use a normal cake tin if you don't have a springform one, but it will be easier to remove from the springform version

gather the ingredients    

  pulverise the chocolate and sugar till like fine sand    

out of the oven - cracked like Krakatoa

fudgy, creamy, chocolatey, berry heaven      

Yep you guessed it!  my cacao pod doodle  

I have made a couple of other recipes from her book, including a quinoa salad with tahini dressing.  Her guacamole is brilliant! (this was on the TV show rather than in the book, though you can find the recipe online).  She likes to make pancakes with spelt flour, and a tofu dish with quinoa pilaf.  So if you are wanting to find healthy, vego dishes, this could be the book for you.  And how can you go past a title like Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights?  

The book is divided up into seasonal recipes, with most dishes being vegetarian, and a few fish or chicken ones thrown in for good measure.  There are lots of lovely photos, stories about her childhood, and life in New York as a model.  I really enjoyed dipping into this book, and I have liked the recipes I have tried so far.  I am especially looking forward to making her warm ratatouille.

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Appetito - Restaurant Review

such a charming interior - and a cute Vespa or 2    

This may sound like sacrilege, but I (almost) never go out to an Italian restaurant.  I could count on the fingers of one hand the times I have done so.  "Why", you may ask? 'Cos I have these weird rules in my head about never eating in at certain places like Chinese, Indian, Thai or Italian.  Give up asking me why; I dunno!

Nevertheless, while in Sydney recently we met up with an old Brissie friend who had moved there for work.  She just happened to be at a seminar near our hotel in the Rocks, so we picked a random place for dinner.  Appetito won out.  Never mind it was Italian.:=)

prosecco of course - $11  

I had a glass of prosecco to start while Mr P. had lemon lime and bitters.  Our friend Ms. TWX (that stands for 'the writer extraordinaire') tried a glass of chianti, which she said was wonderfully smooth and creamy.  I know that's an odd thing to say about a glass of wine but I had to agree after having a sip.  It was really drinkable, and creamy was the best word for it.

Melini chianti $12 

complimentary nibbles with a (small) slice of bread each to mop up the oil   

L L & B - $5

Appetito's banner is Pizza Pasta Bar.  They do have mains like steak, lamb and veal dishes but we all chose pasta.  I chose fettuccine with bacon, tomato, mozzarella and spinach.  Curiouser and curiouser, those who know me may say.  But you don't eat pasta and you don't like tomato!  What can I say?  This was a night where life was topsy turvy.  And it was worth it, as my meal was full of flavour, and the pasta tasted like nonna would have made it. Chunks of fresh tomato and lots of bacon had me forking it up with gusto.  

fettuccine $27   

Ms. TWX chose tagliatelle with a bolognese sauce.  She said it was delicious and scoffed it all down (as did we all with our own meals).  I didn't get any details from her but I am guessing it was tasty as she joyfully cleared her plate.

tagliatelle bolognese $26.50      

Mr P. went for the ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta, floating in a sea of burnt butter, sage and pecorino.  He said the sauce was wonderfully buttery.  It looked so moonlike, and even a bit like fried eggs.  Well, you don't need me to tell you Mr P. was happy as a clam with his meal.  Pasta (and bread) is his friend.

ravioli $28     

Well, I guess when you are having carbs, why not go all out?  So yes we also had chips -mm, chips in an Italian restaurant? - which went down well with all of us.  They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside as a good chip should be.  And it was nice to have both aioli and tomato sauce accompanying them.

chips with aioli and tomato sauce $8      

Of course we had salad to make up for all the carbs.  Sorry to say there were too many "weeds" for me.  I am notorious in the family for not liking my salad greens, so it is no reflection on the salad. There were black olives, tomatoes and cucumber to enliven the greens, with some lemon oil as a dressing.  Have you noticed that you get very little dressing on salads these days?  Dunno why, but I would like a bit more please!

garden salad $9  

The Writer and I decided we could fit in one more thing - gelato. This was a pleasant way to end the meal, just enough to satisfy the sweet cravings. 

Belgian chocolate $4  

Appetito is in a lovely historical sandstone building.  And even though it looks like a church with the beautiful Gothic windows, it was formerly a bank.  All 3 of us enjoyed our meal here.  The wait staff were warm and friendly; the food was tasty and filling, and the ambience calm and appealing.   

We thought we had better try to walk off our huge carb-fest, so we wandered around the Rocks, even though it was raining lightly. The Opera House was glowing under those thick, dark clouds like a beautiful beacon in the night.  I may be a Brissie gal, but I do love me a dose of Sydney now and then.

a showery night in The Rocks  

135 George St., The Rocks
Sydney NSW
Ph: 02 9247 1920

Appetito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Sunday 15 November 2015

A - Z Guidebook - Federal NSW + My Sunday Photo 15 November 2015

Federal Church, Federal NSW      

This doesn't look like much you may be thinking (quietly to yourself).  Why on earth has she put this photo up?  Well for starters it is in our fave corner of the world - northern NSW, and because I helped to save this little church from being sold to developers.  I have paid for one teensy tiny bit of this building to be kept by the town for their community.

In 2012, this church which is next door to the local Hall was about to be nabbed by developers.  The townsfolk started a campaign to save it for community use, and I was very happy to oblige with a few pennies to help keep it intact and available to the township.

Now there is a lovely venue including both the Hall and the Church, with a kitchen, garden and parking.  Sorry to sound like an ad.  But I am passionate about keeping things local, and so happy they managed it.  You can check out their Facebook page (called Jasper Corner Federal) to see just how well they are using it!   

This week I am joining in with My Sunday Photo, and Fiona from Tiffin Bite-Sized Food Adventures in her monthly travel series.

TIFFIN - bite sized food adventures -


Thursday 12 November 2015

Raspberry Icy Poles

raspberry icy pole on a big blue stick

I call 'em icy poles, hubby calls them ice blocks, the Brits call them iced lollies.  Just one of the linguistic differences I found when I moved interstate years ago. What the hell was "a port"; why did you park your car in "a park"; what was "a rockmelon"; why could you not buy regular fish and chips with flake (gummy shark)??  Oh, the questions were endless.  And why was I constantly asked what country I came from? :=)  I kid you not.

We have already had some weird summer weather including huge storms with hail and loads of wind and rain.  And the temperature was hitting the mid 30's - Celsius of course.  Thankfully, the farmers out west got some of the desperately needed rain. Hard to believe it has been so hot as today is grey and cool, and just starting to spit.  

When we were in the small country town of Daylesford, Victoria earlier this year we came across a shop that seemed to sell everything including icy pole moulds.  So I couldn't resist buying these cute spaceship versions when I came across them recently in a kitchenware shop.  Or ice block moulds as it says on the box. Regardless of the name, these are perfect for a hot summer's day.      


300g. frozen raspberries (or fruit of your choice), thawed
60g. icing sugar
2-3 mint leaves 
200mls red moscato
1/4 tsp orange blossom water    
2 tsp lemon or lime juice (optional)


Blitz the raspberries, sugar and mint leaves in a blender till smooth

Push this mix through a fine sieve to get rid of the seeds (you will end up with about 270mls of purée) 

Stir in the moscato, orange blossom water and lemon juice (if using)

Pour into the moulds and freeze for several hours till set

If you were really concerned about the seeds, you could sieve it twice, but I ain't that crazy:=)

These moulds hold about 80 mls each so I made about 500mls.  I had enough mix to fill the moulds plus a little left over which you can pour over ice cream or whatever you fancy.  This is definitely an adult treat, as it is not very sweet and of course is alcoholic.

ready to blitz 

sorry folks - you have to sieve! 

looks a bit like brains doesn't it?     

ready to combine purée with moscato  

about to stir them together  

pouring into the moulds   

ready for take off - well, just to the freezer  

my crazy raspberry doodle