Chorizo and wine

Chorizo and wine is another of our favourite tapas. The word tapas comes from tapa, meaning to cover. At first, this is what tapas were – a slice of ham or bread placed on a glass of sherry in a tavern to keep flies out of the glass. These salty complimentary morsels also promoted thirst and hopefully more drink sales. Tapas have evolved since then are now often the main reason for visiting a tavern.

Seriously, I can’t think of anything better than nibbling on this delicious meaty snack as I enjoy a glass of wine… as the sun sets… in a gorgeous location… with friends.

Ingredients

2 chorizo sausages, sliced on the diagonal
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon chicken stock powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of parsley, chopped

Method

Heat a non-stick pan and cook the chorizo slices until browning slightly (you do not need to add oil to the pan). Remove the chorizo from the pan (keep the fat from the chorizo).

Heat the pan with chorizo fat, add the garlic to the pan and cook gently to soften, but do not burn.

Add paprika and cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine and the bay leaf and simmer until liquid has reduced a little. Add the chicken stock powder and the sherry and simmer until reduced and thickening.

Return the chorizo to the pan, add the parsley and toss to coat well.

Serve hot.

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Pork Burgers with fennel and apple slaw

I initially prepared this recipe to make skinless sausages. They were delicious, but before I got around to posting the recipe, I decided to make the pork mix into burgers instead. The succulent pork burger with fennel seeds and apple pairs perfectly with the fennel bulb and apple slaw. Very easy to make, cook and serve. This burger will certainly pass as a gourmet burger if you are entertaining with the barbecue!

Ingredients

For the burgers
500g pork mince
1 med granny smith apple
1 med onion
1 1/2 Tbs fennel seeds, lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle
A pinch of salt and pepper

For the slaw
1 cup of finely shredded fennel
1 cup of finely Julianne green apple
1 cup finely shredded cabbage (use red cabbage to add some colour)
1 tablespoon of lime juice (or lemon)
1 – 2 tablespoons of whole egg mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

To serve
Goat cheese (optional)
4 sourdough buns

Method

Make the slaw by mixing all the slaw ingredients in a bowl, toss well. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Grate apple and onion into a fine sieve over a large mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice out of the apple and onion and collect it in the bowl below. Put the juice into a small saucepan. Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to about one tablespoon of liquid.

Put the pork mince, grated apple, onion, fennel seeds, a little salt and pepper, and the reduced apple and onion juice into the large bowl. With a clean hand, mix the mince until everything is well blended.

Shape the mince into four patties.

Cook the pork burger patties on the grill, BBQ, or in a frypan until cooked through.

To serve

Cut the buns in half and place the pork burger patty on the bottom half. Top with cheese and the slaw.

Bon Appétit

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Ham and Cheese Scones

Campfire and home oven instructions to follow…

I have a simple scone recipe I use when camping. None of the ingredients needs to be refrigerated. I use self-raising flour, long-life cream and long-life milk, which is super handy if you have limited fridge/esky space.

Near the end of our last camping trip, I noticed I had ham, cheese and some herbs that I needed to use up, so I decided to make ham and cheese scones. I had never cooked them in the camp oven before and was super pleased they turned out as delicious as they did.

As always, Dwayne was in charge of cooking the scones over the fire. I simply told him I would usually cook them at 200C for about 30 minutes and let him work on getting the right temperature over the fire.

Further on, you will find some instructions about cooking scones in a camp oven and some tips on what you need to consider when producing the cooking heat. I hope you enjoy this recipe and be sure to let me know how they turn out.

Our camp kitchen

We cooked these yummy scones on a recent camping trip on Kangaroo Island. We were camped at American River.

Ingredients

3 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1/2 cup chopped ham
1 cup coarsely grated cheese
A pinch of salt
300ml cream
About 75 ml milk

Method

Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the chives, rosemary, ham, cheese and a pinch of salt, then mix well.

Make a well in the middle of the bowl and add the cream and most of the milk. Mix well add more milk if necessary. The dough should not be too wet and sticky. Do not over mix the dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead a little (do not over-knead). Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten to the shape of your camp oven. Place on a greased piece of baking paper and cut into wedges (you do not need to cut all the way through.

Heat your camp oven over the coals. Carefully lift the dough/scones by the baking paper and place them into the camp oven.

Cook the scones with a little heat under the camp oven and coals on top. Our theory is to cook it from both top and bottom with more heat on top. We hung our camp oven over a small fire. Using a star-drop (as a makeshift tripod), Dwayne was able to lift the camp oven higher to reduce the heat or lower it to increase the heat. We used heat beads on the top of the camp oven because we hadn’t had time to develop many coals and the heat beads hold their heat better, making this ‘brunch’ reasonably quick to make. We checked every 10 minutes until the scones were ready. Again, we adjusted the heat, if needed, when we checked it.

Use a knife to see if the scones are ready. Dig in deep with the tip of a knife; if the knife comes out clean, scones should be ready.

To cook in your home oven.

Place the scones on a greased oven tray and bake at 200C in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes.

For more instruction on cooking with hot coals.

If you want to cook on coals from a campfire, you need to burn a good amount of wood to create hot coals. It can take an hour or so for your campfire to make enough coals to cook on. Be sure to factor the process of producing the embers into your prep and cooking time. Alternatively, if time or good wood is in short supply, use heat-beads as they heat up quickly and hold their heat well.

The easiest way to cook in a camp oven over hot coals is to lift the coals out of the fire with a long-handled shovel. Select a safe place next to the fire and put a small amount of *coals on the ground. Place the camp oven onto the coals. Get some more coals from the fire to place on top of the oven. Getting the right amount of coals is not always easy. Be aware of cooking the scones too hot and burning them. It will take some experimentation to get the temperature right. Therefore, check the scones after 10 minutes to make sure you are not cooking them too hot or not hot enough.

*you only need a small number of coals under the camp oven or none at all. Too many, and you will burn the bottom of the scones.

Many factors determine the heat of the coals, such as ambient temperature and wind. If it is windy, the coals will cook hotter. Make allowances for wind by reducing the number of coals used.

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Crumbed Chicken Balls with cream cheese & bacon

These crumb chicken meatballs stuffed with cream cheese and bacon are ‘ball number two’ that has evolved from the idea of a ‘crumbed-ball-off’. Number one of the crumbed balls was Turkey Balls with Camembert and Cranberry Red Wine Sauce.

To recap where this idea came from – after Christmas this year, while sailing down Australia’s east coast, we decided to have a ‘crumbed-ball-off’. My son, Jedd, kick-started the idea by saying he would make a turkey and camembert crumbed meatball. Dwayne then piped up that he was going to make a crumbed meatball also.

It soon became known as the “crumbed-ball-off”. All three of us were going to make a crumbed meatball and pick the best one. The winner was not going to have to cook for a week. The “crumbed-ball-off” never happened as Jedd flew back to Adelaide sooner than expected. This crumbed chicken ball was my creation which I came up with by simply using ingredients already in my fridge that I needed to use up. It is super tasty, though.

four chicken meatballs served with salad

Ingredients

For filling
1 rasher of bacon, rind removed and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped sun-dried tomato
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped fresh basil
150ml cream cheese

For chicken meatball
1kg chicken mince
100ml fine bread crumbs
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

For coating the chicken ball
1 Cup of fine bread crumbs

Method

To make the cream cheese filling. Mix all ingredients well. Put the mixture into a container or wrap it in foil. Refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).

Mix the ingredient for the meatballs well using your hands.

Place a large tablespoon of chicken on your palm and flatten. Using a melon scoop or a teaspoon, scoop about 1 tsp of cream cheese mix and place in the middle of the flattened chicken.

Shape chicken around the cheese and roll into a ball. Coat the chicken ball with crumbs and place it on a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken mince.

Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour (or longer).

Cook the chicken balls

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a saucepan, and heat oil to 190c. When the oil is at the correct temperature, add the balls in batches. Deep fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove the chicken balls from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Serve with salad or vegetables. I served mine with a simple salad of capsicum, cucumber, tomato, olives and sun-dried tomato.

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Smoked Salmon and Potato Cakes with Horseradish Cream

I often make this recipe as an entrée at dinner parties. It is always well received by my guests and is one of my favourites. Change up the flavours by substituting fresh dill for the chives.

Very easy to make. Create the potato and salmon cakes hours before your guests arrive (even the day before) and have all the toppings and garnishes ready to go. Super easy! In fact, the last time I cooked this dish was while we were camping at Moana Caravan Park in our camper trailer with our small outdoor kitchen… one gas burner.

Camping at Moana, South Australia

Ingredients

For the salmon and potato cakes

500g of peeled potato, chopped
200g salmon fillet, finely chopped
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 egg, beaten
Black pepper and salt to taste

For the toppings and garnish

Capers*
Olive oil*
20 – 40 grams of smoked salmon per plate to serve.
Chives, finely sliced
Horseradish cream (I used Masterfoods Horseradish cream or make your own).

Method

Boil the potato – do not overcook. Mash the potatoes roughly, leaving some lumps.

Mix the potato, egg, spring onions, salmon and pepper and salt. Mix well, then form into six patties/cakes.

Place the cakes on a plate on top of some baking paper, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the cakes until they are cooked through and golden brown.

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and heat the capers. *Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of capers per serving (entree or main). Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil per serve.

To serve

As entrée (serves 6)

Place each potato cake in the centre of each plate. Sprinkle the capers and olive oil around the plate. Top each potato cake with salmon, a dollop of horseradish cream and sprinkle with finely chopped chives.

For the main serve (serves 2-3)

Place two or three potato cakes on each plate, top with smoked salmon, a dollop of horseradish cream, sprinkle with finely chopped chives and some capers and olive oil. Serve with a green salad.

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Albondigas – Spanish Meatballs

Albondigas are Spanish meatballs that are often served as tapas. Tapas are small dishes of savoury food, more often than not, served with drinks. In 2019 we visited Spain. One of the things I was looking forward to the most was tapas. I couldn’t wait to try some… and I wasn’t disappointed!

Albondigas can be made with beef, veal or pork (or a mix with all three meats). Serve them as tapas, entree or as a main meal with rice or pasta.

Ingredients

200g mince pork

100g chorizo, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 stp sweet paprika

1 sprig of thyme

1/4 cup fine bread crumbs

1 egg

Pinch of salt

Black pepper

For the sauce

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 bay leave

1/2 cup dry sherry

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 can of tomatoes, crushed or diced

Fresh parsley

Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Fry the onion, garlic and chorizo for a few minutes. Place the chorizo, onion and garlic in a bowl, add the pork mince, paprika, thyme, bread crumbs, and egg, and mix well using your hands. Take spoonfuls and roll into small, smooth meatballs, about 2cm diameter (use wet hands).

Heat oil in a non-stick pan and fry the balls in batches until golden brown. Remove from pan.

For the sauce

Use the same pan that you cooked the meatballs in. Remove excess oil from the pan but leave a little in the pan to use for the sauce.

Heat the pan and sauté the onion and garlic for a minute, add the paprika and cook for a minute. Add chicken stock, bay leaf and tomatoes. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the meatball and parsley. Gently heat until the meatballs are hot and cooked through.

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Spanish Meatballs

Fruit and Nut Damper

Traditional damper, developed by the Aussie stockmen, is made with plain flour and water and typically cooked in the ashes or coals of a campfire. Nowadays, there are hundreds of variations to the original recipe.

I usually make beer damper, just flour and beer. However, on a recent road trip from Darwin to Adelaide, I decided to try something different and threw in a heap of fruit, nuts and cinnamon for a sweet treat.

Chocka-block full of fruit, nuts and seeds, I didn’t bother adding a sweetener. I got Dwayne, who likes things a little sweeter than me, to add his sweetener with honey or jam. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and enjoy my damper with dripping hot butter.

Our Camp Kitchen

I made this yummy fruit and nut damper when camping at Burra Creek Gorge with Dwayne, our friends Kate and Martin, and their dog Boris.

Fruit & Nut Damper – Ingredients

3 cups of self raising flour

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 cup of raisins

1/2 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped

1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup of sunflower seeds

About a cup of water

Method

Mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon or your hands and shape into a cob shape.

Line the camp oven with grease baking paper or a layer of flour to stop the damper from sticking.

Put the damper in the camp  oven, put the lid on and coat the lid with hot coals.

To cook the damper with hot coals.

If you want to cook on coals from a campfire, you need to burn large logs to create hot coals. It can take an hour or so for your campfire to make enough coals to cook upon. Be sure to factor the process of producing the embers into your prep and cooking time. Alternatively, if you have time limits or a lack of good wood, use heat-beads as they heat up quickly and hold their heat well.

The easiest way to cook in a camp oven over hot coals is to lift the coals out of the fire with a long-handled shovel. Select a safe place next to the fire and put a small amount of *coals on the ground. Place the camp oven onto the coals. Get some more coals from the fire to place on top of the oven. Getting the right amount of coals is not always easy. Be aware of cooking the damper too hot and burning it. It will take some experimentation to get the temperature right. Therefore, check the damper after 10 minutes to make sure you are not cooking it too hot or not hot enough.

*You only need a small number of coals under the camp oven or none at all. Too many, and you will burn the bottom of the damper.

Many factors determine the heat of the coals, such as ambient temperature and wind. If you have wind, the coals will cook hotter. Make allowances for wind by reducing the number of coals used.

The time it takes to cook the damper is directly related to how hot you cook it. It should take approximately 30-40 minutes. You can tell when the damper is cooked by tapping on the top. If it sounds hollow, it is ready. Alternatively, stick a knife in it, and if it comes out clean, it should be ready.

To Serve

Serve with butter, maple syrup, jam and cream, chopped fruit or any other topping you desire.

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Fruit and Nut Damper cooked on the campfire over hot coals. Full of dried fruit, nuts, seeds and cinnamon. #campfirecooking #fruitandnuts #damper #campcooking

Coconut & lime bliss balls

With Saint Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I decided to do a “green recipe”. I have never bothered adding green to my pancakes or beer before, but this covid pandemic has left me with much time on my hands. So I sat down and thought about something green that would be a yummy inclusion to any St Paddy’s Day celebration. Since I have made a Christmas bliss ball, I decided to do bliss ball for St Paddy’s Day.

Did you know? Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival.

Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. 385 – c. 461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. It is widely celebrated worldwide in such places as United KingdomCanadaUnited StatesBrazilArgentinaAustralia and New Zealand. Saint Patrick’s Day became an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century. [Wikipedia]. As a Christian feast day, what better way to celebrate than with food?! 

These delicious coconut lime bliss balls are perfect for any occasion! Leave off the chocolate coating for a healthier treat.

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 cup dessicated coconut

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup *macadamias, roughly chopped

Zest of 2 large limes (about 1 tablespoon)

Juice of 2 large limes (about 1/2 cup)

4 tablespoons runny honey (add more honey for a sweeter bliss ball)

3 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil (cold pressed)

3 tablespoons of hot water

Method

Put the oats into a food processor and process until fine. Add the oats to a bowl with the coconut flour,  desiccated coconut, chia seeds, macadamias and lime zest. Mix well with a spoon.

In a small bowl mix the hot water, honey and coconut oil, blend well. Add to the bowl and add the lime juice. Mix very well (a minute or two) and allow to sit for several minutes. Mix well again and then form into balls. Squeeze a spoonful of coconut mix in your hand firmly and shape into a ball. Once you have a firm ball shape, roll the ball between your palms to form a smooth ball.

To decorate

225g White chocolate
oil-based food colour.

Decorate the balls with white chocolate (coloured green for St Patrick’s Day) and use slices of snake lollies to form four- leaf clovers. Alternatively, coat the ball in chocolate and sprinkle half with desiccated coconut.

Check out these pages for instructions on how to melt chocolate and how to colour white chocolate.

Click here for more bliss ball recipes!

About the ingredients

Oats – High in fibre, helps reduce cholesterol and is high in antioxidants.

Chia Seeds – massive amounts of nutrients with very few calories! Excellent source of fibre and antioxidants. High in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and helps lower the risk of heart disease.

Coconut – high in fibre iron and minerals and gluten-free.

Lime – vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients.

Macadamia Nuts – This food is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Thiamin, and an excellent source of Manganese.

*Use brazil nuts if you can’t fine macadamia nuts

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St Patrick's Day bliss ball / Lime and Coconut #blissball #sweets #nobake #lime #coconut #green #chiaseed #fourleafclover #coconutflour #oats
St Patrick's Day bliss ball / Lime and Coconut #blissball #sweets #nobake #lime #coconut #green #chiaseed #fourleafclover #coconutflour #oats

Corn fritters with avocado, bacon, egg and warm tomato relish

Breakfast in New Zealand, the land of my birth, is as varied as the eclectic variety of people representing ‘Kiwis’. Porridge, fruits and yoghurts are popular, as are eggs Benedict and French toast. However, it’s the addition of lambs fry and bacon, savoury mince, and corn fritters on the menu, that indeed reveals you are dining in a New Zealand cafe.

The last time I was in New Zealand, my dad and I breakfasted in Ahuriri, Napier. Dad ordered the corn fritters, served with bacon, avocado and sour cream, and seeing that he enjoyed it so much, I remarked that I could teach him how to make them at home. Therefore this recipe is dedicated to my dad…. time to cook breakfast old boy.

I decided upon serving my corn fritters with avocado, bacon, an egg for additional protein, and warm tomato relish. Make the relish first and have it slowly simmering on the stovetop while you make the fritters. Once cooked (keep fritters warm in the oven), but before you cook the eggs, take the tomato relish from the heat and allow to cool slightly, while you fry or poach your eggs. The following recipe will feed four people.

For the warm tomato relish

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 a small onion, finely chopped (approximately 3 tablespoons)
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar (loosely packed)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a small saucepan and lightly sauté the garlic and onion for a minute or two, do not brown.

Add the tomatoes, pepper, vinegar, sugar and mustard, and simmer gently, occasionally stirring, while you make the fritters. Add water as necessary.

Remove from heat for a few minutes before serving.

For the corn fritters

¾ cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 egg, beaten
440g can cream-style corn
440g corn kernels
3 spring onions, finely sliced

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a bowl.

Add the egg, mixing well to combine. Stir in the creamed corn, corn kernels and the spring onion.

Spray a large fry pan with oil spray and heat. Carefully spoon fritter mixture into the pan, creating two or three fritters about eight centimetres in diameter. Cook until golden brown, flip and cook the other side.

Remove from the pan, place on a plate with absorbent paper, put it into the oven, set on low, and keep warm. Repeat until you have eight fritters.

To serve

8 rashers of bacon, cooked to your liking
4 eggs, cooked to your liking
1 avocado, peeled and sliced

Place two corn fritters in the middle of each plate, top with sliced avocado, bacon and an egg. Finish with a couple of spoonfuls of tomato relish.

Bon appétit

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Popular New Zealand breakfast dish. Delicious and easy to make! #corn #creamedcorn #avocado #bacon #egg #tomato #relish #recipe #food #cooking #cookingonaboat #cookingatsea

Spicy Herb Olives

Spain is renown for its tapas. Tapas meaning ‘small Spanish savoury dish’, is typically served with drinks at a bar. When we visited Spain in 2019 we gorged on tapas and these spicy olives are just one of our favourites, and just one of the tapas recipes I will share with you.

I have hosted dinner parties where I have served tapas. These dinner parties were a hit. A taste of Spain was the theme and many dishes were served at the same time, allowing people to try lots of different tastes and textures. Tapas such as spicy olives, potato tortilla, meatballs, chorizo in wine, stuffed peppers, grilled eggplant, chickpeas and spinach create good variety and a balanced meal.

This recipe is simple, and easily dresses up ordinary olives making them a taste sensation!

Ingredients

1 – 2 tablespoons Olive oil

2 garlic cloves

2 teaspoon of chopped thyme

1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 – 2 chilli, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 cup of mixed olives

Method

Heat oil in a small pan, then add the remaining ingredients and heat gently. Serve warm.

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