Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Turkey Cottage Pie

Leftover turkey is always a problem at Christmas and by the 28th December most people are sick of eating cold meat & salad. I decided that this pie might make an interesting alternative dinner (& the weather has been a bit cooler, so an oven dish was not such a problem)

2 medium brown onions, peeled & finely sliced
100g unsalted butter
1/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp mustard powder
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups leftover roast turkey, finely diced
2 tbs Hanks 4 Turkey sauce (cranberry & orange sauce)
4 sebago potatoes, peeled & quartered
1/4 cup milk (warmed)
Murray River Salt Flakes & freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Lightly grease a 6 cup capacity oven dish.
Place potatoes in saucepan, cover with cold water & bring to the boil. Allow to boil until they slide off a knife when tested.
Add 50g butter to a non-stick frypan, melt butter, then add onions. Cook until onions brown and are soft.
Lower heat.
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Add plain flour & mustard powder to the pan, stir until the mixture has no lumps.
Gradually add chicken stock, stirring well after each addition.
Add turkey meat & Hanks 4 Turkey sauce, stir until mixture is well combined.
Taste - season as required. Add to oven dish.
Drain potatoes, mash with 50g butter & 1/4 cup warmed milk.
Cover the meat mixture with the potato mash & bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes or until top has browned.
Serve with lightly steamed green beans.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Turkey Stuffing

This year The Fresh Ingredient family will enjoy a 4kg turkey with pistachio & cranberry stuffing, served alongside beautiful roast vegies - or course!!

Ingredients (all available from The Fresh Ingredient)
1 1/2 tbs olive oil
2 small brown onions, halved, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1/3 cup unsalted pistachio kernels, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 1/2 cups fresh sourdough breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)
2 Free-Range eggs, lightly whisked
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh continental parsley

1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, Craisins, pistachio and garlic and cook, stirring, for 8-10 minutes or until onion softens. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
2. Place the pistachio mixture in a bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, egg and parsley and stir to combine.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Form into balls (about the size of golfballs) & stuff your turkey with these. Any remaining stuffing balls can be wrapped in foil & cooked alongside the turkey - however don't add them to the roasting dish until the last 45 minutes or so of cooking.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Mango, Macadamia Chicken Salad

Summer means salad & summer means mangoes, so combining the two of these makes sense. The best part about this salad is that you can add or subtract the ingredients you do or don't like. This is my recipe, but I must admit that I don't really measure anything for this dish, I just throw it together (or plate it up!!)

Ingredients (Serves 2-4)
1 chicken breast, cut into strips
1 large or 2 small mangoes, cut into strips
1 large avocado, cubed
2-4 cups of mixed lettuce leaves, washed, dried & torn
1/2 lebanese cucumber, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
8-12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup roasted macadamias, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lime
2-4 tbs of Vegetali Caramelised Garlice & Lime Aioli

1. Fill a large saucepan with enough water to cover your chicken breasts. Bring to the boil, when water is boiling add sliced chicken breast, poach for 2 minutes, reduce heat & simmer for 5 minutes. When 5 minutes is reached, check that the chicken is cooked through by removing a piece & checking the meat at the thickest part is opaque. When cooked remove from the poaching liquid & drain on paper towel.
2. Arrange lettuce leaves, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, mango & avocado in bowls.
3. Divide chicken between serving bowls, scatter chopped macadamias over the top of each bowl, drizzle with combined lemon & lime juice & then dollop a tablespoon of aioli on each bowl.

Great with a chilled Rose or a crisp Chardonnay.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Summery Zucchini Pasta

Zucchini is on special at The Fresh Ingredient this week, so why not try this easy, tasty summer pasta dish?
Serves 2-4 people

250g dried spaghetti or fettucine
4 small zucchini, sliced into thin ribbons
2 tbs olive oil, preferrably Wollombi Extra Virgin
2 cloves garlic - crushed
4 slices of prosciutto, roughly torn
1 punnet cherry tomatoes (250g) halved
Freshly grated parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper to serve
4-8 freshly picked basil leaves as garnish

1. Cook pasta according to packet directions.
2. Heat olive oil in large heavy based frypan. Add garlic and zucchini to the pan, cook stirring for 2 minutes, or until zucchini just starts to soften, add prosciutto and cherry tomatoes, cook stirring for another 2 minutes, lower heat under frypan.
3. Drain pasta & reserve a little of the cooking water (about 40-50mls).
4. Add pasta and reserved cooking water to the frypan, heat through.
5. Arrange in serving bowls and top with freshly cracked black pepper and freshly grated parmesan. Finish off by arranging 2 basil leaves on each serving.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Carrot & Poppy Seed Muffins

Carrots are on special at The Fresh Ingredient from 20-23 October, so thought I would share this recipe.
The recipe was originally given to me by a friend (can't remember who or when), I have amended for my own taste & now don't have the original recipe.
Makes 12 mini muffins & 6 regular muffins, perfect for toddlers & lunch boxes.

150g organic self-raising flour, sifted
165g brown sugar
1 tsp Herbies ground cassia bark (or ground cinnamon)
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
80ml extra virgin olive oil
4 medium carrots peeled & finely grated
1 1/2 tbs poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place cases in a 12 hole mini muffin pan and a 6 hole regular muffin pan. Combine the self-raising flour, brown sugar and cassia in a bowl.
Combine the eggs and olive oil. Stir wet ingredients through the dry ingredients until combined. Add carrot & poppy seeds to the mix and stir until well combined.
Divide the mixture among the muffin pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
These keep for 2-3 days in a sealed container, but can be wrapped & frozen individually & placed in lunch box - they'll defrost by lunchtime.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lemon Ricotta Pudding

Local lemons are cheap & plentiful at the moment, and the evenings are still cool enough to enjoy baking & eating this simple, but delicious dessert.

From The Fresh Ingredient

200g Perfect Italiano Original Ricotta
2 lemons, rind finely grated, juiced
2 free-range eggs
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons pistachios, roughly chopped
From the pantry
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup self-raising flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease a 3-cup capacity ovenproof dish.
Place ricotta, lemon rind, 1/4 cup lemon juice, eggs and 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl. Using a balloon whisk, whisk until smooth. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour. Mix well to combine. Spoon batter into prepared dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Preheat grill on medium. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over surface of pudding. Place under grill and cook for 1 minute or until golden. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with pistachios and serve with good quality ice-cream.
I suggest Bravo Gelato Pistachio, or Maggie Beer Lemon Curd (both available from The Fresh Ingredient)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Night Pizza

Just arrived in store at The Fresh Ingredient - Pizza Bases
I decided to test the new pizza bases this evening. Today I bought some garlicy chorizio from Bocados in King St, Newcastle - the smell is incredible. Thought that sweet potato, capsicum & baby spinach would work nicely with the chorizio.

1 herb & garlic pizza base
1 garlicy chorizio
1 tbs tomato paste
1 medium sweet potato
1/2 red capsicum
100g baby spinach leaves
2 tsp Wollombi Extra Virgin Olive Oil
50g mozzarella grated
50g tasty cheese grated
Norco Sour Cream

Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Peel & thinly slice the sweet potato, arrange in one layer on a baking tray, drizzle with 1tsp olive oil, bake for 10 mins or until just starting to crisp.
Char the skin of the capsicum on a gas burner, or under the grill. Place in plastic bag for 8-10mins, then rub off the scorched skin & slice capsicum thinly.
Spread tomato paste on pizza base.
Thinly slice chorizio, arrange on pizza base.
Arrange capsicum on top of chorizio.
Arrange roasted sweet potato on top of capsicum.
Heat 1tsp olive oil in non-stick frypan, add baby spinach & let spinach wilt, shake pan or stir a few times. Arrange on top of sweet potato.
Top pizza with mixed cheeses.
Bake for 10mins.

Serve topped with a dollop of Norco Sour Cream and a good Spanish wine such as 2009 "Elefante Castilla Vino Blanco"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Slightly Spiced Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower is on special this week at The Fresh Ingredient, and because so many people ask me what to do to make cauliflower more interesting, here is one of my cauliflower standbys (serves 4)

1 cauliflower, cut into florets
60g butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread, sourdough if you can)
cheese sauce
500ml (2 cups) milk
30g butter
2 tbs plain flour
1tbs Herbies “Balmain & Rozelle Spice”
40g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated tasty cheese
Salt & ground white pepper
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the flour & Herbies Spice mix and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until mixture bubbles and begins to come away from the side of the pan. Remove from heat.
3. Gradually pour in half the milk, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk until mixture is smooth. Gradually add the remaining milk, whisking until smooth and combined.
4. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat. Add the cheese and stir until cheese melts. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
5. Meanwhile, cook the cauliflower in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 7 minutes. Drain. Arrange the cauliflower in a 1.5L (6 cup) capacity ovenproof dish.
6. Melt butter in a frying pan over high heat until foaming. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat.
7. Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower. Sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and heated through. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Works well with lamb, chicken or beef.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Butter Spice Biscuits with Rose Petals

Now that we are stocking a range of Herbies herbs & spices I am experimenting with many of their products. I love them. They are so fresh, fragrant & affordable.

I made a lovely batch of Lavendar Friands, using Herbies Lavendar Flowers. My next batch of Lavendar & Lemon Friands were very tasty, but all except one stuck to the pan. I will write up the recipe for the straight Lavendar Friands & post it shortly.

I have also made a beautiful batch of "Butter Spice Biscuits with Rose Petals", this recipe uses a minimal number of ingredients, but the quality of the ingredients is important.

250g unsalted butter, softened & cubed
160g pure icing sugar, sifted
375g plain flour (organic preferred), sifted
2 teaspoons "Herbies" Fragrant Sweet Spices with Rose Petals

1. Using an electric mixer & a large bowl cream butter & icing sugar, with mixer still running add Sweet Spices, beat for another 10 seconds.
2. Using a wooden spoon stir in flour in two batches until a dough just forms.
3. On a clean, cool, lightly floured surface (granite or marble are best) knead dough until smooth. Divide dough into 4 equal size "balls".
4. Working with one "ball" at a time, (place other "balls" into fridge while working), roll ball into a log shape, wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 1hr. Repeat with other 3 "balls".
5. While dough logs are chilling, pre-heat oven to 180 degrees, line oven tray(s) with baking paper.
6. Using a serrated (bread) knife slice logs into 1cm rounds, place on trays leaving enough room for some spreading.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, allow to cool on tray for a few minutes then transfer to wire racks.

These are best enjoyed with a good quality cup of tea or coffee.

Dough logs can be frozen for up to 3 months, thaw in fridge before slicing & baking as above.
Don't overwork the mixture - too much beating/kneading results in a tough biscuit

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Roast Vegetable & Marinated Goat Fetta Tart

The Fresh Ingredient currently has Butternut Pumpkin and Zucchini on special, so I decided to try my hand at a little roast vegetable tart.

With more time on a weekend I would make the pastry from scratch, but for a quick, tasty & slightly fancy weeknight dinner, this works!

I served these with lamb cutlets & a roasted beetroot, roasted garlic & fetta puree.


1 zucchini, halved and cut into 2cm pieces
1 sml butternut pumpkin cut into 2cm pieces
2 red onions cut into small wedges
Wollombi Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed
100g Binnorie Marinated Goat Fetta
1 egg yolk
2 tsp water
Paradise Beach Basil Pesto to serve


1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
2. Combine pumpkin & zucchini in a bowl & toss with olive oil.
3. Spread vegetables in a single layer on baking tray, drizzle red onion with oil.
4. Roast vegetables for 25mins or until tender, turning only once.
5. Cool vegetables on the tray.
6. Line a baking tray with non-stick paper.
7. Using a pastry cutter, cut six circles from the pastry.
8. Arrange pastry circles on baking tray(s).
9. Place teaspoons full of Marinated Goat Fetta in the centre of each pastry circle.
10. Arrange a few pieces of each cooled, roasted vegetable in each circle, leaving enough room to fold up the edges, build up, rather than out.
11. Fold pastry up around the vegetables & pleat the pastry.
12. Lightly beat egg yolk and water & using a pastry brush wash the tarts with this mix.
13. Bake tarts for 25-30mins or until pastry is golden brown.
14. Add a small dollop of Paradise Beach Basil Pesto & serve warm.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Banana Loaf

Over summer the bananas at "The Fresh Ingredient" were ripening incredibly quickly. We decided that every now & again we would put a box of these super ripe bananas on the bench outside the shop with a sign saying"free to a good home".
Naturally most of these bananas went off to good homes. This recipe was left by a friendly customer alongside the box of bananas.
I haven't had a chance to make the Banana Loaf until today, it will now go into my regular repertoire.
It is simple, tasty, economical & fast....what more could you ask for. I prefer to use organic flour and milk & free-range eggs, but this isn't necessary.

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 bananas (mashed)

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C.
2. Grease & line a loaf tin.
3. Sift flour into a large bowl, add remaining ingredients & mix until combined - do not over mix.
4. Bake for approx. 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
5. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then turn out onto cooling rack.
6. When cool slice using a bread knife, serve with butter if required.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Zucchini Slice

This is an economical dish that can be prepared and then sliced up and frozen and used for lunches or easy weeknight dinners.

Ingredients (15 serves)

5 eggs

150g (1 cup) self-raising flour, sifted

375g zucchini, grated - squeeze out most of the moisture.

1 large onion, finely chopped

200g rindless bacon, chopped

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil


1. Preheat oven to 170C.

2. Grease and line a 30 x 20cm lamington pan.

3. Lightly fry bacon & onion in a drizzle of the oil.

4. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until combined.

5. Add the flour and beat until smooth, then add zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese and oil and stir to combine.

6. Season to taste.

7. Pour into the prepared pan and bake in oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Banana Delicious

This is a fast & yummy dessert the whole family will enjoy.


4 bananas
2 free range eggs
2 tblsp caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup dessicated coconut
2 tblsp apricot jam


1. Pre-heat oven to 180C.
2. Slice bananas & layer in a baking dish.
3. Cover the sliced bananas with lemon juice.
4. Beat egg and caster sugar together until creamy.
5. Add coconut and apricot jam to the egg and sugar bowl and mix well.
6. Spread the mixture over the sliced bananas.
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until top is golden.

Serve with good quality ice-cream.

Monday, March 15, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Recipes

St. Patrick's Day - 17 March.
There is a little bit of Irish in many of us, and a great way to celebrate the feast day of Ireland's Patron Saint is to create an Irish Feast.

The Fresh Ingredient at Kotara stocks Irish bacon, pork sausages and black and white pudding, as well as Kerrygold butter, cheeses, mustards, brown bread mix, soda bread mix, Taytos, Club Orange & Cadbury Snack.

To get you started on your Irish Feast I suggest a dinner menu of:
Brown Bread & Butter
Pork Sausages served with Colcannon
Apple Pie & Cream.

Here is my recipe for Colcannon (Potato & Cabbage), there are variations of this recipe, but this is my favourite.


900g sebago (brushed) potatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped
80g butter
300g cabbage, shredded
1 small onion finely diced
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup pure cream
Salt & pepper

1. Add potatoes to saucepan of cold water, boil until tender, approx. 20mins.
2. While potatoes are cooking, lightly fry the onions in 20g butter, (do not burn), when translucent add cabbage with another 20g butter, mix together over low heat & then cover and steam cabbage for 2-3 minutes.
3. Drain potatoes and mash till smooth using remaining butter, milk & cream. When well mashed add in the cabbage & onion, mix together until smooth.
4. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
5. Serve with grilled Pork Sausages.

If available, Kale is traditionally used in this dish instead of cabbage & it definitely adds a lovely flavour to the potatoes.

Do you have a favourite traditional Irish meal?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Welcome to The Fresh Ingredient Blog - here we will feature recipes, market updates, food news and more.

The Fresh Ingredient is a fruit & vegetable and gourmet food store owned by Peter & Mary. We love good food, good wine and are concerned about the corporatisation of food. We enjoy sharing food, talking about food and being around food - we hope that you will join us in our online food world.