Fool Proof Roast Turkey

So since last year, my friends and I have made it a massive tradition to host Christmas and cook a delicious feat for everyone to eat together. Sort of like pot luck… but we all cook together and have heaps of fun with drinks and snacks and wonderful chatter.

This year we were 3 friends short! Yikes! We made the most of it, however, to celebrate Christmas as best as we could with plans to celebrate with the entire crew after new years.

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Christmas, as I’ve said in my numerous posts before, is truly my favourite time of the year. It’s the time to get together with the family and enjoy wonderful food, and give back to community in any way you can. I love every little bit about it… actually maybe not the heat…

but you get the point 😛

This recipe is inspired from the Laura Vitale recipe – here is the link!  but with a few additions 😛 I had a few extra things left over and did it in a slightly different manner. The recipe though is pretty damn simple, and straightforward. For a first timer making the turkey… it actually turned out really wonderful (I’m not saying it… my friends are). Oh and I’ve realised I actually prefer the white meat…

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Though that may be because the white meat was really quite tender.

The aromatics are essentially the same. The rosemary, thyme, sage, carrot, onion, garlic and celery. But! I added parsley, apple, lemons and some figs to the mix to create a sweet yet sort of tart flavour profile. It actually turned out wonderful! The glaze added just that added punch of flavour and sweetness to the tender meat.

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I used a Steggles frozen turkey, which was a really great decision! It came really well cleaned, the only thing I had to do was chop off some excess skin and the neck piece from inside the cavity. It took a whole 4 days to defrost, which also includes leaving out in the sink overnight! It was a 5 kilo tukey after all -_-

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Boop di boop. And that is it!! The apple and figs make for a lightly sweet glaze and really different flavour to the turkey and gravy. It gives it a kind of hint of Christmas right in the meat 😛

By roasting the turkey uncovered it allows the skin to crisp up really nicely, and get wonderful colour of the skin too. By initially keeping the meat covered helps to circulate the heat and keep everything wonderfully moist 🙂

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I recommend checking out some youtube videos for advice on cleaning the turkey, and learning how to stuff and baste it, but this recipe is one I definitely want to try again and really expand on 🙂

I hope you can feel a little inspired to cook turkey this year. Trust me it was my first time, and it wasn’t too bad at all 🙂

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Easy Spiced Strawberry Tea

Summer is well and truly here in Sydney with the sweltering heat, crazy storms, oh and a random tornado warning too. I guess this is what makes Sydney kind of special. It’s unpredictable you know. It’ll be cool and cold in the morning, humid by mid day, by evening the sun will pop out and say hello before nightfall when the horrendous storm begins.

For anyone planning to come to Sydney, keep a jacket, sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, an umbrella, boots, sandals, and probably your entire suitcase with you at all time.

I know I sound really cynical, but in all honestly, I do love the city. I grew up here, and it’s my very bipolar home. Now, in this bipolar weather conditions… I love making my own flavoured teas. Whether in winter or summer, I love having a cup of tea with me. For summer, I bring out the fun fruits to make these delicious infused teas, and they are so freaking easy to make!

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These are a bit of a wonder for the big parties in my opinion. Tea is just such a standard in my house and they make for a fun non-alcoholic option for the crowds. I dunno, I think it’s important to serve some fun non-alcoholic options. Most events I go to its all fancy alcoholic drink and cocktails but nothing fun for those that just don’t drink.

This recipe is so simple though. Just boil up some tea and let the fruit infuse in the water. This sort of remind me of an episode of New Girl where Nick talks about serving ‘Tea water’ to drunk men. Don’t worry… I’m not giving away anything here 😛

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See? Such an easy peasy recipe. But, the recipe is so worth it. I drink the whole pitcher alone…

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But that’s just because I love tea. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. And who doesn’t enjoy strawberries? Actually, I do know a few people that don’t like strawberries… but seriously.. come on.

I hope you guys like this easy recipe!

 

 

 

 

 

Spinach and Ricotta rolls

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Spinach and Ricotta Rolls fresh out of the oven

We had plans to head over to the Ben and Jerry’s Open Air Cinema here in Sydney, and boy was it a fun plan. The general brief among the group was to bring some snacks and drinks along for everyone to enjoy. To me that honestly meant one thing… it’s time to pull out those snack food recipes.

I’ve made these countless times before, and my recipe remains pretty standard but a little bit different that the other ones you’ll find. To me a really good spinach and ricotta roll should have that wonderful spinach taste, with some nut-iness, some creaminess and a little bit of a kick. This doesn’t mean I want a spicy roll… it just has to give a tiny punch to make it extra special.

The smell of these is truly so wonderful, and they make for a really classic and crowd-pleasing snack. I love pulling this recipe out during the spring time for those fun outdoor activities.

Now I’m usually a little too lazy to make the pastry myself, and quite honestly just stick to some store bought puff pastry or filo. I used frozen spinach for this time round, but I often do switch between fresh and frozen. It really just depends on what you find!

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Wrapping these babies up

My recipe is an interesting combination of a few different recipes you have come across. I balance out the classic spinach and ricotta with a little spice from cumin, a little kick from chilli, a little tang for lemon, a little sweetness from cooked onions and a little added flavour from good ol’ garlic. Honestly I don’t think I cook without garlic at all… it is just my favourite.

Here is my recipe!!

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And bam! Snack food is sorted!

 

The Easiest Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

‘Tis the season to be jolly,

falalalala lalalala

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As soon as December begins… I pull out this cute as hell tank top. It’s basically my uniform for the month. And now with Christmas around the corner, it only means a few things

  1. time to bake some gingerbread
  2. time to decorate the whole house
  3. buy the most ridiculous gifts and trinkets for the house

I love Christmas and every little thing about it. I love the carols. I love the lights. I love the cheesy Christmas specials. I love the food. I love the sweets. I just love the festive season.

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Sydney of course always has stinking hot Christmas days, but we still make the most of it with fun bbq’s and picnics. Even in this heat though, I always love decorating the house with fake snow and snowflakes everywhere. I always like to start the festivities on the 1st of December with putting up the Christmas tree with lights, baubles and plenty of bling.

Next on the agenda, is always the gingerbread house. I started making these last year, and decided to keep a tradition going. It’s a long process. It’s an annoying process. But damn is the end pretty 🙂 I made this for my baby sisters Christmas party at school. It really is just one of those things that brings a smile to peoples faces 😀

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This recipe is basically… fool proof. It makes for a super buttery smooth and truly yummy gingerbread. It makes the house smell absolutely incredible, and well… just try it 🙂 Go and get your hands on some fun cookie cutters. I got mine for 6 bucks from target, and the gingerbread house cutters for 5 from Kmart. Oh and remember the mixed spice. You can grab a packet from your local supermarket! I would normally try sharing a recipe… but honestly… I tried doing it before and it was so awful…

The spice packer is fairly inexpensive, and hence… well… the packet makes life a little easier.

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So here is the recipe:

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Now to make your standard gingerbread house, you need to have royal icing! You can buy this easily from the supermarket now, but my goodness it is so much cheaper and simpler to make it your self. 3 Ingredients. That is all you need.

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Now constructing the house… well it’s all about laying down the right foundations. You might need to hold it up using a mug. My best tip, is to do a fairly rough ‘gluing’ job to start off, and pop the whole house into the fridge for sometime. This will let the icing set a little to stabilise the house before you get around to decorating any more of the house.

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For the decorations I picked up some jelly raspberries, some rainbow chocolate gems, some mnms, some silver beads, and a few fizzy lollies. To top the whole look off… dust it all off with some icing sugar to make it look like it has just snowed. ❤

It took me 5 hours to make the house and the cookies, and then decorate everything. That is a crazy amount of time… but hey… I loved every little bit of it. Coz it’s CHRISTMASSSSS ❤

 

 

 

Crispy Coconut Fish

For those that know me, they know just how much I absolutely love coconut. I love the flesh, the milk and the water. Every time I open up a can of coconut milk, and have some left over, I am always inspired to create and attempt new recipes using the wonderful ingredient.

The sweet taste of the milk is always so perfectly  balanced with spice and lime in so many Indian and Thai recipes. It works so well in curry and puddings. One of my favourite recipes in fact is a yummy coconut rice pudding (kheer or payasum as it is known in Indian cooking). On that note… I’ll be publishing some yummy pudding recipes soon!!

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This recipe took inspiration from Angel Prawns I ate at one of my favourite Thai restaurants. The prawns are covered in a delicious coconut topping and then fried to create a delicious crispy coconut crust over a superbly tender prawn meat. Now with Basa fillets in the house and coconut milk left over, I thought I would take a shot at making crispy coconut fish.

The prawns were fried, yes, however in an attempt to be a little healthier this summer, I decided to bake them. Do note that you can 100% fry this recipe (shallow or deep) and in fact would be a WHOLE lot quicker to make. By baking them I added about 20-30 mins to the cooking time, but hey… anything to keep that cholesterol low right?

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Fish is such a great ingredient to stock up. Particularly lighter fish like Basa. It is relatively cheap, and you can very often find good quality frozen fillets too. Better yet, fish cooks super quickly making it perfect for those quick dinners for the family. Furthermore, fish is so wonderful for the body. It is high in omega 3 and protein and is so lean on the fat. Incorporating it into your diet will really do wonders for you and your family.

Now to the recipe.

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The end result of this fish… a house smelling like yummy coconut and lime. Honestly these two flavours together are just heaven 🙂 . The desiccated coconut creates a really light and crispy coating over a truly tender fish. I served mine up with some spicy coconut black rice and quinoa (with some chia seeds) – watch this space for the recipe coming soon!!. Add some lime over the top, maybe serve it with a fresh salad – I would really suggest a fiery papaya salad. This recipe really just combines some simple basic flavours together and creates a fun alternative to boring dinners. You can really take this to another creative level by making these into fish fingers for the kids to take to lunch, or making fish, prawns and even some calamari with the same coating for nice seafood platter.

 

 

Creamy Brie Omelette

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Creamy Brie Omelette

I always have a little bit of brie left over from parties, and I am just one of those people to not throw away scraps. Why waste good food or ingredients? Now eggs are a relatively inexpensive ingredient that I’m pretty sure we all have in our fridges. I love making this hearty omelette on a cool morning to share with someone. It turns out looking kind of like a frittata, and it probably is better classified as one… but well.. I’m calling it an omelette.

What you need?

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary. Use closer to 2 if you use fresh rosemary’.
  • a few 5mm thick slices of brie cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of thickened cream
  • butter
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread (for serving)
  • 1 garlic clove (to use on the bread)

What to do?

  1. Start by cracking the eggs into a bowl
  2. To this add the parmesan, cream and half of the rosemary.
  3. Whisk up the egg mixture lightly and add a little bit of the butter to the mix
  4. Heat up some butter in a pan
  5. Pour the mixture in the pan and keep the heat at a medium
  6. Sprinkle over the remaining rosemary
  7. Add the slices over the now cooking omelette. Place them in equal division, for example if you have 4 slices, them drop them in the 4 quadrants
  8. Cover the fry pan with the lid, and reduce the heat to low. Let the omelette cook like this for a few more minutes.
  9. Toast the slices of bread. Once toasted butter these well.
  10. Peel the garlic and cut in half. Rub the cut side of the garlic over the buttered bread well to flavour the sourdough.
  11. Pop the bread onto a serving plate, and slide out the omelette next to it.

I like to serve this with a good pot of tea or juice, and is another breakfast option that I love to eat straight in bed. 🙂 Hope you try our this super easy recipe, that I think is perfect to make any weekend just that bit extra special.

 

 

Lime and Coconut and Pancakes

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the end result!

Pancakes are just the best thing in the world, and they are truly the best pick me up after a really long or hard day. I tend to save these for the congratulations-on-finishing-exams or time-to-cheer-up kind of days.

This is one of my absolute favourite pancake recipes to make. For those that know anything about me know just how much I truly love coconut. The recipe is 10000% more appealing because it is totally eggless and can very easily be made into a vegan variation for which I will give details below!

What you need?

  • 3/4 cup of plain flour
  • 1/4 of self raising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar (this is the flufffffing agent 😛 )
  • 1 lime (we are going to use the rind and juice)
  • some milk (I used full cream, but you can use almond, coconut, rice or soy)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of yogurt (I used a naturally sweetened variety. If you are vegan you can use some coconut whip)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or essence
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coconut essence (this stuff is super strong!)
  • less than 1/4 cup of desiccated coconut
  • some butter for frying
  • toasted coconut shavings **optional** (for garnishing)
  • whipped cream (or thickened cream like I used)
  • powdered sugar and maple syrup (of course)

What to do?

  1. Mix the milk and yogurt in a cup and set aside
  2. Sift the flours and add them to a bowl
  3. Add the baking powder and soda to the flours
  4. Add the vinegar straight over the baking powder and soda and watch them fizz up
  5. Add the vanilla and coconut essence to the flours
  6. Add the rind of half the lime.
  7. Grab a whisk and break up the flours before adding the juice of a bit over half a lime. If you like a really tangy flavour, add more lime juice.
  8. Add the desiccated coconut and whisk through well
  9. Now whisk through the milk and yogurt mixture, little by little, until you achieve a thick pancake batter. It should be thick enough to hold a trail when spooning it out.
  10. Heat some butter in a fry pan and spread it around everywhere, on a low flame. I think its best to start on a low heat.
  11. Using a ladle, spoon out one ladle full of the batter and pour it straight into the center of the fry pan and watch the batter spread out.
  12. Allow the pancake to fry until you see bubbles form around the sides of the pancake. This may take a few minutes
  13. Flip the pancake, and allow the pancake to cook for a few minutes
  14. Remove the pancake and then repeat steps 10 to 13. Generate a stack of pancakes for serving.
  15. To serve, top the stack with the toasted coconut flakes, maybe some pecans, maybe some more lime rind… I went with some coconut infused whipped cream. To do this pour some thickened cream into a bowl and add a few drops of coconut essence. Grab your whisk and whip away!

These pancakes are super tangy and coconutty and I truly love them. They are a really wonderful summer breakfast treat and great cheat to your healthy week. Better yet, the pancakes are eggless which will prevent you feeling bloated in the mornings. And, the pancakes themselves are sugarfree. I choose to allow the vanilla and the maple syrup topping to do all the sweetening. Thus, the pancake itself can be eaten by diabetics, like my dad, absolutely guilt free. Just add some sugarfree whipped cream and you are good to go.

Let me know what you think of this recipe! I really would love to hear feedback! I apologise in advance for not having photos of all the steps. I am a truly terrible photographer and well.. they all look a little funny 😛