17 October 2010


Just like Mamma used to make? Well, if your Mamma used to whip up this delectable, decadent and dangerously delightful treat then you must have been a VERY good girl!

This simple but spectacular torta is a Women's Weekly classic, made up of layers of properly made (what other way is there?) chocolate and vanilla custard, sandwiched lovingly between brandy, Kahlua and coffee soaked sponge cake. What's not to like?


Bottom row, from the left:

1. Caponata with lavosh
2. Stuffed Mushrooms
3. Grilled King Prawn skewers

Top row, from left:

1. Salt Cod Fritters, homemade aioli
2. Moorish Lamb Kebabs, roasted capsicum sauce

Somehow while I was busy stuffing my face with the first tapas, I didn't get individual photos of the Salt Cod Fritters or King Prawn skewers. All you need to know, however, is that it was all lip-smackingly, finger-lickin' good.


Look no further if you are after a sophisticated little bite that can be thrown together at a snip, presents beautifully with minimum fuss, that provides an explosion of creamy saltiness and crunch with a herby hit!


white button mushrooms; stems removed and finely chopped
100g Feta cheese, crumbled (we used the Margaret River brand)
Garlic chives, finely chopped
lemon thyme, leaves picked
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Peel mushrooms, toss in olive oil.
In a small pan, fry chopped mushroom stems in 1 tspn butter and 1 tspn of olive oil.
Add herbs and dash of white pepper, then the bread crumbs
Remove from heat and stir in 100g of crumbled feta cheese
Spoon into mushroom caps.
Bake in a hot oven (around 190 degrees C) for 12-15 mins

Then pour yourself a glass of wine and congratulate yourself on how quickly and easily you've assembled something that your guests will think you've spent hours labouring over!


This is based on Antonio Carluccio's version, adapted with a twist (by CookV!).


1/2 brown onion, diced
1 small red onion, diced
3-4 celery stalks including leaves, chopped
5 Tbs olive oil
2 large eggplants, chopped into 2cm cubes
1 Tbs capers, rinsed
20 large green olives, stoned and quartered
1/2 yellow capsicum, diced
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
50g concentrated tomato paste

Blanch onions and celery in salted water for a few minutes, then drain.
Heat oil in a frying pan and brown the eggplant, you may need to do this in two batches
Then add onions, celery and all the remaining ingredients.
Stir well to combine. Cover and cook for 15 mins on low heat.
Assess during cooking, as you may need to add about 2 Tbs of water to loosen the mixture.
Cook for another 15mins.
Season to taste.

Serve with crackers, lavosh, crusty bread..I daresay you could smother this on almost anything!


12 October 2010


CookN whipped up the tastiest, morish dip of spinach, parmesan, cheddar and some other aromats served in a fresh, homemade cob of bread. The dense, chewy and slightly tangy interior was ripped out into chunks and served alongside the cob, which contained the dip. I am declaring now-it was the most delicious dip that has ever passed my lips - and I am not a big fan of dips! I will do you all a favour and post the recipe up asap!

*Just for the record, the pictured dip is not shown in the cob of bread, as there was a slight 'malfunction' with the cob we used that night :-)

You will need:

1 loaf of bread (one with a dense crumb and robust crust, such as a sourdough)
100g aged cheddar cheese
100g parmesan cheese
100g fresh or frozen spinach
2 cloves garlic
1 spring onion/shallot halved
80g cream cheese
100g homemade mayonnaise
juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 180 degrees
To prepare cob loaf, cut the top off and hollow out the centre. Place onto a large square of foil to wrap the loaf with shiny side in. Reserve the centre of the loaf torn into rough chunks for dipping.
Grate or use a food processor to mill the cheddar and parmesan cheeses. Set aside.

Use the food processor or chop finely, the spinach, garlic and spring onion/shallot. Add remaining ingredients including the cheeses.

Place the mixture into a saucepan and cook, stirring on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes.

Pour into hollowed out loaf, replace the top and wrap the loaf, including the extra cubes in foil and bake for 10min or until toasted and hot. Serve immediately

10 October 2010


TAPAS - its the latest way to eat. You graze for hours over little plates of tasty morsels and whilst you may think you've only nibbled a bit of this or a little of that, by the end of all that nibbling will be the sense that perhaps your eyes were bigger than your stomach. Which, on this particular Cooking Club gathering, was the case for most of us!

Technically there is no structure (as with conventional dining you have starters, mains, dessert etc) but because of the occasion (Happy Birthday, CookEl!) the 'reserve' person also contributed a plate of something for that sense of celebration and indulgence!

The evening started with a complete bastardization of the Sangria, which itself comes in many guises. My version was made up of sparkling Rose wine, lemonade, a drop of rosewater, fresh orange juice, slices of fresh orange and some tequila. Hows that for summer in a glass!

Summer Sangria

Makes 3 Litres

2 x 750ml bottles sparkling Rose
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cups lemonade
60ml tequila (or more, if you like it stronger)
1 tsp Rosewater (optional)
Fresh orange slices

In a large jug, place orange slices and pour over tequila and leave aside for 30 mins for flavour to deepen.
Just before serving, pour over the other ingredients and mix well to combine.