Low Calorie Margarita

Serves: 2

Nat and I are complete suckers for Margaritas – the frozen type are especially amazing to me – and at an afternoon/evening with our good friends Tom and Lisa, we were offered up some wonderful Margaritas… without the sugar.

The irony of typing this cocktail up is that the only other cocktail we have published was an Espresso Martini Nat whipped up in Koh Samui (Thailand) when we were there for Tom’s 40th.

Seems cocktails are a theme when we get together!

Anyway, the key point of this Margarita is the use of a low-calorie sweetener.

We mixed Stevia with some boiling water and then added cold water until we had the sweetness right. Pour into a bottle and refrigerate.

It tastes the same, looks the same and feels the same.

It’s just that you can have one or two more than you could with the traditional calorie approach.


4 shots tequila
2 shots fresh lime juice
2 shots Stevia mixture
Lots of ice


  1. Fill two (Margarita) glasses with ice and allow the glasses to cool for a minute or two.
  2. Spread salt on a dry surface; empty the ice from the glasses and salt the rims of the glasses.
  3. Combine the tequila, lime juice and Stevia mixture in a cocktail shaker. Top with lots of ice and shake rigorously for a minute.
  4. Pour the Margarita mixture through the strainer into the glasses.
  5. Enjoy

Oliver’s Jamie Oliver’s Chicken and Mango Cups


Serves: 2

I’m Oliver and I am 10 years old and I am Robby Dog’s eldest son. I got cooking from my dad, and I love to help him with his cooking at home. At Christmas my mum got me the Jamie Oliver 5 ingredient cook book.

So any who, back to my dish, it is made for summer and you can really only make it in summer. It is also was one of the first dishes I made from the book and I have only made it three times before.

It is personally my favourite so far.

So, I and we (my family) hope you enjoy.


2 chicken breasts, flattened to 2cm
1 mango, peeled and cubed, remaining pulp and juice set aside
2 tbsp of Hoisin sauce
1 bunch of cress (or rocket)
1 iceberg lettuce, leaves separated: lettuce cups


  1. Set aside the cubed mango, cress and lettuce cups.
  2. Combine the hoisin sauce and mango pulp and juice.
  3. Heat a large pan over a medium heat and add some olive oil. Season the flattened chicken and then pan fry the chicken until browned on both sides and cooked through.
  4. Slice the cooked chicken into thin strips.
  5. Serve with the cubed mango, cress, mango/hoisin sauce and the lettuce cups.

Thomas Keller’s “Yabba Dabba Do”

Serves: 2 – 3

Yabba Dabba Do: Roasted Rib Steak with Golden Chanterelles, Pommes Anna and Bordelaise Sauce

For me at least, nothing beats a beautiful piece of standing rib steak and some amazing potatoes.

It’s almost a primal thing.

This Thomas Keller dish – one I have cooked a few times – is just wonderful and turns any Saturday or Sunday lunch into a long afternoon of wine, laughter and smiles. You just know something magic is going to happen when someone serves you an enormous standing rib!

A few points before you start:

  • The recipe asks for veal stock. I know I should invest the time and make a veal stock, though I so rarely use it. You will struggle to find veal stock so try and find veal glaze or veal jus and add a little bit and then water until you get the flavour of stock.
  • The recipe asks for Yukon Gold potatoes. A fruit-and-veg friend of Nat’s (I am serious) told her that this variety of potato is uncommon in Australia and to substitute… white potatoes.
  • The recipe asks for Chanterelle Mushrooms. Not only are these apparently the most expensive mushroom you can buy (not withstanding truffles), you can’t buy them. Well, you can’t buy them easily in Australia. We used portobellos and they were fine. It is after all the beef, potatoes and the sauce you came for.


Cote de Boeuf (Beef Rib)

1 double-cut rib steak (about 1kg or so)
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
Canola oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter

Bordelaise Sauce

1 cup red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon
1/3 cup sliced shallots (French onions)
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
10 sprigs Italian parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp sliced garlic
6 black peppercorns
1 cup Veal Stock

Pommes Anna

10 pitted prunes
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 tbsp minced shallots (French onions)
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 kg Yukon Gold potatoes
6 tablespoons Clarified Butter (we used ghee)

Chanterelle Mushrooms

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 generous cup chanterelle mushrooms, washed, stems peeled and cut into 3cm pieces
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Thyme sprigs
A green vegetable: we did broccolini sautéed with garlic


  1. Sprinkle all sides of the beef liberally with salt and pepper. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 1 day to allow the flavours to develop.
  2. One hour before cooking, remove the beef from the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature.

For the Bordelaise Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the wine, vegetables, parsley, thyme, bay leaf and garlic to a simmer and simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the peppercorns and veal stock and simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes or until the stock is reduced to a sauce consistency (abut 1/2 cup).
  2. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan.

For the Pommes Anna

  1. Place the prunes and chicken stock in a small saucepan; the prunes should just be covered with liquid.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the prunes are very soft. Remove the prunes to a chopping board and finely chop them. Add the shallots and salt to taste.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  4. Peel the potatoes and trim into cylinders that are 5cm in diameter. Using a mandoline, cut the potatoes into 1mm slices and place the slices in a bowl of cold water for a minute to remove some of the starch. Drain and dry on paper towel.
  5. Put 2 tbsp of the clarified butter in a 20cm ovenproof non-stick skillet. Place a slice of potato in the center of the pan; lay more potato slices around the edge of the pan, overlapping them by half, until you have completely circled the pan. Continue with another overlapping circle inside the first. When the entire pan is circled by potato, season and repeat again with another layer of circled potato.
  6. Spread half the prune mixture over the potatoes leaving a 2cm border at the edges. Make 2 more circled layers of potato, spread the remaining prune mixture and then 2 more circled layers of potato.
  7. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup clarified butter over the potatoes and place the skillet over a medium-low heat.
  8. Once the butter begins to bubble, cook for 3 – 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure the potatoes are not sticking.
  9. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for around 30 minutes or until the potatoes are well browned and crisp.
  10. When ready to serve, invert the pan onto a board and cut into wedges.

For the steak

  1. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, pat the steak dry and wrap the bones in aluminium foil to prevent from burning.
  2. Heat the 3 tbsp of the canola oil in a heavy ovenproof pan over a high heat. Add the steak and sear it for 4 to 5 minutes to until it is dark brown and crusty on the bottom. Flip the steak and brown the second side for 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Pour off most of the oil and add the butter to the pan. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 5 minutes. Baste the meat with the butter and pan juices, turn the steak over, sprinkle with salt and continue to cook, basting every 5 minutes for about 20 – 25 minute or until a thermometer reads 40c.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest in the pan for 10 minutes.

For the Chanterelle Mushrooms

  1. Heat the butter in a skillet over a medium heat.
  2. Add the mushrooms, season and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and any liquid has evaporated.

To complete

  1. Rewarm the sauce over a low heat.
  2. Remove the string from the steak and cut the meat against the grain into 1 – 2cm slices.
  3. Plate the steak on a plate, arrange the mushrooms over the steak, spoon over some of the sauce and garnish with thyme sprigs and the mushroom at the side.

Matt Preston’s World’s Best Rissoles

Serves: 4

I get the feeling that rissoles are back in vogue.

And thank you for that!

They still have the stigma of being a daggy, lazy dinner – left behind in the wave of MasterChef and salmon-three-ways – though it is the nostalgia and honesty of the rissole that now makes it on trend.

These Matt Preston rissoles are really good and served with a puréed mash and buttered peas, they closed off a weekend of cooking perfectly.

For lunch, Nat made Thomas Keller’s Cauliflower Panna Cotta with an Oyster Jelly and Bulgar Caviar; the night before, we made handmade noodles for a fusion Chinese/Middle Eastern dish.

Which is exactly why we needed these rissoles and why rissoles are what you need to hold back the endless waves of culinary complexity and sous videing. Enough is enough!



2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1 zucchini, coarsely grated
800gm lamb mince
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 heaped tbsp of whatever European herbs you have: basil, oregano, parsley, coriander, tarragon or majoram, though not sage or mint
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 egg
Sea salty and freshly cracked pepper
1/4 cup mint jelly
2 tbsp malt vinegar (we used black vinegar)
Mash (into which we mixed two finely chopped raw French onions)
Buttered peas


  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat; add the onions, carrot and zucchini, and cook, stirring for 5 minutes until everything softens. Set aside to cool.
  2. Add the mince, tomato sauce, herbs, oats and egg to the vegetable mixture and season. Mix well using your (clean) hands until well combined. Shape into 12 rissoles.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the rissoles in batches a cook for 5 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  4. Add the mint jelly and vinegar to the pan and stir over a medium heat until the jelly melts. Return the rissoles and toss in the liquid for 2 minutes until coasted, sticky and glossy.
  5. Serve with mash and peas.

Jamie Oliver’s Pork Afelia

Serves: 8

Well, it pretty much doesn’t get easier or better than this for a slow Sunday night on the couch with a bottle of red.


And we mean better just as much as easier.

It is awesome! And better.


1 onion, peeled and sliced into onion rings
3 garlic gloves, peeled and sliced thinly lengthways
2 tbsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
4 tbsp olive oil
1.5kg pork shoulder, cut into 5cm pieces
375ml dry red wine
200ml passata
Parmesan cheese to serve
Rice or polenta to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over a medium heat and cook the pork in batches, until browned on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and crushed coriander seeds to the pan and cook until softened.
  3. Return the pork to the pan and add the wine and passata. Bring to the boil, lower to a simmer, season and cover for 2 hours or more.
  4. When reduced, rich and the pork is to die for, serve on rice (or polenta) with plenty of shaved Parmesan to serve.
  5. Fuck you Monday.

Peruvian Chicken with Green Sauce

Serves: 4 – 6

Nat found this recipe and it is exceptional.

The flavours, the warmth, the whole thing is blow-away madness for a weekday meal… just ensure you marinate the chicken the night before, ditto the sauce the night before.

Just the chicken marinade alone makes the chicken taste like… anything but chicken.

Though it is the green sauce that takes the cake and brings the whole production home. It matches the big flavours of the chicken with even more big flavours.

Add to that the hot chicken contrasting with the cold sauce and you’ve smashed it on all levels.

(It sort of reminds me of the joke the boys tell me about a Coca Cola truck and a Menthos van crashing into each other.)

Anyway, well done Nat. I was a bit, ‘here is another chicken breast recipe’ though this is not another chicken breast recipe.

It is the chicken breast recipe.

More Peruvian cooking we will be doing!

Ingredients – Chicken

6 skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness

Marinade/basting sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh Jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

Ingredients – Green Sauce

3 medium Jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed
1 tbsp Aji Amarillo paste (optional)*
1 1/4 cups tightly packed fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1/4 cup tightly packed basil leaves
3 tbsp Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp ginger, grated
1 tbsp honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp, canola oil
1/2 cup whole egg mayonnaise
Freshly cracked pepper and salt to taste



  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Set aside 1/4 cup to use as a marinade when cooking
  2. Place the flattened chicken into a large zip lock bag and pour in all the marinade except the reserved marinade for when grilling. Seal the bag and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Heat your grill high. Grill the chicken until cooked on both sides, basting with the reserved marinade. Once cooked, rest for 5 minutes.

Green Sauce

  1. Combine the ingredients except the mayonnaise in a food processor on high until smooth.
  2. Add the mayonnaise and blend until completely incorporated. Season with the freshly ground pepper and salt.
  3. Transfer to a jar or sealed container and refrigerate for a week.


  1. Thickly slice the cooked chicken breasts. Drizzle with the green sauce.
  2. Serve with… we didn’t continue with the Peruvian theme here with air fried Brussel Sprouts and hand-cut potato wedges cooked with chilli flakes, though anything will go. The chicken and the Green Sauce are your hero.

* Apparently you can find this sauce online and apparently it does add an extra level of oomph. We loved it without – as many others have commented – though if you can get, you’re all the better for it we are told.

Homemade Chicken Doner Kebab

Serves: 4

I guess a recipe like this doesn’t need an introduction, especially if it is true: that you can actually create a Chicken Doner Kebab at home.

You can.

And we did.

And it was spectacular.

I found this recipe on Instagram from Recipetineats, probably one of the most consistently positive, beautifully photographed, wonderful to follow food-bloggers out there.

And she is Australian to boot!

It isn’t Gordon Ramsay, though of course it isn’t. It is a Chicken Doner Kebab and so it is so much better.

Key is to marinate the chicken, double skewer the chicken thighs and let them bake above their juices.

I didn’t add tabbouleh which Nat was less than impressed about, though we did have hummus, chilli sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion and cheese and then toasted them in a pan to get the pita bread crunchy. (RecipeTin doesn’t ask for this though in my experience, all Lebanese/Pita breads are better toasted…)


This is a Saturday dinner after a long lunch and it seriously nails it. Like any amazing kebab should.


1kg chicken thigh
Olive oil for drizzling
Long metal skewers


1 cup plain Green yoghurt
3 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil

For serving: choose your usual favourites!

Lebanese bread/pita bread
Finely sliced iceberg lettuce
Tomato slices
Red onion slices
Grated cheese
Chilli sauce (Sriracha)


  1. Mix the marinade, add the whole chicken thighs, mix well and marinate in a bowl or a big zip lock bag for at least 3 hours and preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  3. Choose a pan that the metal skewers can sit across allowing the chicken to be elevated off the base of the pan.
  4. Fold the marinated chicken thighs in half and threat onto two skewers lengthways. Repeat, snuggly pushing the thighs against each other.
  5. You should fit 5 thighs this way; so repeat again with 2 more skewers and 5 more thighs so you end with 2 stacks of skewered chicken thighs.
  6. Prop each of the 2 skewers on the edges of the pan. Drizzle with olive oil.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes or until charred.
  8. Remove, spoon the juices over the chicken, turn the chicken over, drizzle with olive oil and bake for another 30 minutes.
  9. Remove, baste once more and set aside for 5 minutes.
  10. To carve, stand the skewers upright and slice the meat thinly.
  11. The rest will be obvious: hummus and chilli on the Lebanese bread, chicken, tomato, lettuce, red onion, cheese, whatever: fold the bottom up, left and right and make a wrap.
  12. Toast in a hot pan.
  13. And call us over for dinner!