Saturday, October 15, 2016

Recipe 7 - Gratin de macaronis au fromage - Rachel Khoo

Gratin de macaronis au fromage... sounds so decadent... so French... so exciting!

Rachel Khoo's book... heaps of lovely recipes in this one

In reality its good old Mac Cheese... but for all intents and purposes (and for this post!) we will call it Gratin de macaronis au fromage. Otherwise we will have to call it the ultimate comfort food.

There are heaps and heaps of recipes for Mac Cheese, lord knows I have tried at least 5-6 difference variations and its one of those recipes that I like to see how other people do it.

Rachel Khoo's recipe is not dissimilar to my personal recipe.  She uses French Gruyere, I use French Gruyere, and surprise surprise we both use pasta!  How her recipe differs to mine is the Béchamel sauce.  Mine is a little bit Greek and hers a bit French... The results are both similar and both taste amazing!

yummy smelly French Gruyere


300g macaroni (I used penne)
200g Gruyere cheese grated

Bechamel Sauce:

30g butter
30g plain flour
500ml full cream milk lukewarm
1/4 onion skin removed
1 clove
1 bay leaf
a pinch of nutmeg (I prefer freshly grated)
salt and white pepper

the flavour of the onion in the béchamel is so mild 

Preheat oven to 180 degree celcius and start the Béchamel sauce.

For the sauce melt butter in a large pan over medium heat.  Once the butter has melted add the flour and mix it until it is all nice smooth.  Remove it from the heat and let is cool down for a couple of minutes and then slowly add the lukewarm milk whisking it constantly so it remains smooth and not lumpy.  Place back over the medium heat.  You then add the onion, clove and bay leaf and slowly slimmer for about 10 minutes whisking it frequently.

While the sauce is slowly simmering cook pasta according to the packet instructions.

When the sauce is ready remove the onion, clove and bay leaf and then you add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Set it aside to cool down.

Once the pasta is ready drain it and place it in a baking dish ( I have used individual dishes, looks cute and also serves a purpose).

Set some cheese aside to sprinkle on top and then mix the rest of the cheese in the cooled down sauce.  Pour the cheesy sauce over the pasta, mix it and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top... cook it in the oven for about 20 minutes until its all golden and yummy.

Ready to go into the oven

Voila! All cheesy, bubbly and yummy!

Something I learnt from Rachel for this recipe and any others with sauce and cheese is this..."Make sure you add the cheese when the sauce is warm rather than hot.  If the sauce is too hot, the fat will separate from the protein and form a layer on top."  There you go!  I've learnt something today...

the end result!

Enjoy as I have!

Chat soon.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hello Again!

It has been a while... It has actually been a really long while...

Between moving house, renovating, working, travelling I have totally and utterly neglected my little blog and my cooking as well! I know excuses, excuses, excuses...

I see you Nigella... and Donna...

So from today no more excuses... I am still collecting my cookbooks and I am still sort of cooking... The cooking is mainly quite uninspiring tried and true recipes that I can do with my eyes shut.  My old kitchen had no bench space and I like to spread out when cooking, it was crammed and dark so it offered no inspiration for me to spend time in there much less do more complex food. This time round though my cooking will be done in my newly renovated absolutely gorgeous kitchen. I have changed the style, I have gone for a shaker style kitchen with plenty of drawers and again I have purchased a free standing Ilve oven cause I have been so happy with it in the past. I am having a photo shoot soon and I will be able to show you my kitchen properly!

my ever faithful KitchenAid mixer

Just so you can understand  how much I  love my cookbooks,  I have actually had a custom designed bookcase/pantry installed just to house my over growing  collection.  You see my faves are still there, some have been put inside the cupboards whilst some new additions have been added.

I can't tell you how much this cupboard hold!

Some of my new faves are Rachel Khoo's "My Little French Kitchen" and "The Little Paris Kitchen".  Yes I have recently been to Paris and yes am totally feeling the after effects... Three kilos to be precise! Her travels through the French countryside and all the regions is beautiful... The photography dreamy.

My dream would be to have this ladies job!

My next recipe will come  from one of Rachel's books... in the mean time let me know if there are any cookbooks out there that I should add to the collection and if there are any recipes you want me to try out!

Chat soon!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Recipe - Slow Cooked Beef with Peas

Well I would like to claim this as my recipe but really it's one if those recipes that the mere smell of it reminds me of my childhood.  My mum as I have mentioned before was an amazing cook and this was a Sunday favourite of hers.

You see she cooked it on a Sunday because she liked it to stew for a long time so it would just melt in your mouth.

My mum didn't believe it slow cookers or pressure cookers, everything was done on the stove or in the oven.  I on the other hand love my slow cookers.  I have taken my mums recipe and made this my own with my variations...

Here it is:


1 kilo rump steak fat removed and cut in strips
1 large brown onion
3 cloves of garlic crushed
2 cans of crushed tomato
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 batch of dill finely chopped (about a loose cup)
1 kilo frozen baby peas
1/2 cup of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


Heat oil
Soften Onion and Garlic with a little salt
Brown Meat and then reduce heat and put the lid on the pot
Boil kettle with water
When liquid reduces in the pot top up a little of boiled hot water
Continue cooking until the meat is soft and slides of the fork
Add Peas, Tomato Paste, Crushed Tomatoes, Dill, Salt and Pepper
Cook for a further 45 minutes until sauce is nice and thick

You could also do this in a slow cooker. 

Soften the onion and brown the meat on the cooktop and then transfer to the slow cooker.  I do this in the morning and let it cook all day.  With the slow cooker you don't need to add any extra water as it has it's juices.  About 1 1/2 hours prior to serving I add the peas, crushed tomato tomato paste, dill salt and pepper and let it simmer away!  If it is too runny I put it back on the cooktop right at the end for a few minutes, lid off!

It's yummy, low fat and full of goodness.

I serve it with or without rice! Up to you!



Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Recipe - Easy Banana Muffins

I have a love/hate relationship with bananas.  Love to eat them when they are just about to ripen, hate them a day or so after that.  I always throw bananas out.

With that in mind I have had to come up with a few simple recipes for ripe bananas.

This is so easy and yummy!


3 large or 4 small ripe bananas mashed
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons butter (melted and cooled)
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pre heat oven 180 degrees.  Grease 8 muffin tray.

Combine egg and banana, add milk and butter lastly add all dry ingredients making sure you mix well.

Pour in the greased tray.  Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. Allow to cool, dust icing sugar prior to serving.

You could add nuts or choc chip pieces (I didn't have any today!).  And the thing I like the best is that it's with ingredients we all have in the pantry and fridge!



Friday, December 27, 2013

My Recipe - Berry Dessert!

I was helping my cousin on Christmas Eve with Christmas Day preparations.  You see she was hosting 40 people and most are Greek so you can imagine the food intake! Staggering!

I was assigned to chopping (don't get the kitchenaid ceramic knifes... That's worthy of another blogpost! Just don't!) and making a couple of desserts.

One I always to this time of the year or in any other special occasion is my mixed berries dessert.  It's adult, very visually appealing, delicious and ridiculously easy!


2 x punnets of raspberries
2 x punnets of strawberries
2 x punnets of blueberries
2 x punnets of blackberries
2 x tablespoons of icing sugar
1 1/2 cups of Cointreau 
Cream or Ice Cream to serve


Wash all ingredients, cut strawberries in half and place all ingredients in the bowl which you will serve.

Pour the icing sugar over the berries and then the Cointreau and with a big serving spoon very gently slight mix (you don't want to bruise or squash the berries). Cover with Gladwrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  I generally leave overnight.

I would serve it with thick cream or ice cream!

That's it! Easy! Decadent! Delicious!



Sunday, September 8, 2013

My favourite (and easiest!) salad!

Some days I just can't be bothered! 

On those days the menu at our household is easy... steak (or chicken) and my spinach salad! 

You see I am of the school that less is more and that applies to food!

I thought I would share my spinach salad with you and you can time yourself because it will take you approximately 5 minutes from start to table!


2 x medium tomatoes (I like the Adelaide when available) cut in crescents or diced

2 x Lebanese cucumbers cut in cubes or half moons

1 x pack of baby spinach 

half a medium Spanish onion cut into crescents

150grms Greek Feta (never use any other!) cut into cubes

10-12 Kalamata Olives

1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste

And here is the hard bit!  Put all the ingredients in a bowl pour the dressing and mix it all together!!!!

Serves 4

You can add steak or chicken and turn it into a meal!



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Avocado dips

I have always been perplexed what to give my kids for snack after school! It had to be nutritious and yummy and filling but not too much as not to wreck their dinner...

Even now that they are big.  And hungry! And difficult to please!  I still like to make them something, so  whether it is a rice pudding (rizogalo) or leftover pasta or a dip with pita and veggies of sorts, I try to make it interesting and yum!

Avocado dips are always a hit!

I have two fail proof recipes that both kids and adults love...

Avocado and feta

2 x avocados diced
150grms feta
1 medium lemon (juiced)
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli
pepper to taste
2 tablespoons yoghurt or sour cream

In the food processor and you are done!  Serve with pita bread and/or veggies

You can vary this by putting onion or garlic but that is up to you I prefer it without!

Avocado and sweet chilli

2 x avocados diced
200mls Light Sour Cream
2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce (more or less according to your taste!)

In the food processor and again you are done!  Serve with corn chips!

Of course with spring/summer fast approaching these are perfect to share with friends over a glass of wine!