Sunday, 12 July 2015


Traditional food is always more satisfying when made at home from scratch. I saw this recipe on TV one night and having family in Wales, I had to try it out my self. With recipes dating back to the 14th century, Cawl is considered one of the national dishes of Wales. 

Normally I am not fond of soup as a suitable meal, but Cawl has chunks of root vegetables and juicy chunks of lamb in its broth. Accompanied with bread and butter, it is the perfect winter dish to warm you up.

I have been reading up on recipes of Cawl and found that there are many different versions of Cawl. The recipe is one that I have made from multiple recipes and I found it to work really well. It is best to have all your ingredients prepared before starting the Cawl. 

What you need:
Salt and Pepper
2 Litres of Water
1 Onion
1kg shanks 
500g Swede, peel and cut into 1cm chunks
500g Turnip, peel and cut into 1cm chunks
2 Carrots, peel and cut into 1cm chunks
3 Potatoes, peel and cut into 1cm chunks 
2 Parsnips, peel and cut into 1cm chunks
3 Large Leeks, slice into 1cm chunks

How to:
1) Place the lamb, water, onion, 2 teaspoons of salt & pepper in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil, skimming the surface with a metal spoon to remove scum. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, skimming occasionally, for 2 hours or until lamb is tender and falls off the bone.

2) Remove the onion and discard. Remove the lamb and chop into bite sized chunks. keep the saucepan on medium-low heat.

3) Add the Swede and Turnip, let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

4) Add the carrot, potato and parsnip, let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

5) Add the leek, let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the root vegetables are just tender.

6) Return the lamb to the saucepan for 10-15 minutes.

7) Serve hot with bread and butter.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Teriyaki Sauce

Well it has been a while since my last post! There has been a lot going on this year, but now the weather is a bit warmer and summer is just around the corner, I'm going to update Ben's Food Blog a bit more often.

I thought I would start with something simple and easy to do. Teriyaki Sauce. Teriyaki anything is always so tasty, but when you make it from scratch, it always seems to taste that much better. 

There are a few ingredients I always have handy at home - Chilli Flakes, Ginger, Garlic, Peanut Butter, Sesame Oil, Mirin, Sweet Soy Sauce (Kecup Manis) and Soy Sauce.

There is so many sauces and flavours from these ingredients. Peanut Butter, Chilli Flakes and Sweet Soy Sauce (Kecup Manis) will make a peanuty Satay sauce. Soy Sauce and Garlic cooked with chicken pieces. And many more.

My brother first made us Teriyaki Sauce. The first few times he did it was amazing. He did cook us Teriyaki chicken one night and it seemed a lot more salty than it should. He forgot the sugar side of the sauce. Was a good laugh though. 

Teriyaki is a mixture of sweet and salty together make the perfect sticky sauce.

What you need:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tbs mirin
1 1/2 tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/4 tsp sesame oil

How to:
1) Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved.

You can use this on Chicken, Fish, Beef or Pork. 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Flavoured Sherbet

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2014 and that means lots of new recipes. There has been a bit happening around the home as summer has finally seem to hit our doorstep here in Tasmania. Herbs, fruit and veggies are sprouting into their prime. Below we have plum's that are nearly ripe, thyme ready for roasts, bay tree blooming to its peak and we can't forget my all time favourite, Thai chilli's. 


Over the Christmas break I got a few new cookbooks, best present ever. So I have been reading up a bit on new recipes and new skills to try. Three of the new books I got are; Mexican Craving (Ben Milbourne), The Healthy Cook (Dan Churchill) and Jerusalem (Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi). Both Ben (2012) and Dan (2013) are from Australian Master Chef and have done very well for their selves. I am lucky enough to know Ben's cousin, my very own claim to fame, well as close as I can get.

There is one recipe in Ben's cookbook that I have to share. Its fun and exciting. It is homemade sherbet. I made this and took it into my work and had a couple of laughs. This sherbet is a lot sweeter and sometimes sour, than most of the sherbets you can get at the shops. It also foams a lot, so be warned.

What you need:
3 tbs flavoured jelly crystals (any flavour you wish)
2 tbs citric acid
1 tbs bicarbonate of soda

How to:
1) Mix all the ingredients together and mix well. 

2) Eat - in small quantities or in heaped spoonfuls if you dare.

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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Rocky Road Brownies

Rocky Road, who loves rocky road? Its that crunch of the peanuts, the juicy squeeze of the red raspberry lollies and the melting chocolate all mixed into one. Now just add a chocolate brownie and you're in heaven. This is a recipe I found a long time ago and then lost it, but the idea was still there, so I made my own up.

The best part of rocky road is you can make it simple or extravagant as you want. In the recipe below, I will so you the extravagant side of rocky. This is also a really good recipe for Christmas gifts. 

The great thing about this recipe also, it doesn't take all day in the kitchen to have a final product. You can do the cooking in the morning and be enjoying the rocky for after Christmas lunch.

Here in Australia it is normally hot (I say normally because at this very moment in time, it is raining and cold) so having roasts is not the best option some times. Slaving away in a hot kitchen when it can be 40 plus degrees outside is not good. After these are refrigerated, it is a nice cool, and very tasty treat on a hot summers day.

What you need:
75g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
155g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g melted butter
150g of mini marshmallows
100g pistachio nuts (husks removed)
100g glace cherries
25g shredded coconut 
200g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate

How to:
1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Brush a 20 x 30cm (approx) baking tin with some of the melted butter. Line the tray with baking paper with the sides overhanging. 

2) Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs and melted butter. Stir to combine. 

3) Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 20 minutes. Set aside in the pan and allow to cool. Keep the brownie in the pan, do not remove.

4) Combine the marshmallows, cherries, pistachios and coconut in a bowl. Melt the chocolate and add to the mixture. Stir to combine.

5) Pour the chocolate mixture over the brownie and spread the mixture over out evenly. Place in the fridge until the chocolate has set. Once the mixture has set, slice anyway you want and enjoy.

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Sunday, 15 December 2013

Baklava (Baklawa)

I have always enjoyed the sweet and sticky taste of Baklava. The crunch of the pastry and nuts just brings a smile to my face. For me, when I think of Baklava, I always think Greece. I was chatting to a work colleague who is from Lebanon and he told me that they have their own style Baklava. Of course, me loving Middle Eastern food and Baklava, couldn't believe my ears.

With the Greek style Baklava, you have spices such as cinnamon and cloves. With the Middle Eastern version, you have things like rose water and orange blossom. Having one of these Baklava after a hearty Tagine just hits the spot, just like an after dinner mint.

Like the Turkish Delight I made for one of my first recipes, this is very sticky, but so much more easy to handle than the Turkish Delight. There is two components to this recipe; the sugar syrup and the Baklava. The best way to do this is to start the Baklava and when it is in the oven, start the sugar syrup.


What you need:
1 x 375g packet filo pastry
180g of butter, melted
1 cup of crushed peanuts
1 quantity of sugar syrup HOT (see below)
1/4 cup coarsely ground pistachio nuts

How to:
1) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Cut the filo pastry sheets to the size of your baking tin. Brush the baking tin liberally with melted butter.

2) Layer half the filo pastry sheets in the tin, brushing every second sheet with butter.

3) Spread the peanuts evenly over the pastry.

4) Cover with the remaining filo pastry, again brushing every second sheet with butter. Do not brush the top layer, not yet.

5) With a sharp knife, cut the Baklava into diamonds. Now brush the top with the melted butter.

6) Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 degrees C and bake for a further 30 minutes or until golden brown. This is the best time to start the sugar syrup.

7) Remove from the oven and pour over the hot sugar syrup. You may hear a sizzling sound - this is normal.

8) Sprinkle the pistachio nuts over the top and allow to cool, then serve.


What you need:
400g white sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs of either rose water or orange blossom
1 1/2 cups of water

How to:
1) Bring the sugar, lemon juice and water to the boil over medium heat.

2) Cover and let boil for about 20 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is thick.

3) Stir in the rose water or orange blossom and remove from the heat.

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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Rúgbrauð - Icelandic Rye Bread

I have got great plans to head to this amazing place, Iceland. Just not yet. I have been looking at different tours and of course the different types of food that the Icelander's offer. 

Being surrounded by the ocean, seafood is seen on a lot of menus. One menu item I have come across heaps on my internet travels, is dried fish. Not too sure how this would taste as we don't eat a great deal of dried fish here in Australia. I know that dried fish has been around since the Vikings and this is a way to preserve food and allowing it to last a lot longer, and less waste.

Another recipe I came across was Rúgbrauð (Rye Bread). Its my understanding that this is cooked in natural springs in Iceland. Where I live, we don't have any of them. But don't worry, a lot of websites give an alternative. 

Rúgbrauð is sweet and dense. You would think that it would be dry and doughy, but surprisingly it is very moist. I brought it straight out of the slow cooker and cut a slice, topped it with butter and it was pretty good I say. 

It would be best served right away with dried fish, butter or pate'. 

What you need:
2 1/2 cups of rye flour
1 1/2 cups of plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup scalded milk, cooled until lukewarm
1 tbsp molasses

How to:
1) Mix together the dry ingredients and dissolve the molasses in the warm milk. Stir the milk into the dried ingredients and knead until the mix comes together.

2) Butter a loaf tin and put the dough in the loaf tin. Cover the loaf tin with foil and secure the foil leaving some space at the top for the dough to rise.

3) Put the loaf tin in a slow cooker and fill with water two thirds the way up the loaf tin. Simmer in a slow cooker (our version of a natural spring) on low, for four to four and a half hours. Don't let the water evaporate, check every hour or so. 

4) You can check if the Rúgbrauð is cooked the same way as a cake; put a skewer in the middle and if it comes out clean its done. If it isn't cooked through, put the Rúgbrauð back into the slow cooker for another 15 minutes.

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Friday, 27 September 2013

Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons are widely used in Moroccan cuisine. Once they are ready to use, you wash the excess salt from the lemon and, in most instances, you use the rind of the lemon. Preserved Lemons do take about a month before you can start to use them. The brine in which they sit, allows the lemons to ferment at room temperature in a cool dark place.

I know I have been posting a lot of small condiments of Moroccan cuisine lately, but it will be worth it in the end. These past few posts are some of the basic necessities of Moroccan cooking and there are plenty more where that comes from. 

The picture featured below was taken at the same time as the Preserved Lemons were made. Once they have been sitting in their brine for about a month I will take another picture to show the difference and final product.

What you need:
10 lemons
150g coarse sea salt
2 fresh bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
cold water

How to:
1) Squeeze the juice of 5 lemons into a bowl.

2) With a sharp knife cut a deep cross into the top of the lemons. Cut almost all the way to the bottom of the lemons. Ensure the cut lemons are still joined at the bottom.

3) Sprinkle a tablespoon of salt inside each cut lemon then push the cut lemon together and place into a sterilised jar. 

4) Once all lemons are placed into the jar, layer the remaining salt, bay leaves and cinnamon stick in between the lemons.

5) Pour the lemon juice over the lemons and fill the jar, enough to cover the lemons, with cold water.

6) Leave to ferment for a month in a cool, dark place, shaking the jar gently every 3rd day or so.

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