January 31, 2012

Basil and Yoghurt Salad Dressing

I don’t know about you, but where I live, it’s been hot.  Days of over 40C (105F).  Yeah.  Hot.

Since my little house has one air-conditioning unit placed in the dumbest spot imaginable (actually it could be worse), I have spent very little time at home, and instead residing at my other half’s.  He has four air-conditioning units!  And a pool.  He’s lovely...

So what do you do when it’s uber hot – eat lots of fruit and salads.  What did I do?  I ate so much fruit that I gave myself an upset stomach.  Yeah not cool.  I learnt a lesson there...

A week or so ago I had a “I’m not going to eat carbs for a month” idea.  It lasted almost two weeks before I devoured a massive plate of pasta!  It had to be done.  While I was in my no carbs phase, I discovered quinoa.  I had tasted it before and knew about its health benefits, but never actually made it.  So simple and so yum.  What makes it even better is an awesome salad dressing.  I wanted something full of flavour and indulgent (seeing I was being so healthy) so decided on a creamy dressing.  But hey, if you’re making that much effort to be healthy the dressing can’t have cream!  Enter yoghurt.  This is nothing new.  I know this.  I looked around my house, grabbed some basil off my window sill, a clove of garlic, oil, salt etc, threw it in a blender, and out came this little masterpiece.

There’s enough here to make two big salads – the rest you can store in the fridge.

1 clove garlic
2 heaped tablespoons natural Greek yoghurt
Handful basil leaves
Juice ½ lemon
1 tablespoon apple cider or red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons water

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined.  Taste for seasoning - might need more oil, salt or lemon juice.

Store in an air tight container or jar for upto 2 weeks.

Enough for two large salads.

January 25, 2012

A Birthday Cake - Chocolate Layer Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Hi, hello, sorry for the break...  that head cold that I mentioned in my last post, well it's only now just left me.  Two and a half weeks!  So frustrating.  

To be honest I haven't really cooked much lately.  Well that's not true.  I have made some awesome salads lately with quinoa.  The dressing, it deserves it's own post it was that good.  But seeing as it was my first attempt at quinoa and I made the recipe up, I didn't really document it.  Probably would have been wise to.  Will make again I'm sure.

I want to talk about Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  Last Friday was my brothers 30th birthday, and seeing how much he wants to appear on this blog, I put a photo of him blowing out the candle on his cake (awwwwww...).

He loves a good chocolate cake.  I know this.  Every year he wants a chocolate cake.  A couple of years ago we covered one with m&m's - I think he was maybe 26 or 27 years old.  Normal.

This year I wanted to do one better.  I used the chocolate cake recipe from here, but made a Swiss Meringue Buttercream = heaven!!  No joke.  It's so light, and semi-sweet, and it lets the chocolate cake sing!  Plus the white on black looks awesome.

I followed this recipe to a tee, so not going to re-write it for you cos her explanation is spot on - the quantity of egg whites and butter was perfect for this size cake.

Happy Birthday again brother!  xx

January 16, 2012

Lemon and Herb Crumbed Pork Chop

These last few days I have been feeling like crap.  Sorry to use that language, but it pretty much sums it up.  It started with a head cold then ended with an incredibly dry sore throat.  Lots of coughing.  It got so bad that I had to have gaps in the day where I didn’t talk – talking lead to coughing.  Being sick when it’s like 40 degrees outside (wasn’t 40, maybe 36, felt like 40...) sucks big time.  A cold, in the middle of summer – lame.

I’ve been craving soup, this soup in particular, but I couldn’t bring myself to make it cos it was so hot!  Instead I opted for simple food – salads, meats, veges plus a soup (and dirty take-away last night but it was so worth it!).

Last Sunday night, when the cold really started, I made this dish.  At the time I was struggling with life.  I bought the wrong potatoes so they were crumbling and sticking to my pot (which was a blessing in disguise because it produced all these golden broken pieces, crispy and delicious), I got distracted and made one side of the pork chop a really really dark brown, and then I burnt my hand on the fry pan after taking it out of the oven.  The meal over all was great, it’s just getting there was a bit hard.  I brought it down to this – I was tired, and sick.

These chops are pretty much the same as the lemon and chive veal cutlets I made, only they are pork chops.  I tried to buy veal chops for this but the butcher said it wasn’t a good time of year for veal (not too sure why that is).  So pork it was.  And what a great way to eat pork!  The recipe comes from Donna Hay’s magazine (issue 59 to be exact).

4 x medium to large pork chops, with bone
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (2 slices of good crusty bread, processed)
1 cup grated parmesan
1 lemon, rind finely grated
Handful finely chopped parsley
Pinch salt
Pinch ground pepper
2 eggs
1 cup plain flour

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

In a medium flat bowl, add the bread crumbs, parmesan, lemon rind, parsley, salt and pepper and mix well.

In a second bowl, lightly beat the eggs.   In a third bowl, add the flour.

For each chop, first place in the flour to lightly dust, then coat in the egg, and finally place in the crumb mix, making sure all of the chop is covered.  Repeat for the other chops.

In a large fry pan over a medium heat, add a good layer of oil (grape seed or vegetable is good for this) and place in the chops.  Turn over when the chop is golden, then place the pan in the over for 10 – 20 minutes (will vary depending on the size and thickness of the chops).

Serves 4.

January 9, 2012


2012 has seriously begun!  I for one can’t believe how quick 2011 went.  It was there – then over.  I don’t feel like I achieved much.  I did however stick to my New Years resolution, this blog.  For 2012 I don’t think I’m going to set one, there seems to be too much going on already.  Want to know my big news?  Yes?  No?  Well I’m going to tell you anyway.

I’m heading back to University.  Yep.  I’m going to work full-time and study part-time.  Crazy I know.  But it’s only for a year, so hopefully I will be able to juggle everything.

Which brings me to this – I need to get organised.  My life needs an organisation over-haul!  If you saw my study you’d freak.  It’s basically a storage centre for all the crap I have collected over my 26 years.  I can’t throw things away!  The thought of ditching something then one day needing it stresses me.  I need to sort this issue out.

I figure, when the clutter is gone, my head will clear, then working, studying, blogging and having a social life WILL HAPPEN.  It will.  It has to.

Onto this dessert.  I’ve made this a few times, and god it’s good.  The mascarpone mix is so light and fluffy, which means you can eat lots (hence why I put serves 8 – 12).  The recipe was ripped out of some magazine years ago and has been floating between my mum and I, so all I can tell you is it originally comes from Karen Martini.  The only real changes I made is a cut back on the alcohol, and adjusted some quantities here and there.

A key tip for this dessert is it is best made the day before serving.  Leaving it in the fridge over night will make the biscuits nice and soft, and will allow the mascarpone mix to set and firm slightly.  Another tip - don't soak the biscuits in coffee.  This will make it soggy and watery.  A quick dip is all you need, trust people.

400ml fresh espresso coffee
100ml marsala
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
500g mascarpone cream cheese
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
200g good quality dark chocolate, grated or finely chopped
250g savoiardi biscuits

Chill a large serving  bowl (any shape is ok, but you want a size roughly 25 x 25 cm, and about 7 cm deep) in the fridge.

Combine the coffee and marsala in a bowl and set aside.

In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy.  Fold in the mascarpone.  Gently fold in half the egg whites until well combined, then fold in the other half.

Dust the chilled serving bowl with cocoa, then sprinkle some of the chocolate.  Place a good heaped layer of the mascarpone mix over the bottom.

Quickly dip the biscuits into the coffee mix (if you soak them the tiramisu will become soggy) then layer them evenly over the mascarpone. 

Place a single layer of mascarpone over the biscuits, then dust with cocoa powder and sprinkle with chocolate.  Repeat the biscuits, and then mascarpone.

Chill in the fridge for 2 hours before serving – overnight is best though.

Dust with cocoa and chocolate before serving.

Serves 8 – 12.

January 6, 2012

One year anniversary!

Today marks food on paper's one year anniversary.  Well, one year since my first post.  To be honest I set up this blog about 6 months before that, but then left it, waiting for the right time.  That time was the start of 2011, my New Year’s resolution in fact.  So you know what that means...  I kept a New Year’s resolution!

I’ve really enjoyed this blog, the writing, cooking, photographing, my rambling, the successes and even failures.  Most of all I’ve loved the comments you guys leave!  I can’t  tell you how gratifying it is to put something out in the world and get positive feedback.  We all know what it feels like, and one that makes me so happy.

So to that I say thank you!

I have been quiet the past couple of weeks, I’ve been holidaying in the South West region of Western Australia, enjoying the sun, beaches and wine region.  Oh so much wine.  Monday things will be back to normal, I hope.
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