Kitchen Therapy


Summer Scallop Salad with Corn, Basil and Nectarines


This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Chicken Liver Gateaux with Pickled Onions.
I decided to go rogue and catch up on a recipe I missed.

When theFFwD group made this dish it was winter in Australia and nectarines were not available.
I love scallops and was disappointed at the time I couldn’t make this dish as Dorie intended.
So, I made a mental note to myself to wait until summer…


Surf lessons…


Theme parks…


Water slides…

And don’t forget the sweltering Aussie heat.

Summer is here!
So Chicken Liver Gateaux has been pushed to the back burner in favour of more seasonal cooking!


Tomatoes, corn, nectarines and basil are teamed with plump, tender, scallops…


And topped with a basil puree and lime dressing.
(It’s still school holidays here and I took my two beautiful boys grocery shopping with me.
To break up a fight, I asked them to go and grab me a two limes.
I had to laugh when I got home and unpacked the groceries…)


Each one looked at me indignantly and blamed his brother!


In the end, It all came together beautifully.
I served this with fresh, crusty, bread rolls and everyone enjoyed it.
And that’s all that matters!

The perfect summer dish ūüôā

I have to say, I’m curious about what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group thought of the Chicken Liver Gateaux!



Zucchini Vermicelli with Cucumber and Lemon


It’s Father’s Day in Australia the first Sunday of every September.
I spent the day madly shopping for presents.
(I have a terrible habit of leaving everything till the last minute).

I couldn’t imagine going home and cooking.
I honestly gave up any hope of completing this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe.
I was tired and truth be told… it wasn’t a recipe that appealed to me in any way!


Raw zucchini? Umm… no thanks.
If I saw this on dish on a menu, I would skim right over it!

I decided I would stop by the Foodhall at David Jones (it’s pretty fancy in there) and splurge on dinner.
I couldn’t go past the Chunky Beef Pie by Simmone Logue Fine Food Company.



Pies are about as Aussie as you can get.
But I’ve always struggled with what to serve alongside a meat pie (other than tomato sauce that is!)
I felt I needed to serve it with a salad, I don’t know why, maybe it’s a mum thing?
You know, making sure the kids get their vegetables and stuff…
But a salad doesn’t really go with a meat pie.
(It’s just my opinion!)

Then it occurred to me, Dorie’s zucchini salad wasn’t your typical salad…
I started to toy with the idea of serving it alongside the pie.
I started to get excited!
Imagine finding a salad that would go with a meat pie!


This salad is very easy to make.
The zucchini was meant to be cut into long thin strips that resemble tagliatelle.
I just couldn’t imagine eating wide strips of raw zucchini!
So I used my magic slicing machine (that’s what I call this contraption cos I don’t know it’s real name! Sorry!) to cut my zucchini into thin spaghetti shaped strips.
Obstacle overcome!
I was feeling pretty happy with myself! (Yes it really is the little things!)


This salad tasted great on it’s own and went surprisingly well with the pie.
The acidity from the lemon complimented the chunky beef filling in an oddly similar way to our traditional side of tomato sauce!
I was surprised!
And very, very pleased with myself!
(Honestly you’d think I had just invented the meat pie itself!)

The salad also tasted good on it’s own, I’d make it again, probably with grilled chicken next time!

The recipe has been published on Bon Appetit if you’d like to see it for yourself!
And to see more reviews and thoughts on this dish, head over to French Fridays with Dorie.








Donna Hay’s Ham, Cheddar and Leek Pie with Cafe Style Grated Carrot Salad

Winter sports are winding up here in Australia, with semi finals and finals either already played or being played on upcoming weekends. Last week was busy with both school and weekend sports being played in extremely unpleasant conditions! It was freezing cold, windy and rainy!

My son’s (last kid on the right!) school soccer team won another badge to sew on their shorts!
(The rain and wind came in wild spurts during the game, then a brief flash of sunlight came out while I took this photo. Within minutes we were all running to our cars as the rain poured down on us again!)
The following day his weekend soccer team played in more rain and wind to secure a place in the semi finals.

My daughter’s netball team also secured a spot in the semi finals on the same day (she’s fourth from the right). The horrible weather forgotten after a close win!

Oh, I forgot the long, long day at the state futsal championships …

Between trips to training sessions and games (and parties, sleepovers, get togethers and so on)
I would pick up one of my beloved cookbooks and longingly, lovingly caress the pages.
Seriously, I did that.
Making a mental list of what I would make as soon as I had the time gave me butterflies.
These stolen moments of pleasure fed me.
So while I dreamed of spending hours playing in the kitchen.
I was relieved to see that this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was a quick and simple cafe style grated carrot salad.
I served this salad with Donna Hay’s equally quick and easy Ham, Leek and Cheddar ‘Impossible’ Pie.

The saltiness of the pie contrasted beautifully with the sweetness of the carrot side salad.

I made Dorie’s carrot salad with all the extra options. I added the raisins, walnuts and parsley.
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was simple, light and delicious. Just what we needed!

I made a greek salad for the kids (it was too long a week to be fighting over what sort of salad would have raisins and nuts in it!). However they asked if they could add the vinaigrette to the greek salad! A compromise was reached and we were all happy!

To check out what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group thought of this carrot salad, click here!


Donna Hay’s Ham, Leek and Cheddar ‘Impossible’ Pie
from her annual kid’s issue, number 9
(I made double the recipe)

1 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and cracked black pepper
3 eggs
1/2 cup self raising flour sifted
1 1/2 cups milk
150g double smoked ham, shredded
1 cup grated cheddar

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
2. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the leek and garlic and cook 5-7 minutes until golden and softened. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. Place the eggs and flour in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
4. Gradually add the milk and whisk to combine.
5. Place the leek, ham and cheese in a lightly greased 24 cm round ovenproof  baking dish.
6. Pour over the milk mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover loosely with aluminium foil.
7. Cook for 30 minutes, uncover and cook for a further 30-35 minutes or until cooked through.


Chunky Beets and Icy Red Onions with Goat Cheese, Rocket and Tomatoes

This was the best salad I have eaten in a long time!
I wasn’t keen to begin with.
In fact, if I wasn’t part of the French Fridays with Dorie group, I would not have even paused at this page.
But I am sooo glad I did!

I had no idea that placing a sliced onion into a bowl of cold water and refrigerating it, would make it so crispy and crunchy!
The vinaigrette of Dijon mustard, honey, sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper elevated the taste of the entire dish.
The assembly was the simplest and best part though!
I just had to scatter the leaves of rocket (and I had spinach as well). Sprinkle the cherry tomatoes. Layer the cooked beets that were chilling in the refrigerator with the vinaigrette. Crumb over some goat’s cheese and top with the icy red onions.

I served mine with chicken coated in panko breadcrumbs…

The combination was honestly unbeatable!
I’ll definitely make this again!
Can’t wait to see what everyone else at French Fridays with Dorie thought of this week’s recipe and what they served it with!


Strawberry, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

It’s winter in Australia. And I have to tell you, until I joined French Fridays with Dorie, I didn’t really appreciate what winter meant! This is where we spend our winters…

Manly beach…

I took these last weekend.

I’ve alway declared to everyone and anyone that I prefer winter! But for us, winter means pretty much everything we do in summer minus the swimming.
I had no idea what a real winter was until I joined French Fridays with Dorie and began reading blogs from all around the globe. My goodness I was naive!
The snow and freezing temps were no longer limited to television. I was reading about real people living in these conditions and the impact of the weather on their daily lives and activities. I was also looking at the most exquisite and perfect photos of snow! My goodness the stuff is gorgeous!

We don’t see much of it around here. It’s a real shame!

On the upside though, we get to enjoy salads like this year round…

Dorie’s Mozzarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad.

I made just enough for one.
Partly because I was hesitant about combining strawberries and tomatoes. And then seasoning with salt and pepper.
Mostly because I was home alone for lunch, a rare ocurance!

So I chopped up 4 strawberries, 4 tomatoes, seasoned them with salt and pepper and served them next to a couple of slices of mozzarella, lightly drizzled with olive oil. I topped the lot with 4 shredded leaves of basil and a few crushed pink peppercorns (okay, I didn’t have the peppercorns) but it still tasted absolutely amazing!

Sweet, juicy, tangy, fresh and totally satisfying! Really enjoyed it and will make it again (with the pink peppercorns next time)

Check out what others thought of and did with, this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe.


Fig & Goat’s Cheese Fritters Salad with Balsamic Syrup

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

I love this quote.
It reminds that motivation doesn’t just happen, it’s something we have to work at.
Along with my Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port recipe post, I discussed being forced to challenge my rather limited beliefs I held about creativity.
I honestly thought creativity was about the ability to paint and¬†decorate, and therefore confidently declared myself ‘creatively challenged’!
On my journey to redifine my thoughts on creativity, I stumbled across another deeply held yet totally ignorant assumption I had.

I thought if you were creative, your creative ability oozed out of you.

Seriously, I pictured creative people standing in front of an empty canvas and their art just flowing out of them.

Then I read this quote by Michaelangelo:

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”

It started to dawn on me that I had made many half-assed assumptions about what creativity meant!
(Yes, I am hanging my head in shame as I admit this!)
But I am sharing this because this relevation was a huge turning point for me.
I not only realised that creativity took many shapes and forms, I finally understood that creative people worked hard at their art!
I kinda figured, ¬†“If I was meant to be a fitness and figure competitor, I would live and breathe the gym!”
“If I was meant to be a writer, words would just pour out of me.”
You get the gist…

Now I realise that these people are good at what they do because they make themselves do it.
They don’t live in a constant state of motivation,¬†they’re just persistent and consistent at their art.
Whatever it may be.
That’s why I like¬†Zig Ziglar’s quote. It sums up perfectly what I’m trying to say, creativity requires motivation to produce art! Whatever your art may be!

I saw this recipe for Fig & Fried Goat’s Cheese Salad with Balsamic Syrup and honestly, while I wanted to eat it, after another hectic weekend, it was the last thing I wanted to make!
But these days I’ve learnt to focus on how I’m going to feel after the work is done!
So in no time I was cutting, whisking, dipping and frying!

And boy was it worth it!

Fig & Fried Goat’s Cheese Salad with Balsamic Syrup

(More or less as it appears in MasterChef Magazine)

2 x 150g logs soft goat’s cheese
1 cup plain flour
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 lemon zested
150g baby rocket
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
6 purple figs, stems trimmed, torn into quarters
vegetable oil to deep fry

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbs sugar


1. Wrap logs of cheese in plastic wrap roll into even log shapes.









2. Place flour in  one bowl, the beaten eggs in another and the breadcrumbs with lemon zest and 1 tsp salt in a third bowl.

3. Unwrap cheese and cut each log into 12 slices. The recipe recommends greasing your knife (and so do I!).

4. Dip each slice into the flour, eggs and finally the breadcrumbs.

5. Place on a tray and refrigerate for 20 mins.








6. In the meantime put balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and cool over low heat for about 3 mins or until sugar dissolves.
Then leave to cool.

7. Toss rocket with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and top with the figs.

8. Fill a saucepan or deep fryer about 1/3 full with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds.

9. Lower crumbed cheese into oil and fry until golden. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

10. Top salad with fried cheese and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.


I really loved this salad!
I meant what I said about being totally exhausted!
My husband took our 13 year-old with a bunch of friends to watch Rhianna on Friday night.|
Saturday she went camping with her friends (and some of the parents) while we went to a 40th.
The 10 year-old had a sleep over at a friend’s and our 3 year-old spent the night with grandparents!
By Sunday night we were all exhausted so we ordered some woodfired pizza for dinner and I made this as the side salad.

When my husband arrived with our pizza, I took one look at the garlic pizza crust and loaded it with the salad.

I didn’t even taste the other pizzas!
It really was amazing!