These are tried, tested and much loved recipes. Our families and friends are always unselfish and devote themselves to taste-testing these delicious creations and demand them repeatedly time and time again.

Our aim is to share with you our favourite meals and the little tricks and tips we have learnt along the way.
Time is precious.
Food is expensive.

Both are resources too valuable to waste.

We want to share recipes that deliver delicious, nourishing meals - making the most of your time and ingredients.

Life is way too short for bland, disappointing food.
So ... Feed your inner cook - and Enjoy!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Beef and Du Puy lentil soup

A meaty soup that smells so good – with the healthy addition of celery and lentils -  I can't  wait to enjoy a delicious bowlful.  This is my version of Phillip Johnson’s “Ecco Restaurant” recipe. (One of my favourite restaurants). Be sure to look for the Australian grown variety of the French Du Puy lentils.  These lentils are dark grey, round and when cooked add great texture and wholesomeness to the soup.  The soup is very filling and could be a main meal in itself.  And ... leftovers are even better when enjoyed the next day for lunch. Cheers

Preparation     I do the prep while the lentils are cooking  (or allow 15 minutes)
Cooking            25 minutes for Du Puy lentils.  Then about 1 hour for the soup

750 gram beef (or Lamb)  diced into chunks.  Chuck is good. Or round steak/ topside.

250 gram Australian grown “Du Puy” style lentils.  Rinsed well. Bring to Boil in 1 litre water then simmer for 20 minutes. Drain well before using in soup

Splash Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 onions – finely sliced
4 garlic cloves – crushed
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
½ teaspoon celery seeds
Small Pinch Cayenne pepper – quite strong. 
6 stalks celery – sliced and some of the inner leaves shredded
4 shallots – sliced
Parsley – a few stalks finely shredded
1 tin Roma Tomatoes in juice (approx. 400 gram)
1 Litre Beef Stock – Salt Reduced
2 handfuls Red Lentils
Extra boiling water from Kettle may be added if soup becomes too thick
Salt and pepper to taste

Use a Very Big deep pot saucepan.
I cook the Du Puy lentils in the big saucepan whilst I am cutting up the soup ingredients.  Drain, rinse, wipe out and reuse the pan!

Brown the onions and meat in a little oil, stirring until caramelised and golden.
Add the spices, garlic, celery seeds and stir through well to coat.
Add the celery and tinned tomatoes.
Pour in the beef stock and add the red lentils.  Stir well.  Simmer 30 – 40 minutes.
Add shallots and the cooked drained “Du Puy” lentils
Add extra boiling water if the soup thickens up too much.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Just before serving stir in the chopped parsley
                      Enjoy!  Colleen

Monday, 22 August 2016

Crunchy Pork Knuckle with Braised Red Cabbage

Make sure you enjoy some hearty winter fare before spring arrives.  Here we have slow roasted two generous pork knuckles, accompanied with braised red cabbage.

Note: start the Red Cabbage the day before.


1 kg (2 pieces) pork hocks
2 tablespoons salt
Olive Oil
Finely chopped garlic
Caraway seeds


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Rub the skin of the pork hocks with generous amounts of salt, garlic and oil. Sprinkle with caraway seeds.

Place in a baking dish with 2cm of water and roast for 2 hours.

Red Cabbage


2 red cabbages, finely sliced
2 apples, peeled, cored and finely sliced
1 onion, finely sliced
2 juniper berries
2 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoon sugar
Salt & Pepper
1 cup red wine
2 bacon rashers, thinly sliced
Splash of Red wine extra
Knob of butter


Combine the cabbage, apple, half the onion, spices, bay leaves, sugar, salt, pepper and wine and leave to marinate overnight.
Next day, fry the remaining onion and bacon in a little butter.  Add a splash of the red wine and then add the marinated cabbage mixture. Cover and braise for 20 minutes over low heat until soft.

Season to taste.

Arrange the roast port and red cabbage on a serving plate and carve at the table.

Mamma Marmalade

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Smoked Paprika Pumpkin Soup

Brisbane Winter is a fleeting season, so I enjoy making as many hearty soups as possible. Pumpkin is so versatile and a few herbs and spices completely transform this wonderful vegetable so you can easily serve up a different pumpkin soup every week.  This is my version of a recipe from "Gourmet Traveller" magazine.  The fresh apple cube sprinkles are a zingy optional extra.  PS any leftovers are great to freeze. Cheers!
Smoked Paprika Pumpkin Soup by Feed Your Inner Cook
Preparation   15 minutes 
Cooking         Roasting  40 minutes.   Simmering and stirring etc :  40 minutes

3 kg  pumpkin (butternut, jap, kent etc) – peeled and roughly chopped into 8cm chunks

(TIPS and HINTS:  if you pop the unpeeled pumpkin in the microwave for a minute at a time - it will soften the skin slightly and be easier to peel)

1 – 2 sweet potatoes – peeled and chopped roughly into 5cm pieces
1 teaspoon each of   Smoked paprika,    Ground Cumin,   Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Dried Chilli flakes (optional – to your taste)
1 lime (or 1 lemon) grated zest  plus the juice for later
Olive Oil
2 heads of garlic, intact - slice off the top slightly to expose the tips of cloves
2 Red Onions – sliced
4 Bay Leaves
1 ½ litres (6 cups) Salt reduced Chicken Stock
Kettle of boiling water to thin out if needed at the end
1 tablespoon Sherry Vinegar

1 small Granny Smith Apple  (or ½ Granny Smith and ½ small Pink Lady apple) – peeled. Finely diced then stirred through with a splash of the lemon juice (or lime juice).  Will prevent discolouration.  Used for garnish later. 
2 tablespoon Pepita seeds  - toasted.  For final sprinkle.

Salt and pepper to taste – if needed
¼ cup chopped Italian Parsley

Preheat oven to 200 ˚ C.
In a large bowl toss the pumpkin and sweet potato chunks with a little oil and the paprika, cumin, coriander and zest. 
Use a little of this oil over the garlic heads then wrap garlic in alfoil loosely.
Spread onto 2 large oven trays. Add the wrapped garlic to tray. Roast for approx.30 - 40 minutes until gold and tender.  Turn occasionally until golden.

Use a very large deep saucepan. 
(TIPS and HINTS:  You will be using a Stick Blender later so it is easier to just use 1 pot for both cooking and blending)

Heat a little oil. Add the onions and stir until softened.  Approx 4- 5 mins.
Squeeze the garlic from the skins and add the roasted garlic purée to the onions.
Add the cooked pumpkin, sweet potato and the stock, chilli and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes
IMPORTANT:  Remove the 4 bay leaves before blending.
Use a stick blender to purée the soup. 
If it is too thick, add some of the boiling water, blend again then check and add a little more as needed.  You are after a thick hearty soup.
When you are happy with the consistency, stir through the tablespoon Sherry Vinegar and tablespoon Lime (or lemon) juice.
Taste.  Add extra pepper or salt if you feel your soup needs it.  Add a dash more juice if you want.

Serve into warmed soup bowls.
Top with the drained apple cubes and seeds. Sprinkle over a little chopped parsley.

Enjoy!  Colleen

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Pork and Fennel Sausages with Tomato Pasta

No need to call everyone to dinner – the aromas from this dinner will have them gathered at the table eager and ready.  It is so handy to have a standby recipe with generous comforting, hearty flavours and easy to cook with staple ingredients.  I love the flavours of fennel, celery and aniseed so I find any excuse to cook with them as often as possible.  The Passata softens the fennel flavour and chilli adds a mild heat. 
Winter or Summer this is a winner!
Pork and Fennel Sausages with Tomato Pasta by Feed Your Inner Cook
I like to cook this recipe with fresh sausages but also keep some on standby in the freezer as they defrost easily along with my frozen tubs of cooked roasted sweet potato. A few herbs from the garden add a burst of freshness and most of the other ingredients are fridge and pantry staples.  I like to start the sausages cooking, prepare the chopped veggies and keep an eye on the sausages.  Then it is just a matter of cooking the pasta, stirring the sauce and adding bits and pieces along the way.  Wilbur assures me it is even better the next day for a delicious workday lunch. Hope you enjoy it just as much!

Serves                5 generous servings
Preparation      15 minutes to get started plus I continue to chop etc during cooking time
Cooking             30 minutes approx

6 Fresh good quality pork and fennel sausages (one each and one for leftovers maybe!)

Pasta – enough for 5 people – cook in large pot of boiling salted water. I like to use Penne

Splash of Australian extra virgin olive oil
2 onions – sliced
3 stalks celery – sliced and some of the soft celery leaves – chopped to add at end
2 cloves garlic – crushed
2 rashers bacon – finely chopped
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons dried fennel
2 tablespoons Tomato paste
700 ml bottled Passata
200 ml water – to rinse the bottle and add into the pan
1 cup of cooked roasted sweet potato diced   (optional – I often cook and freeze pumpkin and sweet potato to add to these sorts of meals)
Good handful green beans – trimmed and sliced about 2 cm pieces
6 or so fresh sage leaves - torn
3 big handfuls of green leaves mix – baby spinach, baby green kale, baby purple kale – finely chopped
1 – 2 cups of reserved pasta cooking water (save just before draining pasta) to add into sauce
Salt and pepper to taste (I usually don’t need to add but your preference)
For serving
A few fresh cherry tomatoes - halved
Dozen or so Basil leaves – torn
1 fresh fennel frond – use the fine green leaves removing the tough stem
Freshly grated parmesan

Once the sausages are cooked (see below) – start cooking the pasta
Use a kettle to boil water and then add water to large pot. Add a small pinch of salt and your pasta. Stir well to separate.  Return to boil and cook to packet time.  A wooden spoon placed across the pan prevents boil over.  Just prior to draining the pasta, reserve 2 cups of the hot pasta water to add to the final sauce.  You might not need all the water – but good to have extra if needed.

Sausages and Sauce
Heat a small splash of Olive oil to a wide deep frypan.
Add the sausages and turn regularly to brown on all sides.
Also add the sliced onions and bacon – stir on one side of pan away from sausages.
When onions soften, add the celery, garlic, fennel seeds, dried fennel and chilli flakes. Stir through the onions. Continue browning the sausages. 
Now is the time to start cooking the pasta in a separate pan
Make a space in the onions and add the tomato paste.  Allow to cook out – you will smell the tomato in a minute or two whilst simmering.
Add the Passata and the bottle rinse water to the pan and combine through all the onion mixture and the sausages. Allow the sausage onion sauce to continue simmering.
Add the already cooked sweet potato cubes and stir into the simmering sauce.
Stir in the sliced green beans and chopped sage leaves.
Toss in the green leaves and allow to wilt. Continue simmering until pasta is cooked.

When the pasta is ready, reserve 2 cups of the hot pasta water then drain the pasta.
Pour about 1 cup of the pasta water into the sauce and stir well.  If the sauce is stir too thick add a little more of the pasta water until sauce is right consistency.
Toss through the reserved chopped soft green celery leaves.
Taste and if necessary add salt or pepper – probably not needed as parmesan still to be added.
Stir the drained pasta into the sausage sauce.

Just prior to serving
Stir in the halved cherry tomatoes and torn basil leaves.
Grate a little parmesan cheese over the servings and sprinkle a little of the fresh fennel.

Enjoy!   Colleen

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Flourless Brownies with Whipped Ricotta

When you need a brownie with a difference, try this walnut, chocolate brownie with a delicious topping of whipped ricotta and cream.  It doesn't overdue the sweet so a pleasant dessert or treat.


2 1/2 cups (250g) walnuts
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
150g dark chocolate and 150 g milk chocolate, melted and cooled
6 free range or organic eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Finely grated zest of 1 orange.

Ricotta Icing
500g ricotta (drained) obtain from a delicatessen, not a pre-packaged tub
300ml thickened cream
1/3 cup (40g) pure icing sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean, split seeds scraped or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Grease and line a 20cm square cake pan with baking paper.
Place walnuts and sugar in a food processor, whiz until walnuts are crushed but not dust.
Add melted chocolate and pulse to combine.
With the motor running add eggs one at a time.
Then add the spices, pinch of salt and orange zest.
Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until just  cooked through but still soft in the centre.
Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Place ricotta in a food processor and whiz until smooth.
Add cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds, whiz until combined.
Slice the brownie into 12 squares and top with ricotta icing.


Mamma Marmalade