Food experienced by a girl who loves chocolate, peanut butter, bacon, cups of tea and all things carbs.

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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Spaghetti with roast chicken, cashew basil pesto and cherry tomato

This is one of my favourite dishes to make, easy and can feed a family. I make it when I have people coming over for lunch or as a side at barbeques. Can be eaten hot or cooled. Unlike most pesto pastas I don't use a lot of oil or any cream. I prefer mine herby rather than oily.

1 shredded roast chicken -  I usually by mine premade at Costco or Coles. Remove all the chicken off the bone, pull apart into little pieces with your hands. Discard the stuffing but keep the skin and the juices from the bag or container it comes in, it adds a lot of flavour.

1 red onion thinly sliced
1 bunch of basil - leaves only, large stems removed
1/4 cup of cashews
1/4 cup of finely grated Parmesan (the powdery stuff works well)
5 cloves of garlic
Olive oil - about 3 tablespoons
Mushrooms - about 200g
Freshly ground salt and black pepper to taste
1 packet of spaghetti
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes cut in halves.

Put spaghetti on to cook as per instructions on the packet, while preparing the sauce.

In a food processor add garlic cloves, cashews and basil, blend until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Add salt and pepper, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and the parmesan cheese. Mix together.

Brown onions and mushrooms in a pan with some oil.

Add chicken to the pan, add about a 1/4 cup or boiled water or chicken stock liquid and heat until reduced. Add Cherry tomatoes. Add blended basil mixture.

Combine together. Stir into pasta.

Aunty Ruth's Rock Buns

My Great Aunty Ruth is the greatest. This is one of my favourite biscuit recipes of all time. Simple and tasty, the name makes them sound hard but they are actually melt-in-you-mouth buttery. At 89 years of age, this recipe has been around for a long time, it was passed down from her mother. No one can make them quite as good as her but we always try.

225g Self-raising flour
110g Salted butter
1 egg
80g Sultanas
110g white Sugar plus more for dusting
Tablespoon of milk

Sift flour into a bowl, rub in butter. Mix in sugar and then sultanas. Beat eggs and a very small amount of milk (probably only about a tablespoon) together then mix into the dry ingredients. Add more milk if necessary to make a dough. Place spoonfuls on greaseproof pater on a baking tray. Sprinkle with plain white sugar. Put in the freezer for a few minutes. Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees if fan forced, 220 if conventional) for about 8 minutes. Cook until lightly golden.

Enjoy with a cup of tea.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Roasted Pumpkin, caramelised onion, marinated feta, toasted almond and baby spinach salad

So basically all of the ingredients are listed in the title. Sorry forgot to take a photo of this one.

Kent pumpkin (skin on). Cut into chunks. Coat with olive oil. Roasted on 200 degrees c for about an hour. Until outside changes to a dark caramel color.

Cut a red onion into fine slices. Put in a pan with a little olive oil, a couple of teaspoons of sugar and some water. Cook until lovely and caramel.

For the marinated feta you can make your own, or cheat like me. I buy Yarra Valley Feta marinated in olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Lovely. Use as much as you like, there is no dressing to this salad so this will form a lot of the flavour so make sure to include some of the oil to coat the salad.

Toast some almonds (whole or slivered) in a pan until brown.

Put baby spinach leaves in a salad bowl and add all the other ingredients. Toss together. It's a real crowd pleaser.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

My version of Thai Beef Salad

I've always wanted to try and make this, but I'm not Thai and I hate not doing other cultures dishes justice. I think I did pretty well with this one.

100g-200g (depending of how much meat you want) lean rump steak chargrilled  medium rare brushed with olive oil - Don't over cook! Leave to rest on a chopping board for about 5 minutes prior to thinly slicing.

Ginger finely chopped (about a teaspoon)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 small red chilli chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Mix together, and that's the dressing done!
Coriander leaves  1 small bunch
Baby spinach leaves a few handfuls
Basil handful from a fresh bunch
1 carrot finely julianned
1 red onion sliced thinly
1 Lebanese cucumber cut small
1 tomato chopped

Toss the salad, add the beef and add the dressing. Done!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Martha Stewart's Salted Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake

I made this cake for my Mum and Sister for their joint birthday celebration. I thought, how hard could it be to make a fancy cake that is exactly what I want? Well, it wasn't hard, time-consuming...sure, but worth it? HELLS YES!

This cake is the most delicious chocolate cake I have ever tasted in my life. No joke. Martha you are amazing. Not only was I so impressed by its moist delicious goodness, everyone that has tried it agrees.
Now, first up let me say, this is an American recipe, so understandably some of the ingredients are hard to find (but not impossible!), and obviously I had to convert everything into metric, which isn't hard thanks to Google. I had to substitute a few things, but they were so close I can't imagine that even if I had the true ingredients listed that this cake could get any better!

I'm not going to post the recipe on my blog, but here is the link:

I decided to make a 4 layer cake instead of 6, so I used 2/3rds of the ingredients listed in the recipe for the cake, but made the listed caramel and frosting as I couldn't be bothered working out the proportions for those.

If you live in Melbourne you can find Corn Syrup at CakeDeco in the CBD. It's about $11 for a bottle.
For help with substitutions or Australian Equivalents:

Safflower oil - Vegetable oil (substitution)
Semisweet chocolate - I've used both Cadbury Dark Block 45% Cooking Chocolate or Nestle Plaistowe Premium Dark Cooking Chocolate, both work great.
Dutch cocoa powder - you can find this at Woolworths in the baking aisle. I found the Nestle brand.

Granulated sugar - Normal White sugar
All-purpose flour - Plain flour
Baking soda - bicarb soda
Coarse salt - I made my own with a salt grinder set to the coarse setting.
Heavy Cream - Pure Cream
Confectioner's sugar - Icing sugar

Maldon sea salt flakes - These can be found a Woolworths with other types of Salt. The second time I made this cake I used this more liberally for the top of the cake, it tastes so good with the crunchiness and saltiness with the sweetness of the chocolate.

With the Salted-Caramel, make sure to follow the instructions carefully. The first batch I made I burnt so I had to throw out. If you aren't sure, take it off the heat sooner rather than later! It should not taste bitter! Use a thermometer if you have one. The extra salted caramel can be kept in little glass jars in the fridge or given as a gift. So yummy! Great for Icecream, cupcakes etc.

Happy Baking!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Wholemeal Pancakes with Raspberry Compote

I'm trying to use more wholemeal flour.

These pancakes are simple and tasty.

1 cup of whole meal self-raising flour
2 eggs
low fat milk (about 1/4-1/2 cup) - enough to get to the right consistency (not too runny but not too thick)
raw sugar (to taste - I use a couple of tablespoons)
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract (again to your own taste)

Simple whisk all together and cook individual pancakes in a pan on low-medium heat as you would usually make pancakes.

For the raspberry compote I used frozen raspberries and some sugar, heated and mixed together to serve on top of the pancakes.

My Guacamole with toasted pita triangles

I've always wanted to make Guacamole, I hate the store bought stuff.  My recipe is simple, delicious and a real crowd pleaser.

Depending on the quantity and the number of people depends on how much ingredients you will need. I make enough for a small bowl for nibbles when I have friends over or to put in wraps.


2 ripe avocados
Juice of 1 large lime
salt and pepper to taste
chilli flakes (just a pinch)
1-2 tablespoons of finely diced red onion (depending on how much onion you like)
If you like your guacamole a little creamy you can add a few teaspoons of sour cream. I personally prefer mine fresh and a bit chunky so I don't add sour cream to mine.

It's really as simple as mashing the avocado with a fork in a bowl, squeezing on the lime juice, adding in the onion and seasoning. Mix together and eat.

I like to serve mine with toasted pita chips. I use wholemeal pita bread. I got the idea from a friends birthday party.
Take a flat pita bread, coat lightly with olive oil. Season with whatever you like. I use just salt sometimes if I have a really tasty dip. You can also use chili flakes, cumin seeds, pepper, mixed herbs, really whatever you like. Slice the bread into triangles and bake in the oven for about 5 mins on 200 degrees celcius or until just starting to brown. You want them crispy but not too brown and crunchy otherwise they taste burnt.