Sunday, April 22, 2012

Baked Whole Trout

When it comes to cooking fish, I have found many people prefer cooking with fillets than whole fish.   Cooking whole fish should not be a daunting task so here is a simple recipe to cooking whole trout.  It's a great fish to cook with as it is inexpensive and a relatively small fish and therefore perfect for solo dinners.

Baked Whole Trout

 - 1 whole trout, scaled and gutted
 - half a lemon
 - 50g unsalted butter (good quality)
 - half a bunch of dill
 - half a bunch of parsley 
 - half a bunch of corriander
 - 2-3 garlic cloves
 - salt
 - pepper

1.  Preheat conventional oven to 180°C.  Lay out three large pieces of aluminium foil (large enough to wrap around the fish).
2.  Slice lemon and garlic thinly.
3.  Wash fish under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.  Make 3 incisions, evenly spaced, into one side of the fish
4. Salt the cavity of the fish and rub it into the flesh
5.  On the aluminium foil, lay down half the lemon slices and garlic slices.  Place the fish on top.  Add all the herbs into the cavity.  Stuff butter into the incisions made on the fish.  If there is any remaining butter place it around the fish.  Add the remaining lemon and garlic on top and sprinkle cracked pepper over.
6.  Wrap the fish very tightly in the aluminium foil.  You don't want any steam or liquid flowing out of the foil so ensure it is closed well.
7.  Place in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Taste Of Meesh's

Tuesday night, Nick and I went to a new restaurant, called Meesh's Restaurant, for 'A Taste Of Meesh's' cocktail party.  The event was hosted to introduce the new Autumn menu.  Meesh's restaurant is located on the Burleigh Heads beachfront and has a wonderful view overlooking the beach with the high-rise buildings of Surfers Paradise lit up in the distance.

On arrival we were greeted with glasses of either shiraz, semillon sauvignon blanc, rosé or a pomegranate champagne.  Throughout the night I tasted the different wines except for the rosé and was impressed with the quality.  It's a good sign when the wine is such good quality at a function.  Nick had a glass of Hef, a beer from the Burleigh Beer Company and enjoyed it immensely.  I recommend trying this beer if you can get your hand on it - it's so delicious!

A large table draped in grapes, figs, logans and cheeses from the Hunter Valley Cheese Company filled the room and attracted the guests.  The fruit was lovely and fresh and accompanied the high quality cheeses perfectly.

Soon after arriving, canapes started circulating the restaurant.  The first canape of the night was a chicken and sweet corn soup finished with a piece of pop corn.  Such a lovely flavoured, refreshing soup made even better with the texture of the pop corn - a perfect starter.

A piece of rare steak in a rich jus, followed, which fell apart instantly in my mouth.  An array of plates full of canapes including caramelised onion, blue cheese and fig tart, smoked salmon and goat cheese toasts, chicken salad with asparagus mini tarts and skewered scampi, enticed the guests.

Later in the night I was served the most magnificent won tons filled with duck, ginger and spring onion with a plum sauce.  The won tons were wonderful and crispy and the filling was divine - just thinking of these is making my mouth water!

Coming out of the kitchen were shot glasses filled with a dark liquid with a large amount of what appeared to be thick steam flowing from them.  It looked like something that belonged in a science laboratory rather than in a restaurant!  It was soon explained the contents of the glasses - duck consomme with dry ice.  I was sketchy at first to try a consomme individual from a meal but as soon as I tasted it, it became clear why it was served in this way.  It was rich, full of duck flavour, seasoned perfectly and finished off with chives.  It was probably my favourite dish of the evening and I recommend it very highly.

The canapes finished with a small chocolate tart filled with chocolate ganache.  The wonderful, crunchy chocolate pastry harmonised with the smooth textured, rich chocolate ganache.  A few other desserts were served, however I didn't get the chance to try them.

The food was of very high standard prepared with  quality ingredients.  The food showed off the chefs high level of food knowledge and skill.   Live music played throughout the evening, adding to the ambience of the night.  I will definitely be going back here and recommend it highly to those visiting or living on the Gold Coast.

These photos were taken by Doris Pridmore from Eloquence Photography (

Meesh's on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Katletki - Mums Chicken Patties

This is mums recipe for Russian chicken patties called Katletki.  Smelling katletki cooking, reminds me of home and takes me back to the days I would come home from school and be so excited for mums dinner. This is my ultimate comfort food!!


 - 500 grams good quality chicken mince
 - 4 eggs
 - 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
 - 1 onion
 - 2 cloves of garlic
 - salt
 - pepper
 - paprika
 - olive oil for frying

1.  Grate the onion into a large bowl.  Mince the garlic and add to the bowl.
2.  Add the chicken mince, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and paprika to the bowl and mix well.
3.  Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat and add enough olive oil to evenly cover the pan.  Once the frying pan is hot, add tablespoons of the mixture to the pan.  Let the patties brown then flip them over.  Bring the heat down to low and once the patties are brown on both sides add 1-2 tablespoons of water and cover.  Let them cook for about 5 minutes.  Take off the lid and allow them to fry for another few minutes on either side.  Remove from pan.
4.  Repeat this process until all the mixture is used.
5.  Serve with pasta, rice, potato, salad or bread.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

The other day Nick was commenting on how much he misses The Little Cupcakes shop in Melbourne.  Since it's holiday time and I have plenty of time to spend on cooking, I decided to surprise him with some of his favourite flavoured cupcakes- Red Velvet. 

 Fun fact:  red velvet cupcakes originally were not coloured with food dye but were red due to the unprocessed cocoa reacting with the buttermilk making a rich deep browny red colour.  Nowadays it is increasingly difficult to find unprocessed cocoa so food dye is the way to go.  

Tip:  use a hand electric beater for majority of the method - this helps make the cupcakes fluffier.

This recipe makes about 30 cupcakes.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

 - 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 1 bottle of red food dye (approx. 3 teaspoons)
 - 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
 - 1 1/2 cup sugar
 - 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder, sifted
 - 2 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
 - 1 teaspoon salt
 - 2 eggs, at room temperature
 - 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
 - 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
 - 1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
 - 1 teaspoon white vinegar
 - 120 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
 - 180 grams light cream cheese (preferably block rather than spreadable), at room temperature
 - 2 cups icing sugar (do not use icing mixture - it is not the same thing!)

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees.  Place cupcake liners into the muffin tins
  2. In a small bowl mix together the cocoa and red food dye - ensure there are no lumps
  3. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until creamy and light.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  5. Add cocoa paste and vanilla essence, beat well.
  6. Add baking powder, salt and 1/3 of the flour.  Beat well
  7. Add half of the buttermilk.  Beat
  8. Add 1/3 of flour.  Beat
  9. Add the rest of the buttermilk.  Beat
  10. Add the rest of the flour.  Beat
  11. In a separate bowl add vinegar and baking soda (don't worry if it fizzes - this is normal).  Mix this into the cupcakes batter.
  12. Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full.  Place in oven for around 20 minutes.  Check them by placing a skewer into one of the centre muffins and checking if it comes out clean.    Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack
  13. For the icing - beat together the butter until creamy and light.  Add the cream cheese and continue beating until fluffy.
  14. Add the icing sugar a cup at a time and beat until the icing mixture if very fluffy.  
  15. Once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe the icing onto them.  Enjoy :D
Note that this icing must be refrigerated.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Its been a long time since I've posted but I'm back with lots of exciting and new recipes to share :).  Today I was flicking through The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia for some inspiration for dinner and found a mouthwatering photo of ricotta and spinach gnocchi.  My first attempt at gnocchi (recipe can be found here) was a long, tiresome process.  The recipe for the ricotta gnocchi is so simple that I decided to follow it (with minimal tweaking of ingredients and amounts).  This is a great recipe for dinner parties as the gnocchi can be cooked ahead of time and it looks very impressive.

Ricotta and Spinach Gnocchi 
(adapted from The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia by C. Capalbo et al.)

 - 6 garlic cloves
 - 1/2 bunch of basil
 - 1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley
 - 200-250 grams baby spinach leaves
 - 270 grams fresh ricotta
 - 1 egg yolk
 - 1/3 cup grated parmesan
 - 2/3 cup plain flour
 - pinch of salt
 - cracked pepper

 - 30 grams butter
 - 10-15 leaves of fresh sage


  1. Bring a small amount of water to the boil.  Add garlic cloves and boil for 4-5 minutes.  Run them under cold water to cool them.  Pop the garlic out of their skins and using a garlic crusher, crush them into a small bowl.
  2. Place washed spinach into a small saucepan (don't add any water as the water from washing the spinach should be enough to wilt the spinach).  Allow to wilt on a low heat.  Once the spinach has wilted, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, wash and finely chop the basil and parsley.  Add to the garlic.
  4. Squeeze out all the water from the wilted spinach.  Chop finely.  Add to garlic and herb mixture
  5. In a separate bowl, add the ricotta and egg yolk.  Mix well.
  6. Add the herbs and garlic mixture to the ricotta.  Mix well.
  7. Add parmesan, flour, salt (salt to taste - if the parmesan you are using is very salty, leave out the salt) and pepper.  Gently mix, ensuring all the ingredients are combined
  8. Place the mixture in the fridge for an hour (or more).  This makes the mixture much easier to work with.
  9. Using floured hands, roll small balls of the mixture.  (I made them about the size of walnuts but its up to you how big you want them)
  10. Bring a large saucepan to the boil.  Salt and carefully add the gnocchi.  (I recommend doing small amounts at a time so they don't stick to one another).  They are ready once they begin to float.
  11. Remove them from the water.  (If you are serving this dish later, place the gnocchi in the fridge.  Just before you serve them - warm them up in microwave prior to continuing the next steps)
  12. Melt butter on medium-high heat on a large frying pan.  Once the butter has all melted, add the sage.  Let the sage cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the gnocchi.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, turning every few minutes.  Serve with the sage and butter from the pan and sprinkled with parmesan.