Monday, April 30, 2012

Savoury Pinwheels

The perfect Saturday afternoon - good friends, a little champagne, delicious food and cuddles with a precious baby girl.

These pinwheels are perfect finger food.  They are very easy and quick to prepare.

Spread a thawed puff pastry sheet with basil pesto.  You can't beat home made pesto but I didn't have time to make my own so brought a good 'home made' version from a deli.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

At this point you can roll the pastry sheet up and slice it or you can add a bit more flavour.  I sautéed a finely diced onion, bacon and garlic in a little olive oil.

Spread over the pesto and parmesan
Roll up as tightly as you can and slice - I got about 12 pieces out of each pastry sheet

Bake in a 200 degree oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown

The finished pinwheels

I made three varieties: the basic pesto and parmesan, the bacon and onion version and some with pesto, parmesan and finely diced roasted red capsicum.  All were delicious.  Other good ingredients would be finely diced olives or sun dried tomatoes - however the 'flatter' the ingredients the easier it is to roll the pastry sheet up tightly and this gives the nice pinwheel shape when sliced.

And what better way to finish off a lovely afternoon than with some chocolate!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e fagioli is a traditional Italian dish literally meaning pasta and beans.  It is a hearty, healthy soup - a meal in a bowl.  A quick Google search reveals many variations of this soup but this recipe originally came from a friend's mother and is delicious.  It is also very flexible - add whatever vegetables you have on hand.  Pumpkin is a nice addition.

Ingredients ..

Sweating down the onion, carrots and celery

Adding the stock and tomato
Ready to eat ..

Pasta e Fagioli

  • 2 litres of Beef Stock
  • 2 tins of crushed tomato with garlic and onion
  • 1 tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 3 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup small pasta
  • Chilli flakes
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Olive Oil

  1. Add oil, celery, onion, carrot, garlic, chilli flakes, black pepper to a large, heavy based saucepan and let them sweat down over a low heat until they are soft.  
  2. Add the potato, tins of tomato, red kidney beans, beef stock and pasta.  
  3. Bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer for about an hour.
  4. About 45 minutes in add the peas.
Notes - Even though I use low salt stock I find the soup salty enough without adding salt.  Of course, this is personal taste and you may find you need to add a pinch of salt.  The amount of chilli flakes and black pepper is likewise dependent on personal taste - I like quite a bit of bite.

To serve - delicious as it is but it is also lovely with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, some crusty bread and a nice glass of red ;)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Curried CousCous Salad

I love couscous.  It's delicious, easy, cheap and adaptable to many different flavours.  This salad is all of those things and can easily be changed to suit personal taste.  I first saw it on the Barefoot Contessa cooking show but have changed it slightly.  The original recipe, which can be found on the Food network website, had parsley instead of coriander, raisins not craisins and carrot. 


CousCous absorbing the stock!

Fluffing couscous with a fork

Ready to serve

Curried CousCous Salad 


  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 3-4 spring onions thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • Cracked black pepper 


  1. Place the couscous in a bowl.
  2. Prepare the stock and add the butter. 
  3. Once the butter has melted pour the boiling stock over the couscous.
  4. Cover tightly and allow the couscous to soak for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.  (Always use a fork when stirring couscous to prevent clumping.)
  5. Add the coriander, craisins, almonds, spring onions and red onion to the couscous. Combine with a fork.
  6. Whisk together the olive oil, yogurt, vinegar, curry and turmeric. Pour over the couscous, and mix well with a fork.
  7. Season to taste.  I never add salt as I find the stock gives enough flavour but I do add a good amount of cracked black pepper.
  8. Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wilsons Boathouse (Closed)

12/05/12 Update - Unfortunately Wilsons Boathouse has closed down!  I am not sure why but I believe it was related to a lease dispute.  Disappointing because it really was a lovely restaurant. 

Wilsons Boathouse
18-38 Siddeley Street
W.T.C. Wharf 3005

I recently had lunch at Wilsons Boathouse, a new seafood restaurant in the WTC Wharf precinct.  On this lovely summer afternoon my friend S and I were the only people in the large restaurant. Service was prompt and attentive - as one would expect with no one else to serve!

We started with a lovely glass of sparking wine, admiring the amazing view over the Yarra River.

Seared Hervey Bay scallops, pork belly, master stock glaze, enoki mushrooms, pork crackling

We shared an entree to start.  The scallops were lovely but I was underwhelmed by the pork elements of the dish.

Flinders Island King George whiting, seared Hervey Bay scallops, lime butter sauce, salmon roe, kipfler potato

My whiting was lovely.  Well cooked, beautiful flavours. More delicious scallops. 

Crisp Skinned Cone Bay Barramundi, charred sweet corn puree, salt cod brandade croquette

S loved her Barramundi.  The popcorn was an interesting touch!

Overall we really enjoyed our lunch and will definitely return.  Whilst it was a touch on the pricey side for a quick weekday lunch, the seafood was fresh and well cooked and the location beautiful.

Wilsons are now offering a $35 lunch deal - 2 courses and a glass of wine.  Great value!

12/05/12 Update - Unfortunately Wilsons Boathouse has closed down!  I am not sure why but I believe it was related to a lease dispute.  Disappointing because it really was a lovely restaurant.

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