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Cooking and the City

Updated: 2018-03-18T09:42:04.342+11:00


Pastry Topped Beef & Vegetables


It's summer here but I much prefer comforting winter foods and I love pastry of any kind! this dish combines both, I cooked mine on the stove top but I'm sure a slow cooker to stop heating the kitchen too much would be ok

1 kilo stewing beef  cut in cubes
2 onions chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 can diced tomato
1/2 cup beef stock
sprig rosemary finely chopped
puff pastry sheet
mash potato to serve

brown beef in batches & set aside. in same pan add onion & cook until softened, add carrot and cook about 10 minutes. put beef back in along with tomato, stock and rosemary. salt & pepper to taste. cook on low heat approx 2 hours or until beef is tender. just before it's ready heat pastry sheet until golden, serve on top of stew with mash potatoes.


Chinese Style Chicken And Corn Soup


I love soup yes even in summer though I do try not to have it in excessive heat. this chicken & corn soup is on the table in no time at all and it's delicious. hope you try it

1 litre low sodium chicken stock (homemade or bought)
spring onions (small bunch) chopped
1 can creamed corn
approx 1 cup corn kernels  (fresh, frozen, canned, it is your call)
finely chopped parsley
1 small cup shredded cooked chicken
1 beaten egg
small piece ginger
dash soy sauce

heat some oil & butter in saucepan and gently fry spring onion and ginger add corn kernels and cream corn and stir until fragrant. put in stock and slowly bring to boil adding cooked chicken & soy sauce continue to simmer until hot. beat egg in small dish and while on low simmer add mixture to soup, remember to stir soup while you add egg,  mix  until small ribbons form. turn off heat, add parsley and serve!




Damper is an Australian bush bread and because it contains no yeast can be made up in no time at all. in under an hour (approx 45 minutes) you can have fresh baked bread and it's delicious warm with butter oh and I love jam on it :)

450g (3 cups) self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
80g butter, chilled, cubed
185ml (3/4 cup) water

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the water to the flour mixture and use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until the mixture just comes together, adding 1-2 tablespoons extra water if the mixture is a little dry. Use your hands to bring the mixture together.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Shape into an 18cm disc and place on tray. Use a sharp knife that has been dipped in flour to mark 8 wedges on top. Dust the damper with a little extra flour (can glaze with milk if liked)  and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the damper is cooked through and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Serve warm with butter.


Red Beef Curry


I've said before how much I love curries and this Thai red beef one is a favourite.  you can of course buy the curry paste but it's fun to make your own (recipe follows)

500gr lean steak strips (mine were from rump)
1 onion sliced
1 red & 1 yellow capsicum sliced
small tin coconut milk
jasmine rice to serve

for paste
small red onion chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chopped lemon grass
2 teaspoons chopped coriander root
1 teaspoon galangal powder
2 teaspoons chili flakes (dried)
!/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 dried kaffir lime leaf
2 teaspoons hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 teaspoons peanut oil

blend ingredients into a smooth paste.

heat pan and add 1/4 cup curry paste, heat until fragrant. add meat and fry until browned slightly. add onion and continue to fry approx 5 minutes. put in both capsicums and cook until meat is tender and veg is cooked, stir in coconut milk and heat gently. serve with jasmine rice (its better if curry is a bit saucy)


Lemon Drizzle Cake


I love lemon in just about anything and this easy cake is a firm favourite,  quick to make and always delicious!

1 lemon , plus zest & juice  of 1 to garnish
250g unsalted butter, melted
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
1  cups (220gr) caster sugar
4 eggs

glaze  juice and zest of extra lemon, 1/4 cup caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 11cm x 24cm loaf pan.

Chop lemon (including skin) into small pieces. Discard any seeds. Process in a food processor until finely chopped. Add butter, flour, caster sugar and eggs, then process until mixture is light and smooth. Pour into pan. Bake for 40 minutes until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

for glaze, mix lemon juice and zest with sugar and a little water (if needed)  heat until sugar dissolves. pierce cake all over with a skewer and drizzle with warm syrup, let syrup soak in then serve slightly warm


Warm Beef Salad With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Mustard Herb Dressing


The combination of the warm beef strips & just roasted sweet cherry tomatoes makes for a delicious combination with tossed through fresh crisp salad leaves, I hope you'll try it.

500gr piece of rump steak
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
mixed salad leaves
small bunch rocket
small bunch baby spinach
1 small cucumber sliced with veg peeler
4 spring onions trimmed & sliced

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 dessert spoons grain mustard
1 teaspoon chopped dill
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
salt & pepper to taste

pre heat oven. put cherry tomatoes in a pan  with olive oil and roast until beginning to split. while tomatoes roast grill or fry steak until cooked as you like. meanwhile combine salad greens, rocket, baby spinach cucumber and spring onions. whisk dressing together & pour over salad. add roasted tomatoes including any juice and gently toss through.  serve on plates topped with slices of warm steak.

I'm sharing with
Full Plate Thursday


Cheese & Onion Scones


Scones are so quick and easy to make and always good.  try these delicious cheese & onion scones for a savoury treat!

2 cups (300gr) SR flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
60gr butter
1/2 cup grated cheese of choice (I used a sharp tasty)
approx 1/4 cup chopped spring (green) onions
approx 3/4 cups milk & water (mixed)

sift flour and salt into basin. rub the butter in with your fingers (use a pastry cutter if liked) until mix resembles fine bread crumbs. make a well in the centre and add almost all liquid to form a soft dough (it will depend on your flour if you'll  need to add more or less liquid) add cheese and onion and mix into the dough.

place on floured surface and knead lightly, pat out until approx 3/4 to an inch thick.  cut into rounds (you should get 12)  place onto a greased baking tray edges slightly touching, glaze tops with milk or beaten egg and bake in hot oven about 12 minutes or until golden (bottoms should sound hollow when tapped)  serve warm with butter.

sharing with

Full Plate Thursday


Chicken in Beer


What this dish lacks in looks it makes up in taste, I hope you try it

8 chicken legs
salt & pepper
90gr butter
2 onions sliced
1 cup beef stock
1 small bottle of beer (375ml)

dust chicken in flour seasoned with salt & pepper, fry in butter until  well browned, remove from pan. drain excess fat and add onion and fry until golden brown. add beer and stock and bring to boil. add chicken to casserole dish and pour liquid including onions over. bake covered in a moderate oven approx 1 hour. nice served with mash or noodles & crusty bread.


Sausage and Lentil Casserole


While I'm glad spring is almost here I will miss the comforting foods of winter. this easy and tasty casserole is one such dish

please note as always measurements are approximate only as I don't really measure, just eye ball it ;)

1/2 kilo good sausages
1 onion sliced
can of brown lentils, drained & rinsed
1 clove garlic
can of whole tomatoes
1 cup low sodium beef stock

brown sausages well, add onion & garlic and continue to brown being careful not to burn (burnt onions & garlic are horrid) add tomatoes and crush down with spoon, add drained lentils and beef stock. bring to a low boil then transfer to casserole dish. cook covered on medium for about an hour removing the lid for the last 15 minutes. serve with crusty bread.

sharing with

Foodie Friday


Banana, Maple and Cinnamon Muffins


I haven't posted a muffin recipe in a while which is odd as they're something I make often. these are delicious so I hoe you'll make some

Melted butter, for greasing
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
75g butter, melted
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease 12 x 1/3 cup (80ml) muffin pans with melted butter or line with paper cases.

Sift flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl. add in sugar.

Combine butter (melted) , milk, maple syrup, vanilla, eggs and mashed banana in a large jug. Whisk until  combined.

Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients. Add egg mixture, stir until just combined (don't  overmix). Spoon mixture into muffin pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, turn onto a wire rack to cool. serve warm with butter.


Ginger & Soy Chicken kebabs


I love food on a stick! always seems such fun to eat as well as being delicious........

these kebabs are so good and after the marinading time they take minutes to put together and cook

approx 700gr chicken cut in similar size pieces (I used thighs)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbl spoon soy sauce
small piece ginger grated
2 tbl spoons runny honey
dash sesame oil

combine marinade and add chicken, mix and keep in fridge at least 2 hours (I left mine for 4)  thread chicken onto skewers and grill  until done or if the weather is nice you can BBQ them. serve with rice or whatever you fancy.

note:    if using wooden skewers be sure to soak in water before cooking.


Vegetable & Pasta Soup


One of the best things about winter is the warm comforting foods........soups, stews, casseroles, roasts, slow bakes. I just love winter foods, so much that I even manage to find a way to include them during the warmer months.  this easy soup is one of those dishes.

1/2 red capsicum diced
1/2 green capsicum diced
1 onion diced
2 carrots grated
green beans sliced (I used a large handful)
small head broccoli florets removed
can three bean mix
1/2 cup macaroni pasta
500 ml vegetable stock

heat small amount of butter & oil in saucepan.  saute onion until transparent, add green beans  and continue to saute. add  broccoli, capsicum, 3 bean mix  and carrot, mix together while stirring. add vegetable stock and bring to boil. simmer 5 minutes then add pasta. cook until pasta is tender, serve with crusty bread.


Spaghetti With Chilli & Tomato


This recipe is quick, easy and tasty, just what's needed on a busy week night.

really there is no recipe.  put water on for pasta when boiled add salt & spaghetti. whilst cooking saute some chopped onion & garlic in pan, add tin of tomatoes & herb/s of choice (I used basil) , chilli flakes to taste ( I used 1 teaspoon)  cook until onion softens.  blend until smooth with hand held blender, then stir through hot pasta and serve.


Tuna Patties With Lemon & Dill


While I think I don't like fish I love tuna and or salmon patties, BUT I still don't like fish.......just one of the many ways in which I'm odd!

these tuna patties are quick, easy and above all delicious

required amount cold mashed potato
large can tuna, drained, flaked
2 tablespoons dill , finely chopped
2 green onions, finely sliced
  2eggs, lightly whisked...
juice & zest of small lemon

plain flour
bread crumbs
oil to fry
sweet chilli mayo to serve

Combine potato, tuna,dill,  onion,  and  lemon zest & rind  in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Using damp hands, shape mixture into 8 patties.

dip patties in flour, then beaten eggs, then the bread crumbs. refridgerate for an hour to firm up before frying until lightly golden.  serve with sweet chilli mayo

Mayonaisse (home made or bought ) mixed with approx 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce


Beef & Bean Burritos


Any kind of wrap is so hard to photograph well so you'll just have to trust me when I say that these were good!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
600g beef mince
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon plain flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beef  stock
1  can red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
8  flour tortillas, warmed

grated cheese 

Heat oil in  large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic & onion. Cook, stirring,  until onion has softened. Add mince. Cook, stirring   to break up mince, for 8 to 10 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

Add chilli and ground coriander. Cook, stirring,  until fragrant. Add flour and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for a minute. Stir in stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally,  until sauce thickens.

Stir in beans. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until heated through. Stir in coriander leaves. Serve mince mixture in  tortillas,  add grated cheese if liked


Honey & Chili Marinated Chicken


We eat a lot of chicken here and sometimes it's difficult to come up with new ways of serving it. this recipe was so easy to put together and was well liked, I hope you give it a try.

no recipe really. I just warmed & mixed together some sweet chili sauce, honey, a crushed garlic clove and some olive oil (not ev)  then put it with the spatchcocked (flatened chicken)  in a zip locked bag & marinated over night in the fridge. (your butcher can flatten the chicken or you can do it yourself) cook the chicken in a moderate oven  until juices near the thigh run clear.  it can also be cooked on the bbq.


Victoria Sandwich


To my knowledge a Victoria sponge is different because it is filled with just jam and no cream.  either way, jam & cream or just jam it's delicious. I make this for my daughter who doesn't like cream.


  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup self-raising flour, sifted plus extra to dust
  • 1/3 cup plain flour, sifted
  • raspberry jam to serve
  • caster (super fine)   sugar, to dust
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and line two 20cm sponge pans, then dust with a little flour.
  2. Place the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer (or use an electric hand beater) and beat for 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat for a further 5 minutes until pale. Use a metal spoon to fold in sifted flours and 2 tablespoons of hot water.
  3. Divide the mixture between the 2 pans and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked and golden. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Spread one sponge with jam, warming it will make it easier to spread, I forgot and my sponge crumbled slightly from trying to spread jam to the edge. . Place the other sponge on top and sprinkle lightly with caster sugar (super fine sugar)  serve and enjoy.


Bucatini with bolognese sauce


I love pasta and my family and I eat a lot of it. I especially like a good bolognese, however I am trying to add more non meat pasta sauces to my meal rotation. this dish is a basic bolognese served with bucatini pasta .  I don't really follow recipes and all measures are a guide line only.

  • approx 500gr minced (ground) beef 
  • 1 small onion diced finely 
  • 1 grated carrot 
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic 
  • pinch dried mixed herbs 
  • 1 fresh bay leaf (remove before serving) 
  • fresh rosemary 
  • can diced tomatoes 
  • small jar tomato puree 
  •  2 tbls tomato paste

 fry onion until soft, add in garlic and stir until garlic starts to soften. add in beef and break up with a spoon, stir until browned, drain excess fat. add grated carrot and herbs, continue to stir. when meat is browned put in can tomatoes and tomato puree and let simmer on low approx 30-40 mins. put in tomato paste and simmer for 15 mins. meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook pasta of choice according to packet directions. drain pasta and toss with sauce adding grated cheese if liked. I used bacatini pasta and can't say that I'd use it again as I found it rather too thick for my liking  but the rest of the family had no such issues.


Choc Chip & Walnut Cookies


I haven't made biscuits (cookies) in such a long time. these delicious choc chip & walnut ones made me wonder why I waited

125gr soft butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
110 gr caster (fine sugar)
100gr firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
260gr self raising flour
130gr choc chips
60gr chopped walnuts

beat butter, sugars and essence until smooth, then add egg and mix to combine.  sift flour and add with remaining ingredients.  roll mix into small balls  and place approx 4cm apart on greased trays.  bake in moderate oven for about 15 minutes or until golden, keep checking.  cool on trays and enjoy.

I'm sharing with
 Mix it up monday
 Make it pretty monday
Full Plate Thursday Full Plate Thursday




I can't claim these as being authentic but they are my version of the delicious greek meatballs I had as a child in the 70's & 80's while visiting greek neighbours :)

about 750gr minced meat  ( I used approx 450gr beef and 300gr lamb)
4 slices bread soaked in milk
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 grated onion
dried origano (greek preferred)
tble spoon fresh chopped mint
cinnamon to taste
grated zest of half lemon
1 beaten egg
salt & pepper to taste

squeeze excess moisture from bread. add mince and following ingredients. mix together and form in balls roughly golf ball sized. allow to firm in fridge for about half an hour before frying until browned and cooked through. serve with tatziki dip if liked.  delicious and so easy!


Yellow Chicken Curry


As I've mentioned I love curries! recently I made this green chicken curry which was a hit with the family.

approx 750gr chicken diced (I used a mix of breast and thighs)

small onion chopped

red chilli chopped fine (I like heat so left the seeds in)

red capsicum diced

1/4 cup yellow curry paste

baby spinach leaves

400ml coconut milk

heat  pan and add curry paste cook stirring until fragrant then add onion and stir until it begins to soften. add chicken and cook for about 10 mins then add remaining vegetables and chilli (excluding baby spinach) cook a further 5 mins then add coconut milk  and simmer until chicken is cooked. just before serving add spinach to heat through.  serve with jasmine rice

I'm sharing with Full Plate Thursday(image)

Beef Quesadilla


Granted these are not pretty to look at but they do taste good.

no real recipe I just fried some beef mince and drained off excess fat. then I added finely chopped onion, small tin kidney beans and some spices (cumin, coriander and chilli powder to taste. I also added about 1/4 cup mild salsa and cooked together for approx 10 minutes.  spoon the mix onto one half of warmed tortillas then top with cheese. fold in half then fry until golden. serve


Sicilian Chicken


This is a recipe that I had posted a number of years ago but due to my laptop crashing I  lost some recipes.
I'm making this for dinner tonight and as I remembered how good it is I  thought I'd re share the recipe. hence the reason for the re post....... 

1 onion

100ml olive oil

1 chicken (approx. 2-2.25kg, skinned and jointed into 8 pieces)*

 salt and black pepper

250ml chicken stock 

125ml dry white wine

125ml red wine vinegar

juice of half a lemon

handful of fresh parsley, chopped, plus extra for sprinkling over at the end

small handful fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus extra for sprinkling over at the end

2 large tomatoes
Finely chop the onion and fry it gently, with some salt sprinkled over to stop it catching, in 4 TBSP  of the olive oil in a wide, heavy-bottomed pan for about 5 minutes, until it's softened but not browned.

Arrange the chicken pieces over the onion and season well with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken stock, wine, vinegar and lemon juice then sprinkle the parsley and basil over the top. Bring the pan to the boil and then cover and simmer gently for about 45 minutes.
Remove the lid and simmer away for about another 15 minutes, by which time the liquid should have reduced a little and the chicken itself be well cooked.

Blanch the tomatoes in hot water . Leave them there for 3 minutes or so then tumble them out, skin them, quarter them, remove the viscous glob of seeds and roughly chop the pink-red flesh. Mix them in a small bowl along with the remaining olive oil and some salt and pepper. I should admit here that I sometimes don't bother to blanch and peel the tomatoes, simply just deseed and chop them.
When the chicken is ready, remove the pieces to a large shallow bowl and, if you want the sauce any thicker, let it bubble away over a high heat to reduce further. If you've taken the blanched, peeled tomato route, then stir the tomato mixture into the sauce and pour it over the chicken waiting in the dish. If you've simply chopped the unpeeled tomatoes, then first pour the sauce over the chicken and then tumble the tomatoes around and, scantily, on top. Just before serving - which could be now or a whole lot later - sprinkle over a little more parsley and basil. Serve with crusty bread to mop up all the delicious juice 

Meatballs In Paprika Cream Sauce


mince  beef and pork (as much as you need) I used approx 500gr beef & 250gr pork
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 beaten egg
approx 1tble spoon dried oregano

mix together and shape into medium size balls.

for sauce

400gr can tomato puree
1 clove garlic crushed
2 tsp paprika
salt & pepper to taste
2 tble spoons sour cream

fry meatballs in oil until nicely browned.  drain on paper towels

 put the tomato puree, garlic, and paprika in a pan, , then cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. add meatballs into sauce and simmer gently. just before meatballs are cooked stir in sour cream and heat gently.  serve over noodles or rice.  mashed potato is also good.


Butter Cake


This cake is quick & easy to make and is the base for many different cake versions including marble cake & lamingtons. you can ice it or not, your choice. I iced mine with a lemon icing.  sorry about the pic but I cut it before remembering to take a photo! oopps ;)

4 oz butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups self raising flour
small pinch salt
approx 1/2 cup milk
cream, butter, sugar, vanilla together until light and fluffy. add eggs one at a time beating well.fold in dry ingredients (sifted) alternately with the milk. spoon into greased  7 or 8 inch tin and bake in moderate oven  50-60 minutes or until done.