BBQ Man is a supremely capable Dad, but I thought I’d help out a little by cooking and freezing some meals for when I’m away in Melbourne. Otherwise I don’t think a single piece of vegetable will be eaten by BBQ Man or Little Miss over the 7 days that I’m away. So I did a cookout on the weekend, and made  beef and vegetable goulash pie, lamb and spinach pasta bake, Tex Mex bake (vegetarian, muahaha!) and soy sauce chicken with rice, (which hopefully BBQ Man will slice up some cucumber to eat with).

To make beef and vegetable goulash pie, fry 500g beef mince and a cup each of chopped pumpkin, carrot and peas with an onion. Add 2 heaped tablespoons of paprika and 1/2 cup water. Season well with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and top with either a sheet of puff pastry or mash potato, and bake.

I topped mine with mash potato, and added a touch of whimsy which I’m pretty sure the Little Miss would like.

I sprinkled paprika into a heart-shaped pancake/egg ring…


Have a great week ahead and I’ll see you back here on Thursday.


    Welcome back to Friday Picks! I hope you enjoy these easy-to-make recipes! I’d love to hear from you as to what recipes you’d like to see here – more side dishes, or more desserts, or more pasta? Less meat? Super quick ones, or slow cooker recipes? I’d love to hear about the recipes you might have tried from the Picks, as well.

Enjoy your weekend!


   Lamb Tagine 

    Beef and Cashew Stir fry    

    Creamy Pesto Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes    



 Veggie Shepherds Pie with Sweet Potato Mash 

     Eggplant, Ricotta and Parmesan Bake 

  Vegetarian Phad Thai  

Our friends Connie and Fidelis had us to dinner recently, and we feasted on some seriously good curry. We had Bombay potatoes and a chicken curry, pickles and Fidelis’ own pickled green chillies, which blew my head right OFF (stop laughing, certain readers in Malaysia).


Pics by Fidelis Rego, Curry Chef Extraordinaire

Since then, I’ve been craving chilli hits at almost every meal. It wasn’t enough to just have my mouth tingle, but I was after some serious burn. So with that in mind, I set off to make my own curry, from scratch, from whole spices.


Mmm…whole spices smell amazing! Especially when I bash away at it with a mortar and pestle! Then I realise that while it’s an exhilarating sensory experience, it takes a loooong time to reduce it to a fine powder. Time for some reinforcements…


Put them all in a spice grinder…exert myself by pressing a button for 2-3 seconds…look! Fine powder! 


I chose to make this curry because, it’s really quite a simple one (relatively speaking) to make. All it needs is spice, meat and coconut milk, and then a gentle simmer until the meat is tender. If you don’t want to use whole spice (and having to grind them), just substitute with ground/powdered spice. I served this curry with rice and a very simple, tangy carrot salad. The tangy carrot salad/relish is not something I’ve made before, but I think now that I will always have that with a curry. The cool, tangy carrot perfectly balanced the rich, spicy curry. Now I understand why Indians love pickles with their curry!

You’ll find a similar recipe to the one I used, here. Enjoy!

Once in a while, BBQ Man’s Dad breaks out of character and does something rather unexpected. (Like pocketing some interesting bouncing rocks from a national park, but we won’t get into that…) This weekend he coolly turned out 4 perfect pizzas as if he’s been making them all his life! They were so good that I ate far too many pieces and could barely move from the table. And looking at the pics now…groan…I want some for breakfast!! Thanks Dad, they were deeeelicious!

First up, grab yourself a ready-made pizza base. Squeeze a sachet of tomato paste on.

Swirl the paste around with the back of a spoon. When you get tired,

hand the task over to an eager assistant.

Top the pizza with assorted goodies…

such as pan-fried chicken breasts, cherry tomatoes, ham, fried red onions and mushrooms

Don’t forget the cheese!

Pop it in a hot oven until the cheese melts

Slice, top with baby spinach leaves and serve.

(I LOVED the spinach leaves, it gave a new and entirely delicious dimension to pizza.)

When can we come over for pizza again, Dad?

 One of the difficulties that homecooks face is the invariable, daily decision-making that might sound more or less like this: ‘Groan, what am I gonna make for dinner tonight?’ I don’t mind cooking everyday, but sometimes it’s hard to come up with ideas and I end up in a dinner-rut. (You don’t? Who cooks your dinner?) So I’ve pulled some recipes from the web, in the hopes that some of them might inspire you to try something a little different, or just to eliminate having to decide what to cook. There are 5 options each for meatlovers and for veggielovers. I plan to do this each Friday, which allows you to shop during the weekend for the following week. I hope you’ll find the selections useful and inspiring. Enjoy!

Meals for Meatatarians


Jamie’s Beef and Noodle Stirfry

Jamie Oliver’s Beef and Vegetable Noodle Stir Fry

Chicken Parimigiana, an Aussie Pub Classic

Martha Stewart’s Beef Stroganoff

Nigella’s ‘Toad-in-the-Hole’, an English Classic

Herb and Dijon Lamb Cutlets


Meals for Vegetarians

Jamie’s Linguine with Tomatoes and Capers

Zucchini and Ricotta Frittata

 Jamie Oliver’s Linguine with Tomatoes and Capers

Silverbeet and Mushroom Pie

Kylie Kwong’s Vegetable Sung Choi Pao

Indian Vegetable Curry

(Source: jamieoliver.com)

I wish I could say I lovingly shopped for this spicy stew of chickpeas and chorizo sausages, and that I made it to ward off the early Autumn chill. Because that would sound nice and romantic, wouldn’t it? But the sad truth is, I didn’t have time to make what I’d planned to make for dinner, and I felt like something tart and spicy… and then it suddenly hit me that I have all the necessary ingredients for this dish. And it wouldn’t (and didn’t) take much time to make.

I had a vague recollection of having read this recipe somewhere, and basically threw it all together and hoped for the best. It turned out quite well, and I think I’ll really enjoy it for lunch today. (OH MY GOODNESS! BBQ Man had some for breakfast! Is there any left???)

I served it with buttery polenta – although what I really wanted was the dense, chewy bread that we used to have at a Spanish restaurant in Adelaide. Next time I’ll actually plan to make this dish and will have good bread and olive oil to serve alongside it.


josashimi’s chickpea and chorizo stew

Serves 4-6


3 chorizo sausages

400 g canned chickpeas

1 medium red capsicum, cut to bite size pieces

2 medium zucchini, sliced into coins

1 small onion, finely chopped

2-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 cup red wine

800g canned, diced tomatoes

2 tbs Spanish smoked paprika

1 tbs dried thyme


Heat oil in pan, fry onions for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and stir

Add red wine, capsicum and chorizo, cook until the capsicum softens and the chorizo browns

Add zucchini, stir for 2-3 minutes, then add tomatoes, paprika and thyme, simmer for another 5 minutes

Serve with crusty bread

This is Jamie Oliver’s take on this stew. His is a more complex version.

PS. BBQ Man tells me there’s ‘A little bit left’ … 


Let’s face it. There’s nothing quite as irresistible as a pasta bake. Pasta ranks right up there on the comfort food stakes, and when it’s served all simmering and snug under a blanket of melted cheese…moan… (Great! Now all I’m thinking of is the leftovers in the fridge. Argh!) I love pasta bakes with chunky veggies, which cleverly absorb all the lovely, herby tomatoey flavours in the sauce, while it bakes. I threw this together for dinner with the vegetables that I had in the fridge – mushrooms, zucchini and carrot. Feel free to change the veggies to suit your tastes. There’s a vegetarian alternative given in the recipe. Enjoy!

josashimi’s pasta bake


200 g bacon, chopped OR 200 g sun dried tomatoes, chopped

300 g zucchini, sliced into batons (about 3 medium-sized zucchini)

200 g carrot, grated (about 2 medium-sized carrots)

200 g mushrooms, sliced

2-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

200 – 300 g cheese, grated (more, if you like!)

150 g sour cream

400 g canned tomatoes

1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs

500 g pasta

Chopped parsley, to taste


Heat oil in pan and fry garlic, stirring, for 3-4 minutes (make it  5-8 minutes for the vegetarian option).

Add bacon and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add zucchini and mushrooms to pan for 5 minutes, then add carrot and dried herbs (and sun dried tomatoes). Cook for further 3-5 minutes, stirring.

Add tomatoes and sour cream, mix thoroughly and bring to a simmer for 2 minutes. Set aside while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta a minute or two less than packet instructions. (This will give you a tastier pasta bake, because the slightly undercooked pasta will then finish cooking in the oven, and will better absorb the sauce)

Toss the pasta with the sauce and pour into a baking dish. Top with grated cheese and bake in a 200C oven for 30 minutes, or until the top just begins to brown.

Serve with a generous topping of chopped parsley.


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