Poached Egg with Halloumi & Pan Fried Asparagus & Mushrooms (vegetarian)

Even passionate cooks need a night off from the kitchen.

In our current season of life, that is Sunday night for me.

After a week of meals that they have no choice but to eat, Sunday is the one night where my boys can choose (within reason) their own dinner. It’s often leftovers, a toasted sandwich, pasta and cheese, or ‘Upside Down Dinner’ which is when they have their favourite breakfast for dinner. I still try and get some carrot sticks or something nutritious into them, but generally, it’s our most relaxed ‘whatever works and is in the house’ dinner night.

This leaves me with a much needed night off from being the chief decision maker and vegetable enforcer, which I admit, does feel good.

I potter around the kitchen with the kids and my husband, but try and take a back seat, as I encourage my older boys to help construct their own meal.

Out of everything I will eat in a week, my Sunday night dinner is my favourite meal. It’s one of our most simple….but because I haven’t made it, it just tastes AMAZING.

So, what is this Sunday night dinner I hear you say?


Yep. Eggs.

Simple, cheap, nutritious eggs.

A few years ago my husband, who doesn’t spend a great deal of time in the kitchen, decided he wanted to learn how to poach eggs. I decided not to get involved and leave him to learn this for himself (best for our marriage that way!) Over time, he researched and perfected how to poach the perfect egg, and thus it has become the meal he cooks for me every Sunday night.


I am usually banished from the kitchen altogether, for fear I will take over (Me? Take Over?) or if permission granted I get given ‘toast and extras’ duty, ie. roast the tomatoes, fry the halloumi, chop the asparagus.

Truth be told, it’s actually one of my favourite times of the week, having my man in the kitchen with me….doing something I love so much….together.

I know the best way to poach an egg can be highly controversial, but below is the way my husband swears by and I can attest that it tastes pretty darn good.


2 eggs per person

1 block of Halloumi cheese, cut in half horizontally

1 bunch of fresh asaparagus, ends trimmed, cut in half

a large handful of button mushrooms, washed and sliced

zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 clove garlic, crushed

a few sprigs of fresh thyme

approx 2 tablespoons of butter, for frying

sourdough bread to toast

salt and pepper to season


Get your toast ready for toasting.

Melt butter over a medium heat in a frying pan.

Add garlic, mushrooms, thyme and lemon zest and fry until mushrooms are softening and slightly golden.

Add asparagus and fry for another 2 minutes, or until they are slightly soft.  Remove from pan and cover to keep warm.

Place the frying pan back over medium heat and add a little extra butter. Once melted, add the Halloumi and fry on both sides until golden. Remove from the pan and pour the lemon juice over the Halloumi.

To Poach Eggs

Bring a medium size saucepan of water to a rapid boil with a lid on.

Remove the lid, crack the egg flush to the water surface and open shell slowly, so as it hits the water, the egg white seals almost immediately.

Leave in boiling water for approximately 60-90 seconds, or until the egg yolk is cooked to your liking.

Remove with a slotted spoon.

Plate up the toast, vegetables, egg and halloumi. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a lemon wedge if desired.



Not-Too Spicy Beef and Rice Noodles with Cashews

So when I say the words ‘beef mince’ your mind goes straight to Spaghetti Bolognese? Thought so….

Well, it’s time my friend, to start exploring other ways to use beef mince in your meal plans!

We love this super easy, quick and fresh noodle dish using regular old beef mince.

Loaded with asian flavours and finished off with lots of fresh coriander, mint, and a generous handful of toasted cashews, it is a perfect mid-week meal for you and your family. You can increase or reduce the amount of curry paste or chilli based on how spicy your family likes their food.

The original recipe idea came from DELICIOUS magazine, September 2008.

Serves 5-6


250gm rice vermicelli noodles (very very thin rice noddles found in the asian ingredients isle of your supermarket)

1 tablespoon of peanut or sesame oil

2 tablespoons lemongrass, pale part of stem, finely chopped

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or ginger paste

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

500gm beef mince

2 heaped teaspoons of Thai red curry paste (more if your family likes it more spicy, this was quite mild)

1 red capsicum, de-seeded and finely chopped

100gm of fresh green beans, ends trimmed and cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons fish sauce

juice of 1 lime

a handful of fresh coriander leaves

a handful of fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup roasted cashews or peanuts, chopped


Soak the rice noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain, refresh under cold water and divide among serving bowls.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, then add lemongrass, ginger, garlic and chilli flakes and stir-fry for a minute.

Add the beef mince, and cook, breaking up the clumps until well-browned.

Add the curry paste, beans and capsicum and mix thoroughly.

Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until the veggies are a little softer.

Add fish sauce and lime juice and give a big stir.

Remove from heat and divide amongst the serving bowls.

Garnish each dish with fresh coriander, mint and chopped toasted cashews.



Coconut Chicken Salad

Well, the weather is finely starting to feel as Autumn in Sydney should, with cooler mornings and evenings finally upon us. I am starting to put the ‘throws’ back on the lounges and will need to get the blankets out of the cupboards and on the beds soon. In terms of food, my mind is starting to think of warming soups, slow cooked dishes and puddings, which I am looking forward to sharing with you over the coming months.

So, this is probably one of the last salad style recipes I will share for a while. I really wanted to share it as the whole family ate it just last week (even Mr 3!) and LOVED IT.

There are 2 main steps – poaching the chicken breasts in coconut milk and cutting up salad ingredients. Pretty easy right?

If you are new to POACHING as a cooking technique, it’s a great one to learn as it’s such an easy and healthy way to cook chicken, or fish. This recipe uses coconut milk as the liquid, but you can poach chicken in plain water or stock, brought to the boil with some basic flavourings added like lemon slices, chilli, peppercorns, herbs or spices.  Generally, you bring the liquid to the boil, add your chicken, boil for a few minutes and then take off the heat and let the chicken stand in the liquid with a lid on while it continues to cook. A normal sized chicken breast will take approximately 10 minutes to cook this way, but it can vary depending on the volume of liquid and size of the pan and piece of chicken.  Poached chicken breasts will last in the fridge for around 2 days and can be sliced and shredded and used in almost anything!

The following recipe was inspired by a recipe I read in cookbook “Good Food” by Anneka Manning, once the Food Editor of Australian Good Taste magazine.

Coconut Chicken Salad

Serves 5 (3 of us did go back for small amounts of seconds!)


2 single chicken breasts

1 cup coconut milk

1 lemongrass stalk, pale section only, bruised with the back of a knife (place the blade of a knife horizontally on top of the stalk and press down with the palm of your hand) and roughly chopped.

Note – Lemongrass is commonly used in asian cooking to flavour a dish with a lemon lime flavour. If you can’t find one to buy in your local green grocer or super market, using a vegetable peeler, throw a few pieces of lemon rind in the pan instead.

1/2 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes

1/2 Chinese cabbage, outer leave and core removed and roughly shredded

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

1/2 red capsicum, thinly sliced

1 carrot, skin removed and peeled into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler

1/2 bunch of fresh coriander finely chopped

a handful of toasted cashews

juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon of fish sauce


Place the chicken, coconut milk, lemongrass or lemon peel and dried chilli flakes into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes, turn the chicken over and simmer for another 3 or so minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Pour the contents of the saucepan, chicken included, into a heat-resistant bowl and set aside to cool while you cut up the salad ingredients.


Place the shredded cabbage, cucumber, carrot and capsicum into a large serving bowl. Combine lime juice and fish sauce and pour over the chopped salad.

Remove the chicken breasts from the liquid and slice thinly. Place the chicken on top of the salad, sprinkle with coriander and cashews.

Place the large bowl and serving spoons in the middle of the table and let everyone serve themselves.

Note – this salad would be beautiful with a handful of bean sprouts tossed through it, but my kids won’t eat them, so I left them out.

Greek Salad and Homemade Herb Bread

My boys love sausages. I don’t. But if I really want to make them happy, I make sure they appear on the menu every few weeks at least.

To fancy up our sausage dinner recently, I made this Greek Salad and Homemade Herb bread. Two great side dishes that would work perfectly alongside almost any piece of meat, fish or leftover roast.  If I come across some beautiful steak on sale, I will throw it in the freezer and serve it to my husband and I instead of sausages. Coming soon will be my 4 top tips for cooking a great steak!

Greek Salad 

Serves approx 5


2 handfuls of baby spinach

1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 large cucumber, cut into chunks

125gm of Greek Feta, cut into cubes (Greek Feta is hard and works best in this salad. Danish Feta is soft and will fall apart into the salad when mixed)

1/4 cup pitted Kalamata Olives, cut in half

a few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped

Balsamic vinegar to drizzle over the top


Combine everything, except vinegar and parsley, in a bowl and mix to combine. Sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with Balsamic vinegar.

Homemade Herb Bread


You won’t want to buy a pre-made herb bread again after realising how easy and yummy this is. The smell of it cooking in the oven alone is worth it!


1 sourdough loaf or baguette

a few handfuls of chopped mixed herbs like rosemary, oregano, parsley and thyme.

2 or 3 garlic cloves, crushed (this is dependant on how garlicy you want it!)

2-3 tablespoons of softened butter (or olive oil if you prefer)


Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Using a bread knife, cut thick slices into the loaf, without cutting right through to the bottom.

Mix the crushed garlic into the softened butter and using a small knife or pastry brush, spread a small amount on each slice of bread. If there is any left, brush a little butter over the top of the loaf.

Grab small handfuls of herbs and stuff them into each slit and then scatter the rest over the top of the loaf.

Wrap the loaf in foil and bake in the oven for approx 20 mins.


Homemade Fish and Chips

Who doesn’t love a hot, crispy and salty chip? One of our favourite things to do in summer is head to the beach for Fish and Chips.

Trying to recreate that feeling at home is a little harder to do, but mastering a good homemade chip or ‘wedge’ isn’t.

I usually do potatoes for the boys and sweet potato for my husband and I.


Serves 5


1 medium sweet potato, washed, skin on, cut in half and then into wedges.

3 medium potatoes, washed, skin on, cut into wedges.

Olive oil, salt and pepper

4-5 firm white fish fillets or salmon fillets

1 tablespoon (approx 20gm) of butter

Serve with salad of choice and a lemon or lime wedge.


Before you do anything else, turn your oven to 220 degrees celsius.

While it’s heating, line 2 trays with baking paper – this saves washing up later!

Place the cut sweet potato and potato wedges in a microwave safe dish, add a little water, cover and microwave till soft, approx. 4 minutes. If not soft, place back in the microwave for another minute or so.

Drain and dry the wedges with some paper towel (this will help them roast better)

Place on trays, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and throw them in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Get your fish of choice out of the fridge. Lightly oil and season both sides.

When there is 10 minutes to go on your wedges, place a frying pan on medium heat and add butter to the pan. Once melted, cook for 4 minutes on each side or until cooked till your liking.

Serve on plates with your favourite salad and a wedge of lemon or lime.


If your fish has skin on, cook the skin side down first.

White fish fillets will flake apart easily with a fork when they are cooked and will be opaque in the middle.

Salmon will also flake apart easily when cooked and will still be slightly pink in the middle.