Category Archives: Masterclass Recipes


Sicilian Herb and Tomato Fish

herb-tom-fish-webThe recipe sounds simple and it is, but there are a couple of elements in it that add that little bit extra. Ideal when you are entertaining that special person and want to impress. 

I use Monkfish as its firm fleshed and available all over the world. A flaky fish will fall apart in this recipe. 


1kg (2.2lb) fresh Monkfish fillets or other firm white fish
50g (2 oz) salted butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1 400g (12oz) tin Italian (Roma) peeled, crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree (concentrate)
1 white/brown onion
2 shallots
½ tsp each dried parsley and thyme, combined

1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp of plain white flour of choice
Half a bottle dry white wine
1 cup fish stock
60ml (2oz) cognac
½ handful fresh chopped coriander or basil, you choose
Small pinch cayenne pepper
3-4 threads saffron, (in New Zealand I use Mrs Rogers saffron available all over the country)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Juice of half a lemon 


Coat the fish fillets lightly in flour, shake off excess. 

In a heavy-based cast-iron pan over a medium-high heat add the oil. When its warming up, about 30 seconds add the butter . Don’t let the butter burn.

Place the monkfish fillets in the pan then add the cognac after about 30 seconds. 

Light the cognac with a flame and flambé for 1 minute or until the flame dies down, 30 seconds each side. 

Take the pan off the heat, place the fish aside in a separate, warmed dish/plate and set aside to rest. 

Reduce the heat to medium and finely dice the garlic, onion and shallots. Gently cook the garlic and onions in the flambéed saucepan for 4-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, fish stock, white wine, herbs, cayenne pepper. Stir to combine and simmer gently until the sauce has reduced by half for about 20 minutes. 

Finally, add the pieces of fish to the sauce in the pan and cook for only a further 5 or so minutes. Just before serving, add fresh coriander and saffron, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with rice or cauliflower rice for Paleo. 

Scallops With Light Tomato Sauce And Caramelized Onions

Scallop-tomato-sauce-webAre you entertaining and want a starter that will impress?

This is a wonderful plate of tastes to place in front of your guests. The light Italian tomato sauce with the sweetness of the caramelized onions balance well together and then you have the yummy clean flavour of the scallops. 


6 tbsp olive oil, divided

12 large sea scallops, patted dry

Sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper

4 tbsp spring onion, about 4

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 can 400g (16 oz) crushed Italian tomatoes

1 cup white wine

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

chive sprigs


Caramelized Onions 

4 small to medium onions, halved and sliced

Knob of butter

2 tbsp liquid honey, I use Mother Earth

1 tbsp sweet balsamic reduction

1 tsp fresh time, stalks removed and leaves chopped. 


In a sauté skillet or heavy based pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat and add the butter and onions. Sauté stirring frequently for 3 minutes and reduce the heat to medium. 

Add the thyme, honey, balsamic and simmer for a further 4-5 minutes. Remove from the pan to a bowl and keep warm. 

Lightly season the dried scallops to taste with salt and pepper making sure you do not add to much salt. 

Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and increase the heat to medium high. Once the pan is hot place 6 scallops in the pan and sear for about 30 seconds on each side or until they have gained nice colour as in the recipe image. Do not over cook. Remove from pan, set aside and keep warm. 

For the sauce in the same pan sauté the spring onions shallot with the remaining olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes to combine. Add tomato, white wine, honey, and thyme, combine and cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat, stirring occasionally. 

Return scallops to pan and heat through, about 1 minute each side. 

Arrange 3 scallops around the outside of 4 small serving plates. Spoon some caramelized onion on top of each scallop. Spoon sauce around the scallops and garnish with chive sprigs.

Juicy Cheery Tomato Bites

Classic-Tomato-webI have mentioned many times before that Italian and Sicilian food is based in simple flavours that work well together and don’t need any complication with unnecessary additions just to bulk dishes as we see in so many western countries. 

This side is a classic that has not changed in generations and can be made in a few minutes. Resting in the fridge will allow this wonderful tomato dish develop its full depth of flavour. 

There are two main flavour tastes that I cover in this recipe. 

As a side for 4-6 


600g (20oz) Cheery tomatoes

1 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stalks

1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped

Balsamic vinegar to drizzle

Olive oil to drizzle

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste 


Slice the cheery tomatoes in half and place them in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the tomatoes with fresh thyme leaves and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Mix together, cover and rest in the fridge for 1 hour for added flavour. 

Pre-heat oven to 200 C (400 F). 

On a lined flat baking tray place the tomatoes flesh side up. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven for 5-8 minutes to soften them. Do not over cook. 

Remove from the oven and place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with the diced basil leaves. Serve warm or cool.

Baked Eggplant Snacks

Eggplant-Snacks-webIn Sicily eggplant is one of the most eaten vegetables. Match it with some cheese and other topping and you have wonderful yummy snacks. 

In the south of Italy pizza topping are kept to just a few ingredients so the individual flavours can be experienced and this recipe is an example of this. 

If you want longer versions cut the eggplant long ways and follow the same process detailed below. 


1 large eggplant
1/2 tbsp coarse salt
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 400g (16 oz) fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, juice removed (for canned tomatoes)
100g (4oz) about 5 spring onions (green onions), white parts only
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh oregano 
1 tsp smoked paprika
100g (4 oz) fresh mozzarella
a few shavings parmesan
a few sliced olives
Fresh chopped basil leaves 


Slice the eggplant into 7mm (1/4-inch) thick slices. Place them on a flat surface and sprinkle with coarse salt. This will draw out some of the moisture that is in the eggplant. Let sit for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 190 C (400 F). Pat the slices dry on both sides with paper towel, place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil, and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until tender on the inside, but still holding together. 

In the meantime, make the tomato sauce: chop the onions and garlic separately. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs, season with salt, pepper and the paprika, and simmer for 15 -20 minutes, until it has thickened. 

When you are ready to top the eggplant preheat oven to 190 C (400 F). Slice the mozzarella and olives into very thin slivers. Spread 1 tbsp tomato sauce on top of each eggplant slice, add a sliver of mozzarella, a few parmesan shavings, a few olive slices, and freshly cracked pepper. Bake 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden. 

Top, garnish with some fresh chopped basil and serve warm.


Using Herbs

herbsOutlined below are some suggestions of what herbs to use with what meats or vegetables. Herbs are a great option when you are living a seasonal fresh to bring full flavour to your dishes. If you are not big on the use of herbs in your cooking start with some of the suggested matched below and play around with tastes.

You will find out what you like and this will open the door to even greater tasting foods.

I use both fresh and dried.

You can download this post as a pdf by clicking here

Herbs with meat.

Beef –
Basil, Bay leaf, Caraway, Chervil, Lovage seed, Cumin, Garlic Fenugreek, Ginger, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme and Peppermint.

Lamb –
Basil, Bay leaf, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Chervil, Dill, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Lovage seed, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Saffron, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme and Savory.

Ham –
Lovage, Marjoram, Mint, Mustard, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary and Savory.

Pork –
Anise, Caraway, Cardamom, Coriander, Chervil, Dill, Garlic, Ginger, Oregano, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Tarragon, Fennel, Lovage seed, Marjoram, Savory and Thyme.

Veal –
Basil, Bay leaf, Chervil, Chives, Ginger, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Savory and Thyme.

Venison –
Bay, Lovage seed, Rosemary, Sage, Savory and Sweet Marjoram.

Rabbit –
Basil, Bay, Marjoram, Lovage seed, Rosemary and Sage.

Liver –
Basil, Dill, Marjoram, Sage, Savory and Thyme.

Turkey –
Basil, Garlic, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme, Parsley and Sweet Marjoram.

Chicken –
Thyme, Anise, Basil, Bay leaf, Borage, Chervil, Chives, Cinnamon, Cumin, Dill, Fenugreek, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Lovage, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Savory and Tarragon.

Duck –
Bay, Rosemary, Sage, Sweet Marjoram and Tarragon.

Goose – Fennel, Sage and Sweet Marjoram.

Fish – Anise, Basil, Borage, Caraway, Chevil, Chives, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Savory, Tarragon and Thyme.

Baked or Grilled Fish –
Basil, Bay, Caraway, Chervil, Chives, Dill, Fennel, Lemon Balm, Lemon Thyme, Lovage, Marjoram, Mints, Parsley, Savory, Tarragon and Thyme.

Salmon –
Dill seed and Rosemary.

Fish Soups – Bay, Lovage, Sage, Savory, Tarragon and Thyme.

Oily Fish – Fennel and Dill.

Seafood – Basil, Bay, Chervil, Chives, Dill, Fennel Seed, Marjoram, Rosemary, Tarragon and Thyme.

Herbs with vegetables

Artichokes –
Bay, Savory and Tarragon.

Asparagus –
Chives, Lemon Balm, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme, Chervil, Dill and Tarragon.

Avocado –
Dill, Marjoram and Tarragon.

Beans Dried –
Savory, Cumin, Garlic, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, and Thyme.

Beans, Green –
Savory, Basil, Caraway, Cloves, Dill, Marjoram, Mint, Sage and Thyme.

Broccoli –
Basil, Dill, Garlic, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Oregano, Tarragon and Thyme.

Brussel Sprouts –
Dill, Sage and Savory.

Cabbage –
Basil, Caraway, Cayenne, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Marjoram, Sage, Savory, Borage, Dill seed, Mint, Oregano and Savory.

Carrots –
Anise, Basil, Chervil, Chives, Cinnamon, Clove, Cumin, Dill, Sage, Ginger, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme and Chervil.

Cauliflower –
Basil, Caraway, Chives, Cumin, Dill, Garlic, Marjoram, Parsley, Rosemary, Savory, Tarragon and Fennel.

Corn –
Chevil, Chives, Lemon Balm, Saffron, Sage and, Thyme.

Eggplant –
Basil, Cinnamon, Dill, Garlic, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Savory and Thyme.

Lentils –
Garlic, Mint , Parsley, Savory and Sorrel.

Mushrooms –
Coriander, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Tarragon, Thyme, Basil, Dill, Lemon Balm, Parsley, Rosemary and Savory.

Onions –
Basil, Marjoram, Oregano, Sage, Tarragon and Thyme.

Parsnips –
Basil, Dill, Marjoram, Parsley, Savory and Thyme.

Peas –
Caraway, Chevil, Chives, Rosemary, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme, Basil, Chervil, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley and Sage.

Potatoes –
Parsley, Basil, Caraway, Chives, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Lovage, Sage, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Tarragon and Thyme.

Spinach –
Anise, Basil, Caraway, Chevil, Chives, Cinnamon, Dill, Rosemary, Thyme, Borage, Marjoram, Mint, Sage, Sorrel and Tarragon.

Squash –
Basil, Caraway, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savory and Dill.

Tomatoes –
Basil, Bay leaf, Chives, Chervil, Coriander, Dill, Garlic, Lovage, Sage, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Savory, Tarragon and Thyme.

Turnips –
Dill seed, Marjoram and Savory.

Zucchini –
Basil, Dill, Marjoram, Rosemary and Tarragon.

Baked Italian Pork Steaks

boneless-pork-chopsBeing half Sicilian I love to incorporate southern Italian flavours in my cooking. This is a wonderful looking dish to entertain friends and family with. Great colours with wonderful taste. 


6 pork loin or sirloin steaks, certified free range

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper

6tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp fresh sage, diced very fine

2tbsp olive oil

350g (12oz) cherry tomatoes on the vine

1 handful of fresh basil leaves 


Preheat the oven to 190 C (375 F). 

Wash and pat dry the steaks. Spread a little of the crushed garlic over the pork and season on both sides. Mix the sage and cheese together. 

Place the steals in one layer in a shallow roasting tin and carefully sprinkle 1 tbsp cheese mix over each. Drizzle with a little oil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. 

After 15 minutes remove the tray from the oven and baste the pork with the cooking juices. Arrange the cherry tomato trusses around the pork steaks. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes until the pork is tender and the tomatoes are slightly soft. 

Sprinkle with basil leaves, cover with foil and stand for 5 minutes before serving straight from the tray. I serve with seasonal salad with glazed baby carrots and Italian herb dressing for the salad.

Sicilian Tomato Sauce

Nothing beats a good home-made tomato sauce and the smell in the kitchen as it’s cooking is just fantastic. I prefer to use whole, fresh, low-acid plum (Roma)  tomatoes.  I freeze this in 2 cup lots in zip lock bags and this gives me the option for meals in minutes.

You can use this as a base on pizza, with meatballs, as a dipping sauce and in your general cooking.

If you are using fresh tomatoes prepare them by blanching in boiling water until the skins are loose and wrinkled. I usually boil the jug and pour the boiled water over the tomatoes in a container large enough to allow them to be covered by the water.

While they are in the water take a sharp knife and score each tomato if the skins do not split. Cool in cold water to stop further cooking. Remove skins and core before dicing.


1 kg (2.2lbs) fresh tomatoes

1 medium–large onion, diced

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3–5 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat of a knife and sliced thinly

1 cup chopped fresh basil

¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary

¼ cup chopped fresh oregano

½ cup red wine

4 bay leaves

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

200 g (4 oz) tomato puree

½ cup fresh Italian parsley


Sauté onion in olive oil and simmer over low heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, rosemary and oregano and simmer, covered, for another 5 minutes or so. Uncover and add wine and bay leaves.

Continue simmering until the mixture has reduced by about half. This should take about 30–45 minutes.

Add tomatoes, chicken/vegetable stock, salt and pepper, purée and simmer for 1 hour. You can reduce the sauce further and intensify the flavour by simmering over a low heat for another 2 hours. I have let the sauce simmer for up to 4 hours when I want to develop the taste. Fresh Italian parsley can be added at the end.

Tip: If you want to turn this sauce into a base that is great for pizzas, add 10–12 sliced olives (don’t forget to remove the pips) and 2 tsp capers in the last 15–30 minutes of simmering.

Recipe from

TheNew ZealandGluten-Free Cookbook Jimmy Boswell 1012 Published by Penguin NewZealand 

Photography by Sean Shadbolt


Lean Ground Lamb or Beef Ragù with Basil and Tomato Sauce


Ground Lamb or Beef Ragù 

by Jimmy Boswell – Gluten Free Chef

What is it about grass raised Lamb or beef Mince that I love so much? It’s the way that it takes up the flavours of the herbs and a traditional Ragù is a great way to cook the ground meat (mince).

A Ragù is a traditional Italian meat sauce that is typically served with pasta. In Italy a Ragù usually contains ground beef,  tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, white wine and seasonings. Ragù sauce is typically a thicker meat sauce.

What You Need

500 g (1.1 lb) lean ground grass fed lamb or beef (Mince)

4 tbsp olive oil
2        medium onions, diced
1        carrot, fine chopped

1        celery stalk, fine chopped
3        clove(s) garlic, minced
2        large bay leafs
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp fresh Basil rough chopped
2        large red bell or green peppers, washed, cored, seeded, diced
800g (28 oz) tomatoes, peeled, chopped and crushed (I use a potato masher to crush)
250 ml (about 1 cup)  dry white wine (optional replace with stock (broth)  if wine not desired)
200 ml chicken stock (broth)
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Bring it Together

Heat the oil in a large enough saucepan over high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add the meat and cook until it just begins to change colour.  Don’t play with the meat to long as you will be cooking this dish off for an hour or two.

Add the rosemary, bay leaf, basil and peppers. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally over low heat, for about 10 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes  and chicken stock (broth) and cook (simmer) sauce for about ten more minutes over a low heat. Add the wine and season with salt and pepper.

Cover and cook over low heat for about 1.5 hours, stirring frequently. Remove cover after 1.5 hours and cook to reduce the ragu until its thickened. I do not like to use thickeners as I want all the great flavours to be as natural as possible.

Just before serving, about 5-10 min check and adjust seasoning to taste.

Tip:    I quite often make the Ragù the day before and let it develop even better taste covered in the fridge overnight.

Visit The Gluten Free Chef on Facebook