Category Archives: Mushroom


Cornbread Muffin Cups

2 cups coarse cornmeal (available in New Zealand as maize flour or maize meal )
2 cups flour (use gluten-free as required)
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 and 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cheddar (tasty) cheese, grated
Fine diced fresh chilli to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 200C (400F) degrees, making sure its well warmed up.

Grease a standard size muffin/cupcake tray.

Hot sauce match – Smoky Dragon Chipotle

Mix dry and wet ingredients in 2 separate bowls. Pour the dry over the wet and combine the ingredients gently taking care not to overmix, the batter should be a little lumpy.

Pour into the muffin tray compartments, filling each to ¾ full.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until firm to the touch and lightly browned.

Let muffins cool completely and using a teaspoon or a small knife cut or scoop out the middle of the muffin, making a deep well for your filling.

Add your choice of warmed filling, leftover pulled pork is perfect. Top with a poached egg, garnish with diced chilli if using and serve.

Hot sauce match Smoky Dragon Chipotle


Pea and Red Bell Pepper Salad

Pea-Pepper-Salad-webThe core recipe is very yummy and can be added to with what’s in season. I serve this super fresh salad with cold cuts of roasted chicken, lamb or fried salmon fillets.  

Its also you can crumble some feta cheese right before serving.


600g (¾ lb.) snow peas

400g (½ lb.) mushrooms, sliced

2 small sweet red bell pepper, cut in half, de-seeded and sliced into strips

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds 

Walnut orange dressing 

1 small clove of garlic, pressed

½ cup orange juice

2 tsp raw or runny honey

3 tbsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

2 tbsp walnut oil (or olive oil)

Pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper


Top and string peas and then blanch peas in boiling water for 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Drain and put into cold water to shock (stop the cooking) and dry thoroughly. 

Combine dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until well combined (or whisk together in a bowl) 

Toss vegetables with dressing and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. 

Serve immediately. 

Optional additions 

1 cup sliced cheery tomatoes

½ cup sweet corn kernels

Whats in the Pantry Frittata

fancy-frittata-webFrittatas are a great “go to” when you want an easy brunch, lunch or evening meal. There are so many things that can go in them and they are ideal for using up leftovers from the fridge and pantry. 

If you are catering for a crowd you can make several in batches and heat them up later as required. 

What Are Frittatas? 

A frittata is an Italian twist on the humble omelet. Since there’s no tricky flip to perform, they’re actually easier to make. Fantastico! 

Frittatas combine eggs and various combinations of vegetables, meat, cheese and even cooked pasta. The end result looks a bit like a quiche, without the crust. 

How to Serve Them 

Frittatas can be served in wedges for breakfast, lunch or dinner, either hot or cold. I like to fill the rest of the plate with salad. If you make frittata for dinner, you’ve got a lunchbox-friendly lifesaver for the next day. They work as a quick weeknight dinner, or as a main dish for brunch with friends. They are also great to take on a picnic or to a shared meal. 

Invent Your Own Frittata 

Once you’ve made one frittata, you can make them all – adjust the fillings and flavors based on what’s in the fridge. Frittatas can give new life to leftovers, and they are a great way to get several food groups into a meal. If you’ve got company coming, go for fancier ingredients like olives, asparagus and aged cheese. 

Frittata  How to Cook

 Frittatas are usually cooked in a fry pan on the stove first, and then finished in the oven. This means you need to use an oven-safe fry pan. Your pan might be labeled as oven safe on the bottom; if not, try looking for information on the manufacturer’s website. 

No guessing is allowed- either your pan is oven-save or it is not! Just remember that the handle will be very hot when you take it out of the oven. 

Fritattas can be cooked only on the stovetop, but this means they have to be flipped—not easy. Some frittatas can be cooked entirely in the oven. 

Pantry Frittata 

The more you make frittatas the more you will know what ingredients work together. They can be very cost effective and you can use up so many leftovers. 


10 eggs
3 tbsp milk or cream
6 leaves of silverbeet (swiss chard) tough stems removed and chopped into small bite-sized pieces or 2 cups spinach leaves or rocket

1 cup grated cheese of choice. I use up the little pieces of cheese that seem to collect in my fridge.

½ cup sliced spring onions
2-3 small sweet potatoes, sliced thinly into rounds. Leftover are fine, they just don’t need cooking
1-2 roma (Italian) tomatoes, sliced thinly into rounds
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup cold meat chopped, pulled or sliced depending what it is (optional)

1 tsp fresh thyme or parsley

Salt and pepper to season 


In a skillet, cook sweet potato slices over medium heat until they are fork tender.  Remove and set aside. If you are using leftovers there is no need to cook. 

Heat the oven grill (broiler) on high.

In a medium sized bowl, beat together the eggs and milk or cream and season with salt and pepper.  Mix in the chopped greens, onion, cheese, meat and garlic and pour this mixture into a cast iron skillet.   

Arrange potatoes and tomatoes on top and sprinkle the thyme over.  Place skillet over medium-low heat on the stove and cook for a few minutes, just until the egg starts to set.   

Then transfer the skillet to an oven set to grill (broil).  Grill the frittata until the top is golden and starts to puff.  Slice into wedges and serve by themselves or with a yummy seasonal fresh salad. 

Slow Cooked Chicken and Mushroom Stew

chicken_Thigh_Stew_WebI love chicken and mushrooms and make stews all the time with them. In this recipe I use chicken thighs with the bone in which helps deepen the taste of the stew. 


6-8 chicken thighs

3 rashers streaky smoked bacon, diced

4 large fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked

2 tbsp olive oil

100g (about 3) shallots, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp tomato purée

240ml (1 cup) dry white wine

240ml (1 cup) chicken stock

300g (12oz) small button mushrooms, wiped with a lightly moistened cloth

2 fresh bay leaves

200g (8oz) fresh or canned chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped

1 tbsp small fresh tarragon leaves 


Place the chicken on a chopping board and season on both sides with fresh ground black pepper and a little salt.  Heat some oil, 1 tbsp over medium-high heat in a large caste iron casserole dish and fry the chicken pieces until golden all over. Set aside. 

Add the rest of the oil, shallot, bacon and garlic to the pan. Fry for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in the purée, cook for 1 minute, add the wine and stock, and bring to the boil. Return the chicken to the pan with the mushrooms, thyme, bay leaves and some seasoning if required. 

Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 50-60 minutes. Turn the chicken now and then, cooking until the chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced.  

Remove the cover and bay leaves and garnish with the parsley and tarragon leaves. Turn off the heat and let the stew rest for 5-10 minutes and serve with your choice of vegetables. This is great with creamy sweet potato mash.


Rosemary Orange Braised Beef Cheeks

beef-ch-slow-1000Beef cheeks are the ideal meat in my view for slow cooking as they retain their moisture and cook to melt-in-your-mouth tender. 

Serves 4 

600g (1.5lb) grass fed beef cheeks, each cut into three pieces
4 tbsp flour of choice, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 400g (16 oz) can crushed Italian tomatoes
2 tbsp olive or coconut oil

1 tbsp medium spicy fresh chilli, stems and seeds removed, diced
2 onions, peeled and chopped to a medium size
400g (1lb) small button mushrooms
2 tsp chopped fresh garlic
2 cups beef or vegetable stock (broth)
1 cup orange juice
Grated rind of one orange
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary 


Pre-heat oven to 160C (310 F) 

Mix the seasoned flour and paprika in a plastic bag, add the lamb shanks and toss to coat. Reserve any remaining flour. 

Add the oil in a stove top and oven proof casserole dish over a medium-high heat and brown the whole cheeks on all sides. Set aside. 

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, chilli and garlic to the casserole and cook for 5 minutes. Add the remaining flour and cook a further minute. 

Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, beef stock, wine and orange juice and once a sauce is formed, add the rosemary. Return the beef cheeks to the casserole. Cover and bake at 160C (310 F) for at least 2-2½ hours or until the meat is tender. 

Served on a bed of creamy mashed sweet potato with wilted kale or silver beet and honey glazed baby carrots is just right for me or topped with a fresh crunchy salad.


Bunless Lamb Burger or Open Sandwich

Bunless-burgerThere are so many variations for the fillings in this burger. I love my lamb patties but you can also use pork, beef or a mixture in the patties. 

Get the kids making their own patties gives them ownership of what they are eating. If someone does not like mushrooms sliced, grilled egg plant is another great option for the top and bottom.

You can also leave the top mushroom off to make an open, no bread sandwich.  I also add some fried bacon as a filling option when I feel like it.


Lamb Patties 

400g (1lb) grass fed (ground) lamb, beef or pork mince
½ brown onion chopped finely
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 Gluten Free cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
2 tbsp grated carrot
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 -3 tbsp olive oil
100g (4oz) taste cheese, grated finely (optional, leave out for DF)
Gluten Free flour to coat for cooking
2 tbsps finely chopped smoky bacon 

Filling ingredients 

4 tomatoes, slices

Sliced beetroot

Cheese slices of choice (optional, leave out for DF)

Salad greens (leaves) of choice

Free range eggs to fry

Grated carrot (optional)

Large flat mushrooms. Enough for a top and bottom for the numer of burgers that you are making. (stem removed)
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Patties Method 

These can be made ahead and stored covered in the fridge. 

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the oil. Using your hands, mix throughout, but gently.  I use my thumb when I am mixing as it allows me to push the ingredients into the mix to make sure its all distributed evenly. 

Lightly oil the palms of your hands, and shape the mixture into one large ball. Turn out onto a chopping board and cut the ball in half. Mould the two halves into balls and halve each again. Keep rolling each one into a ball and halving them till you have 8 medium or 16 small balls depending on the size that you want. 

Put half a cup of flour in a bowl and coat the balls evenly. Using the palm of your hand flatten each one out so they are even in shape and about 1cm (1/2inch) thick. 

Tip. I use an egg ring for shaping the rissoles to get an even depth and round shape.

Bring it all together 

Brush the mushrooms on both side with balsamic vinegar.  

Remove the patties from the fridge and place on a pre-heated BBQ (grill) over a medium high heat. You can also grill (broil) them in the oven. Cook for 5-6 minutes each side. 

At the same time place the mushrooms on the BBQ or under the grill at the same time. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side and when cooked and still firmish set aside and keep warm. 

While they are grilling heat a fry pan or skillet with some olive oil and cook the desired number of eggs and keep warm in the oven with the mushrooms. 

Once the patties, mushrooms and eggs are all dome assemble burgers with your desired fillings and serve with a skewer through the top to keep it all together.

No Bread or Grain Open Sandwich Recipes

Eggplant-open-sandwichEasy Gluten free and paleo options coming during the next month.

Over the next month I will be taking you through many simple but very tasty options for bread/grain free open sandwiches. These recipes will be family friendly and easy to adapt to cater to the differing taste choices that people have in your home and when entertaining. They will include dairy and nut free options and all will be soy free as well.

An open sandwich usually consists of a slice of fresh bread with different spreads and toppings such as butter, pâté, cheese spreads, relishes, cold cuts such as roast beef, turkey, chicken, ham, bacon, salami, cheese slices or sausages like beerwurst and vegetables like bell peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, radish, spring onions (scallion), grated carrot and cucumber to name a few.

When living a Gluten-free life an open sandwich is a great option for a fun snack or meal and you can get the kids making their own. We can use GF breads but I prefer to use other things for the base such as large flat mushrooms, lightly grilled bell peppers (halved), egg plant slices (grilled on both sides), cucumber, large tomato slices to name a few.

ingredients-1As a brunch or an after school snack an open sandwich can be made by each person to their desired choices, this makes it ideal at gatherings of family and friends. It is also a great way to use leftovers from a large meal the day before. I use the grill a lot when I am making open sandwiches to melt in cheeses on the toppings and add some warmth when needed.

Spicy Salami Stuffed Mushrooms with Balsamic Glaze

Spicy-Salami-Stuffed-MushroThis dish is great as a side or a starter when entertaining. If you don’t want it spicy I would suggest using the LASCo Pepperoni for a lesser spicy zing. 


20 medium mushrooms, cleaned with damp paper towel, stem removed, diced and saved for later use
400g Italian sausage, meat removed from casing

400g (1lb) pork sausages
150g packet of LASCo Kaitaia  Fire (Hot Chilli) Salami, diced fine (Use a milder salami if desired)
1 tsp dried rosemary OR 2 tsp fresh, finely chopped
1 tsp dried fennel seed
1 onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
120 grams cream cheese 
150 grams grated aged cheese of choice, halved. I used aged gouda
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 175C (350 F)

In a oven proof large bowl, toss the mushrooms with the balsamic vinegar and 3 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.  

Place onto the oven for about 30 min.  Stir once or twice.  Remove from oven.  

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium high heat, squeeze the sausage meat out of the casing  and cook until no longer pink, breaking it apart with the back of a spoon. You want it fairly crumbly and in small pieces.  

Stir in onions, salami, diced mushroom stems, garlic and spices and cook a few minutes longer, until onion is softened, about 4-5 minutes.  (If you find that your sausage filling has formed a little too much oil drain it before adding the cheese.) 

Remove from heat and place into a bowl, along with the cheeses and stir well to combine.   

Take a teaspoon and fill each mushroom cap.  Sprinkle with remaining aged cheese over the topping and bake at 175C for about 30 minutes or until golden.  

Can easily be doubled if catering to a large crowd. Cut in half great to serve as finger food with tooth picks.

Chicken Thigh and Avocado Salad

Chicken-Avo-Salad-webI love cooking with chicken thighs as they are great to cook with rather than breast as they don’t dry out like breast can and they carry loads of flavour.  

This salad recipe is a wonderful one to make when you have friends or someone coming for lunch that you want to impress. Its very fresh and plates easily looking like you have a chef in the house. 

Serves 4 


4 chicken thighs, bone out

2 tsp garlic, minced

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Olive or coconut oil

1 tbsp butter

1 pkt mixed salad greens

250g (10 oz) cherry tomatoes

100g (4oz) fresh bean shoots
1 green or red capsicum
150g (6oz) button mushrooms, halved

1 tsp fresh diced thyme

100g (4oz) almond flakes, lightly toasted

2 avocados, chopped into even cubes

2 tbsp Italian salad dressing

2 tbsp aioli (garlic mayonnaise)

1 tsp curry powder


In a bowl combine the chicken thighs with the garlic, salt and pepper to taste and turn and rub the garlic so all of the thighs are seasoned. 

In a frying pan over a medium heat warm up the oil. Cook chicken thighs in the pan for approx 5 – 7 minutes on each side. Set aside in a bowl and let them cool before slicing chicken. 

While the chicken is cooling add butter, mushrooms and thyme to the pan over the medium heat. Sauté for 4-5 minutes turning often to lightly brown off the mushrooms. Do not over cook them as they should have a bit firmness to them. 

Top the cooling chicken with the mushrooms in the bowl with any juices. Cover and let the chicken and mushrooms cool to room temp. 

In a salad bowl, mix salad greens, tomatoes, bean shoots, capsicum, mushrooms and Italian dressing. 

In another bowl mix curry the powder with aioli, gently mix with chopped avocado. Take care when mixing as you want to retain the cube shapes 

Slice each chicken thighs into 10mm (1/2 inch) slices. 

To serve, make a beds of the salad greens mixture in wide dessert bowls, top with the avocado mixture followed by slices of chicken and garnish with fresh coriander leaves or flat leaf parsley  and toasted almonds.

For some additional flavour you can sprinkle some cooked and crumbed bacon as a garnish.

Mushrooms in Garlic and Plum Sauce

mushroom-plum-sauce-webThis dish is a wonderful starter and can be served with tooth picks or as a side. There is a bit of heat, sweetness and acid from the vinegar and lemon zest to balance it all out. 

Side or starter 


30 medium sized white button mushrooms

1 tbsp olive or coconut oil

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

3 tbsp plum sauce

1/2 tsp red chili flakes

2 tsp honey

1 tsp cider or white vinegar

1 tsp lemon zest

salt & pepper to season

finely chopped parsley to garnish 


Heat oil in a frying pan. Add in garlic and sauté till lightly golden brown. Add in mushrooms and coat well with the oil. 

Let the mushroom cook till the liquid released from the mushrooms evaporates.  

Add plum sauce, lemon zest, chili flakes, honey, vinegar, salt & pepper. 

Sauté for about 4 to 5 minutes till the sauce thickens up and mushrooms are coated evenly.  

Serve hot and garnish with chopped parsley.