Category Archives: Sides


Bourbon Bacon Jam

2016-bc-jam-webFor my bacon jam I select bacon that has a low fat level. I love to make it with dry cured, smoked bacon. During the cooking of the bacon remove as much of the oils released from the bacon and set this aside. I treat it like duck fat, wonderful for roasted vegies.


600g bacon, fat trimmed off, sliced into small pieces
2 cups of shallots, finely chopped
2 cups red onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ cup Bourbon (125ml)
½ cup honey
¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Cook the bacon pieces in batches to allow for it to cook properly without being too crispy. Cook over medium heat until  brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain excess fat off.

Pulse your shallots and onions in the food processor or cut them by hand.

Leave about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the fat in one of the pan. Add shallot and onion to the pan, cook over medium heat until they start to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for about one more minute.

Add the chili powder and smoked paprika, stir to combine.

Increase heat to high and add the bourbon (carefully) and honey. Bring to a boil, stir and scrape the pan so all the little bacon bits comes loose. Continue boiling for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add vinegar and continue to boil for about another 3 minutes.

Using a sharp knife cut the bacon into small pieces. You can also tear it by hand so it looks more rustic, not too perfect.

Add the bacon into the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, the mixture will thicken.

Turn off the heat and using a teaspoon remove any excess fat off the bacon jam. 

Now you have two options, you can pop the mixture into a food processor and pulse until it breaks down more. Or you can leave it chunky, your choice.

Transfer to jars, seal and store in the fridge.

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

Summer Fresh Roast Vegetable Salad

roast-veg-salad-webThis recipe can be served as a side with cooked meats. Its also a great dish if you are having someone over that is a vegetarian. Leave out the feta to make this vegan. 


3 medium medium beetroots

2 medium carrots

2 parsnips, woody core removed

2 courgettes

1 cauliflower, florets only

6 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 tsp salt

½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

5 garlic cloves, bruised with the flat edge of a chopping knife

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tsp smoked paprika

100g feta cheese, crumbled for serving. I use Over The Moon feta
Small bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped for serving 


Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F) 

Wash and roughly chop the beetroots, carrots, parsnips and courgettes. Roughly chopped gives the dish a rustic look. 

In a large bowl, toss together the cauliflower florets and veggies with 3 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to season, garlic and thyme, leaves removed from stem of one sprig. 

Drizzle base of an oven proof roasting dish with the rest of the olive oil and position the remaining 2 sprigs of thyme on the base. Arrange vegetables in the dish so that they’re roughly evened out across it. 

Roast in the middle on the oven until carrots and beetroot are just fork tender, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to cool. Once cool, serve on platter with generous sprinkling of smoked paprika, crumbled feta cheese and fresh mint. 

Serve as is or with leftover cold cuts as a summer fresh brunch or dinner.

Prosciutto Melon Starter

Prosciutto-Melon-Starter-weQuick, fresh and a yummy balance of flavours. The watercress adds a light, peppery finish to each bite. This recipe can easily be scaled to your needs. 


10 slices prosciutto
10 slices melon
Lemon garlic dressing


Wrap the prosciutto around the melon pieces and place on a plate together. Place desired serving numbers on individual plates then drizzle with the dressing and top each serving with watercress. 

Lemon Garlic Dressing 


4 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped (more if you LOVE garlic)
1/2 tsp of black pepper (more if desired)
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice


Mix all ingredients into a container that has a tight fitting lid. Place lid on tightly and shake vigorously until olive oil and lemon juice blend into one, after about 1 minute of shaking.

Fresh Basil Parsley Garlic Pesto


2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, packed

1 cup tightly packed fresh parsley

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts

3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 


Combine the basil and parsley in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic and cheese and pulse a few times more. 

Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

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.

Classic Tomato Basil and Balsamic Salad

Tomato-Basil-Salad-2This is a salad that is a real “fall back” for me.

I have been making it for years and will do till the day I move onto my next life. Its so simple to bring together and the flavours are exquisite when you are using local, seasonal fresh produce from your garden or Farmers Market .

I serve it as a side with Antipasto or as a snack with crumbed bacon as a topping with some avocado slices.

Serves 2 as a side


400g (12oz) cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 large spring onion, quartered lengthwise and diced fine (1/2 red onion is also good)
1 tbsp fresh basil, dhopped fine
1/2 tbsp crushed garlic
2 tbsp of good balsamic vinegar 
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season


In a small bowl add all the ingredients except the balsamic. Mix and season with salt and pepper. Add the balsamic and mix together.

Cover and rest in the fridge for 1 hour. Stir through and rest for another 2-3 hours.

Serve when required at room temperature 

Smoked Fish in Tomato Cased Cheese Melt

Smoked-Fish-Tomato-MeltThis is an easy to do brunch or snack. I use fresh smoked fish fillets for a great tasting result. Caned is ok but I tend to have an issue with canned fish as it can be processed.

You can also use smoked salmon for the fish content. It will have a lighter flavour. I have also used smoked chicken, flaked in the past.


This recipe is easy to scale for any number of serves required.

Serves 1  


2 medium-large tomatoes

1 150g (6oz) fresh smoked fish of your choice, flaked

2 tbsp Greek yogurt

1/2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

1/2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

2 tbsp chopped red onion

2 tbsp diced red bell pepper

salt and pepper to taste

½ cup 50/50 mix of grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese or cheese of your choice 


Slice off the top of each tomato and scoop out the insides using a knife and a spoon. Reserve the tops to serve with. 

You can discard the tomato insides (compost it), or save in the fridge to use it in another recipe. Set aside the tomato cups. 

In a bowl, lightly mix together the smoked fish and yoghurt with a fork until well blended. Add all remaining herb and vegetable ingredients and fold well with the fish mix. 

Season the inside of the tomato with salt and pepper to taste. Fill with the mixture into the tomato cups. Use your fork to really press it in there and make it compact. 

Top each tomato with cheese and place on a baking pan or baking dish. Set in the oven on grill (broil) for 3 minutes or until cheese melts and gets a little bit brown on top. 

Serve straight from the grill with sliced avocado, salad greens or a side of your choose.

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.  

Scalloped Potatoes

I know that this dish is an oldie but in my book, its still up there. There are so many variations that can be applied to the base recipe. 

This is a great recipe to get the kids involved with. My Mum had me making this when I was about 10 years old. Depending on age you may have to slice the potatoes and let the kids assemble. 

Some Herb matches that work with potato are; 

Parsley, Basil, Chives, Dill, Sage, Oregano, Rosemary and Thyme. 

Serves 4 


4 medium sized potatoes, sweet potatoes or 2 of each, skin on – thinly sliced

1 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 onion finely sliced
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup milk or cream (I only ever use cream)
1-2 cups grated cheese
Salt and fresh ground black pepper 


Pre-heat oven to 180 C (350 F) 

Using a medium sized casserole dish grease it with the butter or oil and then put a layer of potatoes then sprinkle with some of the onion, cheese, salt and pepper. Repeat the layers until you’ve used all the ingredients – finish with a layer of cheese. 

In a bowl mix together the cream or milk, garlic and mustard until its well combined. Pour the cream or milk evenly over the layered potatoes. For me it tastes best with cream, but it all depends your choice. 

Bake at 180 C for 40 or 50 min or until the potatoes are soft. 

For the first 30 min of baking have the casserole dish covered with a lid or foil, for the rest of the time bake uncovered. 


I some times add crumbed, cooked streaky bacon in each layer and over the top layer of cheese. 

I have also from time to time, added slices of tomato on the top of the last cheese layer.