Here is a sneak peek at my new cook book cover!

March 25th, 2015

Kitchen Mojo Cover (2)

Last two weeks I have developed four new recipes! Here is one I wrote and cooked yesterday for a cooking demo I was supposed to do on the weekend but has been cancelled so I figured some one here can give it a go.

March 25th, 2015

Smoked Tomato Soup



2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon (25g) butter

1 leek – white part

2 cloves garlic – finely chopped

350g bacon bones

4 cups of chicken stock

3 dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon raw sugar

1 teaspoon paprika powder

1 teaspoon of chipotle flakes

1 tablespoon Pernod

Salt and black pepper

1.2 kilos ripe tomatoes

1/3 cup of rice

1/3 cup of raw sugar

1/3 cup of black tea leaves

¼ cup of cream – optional


In a Casserole pot over medium high heat add the olive oil and butter and allow to combine. Top and tail the leek and discard the ends. Cut leek in half lengthways then thinly slice and add to the pot and give it a stir. When it starts to sizzle turn the heat to low and cook for eight or so minutes stirring every so often being careful not to brown or burn the leek. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 or so minutes stirring often. Add in the bacon bones and bay leaves cook for a further 3 – 5 minutes stirring. Turn the heat to medium high and add the chicken stock, bring to the boil then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer.


Prepare the tomatoes by using a sharp knife to cut the eye or core out of them then cut an x in the bottom of each. Place in a large pot and pour boiling water over them so they are covered and let them sit for 3 – 5 minutes. Drain in a colander then refresh with cold water. Peel the skins away and discard then set the tomatoes aside whilst you prepare the wok.


Line your wok with three sheets of al foil then tip in the 1/3 cups of rice, sugar and tea and mix well. Place wok on the stove then place a wire cake rack into so that it fits snugly above the tea mix. Give the tomatoes a little pat with some paper towels to remove excess moisture then place them on the rack. Turn the heat to high and place lid on wok. I tear some large lengths of al foil which I gently scrunch then run them around the rim of my wok lid loosely so when I put the lid on to the wok it scrunches up more and creates a sort of seal. When you start to see smoke seeping out turn the heat to medium and smoke the tomatoes for between 12 to 15 minutes but no longer. Turn the heat to the wok off, remove the wok lid and using tongs pick up the tomatoes and put them in to the stock mix. Please note: allow the smoking mixture to cool completely before discarding into your rubbish bin or else you could start a fire in you bin!


Using your tongs, or a potato masher, break up the tomatoes in the stock and then turn the heat to medium high so that it simmers a bit harder than previously. Add in the remaining sugar, paprika, chipotle, Pernod and season generously with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes so that all the flavours combine well. Remove the bacon bones and discard (I eat the meat off the bones first!!) then use a stick blender to blend the tomatoes and soup until it is lovely and smooth. I also blend the bay leaves as they add flavour however if you want you can discard them before blending. Return the blended soup to the heat and bring back to a simmer. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. You can add cream at this point if you want to use it or not sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t!


Serve in four bowls and enjoy.


You could also make lovely toasted croutons with cheese melted on the top to float in the soup for an added depth of flavour and eating pleasure.


Make around 2 litres of soup.




Salami 101

March 17th, 2015

For the couple I bumped into today buying some South Melbourne dim sims – how good are they!!! – here is the link to my salami 101.


The thread is very long and is full of lots and lots of info on salami making so it is well worth a read. Read the first three or four pages and you will get the low down and basics about making salami at home. The one secret I have learnt after doing this for 10 years is to mix the meat really really really well before stuffing it into casings!


Enjoy. Any questions leave them in comments and I will answer them.



Life takes Time.

March 4th, 2015


December 31st, 2014

Just wanted to post a Happy New Year to you all post!

Don’t know who will read it as I haven’t actually been on here much of late – of late meaning the last two years!

2014 was an interesting year with many many lessons, challenges and some rewards. I’m not so sure how I feel about it at the moment nor am I too sure on how I feel about 2015 although when I think about it I feel positive about this new year, excited about the new challenges and new discoveries, ready for it – in fact I am going to go get it started!


oh and may you have a happy, prosperous 2015 full of love laughter and light

Wellington Has Things! And a little Paul.

June 18th, 2014

This very silly Wellington promo has a cute cameo from Paul at about 2:35.

“Australian TV personality Paul Mercurio is an added bonus. He makes a guest cameo role and a rep for Positively Wellington says it was pure luck getting the two together.

“The Australian High Commissioner alerted us to the fact Paul was in town looking at craft beers for his food show and we thought, how can we incorporate him too?”

Young Dancers Audition with Paul

June 2nd, 2014
2014-06-02 geelongadvert

TWEEN song and dance sensations were put through their paces on Sunday under the expert eye of Strictly Ballroom star Paul Mercurio.

About 150 children turned out for the Geelong audition of the film, Chickabees.

The film is based on the much-loved Margaret Clark children’s book of the same name.

Clark lives in Geelong.

Mercurio, who is also a judge on Dancing With the Stars, led the children through dance steps.

Mercurio will star in the film as well as choreograph the dancing.

To be filmed in Geelong, Chickabees tells the story of a group of 12-year-old dancers trying to be famous.

Mercurio said Geelong’s best young dancers, singers and actors were asked to learn and perform dance sequences as well as perform a song of their choice.

Chickabees is scheduled for release in Australian cinemas in Easter 2015.

Via The Geelong Advertiser

Ham – a timely subject and a vexing question…

December 22nd, 2013

At this time of year I am sure I am not the only person that goes out and buys a whole leg ham on the bone for the Xrissy table – I do a turkey in the weber also but more on that in another thread.

I picked up my ham today from my local butcher whose ham I will buy sliced every now and then and it is pretty good. I normally buy my Xmas ham from a small smoking company which unfortunately sold up around October this year – his hams were awesome!

So I got my ham home and just chanced to look on the label – I am a label reader – and found that my ham was in fact only 78% pork the other 22% was made up of water, salt, nitrites, acid regulator, sugar and other stuff etc etc In my label reading travels regarding ham I have found ham in the supermarket with as much as 95% pork and as low as 55% pork.

Now the thing is I like Kevin’s ham but I am not sure I want to be eating only 78% pork? My expectations on a gourmet ham would be that it be in the 90% pork range. Am I wrong; is the quality of a ham dependant on the amount of pork in the ham? Or is the quality all about the quality of the meat and the quality of the brine and smoking i.e. in the magic of Butchers like Kevin and how they ply their craft?

Obviously a ham with a higher pork content will be a drier ham, a more meatier texture, flavour and mouth feel – something I like in a whole leg ham. A ham with a lower pork content is going to be a little more wet, a softer texture and possibly a little more salty.

Where do you guys and girls sit in regards to your xmas ham? I know there are a couple of butchers lurking here what say you about pork content levels in ham?


November 7th, 2013

Why do people who don’t know you, never had anything to do with you, why do they take the time , why do they make the effort to post aggressive, spiteful, insulting messages to you.

Okay to me.

Thankfully it doesn’t happen often but I am completely perplexed and rather angry that someone I have never met or spoken to has sent me a couple of tweets which have been abusive, insulting and aggressive.


What do they get out of it? Is it a sense of power (hiding behind their handheld media device)

What annoys me is I am angry about it, I feel like it is unfair and I want to fix it. I have done nothing wrong and yet I feel the need to sort it out?

Strange! People are weird!

It is a strange idea that some one that doesn’t know you at all has decided to not like you. I guess that is just as strange as some one who doesn’t know deciding to like you although that scenario feels a lot nicer.

Water off a ducks back – working on that – I wanted to rant and rave get them to see the error of their ways to apologise for being rude and all that….instead I just blocked them, never to be heard of or thought of again!


Mussels with Fennel Leek and Dark Ale

October 21st, 2013

1 tablespoon of butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 small red chilli – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

1 leek – sliced in half lengthways then sliced

1 fennel bulb cleaned peeled and sliced thin – approx 2/3 cup

1 kilo of large mussels

1 bottle of Dark Beer ale or lager – Dogbolter, German Dunkel, Red Hill Scotch ale, Mornington Brown Ale, Mountain Goat Stout you get the idea.

1 can of chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons of Fennel fronds – chopped reserved from the fennel bulb


Clean and scrub mussels making sure to remove beards. Or buy some Boston Bay Mussels from South Australia (also go by the name Spencer Gulf) they come pre packed, cleaned, scrubbed, de-bearded and alive!


Add 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil to a large pot over medium high heat. When butter has melted add half the garlic and the chilli and fry gently for several minutes then add the leeks and fennel, gently sweeting for about 5 minutes or until translucent then remove from pan and set aside. Add the rest of the olive oil to the same pot you cooked the fennel in and when hot add the rest of the chilli and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes then tip in the mussels and about a third of the bottle of beer put lid on and turn heat to high. Bring beer to a boil and boil/steam the mussels shaking the pot to get the liquid swirling around the mussels. When all the mussels have opened remove from the heat and pour the mussels into a colander that is sitting in a large mixing bowl so as to capture all of the cooking liquor. Put the pot back on the heat and add the fennel and leek mixture back into the pot, the canned tomatoes and another third of the bottle of beer stir and bring to the boil. Remove the colander with the mussels from the large mixing bowl and set aside. Strain the cooking liquor from the mussels through a fine sieve to remove any dirt, grit or bits of shell and then add the liquor back into the pot bring it to the boil and then turn it down a little so that it can simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the mussels back into the pot and stir through so they get the hot liquor into them, simmer for two minutes then add fennel fronds stirring through.


Serve in big bowls with fresh crusty bread and a spoon to slurp up the fantastic juice.


Serves 2

Ps don’t forget to finish the remaining third of beer!


Note: do not salt this soup as the mussels, if really fresh, will be full of sea water which will be quite salty but equally delicious.


Really Important note: If some mussels do not open get a knife pry them open and EAT them. It is a false hood that they should not be eaten!! They are perfectly safe and delicious. Before cooking if you notice a smelly mussel ditch it or a mussel that has a cracked or broken shell – it will be dead so ditch that one also. If you get good mussels that are alive then they are fine and safe to eat even if they do not open.