Killing two challenges with one recipe!Click for Reviews


I have been researching a very unusual recipe for my son. When I asked him what he would like for dinner, he had jokingly replied, “Vulcan Plomeek Soup, like the one eaten by Tuvok the Vulcan on the Starship Voyager”. My son is a HUGE Star Trek fan- in case you hadn’t guessed- and as all good Trekkies know, Vulcans don’t go in much for emotions or pleasures, so ‘Plomeek soup’ is a rather bland, breakfast broth that is consumed purely for sustenance and not for pleasure.



However there is another character in Star Trek called Neelix. He is a Talaxian from the Delta Quadrant, and the cook on Voyager. He is totally the opposite of Tuvok as far as his attitude to food is concerned. Neelix loves nothing better than trying to improve the taste of every dish with the addition of lots of extra spices, including the infamous vegetable called ‘Leola root’ which has been described as a combination of flavours ranging between rutabagas, asparagus, parsnip, and kohlrabi- so of course it is not high on everyones list of favourite things to eat.

Taking up the challenge to find a recipe similar to ‘Plomeek soup’ that had been ‘improved’ by Neelix was actually easier than I thought, as last week I received a post from food blogger Dom from Belleau Kitchen with a Random Recipe Challenge. Fellow bloggers were asked to locate the 30th cook book in their collections, and turn to page 30 and cook that very recipe….no cheating! I did so, and found a recipe from a beautiful book called ‘Cooking Moroccan’ which contained, ‘Carrot Soup with Spices’. And so there it was….’Vulcan Plomeek soup a la Neelix’!

‘Vulvan Plomeek soup a la Neelix’ A.K.A ‘Moroccan Carrot soup with spices’

These ingredients are exactly the same as those mentioned in the book. See tips and notes below.

This recipe serves 4.


Israeli Couscous


  • 500g grated carrot
  • 1 grated onion
  • 30g butter
  • 2 crushed cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1.25 litres chicken stock
  • 50g couscous
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Flat leaf parsley for garnish


  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a pot and sauté the grated onions for 3 mins. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 min.
  2. Add spices and cook for a few seconds, then add the grated carrot and chicken stock.
  3. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 mins.
  4. Add the couscous and simmer covered for another 20 mins.
  5. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and serve hot, garnished with parsley.


Vulcan Plomeek soup- Moroccan carrot soup with spices


Use the grater attachment on your KitchenAid machine to save your fingers, or blitz in food processor.

I used Israeli couscous as it is much larger and looks like little ‘planets’ floating in the soup.

You could swirl a little garnish of olive oil (or cream) onto the soup to look like a swirling galaxy.

If you don’t have chicken stock you could use water and a stock cube, or just water and 1 tsp of salt.

Try using freshly grated ginger and turmeric for a fresher flavour and using smoked paprika will also add extra interest.

If you wanted a smoother soup, you could puree it before adding the couscous.


Personally, I found this books recipe a little bland (I’m obviously not Vulcan), so it was made again with double the amount of spices and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. (I’m sure Neelix would approve)

A tablespoon of tomato paste was added after the garlic and cooked for 1 min.

I also added ½ tablespoon of sugar as I don’t think my carrots were as sweet as they can sometimes be.

And of course much more butter, as you can never have enough butter! However if you want to make it dairy free, just use olive oil.

I’m sure the addition of some ‘Leola root’ would also work well. If you can’t find one in your local Alpha Quadrant, you could substitute it for some of the usual earth soup style vegetables like turnip or swede, parsnip, pumpkin, sweet potato, celeriac etc.




ROSA. 09.08.2013

A divine looking soup!! I’m a big fan of Moroccan dishes.



LOL I love that you found a recipe for your son like this!

You must the most fun parent ever.

I wonder if my Star Trek loving friends have seen this! 😀


DICKERRY. 29.07.2013

I would like to try it at your place. Oma and Opa.


MR TREKKIE. 29.07.2013

Man that looks tasty 😉 will eat that soon


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BiryaniClick for Reviews


This is a traditional South African one pot dish. Don’t be put off by the list of spices, because by flavouring each section of the dish as you go, the end result is a rich flavoured centrepiece.

This is only one recipe I have for Biryani as a one pot dish. I will also post another, with a few different ingredients, as a prettily presented celebration style dish another time.

Each ingredient is preceded by a ‘point’ or ‘dot’ so you can scroll down to see and make a list of each ingredient needed.


  • 2 kilos chicken pieces with bone cut into chunks
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1 tspn ground ginger
  • 2-3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 4 tspn turmeric
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 4 pods cardamom
  • 6-12 small whole green chilles (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1 tspn ground cumin
  • 1 tspn ground coriander
  • 1 tomato cut into small pieces


Mix all of the above ingredients together and marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight if possible.



  • 2 cups of rice….. in
  • 5 cups water

for only 6 mins with

  • 2 pods cardamom
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt

Drain rice, remove spices and set aside.



Fry together…

  • 6 chat potatoes (small round new potatoes) cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup ghee

for 5-10 mins till lightly browned and crisp but only half cooked through.

Remove from pan and set aside.



In the same pan, adding a little more oil if needed, fry…

  • 2 large brown onions, chopped

and cook gently until golden and caramelised.


  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 pods cardamom
  • 1 long chopped green chilli
  • 1 tspn cumin seeds
  • 1 tspn ground coriander
  • 1 tblspn grated fresh ginger
  • 2-3 cloves cloves chopped garlic

and stir for a few mins to release flavours and aroma.

Add marinated chicken pieces to onions and any juices from bowl and lower heat. Simmer for 20 mins



  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil

in a very large heavy based pot with a tight fitting lid, (or a couple of layers of foil tightly closed around the top).


Sprinkle over the oil…


  • 1/2 cup of the half cooked rice and
  • 2 cups black/brown cooked lentils or a drained 400g can.


Gently place cooked chicken and its marinade over rice and lentils.


Layer the half cooked potatoes on top. Gently push, DON’T STIR, potatoes into sauce to level the top a bit.

Sprinkle a ‘green masala’ mix of

  • 1 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

over the chicken and potatoes.



  • 3 or 4 large ripe tomatoes

and place them in a layer on top of green masala mix.


Cover with remaining rice and gently sprinkle a cup of water over rice.


Garnish the top of the rice with…

  • 1/2 tblspn cumin seeds
  • 15 drops rose water (optional)
  • 2 tblspn crisp fried onion (asian style)

Cover pot, bring to boil and cook on high heat for 5 mins.


Reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer 45 mins, or until rice is tender.



Place finished pot in centre of table and tell everyone to be sure to dig down through all the layers.

My favourite part is if the rice and lentil layer “catches” a little on the bottom.


It is nice to serve with extra…

  • yoghurt and
  • fresh chopped mint

and lots of

  • spiced fruit chutney like Mrs Balls “Blatjang”.


This dish can be made in advance until you are ready to assemble on the day and cook.

Being a curry it is even nicer the next day!

It can also be arranged in a baking dish and cooked in the oven at 180C for about 45-60 mins.

You can also substitute lamb or goat for the chicken…. just simmer the curry during the preparation section for about 45 min.

Keeping the bones in the curry adds more flavour but you can cook it without bones if you prefer.





I adore biryani! Especially when the rice has that lovely texture to it and isn’t too soggy 😀


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22nd Wedding AnniversaryClick for Reviews

The 18th of August 2012 saw my 22nd Wedding Anniversary.

We had a wonderful relaxing day and we went to restaurant ‘Balla’ by Stephano Manfredi. I will tell you more about that another time, but for now I have to share a picture of one of the very cute red velvet cupcakes given to us by my good friend ‘Mrs London’.


I think that I certainly am one of the lucky ones, because marriages that last are far and few between these days.

My parents will be celebrating their 50th this December and I am, of course, already planning the menu for the dinner I will be making for them, to be shared by my Hubbie, our son, my brother and his wife.

Happy Anniversary Hubbie and may we have another 22 years!



A belated happy anniversary to you and your husband Corrie! 😀


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100 years ago todayClick for Reviews


This picture hangs in Le Cordon Bleu School in Paris.

On this day, 15th August 1912, exactly 100 years ago in Pasadena, California, Julia Carolyn McWilliams was born to parents John McWilliams and his wife Julia nee Weston. On 1st September 1946, Lumberville, Pennsylvania, she married Paul Cushing Child.

Enter Mrs Julia Child.

I really don’t think I need to go into any details about her as I am sure just about every food blog will have something to say about her personality, life, TV shows books and recipes etc, so I thought I might have a look at how things have changed in the last 100 years.


Cooking with Master Chefs by Julia Child

I found a couple of different sites with recipes or books for sale, but for those of you that love a freebie, I found a cookbook entitled ‘Home Cookery and Comforts’ printed in July 1912 No. 227 volume XVII. They were published on the first of every Month but I couldn’t seem to find the one printed in August 1912.


Cover of the 1912 cookbook.


Please note it is a rather large file of around 58.8MB and contains 34 pages scanned in high quality, but if you want a copy you can click on the link here…

It is a quaint little book that contains chapters on Upper and Lower Male and Female Servants. How to answer the door. How to hire and fire (I mean dismiss). How to lay the table and make the bed, etc.


Cover of Mastering the art of French cooking by Julia Child

hanging in stairwell at Le Cordon Bleu.

There basically are no pictures of food; just drawings of ladies with hands, whisks or spoons in a pot or mixing bowl and two page instructions on how to make an apron. There is a fascinating advertisement for a preparation called Antipon, which was hailed as a ‘permanent cure for obesity”. This statement was first claimed in 1907.

Antipon was made up of citric acid, red food colouring, water and alcohol and it sold for more than 20 times the cost of the ingredients……funny how ‘quick fix diets’ and claims made by companies haven’t changed in 100 years!!!

So today I am going to sit back, read everybody else’s blogs on Julia Child, watch the movie Julie and Julia, wear a set of pearls and forget the diet for one day, because according to Julia…

”The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook”

Bon Appétit





Julia had some absolutely brilliant quotes didn’t she? 😀


SHERRY. 15.08.2012

Hey Corrie, I like the new site. Looking forward to seeing you at end of the month on Wed. I am in Hong Kong, came for special convention and now just visiting.

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Apricot PilafClick for Reviews


My hubbie is such a good man! He let me fly down to Melbourne all by myself to attend a ProBlogger event for food and wine bloggers. It was held in the restaurant MAHA owned by Chef Shane Delia.

There were about 100 of us at least, I’d say. Can you imagine the quality of the food with over 100 food critics devouring his food? As he came out to welcome us all and give a little speak, he told us he had never felt these kinds of nerves before. Every mouthful would be critically savoured, judged, photographed, tweeted; every dish visually devoured and verbally chronicled; every palate deconstructing the distinguishing characteristics of each dish presented.


Apricot Pilaf


Even though most were sitting next to a total stranger (or finally putting a face to a blog website they follow), it was all served much as a family Sunday meal would be, with diners taking how much each would like from various dishes.

There certainly was no shortage of food and I can honestly say that I could not fault any of the dishes presented. Chef Shane and his team chose a fantastic menu for us. Each of the three courses had matching wines which also were faultless.

We all met ‘Chef’ as he walked around the tables asking if everything was ok. With full mouths and thumbs giving the “ok” we nodded approvingly…… hmmmph hmmmph….nom nom nom….



I totally enjoyed the evening, meeting new people with similar interests and learning a lot from the speakers that presented us with much needed information to help us all produce a better blog.

Of course, I just had to buy a signed copy of his book too!!! As we left we were presented with a little bag of goodies to take home.

I walked the 7 blocks from 21 Bond Street to my accommodation……I NEEDED to! I don’t think I could have fitted into a taxi…


On Sunday, I cooked the 12 hour lamb dish (after it had marinated for 2 days) that I had at the restaurant. The recipe is in the book. It wasn’t as sweet as his, though I have a sneaky suspicion that no Chef is going to give you the exact recipe because they want you coming back. I think he must have added some honey to the marinade as the lamb was very sweet. So I will add it next time I make it and see if it is a little closer to his wonderful creation.


Here is recipe from Chef Shane Deliah’s book “MAHA”. He asks you to cook it on the stove top, but I cooked mine in the rice cooker with great success, so I could concentrate on other things… making four other dishes and cuddling my friends’ baby. Hehe.

It is a lovely sweet dish even though it is not a desert.


A pilaf refers to a variety of rice dishes cooked with meat, vegetables or fruits and nuts.

This is my version…..




  • 100g butter
  • 100g pine nuts
  • 1 brown onion diced
  • 100g dried apricots chopped
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 500g Arborio rice
  • 1 litre boiling water (or chicken stock)
  • 4 carrots grated
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ bunch dill finely chopped



  1. Melt the butter and toast the pine nuts in the butter for a minute until nicely coloured.
  2. Add onion, cinnamon and cook for about 3 mins.
  3. Add the apricots and rice and stir to coat all the grains with the butter.
  4. Place into a rice cooker adding boiling water, salt and grated carrots stirring just to combine.
  5. Cover with lid and turn rice cooker on to ‘cook’.
  6. When rice cooker has finished, stir though the chopped dill and serve.




That looks really good! I have Maha but I didn’t see that recipe 🙂


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My Catering JobClick for Reviews


Indian and Asian selection

My sister in law works as a bartender. You know…the good ol’ fashioned ‘bar-keep’ you used to call a ‘barmaid’; the kind that pours you the perfect, long, cold beer with just the right amount of foam. However with all this political correctness around we have to call her a bar-person, a mixologist or a beverage manager.

Anyways… the pub (I mean Hotel), has closed for renovations and a certain club used to hire the back room every month for a bit of a meeting followed by a brain storming and a few drinks. Unfortunatley, because of the renovations, the kitchen is also closed with no chef so there was nowhere for the members of the club to get some food. They had ordered in from a finger food company a couple of times; let’s just say the food was far from appetizing and almost inedible!

So my sister in law told the owner about me and before you know it, I’m catering for 25 people.


Triple smoked ham, jarlsburg cheese, lettuce and mayo

I have catered for many a get together, Oktoberfest, Wedding, Baby shower, Anniversary and even a Wake, but it was always for friends and family.

This time though it was for money! Woohoo my first ‘official’ catering job!!!

I don’t know why I was so nervous as it was only for 25 instead of the usual 50-60! I think it’s just that you know your friends aren’t going to pick on your choice of food if they aren’t paying for it and you are doing all the work.

So I pulled out all the stops and went totally over the top (nothing unusual there then….).


Soy and sesame wings

It must have been a success because they came out to the bar area, asking for takeaway containers and then they got me back for a second time last week. I had so much fun I am really hoping it will happen again!




Satay sticks

Using the kitchen in the pub, I provided an Asian selection and an Indian selection of nibbles, samosas, spring rolls, money bags etc and a variety of mini quiches.

I made chicken breast on sticks with satay sauce, sesame soy chicken wings, fresh buns with ham, cheese, mayo and lettuce, hummus and beetroot dip with celery and carrots and lastly my favourite, smoked salmon bites on cucumber.


Hummus dip, beetroot dip and vegies

I managed to find smoked salmon off-cuts that don’t need to look very pretty if you are going to cut them all up any way. And because it is belly meat it has a little stronger smoked flavour so you can use a bit less than usual for just as much flavour.

They come in one kilo bags. You can just use what you need and put the rest in the freezer for another day.


Smoked salmon bites


  • 400g smoked salmon chopped
  • 1 x 300ml tub cottage cheese
  • 1 tblspn rinsed chopped capers
  • ½ tblspn finely chopped fresh dill
  • ¼ finely chopped Spanish red onion
  • 2 tblspn Japanese ‘kewpie’ mayonnaise (or your choice of mayonnaise)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-5 Lebanese cucumbers



  1. Mix all the ingredients together except cucumbers
  2. Wash and slice cucumbers 1 cm thick
  3. Using a small ice-cream scoop or two spoons place small amounts of salmon mix on top of cucumber rounds
  4. Garnish with a very small piece of fresh dill and serve.


The mixture can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge.



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Lychee Jasmine flower teaClick for Reviews


Time for a cup of tea….


Lychee Jasmine tea

I have this picture of Garfield the cat standing on a set of bathroom scales and the scales are saying….”I don’t weigh livestock”. Needless to say, the scales came off rather worse for wear!

Its diet time in my house and I need as much help as I can get, however there is only so much plain water a girl can drink and teas have a wonderful way of helping with their healthful properties.


Just add hot water.

Jasmine tea originates from the time of the Song Dynasty (960-1279)

These pretty flowers are made from green tea, oolong tea (also spelled wulong) and white tea and infused with the scent of the jasmine flower to enhance the smell and taste of the tea. They are then hand rolled into lychee sized balls.

3 The health properties of this tea come from green tea which is high in catechins and caffeine and oolong tea is high in polymerized polyphenols.

By drinking both of these teas you can achieve a greater fat burning effect.

It also uses the Globe amaranth flower (also known as bachelor’s button) which has medicinal properties for relief of cough, gripe and cooling the body.


Time to enjoy.

It is a lovely relaxing way to enjoy a cup of tea.

I feel healthier already!





JOLLO. 05.07.2012

Hi Hi,
Any idea where I could get some of these in Sydney Australia?
Make a nice change for a cuppa in front of my fav TV shows! (Cooking channel of course!)

CORRIE. 06.07.2012

Most Asian shops will sell them. Especially in Hurstville.


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Pho Sai Gon: RockdaleClick for Reviews


My first restaurant review.


Seeing my Hubbie and son don’t like soup that much and on top of that, my hubbie isn’t really into Asian, my friend ‘Miss Lily’ suggested that we go by ourselves to the Vietnamese place on Princes Hwy Rockdale.

Let’s just say I didn’t need time to think about it! I’m there!


Chicken combination $10.90

As there is only half hour parking at lunch time, it would be a shot gun visit.

They specialize in Pho which is a lovely light beef soup.

Miss Lily chose the chicken noodle combination which was full to the brim! It included chicken, thin beef strips, calamari and vegetables with rice noodle at the bottom.


Pho dac biet $10.90

My choice was the pho dac biet which has the traditional beef broth with beef balls, tendon, tripe, brisket, onions and rice noodles. It is served with a side of fresh crisp bean sprouts to be added to the dish at your leisure and a wedge of lemon and Vietnamese mint.

Again a huge bowl filled to the top!


Free tea

Copious amounts of tea.


Having been newly renovated the restaurant is fresh and clean.


Fresh chillies

Same time same place next week Miss Lily?!





Hehe pho is the perfect meal for a shot gun visit isn’t it! It’s so quick to come to the table and so delicious too 🙂


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Hommus DipClick for Reviews


Have you looked into the ‘dips’ section in the shops lately? You could try a new one every day for 6 months and still have a few left over.


 A lovely easy one to make yourself, and save a tonne of money, is hommus.

Hommus, also known as hummus, is a Middle Eastern dip or spread made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt. It is high in iron, vitamin C, folate and vitamin B6. Chickpeas are a good source of fibre and the tahini, which is made from sesame seeds, are an excellent source of amino acids.



  • 2 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 tblspn tahini paste
  • 2 tspn salt
  • 2 tblspn olive oil




  • Reserve a few chickpeas
  • sumac (see note)
  • olive oil




  1. Reserve a few chickpeas for decoration later.
  2. Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz until blended and smooth.
  3. Spread onto a plate and make an island in the middle with a little moat and drizzle with some good quality olive oil and sprinkle with the reserved chick peas and a little sumac.

Told you it was easy!



Sumac is a deep-red or purple powder made from the ‘drupes’ or fruits called ‘bobs’ from the sumac shrub. It has a lovely lemony flavour. It is readily available from most Middle Eastern or Mediterranean shops.

I served it with some nice crisp batons of carrot and celery.





Hehe snap! I just ordered some hummus and I can’t wait for it to arrive! It’s one of my favourite dips 🙂


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DukkahClick for Reviews


I had made 4 batches of pain d’epi or wheat stalk bread (that’s 12 pieces in total!) and was wondering what else could go with bread other than butter, jam, marmalade, peanut butter, honey, ham, cheese…I am so full about now!…And of course dips where next on the list.

I decided Dukkah and olive oil with some saltiness was needed after all the sugar.

1 Dukkah, also spelled Duqqa, Dukka or Dakkah, is derived from the Arabic word meaning “to pound”.


 Whole cumin seeds

 It is made from a mixture of nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts), herbs and spices; the common ingredients being coriander, cumin, sesame, and salt.


Whole coriander seed

 Nuts and whole spice seeds can also by dry roasted before use.


Whole fennel seeds

 It is used as a dip with oil, flat bread and fresh vegetables.


Whole white pepper

Variants include thyme, nutmeg, mint, marjoram, oregano, caraway, chickpeas, Nigella (onion seeds), fennel and dried cheese made from labna.  Each family and region has their own recipe of course.




  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 tblspn cumin seeds
  • 2 tblspn coriander seeds
  • ½ tblspn white pepper seeds
  • ½ tblspn fennel seeds
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ tblspn fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tblspn salt flakes or crystals (I like Maldon)




Nutmeg and thyme

  1. In a mortar and pestle, ‘pound’ the pepper and fennel for a minute.
  2. Add the coriander and cumin and continue for another couple of minutes or so.


Sesame seeds

 3. Add whole hazelnuts and pound until nice and small.

4. Add nutmeg, sesame, salt to taste and thyme leaves.


Ready to mix

5. Serve with bread and a good quality dark green olive oil. Store the remainder in an airtight container.



Of course you could just stick all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds……..






That’s a great idea to add a home made dukkah to bread 🙂


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