Baked Beans


500 g white beans
2 medium brown onions, diced
1-2 tablespoons rapdura sugar, honey or maple syrup (optional)
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Good grind of black pepper
Chilli to taste
1 litre (4 cups) bone broth


This can be started on the top of the stove and finished in the oven or you can just do the whole lot in the crock pot and cook for about 8 hours. If using the crock pot, you don’t need to bother browning the onion, but you can if you want to muck about with it.

  1. Cover beans with warm water and leave to soak for 12-24 hours.

  1. While the beans are soaking, cook some bone broth. I just use bones (pork, chicken or beef – any or all and preferably some pork trotters or chicken feet or wings). I usually do a 24 hour broth.

After 24 hours soaking time:
Easy method – drain beans and add all the ingredients to a crock pot. Cook over night or all day on low. OR, more time consuming method below:

  1. In a flameproof casserole, sauté onion in some butter or lard. (if using meat, add here, see note at bottom)

  1. Drain beans and add to casserole with enough bone broth to cover – this will be approximately 1 litre of broth.

  1.  Add remaining ingredients, cover and bake in a slow-moderate oven (160-180) for about 6 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more broth if its drying out.

N.B. Belly pork, speck, bacon or ham bones can be added if you like, although these days I don’t add anything else, I just use bone broth.

Recipe adapted from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions.

Feta (Quark instructions inserted below) 

Start this in the morning and it will carry over into the next day.

Milk – I do 4-5 litres and get three cheese baskets, which gives about 250g fresh cheese each.

Flora Danica (Multiple Strain Mesophile) starter – use ¼ teaspoon to 20 litres of milk

Rennet- 1 drop single strength rennet to every litre of milk

  • Warm milk to 20-30 Celsius (I use it straight from the cow)
  • Add starter and let sit for half an hour.
  • Add rennet and stir.
  • Incubate for 10-16 hours at room temperature. The curd will be very firm and there will be a small amount of whey on the top of the curd.
  • Place cheese cloth into hoops/baskets on top of a draining rack. Carefully place “slices” of curd into the baskets until they are full.
  • Leave hoops to drain overnight – you will need a large dish to catch all the whey.
    • For Quark – Place the curd into a cloth and tie it so that it can hang. Hang the bag of curd over a bowl overnight. You can mix some salt into this before storing or keep it without salt. It will keep for about 2 weeks.
  • The next day, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon on top of each cheese and leave for approximately 2 hours.
  • Remove the cheese, turn over and sprinkle more salt on. Leave another 2 hours. You can salt it again if you think of it.
  • This can be consumed as a fresh cheese (chevre) and eaten within 2 weeks or for longer keeping, put into a brine or place in oil with herbs.

Brined cheese – after a week or two, this is a crumbly style feta.

Marinated cheese – stays very creamy and can be used as a spread or used in salads etc. This cheese lasts for months in the fridge, provided it is covered with oil.
Quark - use in place of cream cheese or ricotta. I use it to make baked cheesecake or baked ricotta (recipe way down below)
Marinated Feta

Quark Draining

Pork Shanks Braised in Master Stock


Pork Shanks (one of ours is usually enough for two people) Enough Master Stock to cover (see previous recipe for Duck in Master Stock)
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.  Place the shanks in a dish big enough to just hold the shanks and cover with master stock and then foil.

Cook for two hours and then take out and reduce the stock. Place the shanks on another tray and return to the oven to brown the rind a bit. When the stock is reduced, cut the meat off the bones and then strain the sauce over the meat - serve.

I served ours with stir-fried vegies with noodles. When you reduce the stock, take out about a cup full and put some ice in to collect the fat. Use this fat to stir fry the vegies and the stock can then be used, mixed with a little flour, to thicken the sauce for the stir fry.

Duck Braised in Master Stock

Serves 4 – 6 (depending on size of duck)

1 duck or equivalent pieces

2  onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

300 g field mushrooms, sliced

Master Stock – see below – this makes a very large amount and you will only need a fraction for this recipe.

1.      Cut the legs and wings off and cut into pieces. Bone out the breast and take off any other chunks of meat. You should just have a carcass left.

2.      In a fry pan, heat some oil and gently brown the duck pieces. Add the master stock to just cover the duck. Simmer until cooked – about ½ hour.

3.      Take out the duck pieces, turn up the heat and reduce the stock.

4.      Add the chopped mushrooms, onions and garlic and continue to cook until cooked through.

5.      Pour over the duck to serve.

6.      For an Asian look, using a cleaver, chop the duck pieces into chunks and place on a platter before topping with the sauce.

 Debone the duck ahead of time, so that you can make some stock with the carcass. Use this stock to cook some rice to serve with the duck. A nice Asian twist, is to brown some onions, add rice, some soaked dried Chinese mushrooms and some coriander seeds. Add the stock and cook in the oven.

An alternative is to cook the duck in the oven – it will take about an hour, adding the mushrooms and onions about half way through. This won’t reduce down as much, so may need to be thickened with some cornflour.

Master Stock

6 litres water

3 cups shao hsing wine

2 cups dark soy sauce

1 cup light soy sauce

2 cups yellow rock sugar

12 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup sliced ginger

8 spring onions, chopped

1 teaspoon sesame oil

10 whole star anise

¼ cup cassia bark or 4 cinnamon quills

1 piece dried orange peel

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. The stock is now ready for use, or can be set aside to cool and frozen.

 This can be used over and over again. I have used it to cook a whole chicken/duck or piece of beef and then re-frozen the stock. It’s a Kylie Kwong recipe and I originally did it with her “red braised beef chuck with chinese marble eggs”.

For about 1.5 kgs meat, you boil 6 eggs and then slightly crack them, but leave the peel on. Bring the master stock to the boil and add the beef chunks, the boiled eggs and gook for about an hour. Peel the eggs and serve with the meat and some stock. Very nice and very different! Oh and add some vegies as well.



Makes approximately 1kg of brawn if using a head.

1 Pigs Head (substitute, see note below)
2 Trotters (optional, but does give extra gelatine)
2 Carrots
1 large Onion
1 stick Celery
3 cloves Garlic
1 Bouquet Garni (substitute with mixed herbs)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns

Place the head in a very large stock pot and add the roughly chopped vegetables, herbs, S&P and enough water to come about half way up the pot. Bring to the boil and simmer for the best part of a day.
Take off the heat and place the pot in a cool spot overnight. This is so that the fat settles to the top and hardens.
Next Morning:
Remove the fat. Strain the stock into another saucepan and place back on the stove top to reduce while you prepare the rest of the brawn. Get two bowls, one for the meat and the other for the rest. You need to use your hands to separate the meat from the bone and other bits. Using your hands is necessary as it’s easier to feel what is meat and what’s not.
When you’ve got it all separated (roughly chop the meat if necessary) and the stock has reduced considerably, tip some of the stock onto the meat until you have what you think is enough liquid to hold it all together. Adjust any seasonings – you can add fresh herbs or some nutmeg if you like, but mostly check it for salt.
Place in a brawn (tongue) press if you have one. Otherwise place in a bowl or loaf tin with a weight on top. I have two loaf tins the same size, so I place the brawn in one and then top with baking paper and place another tin on top – I fill this with my pie weights. It doesn’t need a lot of weight, just enough to help it set firm.
Leave for 24 hours in the fridge before unmolding and slicing. It can be frozen if necessary.
N.B If the head seems just a bit too much, you can substitute the following:
2 Pigs Ears
            1 Pig Snout
            4 Pork Cheeks
            1 Pork Tongue
             2 Pigs Trotters
Only cook for about 3 hours.

Lard Pastry

Before you begin you will need to have some lard – this is made by rendering Pork fat. To do this, you take a chunk of fat, cut it into smaller chunks, place in a pot with about ½ to 1 cup of water (depending on how much fat you have – you just need enough to get the fat starting to melt without it burning) and put on a very low heat. It will take most of the day and make sure it’s a really low heat, as you don’t want it to burn.

Once it’s all melted strain it into a jar or tin. In hot weather keep it in the fridge. Lard makes the best chips, but you can use it to cook anything. You can reuse the lard when making chips – just put it into another jar and keep it for deep frying – keep this in the fridge and it’ll last for ages.

This recipe will make one large and one small pie. I usually use what I need and then freeze the rest. It’s very flexible and can be rolled out quite thin. I love it, as it is nice and short and VERY hard to stuff up! I’ve always been told that you need cold hands to make good pastry. When you make this pastry it doesn’t matter.

You can use this for savoury or sweet pies and it has a lovely “short” texture.

200g plain flour

200g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon salt

200g lard (at room temperature)

180 ml cold water

Sift flours and salt together and then rub lard in quickly. Make a well in the centre and work in the water. Knead for 2-3 minutes until you have springy, elastic dough. Form into a ball and chill for 20 minutes before rolling out. There is no need to chill the pastry once the pie plate has been lined, nor is lard pastry every baked blind.

Recipe from The Cooks Companion by Stephanie Alexander. The comments are my own.

Mushroom Soup
Serves 4 
Butter for frying
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
600 g field mushrooms, sliced
1 litre milk
125 ml cream
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1.      In a fry pan, heat the butter and brown the onions and garlic until softened and caramelised, add the mushrooms and salt and pepper and stir until the mushrooms are wilted.

2.      Add the milk and bring to the boil and then simmer gently for about 20 minutes    uncovered.

3.      Stir the cream into the soup and blend or process until smooth. Reheat gently and add chopped parsley.
4.      Serve with fresh crusty (homemade) bread.

Mushroom Pasta

Serves 4
11/2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
300 g small swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tspn salt
1 cup cream
1 cup tomato pasata sauce
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1.      Start water to boil for pasta – cook pasta while doing the rest of the dish.
2.      In a wok or fry pan, heat oil over medium to high heat and brown onions and garlic.
3.      Add mushrooms. Stir fry until mushrooms are cooked. Add soy and season with salt and pepper.
4.      Add cream, pasata and parsley and heat through.

5.      Mix in cooked pasta and serve.

Variation: Add chopped chicken or bacon after browning the onion.
N.B. A mixture of unusual mushrooms makes this interesting.

Mushrooms with Wild Rice
Serves 4
1 Large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
300 to 400 g swiss brown or a mixture of unusual mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Coriander or Parsley or Sage
Wild rice, cooked – ½ cup raw rice
Brown Rice, cooked – 1 cup raw rice
1.      In a wok or fry pan, heat some oil or butter over medium to high heat and brown onions and garlic.
2.      Add mushrooms. Stir fry until mushrooms are cooked. Add soy and season with salt and pepper. Add precooked rices and stir until all ingredients are mixed and hot.
Rosella Jam

Peel the calyx (the petals) from the seed. Cook the seeds until softened and you can see the seeds through the pod  - put enough water in to cover the seeds well. Strain the liquid and then add ½ cup of liquid to each packed cup of petals. Cook until soft and then add ½ cup sugar to each cup of petals. Then cook until set.

Duck – Two Ways
Each meal serves 2 people or could serve 3-4 if you have two courses.

Preheat oven to 180 C
1 Duck
For the Duck Breast Salad
Salad Leaves
Capsicum, sliced thinly
Spring Onion, chopped
I small orange
1 small onion
1-2 cloves garlic
Olive oil

For the Duck Casserole

1 Onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
200g Mushrooms
Herbs – tie a sprig of parsley, oregano or thyme and a bay leaf together with some string.
1 cup Tomato Puree or crushed tomatoes
1 cup of Red Wine
1 cup chicken stock or water (if needed)

Duck Casserole
1.      De-bone the duck, taking care to keep the breasts in a neat shape. Cut the legs and thighs into pieces, and gut of the wing drum stick. Trim off the remaining meat. Reserve the bones and wing tips to make some stock.
2.      Prepare the casserole first. Brown the duck pieces (keeping the breast aside). Take out and put in a small casserole dish. Brown the onions and garlic. When softened and browned, deglaze with the red wine. Add to the casserole dish, with the chopped mushrooms, herbs and tomato. If you think you need it, add some water or stock.
3.      Bake for about ½ an hour. Check and stir and then bake for another ½ hour.

4.      Serve with Potato Mash and vegies.

Duck Breast Salad
1.      Baked Duck Breast – peel the orange place it and the onion on a baking tray. Top with the duck breasts – drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2.      Bake for about ½ an hour. While this is cooking, prepare the salad – toss the salad leaves with the capsicum and spring onions – mix some of the basil leaves (torn) with this.
3.      On a wooden board, chop the garlic, the rest of the basil, some parsley and the garlic. Mix these together, squeeze over some orange juice and drizzle with olive oil.
4.      When the duck breasts are cooked, place on top of the herb dressing and rest for about 5 minutes. Slice and place on top of the salad. Serve.
Pasta (serves 4 as a main course)

200g flour
2 eggs
Pinch of salt

Place the flour on the bench and make a well in the centre. Place the eggs in the well and add a pinch of salt. With the tips of your fingers, gently mix the eggs and gradually incorporate some of the flour. Keep incorporating until the dough is dry enough to start kneading. Kneading pasta takes time and effort. Keep kneading until the flour is fully combined. As you knead, scrape and gather any stray bits that don't absorb into the ball and add to the middle of the dough. Use flour to clean your hands of any sticky bits and incorporate them into the dough too. Keep kneading until fully combine and the bench is clean.

Cover the pasta dough with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rest for about 10 minutes. When you return to kneading, rub a little oil on your hands. Keep kneading until the dough is as smooth as a baby's bottom (about 10 minutes).

Pass through a pasta machine. On setting one, pass through three times, folding in half after each pass. Then pass through each setting until 5 or 6 (I prefer 5). You can either use the fettuccine setting to cut into shape or if you want to you can make stracci. This is when you cut abstact shapes out of the flat sheet.

Egg Custard
500 ml milk
4 eggs
¼ cup sugar

Mix sugar, eggs and milk in a saucepan. Heat over low to moderate heat (not to hot or it may curdle) until it thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon. Tip into a bowl and add a dash of vanilla for flavouring.

Gluten Free Crumble
½ cup maize flour
½ cup quinoa flakes
2 tablespoons butter, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup coconut
½ cup nuts, chopped (any nuts, but macadamia is good)
Mix the butter into the flour and quinoa flakes with finger tips. Add the sugar, coconut and nuts. Place on top of stewed apples, pears or apricots.
N.B. substitute plain flour and rolled oats if you prefer.
Fried Eggs
Serves 2
Lard or Oil – about ½ cup
4 eggs
2 tablespoons Spring onions, chopped
1 Chilli
Oyster Sauce
Rice to serve – please try brown rice with this, because it really is good with it.

Start cooking the rice, as it will take the longest.
Heat the oil or lard in a wok. Add the eggs, one at a time. It needs to be enough oil so that the eggs are swimming in it and you can splash it over the eggs to cook the tops. The rice should be cooked before you start cooking the eggs, as well as everything else ready to go. To serve: place the rice on plates, top with two eggs each, sprinkle the chilli and spring onions over the top and then drizzle with oyster sauce.

N.B. If you are doing it for more people, you may need to use a large flat frying pan and off course more oil.

(makes 1 ½ cups)
1 whole egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Dijon-type mustard
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice (or vinegar)
1 tablespoon whey (optional)
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
¾ to 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil or use grape seed oil for a milder flavour
Generous pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
In a food processor, place egg, egg yolk, mustard, salt and lemon juice and optional whey. Process until well blended, about 30 seconds. Using the attachment that allows you to add liquids drop by drop, add olive oil with the motor running. Taste and check seasoning. Add more salt or lemon juice if you like.
N.B. The addition of whey in homemade mayonnaise will help your mayonnaise last longer. If you have added whey, let the mayonnaise sit at room temperature, well covered, for 7 hours before refrigerating. With whey added, mayonnaise will keep for several months will become firmer with time. Without whey, mayonnaise will keep for about 2 weeks.
To get whey: drain some natural yoghurt through either muslin or a clean chux sitting in a strainer. Use the natural yoghurt in a curry meal or use it in tzatziki dip.
Mango Ice
500 g Frozen Chopped Mango
1 tablespoon chopped mint
The zest of one lime
About 2 tablespoons yoghurt – either use sweetened yoghurt or add a little honey to sweeten if using natural yoghurt.
1.      Process all together in a food processor until smooth.
2.      Serve immediately or put into the freezer until required.
Serve with or without icecream.
This could be very nice served in martini glasses with a dash of vodka and drunk while sitting around a pool!

Asian Style Coleslaw

Serves 4 - 6

Approximately 4 cups of mixed vegies, sliced/shredded/chopped, including but not limited to:
Capsicum – any colours
Red onion or spring onions
Snow Peas
Snow pea sprouts or bean sprouts
Cucumber – cut in half lengthwise and de-seed before slicing

1 clove garlic, crushed
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sweet Chilli Sauce
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice – about ½ a lime
1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
Mix all ingredients in a jar and then add to vegies and mix through. Fresh Chilli could be used instead of the chilli sauce, but you would then add a little sugar.


1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar/honey/maple syrup/rapdura sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence/Extract/paste
500 ml cream

Whisk together the milk, sugar, egg and vanilla until sugar has dissolved. Add cream and mix to blend it all together.

Put into Icecream Machine and mix as per normal.

To Add fruit - chop or process it and add in the last five minutes.
Chocolate Icecream - add 1/2 cup cocoa powder with the milk and eggs and increase the sugar to 3/4 of a cup.

If you don't have an icecream machine - just put it into the freezer and mix it a few times while it's freezing so that it doesn't freeze too hard.

Baked Ricotta

Preheat oven to 180 C

250 g ricotta
1 tablespoon each of chopped parsley and basil
1 chilli
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1.      Mix half the herbs and chilli with the ricotta. Add the garlic, egg, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
2.      Lightly grease a ramekin with olive oil and place the ricotta in. Sprinkle the remaining chopped herbs and chilli over the top and then drizzle with olive oil.

3.      Bake for about ½ and hour or until lightly browned on top and is set. Test this by pressing gently in the middle of the ricotta.
Serve hot with crusty bread or crackers. It’s just as good cold too.