Thursday, January 22, 2009

Golden Globe Sparkling

I love awards shows, the glitz, the traditions, the hilariously under the influence celebrities, the excuse to watch 40 movies in a month and lets not forget endless rounds of bubbly.

The Golden Globes was a small chance for another round of sparkling wine however most of the party were drinking Champagne cocktails which rather ruins the ability to give tasting notes.

Deutz Marlborough Cuvee NV

Deutz is my very reliable "everday drinking" sparkling wine and of the mid range sparkling wines it is a real gem. As with Moet & Chandon expanding its reaches with Domaine Chandon to California and Western Australia so have Deutz Champagne expanded their brand name into New Zealand by partnering with Montana Wines to produce wine in the Marlborough region. Marlborough vineyards produce excellent Pinot and this Pinot Chardonnay blend is light and crisp with a clean acid end that makes a perfect aperitif at a price that allows you to keep drinking through the night (or festive season). $18 - $30 depending on volume; keep an eye out for Vintage Cellar deals as often a dozen will get you a free Magnum or discount on a high end Champagne. A Blanc de Blanc and Pinot Noir Cuvee are also available in select stores.

Monmousseau Brut Etoile

This is one of many mid range European imports from Douglas Lamb Wines. Monmousseau is made in the Loire and the cellars are carved out of the local caves ensuring stable temperatures required for sparkling wine production. It's a reasonably affordable $16-$20 a bottle but as this is made from Chenin Blanc with a strong fruity palate it is really not to my preferred tastes. Best with a cheese and fruit board, which makes it acceptable as an awards show drink but not for me (Sorry to who brought it along), those who like a sweeter wine will probably find this a very acceptable reasonably priced import and as most of the party were using it for Champagne cocktails this is more than an acceptable drop.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Recipe: Vegan Tapioca 'Brain' Pudding

Some time ago I was devising a vegan/gluten-free/dairy free dessert recipe and came out with this cherry tapioca pudding. Unfortunately comments on the colour and texture were less than flattering, but this has doubled to become a wonderful Halloween treat; add one zombie-licious brain mould and voila! The most gruesome vegan food you'll ever eat.

Thanks to for the picture.

Cherry Tapioca Pudding

1/2 cup sago or tapioca pearls
2 cups water
400g canned pitted cherries
400g can of coconut milk
4 tablespoons sugar/sugar replacement


  • Soak the sago in 1 cup of the water in a large mixing bowl for an hour, the sago should expand and become soft.

  • Put the soaked sago on medium heat with the coconut milk, make sure to use a large saucepan as the tapioca pearls will still expand considerably

  • When boiled take to low heat and add the cherries

  • Stir occasionally and keep on low heat for 10 minutes, the sago should expand and take on all the liquid

  • Add the second cup of water and the sugar and stir through tapioca.

  • Heat for another 5 minutes or until at least 90% the tapioca pearls are entirely transparent, a small number with a white centre is okay, these will take on more liquid while setting.

  • Let rest for 10 minutes and spoon into rammikins or moulds, this recipe should be enough to make 4-6 servings.

  • If desired line the mould with a thin layer of set Agar based cherry jelly before adding the sago mix.

  • Put into a fridge and set over night.

  • To serve place the moulds in a warm water bath for 2 minutes and turn out onto a plate.

  • If desired use other tinned fruit in syrup for variation or use coconut cream for a richer result.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

<i>Ensalada Russa</i>

This is a traditional Spanish recipe which is the pride of any good Spanish matriarch's festive table. It is "Russian" salad primarily because of the potatoes but don't be fooled it is a uniquely Spanish dish.

Boiled potatoes are cubed and mixed with other finely diced cooked and cooled vegetables such as carrot, beans and peppers, stuffed green olives, tiny shrimp and pieces of egg. The entire thing is then mixed with dietician scaring olive oil/egg mayonnaise and then heaped on a plate. It is then generally layered with another large helping of mayonnaise and decorated such as in this case with roasted peppers, asparagus, eggs. Our family has a tendency to use these ingredients as the decoration is reminiscent of the Basque flag.

Recipe: Pate Maison

Liver is a food which divides people, you either adore it or you hate it, generally depending on whether you were force fed it as a child; but no one is ambivalent about paté. Being prone to terrible anaemia paté has become a somewhat signature dish for me as I attempt desperately to pour the iron rich liver into my body. This particular recipe is not one of my fanciest versions, but it is very reliable and simple compared to most of my other liver recipes and it makes a reasonably affordable every day house paté perfect for sandwiches.

Paté Maison

500g chicken livers
100g bacon
1 large brown onion
100g butter
4 tbpsn sour cream (optional)
200ml red wine
60ml brandy
Olive Oil for frying
Seasoning to taste
Butter or Gelatin for sealing


  • Heat the olive oil in a non stick pan, cut the onion to fingernail sized pieces and sweat the onion in the pan. 
  • Add salt to taste at this stage to prevent burning, and then add the bacon cut to small pieces. Bacon with large amounts of fat is best for consistency.

  • Slow cook the onion and bacon, once the fat has melted from the meat and the onions have caramelised slightly add the cleaned and diced livers. 
  • Keep on low heat and cook until the livers crush under a wooden spoon.

  • Add the brandy and the butter, mixing slowly till the livers are well coated. Slowly add the red wine and reduce, there should still be one or two tablespoons of liquid left.

  • In an electric mixer blend the warm mixture until smooth. Owing to the heavy onion and bacon the texture can be hard to smooth so don't be afraid to blend it for significant amounts of time if you like a silky texture.
  • To give a smoother texture add sour cream to the mixture while blending - this lightens the pate and reduces the grainy texture but can also reduce the storage time of the pate. This is not required and can be skipped if you like a course pate.
  • Distribute evenly across ramekins or bowls and leave to cool. This recipe will generally make 3 standard ramekins per batch, if you do not have ramekins then rice bowls or even tea cups make a perfect substitute. 
  • Notice when I make larger batches I use sealable jars, this means I can eat the pate over a couple of weeks due to the airtight nature of the container, however it assumes you are using it in a casual setting and do not need plating flourishes.
  • Seal the pate with melted butter or gelatin and refrigerate until served. You can decorate the container by sealing garnish ingredients into the butter. 


  •  Add ground pepper corns before the liquor for a spicy touch that goes great with a heavy hand on the cognac
  • Use port or other fortified wine instead of red wine
  • Add orange zest and orange liqueur rather than wine and brandy stage
  • Add herbs at the reduction, dried herbs are best to complement the meat

  • Serve on fresh baked home style bread, with crackers or melba toast or on banh mi sandwiches. Delicious however you choose it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Turkish coffee utensils (Kahve takimi)

Das Boy and I are what you might call somewhat coffee obsessed, so expect this to be the first of seemingly endless coffee related posts.

First off the bat is our Turkish Coffee equipment, I will post a recipe for Turkish Coffee at a later time.

Mehmet Efendi ground Turkish coffee $14.50

While I'm not a huge fan of preground coffee without the skill and knowledge of how to grind Turkish coffee finely then this is a foolproof method of making your own Turkish coffee at home. Turkish coffee is very finely ground making it almost mudlike in consistency. This brand of coffee comes vacuum packed for freshness and keeps for several weeks in the tin.

Cezve/Ibrik Turkish Coffee Pot $18.50

The Cezve is the traditional Turkish coffee pot, note that it is a very basic copper pot similar to a milk jug in the west. The coffee grinds are boiled with sugar and spices and served without straining, it settles in the cup.

Kutahya Turkish Coffee Cups with Saucers $60 for a set of 6

Kutahya is a town in Western Turkey made famous by its fine porcelein production. This Turkish painted pattern is now fairly common in coffee cups but was once reserved for the aristocracy making it well sort out by consumers today. Turkish coffee is served in very small cups owing to its strength. Where you don't have the luxury of reserving an entire set of porcelein for a single drink consumption then standard espresso cups will do just as well.

The best source of authentic Turkish coffee items in Australia is the Turkish Market though the coffee cups are not often available and may require ordering from Turkey.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

2008 Annual Food Blog Awards

The 2008 Annual Food Blog award nominations are currently open, so if you've any favourite food blogs now is the time to give them a tip of the hat. Additionally the nominations are a great source of excellent new reading and I just got about 1000 new recipe ideas from the site.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

It's been ridiculously hot in Sydney the last couple of days, but there's only so many salads one can stomach in the quest for cold dinners. So here's a somewhat complicated recipe for Do-It-Yourself Vietnamese Summer rolls. The idea is to share all the ingredients and have some fun making them at the table, but make plenty of sauce and chicken as these tend to run out quickly. This is Viet cuisine by way of my brain and not entirely authentic, however the Nuoc Cham recipe is one I edited from a Vietnamese cook book and is almost identical to that served in good Viet restaurants.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup fish sauce (Nuoc Mam)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 large clove garlic
2 bird's eye chillis
1 spring onion


  • Boil the water and add the sugar

  • Stir until all the sugar is dissolved

  • Add the fish sauce, be sure to use Vietnamese Nuoc Mam and not Thai fish sauce which is much stronger and overpowering in this recipe

  • Add the lemon juice, if using fresh lemon juice strain the sauce to exclude all the pith

  • Dice the garlic and add to the sauce

  • Cut the spring onion and chilli into fine slices and add to the sauce

  • Chill and serve, this recipe is enough to make sauce for 2 servings, discard after 2 weeks if unused

  • The sauce also makes a light and refreshing salad dressing for Asian inspired salad

Coconut spice chicken

2 chicken breasts
200ml coconut cream
1 tablespoon of diced lemon grass
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons minced coriander
1 lime


  • In a bowl combine the ginger, lemon grass, garlic and chilli

  • Add the coconut cream and mix well

  • Add the juice of the lime

  • Dice the chicken into large strips and combine well with the marinade

  • Marinade the chicken for at least 2 hours

  • Grill at 180C until browned, turning occasionally and rebasting with leftover marinade

Rice Paper Wraps

1 bunch fresh mint
1 bunch fresh coriander
4 tablespoons salted peanuts
1 cup bean sprouts
1 carrot finely sliced
10-15 rice paper wraps
boiling water for dipping wraps
Coconut spice chicken as prepared earlier
Nuoc cham dipping sauce


  • Dice peanuts, slice carrots and wash herbs

  • Place on a platter with chicken and sprouts

  • Put a bowl of boiling water on the table along with the rice paper

  • Dip the rice paper in the water so that the entire wrap is wet, do not hold in the water but return quickly to plate

  • Place a small amount of each ingredient into the rice paper

  • Roll the wrap by folding the "up and down" direction intowards the ingredients and then rolling the wrap in on itself from right to left

  • Dip in the Nuoc Cham and eat up quickly before every one else does!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Review: Condor Ramen, Wynyard

It's difficult to go past the daily handmade noodles and rich fatty Tantan-men of Ichi Ban Boshi however the 40 minute waits can be a little trying on a hungry stomach and so it has been time to try other CBD ramen restaurants recommended over time. Strangely Condor Ramen and Go-shu Ramen are directly next door to each other so we thought we'd succumb to the awkward looking waitress and try Condor Ramen first. I think this trick must work on a lot of diners because a number of other Sydney food blogs I read comment on the same awkwardness.

The ambience isn't great, the eatery is mostly outdoors next to the raging traffic of York St as city rush hour exits from the Harbour Bridge, there are indoor tables but it looks muggy and oily inside and we take the traffic noise over the grease. The tables and chairs are student eatery types with plastic covers, but a lifetime of excellent Chinese eaten in restaurants that look like a warehouse break room have taught me that looks can be decieving.

Firstly we order gyoza, as they are an easy item to judge the quality of any ramen shop. Firstly we are asked if we wish them steamed or fried which is also a good sign and when they arrive they are excellent. They take a little longer to arrive than I am expecting but on delivery it would appear that the entire dumpling has been made to order. The pastry and filling are both light and fresh, these have neither been frozen nor sat for a long period. The filling is heavy on vegetables and if you're a meat fanatic these may not be for you however I found them delightful. Das Boy is slightly disappointed as he likes the nouveau spin on the ponzu sauce which is delivered with the gyoza at Ichiban Boshi and is let down by the more traditional dumpling sauce presented here.

Das Boy is very keen on katsu curry and forgoes the ramen in favour of this dish; he's delighted to find a giant pile of tsukemono lavishly heaped on one end of the plate. The crumb on the katsu is slightly disappointing and is fairly thin for panko crumbing however the meat is juicy and the oil is well drained, the curry is spicy but not overpowering and contains some beef and vegetables throughout. It however is soon forgotten as my own ramen comes out.

Tantan-men is one of those foods I could live on for weeks and not get sick of it, the rich chilli sesame pork broth is filled with hand spun noodles, egg, vegetables and sweet stir fried pork representing all the food groups except for dairy - which is just fine by my lactose intolerant self. It's hard not to compare the bowl to that of Ichiban Boshi where I eat regularly and I find the noodles are good, but not as good, maybe made this week rather than this day; the meat is nice, but not as sweet and I am disappointed to see that the colour of the egg gives away its cheap cage hen origins.

On the other hand the portion size is far more sensible; I'm actually able to eat most of my bowl of noodles. The real highlight of the dish is the soft juicy and fresh bamboo shoots laced throughout the bowl, it is obvious that the owners of Condor Ramen are big believers in fresh regular produce and I would suspect by the taste that they have been to the market that day. Towards the end of the bowl the soup is getting slightly gelatinous and I suspect that they use higher fat pork than I am used to and it sits a little heavy on the stomach.

I tend to prefer more chilli oil cooked into my ramen soup however plenty of condiments are provided for balancing the soup and by the end of the bowl, thick with fat and studded with sesame seeds, I wonder that a richer soup wouldn't have been overpowering.

All in all the food is good and satisfying but not truly excellent; though the fresh gyoza and bamboo are stand out from the whole meal and good enough to come back for on their own. If I were truly craving ramen I would probably attend another restaurant but as good mid week fare to stave off cooking the price and quality are more than adequate.

Condor Ramen
Open Sunday-Friday from 11:30am-10pm
No booking required

5 York Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone (02) 9299 8686

Festive Season Wine Review Part III: the Reds

In Australia festive food tends more towards light cold dishes and seafood owing to the Summer season and tendency towards 35C heat and so reds are often a little sparse on the festive menu however here are a couple of noteworthy items that made their appearance.

Andrew Garrett Sparkling Burgundy NV

People are often surprised that as a bit of a wine buff I'm a fan of cold sparkling Burgundy (well... Shiraz, but old habits die hard) but really they're a perfect summer red for the Aussie climes. Australia obviously is well known for its strong earthy Shiraz and the heady flavour and strong mousse of Australian Shiraz carry well into a chilled sparkling that can stand on its own as an aperetif on a hot day and makes a welcome change from endless Pinot Chardonnays during the holiday season. This Andrew Garrett sparkling is definitely into the "cheap and cheerful" category as $12 - $20 a bottle but the fruity McLaren Vale Shiraz carries a strong berry overtone and a slight sweetness that is required for a truly successful sparkling red and makes it one of the most popular on the market. Good on its own, great with cold rare beef or Turkey, for something different have as a palate cleanser with berry sorbet.

For a bit of good foodie gossip have a look at the Andrew Garrett litigation, it's a bit of a sad story of someone getting in over their head, marriage disintegration, harassing ex lovers, failed court showings, snowballing litigation, unpaid fines, positively manic business behaviour, frivolous self representation and the big banks steamrolling the whole lot by quite rightly declaring him a vexatious litigant. Andrew Garrett is now made under a licensed name by the Beringer Blass wine company, an arm of the Foster's group.

Protos Reserva 1999 Tempranillo

Another special table appearance; some time ago I had a Spanish boyfriend who made all the right moves when he met my parents including bringing my father this magnificent magnum. Sadly the relationship didn't work out, but the wine certainly did. Protos are a traditional winemaker from the Ribera del Duero wine region in Castilla y Leon, Spain, a little west from the famous Rioja region. Ribera del Duero is known almost exclusively for Tempranillo and it is of no surprise that this is a 100% pure vintage. Tempranillo from northern Spain is always soft, subtle and mellow and this bottle is the perfect drinking age leaving it silky with a low acidity. Served with a roast duck this lighter red wine paired beautifully with the gamey meat and the medium length flowed through the food to perfection showcasing the oak and cherry flavours. Purchase where available in Australia and cellar for similar results.

This will end my festive season wine reviews, there were other wines but having consumed a fair number in a short period I forgot to photograph all of them. Most of the others were wines I drink regularly (Grandin, Jansz, Deutz) and so will surely appear at a later date.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New kitchen gadgets

Kitchen gadgets are great for the host and home cook and here's a few shiney new additions to my kitchen, mostly centred around salad accoutrements as salads are flying free and fast from the kitchen in the summer heat.

Vinegar Spout $3.50 from Gina Cucina

Oil Drizzler with flow control free with purchase Norton Grocer

Olive Oil jug and dipping plate an unbelievable $3.60 from the post Christmas gift sale at Coles

Gorgeous heavy duty brushed steel measuring spoons, gifted.

Festive Season Wine Review Part II: the Champagnes

What better a time of year than to drag out the French bubbly and make a toast? Here are the genuine Champagnes we pulled out this season.

Taittinger Prelude Grands Cru

In a room full of wine at a champagne tasting this easily stood out as my favourite. It's a crisp Pinot Chardonnay 50/50 blend with light bubbles and a slight citrussy tang. New to the Taittinger line their wine makers claim to be attempting to make a grand cru that is reminiscent in quality of a vintage pedigree and to my mind they have hit the spot. It is strong enough to stand as an aperetif but also subtle enough to eat with a canape, salad or fish course; it finishes very long with a pleasant warm afterglow. Currently sells for $120 - $130 retail however this is my pick of the toasting Champagnes and should be top of your list when purchasing for a wedding, new year or other special occasion.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier

I was given this last Christmas by a friend who knows my keenness for Champagnes and as it was reaching the end of its drinking life it was time to bring it out come New Years. Roederer is famous for its Cristal Champagne that is favourite with the bling-tastic crowd and I never really understood why, this lesser cousin to Cristal isn't also high on my list of sparklings in the price range.

Its blend is 56% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Meunier and features a hefty amount of aged oaked vintage wine in the blend, making it a fuller, smoother, fruitier wine and I think for me this is its downfall as I like light crispy floating sparkling wines. It definitely has its fans and would be a great accompaniment to a cheese and fruit platter but should be avoided drinking on its own. For around $80 a bottle on the Australian market I would tend to float more towards Veuve Clicquot or a Pommery which are of a similar price.

Pol Gessner Brut

Pol Gessner is a very new entrant into the Champagne market created by the owners of Lanson and imported by the Woolworths group it is squarely aimed at the middle class target being a very affordable $30 - $40 a bottle. It stands up to Champagnes that are triple the price and if you're more interested in taste than in label then this is a fine choice for large purchases, drinking with seafood or even a more "every day" occasion such as a birthday or date night. The blend is a classic French mix of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier (55/15/35) and the colour and taste are both very light with a soft lemony flavour and a very clean end. I think the low Chardonnay content works in favour for my tastes and getting actual Champagne of this quality for this price certainly scores points though for a special occasion it may be worth spending the extra money on a better label or purchasing a local sparkling for the same price.

Recipe: Lemon Butter


4 large eggs
180g butter
2 cups white sugar
3/4 Cup lemon juice (fresh)
1 tbsp lemon zest


  • Cut the butter into cubes (1 cm or so is best). If you have no scales 180g is close to 2/3 of a 250g block, these usually have 50g markers on them to help visual cutting

  • Put the butter into a heatable bowl with the sugar. The bowl should be glass or metal for preference as it will be used to double boil.

  • Zest 2 lemons, add to the bowl.

  • Cut the lemons and juice. You may need several lemons for this recipe. Do not use preserved lemon juice as it lacks the acidity required.

  • Beat the eggs and lemon juice together and add to the bowl.

  • Fill a saucepan halfway with hot water and place on medium heat. Put the bowl on top of the saucepan.

  • Stir frequently and ensure that until the butter is melted that the sugar dissolves evenly.

  • Do not stop stirring continuously once the mixture is liquid otherwise the egg will turn and the mixture will curdle.

  • The mixture is ready when it thickly coats the back of the spoon and/or a splash up the bowl will stay in place.

  • Pour into glass jars and seal; keep refrigerated after the jars have cooled.

  • Tip: Four Brothers Pasta Sauces come in reuseable Mason Jars which are perfect for preserves and spreads. Soak overnight to remove the labels and clean in very hot water before using.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Festive Season Wine Review Part I

At this time of year the bubbly gets broken out a lot and being in a happy position to sample a large range of sparkling wine gives me a distinct tasting advantage (and a smug look about me) so here's some highlights of the season.

Non Vintage Freixenet Cordon Negro

Cava is the Brut of Spain and is a dry sparkling wine of which Freixenet is the most wildly popular. Originating from Catalunya it is made of a uniquely Spanish blend of Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada. Being from the Basque Country Freixenet has been a long term favourite of my family however as import taxes have changed and export scales have grown Freixenet has become increasingly affordable and now can be purchased in Australia from $9 to $20 depending on your location and the scale you're purchasing at. Unsurprisingly this has allowed far greater amounts of it to be drunk over the Christmas period.

While the bubble size gives away some of its price the unique wine blend and the fact that it is fermented in bottle (almost unheard of in this price range) means that it is one of the most affordable quality sparkling import wines on the market. It is crisp, dry and light and perfect with seafood making it a great accompaniment to both northern Spanish food and Australian Christmas fare.

Hanging Rock Cuvee Nine Macedon Late Disgorged

This is a wine noted more for its special occasion ring rather than as a recommendation for one to follow up as my father was purchased lees from Hanging Rock 8 years ago and this was one of several bottles personalised for his birthday. It is a classic Australian Pinot Chardonnay (60/40 blend) with a golden toasted hue. The Cuvee release 7 is currently available on the consumer market and is currently winning a large number of awards around Australia. At $115 a bottle (more for the personalised lees as with this bottle) it remains one of the most expensive wines on the Australian market but the extended aging has a profound effect on the quality and is constantly compared to Bollinger in its taste and quality. Best consumed as an aperitif prior to the meal due to its strong taste and fine quality.

Home smoked fish

Anyone who's listened to my father's "around the world in 1000 restaurants" stories will know that the food obsession runs in the family, and so nothing inspires us more than new kitchen tools. Last Christmas my father's partner got a smoker and this year she was determined to show it off.

On the left is a whole side of New Zealand Chinook Salmon which has been brined in sugar and salt and then smoked. The oily fish is much richer than an Atlantic salmon and the fresh smoked meat was juicy, soft and tender flaking almost like a trout when eaten and possibly the best smoked salmon I've ever had. On the right is an Ocean Trout, brined as with the salmon and then smoked whole with the skin intact.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Magner's new sizes in Australia

Now I do like a drink, particularly on a hot day, but not being a fan of beer I tend to turn to Cider for my cold refreshments. Magner's is a crisp Irish cider, known as Bulmer's in the Republic of Ireland it is rebadged for the export market to avoid confusion with Bulmer's English Cider which is commonly available in Australia on tap.

Magner's is best served over ice however this isn't always convenient at the good old Aussie BBQ where drinking straight from the bottle can be common. This makes the 568ml "pint" bottle (on the right) quite unwieldy and frequently warm (or flat) by the end of the bottle. Cider has recently gained quite the following in Australia presumeably due to the large influx of UK citizens and so varying sized bottles are now starting to appear on the shelves including this very convenient 375ml bottle (left) which fits nicely in the hand and is still chill in the Queensland summer heat, perfect for the cricket.

Recipe: Onion Gravy

2 brown onions
oil for frying
1 clove garlic
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup "meat" stock (works best with beef)
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine

On the use of stock:

  • For the stock you may use all vegetable stock for vegetarians, this works just as well as a vegan gravy.

  • I use a lot of home made and frozen stock boiled from bones and roast leftovers however you may use prepared stock powder or liquid.

  • If you are going to use powdered stock be sure to taste the gravy as you mix in the stock. You may wish to replace some of the stock with water owing to the salt content of commercial stock powder.

  • When using primarily vegetable stock or home made 'natural' stock this gravy lacks the distinct brown colour many people associate with commercial gravy powder. If you have a fussy child or eater at your table it is advised that you add a beef stock cube to your gravy or replace some of the stock with a small quantity of soy, Worcestershire or other source of brown colouring.


  • Preheat the oil in a non stick pan at medium heat.

  • Dice the onions and fry in the oil, when clear add the garlic crushed or diced finely. Fry until the onions are slightly brown.

  • Measure out your stock and have it easily to hand.

  • Reduce the pan to low heat. and add the flour one spoon full at a time, stirring quickly. The onions, oil and flour should form a moist ball in the pan.

  • Add the stock about 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring all the while. It is generally best to alternate between the meat and the vegetable stock so that you may alter for taste.

  • Once the gravy is a thick sauce like consistency add the balsamic and the red wine and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

  • Serve over sausages, steak or with vegetarian roast, works very well with cracked black pepper.

Om nom nom

I've no small obsession with the food blogs of others and with a little more time on my hands for digital creation I thought it would be good to have a place for my foodie adventures not to mention somewhere to upload my recipes and partake in food blog competitions.

Those who read my personal blog () will have seen some of the recipes that I post in the near future as I update a backlog of old food posts to this blog.