Chicken stew with fennel and olives

What I had on hand…..I though fennel and olives sounded weird, but it tasted good.

Not so much soup as soupy.


  • 4 pieces of chicken, not breast, free range/organic if you can afford it
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, discard the coarse outer layer. Dice the rest.
  • a few carrots, peeled and diced
  • a few zucchinis washed and diced
  • potatoes peeled and diced, I used some kipflers
  • a large onion peeled and chopped finely
  • a few cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • white wine
  • olives: I used good quality black olives, stone them
  • ghee or some other frying substitute


  • fry the onion until soft, add the garlic and stir a few times
  • add maybe a cup of dry white wine and burn off the alcohol
  • add everything else and water to cover

We had three meals from this, two with chicken and one with the vegetables left in the stock. It was more or less soupy with the chicken, we had fresh bread with it. When we were down to the vegetables, I added slightly underdone short pasta, covered the pan while the pasta soaked up some of the stock. Served with spoons, parmesan and salt/pepper to taste.

This got a yum rating from us.

notes for spinach and white bean soup

To begin….

Started out with lots of silverbeet from my sister’s garden. Fried an diced onion in ghee, added some garlic and chilli and about a tablespoon of tomato paste and continued frying until the tomato paste looked ‘cooked’. Added about a litre of chicken stock, two tins of white beans, drained and rinsed, and a big pile of silverbeet. Brought to the boil and then simmered for an hour. Season to taste. Cooked small soup shaped pasta separately, drained and put in bowls with the soup on top. Parmesan at the table.

This could be vegetarian by using suitable stock.

Meatballs for spaghetti

I have no reason to think that mine are anything other than average, but this is what I do….


  • 1.5kg mince, I like a combination of beef, pork and veal, if available.
  • c. 5 slices white bread, no crusts, soaked in milk and squeezed to remove excess moisture
  • finely chopped onion
  • finely chopped garlic
  • finely chopped lemon rind (no white)
  • a little Worcestershire sauce
  • a few drops of Tabasco
  • freshly ground pepper
  • parsley finely chopped, if available

Mix all these together thoroughly. Hands does the best job. Now divide up into small meatballs. Roll in seasoned flour, or shake in a bag of seasoned flour.

There are probably various ways you can proceed next, depending on whether you want a clean or dirty sauce. I want dirty.

Heat a large deep frying pan and add a generous amount of ghee. You are using ghee because it has a high burning point. A bit before it starts smoking, gently place the meatballs into the fat. Don’t crowd the pan. One reason you made the meatballs small is because you want a lot of surface area relative to meat as this will make the taste of them better as they interact with both fat, and later, sauce.  I’m happy for these to get a caramelised, burnt aspect to them, this is what makes the sauce dirty and dirty tastes good. Really…good. Gently turn them at some point. You don’t need them to cook right through, this will come later. So, take the first lot off with a slotted spoon, add more ghee, do the next lot and so on.

Don’t wash the pan, you are going to use it for the sauce.


  • 5 tins tomatoes pureed
  • 1 or 2 cups of white wine
  • finely chopped onion and garlic

I like the sauce for this to be smooth, hence I puree the tomatoes. If there is a lot of ghee left in the pan, drain it off, but don’t clean the pan! Add a generous amount of olive oil, heat gently until it is able to sizzle and add finely chopped onion and garlic. Fry on LOW heat for a minute or two and then add quite a lot of dry white wine, maybe a cup or two. Raise heat to high now, bring to the boil, and while it is reducing to practically nothing, deglaze the pan. Dirty and yummy. Add the pureed tomato and stir, bring to the boil and then down to a simmer for maybe one hour. Then gently add the meatballs and simmer for at least another thirty minutes.

Not surprisingly, best prepared the day before and left to sit in the fridge overnight.


Next day, prepare the spaghetti, reheat the sauce, grate lots of parmesan and this is what will happen. A table of people who had been making a lot of noise go quiet. There is a particular sort of quiet, I think, that you only find at the dinner table and it signifies blissful contentment.

Greek Egg and Lemon soup

Greek Egg and Lemon soup

Not quite white, more the palest, lightest lemon colour. This is another soup I haven’t made for ages, but used to love.


  • About 1.5 litres or 7.5 cups of good quality chicken stock.
  • Half a cup of long grain rice, washed and soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained for 30 minutes. Sorry, folks this is effective, don’t think it is just a waste of time.
  • 4 eggs
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • finely chopped parsley


Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan and add the rice. Simmer over low heat until rice is tender, maybe 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on it.

Break the eggs into a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk until light and fluffy. Gradually add the lemon juice, beating constantly. Add a few spoonfuls of stock, a little at a time, beating constantly until it is well mixed. Take care with this. You do not want to curdle the soup. Carefully stir this mixture into the saucepan containing the rest of the stock. Continue to cook over low to moderate heat for a couple of minutes. It MUST NOT come to the boil or it will curdle.

Add pepper, parsley, serve.

Ingredients from The Best of Supercook Soups and Stews Text mine.

Potato salad with olives


  • Kipfler potatoes
  • anchovies mashed
  • large red chillies
  • salted capers rinsed
  • olives, stoned and chopped
  • parlsey washed, stemmed and chopped
  • olive oil
  • vinegar


Boil potatoes, drain, peel if you want – I did this time – and dice. Mix in all the rest. Freshly ground pepper, but in my case I didn’t use salt, figuring the capers even though rinsed would be salty enough.


I see this being dreadful with poor ingredients: all of mine were best of everything. Red wine vinegar, large green olives. Coriole first cold pressed olive oil.

Anchovies were almost an afterthought and I imagine this would be nice without, for the vegetarians in the audience.

Egg, Avo salad

Rough notes.

I mashed an avo, added a bit of plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves.

Chopped up some lettuce leaves (from the garden!) and two hard boiled eggs. Cubed some Paris Creek fetta. I mention the brand because it’s quite different from a lot of fetta. Drier, slightly rubbery. I love it, and wouldn’t normally eat fetta at the fridge door, if you want the full ad. I don’t know that I’d add what I think of as normal fetta to this.


Served with toast.

Variations are no doubt infinite.


Spaghetti with chicken liver V2

Rough notes:

I chopped the livers up smaller than usual.

Sauce: fried shallot in butter, added garlic, and then a couple of large sloshes of white wine. Burnt that off and added a heaped teasp of tomato paste and some water from the cooking spaghetti. Added the chicken liver when the spaghetti had about 5 minutes to go.

I’m sure there is lots one could do with this basic recipe.

Spicy Baked Chicken Masaledar Murghi

This is a Madhur Jaffrey dish. It’s really nice at room temperature, so it makes great picnic food and also a convenient dish to cook ahead and then serve.

I wrote this in 2012:

I’ve made this many times in my life, always on a BBQ until this week. A wood or coal fire is obviously best. Use thin cuts of meat: chicken ribs if you are in Australia, maybe the stick bit of the wing in other places which don’t seem to do the ‘rib’, more’s the pity; boneless thigh cut into small chunks and put on skewers

In Geneva I can not get the cuts I would prefer to use: boneless thigh doesn’t seem to exist and as for the rib, forget it. Not to mention being BBQless. In an electric oven, I suggest thighs – I found them more successful than the drumstick, maybe because they permit more even cooking. I covered them with foil at a point where I wanted to cook them a bit more without having them burn. Not perfect by any means, but it worked.

2020 update: you can also do this in a covered pan on top of a hotplate. Make it more liquidy to begin with and dry out towards the end.

Spicy Baked Chicken Masaledar Murghi
Oven: 210C
Preparation: 30 mins
Marinating: 3 hours
Cooking: 60 mins


  • 1.5 kgs chicken pieces
  • 6 tblsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 3 tblsps veg oil
  • 1 tblsp cumin
  • 1 ” paprika
  • 1 ” tumeric
  • 1 1/2 teasp cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teasp black pepper1. Mix all ingredients less chicken and oil in bowl.2. Rub well over chicken pieces pushing into flaps and into slits along drumsticks.

    3. Spread on baking tray, set aside for 3 hours.

    4. Brush top of chicken with oil. Bake in preheated oven for 30 mins each side, baste occasionally.

If I don’t have cayenne, I combine hot paprika and mild. I

If cooking in a frying pan, I put oil/ghee down first and then add the chicken in all its basting paste.

The simplest Thai soup stock

Good ingredients let you keep it simple, which is especially useful if you aren’t organised. Like tonight’s dinner, which got rustled up.


  • Spencer Gulf King Prawns to taste. At least 5 x serve. Green in shells.
  • noodles – we had ramen noodles in the fridge, so that was it.
  • lime juice to taste – we used half a lime for two of us tonight.
  • sugar
  • chilli oil
  • fish sauce
  • fresh coriander leaves
  • fresh mint – we just have ordinary mint in the garden
  • water


Put some water in a pan and bring to boil. Add heads of prawns for a couple of minutes and remove. I used a slotted spoon.

Peel prawns and devein.

Add chilli oil and a little sugar to the stock, and a generous splash of fish sauce. Adjust to taste.

My noodles were fresh, so I threw them into the stock, they only needed a couple of minutes once they’d come to the boil. If your noodles are dry, cook them in separate water and then add. When the noodles are close to cooked, throw in the prawns, which only need a minute, if that. They will keep cooking in the hot stock.

At the table present the coriander, mint and lime juice to be added by each person to taste.

Really just making a record of this so I can remember it next time.

Note: prawns defrost really quickly, you only need an hour.






Kale pesto: the good and the bad news

We happened to pick up some organic kale straight from a garden on our way home a few days ago. A couple of options stood out for using it, one being pesto.

I just did pretty much the same as I do with ordinary pesto except the green is kale. I did take out the stalks and ribs first.

It tasted FABULOUS. Which is obviously good….

But maybe bad? I love things being seasonal. To me one of the joys of summer is basil and that means pesto. The idea that I can have pesto out of season is one I’m going to have to chew over, but I’m afraid it’s going to be hard to swallow.

Signed: confused.