These are tried, tested and much loved recipes. Our families and friends are always unselfish and devote themselves to taste-testing these delicious creations and demand them repeatedly time and time again.

Our aim is to share with you our favourite meals and the little tricks and tips we have learnt along the way.
Time is precious.
Food is expensive.

Both are resources too valuable to waste.

We want to share recipes that deliver delicious, nourishing meals - making the most of your time and ingredients.

Life is way too short for bland, disappointing food.
So ... Feed your inner cook - and Enjoy!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Crispy duck breast with vegetables braised in creamy mustard sauce

I rarely cook dishes with rich sauces but sometimes it is great to enjoy the creamy flavour especially with French Mustard and caraway. Cabbage is the main vegetable but feel free to add a variety of greens to the dish.   Enjoy!

Crispy Duck with creamy mustard vegetables by Feed Your Inner Cook

Serves                      4     -    1 small duck breast per person
Preparation            10 minutes
Cooking                 30 minutes including oven baking time

4 small duck breasts -    pat the skin dry.  Score the fatty skin in a criss cross pattern,  avoiding cutting into the flesh.

2 potatoes – very very finely sliced and par-cooked for a few minutes, then dried.
pinch of Salt
1 small onion – finely sliced
2 cloves garlic – crushed
Handful mushrooms – sliced
¼ small cabbage   - very finely shredded
Handful baby spinach leaves
1 bunch asparagus  -  remove the tip with about 2 inches stem then cut remaining thicker stem into 1 – 2 cm pieces  -  the tips will be added close to the end.  The stems take longer to cook
Baby green beans – cut into 1 – 2 cm pieces
Splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil  (optional)
2 Pinches caraway seeds
Pinch celery seeds
2 teaspoons French wholegrain mustard
Splash brandy (optional)
Tin Cannellini beans – rinsed and drained
Pepper – add generously to taste
Cream  (I sometimes use a longlife reduced fat cream)

Preheat the oven to 190 - 200˚C.  Have a tray with baking paper ready for duck.
On a separate prepared tray place the dried potato slices ready to be brushed with the rendered duck fats.

Heat a wide deep non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Do NOT add oil.
Season the scored dried duck skin with a little salt.
Place the duck breasts skin side down in the heated pan.
Leave the duck to cook without moving.  Cook the skin side for 3 minutes until golden
Turn over and cook flesh side for 1 minute
Remove from pan and place onto the tray and finish cooking in oven approx. 8 minutes. 
Check at 6 minutes.   When cooked, remove from oven tray and allow to rest on a warm plate, uncovered.

While the duck is in the oven:
Paint the prepared potato slices with a little of the rendered duck fat then immediately bake in the oven.

Keep and re-warm the fat in the same pan
Saute the onions until softening then add the garlic and mushrooms continuing to cook through.
Stir in the finely shredded cabbage and wilt over the heat
Add the baby spinach leaves, asparagus stems and green bean pieces
If it becomes too dry add a splash of Olive oil and continue cooking until cabbage tender
Stir in the mustard, caraway seeds, celery seeds and splash of brandy.
Add the cannellini beans and heat through
Taste and grind in a generous amount of pepper.  Possibly a touch of salt too.
Pour in the cream – enough to make a silky sauce but not sloppy.

Plate the warmed duck breast, potato slices and creamy vegetables.

                                                Enjoy!   Colleen

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Ham and Veggie Impossible Pie

Every Kindy fundraiser recipe book has a recipe for a savoury Impossible Pie – and with good reason!  It is the perfect ‘quick what can I cook for dinner’ recipe that delivers real crowd-pleasing family comfort food flavours. There is NO need to make a pastry crust – the flour added into the recipe forms a thin crust during baking.

It is so easy to make this pie with whatever you have to hand: swap the ham for bacon, cooked chicken, tinned fish or leave out and add more veggies.  Replace the zucchini with chopped broccoli or mushrooms. You get the idea – it’s a real standby and excellent for using up the odd veggies in the crisper.  Tasty, great for lunches the next day and always popular for those ‘bring a plate’ events. In summer I like to serve with a generous tomato and green salad or with warm veggies in winter.   Enjoy!  Colleen

Ham and Veggie Impossibe Pie by Feed Your Inner Cook

Preparation       5 – 10 minutes
Cooking           30 – 45 minutes depending on pan size
Serves              4 – 6     depending on how many veggies included

Note:  I tend to cut the firmer veg like onion and celery finely so they cook at same speed as rest
2 large slices of ham – cubed
1 small onion – very finely diced    OR   2 shallots  -  sliced.. .  May need to saute onion first
1 small zucchini – finely diced
¼ red capsicum – diced
1 stick celery – finely diced
2 handfuls baby spinach – roughly chopped   OR    baby kale leaves
½ cup frozen peas and corn
Herbs – your choice:  fresh basil leaves, parsley or thyme leaves
Small shake dried chilli flakes    OR   tiny smear of Wholegrain mustard   (optional)
Quick grind of fresh pepper   Note:  I do NOT add salt as the ham, cheese are salty
½ cup Plain Flour
1 ¼ cups Milk
4 eggs – lightly beaten together
1 cup grated cheese  (3/4 cup for mixing in  - then – ¼ cup for sprinkling on top
Few halved cherry tomatoes for topping

Preheat oven to 180 -190˚ C 
Have all the ingredients chopped and ready
Lightly grease a pie dish
(mine is about 20cm wide at base PLUS I make an extra mini dish with any excess)
Using a large mixing bowl, whisk the milk into the flour ensuring there are no lumps.
Add the eggs and whisk to combine well.
Stir all the remaining ingredients into the egg mixture (Note – some of the cheese is needed for sprinkling over the top later)  and combine well to distribute evenly
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish (or dishes) 
Sprinkle with the reserved cheese and dot with the tomato halves.
Bake for approx. 30-40 minutes.  Check at 30 minutes with the tip of a knife into middle – will be firm and not oozy when cooked.    Smaller dishes will need less time. 
If needed, pop under a hot grill until top is golden. 
Serve with salad or vegetables of your choice.
                   Enjoy!   Colleen

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Spaghetti Tomato Frittata

Rich tomato and vegetable based sauces are so versatile that I keep some in my freezer as a base for multiple dinner options.  Belinda Jeffery's recipe was the inspiration for this dish which makes a great change from 'spag bol' .  With or without meat, it is delicious, great for lunch the next day plus the optional Harissa adds a real tastebud kick!  Belinda Jeffery's cookbooks are packed with so many flavour packed recipes and I encourage you to explore her books that also celebrate the Northern NSW idyllic lifestyle.  Enjoy!

pasta spaghetti frittata Feed Your Inner Cook
pasta spaghetti frittata Feed Your Inner Cook

Serves            4   -  depends on quantity of pasta cooked
                       (this recipe makes extra sauce so you can freeze some for later)

Preparation    5 minutes 
Cooking         20 - 30 minutes for sauce ( also pasta cooked during this time) 
                       TIP:  sauce could be pre-cooked or use from reserved frozen storage

                       then 10 minutes for frittata on stovetop plus a few minutes under grill


Australian Olive Oil
2 large onions - finely diced
2 cloves garlic - crushed
shake dried chilli flakes   OR 1/2 - 1 red chilli finely sliced
2 red capsicums - diced
4 - 5 ripe tomatoes - chopped
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
2 tablespoons Sun-dried tomato pesto
1/2 teaspoon sugar  (optional)
1 - 2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar  (add 1 , cook, then taste and add more if needed)
Handful fresh basil leaves - torn  NB a little for the sauce, most in the frittata mix and a little for garnish  (reserve the small leaves for garnish)
a little shredded ham or bacon, or 100 gram beef/pork mince

Spaghetti OR  Angel Hair pasta     100 - 150 gram  approx
Olive oil for tossing after drained

Frittata mixture
5 eggs
20 gram grated fresh Parmesan cheese
The reserved small Basil leaves
Australian Olive Oil
100 gram soft goat's cheese  OR  mild crumbly fetta  OR a little cheddar cheese grated
pepper to taste (optional salt - depends on saltiness of cheese used)

Harissa Yoghurt  to serve separately
1/4  - 1/2 cup greek yoghurt  mixed with 
1/4 - 1 tablespoon Harissa   (add a dash at a time for your taste preference)

Method   I use a 24cm frypan (with a lid) suitable for stovetop and also ovenproof (no lid needed in oven)

Cook the pasta according to packet directions until just al dente. Drain and stir with a splash of olive oil to stop strands sticking together. 
While the pasta is cooking - make the sauce.
Heat a little oil in pan add onion and cook gently on medium until softens.
Add the  garlic and chilli and meat if using.
Increase heat a little and stir in the capsicums,cooking for a few minutes
Mix in  tomatoes then the paste and pesto along with sugar and half the vinegar.
Reduce to low and cover with lid.  Simmer gently approx 10 -15 min.  
Sauce is cooked when most of liquid is absorbed.  Spoon will run through and mix will separate in pan.
Remove from heat.  Taste.  Add extra vinegar if needed.
Season with a little pepper and salt if needed.  Stir 1 tablespoon of basil leaves through.

TIP:  I use half of this sauce mixture with the pasta and save the remainder in the freezer for next time.

Using the pasta pan - toss the sauce through the prepared drained pasta and stir well.

Whisk the eggs parmesan, most of the torn basil, pepper and optional salt together.
Pour the frittata mixture into the pasta/sauce and gently combine using tongs.

Wipe the frypan.  Warm a little oil on medium low.  NB  preheat oven grill to High
Pour the pasta /sauce/frittata mixture into the warmed frypan.
Stir regularly and gently, lifting the eggy mix up slightly to allow uncooked mix underneath to cook.  Continue until egg on top is no longer runny but just cooked.  Remove from heat.
Crumble the cheese over cooked frittata
Place pan under grill until top dries a little and slightly golden - usually only a few minutes
Remove from heat and either serve from the pan or slide onto serving plate.
Serve with reserved small basil leaves and bowl of harissa yoghurt and fresh tomato salad.
                                              Enjoy!   Colleen

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Sumac Chicken with pomegranate and sesame seeds

Pomegranates are one of my favourite fruits.  I even have a tree in the backyard!  The vibrant jewel juicy arils (the red 'seeds')  give colour, texture and a flavour explosion to a recipe.  Pomegranate Molasses is available at most supermarkets now and is an intense unique flavour.  Sumac is a spice that is lemony with a little pinch imparting a tangy taste.
This recipe was inspired by Rick Stein’s oven roasted chicken with sumac and is delicious served with salad, roasted sweet potatoes and a dollop of minty yoghurt.   Enjoy!

Sumac Chicken Pomegranate by Feed Your Inner Cook

Pomegranates growing at Maggie Beer's Farm SA  by Feed Your Inner Cook

Serves    4 for fillets  or   6 for chicken pieces
Time      1 – 4 hours marinating.   30 min – 1 hour cooking

4 chicken thigh fillets (quick option)   OR   preferably 1 chicken jointed into 8 pieces
Splash Olive Oil
Scattering of Sesame Seeds – white and/or black
Few chopped roasted pistachio nuts
Some fresh pomegranate arils for garnish and also in salad if possible
Mint leaves for garnish
Lemon wedges for optional squeeze
Optional salt and pepper to serve
Serve with Greek yoghurt mixed with dried mint, chopped fresh mint and pepper
Option:  dice up some sweet potato, drizzle with oil and roast on a tray while chicken is cooking

2 tablespoons ground Sumac
Shake dried chilli flakes (1 use 1/2 teaspoon) adjust to your heat preference
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 tablespoon Pomegranate molasses
2 garlic cloves – crushed
1 teaspoon Salt

Place all marinade ingredients in a large plastic freezer bag and add chicken pieces.  Squeeze and rub will into the chicken.  Leave in fridge for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 180 °C (fan)  or 200 °C
Place chicken in lightly oiled roasting pan.
Drizzle with a splash of Olive oil and scatter with sesame seeds.
Cook 20 – 30 minutes for fillets  (check at 20 minutes)  or 30 – 40 minutes for pieces.  Chicken piece juices need to run clear.
Garnish with the pistachios, pomegranate seeds and mint leaves.
Serve with fresh salad, roasted sweet potatoes, lemon wedges and yoghurt.
                             Enjoy!   Colleen

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Quinoa with Sesame Honey Broccoli

Inspiration for this dish came from the vibrant vegetarian recipes by Hetty McKinnon in “Community – Arthur Street Kitchen” cookbook.  Brisbane City Council has copies to borrow and I urge you to take the opportunity to drool over these delish dishes. 
My compromise, to keep Wilbur happy and eating broccoli, is to cook this recipe with a little chorizo.  I know it would be much healthier without, but, seeing him go back for seconds is very cheering.  Slowly, I am adding less and less meat to my vegetable based meal nights and he is happily eating more and more veggies.  Some nights are 100% vegetables. I feel that is a big win and we are on the right path to vegetables being the rightful hero of our meals and enjoying the varied flavours and textures of so many delicious vegetables.  Our little veggie and herb garden is a source of great delight and we can taste the difference when we use our fresh-picked produce.    Enjoy!

Serves 4 and maybe some for lunch the next day

1 cup quinoa – rinse well before cooking  (see below)
Splash Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil  OR Rice Bran Oil
1 red onion – finely sliced
½ - 1 chorizo sausage – cut into thin slices  (optional – omit for vegetarian meal)
2 cloves garlic - crushed
1 - 1/2 large heads of Broccoli – shred the stems finely and cut the florets into slender bite size pieces so they cook quickly   OPTION:  steam or blanch the broccoli for a couple of minutes, drain well then add to the frypan.  This will reduce cooking time in the pan.
2 baby zucchini – finely sliced / cut into batons  or use 1 medium zucchini
1 cup frozen green baby peas
Good handful fresh green beans – trimmed and cut into bite size lengths
Handful baby spinach leaves or Baby kale leaves
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons Nigella Seeds and /or Black Sesame seeds
1/3 cup coriander leaves – torn  OR   mint leaves

Sauce.  Whisk all ingredients together.  Taste   (and adjust if needed)
1 tablespoon  Tahini paste   OR peanut paste loosened with a 2 tablespoons of warm water  (I love sesame seeds but not a fan of Tahini paste ! )
1 teaspoon Tamari   OR  use soy sauce
2 tablespoons Mirin  (sold in Asian food section in many supermarkets) sweet rice wine
1 tablespoon Honey
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar  (if none, maybe try lemon juice)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Salt and Pepper to taste (I did not need any)

Use a large saucepan of water, add the well-rinsed and drained Quinoa and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a steady simmer and cook for approx. 17 - 20 mins.
Drain the quinoa well and set aside.

Heat a splash of oil in a wide frypan.
Add the onion (and chorizo if using)  - still cooking and stirring
Stir in the broccoli and cook until onion softens and chorizo crisps up and broccoli just tender.
(It is okay to add some of the other veggies whilst the broccoli is cooking)
Stir through the garlic, zucchini, peas and beans
Mix the spinach / kale leaves through
Cook until veggies are just tender and still crisp
Add the reserved quinoa – you might not need all.  Any remaining quinoa can be refrigerated and used in a salad the next day
Remove from heat
Lightly toss the extra sesame oil, nigella seeds / black sesame seeds through so well combined
Gently drizzle the prepared sauce over and gently toss to evenly coat the veggies.
Taste and add salt/pepper if you think it is needed (I did not need to)
Serve scattered with the coriander or mint leaves
Enjoy!   Colleen  

Monday, 13 February 2017

Speedy Berry Icecream Temptation

When Valentine's Day falls on a work day it can be tricky to make a decadent dessert. I was Inspired by a photo using mangoes to make / assemble this super-easy but delicious berry dessert.  Weis Bars are a Queensland icon with lots of flavours to choose from. Simply choose a complementary flavour of Weis to match the icecream. Easy.  These bars were from their yoghurt selection and tasted great with the creamy icecream. Enjoy!
Feed Your Inner Cook

Time -  minutes!
Serves - 8 slices ie 8 people.   Easily halve the ingredients and make a smaller version


6 Weis Bars
1 Litre Icecream
punnet of raspberries, strawberries
Raspberry sauce 

Method (too easy)

Leave the icecream out of the fridge while you prepare the dish/bars
Line a loaf tin with generous amount of clingwrap in both directions.  It needs to be able to fold over and cover the top.
Unwrap the Weis Bars and layer on base of plastic in tin.
Scoop the icecream into the tin covering the Weis Bars and smooth down gently to avoid air pockets.
Carefully fold the overhanging plastic over the icecream.
Place the completed loaf tin in a plastic freezer bag and secure to avoid drying out.
Leave at least 4 hours to firm up.
Remove from freezer and unwrap onto a platter, base layer upwards.
Scatter with berries and dollops of sauce.
                                                  Enjoy!  Colleen

I purchased all the ingredients personally and was not paid to endorse these products.  I simply like Weis Bars because they taste sooooo good and originated in Queensland. 

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Curried Eggs Easy As

I usually have hard boiled eggs in the fridge ready for an easy salad lunch or an egg and lettuce wrap or the basis of a quick dinner.  My other standby is small containers of cooked rice (usually brown rice) ready in the freezer - so versatile and a great time-saver.

Curried Eggs by Feed Your Inner Cook
This recipe can be altered to your preference - I use different veggies every time! It makes great leftovers for lunch the next day too.

I have listed ingredients for 4 serves - make more or less as you need


8 Hard boiled eggs - shelled and halved.  (I allow 2 eggs per person)

2 onions - sliced
2 cloves garlic crushed
Splash Rice Bran Oil
2 tablespoons of curry powder.  Add more if you like it a little stronger.
shake of dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon ground Turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Curry leaves fresh - approx 10cm stem with leaves attached (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 red capsicum diced
2 handfuls green beans - trimmed and cut into 3 cm pieces
Few frozen peas
400 ml tin coconut milk (and a little water)
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
1 tomato - diced
1 tin brown lentils - rinsed and well drained

1/4 iceberg lettuce - roughly shredded
Finely shredded parsley, mint or basil for garnish
Cooked rice to serve

heat the oil in a wide pan and soften the onions.
Add the curry powder, turmeric, chilli and cumin.  Stir til fragrant
Stir through the garlic, capsicum, green beans, curry leaves and peas until almost cooked.
Add the coconut milk and tomatoes and heat. Add a little water if too thick.
Quickly stir in the baby spinach leaves and lentils.
Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
Remove the curry leaves and stem.
Place the halved eggs in the coconut curry and gently stir without breaking up the eggs.
Remove from heat.
Stir the lettuce through very gently.
Serve with rice and the parsley mint garnish.
Enjoy!  Colleen