Category Archives: Dinner

Thai beef salad


Here’s another light, easy salad for those lazy summer days. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe for the coriander and chilli dressing, but changed all the vegetables in the salad (taking out the red onions because I don’t like them very much, throwing in various things that I wanted to use up, adding some mixed lettuce and bean sprouts for the vitamins). The dressing was totally overwhelming when I tasted it straight, but very good in the salad.

The next timeI made it, I tried to add some extra fat into the recipe by mixing coconut milk powder into the dressing.  It was so good I practically drank it. I’d also recommend the coconut milk version for anyone who doesn’t like too much chilli.


For dressing

  • 2 fresh red thai chillies, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 stick lemongrass, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 bunch fresh coriander
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk powder

For salad

  • Canola oil spray
  • 400g been rump steak
  • 100g mixed lettuce leaves
  • 2 large handfuls bean sprouts
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 a red capsicum, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lebanese cucumber, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup thai basil leaves
  1. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients except the dressing in a blender and process until smooth. It will be necessary to stop every ten or twenty seconds to scrape down the sides.
  2. To make the coconut dressing, combine about half the chilli paste with the coconut milk powder, and stir until the coconut has dissolved. Add 1tbsp of boiling water to make into a runny dressing.
  3. Spray the canola onto a hot frypan, and fry the beef for three minutes on each side or until well done.  Remove and allow to rest for five minutes before slicing finely.
  4. To serve, toss the beef with all other salad ingredients in a large bowl. Divide between bowls and serve with the two dressings in different bowls.



Red rice salad with yoghurt dressing


I’m getting into a bit of a salad kick as the weather warms up. This particular salad is great with grilled meats. I like to make it for summer barbecues when I know that other people are bringing salads as well, so there will probably already be a green salad and a potato salad.

This is another salad where the dressing is served separately. For a lower-fat version, you can use a little bit of dressing and top with some lemon juice, or make a second dressing with low-fat yoghurt and no olive oil.


  • 1 cup of red rice
  • 2 large beetroots
  • 1/2 a head of cauliflower, cut into small florets.
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tin brown lentils, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 cup shredded kale (or use beetroot greens if your beetroots came with leaves attached)
  • 1/4 cup each of mint and parsley, chopped.
  • 1 cup of plain yoghurt
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbs sumac
  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Trim the beetroot so there is only about an inch of stem still attached. Place in the oven for forty minutes.
  2. Cook the red rice with two cups of boiling water in a saucepan. The rice should take about half an hour to cook.
  3. Spread the cauliflower over a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Once the beets have been cooking for twenty minutes, place the cauliflower in the oven and cook for another twenty minutes.
  4. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat and cook the kale until it turns bright green (about five minutes).
  5. To make the dressing, combine the yoghurt, lemon juice, sumac and one tablespoon of olive oil.
  6. To serve, toss together the rice, lentils, beetroot, cauliflower herbs and kale in a large salad bowl. Serve onto plates and drizzle over some of the dressing. If you are serving the salad with meat, you can reserve some dressing to drizzle over the meat.

Prawn salad with green goddess dressing


Prawns, roast potato and avocado are three of my favourite foods, so this salad is definitely a winner. Plus, there’s hardly anything to do other than roasting the potatoes and throwing everything together (and the potatoes can be roasted in advance), so its a great recipe for a summer night when you don’t really feel like cooking

To vary the fat content, you can vary how much dressing you put on each salad. Squeeze some lemon over the salad if you’re serving it without a lot of dressing. If you’re really trying to lower the fat content for the non-CF version, you could use boiled potatoes instead of roast potatoes. You can also leave out the avocado when tossing the salad, and only add it to the CF-version.


  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 a cup of fresh herbs (I used a mixture of basil, parsley and chives, but use whatever you have)
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp French mustard
  • 500g cooked, shelled prawns
  • 100g rocket
  • 5 radishes, finely sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the potatoes into 3 cm cubes and spread out on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 25 minutes or until crispy.
  2. To make the dressing, combine half an avocado, the herbs, mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and half a cup of cold water in a blender or food processor and process until the herbs are finely chopped and the dressing is combined.
  3. Dice the remaining avocado.
  4. To serve, combine the rocket, prawns, avocado and radishes in a large salad bowl. Serve onto individual plates and add dressing.


Gnocchi with pumpkin and blue cheese sauce


This was actually one of my treat meals before I was living with Lachie. It’s pretty quick to make and only has a few ingredients, so it was a good meal on nights when I was cooking for myself. Sometimes I’d even skip making a sauce, and just add lumps of blue cheese then let everything mix through. Yum.

For a light version, leave out the sauce and serve the gnocchi and pumpkin with some steamed spinach, a bit of low-fat ricotta, and some salt and pepper.

Serves 4


  • 1 butternut pumpkin, cut into 2 cm cubes
  • Olive oil
  • 2 500g packets of gnocchi
  • 250g cream
  • 125g blue cheese (gorgonzola is good)
  • 100g baby spinach
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat the oven to 200C. Spread the pumpkin on a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Bake for 25 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, cook gnocchi according to the packet instructions.
  3. Once gnocchi is cooked, pour into a colander to strain. In the same saucepan, add the cream, cheese and spinach and simmer until the cheese has melted and the cream has slightly reduced. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To serve, combine the gnocchi and pumpkin in bowls and spoon the cream sauce over.

Steak with polenta and mushrooms


I really enjoyed making this because it gave me a chance to play with my new Thermomix. There are a few different elements to this dish, and the bearnaise sauce really pulls everything together.

Add a lot of bearnaise to the CF version of this meal, and only a little bit to the non-CF version. You can also vary how much cheese goes on the polenta.


  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 200g polenta
  • 100g butter
  • 2 tbs tarragon
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 2 portobello mushrooms
  • 4 150g scotch fillet steaks
  • Baby spinach, to serve

Bearnaise sauce ingredients (from the Thermomix Everyday Cooking book)

  • 3 tbs tarragon
  • 1 shallot, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 150 butter, cut into cubes and softened.
  1. To make the polenta, chop the garlic in the Thermomix mixing bowl on speed 6 for 6 seconds. Scrape down the sides, then add a litre of water and heat for 7 minutes on Varoma, speed 3. Add the polenta and cook for a further 3 minutes on Varoma, speed 3. Add 50 g of butter and cook for 1 minute at speed 8. Pour the polenta into a flat rectangular dish and allow to cool (about half an hour).
  2. To make the bearnaise sauce, place tarragon, shallot and peppercorns into the mixing bowl and chop on speed 8 for six seconds. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Insert the butterfly, then add all remaining ingredients and cook at 80C on speed 1 for 5 minutes.
  3. Heat oven to 200C. Once polenta has cooled and set into a solid block, cut into thick slices and lay onto a baking tray.  Grate parmesan cheese over the polenta slices. If you are making some more cheesy than the others, separate them out in some way. Place mushrooms on the same tray, with the stems facing up. Fill each cup with a knob of butter. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Cook the steaks on a frypan or grill to your liking.
  5. Divide the polenta and mushrooms between four plates, add a steak and some baby spinach to each and serve with the bearnaise.


Pantry shelf fried rice


Everyone says the best thing about fried rice is that you can just throw whatever you have into it. This recipe is my bare-bones base recipe,  made only with things that I always have on hand because they have a long shelf life. You can add all kinds of extra things if you have them, including most green vegetables, left over chicken, prawns, bacon or corn. Last time I made this, I also had chicken and bok choi, which was excellent.

If you’re making two versions, keep the lup chong and any other high-fat ingredients aside and add them after serving. You can also drizzle the CF person’s meal with sesame oil.

One more thing – fried rice is better if you use rice that was cooked the night before. If you haven’t done that, just try to get it cooked as soon as possible (the morning of, or as soon as you get home in the evening).


  • 2 cups of brown rice, cooked and left to cool
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 100g dried shittake mushrooms, re-hydrated and sliced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (2 if you like food spicy)
  • 3 lup chong sausages, steamed and finely sliced*
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of peanut oil in a wok on high heat. Pour the eggs into the pan, and stir until about half the egg has cooked. Allow the omelette to set, then flip to cook the other side. Remove from the wok and finely slice.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in the wok. Add the mushrooms, carrot and ginger and fry for three minutes, or until carrot starts to brown.
  3. Add the rice, peas and sauces and stir to combine well. Add the omelette, lup chong, and any other ingredients you are using.
  4. Stir everything together, and cook for 10 minutes or until all ingredients are heated through.

*Lup chong is a sweet Chinese sausage which can be found in the ‘Asian food’ section of most supermarkets. To prepare the sausage, place in a bowl with a small amount of boiling water and microwave for 90 seconds.

Chicken and tomato stew


I came up with this recipe out of necessity, more or less. I hadn’t had a chance to come up with a meal plan and shopping list the previous weekend, so instead Lachie went to the markets and just bought whatever looked good or cheap. By Thursday, I still had the chicken, the tomatoes and the capsicum left, so I had to come up with something to do with them.

Since this dish had vaguely Spanish flavours going, I thought I’d serve it with aioli. The recipe I followed didn’t quite work for me, so I won’t link it here. I ended up with a garlicky, delicious, and far too runny sauce, so the flavours still worked.  I suggest you make or buy some aioli yourself, because it’s both delicious and a really good way to boost the fat content. You can vary the fat content of the dish by varying the amount of aioli. If you want, you can leave it out of the low-fat version and serve that with an extra squeeze of lemon.


  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 700g chicken thigh, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 4 roma tomatoes, cut into 2cm pieces (with seeds and pulp)
  • 1 400g tin crushed tomatoes
  • Half a yellow capsicum
  • 1/2 a cup dried chickpeas soaked overnight, or 1 400g tin chickpeas
  • 3tbs red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1tbs chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1tbs lemon juice
  • Half a bunch of parsley, chopped
  • Couscous and aioli, to serve
  1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy based frying pan on high heat. Add the chicken and fry for 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Stir occasionally.
  2. Remove the chicken, turn heat down to low, then add the onion. Fry for 10 minutes or until onion is browned and softened.
  3. Add the fresh tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, capsicum, chickpeas, vinegar, paprika, chilli and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Return chicken to the pan and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with couscous and aioli.