Tag Archives: Food stuff

Easy Massaman Goat Curry

Image of Susie's Massaman Goat Curry

Massaman goat curry – easy to make and tastes great

This is my very easy (experimental) goat curry. It’s easy because I use a prepared Massaman paste from Ayam which is available at lots of supermarkets. Continue reading


Susie’s oat bran galettes

According to the book, The Dukan Diet, one and a half tablespoons of oat bran is a daily must-have food. Galettes in French equals pikelets in Australian, pancakes in Canada or USA.


6 tablespoons oat bran (course is best)
6 tablespoons of non-fat dairy (cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, quark, low-fat yoghurt or combinations of any)
3 eggs (2 whites only and one with yolk)
salt, pepper, herbs such as chives, thyme, parsley

To make

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. If the mixture looks too thick, thin with some skim milk. But you don’t want it to be too runny (after a couple of times making these, you’ll get a feel for the consistency).

Spoon the mixture into a non-stick pan. When small bubbles appear on the surface, turn over. Remove.

Serving suggestions

I serve these galettes with short cut bacon (low fat) and poached or scrambled eggs. On protein and vegetable days, I add mushrooms, spinich or tomatoes. Two galettes per person: the rest go into the fridge for the following two days.

Hello Dukan Diet, goodbye fat

This is the before image of my body shape: before The Dukan Diet

Oh My God! This spare tyre of fat has to go!

I loved the movie, The Goodbye Girl, and I’m hoping that I can say goodbye to a large portion of me over the coming months: 10 kilograms in fact.

Hey, I didn’t think I was that fat until:

  • I realised that I couldn’t see my toes when I looked down
  • I saw this photo of myself and thought, ‘No, that can’t be slim me’
  • My doctor gently but firmly suggested a shed the excess fat sitting around my waist (is there any other kind of fat?)

Unlike anorexics who always see a fat person in the mirror, I usually see myself as slimmer than I really am. This is OK until reality hits. So I joined a gym and, for three years, I have tried to loose that surplus-to-requirements fat around my middle. It hasn’t budged. I eat sensibly, wholesome foods made at home (no preservatives or pre-packaged foods full of fat and sugar). Still, that spare tyre won’t move.

Then I read about The Dukan Diet, which is not so much a diet as a program to melt fat off the body. Now, this I am interested in. The book by Dr Pierre Dukan, promises a permanent solution to being overweight – if you follow the four-step plan.

Let me tell you, I do not diet. I don’t like diets and I think diets are evil. They don’t make people slim, they make people fat. The weight comes off, then goes straight back on (and often a bit more too).

However, I read the book front to back and decided to give this fat-reduction program a go. I figure I need to drop 10 kilos or 22 lbs: that’s nearly two stone in the old system. Stay tuned for the results.

I now have a dedicated website about the Dukan Diet (modified for those who have a social life).

Rhubbarb, passionfruit and coconut cake

Baked rhubarb, passion fruit and coconut cake

Rhubarb, passionfruit and coconut cake

I came across this fabulous cake recipe while helping Maxine McKew’s election campaign at the last election. Every Saturday, Bill and I would be helping at street stalls and Maxine would bring a cake for the workers from her next door neighbour. This is only one of many that were simply sublime. Thank you Maxine’s neighbour. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this recipe with cake lovers.

To say this cake is delicious is an understatement. You’ll wow your friends with it.


1 1/2 cups (225g) self-raising flour
1  1/4 cups castor sugar
1 1/2 cups dessicated coconut
125 g melted butter
3 eggs – beaten lightly
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla


3/4 cup of finely chopped rhubarb
2 extra stalks rhubarb
3 – 4 passionfruits
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar
Sprinkle of icing sugar


Combine flour, castor sugar and coconut in a large bowl. Stir in melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla.

Grease the cake or baking tin (2o cm round cake tin is good). Add half the cake mixture then add the chopped rhubarb and the pulp of two passionfruit evenly over the mixture.

Add the rest of the cake mixture then arrange pieces of rhubarb over the top with the pulp of one or two remaining passionfruit. Sprinkle with Demerra sugar.


Bake for one hour in a moderate oven: 180 or 160 if fan forced.If cake is browning too much, cover loosely with foil.

Allow cake to sit for five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

When cool, sprinkle with a little sieved icing sugar.


Cake can be made one or two days ahead of serving.

Suitable to freeze but do not microwave.

more recipes

Greek Coconut Cake
See all the recipes on this blog

Apple and berry crumble recipe

Apple and berry crumble recipe - a winter favourite

Apple and berry crumble

During winter, this is one of my favourite recipes when friends drop in for dinner.


6 large Granny Smith apples
1 cup of frozen berries
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla essence
2/3 cup melted butter

Cooking apples

Peel and core apples and slice in 2 cms pieces. Place in a saucepan with about 2 cups of water. Simmer covered until apples are just tender but not mushy. Drain apples, set aside in a bowl then toss with caster sugar and cinnamon mix.

Make crumble

Combine flour, rolled oats, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Melt butter in a pot over low heat (so it doesn’t burn) and add vanilla essence.

Add the butter mix to the dry ingredients with a spoon. The mixture should resemble crumbles.

Baking the crumble

Add the apple mixture to an ovenproof dish. Place the mixed berries over the apples then top with the crumble mix.

Bake in an oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 30 to 40 minutes. The crumble should be golden brown when cooked. Allow to cool then serve with custard, icecream, cream or yoghurt.

Preserved lemon recipe

Preserved lemon in a jar

Preserving lemons is easy to make

Preserved lemon can add a stunning element to many recipes. Make sure you have enough lemons. I used about five in a the jar shown in the image. Some recipes suggest that you may need additional lemon juice but mine were very juicy and covered the lemons adequately.

What you’ll need

Sea salt
Extra lemon juice
Aromatic spices such as a cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaf, cloves and peppercorns

What to do

Wash lemons thoroughly then quarter. Start placing the lemon wedges in a jar, flesh side down. After each lemon, add about a dessertspoon of sea salt. Add more lemons and salt. Toss in whatever aromatic spices you choose. Press the lemons down squeezing out the juice and packing the lemons as tightly as possible.

Use a clean glass jar – it helps to use one with a neck so that the lemons stay compressed under the rim. When the jar is tightly packed, pour in any additional lemon juice to cover the wedges.

Set the jar aside in a warm place for about four weeks, turning the jar upside down after three days then back up the right way three days later. Repeat every three days for the four weeks. Top up with lemon juice if you need to.

After the four weeks, put the preserved lemon in the refrigerator. You can start using them after another four weeks.

When you want to use the preserved lemon in a casserole, tagine or in a salad, remove a wedge, rinse well to remove salt, peel away the flesh and discard and cut the peel into fine strips.

The best lentil and bacon soup recipe

Lentil and bacon soup is a great soup during the colder months of winter

Lentil and bacon soup served with fresh, crusty bread

This is a variation of pea and ham soup – not much of a variation because ham hocks are used in each. Rather than using split peas, this recipe uses brown and red lentils.

A real winter favourite, it is basically a lentil soup with the bacon adding to the flavour.


1 smoked ham hock
2 litres water
2 bay leaves
1 brown onion
1 carrot
3 sticks celery
2 cloves garlic
1.5 cups brown lentils
1/2 cup red lentils
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
parsley or coriander for garnish


Cover the ham hock with water in a large pot – this is usually about two litres but more is OK. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for two hours. Remove from heat. Put in the refrigerator overnight and skim fat from the top in the morning.

Soak brown lentils overnight. You can soak in boiling water for a couple of hours on the day you make the soup if you prefer.

In a second pot, saute chopped onions, crushed garlic, celery and carrot. Add stock made the previous day. Add drained brown lentils and red lentils (these don’t need to be soaked) and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook for a couple of hours.

Before serving, remove the ham from the hock. Break up into small pieces and add to the soup. Garnish with chopped parsley. For something a bit unusual but great, sprinkle with chopped coriander.

Cooking tip

If the soup is too thick, you can add more water. If too runny, add a half cup of more red lentils. These don’t take long to mush up and don’t need to be soaked beforehand.

Prawn and avocado salad

Prawn and avocado salad recipe by Susie Stevens

Prawn and avocado salad looks great and tastes sensational

Prawn and avocado salad is one of the great tastes in the world – in my opinion. And it’s so easy to make. I love this with fresh crusty bread.

Living in Sydney, we usually buy our prawns at the Sydney Fish Markets. However, Balmain also has an excellent fish shop, Balmain Blu.


12 cooked prawns
1 avocado
2 handfuls of baby rocket
10 cherry tomatoes
slithers of sliced Spanish onion or 2 spring onions (shallots)

Salad dressing

1 tablespoon mayonnaise (low fat if you prefer)
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
juice of half lemon (if not juicy, add juice of whole lemon)


Peel the prawns and place on a bed of rocket. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and add to salad. Add avocado pieces and slithers of onion or sliced shallots. Drizzle dressing over and serve with crusty bread.

Note: A glass of fresh, light Riesling or sparkling wine (a good bubbly) with this dish makes the perfect lunch.

I have seen this recipe used with watercress. It’s an option that works.

Yum Cha in Chinatown is a Sydney tradition

The signage of Emperors Garden restuarant at the crn of Dixon and Hay Streets, Chinatown, Sydney

The Emperor's Garden is our favouite haunt when it comes to Yum Cha

Any excuse to have Yum Cha at our favourite place in Chinatown, Emporer’s Garden, and we’re there. So when our friend from Broome, Western Australia, arrived for the weekend, there was nothing else to do but head for Chinatown. Besides, it’s become a tradition to have Yum Cha when Gaysie comes to town.

Yum Cha table at Emperors Garden Chinatown Sydney

Chili sauce is mandatory when eating yum cha

Sydneysiders have their favourite Yum Cha place and there are plenty to choose from. We’ve been to others in Chinatown and elsewhere in Sydney but we keep coming back to our favourite, Emperor’s Garden at the corner of Hay Street and Dixon Street in Chinatown. It’s quintessential Chinese, or Australian Chinese I guess, and quite marvellous. My favourite dish is chicken feet but the dumplings are heaven too.

What is Yum Cha?

Yum cha is a way of eating that involves drinking Chinese tea as you eat dumplings and other dim sum style dishes often served in small bamboo baskets. Yum cha literally means ‘drink tea’ but the term has come to mean the whole experience of eating a range of small servings of dim sum, dumplings and other Chinese dishes while drinking tea with friends.

Greek Coconut Cake

Greek Coconut Cake is easy to make and tastes sensational

Greek Coconut Cake is a taste sensation

I’m into cooking at the moment and enjoying making things that are nutritious but also things that are simply scrumptious. Friends might know this cake as The Orgasmic Cake because, when I first tasted it, I thought it was so very delicious – an orgasmic taste sensation (I guess you had to be there). So here it is.

Cake ingredients

125 gms butter
1 cup castor sugar
4 eggs
2 cups coconut
1 cup self raising flour
Pinch of salt

Lemon syrup ingredients

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
6 strips lemon rind (or lots of grated lemon rind – I use one to two lemons)

To make cake

Grease a 20 cm ring pan. Line base with grease paper. (I don’t but it was in the original recipe.)

Combine butter and sugar in a small bowl until light and fluffy. (You can use an electric blender but I prefer the wooden spoon method of beating by hand until the right consistency. I have a special wooden spoon for all things sweet so it doesn’t end up with garlic and onion flavours coming through.)

Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined (still using blender or wooden spoon – if doing this by hand, I whisk the egg mixture before adding each egg).

Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in coconut then sift in flour. (I now revert to a metal spoon for folding in the flour. It’s what I was taught and I think it keeps the mixture light whereas a wooden spoon doesn’t.)

Spread mixture into the prepared cake tin. Bake in moderately slow oven (150 to 160 Celsius) for 45 minutes.

Pour hot syrup over cake. Cool in pan before turning out on to a cake plate.

Decorate with toasted, flaked coconut or sift icing sugar over the cake just before serving.

To make the lemon syrup

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over heat without boiling until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer uncovered without stirring for three minutes.

Strain syrup (if using strips) but I always leave the grated rind in – it adds texture and fibre.

Serving tip

Serve the cake with mixed berries and some good Greek yoghurt or cream for a simply delicious dessert.

From an admirer

‘This is divine – definitely a cake of orgasmic proportions.’