One of the contestants in the first series of Masterchef was Justine Schofield.  She didn’t quite make the finals, but she has gone on to host a number of her own TV shows.

This is one of hers, and it sounds fantastic.



  • Baby potatoes (skin on)
  • 500ml white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar depending on what you have on hand)
  • 100gm castor sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • Garlic
  • Green prawns
  • Scallops
  • Whole squid (chopped)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley


  1. Cook the spuds for 15-20 minutes depending on size until soft, then allow to cool.
  2. Prepare the pickling agent:  add the vinegar, sugar, bay leaves and salt and put over heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved.  If the bay leaves have dissolved, you may have left it a touch too long and need to start again.  Allow it to cool, as you don’t want it cooking the veg.
  3. Cut celery and carrot into roughly 2cm pieces on an angle.  Place into two bowls (during the pickling the carrot may bleed colour into the celery so better to keep them apart).  Add one half of the pickling agent to the celery, the other half to the carrots and let sit for 1-2 hours in the fridge.
  4. Mix the seafood and garlic together.  Add salt and pepper and a dash of olive oil.  Leave to sit for 1 hour at room temp and let everyone get to know each other.
  5. While everything else is marinating, but the potatoes into rough cubes.
  6. Fire up a frying pan.  Then start adding the seafood, starting with the prawns, then the scallops, and finally the squid bits.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, turning once.
  7. While the seafood is cooking, drain the celery and carrot (reserve the pickling juice though) and combine with the potato, along with a handful of chopped parsley.  Justine’s version used flat leaf parsley, but I grew up with curly parsley and like the pepperiness it provides, but each to their own.
  8. Add the cooked seafood to the salad mix.  Glug on a couple of tbsp of olive oil, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Gently toss the salad to make sure you get a good mix.  If you want a bit of extra buzz, drizzle over some of the reserved pickling juice.
  10. Plate up and enjoy!
1/4 cup beef stock
1/4 cup Oyster sauce
Insanity to taste
Stir fry:
400g beef strips
1 onion
1 Buk Choy
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ginger
1 cup rice/2 cups water
Brown beef in batches in a hot wok and put aside.  Separate the Buk Choy into stalks and
leaves.  Put rice on to cook.  Once rice cooker has popped, stir the rice and leave on keep
warm setting.
Combine oyster sauce, stock and insanity in a jug.  Set aside.
Re-heat the wok.  Add onion and buk choy stalks, stir fry 1-2 mins.  Add garlic and ginger,
fry 30-40 seconds.  Return beef to the wok, fry 30-40 seconds until warmed through.  Add
oyster sauce and beef stock mix to the work and bring to the boil.  Add buk choy leaves,
simmer for 30 seconds until wilted.  Serve with steamed rice.


  • 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup Oyster sauce
  • Insanity to taste

Stir fry:

  • 400g beef strips
  • 1 onion
  • 1 Buk Choy
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 cup rice/2 cups water

Brown beef in batches in a hot wok and put aside.  Separate the Buk Choy into stalks and leaves.  Put rice on to cook.  Once rice cooker has popped, stir the rice and leave on “keep warm” setting.

Combine oyster sauce, stock and insanity in a jug.  Set aside.

Re-heat the wok.  Add onion and buk choy stalks, stir fry 1-2 mins.  Add garlic and ginger, fry 30-40 seconds.  Return beef to the wok, fry 30-40 seconds until warmed through.  Add oyster sauce and beef stock mix to the work and bring to the boil.  Add buk choy leaves, simmer for 30 seconds until wilted.

Serve with steamed rice.

Serves 4.

Experimental notes:  Have only tried this one once, look to try either smaller patties (may cook too quickly and get tough), or larger patties that match the size of the pita breads (sounds good!).


  • 500g lamb mince
  • 50g dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp Moroccan spice mix
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 egg
  • Tomato
  • Rocket leaves
  • Taztziki
  • Pita bread pockets

Combine lamb, breadcrumbs, spice mix, beaten egg, garlic in a bowl.  Season and mix together.  Divide into patties, then place in fridge for 20 minutes to firm up.

Heat some oil in a medium-hot pan, and cook the patties until browned and cooked through.

Serve in the pita bread with rocket, tomato and tzatziki.

Serves 4.


  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs chopped rosemary
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 500g lamb fillet, cubed
  • Greek style yoghurt

Combine garlic, oil, rosemary, paprika, and lemon juice.  Add the lamb and season to taste, then leave to marinade covered in the fridge for a couple of hours.

If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least half an hour to stop them burning during cooking.

Skewer the lamb, and cook for around 8 minutes on a medium-high barbeque, turning occasionally.   Serve with salad and the yoghurt, dusted with a bit of extra paprika.

Feeds 4.


  • 500g pork mince
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped spring onion
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped coriander
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • Oil (shallow fry)
  • Sweet chilli sauce
  • Lime wedges
  • Cucumber

Put the mince, spring onion, coriander, curry paste and fish sauce in a bowl and mix well.  Shape into patties, and chill in the fridge to firm them up.

Fry over medium heat for 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through.  Serve with sweet chilli sauce and lime wedges with a salad of cucumber, coriander and spring onion.

Serves four.  A wise man (award winning chef Michael Symons) once said “I’ve never met a vegetable that wasn’t better with bacon.”  Works for me.  This has veg and bacon, but also has garlic & chilli fried breadcrumbs, which leads to a great contrast in texture.

  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 150g rindless bacon rashers, trimmed, cut into 2-3cm pieces
  • 2 large garlic cloves, bruised
  • 1 1/2 cups (100g) fresh breadcrumbs
  • Pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 450g spaghetti
  • 2 bunches broccolini, but into 3cm lengths
  • 1/2 cup (25g) freshly grated parmesan, plus 2 tbs extra to serve

Heat the oil, then cook the bacon until crisp and set aside, retaining the oil.

Bruise the garlic, then drop into the oil to infuse flavour for a couple of minutes, then remove the garlic.  Put the breadcrumbs and chilli into the flavoured oil and stir over medium heat for five minutes or until golden.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  This is the pangrattato

Cook pasta according to instructions, adding the broccolini for the last 2-3 minutes to get tender.  Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

Return spaghetti and broccolini to pasta pan with bacon, parmesan and reserved cooking water.  Season, then toss over mediuum heat for 1-2 minutes to warm through.  Dish up, then top with the pangrattato and extra cheese.

Great in winter, this produces a stunningly tender, tasty peice of steaky goodness, but also works out to be quite cheap as it uses chuck steak.  The benefits of slow cooking!


  • 2 tbs olive oil, plus extra to brush
  • 1kg lean chuck steak, chopped
  • 4 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard, plus 3 tsp to brush
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 30g plain flour
  • 2 bottles dark beer (such as ale)
  • 2L beef stock or demi-glaze
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 thyme sprigs, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 baguette
  • Grated gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 150°C.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large casserole pan.  Cook the meat in batches until browned all over.  Set aside.

Heat the remaining oil and cook the onion, stirring occassionally, for ten minutes or until golden.  Return the meat to the pan with the garlic, mustard, sugar and flour and stir to combine.  Add the beer, then add enough stock until the liquid should cover the meat.  Stir in the herbs, then bring to the boil and cover.  Place in the oven to bake for initially for an hour.

While the carobonade is in the over put any remaining stock into a saucepan, and reduce until it is thick and concentrated.  Set aside.

After the intial hour, check for taste and colour.  Add some or all of the stock concentrate if required.  Return to the oven and cook for another 1-1½ hours until the meat is tender.

Before the cooking is finished, slice the baguette and brush with olive oil.  Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden.  Spread slices with mustard and top with gruyere.  Return to the oven for 5 minutes or until bubbling and golden.  Serve carbonnade, topped with extra thyme, with gruyere toasts.

Warning:  Do not serve to people unless you want to see them again, as they will be back for more.


  • 300ml tomato sauce
  • 150ml low salt soy sauce
  • 100ml honey
  • Thumb sized (5cm?) lump of ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • Pork ribs (1 rack per person – marinade is enough for 6, add more if a bigger crowd)

Getting down to business:

Mix tomato sauce, soy sauce, honey, ginger and garlic together.  Get a suitable marinating vessel, stick in the ribs and coat with the marinade.  Let them “get to know each other” for up to 24 hours in the fridge.

Put the ribs in a large, deep saucepan.  Pour the marinade over them, then add water until the ribs are submerged.

Turn on the heat, wait until it’s on the boil, then drop the temperature and let it simmer for an hour and a half.  Take the saucepan off the heat and let the ribs cool in the marinade.  Once cooled, cover with cling film and put back in the fridge.

Let sit for an hour or so, then scoop any fat from the top of the marinade and discard.

Remove the ribs from the marinade.  Stick the marinade back on the stove for 15-20 minutes until it reduces to a thick, sticky consistency – depending on the quantity, get rid of some of the marinade – it’s only really used for basting and final garnish from here on in.

While reducing, fire up the BBQ.  Once it’s heated and ready to go, throw the ribs on to get some charring.  From experience, 2 minutes per side, max 3 turns, basting with marinade on each turn, for a max of 8 mins on the BBQ will produce a pretty good result.

Good with rice, and drizzle of the leftover marinade if desired.

Get some bowls of lemon-laced water, and stock up on serviettes, this is a messy one.  But so good…

Serves two to four.  The lemon gives it a bit of edge that you don’t normally get with meatballs, and I love lemon…


  • 1 litre vegetable oil, for deep frying


  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • Handful fresh parsley
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Tomato sauce

  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 50g peas
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • Handful fresh herbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Put the onion, garlic, beef mince, tomato puree, coriander, cumin, parsley and seasoning in a food processor and let them get to know each other.  Once they’re all good friends, remove them from the processor and shape into small rounds – easier if your hands are damp.

Heat the oil in a pan to frying temperature (a cube of bread should brown in about 15 seconds – 180ºC).  Deep fry the meatballs in batches for three-four minutes, or until brown.  Once cooked, put the meatballs in a low oven to keep them warm.

To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a medium frying pan and add the tomato.  Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato puree, lemon juice, pea, herbs, and seasoning.  Simmer for five-six minutes until thickened.  Once thickened, stir in the meatballs.

Serve garnished with fresh coriander and with a wedge of lemon.

Nothing like a good home-baked cake. This one is really simple, but tastes great.


  • 250g softened butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups SR flour (for plain cake) or 2½ cups SR flour and ½ cup cocoa (for chocolate cake)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Get the oven cranking at 180 C before you start. Get all the ingredients to room temperature (stick the eggs into some lukewarm water to speed this up).It’s a pretty simple recipe, to be fair. Combine everything into a large bowl, stir it all together, then give it a good mix. Put the mixture into two greased cake tins, and shove in in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. After 20 minutes do the knife test (ie stab it with a knife – if it comes out clean, it passes the test), or look for the cake coming away from the sides of the baking tin. Do not overcook it, or it will taste like a brick instead of a light and fluffy cake. The mixture can be frozen for later use if you only want one cake.

Brush some melted butter over the cooked cake and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Chocolate icing (for chocolate cake version)

Add two tablespoons of cocoa to ¼ slab butter and beat well. Add icing sugar one tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes very thick and hard to mix. Add boiled water one teaspoon at a time until the mixture becomes a spreadable consistency, then add a dash of vanilla.

Feeds four. Got this one from a good friend who (being a bloke), I have been atrocious at keeping in touch with, Hilary Wilson.  I spent a day in North Berwick, Scotland, with Dave and Hilary, Hilary knocked up a magnificent chicken curry, and was kind enough to share the recipe with me, although wasn’t too sure on the exact measurements, so you’ll have to play it by ear a bit.


  • Chicken breast
  • Curry powder
  • Birdseye chillies
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Natural yogurt
  • Capsicum
  • Onion (diced)
  • Carrots
  • Salt/Pepper

Dice the chook into cubes. The objective is that when eating this meal, you shouldn’t need to touch the knife, so make them small enough to be bite-sized. Put the chook into a large bowl, and add the curry powder, the chillies, the garlic, salt and pepper, and the rosemary. Add some of the yogurt and mix it all together, then bung it in the fridge for 4-6 hours.

4-6 hours later…

Heat up a pan with some oil, and throw in a bit of pepper and the onion to soften. Once it’s ready, add the chook mix. Be careful not to have the heat up too high – we’re trying to cook the chook, not fry it, and if you burn it the 4-6 hour wait will have been for nothing, as it will ruin the flavour.

Cook it until the chook turns white. Add extra yogurt if necessary, and reduce the heat to a simmer. The chook will continue to cook in the yogurt.

When it’s all looking good, add the carrot. Best off shredding them first, but don’t add them until the last minute so they are still good and crunchy.

Serve on a bed of rice with some bread on the side. Or in the words of Hilary: “serve with good company, lots of wine and/or beer”. Works for me…

Feeds six.  And the name is misleading, as this in no way resembles an enchilada. At the time of invention I had no idea what an enchilada was. This one was invented during my uni days, where I had a cupboard full of stuff and just threw it all together and got lucky.


  • 500g beef mice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Onion
  • Tin of crushed tomatoes
  • Birdseye chillies (to taste)
  • 250g tin red kidney beans
  • Beef stock
  • Tomato paste
  • Cumin (to taste)
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Cheese
  • Lavash bread
  • Olive oil

The primary sauce

Put some oil in a frypan and let it heat up. Toss in the garlic and onion, and let them soften up for a bit. After a couple of minutes, add the mince, and stir it around until it’s browned. Add the tomatoes, chillies, kidney beans, cumin, a pinch of salt and pepper, and any other herbs/spices that take your fancy. Add the tomato paste and beef stock, turn it down to a simmer, and let it thicken.

The secondary sauce

In a saucepan, put some tomatoes and cumin, and add any other herbs or spices you like. Heat it up, then let it simmer.

Putting it all together

Get a square/rectangular baking tray, and cut the lavash bread to match the width. Coat the inside of the tray with the secondary sauce. Take your lavash bread and lay a sheet of it flat. Scoop up a healthy amount of the primary sauce and run it width-wise across the lavash bread and add cheese. Roll the lavash bread with the filling to create a cylinder, then put it in the baking tray. Repeat until the baking tray is chockers with rolled up lavash bread.

Pour any remaining primary sauce over the top, then pour the secondary evenly over the top, spreading with a spoon if necessary. Add a layer of cheese, spinkle some cayenne pepper and paprika on the top and whack it in a 200C oven for about half an hour, or until the cheese has melted and browned to form a crust.

Serve with a green salad with balsamic viniger, and a bottle of your favourite Cab Sav. Yum.

Feeds four.


  • 5 rashers of short cut bacon
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tin of diced or crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Chillies (to taste, 2 birdseye chillies are normally sufficient)
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Pasta
  • Oil

Slice the bacon into strips. Dice the onion, and finely chop the chillies. Wash your hands when you’re done chopping the chillies – the oil in the chillies is pretty lethal, and you’ll be in all sorts of pain if you touch your eyes or go to the the gents. I learned this the hard way, and really don’t recommend it.
Heat the oil up in a pan, then throw in the bacon, onion and chillies. Stir it around for a few minutes to let the bacon cook up a bit and the onions to soften. Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, the basil and the oregano. Give it another quick stir to get everything nicely mixed, and you’re done. I normally let it simmer for a bit just to thicken it up, but whatever takes your fancy.

Cook up your pasta, load up with the sauce, yank the cork out of a bottle of red and bon apetite.

Feeds four.


  • One chicken (chopped) or chicken pieces
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Lemon sauce

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 dessertspoon of soya sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 dessertspoon of lemon rind
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic

First step is to make the sauce. Combine all the sauce ingredients into a suitable container. That’s it. Stick the container in the fridge as it needs at least an hour in the cold (why, I don’t know. It just does).

Next to the chook…

Get a plastic bag. You put the dry ingredients in, you leave the butter out, you put the chicken in, and you shake it all about. You can do the hokey pokey if you want, but it won’t effect the taste. Take the chook peices out of the bag in put them skin side down on a flat casserole dish. They should lie flat without overlapping. Brush with melted butter.
Bake uncovered in oven at 200°C for 30 minutes. Turn the pieces over and coat with the lemon sauce and cook for another 30 minutes until chicken is golden brown (basting 2-3 times along the way).

Serve on a bed of rice with a bottle of white.

Feeds however many you want to make it for – this one will do six, adjust accordingly.


  • Chicken stock cubes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 1 medium sized sweede
  • 2 medium sized potatoes
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • Small tin of creamed corn
  • Medium size tin of corn kernels
  • Water

Put 12 cups of water into a big pot, put it on the stove and crank up the heat. Add stock cubes per directions (for 12 cups of water I would normally use about 14. Some can be stronger than others though, and if you use too many it can be too salty. You can always add more later…). If you’re really keen, you can break up the stock cubes, but this doesn’t effect the taste, it only results in you having to wash stock cube muck off your hands. I normally throw them in whole, they dissolve without any help. Add the creamed corn.

While you wait for the water to boil, get all of the vegies together. Take the skins off, and dice them into cubes. Once they’re cut, chuck them in a big bowl. This doesn’t take long, so the water probably won’t be ready. Sit down and have a beer while you wait.

Once the water is boiled, give it a good stir to ensure the stock cubes have dissolved. Give it a quick taste to see what your base is like. If there isn’t much to it, you may want to add more stock cubes and give them a couple of minutes to dissolve. If it’s way too salty, it probably means there were too many cubes put in at the start. If this is the case, you can either pour some of it out and add more water to dilute it, or chop a couple more potatoes, as they absorb a lot of the salt.

Once you’re happy with the base, grab the big bowl and empty the contents into the big pot. Open the tin of corn kernels. Empty the liquid out of the tin, then add the corn kernels to the pot. That’s pretty much it. Turn the heat down so your soup simmers, then grab another beer. Every time you go to the fridge to get a new beer, give it a stir, until it’s been on for about three beers (hour – hour and a half).

Serve it up with some crusty Italian bread with a thick layer of margarine.


Chop up half a cooked chook into bite size chunks, and dice some bacon. Add the bacon at the same time as the vegies, add the chicken after the second beer.