27 February 2015

1.04 Tips #1 – Getting To Know Your Kitchenware

I hope you’re enjoying the recipes so far, but alas the time has come for some unsolicited advice.

This episode, I will share my opinions on the ideal "prep kit", and which tools and utensils I believe are a necessity in every kitchen. An organised cook is a productive cook, and therefore a happy cook. Being relaxed in the kitchen is the key to avoiding any potential disasters.

If you feel that you can sit this one out, I will be back with another recipe next week. For everyone else, please watch the video at http://youtu.be/cWE3SDd1Iek.

If anyone would like to share their own tips, or even if you just have a question, please do not hesitate to email me.

20 February 2015

1.03 Double-Choc Fudge Brownies – Intermediate – Baking & Desserts

After trying several recipes for brownies and not being happy with the results, I decided it was time to come up with my own way of doing things.

These brownies are loaded with deliciousness, and actually quite simple, although maybe just a tad too fiddly for Low Fuss so I have listed them as Intermediate.

200g 70% cocoa dark chocolate
200g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white self-raising flour
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
2 tbsp cocoa
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp vanilla paste/extract/essence
Pinch of salt

Nothing particularly out of place here. This is basically everything you need for some awesome baking.

Although I add extra cocoa, I still use 70% cocoa dark chocolate. If you’re not going to go all out, then why bother at all?


1. Preheat oven to 170°C (or 335°F), line a 22cm x 22cm (or 8.5in x 8.5in) brownie tin with baking paper and set aside. (TIP: I sometimes use a disposable foil tray. That way I don’t really need to line it, and I can cut the brownies in the tin.)

2. Over a medium heat, stir together the dark chocolate, butter and sugar in a pot until melted.

3. Remove from the heat and place aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.

4. In a jug, whisk together the eggs and vanilla, then whisk into the chocolate mixture until combined.

5. Sift in the flour, cocoa and salt and gently fold together. (You don't want to overwork the flour as you could end up with heavier brownies.)

6. Mix in the walnuts and white chocolate chips and pour into the lined baking tin.

7. Bake in the bottom of the oven for 20-25 mins or until set. (Usually baking would be done in the middle of the oven, but the heat is gentler at the bottom and can prevent overbaking or drying out.)

8. Remove the brownies from the oven and allow to cool before placing them into the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes.

9. Turn out onto a cutting board to slice. (Or slice in the foil tray.)

Makes as many serves as you cut it into. I usually get 36. These can be quite rich for some people, so small, bite-size pieces may be best.

A video of this recipe is also available - http://youtu.be/RjzBxdJ2L_Y

13 February 2015

1.02 Prawn & Chorizo Linguine – Low-Fuss – Rice & Pasta

For a change of pace from last week, this recipe should hopefully show that easy food can be good food too.

The evolution of this dish began about 8 years ago as a fairly basic Garlic Prawn recipe, served with rice or wrapped in a lettuce leaf. It then moved further into Mediterranean territory with the addition of chorizo, chilli, and dry sherry, now being served with crusty bread instead of rice. Little tweaks made here and there over the next year or so finally yielded this recipe.

While it’s hardly groundbreaking, it’s definitely quick, easy and delicious. Perfect for a warm summer night with some chilled White Wine Sangria!


250g raw peeled prawns
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g chorizo, sliced
60ml vodka
400g tin Mutti Polpa tomatoes
300g fresh linguine
1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved (for serving)

If you can be bothered peeling and de-veining the prawns yourself, go right ahead. I just buy them ready peeled (and thawed – gasp!) from the supermarket. You can choose to keep the tails on or not, it’s up to you, but I have the tail removed so I don’t have to worry about it later when I’m eating.

The amounts provided for garlic, dried chilli and olive oil are all just suggestions. If you want to add more then I won’t hold it against you. If you use less, then you’ll get less flavour. Try to use a good olive oil with lots of pepperiness. A little bit goes a long way.

Feel free to use any type of chorizo you want, just as long as it’s cured. Mild or spicy, it’s completely up to your own preferences. Keep in mind, you’ve already got the chilli flakes for a bit of heat, and dried chilli can pack a punch!

I have specified Mutti Polpa tomatoes for this recipe. This isn’t because they’re paying me to recommend it (although, if you're reading this, I wouldn't say no to some money!). I have tried several different brands and products for this recipe, and hands-down this one got me the best result. If you cannot find this particular brand: it is just tinned, finely chopped tomatoes. You can use normal tinned, chopped tomatoes if you don’t mind it chunky, or just process a tin of tomatoes yourself (without the tin, of course!). You can even use passata (tomato puree) or, if you have no other choice, a jar of pasta sauce. I wouldn’t recommend using fresh tomatoes as they have quite a lot of juice and take longer to cook. When buying any form of tinned tomatoes, it is important (for both flavour and health) that you look for a product with a high percentage of tomato and as few preservatives as possible.

Finally, you don’t have to use fresh linguine if you don’t want to. You don’t even have to use linguine at all (I’m quite fond of papardalle myself). But fresh or dried pasta, the quantity is totally up to you, keeping in mind that dried pasta may mess around with the timing of the recipe. If you use more pasta then each serving will have a lower sauce-to-pasta ratio (which I shall now dub the ‘STP ratio’) and may not result in a high deliciousness quotient (‘DQ’). Yes, I’m kidding… Sort of!


1. Place the prawns, garlic, chilli, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper into a bowl. Stir, and set aside.

2. Fill a large pot with boiling water, add a few generous pinches of salt, and place onto a medium-high heat. (TIP: If you’re using dried pasta, wait for the water to boil and add the pasta now before continuing to Step 3.)

3. Place the chorizo slices cut-side-down into a cold pan.

4. Place the chorizo pan onto a cold hotplate (that is NOT a contradiction!) and turn it on to a high heat.

5. Once the chorizo slices begin to sizzle and release their oil, turn them over to crisp up the other side. (Remember, the chorizo is already cooked, you are really just warming it up and adding a bit of texture.)

6. Add the prawns to the pan and stir until they have just turned opaque.

7. Pour in the vodka and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pan. (‘Deglaze’ just means ‘try to scrape up anything that has stuck’ which doesn’t sound anywhere near as pretentious, does it?)

8. Allow to bubble for approx. 30 seconds for the alcohol to burn off OR you can flambé if you feel up to it! (‘Flambé’ just means ‘light the sucker on fire and stand back while swishing the pan occasionally and trying not to burn your eyebrows off’. The French can make anything sound dignified, right?)

9. Add the tomatoes (whichever ones you ended up using) and stir until the prawns and chorizo are coated.

10. Stir in the parsley, then turn the pan down to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

11. Your pot of water should be bubbling. If not, turn it up. Otherwise, add the fresh linguine (or whatever) to the salted water. (If you’re using dried pasta, use this time instead to test the texture as it’s probably been around 5 minutes or so since you put it in the pot.)

12. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet, then drain it.

13. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and mix until coated. (Really, you can serve this however you like, this is just my preference.)

14. Pasta goes onto a plate or into a bowl. Parmesan cheese goes on top. (Not exactly rocket science. Although, I suppose you could use some fresh rocket instead of parsley!)

15. Time to eat!

Serves 2-4, depending on how generous you are. Usually I can get 3 decent sized serves out of this.

A video of this recipe is also available on YouTube - http://youtu.be/O0dMYj0NUSo.

6 February 2015

1.01 Basic Profiteroles – Advanced – Baking & Desserts

Might as well start off with a bang!

I’ve always loved profiteroles and éclairs, however the prospect of making them myself seemed quite daunting based on what other people had told me following their own attempts. If you hear similar comments, please do not be dissuaded as they’re actually much simpler than they seem.

I have included this as an ‘Advanced’ recipe because it is a little too fussy to fit into the ‘Intermediate’ category. The full recipe may seem lengthy and scary at first, but if you try it a few times, you’ll see it’s really not so bad! I can usually whip out a batch of these in about an hour (and I have witnesses).



3 cups milk
1/2 vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla paste/extract/essence
6 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup cornflour/cornstarch

Crème Pâtissière (a.k.a. Crème Patisserie, “crème pat”, or pastry cream) is, basically, just a fancy name for thick custard. There seems to be some sort of stigma when it comes to using cornflour to thicken crème pâtissière. Any purists can feel free to do things their own way, I’m just here for the food.

When making profiteroles, I would usually make the crème pâtissière while the pastry cases are baking in the oven. Gotta love that time management!


1. Add milk and vanilla into a largish pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (NOTE: You will need a pot big enough to mix all of the ingredients in later.)

2. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large jug (or a mixing bowl with pouring lip) until combined, then add the cornflour and continue to whisk until pale and thick. (Once again, the jug/bowl needs to be large enough to mix all of the ingredients in.)

3. Once the milk has just started to bubble, remove the pot from the heat and pour carefully into the egg mixture while whisking.

4. Continue to whisk together for a further 5-10 seconds to ensure it is combined, then pour the custard mixture back into the pot and return to the heat, whisking constantly. (Or, at least, whisking as much as you can be bothered. The mixture will become thicker the longer it remains on the heat. WARNING: Mixture could curdle or split if you leave it on the heat for too long and/or don’t whisk diligently enough.)

5. Once the desired consistency is reached, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool. (For filling profiteroles or tart cases, etc., you would want the mixture to be fairly thick, but be careful otherwise it can get too thick and basically solidify into a big lump when it cools. You may want to strain the mixture before you chill it if there are some lumps, but who really cares? This isn’t Masterchef! TIP: Place a sheet of cling film directly onto the surface of the crème pâtissière, this will stop it from forming a skin.)

6. Once cooled, it is ready to be used as a filling!

A video of this recipe is also available on YouTube - http://youtu.be/wnS4hOwrnuk.



1 cup warm water
100g butter
3/4 cup Grade 00 white flour
4 large eggs (from the fridge)

Grade 00 flour is used mainly for making pasta as it is the finest grind available in most supermarkets. The first time I made choux pastry I had forgotten to buy a new bag of regular white flour. Hoping for the best (yet preparing for the worst), I substituted some leftover Grade 00 flour instead. My optimism paid off and now this is the only flour I use for this recipe. I don’t even bother sifting it and it always turns out fine! If it’s easier, however, just use regular plain white flour (and remember to sift it).

Traditionally in baking the eggs would be at room temperature, but I find that cold eggs work better for this recipe as I add them right into the hot batter, which in turn brings the temperature down faster. While I did say ‘large’ eggs, I often use XL or even Jumbo size. The more egg in the mixture, the puffier the profiterole, as there are no added raising agents.


1. Preheat oven to 200°C (approx. 390°F), line some trays with baking paper and set aside.

2. Whisk the eggs together in a jug and set aside. (The aim of this is to break up the yolks in order to make the eggs easier to incorporate into the batter, and also to allow them to lose a little bit of the chill from the fridge.)

3. In a medium-sized pot, heat the water and butter until simmering, then turn down to a medium-low heat and leave for a minute or two. (Please make sure you don’t use a small pot as you may have a difficult time when it comes to adding the flour and mixing.)

4. Add the flour to the pot and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until all flour is incorporated and there are no lumps. (Sometimes you won’t be able get rid of all the lumps. It isn’t the end of the world. Just do your best and then move on to the next step.)

5. Continue to beat for another minute or so until the batter forms into a ball and does not stick to the edges, then remove the pot from the heat.

6. Transfer the batter into a large mixing bowl and beat in the eggs a bit at a time. (I usually pour in 1/4 of the eggs to start with, beat like mad until it’s mixed in, then repeat this process until all the egg is incorporated. BE WARNED: As soon as you add the eggs and start mixing, the dough will immediately split into small pieces coated in an eggy mess. DO NOT GIVE UP. Just keep mixing and it will start to come together again. This can be quite a workout and a bit messy the first time you try it!)

7. Transfer the batter into a piping bag and pipe mixture into balls on the prepared trays, ensuring to leave enough space between for them to inflate as they bake. (The bigger you pipe them, the longer they will take to cook, and the more filling they will require. I usually pipe mine to around 2.5cm (1 in) depending on what I will be using them for. Some people prefer to spoon the batter instead, so if it’s easier for you, then do that. If you pipe the mixture into logs, you will get éclairs instead, and there’s nothing wrong with that! TIP: Wet your finger and flatten any raised points to prevent burning and make your profiteroles more uniform.)

8. Bake for 25-35 mins or until golden brown and puffed. (If you have piped them smaller, this may only take 20 mins or less, whereas if you piped them bigger, this could take 40 mins or more.)

9. Turn the oven off, but leave the profiteroles inside for another 15-20 minutes with the door slightly ajar. (I usually just wedge it open with the wooden spoon.)

10. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then they’re ready to be filled!

A video of this recipe is also available on YouTube - http://youtu.be/65yvJU3xd2s.


It may seem pretty obvious to most of you what happens now, however some crazy beginners may be attempting this recipe, so I should probably make sure I cover all the bases!


1. Using a chopstick (or something similar) pierce the pastry shell to allow the piping nozzle inside. (I usually fill from the top of the pastry case and conceal the evidence by dipping into chocolate or toffee. This helps to keep the filling inside the profiterole and not on your clothes when you bite into it!)

2. Transfer the cold crème pâtissière into a piping bag with a small nozzle. (TIP: Place the bag inside a large glass tumbler to make it easier.)

3. Fill the profiteroles. (You shouldn’t really need instructions on how to do this, but for those who do: place the tip of the piping bag into the hole you made in the pastry case and squeeze gently. Try not to overfill them or the pastry could burst. Go slowly so you can maintain maximum control.)

4. Dip the filled profiteroles into melted chocolate or toffee and put aside or into the fridge to set. (Toffee is my nemesis. Try as I might I just can’t get it right, so I always use chocolate instead. I prefer the texture and flavour of chocolate over toffee anyway, so it’s not really too much of an issue. Plus, sometimes there’s enough left to make chocolate-dipped strawberries or cherries! TIP: Use a 50/50 mix of dark chocolate and milk chocolate. I find that this seems to get the best colour and flavour.)

5. Once chocolate/toffee is set, apply profiteroles generously to face. Rinse, repeat. (Or don’t rinse, who cares? This isn’t Next Top Model!)

Makes anywhere from 10-35, depending on how big you’ve piped them.

A video instruction of this step is also available on YouTube - http://youtu.be/A2axR6MtqvA.

1 February 2015

Hi, my name is Blake. Welcome to FoodPoint! (A bit of an innocuous name, but all of the more obvious ones were already taken…)

I have started this blog for 2 reasons. Firstly, because I need an outlet to record my recipes before I forget them all. Secondly, because several friends have pestered me to do something like this so that they can steal my ideas (you know who you are!).

I should probably start by saying that I am not, nor have ever been, employed within the food industry, nor have I had any training beyond what I could pick up from TV shows. Maybe one day I’ll decide to make the change if the right opportunity presents itself!

Food is a hobby of mine. I don’t mean just cooking it or eating it, I also spend quite a bit of time thinking up recipes, researching ideas online, watching cooking shows on TV, or trawling through specialty stores in search of an interesting new ingredient or kitchen gadget. I would not really consider myself to be a “Foodie”, although that label has been applied to me in the past.

I know a few people who claim that they “can’t” cook. My thoughts are that if you have taste buds, then you can probably cook. If you can tell what tastes good and what tastes bad, well that’s basically the main part of cooking! Never be afraid to challenge yourself as much as possible. When you cook, don’t just rely on other people’s recipes or the instructions on the packet. Mix it up a bit! Take a chance! Even if it ends up being a pile of inedible slop you will have learned something, right?

On this page, I will be making weekly posts – whether it be recipes, tips, updates, or maybe even the occasional ingredient or product review. If you’re browsing for recipes, or just looking around for a few ideas here and there, hopefully you’ll be able to take something useful away from my page.

My recipes will usually not call for a certain brand or product, however if I ever list something specific you can be sure that it’s because I have tried several products and deem this to work the best. Still, you should try a few things differently every now and then. What works for me may not necessarily work for you, and tastes or preferences can differ.

For those of you who want a more interactive cooking experience, please check out the FoodPoint YouTube channel which can also be viewed as a companion to this blog. Here I will tell you how to make the dishes, whereas there I can SHOW you.

Posts will be made in “Seasons” of 12 episodes each, followed by a 6 week break before the next season commences (I have a fulltime job that I should pay attention to now and then).

My posts will be classified as follows:

Low-Fuss – The name says it all. These recipes aim to get the most out of as few ingredients and/or little effort as possible. Perfect for midweek when you can’t really be bothered doing anything too demanding.

Intermediate – A little more difficult with a few extra steps and/or ingredients, but still not too much of a hassle. Most of the work is in the preparation, and quite a lot of that can be done in advance.

Advanced – Potentially lots of steps, techniques, and/or ingredients. Your kitchen could look like a warzone afterwards, but at least you should get some tasty food out of it!

Tips – A few times a season I will take a break from the weekly recipes to share some opinions, advice, or just general information. This could be beneficial for those of you who are maybe only just starting out, but to most people this information will probably be nothing new. Still, you might pick something up! Please note that these will be largely contained to the FoodPoint YouTube channel.