Marley Spoon’s Thai-style pork salad

Marley Spoon’s Thai-style pork salad

I shared another recipe from the new book Step by Step with Marley Spoon by Olivia Andrews a couple of weeks ago. In the intro to that recipe, I talked about how this cookbook brings all the easy-breezy cooking from the home delivery company without all the awful plastic packaging. The same is true of this delicious Thai-style pork salad.

I’m a huge fan of salads for lunch. I almost-always have my standard tuna salad every day (have done for years and years), but mixing it up with this pork salad was excellent. The flavours in this dish are outta-this-world. The dressing is so good that I made extra and have been pouring it over everything from potatoes to other salads to my eggs. I highly recommend you do the same!

Check out my go-to salad here: My Asian-style every day everyday tuna salad

If you are so inclined, you could get one of these pre-cooked rice sachets to cut the cooking time on this recipe in half. It would defeat the ‘less plastic packaging’ ideal, but you do what you’ve gotta do. For me, cooking up a pot of brown rice is no biggie. The Marley Spoon recipe suggests using the ‘boiling water and drain’ method, but Uncle Roger would have a heart attack.

Absorption method for brown rice

The absorption method works just well for brown rice as for white: clean your rice, cover with a ratio of  2 cups water to one cup rice, cover and bring to boil over medium heat on stove top, reduce heat to simmer, simmer for about 20-25 minutes, take off heat and leave covered for about 10 minutes before fluffing and serving.  Done.

You could also swap the pork for beef mince, chicken mince or tofu mince and it would still be a wonderful salad. Just, obviously, not a pork salad. Rather a beef salad. Or a chicken salad. Or a… you get the idea.

Enjoy this yummy salad for lunch one day. Let me know what you think!

Thai-style pork salad

Thai-style pork salad with Marley Spoon

Up your salad game with this delicious take on Thailand’s famous larb. In place of mince it features stir-fried pork strips so it’s chunkier, and rice that’s traditionally served on the side acts as a bed to soak up the mouthwatering dressing. Finished off with roasted peanuts and fresh herbs, it’s a winner any night of the week.

Serves 4
Takes 30 mins
Equipment medium/large saucepan, fine grater, medium/large frying pan

250 g brown rice
40 g roasted peanuts
1 bird’s eye chilli
1 large lime
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 Lebanese (long) cucumbers
3 tomatoes
20 g coriander
20 g mint
1 tbs vegetable oil
500 g free-range pork stir-fry strips
salt and pepper

1. Chop peanuts: Bring 1 litre (4 cups)/1.5 litres (6 cups) water to the boil in a saucepan for the rice. Coarsely chop the peanuts.

2. Cook rice: Cook the rice in the pan of boiling water for 25 mins or until the rice is tender. Drain.

3. Make dressing: Meanwhile, thinly slice the chilli, removing the seeds if less heat is desired. (The dressing is delicious even without the chilli.) Finely grate the lime zest, then juice. Put the chilli, lime zest, lime juice, sesame oil, fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl, and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

4. Make salad: Cut the cucumber into 2 cm chunks. Coarsely chop the tomatoes. Finely chop the coriander, including the stems. Finely chop the mint leaves, discarding the stems. Put the cucumber, tomato, coriander and mint in a bowl.

5. Stir-fry pork: Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat. Stir-fry the pork for 2 mins or until browned and cooked through. (The pork cooks quickly so stick to these cooking times to ensure a tender result.) Season with salt and pepper.

6. Get ready to serve: Add half the dressing to the salad and toss to combine. Divide the rice, salad and pork among bowls. Drizzle over the remaining dressing and scatter over the peanuts to serve.

Images and text from Step by Step with Marley Spoon by Olivia Andrews, photography by Phu Tang. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99

Marley Spoon’s mixed mushroom risotto

Marley Spoon’s mixed mushroom risotto

Have you ever tried a meal kit company like Marley Spoon? Basically, you pick what you want to make for the week (this mixed mushroom risotto would be on my list) and they deliver all of the ingredients you need plus a recipe card. You then cook your dinner and it’s super-quick and easy. People rave about it.

Only… I’ve always had an issue with the fact that since each ingredient is individually portioned it’s all packed in individual plastic containers. So. much. unnecessary. packaging. Sure, my head has been turned by how simple these kind of delivery companies make the whole dinner situation each week, but I just can’t get over the wasteful packaging!

Also, I think it’s actually pretty easy to meal plan and make the dinners anyway…

It really ain’t that hard!!: Easy meal planning: the super-simple way to reduce stress


Then Olivia Andrews came out with her new book Step by Step with Marley Spoon and I’m in. I get to make Marley Spoon’s 100 top-rated recipes without actually having the food delivered.

Top of my list to make was this mixed mushroom risotto. It’s bloody delicious, so I can see the appeal of why customers keep coming back for more. The great thing is, you can now cook the recipes with far less packaging. 

And that’s a massive win for sure!

Mixed mushroom risotto

Cook this mixed mushroom risotto by Marley Spoon

This risotto is all about umami. What’s that? The fifth ‘savoury’ taste. Italian dishes get it from parmesan and anchovies. Asian cuisines from soy and miso – and mushrooms have it in spades. Start this satisfying dinner by pan-frying mushrooms with garlic and spring onion, then add rice. Pour in the miso-spiked stock gradually, stirring as you do so for a deliciously creamy risotto texture.

Makes 4 serves
Takes 40 mins
Equipment wok or large deep frying pan, medium/large saucepan with lid

800 g mixed mushrooms
3 garlic cloves
3 spring onions
40 g butter
1½ tbs sesame oil
4 tbs white miso paste
300 g arborio rice
200 g baby spinach leaves
2 tsp black sesame seeds

1. Prepare ingredients: Clean the mushrooms with paper towel or a brush. Remove the stems from any shiitake mushrooms and thickly slice. Slice or quarter the remaining mushrooms. Finely chop the garlic. Thinly slice the spring onion and separate the white and green parts.

2. Cook mushrooms: Melt half the butter in a frying pan with half the sesame oil over medium–high heat. Cook the mushrooms, stirring, for 5 mins or until golden and softened, then season with salt. Remove and set aside. Do not clean the pan.

3. Prepare rice and stock: Meanwhile, combine the miso paste and 750 ml (3 cups)/1.5 litres (6 cups) boiling water in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Keep warm over low heat, taking care not to let it boil.

4. Coat rice: Heat the remaining sesame oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the rice, garlic and white part of the spring onion, then stir for 1 min or until the grains are well coated.

5. Cook risotto: Add about one-quarter of the stock to the pan and stir well. Cook until the stock has been absorbed before pouring in another quarter. Continue adding the stock until the rice is almost al dente, 15–20 mins, adding more water if necessary, 60 ml (¼ cup) at a time.

6. Get ready to serve: Stir in the spinach, mushrooms and remaining butter, then cook for 2 mins or until the spinach wilts and the rice is al dente. Season with salt. Divide the risotto among bowls and scatter with the green spring onion and sesame seeds to serve.

Images and text from Step by Step with Marley Spoon by Olivia Andrews, photography by Phu Tang. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99

Don't miss Step By Step With Marley Spoon

Yummiest fish cakes from Cornersmith

Yummiest fish cakes from Cornersmith

We recently introduced you to Cornersmith’s amazing new book Use It All: The Cornersmith guide to a more sustainable kitchen and we’re delighted to share this fish cakes recipe from the book. They are aptly delightful!

This is the kind of recipe where you can throw in anything you have leftover in the crisper and it will all just work. Though I highly advise making them exactly as stated here so you don’t miss out on the awesomeness that is Cornersmith’s fish cakes, and no other.

Don't miss the book - Use It All

These fish cakes are really nice on a roll with some lettuce and grated carrot – perfect for the lunch box. I have also made them smaller so they dip beautifully into things like aoli, mayo or sweet chilli sauce. Experiment and see where they take you. Hopefully onto an imaginary Thai island somewhere with a really good book to read. That book would be Use It All, of course. 😉

Ooh, don’t miss Cornersmith’s sausage rolls too!


Fish cakes

Cornersmith fish cakes - these are so good!

Recipe, image and words from Use It All by Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards

Whole-food cook Jude Blereau’s cookbooks taught us how to make fritters and fish cakes when our kids were little, and they’ve been a family favourite ever since. This is our version using left-over fish and whatever vegetables and herbs are hanging around in the fridge. If you’ve got left-over mash, it all comes together in a matter of minutes.

Makes 8
Takes about 35 minutes

400 g (14 oz) cooked potatoes or sweet potatoes
Splash of full-cream (whole) milk
¾ cup (75 g) thinly sliced crunchy vegetables
spring onions (scallions)
sweetcorn kernels

Small handful of finely chopped herbs
fennel fronds
celery leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
Zest of 1 lemon or lime
Freshly cracked black pepper
300 g (10½ oz) left-over flaked baked fish (page 48)
1 egg
1 cup (100 g) stale breadcrumbs
100 ml (3½ fl oz) good-quality vegetable oil such as sunflower or rice-bran oil

In a large bowl, mash the potatoes with the milk and a pinch of salt. Add the thinly sliced vegetables, along with the herbs, garlic and lemon or lime zest. Season with salt and pepper and combine well with a fork, then stir through the flaked fish, being careful not to break it up too much, which can make the mixture gluey.

Divide the mixture into eight fish cakes. Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl and tip the breadcrumbs into another shallow bowl. Dip each fish cake in the egg and then coat in the breadcrumbs.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium–low heat. Fry the fish cakes in batches for 3–4 minutes each side until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel and serve with a crunchy slaw (find the recipe in the book) and condiments, such as toum (also in the book), aioli or hot sauce.

Will you make these fish cakes, do you think?

Images and text from Use It All by Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards, photography by Cath Muscat. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.

Fish cake by Cornersmith are the absolute best

Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s hunter’s chicken stew

Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s hunter’s chicken stew

A fresh new recipe from A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura. This hunter’s chicken stew makes a delightful family meal for the ‘almost cold, almost not’ nights that we tend to get around Sydney in spring. 

I honestly can’t stop cooking from Julia’s new book. I liked her first, Ostro, very much indeed, but it is this one, her second that has my heart. There’s not a recipe in here that my family wouldn’t enjoy. They are also really well thought out and easy-to-follow, just as a recipe should be.

It bothers me a great deal when steps seem to be missing from a recipe. I cook from sites like Taste and what not a lot, but I seem to be confused by their recipes more often than not. I cook and bake a lot too, so I can only imagine how baffling the recipes sometimes are for beginners or those who aren’t confident.

No such problems with recipes from Julia like hunter’s chicken stew. She instinctively seems to know that a cook can get distracted (she has a young child, after all) and writes her recipes accordingly. You won’t be left wondering how you possibly managed to end up with three leftover ingredients after making a dish.

Hmmm, now that I think about it, perhaps Julia should write instructions for IKEA…

Don’t miss Julia’s peperonata too


Hunter’s chicken stew

Hunter's chicken stew from A Year of Simple Family Food

There are countless variations of hunter’s stew, known as Pollo alla cacciatora – some in bianco (without tomatoes), some without olives or with dierent herbs or aromatics. Mine is a very simple one, with tomatoes, large green olives and fragrant rosemary and bay. It is a straightforward dish that is even better the next day. Serve it on a bed of soft polenta or simply with bread to mop up the juices.

Makes  4-6 servings, depending on appetite
Takes about 20 mins to prep and about the same again to simmer

1 x 1.2 kg chicken, cut into 8 pieces
sea salt
100 g (⅔ cup) plain flour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
20 g unsalted butter
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
125 ml (½ cup) dry white wine
1 rosemary sprig
1 fresh bay leaf
400 g canned whole peeled tomatoes
250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
100 g whole green olives

Season the chicken with salt, then dredge lightly in the flour, shaking off any excess.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy-based saucepan or cast-iron pot over a medium heat and brown the chicken in batches until golden on all sides. Set aside.

Reduce the heat to low and add the onion and celery. Gently fry for around  10 minutes and, when beginning to turn golden, add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Pour in the wine, scraping up any brown bits left over from frying the chicken. Add the rosemary, bay leaf, tomatoes and chicken stock and break up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.

Increase the heat to medium and, when beginning to simmer, return the chicken to the pan, nestling it into the liquid. Simmer over a medium–low heat for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the stew has thickened.

Scatter over the olives and cook for a few minutes more, then season to taste and serve.

Thank you, Julia.

Reckon you’ll give Julia’s hunter’s chicken stew a go?

Don't miss Julia's new book A Year of Simple Family Food

A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Armelle Habib.


Hunter's chicken stew recipe from A Year of Simple Family Food

Veggie-packed sausage rolls from Cornersmith

Veggie-packed sausage rolls from Cornersmith

This is so much more than a recipe for sausage rolls that will blow your tastebuds.

The gems behind Sydney cafe Cornersmith have a new cookbook out and it’s a ‘do not miss’ for the shelf! Use It All: The Cornersmith guide to a more sustainable kitchen shows us how to reduce waste (and save money) while eating ethically and healthfully.

I’ve been concerned about the amount of waste going into our ‘red bin’ each week, and this new book from Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards has given me practical, achievable ways to cut down on our plastic and food waste. The book is laid out in seasonal ‘shopping baskets’ with delicious recipes and ‘leftovers’ ideas for each basket. It’s a really simple way to plan your meals each week.

Shopping Basket from Use It All by Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards

Beautiful and practical

Like everything else this amazing duo do, it’s also a good looking, aspirational handbook on how to live a kinder, more purposeful life. I just love it!

We’ve been lucky enough to score a couple of recipes from the book. First up, these delicious sausage rolls you can make from scratch. They are literally packed with veggies (the kind of veggies that lurk in the crisper, getting more and more wilted while you try to figure out what to do with them until, oh dear, too late…).

Sausage rolls recipe from Use It All by Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards

The authors say the recipe will take you five minutes (see their commentary below), but I found that 15 was truer for a starter like me. What they were absolutely correct about was how super-tasty these sausage rolls are. They are truly the best I’ve ever eaten (sorry Mum!), and my kids agreed.

By the way, making your own pastry for these sausage rolls is a commitment that’s worth it – it will only take you five minutes plus extra time for the whole food-processor-washing-up-thing. That said, I won’t tell anyone if you buy in some puff pastry to wrap these babies in.  Food processor washing up is the worst.

Sausage rolls

Don't miss this sausage rolls recipe that's full of veggies and so easy to make

Recipe, image and words from Use It All by Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards

Makes 15 party-sized sausage rolls
Takes 15 minutes plus resting time
Bakes 30 minutes

Good old sausage rolls are still favourites in school canteens and at sporting events, but the ingredients lists for some supermarket sausage rolls are alarming. This recipe is easy to make and contains 50 per cent vegetables. It maintains that sausage-roll flavour, but with far less meat, salt and fat.

For this recipe, we use a basic homemade pastry; it honestly takes five minutes to make and while it does need to rest for 30 minutes, you can use this time to make the mix and preheat the oven. We still buy premade pastry when we’re pushed for time (the same goes for wonton wrappers and pizza bases). When you do buy store-bought pastry, look for brands that contain the least amount of ingredients, choose butter over margarine and avoid palm oil.

200 g sausages
200 g grated vegetables
zucchini (squeezed dry)
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
2–4 tablespoons chopped herbs
coriander (cilantro)
1 garlic clove, minced (use 2–3 cloves if using plain sausages)
1 tablespoon tomato sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, plus a little beaten egg or milk for brushing
Sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Basic pastry

345 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ teaspoon sea salt
250 g cold unsalted butter, diced
½ cup iced water

To make the pastry, place the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the motor running, slowly pour in the iced water and pulse until the mixture forms a ball.

Turn the dough ball out onto a floured workbench and lightly knead. Flatten the dough into a disc, then wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4).

Squeeze the mince from the sausage casings into a bowl, add the grated vegetables, breadcrumbs, herbs, garlic, tomato or Worcestershire sauce and egg and combine well. If you want to check the seasoning, make a little meatball and fry it in a frying pan, then taste and adjust the flavours where needed.

Roll out your pastry on a floured workbench to 30 cm x 40 cm.

Cut the pastry into two 15 cm x 40 cm rectangles. Form the sausage mixture into two long logs and place them down the centre of each strip of pastry. Fold the pastry over to seal and create long sausage rolls.

Brush each sausage roll log with egg wash or a little milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cut the logs into 7–10 cm sausage rolls and bake for a good 30 minutes or until golden brown.


The sausage roll mixture can also be used to make meatballs. After you’ve combined the ingredients, roll the mixture into balls and either fry or bake until golden brown. We serve these with flatbreads and a tangy cabbage, carrot and apple slaw.

Use It All

Images and text from Use It All by Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards, photography by Cath Muscat. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.

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