Quinoa & Spinach Cakes with Roasted Eggplant (Vegetarian & Gluten-free)

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

You can serve these healthy savoury quinoa cakes as a main dish or a side. If you make them into small patties, they make perfect nibbles at a cocktail party! They are delicious with the light & tangy lemon aioli.

Serve 4


500-600g eggplant, cut into wedges

1 cup white quinoa

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced

400g spinach, stem removed, leaves chopped, washed

1 tbp olive oil 

Salt & pepper

2 tsp ground cumin

½ cup grated Kingsmeade Pecorino cheese

2 eggs, beaten

4 tbp canola oil

Lemon & Dill Aioli, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Season the eggplant wedges with salt & pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes or until soft and browned.

2. Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions (cook 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes).

3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the garlic. When it is fragrant, in 30 seconds to a minute, stir in cumin and fry for another 30 seconds. Add the chopped spinach leaves & fry for another 1-2 minutes until wilted. Season with salt & pepper.

4. Transfer to a large bowl, and add the quinoa, grated cheese and egg. Combine and season with salt & pepper.

5. Heat the canola oil in a non-stick pan. Moisten your hands, and shape the mixture into hamburger-size patties (it will make about 8 patties). Carefully place 4 patties in the hot oil. Press down on the tops of the patties with the bottom of your spatula to prevent them from falling apart; if they are thick enough, they should stay together. Cook for four to five minutes on each side until nicely browned. Remove from the heat and repeat with the remaining 4 patties.

6. Serve the quinoa spinach cakes with eggplant and aioli.

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Al Brown's Roasted Pork Meatballs with Fennel and Casarecce Pasta

Posted on March 05, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

Rustic and humble, this sort of dish is perfect for a rainy cold Sunday lunch. And you can get the kids help with rolling the pork meatballs!

Serves 6

Step 1. Meatballs


1 kg Harrington's minced pork
1 tsp garlic 
2 Tbl fennel seeds (toasted and ground)
1 benniks free range egg
1/4 cup Italian Parsley (roughly chopped)
Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper


Place all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and with clean hands work all the ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Form and roll meatballs to about half the size of a golf ball. Place them on a tray lined with glad wrap and refrigerate until required.

Step 2. Roast Fennel


1 kg fennel (green tips removed)
1/4 Cup Al Brown & Co Olive Oil
Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper


Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Slice the fennel with the grain, into 5mm thick rounds. Toss the fennel in a bowl with the olive oil and a little salt and pepper, until it’s all evenly coated. Place in a roasting dish and cook for 20 minutes until caramelized and tender. Remove from the oven and keep warm.

Step 3. Cooking and Serving


2 Tbl canola oil
1 cup brown onions (finely dice)
3 garlic (minced)
pinch chilli flakes
1 Tbl fennel seeds (toasted and ground)
2 Tbl tomato paste 
1/2 cup red wine
1 Tbl brown sugar
1 can whole peeled tomatoes (roughly chopped)
Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper 
500 gm Bongusto casarrece pasta 
2 Tbl olive oil
Roasted Fennel
1/2 cup Italian Parsley (roughly chopped) 
Parmesan Cheese (shaved)


Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Place a large saucepan of salted water on the heat and bring to a boil.

Place a large skillet on high heat and add the meatballs, browning them quickly in a couple of batches. Then remove them from the skillet and hold. Turn the skillet down to a medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes until tender. Then add the chilli flakes, fennel seed and tomato paste, cook for a further minute. Now deglaze the skillet with red wine, add the brown sugar and the tinned tomatoes. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, return the meatballs to the skillet and place them in the sauce. Move the skillet into the hot oven and roast the meatballs for 15 minutes or until meatballs feel firm. Remove the skillet from the oven and keep warm.

For the pasta, empty into the seasoned boiling water. Cook the pasta for 3-4 minutes until al dente. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, roasted fennel, parsley and seasoning.

Spoon the pasta and fennel onto a large serving platter, followed by the hot meatballs and sauce. Finally, finish the dish with freshly shaved parmesan cheese.

And you’re ready to serve!

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Bongusto Casarecce Pasta with Fennel Pork Sausages

Posted on March 05, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

This is a quick & easy dish perfect for midweek dinners


1 pack Bongusto Casarecce pasta

Bongusta Napoli pasta sauce

2 tbp olive oil

1 red capsicum, deseeded & finely sliced

Handful of basil leaves (you can substitute with Italian parsley), coarsely torn

Grated parmesan cheese

Harringtons Italian Sausages


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Remove the sausages from their casings and crumble the meat into the pan, breaking it up as you go. Cook, stirring, until well coloured, about 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the capsicum and fry for a minute. Add the pasta sauce and cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, cook the fresh pasta in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain.

4. Add the cooked pasta to the tomato sauce mixture and toss to combine. Remove from heat.

5. To serve, scatter the basil over the top and serve with grated parmesan.

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Al Brown's Grilled Chicken & Chorizo Rice Salad

Posted on February 05, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

This is the sort of salad I make to take on a picnic, or something easy to serve on a Sunday evening in the Summer. Let's hope we still have a few more sunny evenings to come this Summer! It’s served as a salad, but is substantial enough to serve as a main with all that rice in there.

Step 1. Cooking Chicken


500 gm skinless boneless chicken thighs (sliced into finger thick pieces)
Al Brown & Co Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup oregano leaves (roughly chopped)
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper


Heat char grill/bbq or similar to high heat.

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and combine until chicken is evenly coated with the seasonings. Grill the chicken over high heat until you have achieved some charred lines and meat is cooked through. Remove chicken from grill and cool. Refrigerate until required, or continue to next step.

Step 2.  Assembling and Serving


3 cup cooked rice (cooled)
Grilled chicken (shredded or rough chopped)
1 chorizo (sliced thin, sautéed and cooled)
2 cups green beans (cooked and rough chopped)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 avocado (cut into 1 cm cubes)
1 cup basil leaves (rough chopped)
1 cup Italian parsley leaves (rough chopped)
2 handfuls baby spinach
1 cup Wakelin House tomato vinaigrette
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper


In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, grilled chicken, chorizo, beans, tomatoes and avocado gently with clean hands or a wooden spoon.  Finish the salad by adding the herbs, spinach and tomato vinaigrette.  Once the vinaigrette is added the herbs and spinach will slowly begin to wilt, so I suggest dressing the salad just before you intend to serve it.  Season to taste.

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