Tips on Cooking With Herbs

Published May 10, 2015 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs


When using herbs in salad dressings, allow the flavors to mellow ten minutes before serving.

Work the flavors of herbs into meat, poultry, and fish by rubbing the herbs with your hands before cooking. The warmth of your hands will release the herbal oils.

Bouquets of fresh herbs can be placed in jars or glasses filled with an inch or two of water. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Use within a week.

Add a bay leaf to the water when cooking beans, lentils, rice or other grains.

Add a pinch of ground cinnamon to tomato sauce. Cinnamon brings out the sweetness and removes the bitter taste of canned tomato sauce and paste.

To chop fresh herbs quickly, place them in a glass measuring cup, insert scissors or kitchen shears and snip away.

Roasting garlic gives it a nutty flavor. Bake on a foil lined pan at 350 for about 15…

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Prosciutto and Pesto Roll Ups

Published April 21, 2015 by Ch'kara

This is a great recipe that is always popular when you have guests over.  I always use “chilli pesto” because we are chilli fiends.  You can use regular pesto but I found it a bit bland.  You can add anything to give it some Ooomph if you don’t like chilli.

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Prosciutto and Pesto Roll Ups

Preheat oven to 200c


Frozen puff pastry sheets

Jar of pesto (I use chilli pesto)

Packet prosciutto (about six slices)

Grated parmesan


Partly thaw three sheets of Frozen Puff pastry and spread with pesto (I use chilli pesto)

Lay two slices of prosciutto on each and sprinkle grated parmesan over them.

Roll up firmly, cut into 3cm thick slices and place cut side up onto a baking paper lined tray.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and crisp.

When cooled keep in an air tight container. Although I make these when guests are coming and they are so popular they never quite make it to the container.

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Easy Herbal Recipes

Published April 12, 2015 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs

Basil: Create an easy pesto sauce by combining: 1 cup fresh basil leaves, 3 tablespoons of walnuts, 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves garlic. Puree in a food processor. If too thick, add a bit more oil. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Freeze for longer storage. Use pesto in pasta dishes, rice, vegetables or toss with cooked, cubed eggplant. Chop basil and add to ice cube trays, pour water over fresh chopped basil and freeze. Keep frozen cubes in a zip lock bag or air tight container. Fresh-frozen basil- always ready to spice up a dish. Basil is good for you as well. Loaded with anti-oxidants. Enjoy basil raw, or chopped and sprinkled on a homemade pizza before baking.

Cilantro: Snip a few leaves into salads, stir into tartar sauce or chili-sauce. Delicious in Mexican dishes, add…

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Salame de Chocolate

Published March 10, 2015 by Ch'kara

This looks a bit decadent and yum

Goan Recipes

It’s obvious that Salame de Chocolate (Chocolate Salami) has a European origin for us Goan’s. It is made mostly for Christmas and Easter in Goa. But in our household it was made for Birthday Parties along with Marie Biscuit Cake(spin-off Italian Tiramisu)  because it makes for a rich decadent dessert. The melt in your mouth Salami would always impress our friends as it’s not a very common dessert in Goa. So if you are a vegetarian who has heard about the real deal Italian salami than this one is for you my friend :-).

chocolate-salami-de-goan-christmas-sweets-recipe-italian-portuguese-cacaoIn Goa we get Marie Biscuits, but if you are in the US and have no access to it you can use Graham Crackers. If you want to make it just for adults than add a tablespoon of rum or brandy. You can skip the egg yolks and replace it with heavy cream. The Goan…

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Moroccan Chicken Soup

Published March 8, 2015 by Ch'kara

Well, although it’s summer here in Australia, where I live in the mountains it seems that summer has gone and has by-passed autumn altogether.  For the last few days it has been cold and raining and the mountain is covered in mist, which of course is lovely.  To that end I thought we needed some thick hearty soup.  This is one of my favourites, hope you try it out and enjoy.

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Moroccan Chicken Soup

Serves 6 – Cook 1 ½ hours


600g Chicken fillets diced (I use 2 large ones)

2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

4-6 cloves garlic diced

3 sticks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

(you can use any vegetables you want or have spare)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tin crushed tomatoes

400g tin chick peas or other white beans (drained)

¼ cup pearl barley, rinsed

1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock

extra water if needed


Salt and pepper to taste (I don’t add salt, I let people add their own)

Heat a large stock pot and add chicken in half of the coconut oil. Cook stirring occasionally for about 2 or 3 minutes, or until browned. Remove chicken and set aside.

Reduce the heat and add rest of the oil to stockpot. Stir in onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Cook stirring occasionally, until soft. Add cumin, coriander and cinnamon. Cook stirring until fragrant.

Return chicken to pot with tomatoes, chickpeas, barley and stock (you can add water if needed). Season with pepper. Bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for about 1 ½ hours, or until chicken is tender and breaks apart.

Serve with crusty bread.

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Tea Time

Published January 28, 2015 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs

Not only does tea taste good, it’s good for you…

True tea is made from the leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis tea bush. Depending on how the tea is produced, it falls into one of these six classifications: green, white, yellow, oolong, and He Cha [ dark black ]. There are also dozens of teas within those classes, depending on where they’re grown.

Not all tea beverages are made from tea. Herbal teas are brewed from the roots, bark, stems, flowers, seeds or fruit of any other plants, and would be classified as herbal infusions. Instant powdered teas and ready to drink bottled teas aren’t true teas either.

While these fruit and sugar laden bottled teas may be pleasing to our taste buds, they don’t offer the health benefits of true tea. Teas promote health through their flavonoids and other compounds. Each of the tea classes mentioned above have different…

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Dark Chilli Chocolate Mousse

Published January 1, 2015 by Ch'kara

Today here in Oz (New Years Day) we have a friend coming for lunch and she loves her sweet dessert, therefore I have made this awesome Chilli Chocolate Mousse.  It is only a hint of chilli so don’t be put of by the name.  The rest of the meal will be healthy, so I figure we can have an indulgence.

Hope you all have a wonderful 2015.

Blessed Be!

Dark Chilli Chocolate Mousse

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Serves: 6                      Prep Time: 30 minutes


2x100g blocks Lindt Excellence Chilli dark chocolate, chopped

4 eggs, separated

½ cup caster sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

300ml tub thickened cream

Dark chocolate shaving to decorate


Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Sit bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until almost melted. Remove from heat. Stir until smooth. Alternatively melt in microwave (it takes about 1 ½ minutes)

Beat egg whites in a bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. With the motor running add sugar, I tablespoon at a time. Beat until glossy.

Stir egg yolks into melted chocolate. Fold in egg white mixture until just combined.

Beat cream in a bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture.

Spoon mousse evenly among six serving glasses (1 cup capacity). Refrigerate, covered, for several hours, or until set. Decorate to your liking with chocolate shavings

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Haley Newlin - Writer

Here to share my own writing, from poetry and short stories, to articles of all sorts. Enjoy!

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