Tortellini Soup

December 26th, 2018
Shamelessly copied from reddit.


  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 cups frozen cheese tortellini (or you can use fresh)
  • 3 cups packed spinach (you can definitely add more than this if you want)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream or 1 cup half and half


  • In a microwave-safe bowl add the onions, flour, basil, garlic, tomato paste and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Microwave for 5 minutes, stirring every 90 seconds or so. (The mixture will be pasty and look weird but don’t worry it will all be okay in the end). Add the mixture to the slow cooker*.
  • Add broth, tomatoes, chicken, salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Stir.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours (or until chicken is very tender).
  • Remove the lid and add in tortellini and spinach, Parmesan cheese and warmed cream (cream should be warmed because it may cause curdling if added in cold).
  • Use a fork to remove the chicken out of the slow cooker. On a cutting board, shred or cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
  • Add the chicken back into the slow cooker. Put the lid back on and cook on HIGH for about 10 more minutes, or until the tortellini are cooked through. Ladle into serving bowls and enjoy!

Pancetta and Fig Stuffing

December 19th, 2018
  • 900gm sourdough bread, torn
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 400gm-piece pancetta cut into 1cm cubes
  • 200g butter
  • 4 large shallots (I assume online like, not spring onion) finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 300g dried figs cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat leafed parsley
  • 2 cups (500ml) salt reduced chicken stock
  • 4 large eggs

1.Preheat oven to 180C. Process bread into coarse breadcrumbs, toss with olive oil, 1 tbs sage and 1/4 tsp salt – bake for 10m until lightly toasted

2.Heat 1tbs oil in medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pancetta cook, stirring frequently for 6-8 minutes until crisp. Using a slotted spoon remove pancetta. Add butter to pan melt over medium heat, add shallots and garlic and cook for 8 minutes or until shalots are tender. Add figs and remaining 2 tbs of sage and cook stirring frequently until cooked.

3.In a large bowl, place toasted breadcrumbs, fig mixture, pancetta, parsley and 1/4tsp pepper. Toss to combine. In a medium bowl whisk eggs and stock. Fold stock mixture into breadcrumb mixture.

4.Transfer stuffing to a greased baking dish (23cm x 33cm), bake for 35 minutes or until heated through and crisp on top. Set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

Tomato and Coconut Chicken Curry (Red Thai paste based)

December 15th, 2018


  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic (or 1 tablespoon crushed garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 500gm chicken (thigh fillets work best)
  • 400mL can coconut milk or cream
  • 500gm tomatoes chopped (or 1x400gm can)
  • 2 tablespoons thai fish sauce
  • chopped fresh corriander
  • 1 tablespoon palm (or brown) sugar


  1. Heat oil in large saucepan, saute onion, garlic, and ginger until is tender. BLend in curry and tomato pastes, cook – stirring for two minutes.
  2. Add chicken, cook for 3 minutes until coated and almost cooked
  3. Blend in coconut milk, bring to boil, reduce and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, sauce, corriander and sugar – simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Serve with jasmine or basmati rice, sprinkle with some chopped corriander.

Note: one option is to throw it all in the pot and simmer for 30m – for when time poor.

Tasty Moussaka

April 23rd, 2017


Base ingredients

  • 6 eggplants
  • vegetable oil (for frying the eggplants)

For the meat sauce

  • 750g minced beef or lamb (26 ounces)
  • 2 red onions (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g/ 14 oz.)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of cinnamon or one cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 of a cup olive oil

For the b?chamel sauce

  • 900ml milk (3 and 1/2 cups)
  • 120g butter (3.5 ounces)
  • 120g flour (3.5 ounces)
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100g Parmigiano-Reggiano or Kefalotyri (3.5 ounces)


  1. To prepare this Greek moussaka recipe, begin by preparing the eggplants. Remove the stalks from the eggplants and cut them into slices, 1 cm thick. Season with salt and place in a colander for about half an hour.
  2. Rinse the eggplants with plenty of water and squeeze with your hands, to get rid of the excessive water. Pat them dry and fry in plenty of oil, until nicely colored. Place the fried eggplants on some paper, in order to absorb the oil. (For a lighter version of the?traditional Greek moussaka try drizzling the aubergines with some olive oil and bake them for 20 minutes instead of frying them). An alternate to frying the egg plant in a pan on the stove is to throw them on the BBQ and fry on the hot plate – adds a nice hint of smoke to the dish.
  3. Prepare the meat sauce for the moussaka. Heat a large pan to medium -high heat and add the olive oil. Stir in the chopped onions and saut?, until softened and slightly colored. Stir in the garlic, tomato puree and the mince breaking it up with a wooden spoon and saut?. Pour in the red wine and wait to evaporate. Add the tinned tomatoes, the sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, 1 bay leaf and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes, until most of the juices have evaporated.
  4. Prepare the b?chamel sauce for the moussaka. Use a large pan to melt some butter over low-medium heat. Add the flour whisking continuously to make a paste. Add warmed milk in a steady stream; keep whisking in order to prevent your sauce from getting lumpy. If the sauce still needs to thicken, boil over low heat while continuing to stir. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the egg yolks, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and the grated cheese. Whisk quickly, in order to prevent the eggs from turning an omelette!
  5. Assemble the moussaka. For this moussaka?recipe you will need a large baking dish, approx. 20*30 cm). Butter the bottom and sides of the?pan and layer the eggplants. Pour in the meat sauce and even out. Add a second layer of eggplants, top with the b?chamel sauce and smooth out with a spatula.
  6. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake the musaka in preheated oven at 180-200C for about 60 minutes, until crust turns light golden brown. Even though it will be really hard.. you should wait for the moussaka?to cool down for a while before cutting into pieces.

Witbeer (Coriander and Orange) – Blackrock

December 2nd, 2016
  • 1×1.7kg Blackrock Coriander and Orange Kit
  • 1×1.5kg CBW Bavarian Wheat Liquid Malt
  • 1x11g Danstar Belle Saison Dry Yeast
  • 1x.25tsb Citric Acid
  • 200g Dry Corn Syrup
  • 23L Water

OG: 1.042

FG: (target: 1.014 – ~4%abv)


Shooting for a refreshing belgian style wit beer. Will add another 0.25 tsb citric acid at bottling time, top just add a little zing and lift.

Fasolia (Bean Soup)

March 19th, 2016
  • 500gm cannellini/great northern beans
  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 teaspoon garlic
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 celery stalks?(more/less dependant on taste)
  • 1 tin tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1-2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 pot of water


  • Cubed Feta
  • Crusty Bread



Wash beans by placing in a bowl and covering with boiling water. Leave to soak for a few hours (or overnight)

Place water, oil, tomato puree, garlic, tomato paste and oregano in a large pot and begin to heat.

Chop onion, roughly slice celery, cut carrot into discs and place into pot.

Drain beans and add to pot

Bring pot to boil then lower heat, cover and simmer for approx 3 hours.

In the last half an hour remove lid and add salt to taste. The soup should be thickening up at this point, so stir frequently to avoid sticking/burning.


Serve in bowls with cubed feta sprinkled on top with crusty bread on the side.

Rasputin’s Betrothed – Brewing 14 Feb 2015 (Russian Imperial Stout).

February 14th, 2015

So I’ve had an idea to make a RIS and age it for a bit in a barrel previously housed some Kellermeister Wild Witch, but before I get up to seeing if I can’t come to some agreement with Markus that I better get in a bit of practice making them. So kicked off with a kit based recipe as follows:

1x 1.7kg Coopers Lager
1x 1.7kg Coopers Dark Ale
1x 1.7kg Coopers Stout
1x 1.5kg Coopers Dark Malt Extract (Syrup)

Topped it out to 20L total volume.

OG: 1.112 (Shooting for 1.026 FG will see how we go in a few days @ 10.5%).

UPDATE: Gravity at 21/Feb: 1.038 after 7 days. Krausen has collapsed decanted the beer into a different fermenter will see how it is in 12 days time, with a plan to bottle in 14 days, if day 12/13 show activity stopped in the 1.022/1.025 range.

Bottled on 3/April @ 1.036 FG. For an alcohol content of: 11.38%. It’s very green (taste, colour is black!) and hugely bitter at the moment, but there is some very interesting sarsparilla/liqorice/toffee/coffee aciton going on. Will be interesting to see how this develops over time.

This one will require some aging (3 months) before trying and should be capable of ageing like a wine, will see if I can’t stretch it out for for 10 years.

I eventually hope to move on to full all grain in the future.

Getting sma-bluetooth working with SMA SM5000TL-21

November 29th, 2014

Getting sma-bluetooth to connect to my inverter, and upload to pvoutput proved to not be an exactly trivial exercise. In brief overview the below are the steps I took to get it working. It does however, now work well for auto uploading of data.

So after much fun and games, I finally managed to get monitoring and upload to pvoutput working with sma-bluetooth.

Step 1 – Grab the code

hg clone sma-bluetooth

Once the code was grabbed, I changed into the directory and ran make.

./smatool -INSTALL -U dbuser -P dbpass

There was a table missing, so I manually created it as per

CREATE TABLE `LiveData` (`id` BIGINT NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT ,`DateTime` datetime NOT NULL, `Inverter` varchar(10) NOT NULL, `Serial` varchar(40) NOT NULL, `Description` char(20) NOT NULL , `Value` INT NOT NULL , `Units` char(20) NOT NULL , `CHANGETIME` timestamp NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00' ON UPDATE CURRENT_TIMESTAMP, UNIQUE KEY (`DateTime`,`Inverter`,`Serial`,`Description`), PRIMARY KEY ( `id` ) ) ENGINE = MYISAM;

Now the biggest gotcha for me was the below code block:

To make things happy and working, I added the following block to “” and used this new ?model in my smatool.conf file.

Inverter 5000TL21
Code1 0xde
Code2 0x15
Code3 0x2e
Code4 0x38
InvCode 0x8a


Update: For reference, I’ve switched to using SBFspot?the bluetooth dongle is shockingly unreliable (eBay jobbie) will have to find something a little better, will update as info becomes available.

Home Brew Oct 14 – Hop Slam (UK)

November 1st, 2014

This brew is shooting to be a UK style IPA with an overt hoppy character.

Ferment Ingredients:

  • 1.7kg tin Thomas Cooper IPA
  • 1.5kg time Morgans Extra Pale Malt
  • 200gm Simpsons Medium Crystal Malt
  • 45gm Bramling Cross Hop pellets
  • 11gm Nottingham Ale Yeast

Dry Hop:

  • 25gm Bramling Cross Hop pellets


Slow boil the Bramling cross Hop pellets in 1.7L water. Add 300mL additional water to drop temp, add the crytal malt. Leave for 20 minutes to steep.

Mix the malt and kit in fermenter, strain hop+grain mixture into the fermenter (so the liquid goes in, but the solid do not).

Fill to 20L. When wort hits 22C sprinkle the coopers yeast sachet and the Nottingham ale yeast on top. Place into the fermenting fridge at 21C.

On 5/Nov put 25gm Hop pellets into the fermenter in hop sock, leave until bottling on 8/Nov. (Prime @ 8gm/L).


OG: 1.053

FG: 1.010

ABV 5.64%

Fruit Salad Ale Homebrew Oct 2014

October 11th, 2014

Today I put down a “Fruit Salad Ale” derived from a recipie on the Coopers home brew site.

I did things a little differently.

The ingredients were:

  • 1x 1.7kg Coopers Australian Pale Ale Can
  • 1x 1.5kg Morgans Extra Pale Malt Extract Can
  • 150gm Simpsons Medium Crystal Malt
  • 20gm Amarillo Hops
  • 20gm Citra Hops
  • 20gm Cascade Hops
  • Danstar BRY-97 American West Coast Yeast

I steeped the hops and grain in 2L of hot water for 20 minutes.


Filled the fermenter to 23 L and put in the fermenting fridge set to 20C.

Original Gravity: 1.049

Final Gravity: 1.008

ABV: 5.38%

Two days before bottling I plan to dry hop with 5g Amarillo, 10g Citra and 5g Cascade hops.

Update [22/Oct] – Dry hopped 22/Oct?in the afternoon (bottling 27/Oct in the afternoon) with 6g Amarillo, 12g Citra and 6g Cascade hops.

At the end of this I’m expecting and hoping for a fairly hoppy, very fruity ale to be consumed come December.