Recipes - Soups & Starters

(Most recently added recipes display first.)

Rhode Island Style Clam Chowder


  • 1 kg fresh loose or packaged pippis, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 200g whole piece bacon or salt pork, cut into 2mm dice
  • 1 large Spanish (red) onion, cut into 2mm dice
  • 2 large celery stalks, rinsed, cut into 1mm thick slices
  • 500g Desiree or any firm boiling potatoes, peeled, cut into 2mm dice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped


Serves 6


In an 800Watt microwave place 500g of hard-shelled  pippis (30-35 pippis) in a single layer with 1 cup luke warm water.
In a large suitable microwaveable dish with a lid. Cook on High (100%) for 3 minutes or until the shells open. (See tip below).
Strain the pipi liquid into a measuring jug and set pippis aside.
Repeat microwaving remaining pipis as above.
Remove all pipis from shells and set aside.
Melt butter in a heavy-based casserole or saucepan. Turn heat to medium-low, add the bacon or salt pork and cook, stirring for 5-6 minutes or until bacon starts to brown. Remove with a slotted spoon onto paper towel and set aside.
Add onions and celery to the pot and cook stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes until vegetables are soft but not brown.
Stir in potatoes and wine. Continue cooking a further 5 minutes or until wine evaporates and potatoes have just started to soften.
Measure reserved pippi liquid and make up to 4 cups (1 Litre) if necessary with water. Pour into the pot adding thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
Partly cover  and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Stir in reserved pippis and bacon. Add freshly ground pepper and a squeeze lemon juice to taste.
Remove the chowder from the heat. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
Set aside for 10 minutes, reheat, garnish with chopped parsley and serve with fresh crusty bread.

Australian clams – often sold under the name ‘pipis’ can be used in place of the quahog clam, a hard shelled species found off the New England coast of America, traditionally used in this -clam chowder.
Any unopened pippis after microwaving can be gently prised open before further use.
Refrigerate chowder overnight to further develop flavours.

Creamy Cauliflower Chowder


  • 1 leek, chopped
  • ½ cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano chopped
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup quick cooking oats
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

Makes 4 cups


Place chopped leeks in the base of a 2 litre ovenable glass jug and microwave cook on HIGH (100%) for 1 ½ minutes.
Stir in cauliflower, oregano, cayenne, oats and chicken stock. Cover container and cook on HIGH (100%) for 15 minutes, stirring several times.
Uncover, cool slightly then using a hand blender, puree until very smooth.
Season to taste, stir in crème fraiche and reheat on HIGH (100%) for 2 minutes.
Serve hot, garnished with chives.


Lamb & Pinenut Rolls


  • ¼ cup toasted pinenuts
  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 250g minced lamb
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ teas. Sea salt
  • ¼ teas. EACH ground black pepper, cumin powder & allspice powder
  • ¼ cup pinenuts
  • 1 dessertspoon of mint, finely chopped
  • Pastry – 12 sheets filo or puff pastry
  • Canola oil for brushing pastry

Serves – 30 pieces


  • Preheat oven at 200 degrees
  • Add oil to a large casserole and heat
  • Add onions, garlic, salt and spices. Cook until onions are soft and then add meat. Stirring gently until meat is light brown.
  • Add pinenuts and mint. Combine well.
  • Cut pastry into 20cm/6” x 10cm/3” rectangles. Roll meat into thin cigar shapes 10cm/3” long and thick as your index finger.
  • Place rolled meat in centre of pastry and roll pastry and at the same time tuck in sides to enclose meat to form a cigar.
  • Place pastries in rows on baking paper on baking tray and lightly brush with oil. Cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Tasty TipServe with yoghurt dip


Onion Soup with Cheese


  • 1 heaped tbsp. butter
  • 500g brown onions thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. plain flour
  • 1 litre veal or chicken stock
  • 1 potato peeled and grated
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4-6 rounds toasted, buttered French bread
  • Grated Swiss cheese

Serves 4 – 5


  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onions and stir until soft and golden brown
  • Sprinkle onions with flour and stir to combine
  • Pour in stock; bring to just under the boil
  • Add potato, bay leaves and seasonings to taste
  • Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves
  • After reheating, pour soup into individual bowls and serve topped with toasted, buttered bread and grated cheese

Best made a day ahead.

Gingered Steamed Scallops


  • ½ tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tblsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 250g scallops, cleaned
  • 2 spring onions finely chopped

Serves 4


  • Place ginger, oyster sauce, wine and sugar in a small glass jug and zap on HIGH (100%) for 30 seconds.
  • Marinate the scallops in a shallow microwave safe container for 15 minutes.
  • Scatter with spring onion, cover container and zap on MED HIGH (80%) for 2 ½ minutes.
  • Stir through and serve in lettuce cups.