Cookbook 118: Masterclass step-by-step

I’m back and cooking, though I am behind updating this blog.  This time I cooked from The Australian Women’s Weekly Masterclass Step-by-step.  The selling point of this book (it was bought for me) is that it is to help you cooking simple restaurant food at home.  Most recipes in the book have additional pages with step by step photos of various steps.  This would be quite helpful for those who are learning how to cook and want to learn new techniques.

I found the recipes interesting, but some of the ingredients weren’t going to be easy to find.  This is a serious cookbook with an expectation that you will seriously source some of the ingredients.  There was a duck ragu that I couldn’t make because I couldn’t easily find duck thighs in my area, and a fish dish that was also interesting was going to be difficult as I don’t shop at places that sell fresh fish.

The instructions were clear, the diagrams helped, and there were no obvious issues.  Overall 3.5 stars out of 5.

Ballotine of chicken with roasted cauliflower


  • 2 medium leeks
  • 50g butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme leaves
  • 4 chicken breast fillets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup verjuice
  • 2 teaspoons conflour
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups firmly packed trimmed watercress sprigs

Roasted cauliflower

  • 1 small cauliflower (1 kg)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 sprigs fresh lemon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Make roasted cauliflower
  2. Meanwhile, wash, dry and finely chop white part of leeks.  Melt butter in medium frying pan; cook leek, about 20 minutes stirring occasionally, until soft.  Stir in wine; bring to the boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until liquid has evaporated.
  3. Transfer leek mixture to medium bowl; cool.  Stir in egg yolk and thyme.  Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; fold into leek mixture. Season.
  4. Using meat mallet, gently pound chicken, one piece at a time, between sheets of baking paper or plastic wrap until 5mm thick all over.
  5. Spoon one tablespoon of leek mixture onto each piece of chicken.  Carefully roll chicken, from long side, to enclose filling.  Tie with kitchen string at 2 cm intervals.
  6. Heat oil in same frying pan; add chicken to fit snugly in the pan, cook, turning chicken until browned all over.  Add verjuice; bring to the boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, covered, turning chicken occasionally, about 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
  7. Meanwhile, blend cornflour with the water in small bowl until smooth.
  8. Remove chicken from pan; cover to keep warm.  Whisk mustard, cornflour mixture and stock into pan juices; whisk over medium heat until sauce boils and thickens slightly.  Reduce heat; simmer uncovered, until sauce is reduced by half.  Season to taste.  Strain sauce through muslin-lined sieve into medium heatproof jug.
  9. Serve sliced chicken with cauliflower, sauce and watercress.

Roasted cauliflower:

  1. Preheat oven to 220C.  Cut cauliflower into 2cm thick slices; place in baking-paper lined medium baking dish, overlapping slices slightly.  Pour stock into dish.  Peel and thinly slice garlic; sprinkle over cauliflower with thyme, drizzle with oil.  Roast, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until cauliflower is browned slightly and tender.

Notes on this recipe:

  • It’s probably easier to buy chicken schnitzel pieces (uncrumbed of course) as hitting chicken breast with a meat hammer (that’s what it is called in my house) ends up with the chicken torn and full of holes.  This makes stuffing it difficult and messy.
  • We used seeded mustard because it’s tastier, we also didn’t strain the sauce because you’d loose all the mustard bits.
  • This dish was tart, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t a collection of flavours I liked.  I’m not big on vinegar (which verjuice is close to), and I’m definitely not a fan of cauliflower.  Your mileage will vary.

Saffron vegetable tagine with preserved lemon


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon each saffron threads and ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons each ground cumin and sweet paprika
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, halved
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped coriander
  • 6 small brown onions (480g)
  • 3 medium potatoes (600g)
  • 2 bunches baby carrots (800g)
  • 500g savoy cabbage
  • 3 medium tomatoes (450g)
  • 2 wedges preserved lemon
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 small zucchini
  • 1/3 cup pistachio kernels
  • 2 cups lightly packed coriander sprigs
  • 1/2 cup greek style yoghurt


  1. Preheat oven to 200C
  2. Combine oil, spices, bay leaves, crushed garlic and coriander in large bowl.  Peel and quarter onions and potatoes.  Trim carrots, chop cabbage coarsely.  Add onion, potato, carrot and cabbage to bowl.
  3. Coarsely chop tomatoes.  Discard flesh from preserved lemon, wash and dry rind; slice thinly.  Add tomatoes and lemon to vegetable mixture, mix well.
  4. Place vegetable mixture in 32cm tagine.  Add water, cover with lid; bake 50 minutes.  Remove lid from tagine; push unpeeled, quartered zucchinis into mixture.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 180C. Cook tagine uncovered, about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  6. Meanwhile, roast nuts in large frying pan until browned lightly.  Cool.  Chop nuts coarsely.  Serve tagine sprinkled with coriander sprigs, nuts and yoghurt.

Notes on this recipe:

  • It’s a spice blend I’m not particularly fond of, but works well with vegetables.  This dish went really well with pearl couscous too.
  • I cooked this in a tagine over my stove, as mine is not oven proof (to my knowledge).  It didn’t seem to cause any problems.