Why You Don't Have to Worry About Me Beating You in The Good Taste Home Cook of The Year Competition! | Life Love and Hiccups: Why You Don't Have to Worry About Me Beating You in The Good Taste Home Cook of The Year Competition!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Why You Don't Have to Worry About Me Beating You in The Good Taste Home Cook of The Year Competition!

Pin It This post has the intention of telling you what a lazy winter cook I am AND tell you about the 
Australian Good Taste Magazine Home Cook of the Year Competition and how there is $37,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs.

I like to think I am a bit of a whizz in the kitchen...like to think is the key though. Occasionally I get all inspired and I cook up a storm, usually however this is in the warmer months and I am spurred on by sunny days and the appeal of long evenings spent with friends languishing over good food, good wine and good conversation.

When it comes to the colder months - if I am required to cook, I generally try to limit the experience to something quick and easy that provides warmth and comfort and minimal amount of time out from under the safety of my blanket on the couch.  Lazy? Perhaps, I prefer to think of it a conserving energy.

One thing I do like to do in the colder weather is snuggle up with the family and watch Masterchef. We drool over the meals, laugh at the disasters and pretty much provide a running commentary on how much better we would be able to cook that meal that we cant even pronounce. Sad I know, and the big difference is that at least those contestants are actually doing it, whilst we are only discussing it.

Australian Good Taste Magazine is running their annual search to Find Australia's Home Cook for the Year for 2012. There is $37,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs and with random weekly spot prizes and voting opportunities, anyone can win.

Celebrity Chefs Justin North and Tobie Puttock are on the judging panel and you can find more details on how to enter here.

All the info is in the June edition of Australian Good Taste Magazine that is on sale now and the competition is open to everyone, mums, dads, foodie enthusiasts and amateur chefs. It's a great way to have some fun in the kitchen, enjoy food and enjoy the art of cooking itself - whatever your level of experience.

As I mentioned earlier, come winter I get a bit lazy and pay less frequent visits to the kitchen. Thanks goodness for my hubby rolling up his sleeves and diving in or we would probably all starve.

Australian Good Taste Magazine sent me three recipes to try and share with you. Not only did this require me to come out from under that blanket, but I totally had to reacquaint myself with the kitchen again. It sounded like a wonderful idea and I had grand images of me in the kitchen, apron on and whipping up a storm..... the reality was very different. In my defense on the day I cooked this I had just hosted an 11 year old's birthday party, it was wet and cold and my blanket and couch were totally calling me so loudly I couldn't hear my brain tick!

The three recipes I was sent included Greek Shephards Pie, Piri Piri Chicken and Mac and Cheese - no guesses for which recipe I chose..... Go the winter comfort Food.

Here's a version of the old family fave Mac and Cheese. It literally takes no time to prepare and cook (so my style) and the kids will devour it. This recipe calls for Speck, but as most of us aren't meat eaters in this house, we just left that part out.

The above photo was stage one of the cooking process, however in my hurry to get dinner on the table and get back to the couch, I forgot to photograph the other few steps. Sorry bout that!

Mac & cheese with crispy speck breadcrumbs
Serves 4
Prep & cooking 30 mins 

1 1/2 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
500g macaroni pasta
375ml (1 1/2 cups) water
375ml (1 1/2 cups) reduced-fat milk
125ml (1/2 cup) thickened cream
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
1 garlic clove, crushed
40g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated cheddar
40g (1/2 cup) finely grated pecorino
180g speck, rind removed,
finely chopped
120g (2 cups) fresh breadcrumbs
11/2 tbs chopped fresh continental parsley

1. Heat 2 tsp oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes or until golden. Stir in the pasta, water, milk, cream, stock and garlic. Increase heat to high. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir for 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente and the sauce thickens. Stir in the cheddar and pecorino. Season.

2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook speck for 3 minutes or until crisp. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in breadcrumbs for 4 minutes or until golden. Stir in parsley. 

3. Top pasta with speck mixture.

Per serve 39g protein • 36g fat
(17g saturated fat) • 116g carb
6g dietary fibre • 3970kJ (950 Cals)
Recipe by: Sonja Bernyk

Below is what the Good Taste Mac and Cheese is supposed to look like. I'm guessing that makes me one less person you have to worry about beating you in this competition!

Photograph: Jeremy Simons

Do you enjoy cooking year round or are you a seasonal cook like me?
Do you ever sit on the couch, eat takeaway and watch Masterchef and think to yourself "I could so do a better job on that"?
Whats your secret for fast easy winter meals that you could like cook or instruct someone else to cook whilst you sit on the couch?