Recipes from A Basket by the Door




These sausage rolls are excellent for smoko break, lunch or dinner. If serving them as a main meal, add a big salad full of peppery greens and a spicy tomato chutney like the one below. Make up a double batch of sausage rolls and freeze them (uncooked) in long logs, ready to bake from frozen, and you’ll be ready to feed the hungry hordes in minutes.

1 Tbsp (20 g) butter
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 granny smith apples, cut into small pieces
1 red onion, diced
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pork mince
1 Tbsp thyme leaves
3 sheets butter puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp sea salt
Quick tomato chutney (see below), to serve

Melt the butter in a heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat.

Add three-quarters of the fennel seeds and the apple pieces and cook for a few minutes or until softened. Reduce the heat to low, add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl, mix the pork and thyme with the cooled apple mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Take a third of this mixture and place
it on one of the thawed pastry sheets, making a sausage shape along the bottom third of the sheet. Roll as tightly as you can to create one long sausage. Repeat with the remaining pastry and pork mixture.

If you’re freezing the sausage rolls at this point, wrap them in plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer. Otherwise, onwards! Using a pastry brush (or your fingers if you don’t have one), brush the egg over each sausage roll. Sprinkle the sesame seeds, sea salt and remaining fennel seeds over the top.

Bake for 35–40 minutes or until the sausage rolls are golden brown. Cut into pieces and serve warm or at room temperature with the tomato chutney.


Chop 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) tomatoes and 4 red onions. Seed and chop 2 bird’s eye chillies (or to taste). Combine the tomato, onion and chilli in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 11/4 cups (280 g) firmly packed soft brown sugar, 1 Tbsp sea salt and 2/3 cup (170 ml) apple cider vinegar. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring often (so you don’t burn the base of the pan), for 40 minutes or until the chutney is thick and glossy. Divide among sterilised jars and seal. Makes about 4 cups

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Serves 6 

Just the loveliest little tart, this one – singing with fresh spring flavour. Once you’ve prepared the pastry base, it’s easy to put together – winning all round!

1 quantity rough puff pastry (page 40)
2 eggs
1/2 cup (125 ml) single (pure) cream
1/2 cup (50 g) finely grated parmesan cheese
Grated zest of 1 lemon
300 g (101/2 oz) hot-smoked salmon, flaked
1 zucchini (courgette), very thinly sliced

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until about 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick. Drape the pastry over the rolling pin and unroll it into a loose-based fluted tart tin – mine is 20 cm (8 inches) wide and 3 cm (11/4 inches) deep. The pastry will shrink back into the tin when cooking, so minimise this by leaving extra at the top and really pushing the pastry down and into each indent in the side of the tin. Trim the edge, leaving about 5 mm (1/4 inch) extra. Return to the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Prick the pastry base with the tines of a fork. Line with baking paper and fill the base with pastry weights, uncooked rice or dried beans (this stops the base rising during baking). Bake for 10 minutes, then gently remove the weights and baking paper and cook for another 5–10 minutes or until the pastry is just lightly golden and looks dry. Meanwhile, prepare the tart filling.

Whisk together the eggs and cream. Season to taste, then add half of the parmesan and the lemon zest. Pour into the pastry and add the salmon and zucchini. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and grind some black pepper over the top. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until the top is golden and just firm to touch.

Instead of the zucchini and salmon, you could also use asparagus and goat’s curd; caramelised onion and thyme; or roasted pumpkin and beetroot.

Cut one telegraph cucumber into chunks, slice a bunch of radishes into thin discs and pick the leaves off a bunch of mint. Combine in a large bowl. Dress with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing and sprinkle with some nigella seeds and pomegranate seeds.


Rough puff pastry
250 g (9 oz) chilled butter, cut into cubes
12/3 cups (250 g) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 cup (60 ml) chilled water

Combine the butter and flour on the bench, using the heel of your hand to work them together. Add water as necessary to form a rough dough – it’s okay to see some marbled streaks of butter. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry until you have a large rectangle. Dust off any loose flour. Fold the top half of the pastry down, then fold the bottom half up so you have a long slim rectangle.

Now turn the pastry 90 degrees and roll into another large rectangle, trying to roll in only one direction if possible (this helps keep the butter’s ‘marbled’ effect and ideally will keep your pastry nice and puffy and flaky). Fold and roll again, then cover with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes or until needed.

If you’re using store-bought pastry, I’d recommend shortcrust for the base and puff for the top.

Download printable recipe (PDF)


Oven Roasted Chicken Curry SML

Serves 6 

This grounding, warming curry is a meal in itself, with the split peas adding sustenance to keep you feeling full. I make it fairly mild so that everyone can enjoy it, then add a good sprinkle of fresh or dried chilli to mine at the table, along with a dollop of yoghurt. I think cooking this in the oven rather than on the stovetop produces a far richer, thicker curry, but you could take the stovetop option. Just keep the temperature low and the lid slightly off. The spice paste is worth having on hand in the fridge – simply rub it over chicken or lamb before barbecuing, or use it as a marinade. 

2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 brown onions, diced
700 g (1 lb 9 oz) skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3 cm (11/4 inch) pieces
1/2 cup (130 g) Greek-style yoghurt, plus extra to serve
2 Tbsp tomato paste (concentrated purée)
680 g (1 lb 8 oz) jar tomato passata (page 203 or store bought)
3 cups (750 ml) chicken stock
1 cup (205 g) chana dahl (split yellow lentils), soaked in cold water for at least 1 hour
2 handfuls English spinach
Toasted slivered almonds, to serve
Steamed rice, to serve

Spice paste
5 green cardamom pods
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
4 black peppercorns 
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece turmeric, roughly chopped, or 1 tsp ground turmeric
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
A good pinch of chilli flakes, or to taste
2 Tbsp coconut oil

For the spice paste, combine the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and peppercorns in a dry frying pan and toast for a few minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a food processor, spice grinder or mortar and pestle and bash/blitz until well ground. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli and coconut oil and bash/blitz again until combined.

Preheat the oven to 130°C (250°F). Heat the coconut oil in a large ovenproof saucepan or flameproof casserole dish over medium heat. Cook the onion for 7–10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the spice paste and cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes. Bump up the heat to high, add the chicken and cook for 3–4 minutes to seal.

Add 1 tablespoon of the yoghurt, stirring well so all the flavours mix together and the yoghurt dries somewhat, then repeat with another tablespoon of yoghurt and another until it’s all incorporated. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute.

Add the passata and stir until the chicken is well coated in the spiced yoghurt mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, then pour in the stock and chana dahl and stir well. Transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours, stirring every now and then so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Stir in the spinach and serve the curry with slivered almonds, yoghurt and steamed rice. 

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Dots sponge


The best sponge ever! Fluffy, light and just so delicious – big thanks to Dot Yeatman and the team at the Manildra flour mill in central western New South Wales for this recipe. This cake is bound to cheer and please. Make it for your favourite birthday person, a work afternoon tea, or to enter in your local show. I’ve doubled Dot’s recipe to make a nice tall layer cake, but if you’d prefer something a little smaller or just one layer, then halve away.

8 eggs, separated 
11/2 cups (330 g) caster sugar
2/3 cup (100 g) self-raising flour
1 cup (125 g) cornflour
1 cup (250 ml) Lemon and passionfruit curd (page 244)
300 ml (101/2 fl oz) single (pure) cream, whipped
250 g (9 oz) strawberries, sliced
4 passionfruit

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line two 20 cm (8 inch) spring-form cake tins with baking paper.

Whisk the egg whites to a stiff froth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until thick and smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Sift the flours together three times. Fold into the egg and sugar mixture with an upward and over movement (do not stir).

Pour half the batter into each cake tin and bake for 20–25 minutes or until the cakes are just firm to touch. Set aside for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Spread the lemon curd over one cake and top with some of the whipped cream, then top with the second cake. Decorate with the remaining cream, strawberries and passionfruit pulp.

Lemon and passionfruit curd


220 g (73/4 oz) unsalted butter
12/3 cups (370 g) caster sugar
Grated zest and juice of 4 lemons –you need 3/4 cup (185 ml) juice
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (125 g) passionfruit pulp (you’ll need about 4 passionfruit)

Put the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a glass bowl resting over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring often, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, lemon juice and passionfruit pulp and cook, gently whisking, for 15–20 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon – if you have a sugar thermometer, setting point will be around 160°C (320°F). Spoon into clean jars, seal and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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