Conrad's home page

Castle cook book

The works burger

Sausage and beans

Bananas flambe

Halve a bunch of bananas down the centre, individually. Lengthwise. Fry in butter until brown. Sprinkle lumps of dark molasses sugar over them. Turn them. Turn down the lights. Add brandy, ignite, and play with the flames. Serve with cream.


Make choux pastry. Deep fry in balls. Roll in icing sugar. Devour, chased by gallons of chicory coffee.


Happily real bread is finally available on Porirua shelves, but if it's not:

Yeast concoction:

  • 500ml milk
  • 300ml boiling water
  • Tbsp molasses
  • Tbsp sugar
  • 4 dsp Surebake
  • 4 dsp yeast

Don't leave the yeast concoction too long!

For bread itself mix with eight cups wholemeal flour and one dessert spoon (= four teaspoons) salt. Knead lightly and rest in a warm bowl. Wait 'til bulging over top of bowl. Give it a huge kneading. Bake quarter of an hour at 220° reduced to 180°, then a half hour on low.

Burmese curry

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 dried chillies
  • 4 cardamom pods, bruised (I thumped them with a knife)
  • sprig of fresh curry leaves, plus extras for garnish (I used dried)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Burmese curry power (see below)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chilli power
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/3 tube of tomato paste
  • 1.2 kg lamb cut into large cubes (stewing type that requires slow cooking)
  • 100 ml water (I used 300 ml)
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 1 stem of lemongrass (throw in whole)
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp

Heat the oil in a saucepan over moderate heat and fry 3 of the chillies, the cardamom and the curry leaves for 1 minute (apparently be careful if using fresh curry leaves as they spit). Add the onion and sauté until golden then add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and other spices. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the lamb, tomato paste and water, mix well and cook on high heat for 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot from time to time. Cover and simmer on low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add the coconut milk and lemongrass. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and add the tamarind. Mix well, cover and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Add the remaining curry leaves and chillies.

Burmese curry powder

  • 50g coriander seeds
  • 30g cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried curry leaves (if using fresh put in frying pan for 2-3 mins over low heat)

In a heavy-based pan over low heat, dry-roast separately the coriander, cumin, fenugreek and fennel, stirring constantly until each becomes fairly dark brown, but do not let them burn. Set aside.

Using a blender on high speed process all the ingredients until ground to a fine powder. Transfer to airtight container.


Soak 1.5 cups (about 350g) of white beans overnight, simmer 45 minutes until they begin to soften, and drain. Brown a chopped onion or two in a casserole. Add 250g pork, 70g bacon, and some sage, thyme and garlic. Cook at 380° for an hour. Add 250g garlic sausage, a raw jointed chook (if you don't have a raw jointed goose) and the beans. Stir gently, add stock if necessary, and cook for another hour.

If improvising, it must stay within the bounds of meat, bird and beans to qualify as Cassoulet. Len Deighton astutely observes that "green vegetables of any kind would be an embarrassment with this dish, which should be served in bowls accompanied only by not-too-rough claret and argumentative conversation". If your guests disagree, start.

See also sausage and beans: neo-cassoulet for the chef in a hurry.


Aka CPT. From Olims Hotel in Canberra, modified with experience

Prepare a shortpaste flan ring about ten inches across. Don't cheat by using one of those 400g ready-made pastry packs: use one and a half of them. Better still, make two pies from three.

For each pie, mix by hand three eggs, 300g of castor sugar, 180g of unsalted butter, a few drops of vanilla essence, and a pinch of salt. Lick your hands clean. Chop up 150g of chocolate very finely, and 150g of pecan nuts not so finely, add 100g of flour, and mix the whole caboodle together. Or, if you don't want to cover the ceiling with chocolate, melt the butter and chocolate together then mix in the rest: this improves the result, but's less fun.

Place mixture in the flan ring, and bake for about an hour at 180°C. The pie is cooked when the top cracks when pressed. It is overcooked when the flan case cracks without being pressed.

Serve hot or cold, with or without crème fraîche, at any time of day or night

Tips: Freeze/cool the pastry rings. Microwave butter and chocolate for 2'30" on medium per pie. Put aluminium strips around the flan edges, removing a quarter of an hour before done.


Mum's special recipe.

  • Never brown the meat first - that would seal it and keep the curry flavours out
  • Fry onions until soft
  • Add a few large dollops of curry paste (keep in fridge once open - Patak's brand recommended)
  • Add two tins chopped tomatoes with their juice
  • Chuck in the meat
  • Flavour with a splash each of coriander, turmeric, cumin and hot curry powder (big dash of that), salt and pepper
  • Simmer for ages
  • Add garam masala right at the end


Not recommended unless you're planning to be cold and hungry. As taught in Anchorage.

Make tramping mix as two cups self-raising flour, quarter cup of sugar, same of milk powder, and half a teaspoon of salt. To make as bread, add quarter cup of oil and half cup of water to the basic mix. Cook five to six minutes each side until tapped it sounds hollow.

Duck and snow peas

Duck risotto

  • Roast duck legs until brown. Leave to cool then tear asunder.
  • Saute half a skinned andouille sausage or chorizo (definitely not hunters) in butter
  • Add onion and garlic and saute until soft, just browning
  • Add rice (one and a half cups allows dinner for two plus lunch for one, two and a half gives dinner for four) and blend in to absorb oil
  • Add real duck stock (or chicken) before the rice burns (and optional saffron)
  • Stir slowly and lovingly, adding more stock until rice nearly cooked
  • A few minutes before DR-hour, add torn duck and peas or diced zucchini
  • Serve slightly moist


On G-day eve, soak overnight beans of whatever political persuasion. Throughout G-day, simmer them with bacon bones in chicken stock.

At G minus a few hours, chop a chook's limbs and breasts off and brown them in oil, with slices of smoked sausage. Make up a roux in your big, black Gumbo pot: best to use flour already baked a rich brown. Throw in slices of the holy trinity - onion, celery and green peppers or capsicums. Brown them until floppy. Pour in the beans, bacon and stock, and throw in the bird carcass. Flavour with Tabasco and any powder thats red and begins with 'c'. Add bay leaves, basil and so on if you're feeling creative. Slice some okra finely, fry separately until no longer sticky, and slither that in too.

Stir from time to time, or the fat will rise to the surface, and the lady of the house might see it. When the meat starts falling off the bones, remove them, pull off the meat, and throw it back.

At G-30 minutes, throw in the chicken pieces and sausage. Pour another glass of wine. Warm some bowls. Cook up some rice, or just throw in the pot.

At G-hour, wolf it down with French bread and anything else that comes to hand. If anyone complains that their greens are overcooked, sprinkle slices of spring onion on their helping, and don't invite them back.

J F Watson recorded in 1805 that gumbo is made of every eatable substance. Such restrictions are now relaxed, as evidenced by this sign from a Florida ale house.

All unattended children will be turned into gumbo


Slice smoked sausage and sauté gently in peanut oil until brown. Add onions, green peppers and celery and continue sautéing until tender. Stir in washed rice until coated in oil. Add tomatoes, stock and seasoning, including Tabasco, a chopped chili, bay leaves and finely chopped garlic. Perhaps some basil and thyme, too. Cook slowly until the rice is tender, stirring and adding water if needed. That takes about 40 minutes on a good day, an hour and a half on a bad one. Stir constantly or it'll burn. Serve with French bread and butter (traditionally, after first dropping the J on the floor and scraping it up).


  • Noodles
  • Laska Paste (Asian Home Gourmet - Singapore Coconut Curry Spice Paste (Laska))
  • Coconut Milk
  • Chicken stock
  • Salmon (if none, use tofu)
  • Spring onions/bean sprouts/chives

Put 2 tablespoons of Laska paste in wok with small amount of grapeseed oil. Stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add about 1/3 tin of coconut milk and 1/2 container of chicken stock and stir together. Place salmon in wok and cook - removing stick and bones if required. When done, add noodles (dependant on number of people) and cook until tender.

Place spring onions/bean sprouts/chives in bowls and put noodles on top, plus all the yummy stuff at the bottom!


Mum's "modified LMP recipe - for smaller flan case"

Mum - where do the 2oz caster sugar and 40g (1 1/2 oz) butter fit in? What cooking times?

Mix in a bowl three heaped tablespoons cornflour and a little of 320mls water into a paste, then pour rest of water into a pan and bring to boil (add juice of two large lemons with the water in pan, and rind if you want it). When it boils, pour into cornflour and mix 'til smooth.

Put this back in pan and bring back to boil - stir all the time to stop lumps and burning.

Take pan off heat, and beat it into three egg yolks and lemon juice - end up by beating in the butter - pour into baked flan case.

Here's a version straight from the BePure site

Lemon Meringue Pie - Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free

Base 2 cups ground almonds 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted Pinch of salt ¼ tsp baking powder 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 150C fan-bake and grease a 9-inch pie dish with coconut oil. In a food processor (or bowl) mix together all base ingredients and press into the pie dish. Prick the base with a fork and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden - although be careful as it browns quickly! Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.

Filling 5 egg yolks 2 whole eggs 1 cup of lemon juice (4 lemons juiced) 1/2 cup honey 4 tsp arrowroot starch (mixed with a little water to make a paste)

Separate 5 eggs and save the whites for the meringue. Mix the yolks and 2 whole eggs in a small bowl. In a pan melt the honey over a medium heat and add lemon juice. Take off the heat and beat in egg mixture and slowly add the arrowroot paste. Return to a medium heat and stir continuously until thick. Pour into cooled tart case and allow to cool.

Meringue 5 egg whites 1 Tbsp Honey

Garnish Zest of 1 lemon

Beat egg whites to a soft peak and add honey. The mixture should be thick and glossy. Bake at 150C for 10 minutes until meringue is cooked and has a shiny golden topping. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Garnish with lemon zest and serve at room temperature!

My goring

Prepare Wok it
  • Chop goodies: shallots, ginger, garlic and chilli
  • Chop pork steak cross-wise
  • Chop spring onions
  • Egg
  • Noodles
  • Bean sprouts
  • Stock
  • Soy sauce
  • Fry goodies until brown in peanut oil
  • Add pork and continue
  • When meat cooked, break egg over end mix
  • Add noodles and stir fry, adding stock to keep wok just moist
  • Stir in soy at end
  • Add greens and beans and serve

Oat bars

Oat bars: essential kayaker fodder

Day before D-Day

All ingredients organic of course:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 3 cups coconut juice, from a green coconut (or tinned, or water)
  • Dash of cider vinegar

Soak for about a day then rinse (not too much - leave some starch in) and drain

Melt in a pan:

  • 150g butter
  • 1 dessert spoon honey or maple syrup


  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I use denatured almonds - or you could soak them the day before too)
  • 8 or so fresh dates chopped
  • the drained oats
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 cup cocoa nibs (add last when coolest, and don't stir too much)

Squidge the mixture into your buttered special oat-bar sized cake tin, tamped down with your custom-built oat bar tamper or, maybe, flatten them into a shallow tray and score the joins in (Ross's trick)

  • Bake at 138°C for around an hour until browned.
  • Leave in oven to firm as they cool. Yum!

Oat bars: the old recipe, pre-enlightenment

Stuff How
  • 14oz (4 cups) oats, half rolled, half wholegrain
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 2/3 cup demerara sugar
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 6oz butter (170g)
  • cup of pecans or almonds
  • 4 dsp golden syrup
  • Melt the squiggy stuff, add to the dry stuff
  • If too dry add a little water
  • If too damp and sticky add a few more oats
  • Mix until it binds and doesn't crack when squidged
  • Squidge them into your special oat-bar sized cake tin, buttered
  • Or, better, flatten them into a shallow tray and score the joins in (Ross's trick)
  • Bake at 180°C for around 30 minutes until browned (top level in my oven)
  • They come out soft but harden as they cool


This page somewhat out of step with the evolution of my tastes, but still...

It is said that man cannot live on pasta alone. This is almost certainly wrong: I thrived for over a decade on practically nothing else.

Pasta is the perfect food. It is tasty, filling, and versatile. It is fast to prepare. It is full of complex carbohydrates, the fuel of athletes. I eat lots every night, just in case. It is cheap and stores forever. It is a way of life, and a very pleasant one, at that. I eat it at home and around camp fires. I rarely choose it at restaurants, however, because they seldom prepare it well, and besides, I know how easy and cheap it is.

Put a large pan of water on the boil. Add some salt. Use a large plate as a lid so it warms.

Most sauces are fast enough to prepare once the water is boiling and the pasta in. Depending which of pasta and sauce you commit to first, that choice will drive the other. Lumpy sauces with sausages, bacon and so on call for lumpy pasta, perhaps penne or rigatoni. Smooth sauces of oil or cream call for ribbon pasta, perhaps tagliatelle or spaghetti.

Unless you have the time and energy to make your own pasta, keep and ample and varied stock of the dried variety, which is better than most fresh pasta. In addition, have the following always in stock:

  • oil, a good extra virgin olive for cooking, and an excellent one for flavour and lubrication;
  • garlic, fresh, lots;
  • bacon, of the flavour-full variety;
  • sausages, smoked (I keep a stock frozen. In fact, my freezer contains nothing but bacon, sausages, vodka and tobacco);
  • chillies, dried, the little evil red ones, to be chopped finely;
  • pepper, always black and freshly, coarsely ground;
  • herbs, basil, oregano and rosemary, preferably fresh, but dried are better than nothing;
  • pesto sauce, preferably home made, but I cheat on this one too;
  • tomatoes, tinned Italian, and tomato paste;
  • cheese, fresh old Parmesan, grated or shaved;
  • eggs and double cream; and
  • wine, a gutsy red. Italian's OK, but Australian's better.

Most of these keep well (although wine seldom does in the Castle), so it is not an impractically huge inventory. Even I can manage it. These basic stocks provide countless combinations for sauces. Olives, capers, anchovies, red onions and sun dried tomatoes provide countless more. I even add broccoli occasionally. But flavours should complement, not compete. Minimise the number of ingredients: garlic and pepper are essential, but save most of the others for the morrow. Here are some ideas:

Garlic. Deliciously simple. Fry ample garlic in ample oil until turning brown.

Carbonara. Fry bacon. Separately, mix egg, cream, black pepper, parmesan. Stir into each other and the hot pasta immediately before serving.

Four formagio. Boil cream down to half its volume. Mix in a variety of cheeses. Pepper and garlic, of course. (See also pizza)

Sausages. Fry sausages (sliced or crumbled) with onions. When brown add tomatoes, herbs and maybe some wine. The longer it bubbles the better. Add herbs and garlic, and perhaps cream just before serving.

Just before the pasta's al dente, drain it quickly and toss it into the sauce, or onto the plate for top dressing. Serve with wine, pepper and cheese to hand and to taste. Enjoy.


Quattro Formaggi

Base Sauce Creation
  • Fire oven up to 210° and slide those stones in
  • Prepare flour, scraper, space and water before you're hands become like a dough man's
  • 500g farina 00 plus 100g of gluten flour
  • 20g or so compressed yeast, mashed into 400g water
  • Squidge the wet into the dry without too much trickling onto the floor
  • Split into two balls, cut the traditional cross ontop of each, and leave in damp warm to rise
  • This will make two fat or three thin pizzas
  • Squidge and stretch with your hands to the shape you want - rolling pins are cheating
  • Melt together and reduce, stirring constantly:
    • 2/3 of a pottle of heavy cream
    • minced garlic
    • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • salt and pepper
  • Remove from heat
  • Stir in some sage ay the end
  • Roll out pizza
  • Sprinkle fine-grain polenta on heated pizza stone and place rolled out pizza on it. Slippery - do not slide it onto floor.
  • Spread on the sauce, then add the ingredients in isolated dolops - no homogeneity allowed
    • Mozzarella
    • Finger-crumbled Gorgonzola (piccante)
    • Provolone and/or Fontina cheeses
    • Dabs of real tomato sauce
    • Thin Sopresa salami's great too
  • Chuck back in oven and remember to remove before burnt
  • Add good company, good wine, good music

With thanks to Pizza Pomadoro for the inspiration

Pork and ginger

With your rice boiling on the side:

  • Chop the
    • garlic
    • ginger into matchsticks, heaps of them
    • pork into thin (but not too thin) chunks
    • greens into lengths a handspan long, discarding any thick stalks
  • In the wok:
    • fry the garlic and ginger mix until starting to brown
    • use a little more oil than usual as the ginger sucks it up
    • add the pork and fry until cooked, but pork still moist inside
  • Place pork mix in serving bowl
  • Now to wok the greens:
    • Add some oil and reheat
    • Add greens and stir until they start to cackle
    • Add homemade chicken stock (but water will suffice) and a wok lid to sauna them - judge water amount so no liquid left when greens are cooked
  • Serve

Sausage and beans

Subtitle: Cassoulet for the man, woman or kayaker in a hurry

This is a remarkably passable imitation so long as you are very careful in choice of the key ingredients:

  • A smokey sausage, emphasis on the smokey. In NZ, I find Verkerks Rookworst the best.
  • Two tins of cannelloni beans. Experiment with makes, as some are too mushy, some and too hard, but the others are just right. I've heard rumour that you can recreate them by washing that nasty sauce off baked beans, but luckily haven't had to try.

Slice the sausage and fry (I use duck fat) until browning, add diced onion and continue frying until all browning. Drain the beans and mix them in. Stir dry for a little so they absorb the smoky flavour, then add 150g of chicken stock and simmer, longer the better as long as the beans don't go too mushy or too dry.

That's it apart from two secret ingredients, which I can divulge to you dear reader as first a small pinch of molasses sugar (the really dark, oozy one), added early, and second a small dash of Marsala, added late. Resist the temptation to pinch or dash in too much - just right is best.

Douse with pepper and serve with torn-off chunks of bread, perhaps with a splash of olive oil on bread and beans. As with cassoulet, green vegetables of any kind would be an embarrassment with this dish, which should be served in bowls accompanied by not-too-rough claret (shiraz for me) and argumentative conversation.

Page last modified on January 05, 2012, at 02:08 PM