Spaghetti Marinara with Ginger, Fresh Basil and Feta


   Spaghetti 3

  Spaghetti Marinara with an Asian Twist

I’ve added a few surprise ingredients to this traditional dish: ginger and feta cheese. The ginger adds a bit more ‘zing’ to the chili flavors and gives a slight Asian twist to the dish. The feta adds a nice creaminess to offset the spicy flavors.

And don’t forget the torn basil leaves! Basil is one of my favorite herbs and spreads a lovely aroma through the house whenever we use it.

Jamie Oliver has a similar recipe called ‘Honeymoon Spaghetti’ where he uses mussels in the dish, which are supposed to be an aphrodesiac. For me, that might spice up the recipe too much, but maybe next time!

 Spaghetti 2


Spaghetti Marinara with Ginger, Fresh Basil and Feta
Serves 4
A delicious seafood spaghetti dish with an Asian twist.
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  1. ½ onion, diced
  2. 2 minced garlic cloves
  3. 2 Tbsp ginger, peeled and diced
  4. 1 red chili
  5. 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  6. 5 fresh tomatoes, chopped finely
  7. 2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock
  8. ½ cup (125 ml) white wine
  9. 16 – 20 large shrimp or prawns
  10. 1 cup raw calamari (squid) rings
  11. fresh basil leaves- torn
  12. feta cheese
  13. salt and pepper to taste
  14. 1 packet dried spaghetti
  1. Peel and finely dice the onion, garlic cloves and ginger.
  2. Slice the chili in half lengthwise and chop into small pieces.
  3. Add olive oil to a hot fry pan and ‘sweat’ the above ingredients until they are soft and translucent in color.
  4. Add the tomato paste, fresh tomatoes, chicken stock and white wine to the mixture and stir for several minutes.
  5. Now place the prawns (shrimp) and calamari rings into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the seafood is cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste and reduce heat to a simmer while you prepare the spaghetti.
  6. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and then add the packet of spaghetti; reduce heat slightly and simmer until the spaghetti is cooked to your liking.
  7. Drain the spaghetti and serve in a large dish; add marinara sauce on top with torn basil leaves and dotted with small pieces of feta cheese.
G'day Soufflé





Adelaide Central Market- New Surprises!

I’ve been going to the Adelaide Central  Market for the past 30 years, and recently decided to pay another visit- mainly to re-acquaint myself with the sights and smells of this wonderful farmer’s market and to see if there was any new unusual produce or product that would jolt me out of my culinary complacency.

The Adelaide Market has been going since 1869 and can still thrill its visitors with its wide variety of fruits, vegetables, pastries, cheeses, meat and fish (to name a few). Although I’ve scrounged around many food markets in Paris- professed to be the ‘food capital of the world’- I still think that the Adelaide Central Market is one of the best in the world.

Wandering up and down the market isles armed with my camera, here is a snapshot of some of my discoveries.

If I was hoping to find something that would force me to do a double-take, here it was, Crocodile Tail Fillet, found at ‘Something Wild.’

Crocodile Tail Fillet at 'Something Wild'

Crocodile Tail Fillet
at ‘Something Wild’

Not quite ready to experiment with Crocodile Fillet in one of my tasty dishes, I decided to wander over to the ‘Smelly Cheese’ stall to have a look at their luscious-looking candied Italian Clementines. Clementines are a type of mandarin orange and I can picture crowning some vanilla ice cream with several of these lovely balls. (Although it seemed rather odd viewing these sweet treats in a place named Smelly Cheese)!

Candied Italian Clementines

Candied Italian Clementines

Next it was on to Providore bakery. I remember munching on their cheesy spanakopitas 30 years ago while I took a lunch break from teaching dance at the Centre for the Performing Arts, located just next door. Then a modest little bakery, the Providore now boasts delicacies such as Semolina Cakes, French Macarons, Fancy Lollipops and Death by Chocolate Cake.

Now feeling a little depressed that I could no longer fit into the leotards from my previous life as a modern dance teacher, I then sauntered over to Prettejohn’s Nursery stall where I eyed their pretty Ornamental Chili plants. The sign on the plant says the chilis are edible but at this point, I’d rather enjoy the beautiful colors of the plant, rather than eating them.

Ornamental Chilli plant (edible)

Ornamental Chilli plant (edible)

Now that I was on a ‘red hot chili pepper roll’, I decided to check out the pimentos that were on sale at the local Organics stall. These pimentos are described as a variety of  chili pepper, with a flesh more sweet and succulent than a red bell pepper’s. Next time I make my spaghetti bolognese, I’ll try using a pimento instead of a red bell pepper, to see if it makes any difference in taste.


Organic Pimentos

Organic Pimentos

 Attracted to their exotic fruits and vegetables on display, I next wandered over to Coco’s Fruits and Vegetables and feasted my eyes on their Dragon Fruit, Kimono Fruit and Egg Fruit.


Finding the Achacha Fruit

However for me, the find of the day was the tropical Achacha fruit. This fruit is typically grown in the tropical Amazon Basin of Bolivia and is now grown in North Queensland, Australia. When you ‘pop’ open the fruit, a wonderful white ‘snowball’ fruit appears, with a taste that is sort of a cross between a mango and an apple. This fruit would be great in a tropical salad or perhaps Achacha Ice Cream should be the recipe for my next post? Bon appetit!


Achacha tropical fruit

Achacha tropical fruit


A surprise inside the Achacha fruit!

A surprise inside the Achacha fruit!








Panna Cotta with Strawberries- Elegant and Easy




There’s not much to say about Panna Cotta, except that it is elegant, easy and it leaves you always wanting more. There are no eggs with this dessert- just milk, cream, sugar, vanilla flavoring and gelatine.

So the next time you want to ‘WOW’ your dinner guests, family or just yourself, think about whipping up Panna Cotta- preparation time is only about 15 minutes, but you will need at least 1.5 hours to let it set- if you do the ‘speedy’ freezer method (see below).

Basic Panna Cotta

    • Makes 5 servings
    • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
    • Setting time:  1.5 hours to 3 hours


    • 1 1/2 cups (375 mls)  thickened cream
    • 1 1/2 cups (375 mls) milk
    • 1/2 cup (110 g) white sugar
    • 2 tablespoons vanilla essence
    • 3 teaspoons gelatine powder dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
    • 6 – 7 sliced strawberries for topping

Strawberry Syrup (optional)

    • 1 cup strawberries sliced into quarters
    • 1/2 cup (110 g) white sugar
    • 1/2 cup (125 ml) water


  1. Combine cream, milk and sugar in a saucepan and stir for several minutes over medium-low heat. Add the vanilla to the pan.
  2. Dissolve 3 tsp gelatine powder in 1/4 cup hot water- stir with fork until dissolved. Add this to the cream/milk mixture (from step #1) and stir over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until it starts to thicken.
  3. Pour the mixture into 5 custard molds or ramekins, allow to cool slightly, then place in the freezer for about one hour until almost set. Then transfer to the fridge section for another 1/2 hour until completely set (you may find the panna cotta has completely set after 1 hour in the freezer). Alternatively, you can place the molds directly in the fridge, where it will take around 3 hours to set.
  4. Remove molds from fridge and top with several sliced strawberries and a mint leaf for garnish.

To Serve with Strawberry Syrup (optional)

  1. Slice 1 cup strawberries into quarters and place into a saucepan. Add the sugar and water and simmer over low heat for several minutes until the strawberries have turned into a liquidy ‘stew.’
  2. Transfer mixture to an electric blender and blend for several minutes until smooth.
  3. Cut around the edge of each panna cotta mold with a sharp knife in order to loosen the custard. Tip each mold upside-down onto a plate and top with the strawberry syrup and several sliced starwberries.

Tip: In order to release the panna cotta from the mold, place the bottom of each mold briefly into a bowl of hot water, before tipping it upside-down onto the plate.