PEPPER is the PANTRY staple

I love a Peppercorn sauce with using crushed whole black or pickled green peppercorns

This sauce goes with Beef or chicken or tofu (you will have to substitute the cream is making a vegan dish)

I always have a little tin of green peppercorns in the pantry – you’ll find them in the spice section of the supermarkets


  • If cooking a steak – remove from the pan when cooked and use the same pan
  • Dice shallots finely and fry in the pan juices, gently frying until translucent
  • Add the drained peppercorns and  1/2 cup cream
  • Simmer together to combine and mix all pan juices
  • I then transfer the steak back into the pan for the smallest amount of time before serving or spoon sauce over steak


  • The FORMAL VERSION and no doubt the tastier version
  • Crush 2-3 tsp whole black peppercorns – use a rolling pin or mortar and pestle
  • After cooking the steak remove from the pan – using  the same pan
  • Add 1/3 cup brandy or cognac and simmer rapidly until the harsh smell of the alcohol has dissipated
  • Add 3/4 cup beef broth – simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to reduce by half
  • Add 1/2 heavy /thick cream and pepper – simmer – do not boil

SICHUAN PEPPER (not related to the peppercorn also known as Szechuan pepper and a member of the citrus family but has a lovely peppery flavour)

SICHUAN SOUP with steamed Dumplings

This is a quick and delicious bowl of goodness

  • Pre-made chinese dumplings (or make your own)
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms – sliced thickly
  • 3 cups chicken or vegie stock
  • 2 shallots – sliced
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame sauce
  • generous grind of black peppercorn
  • 1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorn
  • Steam dumplings according to instructions
  • Pan fry the mushrooms with the sesame oil – remove and set aside
  • Heat stock in a saucepan and bring to a simmer
  • Create individual bowls of stock, mushrooms, shallots, soy sauce , black peppercorns, Sichuan peppercorn and dumplings



CHRISTMAS CUTTER COOKIES        (pg 150 – Two Old Ducks Sweet Celebrations)

  • 3 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups icing sugar – sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 250 gr butter, chopped
  • 3 egg yolks (freeze the egg white for pavlova or use to make icing)
  • 2 drops orange blossom water
  1. Preheat oven to moderate – line baking trays with paper
  2. Place flour, icing sugar, baking powder and food processor and pulse to combine
  3. Add chopped butter and process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs
  4. Add egg yolks and orange blossom water and process until mixture comes together
  5. Turn out onto a board and work into a ball
  6. Wrap in glad wrap or baking paper and refrigerate for 2 hours
  7. Roll dough out to 4 mm thick and cut out biscuits with cutters
  8. Bake in oven for 15 minutes until golden, decorate

Make a big batch – roll into logs and freeze for those times when you are busy

BASIC BISCUIT RECIPE                  (pg 134 TWO OLD DUCKS – Back to Basics Cookbook)

  • 125 gr butter – softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar – white or brown
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups SR flour
  1. Oven temp 180 – moderate
  2. Cream butter and sugar
  3. Add egg and vanilla
  4. Mix in flour


  • White chocolate melts and diced dried apricots
  • 1 tabs cocoa and peanuts (red Spanish is my fav)
  • 1 tabs choc chips and chops walnuts
  • Jam drops – make a hole in the centre fill with Jam – be generous
  • 1 tab currants and grated lemon rind – with a little sprinkle of sugar just before baking
  • Substitute 1/4 cup rolled oats & 1/4 cup coconut FOR 1/2 cup flour
  • Changing sugars adds a different texture