Zena’s Penne With Veal
(Based on Guy Grossi recipe from Gourmet Traveller May 2006)
Serves 6

60ml (¼ cup) olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 gloves garlic, thinly sliced
200gm dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in water for 1 hour, drained
90gm (⅓ cup) tomato paste
250ml (1 cup) dry red wine
250ml (1 cup) dry white wine
1kg veal rump, cut into 2cm pieces
2 stalks each of basil and sage (leaves removed) finely chopped
1 stalk rosemary (leaves removed) finely chopped
2 star anise
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1kg dried penne
Freshly grated parmesan to serve

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan, add onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onion has softened.  Add drained mushrooms and cook.

for 1 minute, then add tomato paste and cook, stirring for 3 minutes or until tomato paste caramelises.  Add red and white wine and bring to a slow simmer.

Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan, add veal in batches and cook over high heat until browned.  Return all meat to pan and add herb stalks, star anise and nutmeg.  Stir to combine, then add to saucepan, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until veal is tender.

Cook penne in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 8 minutes or until al dente, then drain.

Combine penne and sauce and serve with grated parmesan.



(Club weekend dessert 2011)


1 ¼  cups Plain Flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
125g butter
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons dry sherry 

Sift together dry ingredients, add grated lemon rind. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter. Beat egg yolk and sherry together. Add to flour mixture, mix well, forming a smooth ball.

Roll out pastry, line 28cm x 18cm (11in x 7in) lamington tin, trim edges. 

2 – 3 green apples
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/2 cup cream
250g package cream cheese
1 tablespoon mixed peel
¼ cup raisins
¼ teaspoon salt
300ml cream, extra
1 teaspoon cinnamon 

Peel and core apples, cut into quarters, then slice thinly. Arrange in overlapping lines in pastry shell. Beat eggs and sugar until thick, gradually add sifted flour, add lemon rind, cream, softened cream cheese, peel, chopped raisins and salt; mix well. Pour over apples. 

Bake in moderate oven 1 to 1 ¼ hours.

Serve warm with extra whipped cream and cinnamon or allow to become cold, spread top evenly with the extra whipped cream, sprinkle with the cinnamon. 






(Club Weekend Dinner 2011)

Cooking oil spray to grease
200g unsalted butter, chopped
200g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
5 eggs separated
215g (1 cup) caster sugar
4 tblsp finely grated lemon juice
60 ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla essence
355g (3 ½ cups) almond meal
250g carton mascarpone
150ml thickened cream
Pure icing sugar to dust


Preheat oven to 200C. Spray a round 22cm  cake tin with oil. Line base & side with non- stick baking paper.

Place butter & chocolate in heat proof bowl over saucepan half-filled with simmering water. Stir with metal spoon till chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Set aside 5 min to cool slightly.

Use electric beater to beat egg yolks & sugar in a bowl till thick & pale. Add rind, juice & vanilla. Beat till combined. Stir in almond meal & chocolate mixture.

Use clean electric beater to beat egg whites in clean dry bowl till firm peaks form. Use metal spoon to fold half of egg white into lemon juice mixture till just combined. Fold in remaining egg white till just combined.

Pour into prepared tin. Bake for 10 min. Reduce oven to 150C. Bake further 55-60 min or till skewer into centre comes out clean. Set aside in tin for 10 min to cool slightly. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, whisk mascarpone & cream in a bowl till well combined and thickened.

Dust cake with icing sugar. Cut into slices & serve with mascarpone cream.






This is one of the easiest cakes to make. Because the rhubarb is used raw and releases its liquid into the batter as the cake cooks, the finished result is also an ideal dessert that can be spooned out, instead of sliced into wedges.  The rhubarb pieces make the batter lumpy as it goes into the tin or ovenproof dish.

Butter & breadcrumbs
500g rhubarb, sliced into 2 cm pieces
65g butter
380g brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp dry cinnamon
Grated rind of 1 lemon
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp salt 250ml sour cream

Butter a 22cm springform  tin or an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the buttered surface with breadcrumbs then shake out any loose crumbs.

Beat the butter & 300g of sugar together till fluffy. Add the eggs & vanilla.

Sift together the flour, bicarb soda, salt & 1 tsp cinnamon & stir into the egg mixture with the lemon rind.

Stir in the rhubarb & sour cream.

Put the mixture in the prepared tin, sprinkle with the remaining 80g sugar and the other tsp cinnamon & bake for 50 – 60 min at 180C. Check with skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.

Serve warm with whipped cream.

(dessert – Bridges week August 2010)








OPAL Nicky’s ratatouille
(adapted from Stephanie Alexander)

3 eggplants, cut into 3cm pieces
¼ cup olive oil
2 onions thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
3 red peppers – 3cm pieces
½ yellow pepper – 3cm pieces
5 zucchini – 3cm pieces
Few coriander seeds crushed
400 g tin diced tomatoes
1 tbls tomato paste
Freshly ground pepper, parsley & basil

Put eggplants on tray, lightly salt, cover with foil & press lightly with tins for 1 hour. Wipe off moisture with kitchen paper.

Heat oil in solid based pot & sauté onion till limp and golden. Add peppers & garlic. Add eggplant & ½ tin tomatoes & cook gently approx. 20 min.

Add zucchini, coriander seeds, rest of tomatoes & tomato paste, grinding of pepper & cook further approx. 20 min till vegs are tender.

Stir in parsley & basil & adjust seasoning.

(2009 Club weekend Dinner)