Karen Martini's easy eats

Perfect mid-week meal: Shredded beef, ginger and Thai basil stirfry.
Perfect mid-week meal: Shredded beef, ginger and Thai basil stirfry. 

Egg noodles with shredded beef, Thai basil and sesame

This is such a delicious midweek meal. Stir-fried beef works so well with plenty of garlic, ginger and sesame, and I love it with the aromatic anise notes of Thai basil. My girls love it too.

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

Easy as pie: Chicken, mushroom and kale pie.
Easy as pie: Chicken, mushroom and kale pie. 

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons white sugar

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

Must-try: Red velvet cupcakes iced with marshmallow.
Must-try: Red velvet cupcakes iced with marshmallow. 

15cm piece of ginger

6 garlic cloves

300 g eye fillet or scotch fillet, finely sliced


1 bunch of gai lan (Chinese broccoli), each stem sliced in half lengthways and cut in half

500g fresh chow mein egg noodles

3½ tablespoons rice bran or vegetable oil

Karen Martini's new cookbook, <i>Home</i>.
Karen Martini's new cookbook, Home

½ white onion, sliced

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

6 spring onions, cut into 5cm batons

3 tablespoons shaoxing rice wine

3 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 handfuls of Thai basil leaves

1. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and pepper to a large bowl. Finely grate in half of the ginger and garlic and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the beef to the marinade, mix through and set aside for 30 minutes.

2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the gai lan for one minute. Lift out of the water and set aside. Blanch the noodles in the boiling water for one minute and refresh in cold water. Drain and set aside at room temperature.

3. Finely slice the rest of the garlic and ginger.

4. In a large wok over high heat, add the oil and heat for one to two minutes until just starting to shimmer. Add the sliced onion, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds and stir-fry for two minutes. Quickly spread the marinated beef around the wok in one layer and cook for two minutes without stirring. Add the spring onion and stir the beef through quickly. Add the noodles and gai lan and toss through for another two minutes until combined and hot. Add the rice wine, sizzle for a few seconds, then add the oyster sauce and toss through. Add the basil leaves, toss through again and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Chicken, kale and mushroom pie

I really do love a good chicken pie and this is my favourite version yet. You can now buy beautiful all-butter puff pastry at the supermarket; it usually comes in one thick piece that you can carefully roll out to fit your dish. Almost as good as making your own.

4 stalks of kale, leaves stripped and roughly torn

1 litre chicken stock

extra virgin olive oil

salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

1.5 kg chicken thighs, skin on and bone in

½ brown onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 leeks, white and pale green parts, finely sliced

50 g butter

450 g large pine or field mushrooms, cleaned and finely diced

3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

40 g plain flour

2 tablespoons double cream

2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

1 × 375g packet of all butter puff pastry (1 thick piece)

1 egg, whisked

1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan and blanch the kale for one minute. Remove the kale and use a sieve to squeeze any excess moisture back into the pan.

2. Oil and season the chicken thighs and cook, skin-side down, in a large deep-sided frying pan over medium heat for about eight minutes until brown. Flip the chicken and add the hot stock. Simmer gently for 25 minutes until the thighs are cooked. Take off the heat.

3. Remove the cooked chicken and set aside. Strain the stock into a medium saucepan, return to the stove, skim off most of the fat and reduce to approximately 400 millilitres.

4. Preheat the oven to 190 fan-forced (210 conventional).

5. For the pie filling, add a good splash of oil to a large, deep-sided frying pan and cook the onion, garlic and leeks over medium-low heat for around 10 minutes until softened and starting to caramelise. Add the butter, mushrooms and thyme and cook for a further five minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the flour and cook for two minutes while stirring. Add the strained stock and simmer for two to three minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the double cream and mustard. Mix through the parsley and kale and take off the heat.

6. Pick the cooled chicken from the bones and tear or roughly chop the flesh. Add the chicken to the pan and gently combine. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

7. Pick a baking dish that will fit the filling with only a small gap between the top of the mix and the lip – otherwise your pastry will sink and won't brown properly. Gently roll the pastry to fit the dish with a three-centimetre overhang. Trim off any excess pastry, but keep the scraps. Brush the rim of the dish with the egg, tip the filling in and lay the pastry lid on top. Press the pastry down to seal and decorate the top with the scraps. Make a couple of incisions in the top to release steam and brush with the egg. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and puffed.

Serves 4

Red velvet cupcakes iced with marshmallow

For all the red velvet cupcake fans out there, this recipe is a must-try. The marshmallow icing is deliciously light and fluffy, and the freeze-dried raspberry powder gives these party treats a really tasty zing.

250g unsalted butter, softened

200g castor sugar

4 extra-large eggs

240g self-raising flour

35g cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla extract

120ml milk

2 tsp red food colouring

freeze-dried raspberry powder, to serve

shaved chocolate, to serve (optional)

Marshmallow icing

100g egg whites (about 3 extra-large egg whites but accuracy is important)

220g castor sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 175C fan-forced (195C conventional). Line a medium cupcake tray with 18 paper liners.

2. To make the cupcakes, place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Gradually add the milk and red colouring, while processing, until the mixture is smooth and evenly combined.

3. Spoon the mixture into the liners until they're two-thirds full. Bake for 15–20 minutes until springy to the touch. Cool on wire racks.

4. To make the marshmallow icing, add the egg whites to the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment fitted. Don't beat yet. Heat the sugar and 100 millilitres of water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Using a sugar thermometer to monitor the temperature, bring the syrup up to 115C. As soon as the syrup has come to temperature, whisk the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.

5. When the temperature reaches 121C, pour the syrup in a slow continuous stream into the egg whites while whisking. This will cook the egg whites and increase the volume threefold. Keep whisking for five minutes until cool.

6. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a large nozzle attached and decorate the cooled cupcakes – you could also simply spoon the icing on. Sprinkle over some freeze-dried raspberry powder or shaved chocolate (if using).

Makes 18

Recipe extract from Karen Martini Home, out now through Pan Mcmillan, $39.99