Hello and welcome to FROST BITE'S website and blog.  If you have any questions or comments please drop me a line at frostbitefood@gmail.com

Happy cooking and freezing!

Susan x

Recipe: Malaysia fish curry

Here's the covergirl from the FROST BITE e-book: an amazing Malaysian fish curry.


Susan x

Malaysian fish curry

This is one of my favourite curries and it’s a delicious way to add seafood to your diet.  I normally keep a ziplock bag of the curry sauce in the freezer and buy the fish on the day I plan to eat it, but you could buy the fish in advance and freeze it too.

If you want to add some vegetables to the curry: cut green beans into bite-size pieces then simmer them in the curry sauce till just tender.  Add the fish and cook for a few more minutes.

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablesp grated fresh ginger
½-1 teasp minced chilli (optional)
1 teasp (5ml) vegetable oil
1 teasp ground coriander
½ teasp each of turmeric, ground fennel and ground cumin
500ml (2 cups) coconut milk
10 curry leaves
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt and pepper

600-700g (1½ lbs) diced fish (firm white fish.  Fresh, never been frozen)

Steamed jasmine rice
Coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish
Lime wedges

Place onion, garlic, ginger and chilli (if using) in the small bowl of a food processor (or use a stick blender) with a little water (1-2 tablesp / 20-40ml) and blitz for 1-2 minutes to form a paste.

Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan and add paste.  Cook for a few minutes over med-high heat for the onion mixture to soften and the water to evaporate then add the dry spices.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until very fragrant then add coconut milk, curry leaves and lime juice.  Simmer for a couple of minutes then taste for salt and pepper and allow to cool.

Dice the fish into 2-3cm (1 in) cubes and store in a ziplock bag for the freezer (you will add the fish to the curry later).

Freeze: Pour the curry sauce into a ziplock bag or plastic container and freeze

Defrost: On kitchen bench or in the fridge, or in the microwave.  (It will look thick and unappetizing when thawed.  Don’t panic, it will be fine when reheated)

Cook: Place the curry in a wok or large saucepan and bring to the boil.  Add the diced fish and simmer for about 5 mins or until the fish is cooked.

Serve: Serve with jasmine rice and garnish with coriander leaves and lime wedges

Serves: approx 4

Recipe: Rustic quiche

It's a miserable day in Sydney today (rain, rain, go away) but it's perfect weather for staying indoors and cooking up a storm.   I think we'll have this for dinner tonight and I'll make a spare for the freezer.

Here's another sneak peak inside the FROST BITE e-book - you can use different quiche fillings to suit your taste, but I love the smokiness of bacon and the sweetness of leeks.

Susan x

Rustic bacon, leek and pea quiche

My girls love this quiche and it’s the easiest way to get them to eat peas!  I also like that the quiche is prepared in a square cake tin as I don’t waste any pastry, which normally happens when making quiche in a round quiche tin.

1 sheet shortcrust pastry, thawed
Olive oil
200g (7 oz) bacon, diced
1 large leek, sliced
¾ cup frozen peas
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
4 eggs
½ cup (125ml) sour cream
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).  Grease a 20cm (8 in) square cake tin and line with baking paper.

Ease the pastry into the cake tin and use your fingers to bunch up the pastry in the corners, keeping it rustic looking.  Bake blind * then remove the tin from the oven.

Meanwhile: heat some oil in a large frypan and cook bacon and leek over medium heat until the bacon is abit crispy and the leek is soft then remove from heat.  Add the peas to the bacon mixture and allow to cool.  Spread the bacon/leek/pea mixture over the base of the pastry then scatter parmesan over the top.

Whisk together the eggs, sour cream and pepper in a bowl then pour into the pastry shell.  Gently move some of the filling so that the eggy mixture goes to the bottom of the quiche.

Bake for 30-40 mins or until golden brown and well set.  Allow to cool.

Freeze: Wrap well in cling wrap and freeze

Defrost: On kitchen bench or in the fridge, or can be reheated from frozen

Reheat: Cover loosely with foil and cook in a 200C (400F) oven for about 15 mins or till heated through (allow longer for frozen quiche)

Serve: With a green salad

Serves: 4

* To bake blind: Preheat oven to 180C/350F.  Line the tin with pastry then place a sheet of baking paper on the pastry.  Fill the pastry with pastry weights, dried beans or rice then cook in oven for 10 mins.  Remove baking paper and weights/beans/rice and cook for another 10 mins.

If you're looking for more info on freezing quiche you might like this blog post I wrote a while ago.

Recipe: Schnitzel Day

Wondering what's in the new FROST BITE e-book?  Here's another sample recipe for you to enjoy.

Susan x

‘Schnitzel Day’

This recipe is based on Nonna Minotto’s delicious schnitzels.  Mrs Minotto is my friend’s mother-in-law, and she occasionally declares a ‘schnitzel day’ when she makes a ton of crumbed schnitzels and stores them in the freezer for future eating.  I love the sound of that!  The secret to these schnitzels is the meat is marinated in egg, herbs and garlic for several hours before crumbing.  So good!

Nonna Minotto's fabulous schnitzels

2 eggs, beaten
2 tablesp (40ml) milk
2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
Handful fresh parsley or basil leaves, finely chopped
6 veal or chicken schnitzels, beaten very thin

1½ cups dried breadcrumbs (or a combination of breadcrumbs and panko crumbs)
½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Sea salt and black pepper

Olive oil
Wedges of lemon, to serve
Cooked vegetables or salad, to serve

Combine the eggs, milk, garlic and herbs in a shallow dish then add the veal/chicken.  Turn to coat the meat in the egg mixture then cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for 6-24 hours (one hour is OK but they’ll develop a better flavour if they marinate for longer).

Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.  Remove a piece of meat from the marinade and place it in the crumb mixture, turning to coat all sides with the crumbs.  Repeat with remaining schnitzels.  Place the schnitzels in a large ziplock bag or plastic container with sheets of baking paper between the layers.

Freeze:  Ensure the schnitzels are airtight then freeze

Defrost:  In the fridge (or partially defrost on the kitchen bench before finishing in the fridge).  They won’t take long to defrost – place them in a single layer on a tray and they’ll defrost quickly.

Cook:  Heat some oil in a large frypan and cook a few schnitzels at a time, turning over when the underside is golden

Serve:  With a wedge of lemon and vegetables of your choice

Makes: 6 schnitzels.  Double/triple the recipe if you want lots of schnitzels!

Recipe: Chicken and chorizo gumbo

If you were wondering what was in the launch party goodie bags you might like to read on...

Normally I would give everyone a copy of the new book at a launch party, but in this case there was no book to give!  So I gave everyone ingredients instead.  They were the ingredients to the Chicken and chorizo gumbo from the new FROST BITE e-book.

Chicken and chorizo gumbo

This is great comfort food from Louisiana, perfect for cold wintery nights.  I prefer to add the rice after defrosting so that it doesn’t overcook.  Gumbo normally includes okra but I’m not a fan of this vegetable so I haven’t included it here.

Olive oil
400g (1 lb) chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat then cut in 2cm (1 in) dice
1 chorizo sausage, cut in ½ cm (¼ in) slices
1 onion, chopped
1 green capsicum (bell pepper), cut in 1-2cm (½-1 in) dice
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1½ tablesp Cajun spice mix
2 tablesp plain (all-purpose) flour
4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
400g (14 oz) tin diced Roma tomatoes
Sea salt and black pepper

¾ cup uncooked white rice
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Tabasco or hot sauce (optional)

Heat some oil in a large saucepan.  Add chicken and chorizo and cook till browned all over (in batches, if necessary).  Remove to a plate lined with paper towels (the chorizos are often oily).

Reduce heat and add onion, capsicum and celery.  Cook for a few minutes then add garlic and continue cooking till the onion is translucent.

Add Cajun spices and flour and cook for a minute or two then add stock and tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer then return chicken and chorizo to the saucepan.  Taste for salt and pepper then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Don’t worry if it seems too liquidy, the rice will absorb the liquid later.

Freeze:  Pour the gumbo mixture into a plastic container or ziplock bag and freeze

Defrost: In fridge (or partially defrost on the kitchen bench before finishing in the fridge) or in the microwave

Cook: Place the gumbo in a large saucepan, bring to a simmer, then add rice.  Stir frequently as the rice will stick to the bottom of the saucepan.  Cook for about 20-25 mins or until the rice is tender (you may need to add more water if the rice is a little undercooked).

Serve: Spoon into bowls and scatter parsley over the top.  Place a bottle of Tabasco on the table for those who want extra spice

Serves: approx. 4

Eliminate Mayhem at Mealtime

I've been a busy beaver and am thrilled to say my new collection of FROST BITE recipes is available for purchase.  Let me introduce you to:

FROST BITE: Make-ahead Recipes to Eliminate Mayhem at Mealtime

Here's a sneak peak...

Looking good on my mini-iPad

There are 40 fabulous recipes for meal times and snacks, as well as tons of tips and tricks so you can make food in advance and maintain your sanity at dinner time.

It's available as a printable e-book so you can print it, read it on your tablet, store it on the computer or keep it on your phone.  Use it anyway you like.

Click here for more information or to purchase the book.

Susan x

Cooking Group

Have you ever thought of joining or forming a Cooking Group?

I have a bunch of friends who are mums from our local school who get together every 1-2 months to cook together.  The group was formed when I started full-time work two years ago so I couldn't commit to the group, so I was on the substitute list for when someone was away.  I have been 'called up' a few times but invariably I was busy on the set date, but finally I was able to join the group a few weeks ago.

What a fun day!  It was a little crazy, there was food everywhere, tons of washing up, but lots of great cooking smells and plenty of chattering with good friends.

Here's some of the output from our three hours together in the kitchen:

If you are interested in starting a group, here are some pointers:

  • Four, five or six members is a good number.  Any more and it will be chaos.
  • Agree on a day and time (eg, Saturday at 1-4pm) and frequency (monthly, bi-monthly etc)
  • Take turns hosting the Cooking Group.  
  • Make sure everyone knows if there are any allergies or foods that can't be eaten for religious reasons
  • Everyone agrees to cook enough servings of their chosen recipe so that everyone gets one serving of each meal
  • Ask each member to advise what they will be cooking so that there will be a good variety of recipes.  Each member should also state if they need the oven or a hotplate (first in, first served) and what containers everyone should bring to the group so they can take the food home with them
  • Tell the group if you have a electrical frypans/wok or a mobile hotplate.  The stove area can be a little crazy during Cooking Group so it's good to have a few cooking zones.
  • Recipes should be freezer-friendly so everyone can eat the meals when it suits them.  If the food can't be frozen you need to advise the group so that everyone knows they must eat that meal within a few days of Cooking Group
  • Set a recommended dollar limit on how much each person should spend on ingredients
  • Each person must bring all equipment, knives, chopping boards, a few teatowels etc with them on the day
  • Most people do some preparation before going to Cooking Group.  You may like to chop some ingredients, grate cheese, roast capsciums, toast nuts etc before arriving.  This will make it a little easier during the Cooking Group time as most people underestimate how long it takes to prepare 4-6 servings of a recipe.
  • If anyone finishes preparing their food they normally help the others who are still cooking.  Many hands make light work.
  • Don't get competitive with each other by producing gourmet or wildly creative meals.  The recipes should be tasty, Monday-to-Friday dinners, not dinner party fare.

And above all, have fun and a few laughs.  A glass of wine is optional.

Susan x

Back to basics: storing food for the freezer

Following on from my earlier post about How to Freeze, here's part two of my Freezing Fundamentals blog posts...

How to store food for the freezer

Many people ask me how I store food in the freezer - do I use aluminium trays?   Lots of plastic containers?  Well, here are my tips on how to wrap/package/store food in the deep freeze.

  • Most foods can be stored in plastic containers but I don't own an enormous collection of containers so I prefer to use ziplock bags.  I buy good quality bags for wet foods such as soups and casseroles as the cheaper bags sometimes leak.  

  • For food such as cooked rice, cookie dough balls etc I use cheaper ziplock bags from Aldi or other supermarkets.  Ziplock bags come in various sizes from small to extra large.  I keep a variety of sizes on hand as they all come in handy.
  • Don't forget that ziplock bags are fine for freezing but you should never reheat food in the ziplock bag.  To defrost: place the ziplock bag of frozen food on the kitchen bench or in the fridge till defrosted (or partially defrosted) then move the food to a suitable dish/saucepan for reheating or cooking.  
  • Some foods are better stored in plastic containers - you can buy these from discount stores and supermarkets, or you can recycle containers from takeaway meals.  If I am preparing a meal for a friend I will normally give it to them in a takeaway container rather than a ziplock bag.
  • Always write a description of the food and the preparation date on the packaging as all food will look identical when it is frozen!  I love using Ziplock bags as they have a white strip to write on, but if using plastic containers I recommend using a piece of masking tape and write on the tape.  
  • Some meals such as lasagne or pies must be stored in a casserole (ceramic or glass) or pie dish (ceramic or metal).  Make sure you use casserole dishes that are suitable for the oven and freezer.  If you don't have too many dishes you might like to use aluminium disposable trays.  They are perfect for meals that you are giving to someone as they don't need to be returned.
  • Delicate foods such as tarts are best stored in their tart tin (and wrapped in cling wrap) otherwise they may be damaged in the freezer.  Make sure you place these items at the top of your freezer, not under several heavy containers of frozen food.  You may need to buy an extra tart tin in your favourite size if you find that one is regularly in the freezer.
  • Cakes do not need to be stored in a container in the freezer.  I normally wrap them in a double layer of cling wrap or foil before placing in the freezer.

  • When wrapping food in foil, bear in mind that it might not be airtight so I recommend using two layers of foil or wrap in foil then wrap again in cling wrap.
  • When storing liquidy foods such as soups and casseroles, don't forget that liquids expand upon freezing so make sure you don’t fill your containers to the brim.
  • Sometimes I'll freeze snacks for my daughters' lunchboxes (homemade or from the supermarket).  I prefer to wrap them individually before freezing as it makes life a little easier during the morning rush. The girls just grab a few items and pop them in the lunchbox then we're out the door.  Now that my girls are older I enlist their help - I give them a packet of little plastic bags (little cheapie bags like these ones from Woolworths), a packet of mini lamingtons or pikelets from the supermarket, or some homemade muffins, and a roll of sticky tape.  They put a single portion in each bag, twist the top of the bag and stick it down with sticky tape.  Then all the little parcels go into the top draw of our freezer, ready for school time.
  • Items such as hamburgers or schnitzels should have a sheet of non-stick baking paper between the layers of food, otherwise they will stick together in one almighty clump.

  • I have a large freezer so I normally cook double or triple quantities of most recipes.  That means I have dinner tonight and another meal in the freezer for when I don't feel like cooking.  Win win! 

That wraps it up (no pun intended) for my tips on preparing food for the freezer.  If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment, feel free to drop me a line below.

Susan x

Coming up .... the third and final instalment in this series: How to defrost

Vegetarian meals

Many people are afraid of freezing vegetarian meals so I thought I'd share these recipes I found over at The Kitchn.

Lots of vegetarian recipes freeze really well, as long as you avoid certain ingredients such as uncooked tomatoes and salad ingredients (lettuce, celery, cucumber, avocado etc).  Potatoes are a bit iffy as they sometimes freeze well but other times they can be spongy and strange after defrosting.

And the most important thing to remember is to defrost slowly!  All food, especially vegetables, taste better if they are defrosted slowly.

Click here for 15 vegetarian recipes over at The Kitchn.

All images are from The Kitchn

Back to basics: how to freeze

I thought it would be good to get back to basics, the ground rules so to speak.  So this week we'll cover everything there is to know about how to freeze.

The basic rule of thumb with freezing food is

freeze quickly and defrost slowly

This gives your food the best chance of being unaffected by the freezing process.  It has something to do with the ice crystals that form in the food but I don't want to get technical here.  I just want your food to taste great, I want your food to taste like it had never stepped foot in the freezer.

So here are my top tips for freezing food (brace yourself, it's quite a list):

  • Make sure your freezer is working well and operating at -18°C (0°F) or below.  You can check the temperature with a freezer thermometer, available from good kitchenware shops. 
  • If you're not sure how long to store food in the freezer: check the inside of the freezer door. There's normally a table or diagram that shows how long you can freeze different kinds of food.  Or check out this link.
  • When cooking, make sure your food cools to room-temperature or refrigerator-temperature before placing it in the freezer.  If you place hot food in the freezer you may cause the surrounding food to defrost (and icecream to melt) and you will slow down the performance of your freezer.
  • Try not to freeze enormous quantities of food at one time, the recommended amount to freeze is 1kg of food for every 25 litres of freezer capacity.  
  • If you have a large freezer it's a good idea to allow plenty of air to circulate around the food to help it freeze quickly.  Once frozen you can pack the food tightly.
  • I will write a separate post about how to store foods (in ceramic dishes, in aluminium trays etc) but the main thing to remember is to store your food as thinly as possible so they can freeze quickly and defrost easily.  For example, pack hamburger patties in a single layer rather than in a large bundle, or store your casseroles and curries in zip-lock bags so they will form flat “pillows” of food, rather than in large, boxy containers.
Source.  Check out those soups!
This photo is a tad unrealistic, but you get the idea
  • Make sure you freeze your food in usable portions.  It is impossible to cut a single portion of soup or casserole from a frozen hunk.  Invest some time up front and create portions that suit you and your household: 1-person size, 2-person size, kid-size, family-size etc.  You'll be glad you did!

  • Dehydration is the enemy of frozen food.  Always store food in air-tight containers or cover well with cling wrap before freezing.  Some websites/books recommend using double layers of cling wrap, but I normally use one layer and it's fine. If I wrap food in aluminium foil I often re-wrap it in cling wrap as the foil isn't airtight.  Any food that is exposed to the cold air in the freezer will eventually become dry on the surface (often called “freezer burn”) and may even taste different.  
  • In my books I refer to "flash freezing".   I recommend this for cookie dough in particular because if you place the balls of dough in a bag or container they will stick together in one large clump when they are frozen.  To flash freeze: line a tray with non-stick paper, place food on the tray so that they're not touching, then freeze.  Once frozen, transfer the food to a zip-lock bag or plastic container and return to the freezer.

  • There are some foods that don’t freeze well so you won't find them in my recipes:  strawberries, salad ingredients (lettuce, carrot, cucumber, tomato etc), boiled eggs, strawberries, mayonnaise, gelatin, custard etc.  Here's a handy A-Z list of what freezes well and what to avoid.
  • Bear in mind that foods that contain salt and fats can become rancid more quickly.  Any recipe containing bacon or ham should be eaten sooner rather than later.
  • Strong flavours such as garlic or chilli can intensify after storage in the freezer.  Keep this in mind when adding chilli to spicy recipes!
  • Full-fat cheeses freeze better than low-fat cheeses.  This is good to know if you like to freeze sandwiches that contain cheese, or if you put cheese in the freezer before it goes off.
  • Many people ask me if it's OK to re-freeze meat.  The answer is yes and no: If you have frozen  raw meat you can defrost the meat and cook it in a recipe then refreeze it, as long as you cook the meat completely.  Eg, you may have minced (ground) beef in the freezer.  You can defrost it, prepare bolognaise using the beef, then you can freeze the cooked bolognaise.  Do not defrost raw meat, prepare it without cooking (eg placing it in a marinade) then refreeze it.
  • When preparing a seafood recipe for the freezer, make make sure you buy fresh seafood.  Most fishmongers will display a sign saying "defrosted for your convenience" or something similar so you'll know that it has already been frozen. Just ask your fishmonger if you're not sure.
  • Cakes freeze well, but there's a few things to know about icing and decorating cakes for the freezer. Check out this blog post I wrote about cakes.  And while we're on the subject of baked goods: here are my handy hints for freezing quiches.
  • If you have food that has been lurking in the freezer for a REALLY long time, don't automatically think you need to throw it out.  According to Food Science Australia (a joint venture between the Victorian government and CSIRO) “frozen foods do not become unsafe to eat even when held for years at -18°C. The changes affect the sensory and nutritional properties of the food rather than its safety.”   This is great news!  Your frozen foods are safe to eat but they might suffer a little in other ways (colour, texture, nutrition etc).  

In the next few weeks I'll cover how to store food for the freezer, and how to defrost. Riviting stuff ... not.  But it's good to get these things squared away so you know the fundamentals.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to drop me a line.

Eat well.  Be well.
Susan x

Lolly icecream cake

Looking for a super yummy dessert that suits young and old and MUST be made in advance??

Let me introduce you to the Lolly/Candy/Sweets Icecream Cake (choose the noun that suits your neck of the woods).

I whipped up this baby last week for Emily's birthday party and it was a hit. We had one guest who is allergic to eggs so I made sure all the ingredients were egg-free and she was stoked that she could eat the birthday cake too.  Normally she misses out, poor poppet.

This recipe is dead simple and you can vary the lollies/sweets/candy to suit your personal taste.  We had another guest with a peanut allergy so the recipe below shows which lollies I used to avoid nuts.

Lolly Icecream Cake

2 litres vanilla icecream
1 litre chocolate icecream
5-6 pieces of chocolate-coated honeycomb (or 1.5 Crunchie or Violet Crumble bars), roughly chopped
large handful of marshmallows, cut into quarters
2 Cherry Ripe bars, roughly chopped

Later - to serve:
Extra pieces of chocolate-coated honeycomb, roughly chopped

Line a 20cm square cake tin with plastic cling wrap, making sure it goes over the sides with about 10-15cm of extra cling wrap.

Scoop half of the vanilla icecream in a bowl and allow to soften a little.  Add the chocolate honeycomb and mix it into the icecream.  Spread the mixture into the base of the cake tin and smooth out the top so that it's fairly flat.  Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

Scoop the chocolate icecream into a bowl and allow to soften a little.  Add the marshmallows and mix it through the icecream. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and spread to an even layer.  Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

Scoop the remaining vanilla icecream into a bowl and allow to soften a little.  Add the Cherry Ripe pieces and mix to combine.  Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and spread to an even layer.  Use the overhanging cling wrap to cover the top of the icecream then return it to the freezer till the day of the party.

To serve: Use the plastic wrap to lift the icecream cake from the cake tin (you may like to place it in a sink of room-temperature water for 20 seconds to help soften the edges).  Invert the cake onto a platter so that the honeycomb layer is at the top.  Scatter extra honeycomb on top, allow to sit for a couple of minutes so that it's not too hard, then serve.


Any of the following lollies/sweets/candy are great for this recipe:

  • chopped up Mars Bars (called Milky Ways in the US), Snickers, Peppermint Crisp, Flakes or Twirl bars, Kit Kats etc
  • chopped peanuts/almonds/hazelnuts/pecans (even better if they're chocolate-coated)
  • chopped freckles (although the colours will run)
  • M&Ms or Smarties (although the colours will run)
  • chopped Maltesers
  • crushed Oreo cookies
  • chopped fudge
  • chopped wafer biscuits
  • popping candy (I haven't tried this so I'm not sure if they will go soggy or if they will still pop)
  • crushed meringue
You can use gummy/jelly lollies (eg gummy bears or chopped-up lolly snakes) but I find they go rock solid in the icecream and are hard to eat.

Also, you can use any flavour icecream instead of the Vanilla and Chocolate in my recipe.  Strawberry or Cookie Dough icecream would be great, or a coffee/espresso icecream would be delicious for adults.


Do you have lots of ham, turkey or roast chicken leftover from your Christmas festivities?

How good does this ham look?  
Photo source: here

Don't forget that they all freeze well, so why not slice up the meat and store it in ziplock bags in the freezer.  Then you can grab a few slices when you need them for sandwiches, quiche, fritatta etc.

Or you could make up a batch of sandwiches with the ham/turkey/chicken, complete with mustard or cranberry sauce if you like.  Wrap the sandwiches individually and freeze.  Then you can grab one and take it to work, school or munching at home.

Even better: why not add some sliced cheese to the ham sandwiches before freezing then you can make them into toasties in a sandwich press after defrosting.  Hmmmm

This turkey looks fab - fresh herbs are the best garnish.
Photo source: here

Freezer contents

I love this idea for keeping track of what's in the freezer. Use a dry-erasable marker and write on the door!

No more mystery food loitering in the back of the freezer for upteen years!

Photo source: here

Chicken wrapped in prosciutto with pesto

I had an email the other day from a reader called Michelle:

"I want to make stuffed chicken breasts to have on hand in my freezer.  I stuff the raw chicken breast with spinach, sundried tomato and feta cheese.  I normally cook right away, but wondering if I could freeze this?  I guess I worry about the feta cheese getting contaminated with chicken bacteria during the thawing process!? "

I stuff chicken breasts and freeze them all the time, or sometimes I see them at the butcher so I buy them and freeze them.  There are a few things to know about freezing chicken:

  • thaw the chicken completely before cooking (never cook from frozen)
  • make sure you cook the chicken all the way through
  • make sure it is piping hot which will kill any bacteria, then allow it to cool slightly for eating.  This is particularly relevant for casseroles or curries where it's tempting to only heat until it's warmed through.

There's a recipe in FROST BITE for stuffed chicken.  I don't normally give away too many recipes from the book (the publishers wouldn't be impressed!) but this is such an easy one that it's worth sharing.

Chicken wrapped in prosciutto with creamy pesto sauce

4 chicken breasts, skin removed
80g (3 oz) semi-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
8 super-thin slices prosciutto (about 30cm long)

Basil pesto:
see the recipe here

¾ cup (190ml) thickened cream

For the chicken: Cut a pocket into the side of each chicken breast and fill with the semi-dried tomatoes.  Place two pieces of prosciutto next to each other (long sides together) and roll the chicken down the length of the prosciutto so that it is well wrapped.  Place in a plastic container or ziplock bag.

For the pesto: follow the instructions here.

Freeze: Ensure the chicken is airtight then place in freezer.  Freeze the pesto in a small container or ice cube tray.

Defrost: Chicken - In the fridge (or partially defrost on the kitchen bench before finishing in the fridge).  Not suitable for the microwave.  Pesto - on the kitchen bench or in the fridge.

Cook: Brush the chicken breasts with a little olive oil then bake in 200C (400F) oven for about 20 mins or until cooked through and the prosciutto is crisp.  Timing will depend on the thickness of your chicken breasts.

Place the pesto and cream in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat till just simmering.

Serve: Slice chicken in half on the diagonal and serve with some sauce spooned over and remaining sauce in a bowl on the table.

Serves: 4


We have a pantry full of Girl Guide biscuits (and unfortunately they're nothing like the amazing GG biscuits of my childhood) so I've been looking for ways to use them.

So I blitzed the living daylights out of them and reincarnated them as the base of a cheesecake. But don't despair if you don't have any Girl Guide biscuits, you can use any sweet biscuits to make this cheesecake.

Chocolate hazelnut cheesecake

250g sweet biscuits *
60g butter, melted
500g cream cheese **
300g tub of sour cream **
3 eggs
230g (1 cup) white sugar
½ teasp vanilla extract
50g dark chocolate, melted
50g hazelnuts, skins rubbed off, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

Place the biscuits in a food processor and blitz for about 30 seconds until they resemble breadcrumbs.  Transfer the crumbs to a bowl and add melted butter and stir till combined then pour into a 24cm (9½“) springform tin.  Use your fingers to press the biscuit over the base of the tin then set aside for the time being.

Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla in the food processor bowl.  Blitz for 10-20 seconds then scrape down the sides with a spatula.  Blitz again so that all ingredients are combined.

Pour the filling over the biscuit base then place the melted chocolate into a small plastic bag.  Cut the tip off the corner of the bag so that it's like a piping bag.  Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cheesecake in a random, squiggly pattern then scatter the nuts over the top.

Place the springform tin on an oven tray (because they often leak) then bake in preheated oven for about an hour or until set.  Allow to cool in tin then remove the collar.

Freeze: Place the cheesecake (on the base of the springform tin) in the freezer.  After an hour or two, wrap the cheesecake in cling wrap or place in a large plastic bag.  Return to the freezer.

Defrost: In fridge (or partially defrost on the kitchen bench before finishing in the fridge).  Not suitable for the microwave.

Serve: Chilled from the fridge

Serves: approx 10

* I used chocolate-coated Girl Guide cookies but you can use any biscuits.  Normally I'd use Arnotts Scotch Finger biscuits.

** I use low-fat cream cheese and sour cream and it's fine.  It's still a heavy-ish dessert so it's worth cutting a few calorie corners if you can!


It's winter in our neck of the woods which means lots of slow-cooked casseroles and hearty dishes.  Yum.

Are you adding parmesan rinds to your casseroles?  They add a lovely flavour to any recipe.

Whenever you finish a chunk of parmesan cheese, I suggest you pop the rind in a ziplock bag in the freezer.  And next time you make a casserole, pop one of the rinds into the pot (no need to thaw, just stick it straight in).

You'll thank me for it.

photo source: here

Reader questions

Here are some questions that I have received from members of the FROST BITE community.  I thought I'd share in case you have been wondering the same thing.  I'm sure we all spend our days pondering the big questions such as "does bocconcini freeze OK".

Hmmm.  Maybe not.  But here are the answers...

Q: Jen asked if you can freeze coconut milk

A: Yes, you can freeze coconut milk though the texture may be a little different after thawing but it won't matter if you plan to use it in cooking anyway. Give it a good shake/stir after defrosting and it will help with the consistency.

Q: Helen asked if bocconcini cheese can be frozen

A: Yes, you can freeze bocconcini cheese. It's a normal-fat cheese so it should be fine (low-fat cheeses don't freeze too well). You can freeze it in the water/brine or out of the water.

Also, I'd only use it for cooking (eg on pizza) after freezing/defrosting as it might be a little different to fresh bocconcini. But it's still better to freeze it and use on a pizza than waste it.

Q: Sarah asked if you can freeze lemon zest

A: Yes, it freezes well.  Simply zest the lemon and store the zest in a small ziplock bag in the freezer. Don't forget that lots of food items are listed in the Can I freeze it: A to Z guide on the left side of the blog, including lemon/orange/lime zest and juice.

Q: Kellie asked if slices can be frozen (also known as tray bakes in some parts of the world)

A: Yes, slices and brownies freeze well.  There are some recipes in the FROST BITE books but most slices will freeze well, though if they contain gelatin or custard I would avoid freezing them.

Q: Marti asks if you can freeze jam donuts

A: Yes, you can freeze jam donuts, or most donut for that matter.  Stock up when they're on sale at the supermarket then keep in the freezer for a snack or for lunchboxes.

Cheesecake brownies 2.0

Inspired by the brownies at Central Baking Depot I decided to amp up the Cheesecake brownies that I featured a few months ago.  All I added was ...

If you'd like to try it, simply add the finely grated zest of one large orange to the cheesecake filling (ie, cream cheese and eggs whisked together) then follow the recipe as stated.  It's so good!

Click here for the original recipe.

And since the brownies look exactly the same with the addition of orange zest I didn't bother taking another photo.  Here's a snap from earlier.



Did you know that you can freeze rice?

photo source: here

Whenever we need rice for a meal I make a TON of it in the rice cooker.  After we have eaten dinner I place the leftover rice in ziplock bags and freeze it.  That way we always have cooked rice on hand and I don't need to set up the rice cooker each time.

The same goes for fried rice.  If you make too much fried rice, or you have leftover fried rice from the Chinese takeaway, you might consider freezing it.  Then you can enjoy it as a snack sometime in the future.

One more tip: if you're feeding a baby or toddler I recommend spreading some cooked rice onto a tray and freezing it. When it is frozen you can break up the frozen rice, place in a ziplock bag and return to the freezer.  You can then easily add it to your baby purees or toddler meals.

Wonton soup

Now here's something to ward away those winter sniffles, a delicious and simple Asian-inspired soup with dumplings.  As my mum would say, it'll warm the cockles of your heart!  The recipe looks long, now that I've typed it, but it's dead-set easy and don't be put off by the steps involved.

You can make and freeze both the soup and the dumplings, just don't freeze them together.

And get your kids involved with the dumplings - they love to make them.

4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock *
3 cups water
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3cm chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1.5 tablep (30ml) soy sauce
drizzle of sesame oil

200g chicken mince
3 large spring onions, pale part only, finely chopped
small handful of coriander or basil leaves, chopped
2 teasp soy sauce
1 packet of wonton wrappers **

1 small carrot, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks (optional)
2-3 button mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)
1 spring onion, green part thinly sliced for garnish

* use homemade stock or buy a carton from the supermarket.  Please don't use stock cubes.
** wonton wrappers are available in the fridge section of the supermarket, normally near the fresh pasta (ravioli, lasagne sheets etc)

Method - Soup

Place stock, water, garlic and ginger in a stockpot and simmer for 5 mins.  Use a strainer to remove the ginger and garlic leaving just the liquid in the stockpot.  Add soy sauce and sesame oil.

Method - Dumplings

Mix the chicken, spring onions, herbs and soy sauce in a bowl till well combined.

Place a heaped teaspoon of the mixture in the middle of a wonton wrapper.  Dip your finger in a small bowl of water then wet the edge of the wonton wrapper then form the dumpling in any shape you like (just bunch it up if that's easiest).

Method - to finish

Bring soup to the boil then add carrot and mushroom (if using) and dumplings.  Simmer for 6-7 minutes so that the dumplings are cooked.  Use a ladle to place some dumpling in each bowl then pour over some soup.  Garnish with sliced spring onions and serve.

Serves: approx 5-6 people
Makes: approx 24 wontons

Freezing instructions

Freeze: pour the cooled soup into containers and freeze.  Place the dumplings in a ziplock bag and freeze.

Defrost: soup - in the fridge or microwave.  Wontons - no need, just add to the boiling soup while they are still frozen.  Allow an extra 2-3 mins of cooking time.