Posts Tagged ‘how to’

Simon’s Guide To Roast Meat

Monday, March 31st, 2014

A roast dinner is the perfect meal during Autumn, Winter or just on a Sunday afternoon. It’s one of the easiest cooking methods, just popping it into the oven and letting it do the work for you. We’ve put together our ‘Simon’s Guide To Roast Meat’ for steps and suggested cuts to help you out.


1. Preheating the oven allows for the all important first browning.

2. Place roast meat on a rack in a roasting dish, doing this raises the meat allowing the heat to circulate and brown the meat evenly.

3. Brush lightly with oil, and for extra tenderness, add a cup of water or liquid stock to the bottom of the roasting dish.

4. Add herbs, spices and sauces; such as rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, chilli, salt, pepper, mustard or lemon.

5. Our suggested cuts of meat for roasting; Beef – ribeye, rump, sirloin, rib roast, silverside, blade, eye round, oyster blade. Veal – rack, rump, shoulder, breast. Lamb – backstrap, topside, rump, rack, rib roast, loin, leg, shoulder. Pork – loin chops, rack, rolled loin, rolled belly, leg, shoulder, loin, topside. Depending on which meat you are roasting, speak to our friendly butchers for recommended cooking times.

6. Rest the roast by covering it loosely with foil for 10minutes, allowing the juices to settle and flow back through the meat, giving it a tasty tender taste.

Hot Tip! We also love cooking our vegetables underneath the meat, picking up the delicious juices from meat.

The Best Cut Of Steak For The BBQ

Monday, March 31st, 2014

You may know all the right cooking methods to perfect your steak but there are certain cuts of meat that may taste better than others. For great results, read ‘The Best Cut Of Steak For The BBQ’

T-Bone Steak: This large piece of loin steak has a T-shaped bone and little to no fat making it perfect for the bbq. It’s rich, tender and flavorsome.

Fillet Steak: The eye-fillet and tenderloin is the most tender cut of steak which is great for a bbq.

Scotch Fillet: Rib-fillet once cooked is juicy and tender, making it one of the most popular cuts of meat. It can taste that extra special when marinated before being cooked on the bbq.

Sirloin Steak: A favourite amongst beef lovers, the sirloin also known as a porterhouse steak is a tender cut of meat best suited for high cooking temperatures such as on a bbq, pan-fry and stir-fry.

Beef Ribs: Yes ribs are not a cut of steak but we wanted to include one of our favourite beef bbq options that is most often overlooked. Simmer beef ribs, drain excess water and add a delicious marinade the day before cooking them on the bbq.

Beef Patties: Again not a cut of steak but a perfect piece of beef for adults and certainly the kids at the next bbq. Beef Patties cooked on the bbq then served with salad or on a fresh bread-roll is wonderful for Summer and bbq parties.

Top Tip! Our favourite marinade for bbq scotch fillet – combine 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp red wine, 2 tbsp tomato sauce, 2 garlic cloves (crushed), ground peppercorns and 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional). Marinade at least half an hour before cooking.

Read here for more tips on cooking the perfect steak

What To Keep In Your Pantry

Thursday, March 27th, 2014


The best way to make sure you have everything you need to make the perfect family meal, is to keep your pantry perfectly stocked. You’ll never be stumped for dinner meal ideas again with our ‘What To Keep In Your Pantry’ list.



  • Tin Tomatoes
  • Tin Kidney Beans
  • Tin Cannellini Beans
  • Coconut Cream/Milk
  • Olive Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Sesame Seed Oil
  • Vinegar
  • Tomato Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Hot Sauce
  • Liquid Stock/Stock Cubes
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Cornflour
  • Cereal
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Brown Sugar
  • Honey


Top Tips! Remember to always rotate your products in the pantry, keeping older products to the front and the longer dates towards the back. Keep an eye on what the use-by and best-before items. Sort products by groups and shelves for ease when writing your shopping list. Items you use a lot of, try to place at eye height. You can bulk up on products over time which means you can stock up when big specials are on to save money.

These are just a few of our basic must-have staples for ‘what to keep in your pantry‘. There is alot more that we always have on hand and you will too, but they are on preference of what you like to regularly cook. For example; tin tuna, couscous, maple syrup, pinenuts, vanilla essence and not to mention an endless supply of dried herbs and spices.

General Cooking Tips and Hints

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Do you ever find yourself, ripping out recipes from magazines, to then not cook any as you’re afraid you ‘don’t have the time’ or ‘surely will muck it up’? There are a few general cooking tips and hints which can get you started to cooking more recipes and build your confidence in the kitchen.

Menu Planning. It’s beginning of the week, you’ve had a big day and you are already tempted to call your local take-away. This can happen to the best of people but with a meal menu plan for the week ahead, it can get most of us on track and organised for the nights ahead.

Don’t aim to high. Great quality produce speaks for itself so during the week, keep it simple. Don’t try a recipe you’ve never cooked before. Save those for a Sunday lunch or dinner when you’re relaxed and will enjoy the process.

Prepare before you begin. It sounds so simple but alot of us simply miss this step and then get ourselves worked up during cooking. Preparing your ingredients by having them on the bench, pre-cutting your vegetables and preheating the oven, are all simple things that even the most qualified chefs do.

Clean as you go. Yes it may feel like a drag, tidying up after every step that you take in a recipe but it’s a far lot better than being midway recipe, looking around at your kitchen thinking, ‘a bomb has just gone off and I don’t know what to do now’. Plus, take it from us, the more you do this simple step, it becomes a habit you won’t even realise you’re doing!

Make Errors. Yes, we said it! Make some mistakes and errors because we doubt anyone has perfected that recipe first go. What we need to do is learn from those mistakes and you’ll become a better cook!

Enjoy it! Do you prefer to cook on your own or with your partner? Does including the kids make you feel more confident in the kitchen? Or perhaps listening to your favourite music will have you enjoy the cooking process more? Think of these things. Cooking is a great and fun process. It can be your let-your-hair-down after the day routine.


Simon’s Guide To Casseroles

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

When it comes to Autumn and Winter, we cannot go past a slow-cooked casserole and how could we with the wonderful smells that fill the house during the day, the ease of cooking and delicious flavour on the table that very night. Read on for our guide to casseroles.


Casserole, French for “saucepan”, refers both to the meal as well as the dish it is cooked in. A casserole dish is deep, ovenproof with a tight fitting lid. The heat surrounds the dish making the food cook evenly throughout, not just from the bottom up.

It’s a classic meal that is perfect for all as it’s time and budget friendly. Casseroles require next to no effort for preparation, use cheaper cuts of meat that when slow cooked turns into the most tender, hearty and flavoursome meal.

Our top tips for casseroles are;

1. Cut to size – cut all your ingredients such as meat and vegetables into similar sizes to ensure they cook evenly.

2. Know your cuts – Lamb; shank, neck chop, chump. Beef; flank steak, chuck, rump roast, topside. Pork; belly, diced pork shoulder, forequarter chops. Chicken; diced, wings, drumsticks. Veal; Osso Bucco.

3. Coating – coat the meat in flour just before cooking. Don’t coat too early as the meat will absorb the flour and ruin the texture. Coating the meat in flour will thicken the casserole sauce later.

4. Batch work – brown meat in batches separately before adding vegetables, herbs or liquids. If you add too much in at once, it will cook in it’s own juices and become tough.

5. Fill it up –  be sure to add plenty of extras other than meat such as onion, carrot, potato, celery, sweet potato, bacon even prosciutto. Add quickly cooked produce such as beans or peas towards the end of cooking to avoid mushiness and lack of flavour. Add liquids like stock, wine, and tinned tomatoes.

6. Cover up – put the lid on the casserole and bake in oven according to your recipe. Remember, cook gently for tender meat.


What is Quinoa?

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

What is Quinoa?

There is a product that is hiding amongst our dry good shelves at Simon’s that is gaining popularity fast! What is this grain you might ask…it is Quinoa but what is Quinoa and why all the fuss?

Quinoa pronounced ‘Keen-Wah’, is native to South America and is a great substitute to rice and some cereals. It looks like a grain but is actually a seed that is gluten free, high in fibre, low G.I, has all the essential amino acids and contains more protein than any other grain. It has a subtle flavour with a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture that is quick and easy to cook.

To cook Quinoa, first rinse thoroughly. Place 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water in a pan, bring to boil without a lid. Once boiling, put on lid, turn down the heat and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

Quinoa is delicious cold in a salad, or served hot as a side to a curry, casserole or with a stirfry. Use it similar to rice by adding it to frittatas,  patties and even stuffing’s. Serve it with lots of roasted vegetables, with grilled chicken, apart of tabouli or as a pilaf. It’s very versatile for flavours as you can add spices to give the tastes of Indian, Moroccan, Mexican and Mediterranean.

Simple Antipasto Ideas

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Antipasto is one of the quintessential starter dishes that everyone loves. Not only are there typically an assortment of cured meats and cheeses, but also a variety of vegetable dishes to accompany them. Not only is antipasto delicious to eat, it can also be very appealing to the eye and allows your guests an opportunity to sample a variety of dishes while relaxing and mingling with each other.

There are many simple antipasto ideas that you can use when hosting a party or get together. The trick is to know, and serve, the antipasto staples. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can add a twist of your own to mix it up and infuse it with a few different flavours from around the world.



Cheese is the mainstay of an antipasto and having a variety of dish options can add significantly to the meal. Italian cheeses such as mozzarella and provolone are popular staples, but some more exotic Italian cheeses such as ricotta salata and gorgonzola can also add flavour to the dish. Try experimenting and do not be afraid of inserting some rather sharp or aged cheeses. Your guests will have different tastes and select what they like to eat.


Cured meats often accompany antipasto meals and small cured salami pieces, prosciutto, ham, and many other meats add variety of flavours to the meal. Be sure to have manageable sized bites so that people can sample a variety of dishes without becoming too full.


Vegetables will also add depth and flavour to an antipasto meal and additions such as marinated cauliflower, eggplant dips, stuffed hot Italian peppers, nuts, and olives will all accentuate the meal. You could also have small pieces of warm Italian bread cut up with olive oil to dip it in on the side which would add to the taste and flavour of the meal.

Global Infusions

With globalisation the tendency has been to move towards new global foods and to further diversify the global pallet. While antipasto is a essentially an Italian dish, adding in some flavours from around the world can only add to the variety of the dish, which is what antipasto is about.

Try adding flavours from around the world in the general theme of antipasto: cured meats such as jamon serrano and cheeses such as brie work well within the theme of antipasto. Chinese pickles and Thai hot peppers can also add to the meal.


Antipasto is easy to prepare and delicious to eat! Be sure to experiment with a variety of flavours to enjoy and share with your guests. We have a large range of food items, perfect for antipasto, so call in to our deli and have a look!



Guide To Freezing Meat

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Our Butcher’s are frequently asked tips and questions regarding Freezing Meat. Read on to find the answers to our commonly asked questions, in our Guide To Freezing Meat.

When Should I Freeze My Meat? You should try to freeze food as soon possible to ensure the safest food quality as well as best freezing time.

Why Should I Freeze My Meat? Isn’t it better to have fresh? Yes! We love fresh produce at Simon’s however we understand that buying meat it bulk can be cheaper therefore freezing to preserve the meat, can be ideal for families. It allows you to always have a meal on hand, whenever you need it.

How Do I Store My Meat In The Freezer? It’s best to store meat in your meals portion size so that you only defrost, what is needed. Wrap meat using good quality freezer bags and be sure to expel as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Tip: Clearly mark what the meat is and the date it was frozen.

How Long Can I Freeze Meat For?

  • Sausages: 2 Months
  • Mince: 2-3 Months
  • Diced/Strip Meat: 2-3 Months
  • Steak: 3-4 Months
  • Roasts: 4-5 Months
  • Corned Beef: 3-4 Months

Is There Anything I Cannot Freeze? Meats that have stuffing in them, should not be frozen as the raw juices are absorbed into the stuffing, causing bacteria.

How Do I Defrost Meat? Place meat on a plate or container to catch any juices whilst defrosting. Do not defrost meat in water or on the kitchen bench at room temperature, this leads to bacteria growth and possible food poisoning. Meat should be defrosted in the fridge for at least 8 hours. It may require more time depending on the size and cut of meat.


What is Acai Berry

Friday, January 31st, 2014

What is Acai & why do people love it?

Acai (pronounced as-sigh-eee) is a deep purple berry originating from the Amazon forest of Brzail. It has an incredibly fresh, naturally sweet delicious taste. Almost like a blend of berries and dark chocolate. It has the essential fatty acids like Omega-6 and Omega-9. Is Rich in antioxidants and vitamins.

How to eat Acai?

Did you skip breakfast this morning or need an afternoon pick-me-up? Want something that’s refreshing and re-fueling after a big workout at the gym? Well an Acai Smoothies might just be the thing for you! Our favourite Acai Smoothie Recipe;

  • 100g frozen Acai Berry
  • 1 tbsp Cacoa Powder
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1/3 Strawberries or Blueberries
  • 1 Banana *Add more for extra sweetness
  • Blend & serve! It’s that easy!

Prefer something alittle more filling? Perhaps a new breakfast routine? Why not try an Acai Bowl.

  • Blend – In a blender add fruit juice for a tropical taste or milk such as coconut or soy, for a creamier flavour to 100g of Acai Berry. Add chopped fruit, yoghurt for a thicker texture.
  • Pour – In Summer, the Acai blend will melt quickly, add some chopped fruit to the bottom of your bowl to prevent melting.
  • Top – Our favourite part! Use chopped nuts or cereals for a breakfast vibe. Fresh fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, kiwifruit or mango. Have a sweet tooth? Why not add some coconut shreds, cacao drops, a drizzle of honey or even chocolate coated fruit!

Acai Berry is available in 1kg tub or 200g portions from Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, Chapel Hill Brisbane.

Acai Berry Bowl

3 Presentation Tips To Make Finger Food Look Gourmet

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Read on for our ‘3 Presentation Tips To Make Finger Food Look Gourmet’

These days more and more people are trying to pull off parties and events with firm budgets in place. Let’s face it, everything is more expensive than it used to be but no one wants to stop entertaining. So what can you do to make your simple finger foods look gourmet?

Here are presentation tips you can use to make your finger foods look gourmet:

1. Serving Platters Matter

The first technique that you can use to make your finger foods look a lot fancier is to present them on a beautiful serving platter. Silver looking platters can go a long way in dressing up a table.

If you can find one of those three-tiered serving dishes then you have instantly found the key to a richer looking item. For example, cocktail frankfurts can look much more exquisite if they are served on the bottom tier, with sausage rolls on the middle tier and dipping sauces on the top tier. By serving your finger foods on a beautiful platter you can easily create a more palatable dish, which won’t cost a fortune.

2. Garnishes Are Grand

A second method to dressing up your plain dishes is to garnish them attractively. You an easily find instructions on how to create roses out of radishes or tomatoes. Place them in a pattern amidst your dishes and you have successfully given the illusion of a fancier finger food. Even little sprigs of parsley or rosemary are a good way to dress u your plain looking foods.

Breaking up a mundane plate with colour is like adding a bright tie or handkerchief to a plain coloured suit- it updates and draws attention to something that may otherwise be considered as ordinary.

There are many items you can use to create a striking garnish. Coloured sugar has a jeweled appearance and adds sparkle effort to a dish or citrus zest can infuse much needed colour to your finger food selection.

3. It’s In The Cut

The third way that you can make your ordinary run-of-the-mill finger food look more gourmet is in how you slice it. If you are stuck putting out fruits and vegetables all you need is a different cut.

Melons look pretty basic when it is cut into wedges or slices, but use a melon baller and arrange them in a bowl and they look much classier. Carrots that are sliced diagonally look different than the carrot sticks you serve a child. Buying or borrowing a mandolin is a fantastic idea as it cuts items uniformly and very thin. It may also be used to julienne.

Not matter what your budget is, you can use these three easy ways to add a touch of sophistication to your party and make your finger food look gourmet.

How To Cut A Watermelon

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

How To Cut A Watermelon

Perhaps like so many, you really enjoy the sweet, delicate and refreshing taste of watermelon- and who can resist it during the hot summer months? You may find however, that you are at odds on the proper way to cut this juicy fruit, without losing any of the precious meat and an easy way to eliminate seeds. Here are two simple carving techniques for getting the most out of your fresh watermelon.

Things You Will Need

  • Whole watermelon
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp serrated knife
  • Waste basket to discard non edible parts

Watermelon Chunks

Watermelon chunks are great for fruit salads, fresh fruit kebabs or as a great snack straight from the fridge.

  1. After you have selected the perfect whole watermelon, the first thing you want to do is clean the outside of the fruit of any dirt and residue. This can be done with just water or with water and a fruit wash.This helps prevent the inside of the fruit from getting contaminated as you slice into it.
  2. The next step is to slice off both ends of the watermelon with a serrated knife. This will allow the watermelon to stand straight and make it easier to cut. Stand the watermelon on end then slice through the middle, cutting the watermelon in half. Cutting the fruit along the dark edge of the stripes of the watermelon, will help ensure that seeds* on the outside of the watermelon which will make them easier to remove.
  3. Next, slice each half of the watermelon into quarters then each quarter into eighths. Cut various bite size slits into each section, cutting down to but stopping at the rind. Once the sections are cut, then carefully and as close to the flesh as possible, remove the rind from each section.
  4. Continue this step with the remaining sections of the watermelon. Place sections into a bowl or on a platter.

Watermelon Wedges

This is a fun way to enjoy watermelon on the go. It’s handy for small children and fun for adults too!

  1. Gently cleanse the outside of the watermelon with water with or without a fruit wash.
  2. Slice whole watermelon in half.
  3. Slice each half into halves.
  4. Slice each of the four sections downward into small triangle wedges.
  5. Arrange decoratively on a platter or on a fruit tray.

*For your convenience, Simon’s stocks Seedless Watermelon, year round.

How to Handle Nectarines and Peaches

Friday, October 5th, 2012


Stone fruit—nectarines and peaches—know-how 

Nectarines and peaches are called stone fruit because of their pits. They are almost similar in appearance and are genetically identical, but nectarines are said to have a distinctive taste compared to peaches.


Nectarines and peaches go well in meat dishes, including pork, fish and chicken. Get fancy and bake them or grill them, or simple slice them up and use them as toppings over yoghurt or ice-cream.


Here are tips on how to handle nectarines and peaches:



When picking nectarines and peaches, note that they become less glossy as they ripen. The sweetest fruit tend to have a small white spot on the top half of the fruit, do not mistake it for a poor quality fruit or you could be missing out on the good ones!




Firstly, cut a small cross on the base of the fruit. Soak the fruit in boiling water for 30 seconds to soften the skin. Using a strainer, transfer the fruit to a bowl of iced water. Once the fruit is cool enough to touch, gently remove its skin by pulling it away from the fruit.



Similar to handling an avocado, cut along the seam of the fruit and around the pit. Twist the two halves away from each other to separate. Carefully cut around the pit to remove.

How to Buy and Store Mangoes

Friday, October 5th, 2012


It’s the beginning of the mango season and we’re stocking our Fruit & Veg section with Kensington Pride mangoes. The Kensington Pride is said to be the tastiest of Australian mangoes, and we couldn’t agree more! The Kensington Pride is a medium sized mango and is yellow in colour with a tinge of orange or pink when ripe.


How to Buy Mangoes

When buying mangoes, choose them by their scent; ripe mangoes give out a fresh and fruity aroma. To ripen your mango at home, place it on your kitchen bench, out of direct sunlight and leave it for a few days until it ripens. Once the fruit has ripen, you can chill it or freeze it to prolong its storage life.


How to Store Mangos

Never refrigerate a mango that is not ripe, nor keep a mango in plastic bags (paper bags are okay for the ripening process) as the fruit needs to breath!


Cooking with Mangoes

Mangoes can be eaten as-is, or added to your favourite desserts–ice-cream, sorbet, yoghurt, or fruit salad–the options are endless! For something more savoury, think classic Thai dishes and go from there…basil, coconut, lemongrass, chilli, palm sugar, mint, coriander, prawns and chicken. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Visualise of the lovely colour and flavour the mangoes will bring to your dish…and let your culinary creativity flow!

How to Store Herbs

Thursday, June 21st, 2012


Fresh herbs can usually be kept for about a week plus if stored properly. Here are three ways on how to store herbs and to prolong the life of your herbs:




#1 Refrigerate herbs as-is
Rinse herbs and wrap loosely in a paper towel. Place in a zip lock bag and place in crisper section of the fridge.

#2 Place herbs in a jar of water
Place fresh, parsley, coriander or basil upright in a jar of water. Cover the leaves with a small plastic bag and secure with a rubber band or twisty wire. Place in refrigerator.

#3 Blanch, mince and freeze.
Plunge herbs in boiling water for a few seconds, remove and place in ice water. Blanching will keep your herbs looking green. Once blanched, place herbs in food processor or chop finely. Then, place in ice cube trays to about ¾ full, fill with water and freeze. Note that herbs will lose the intensity of their flavours through the blanching and freezing process.

How to cook perfect boiled eggs

Friday, November 25th, 2011

 Simon’s guide on how to cook perfect boiled eggs

Following up from last week’s how-to eggs series, this week we’re back in the kitchen with Chef Luis from Kylie’s Kitchen at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill. Chef Luis makes all the delicious café meals and Take Home Meals at Simon’s. This week, he’ll show us how to cook perfect boiled eggs.


Steps to cooking the perfect boiled egg:

Bring a pot of water to boil. Once the water is boiling rapidly, add fresh organic eggs (eggs must be at room temperature, and not straight out of the fridge —  otherwise the eggs will crack instantly). When cooking at Simon’s, Chef Luis only uses organic eggs because their yolks are noticeably more yellow, firmer, and taste better than the yolks in caged eggs.

Add room temperature eggs to rapid boiling water

It’s all about timing! Time from the moment you add the eggs into the boiling water. If you like boiled eggs with soft yolks, boil the eggs for exactly 9 minutes. But if you like firm yolks, boil the eggs for exactly 11 minutes. Boiling the eggs for 15 minutes or more will make it difficult to peel off the eggs shells.

11* minutes for hard boiled eggs

9* minutes for soft boiled eggs

Remove eggs from the pot and peel the eggs straight away. Delaying this process will make it difficult to peel the eggs once they have cooled down to room temperature. But if you’re planning to eat the eggs later, cold shock the unpeeled eggs by placing them in iced water to make them easier to de-shell later on.

// *Please note that cooking times may vary depending on the type of cooking utensils and environment

How to cook perfect fried eggs

Friday, November 18th, 2011

This week we’re sharing some cooking tips from one of our chefs from Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill. In this post, we’re putting up our chefs’  tips on how to cook perfect fried eggs.




How to fry perfect eggs:

1. Coat pan in oil and heat

2. Make sure the pan is hot

3. Use only fresh organic eggs


Our chefs are big on using only organic eggs when preparing our café meals and Take Home Meals. One of our chefs explains that you can really see the difference between cooking with organic eggs and caged eggs–the yolks of organic eggs are a brighter yellow, whereas caged eggs have pale looking yolks. He reckons it may be because caged chickens are under stress, affecting the quality of the eggs.

Organic eggs tend to hold their shape better when you crack them  into a pan, as oppose to caged eggs (picture below) that don’t hold their shape as well.


Now these are organic eggs  (below) …notice how the yolks are brighter, more yellow, and the yolks and whites hold their shape better.

And that’s all there is to it to cooking the perfect fried eggs.

Below is a picture of our perfectly fried organic eggs with crisp bacon and tomato.

If you’re not too keen on cooking them yourself, let us do the cooking for you! Come on over to our Brisbane café in Chapel Hill to enjoy some bacon and eggs with a glass of freshly squeezed pineapple and orange juice on this lovely summer’s day.

Stay tuned for upcoming home cooking tips from our kitchen at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery! If you have any cooking queries, feel free to tell us on our Facebook page and we’ll try our best to put up a tutorial for you!