Beef Week 2018 with Chef Dominique Rizzo

Beef Week - Chef Dominique Rizzo

Beef Week 2018 was that wonderful mix of recipe writing, prepping, cooking demonstrations, hosting special dinners and cooking with some of the best beef in Australia. It was also a week of working and laughing with an esteemed group of world class Celebrity Chefs.  From the demonstration “Butcher’s Kitchen” where the butchers work alongside the chefs inspired to prepare interesting recipes, to the Chefs showcasing their talents with creative lunches and dinners in the Celebrity Chef restaurant, where there was an explosion of creativity showcasing traditional fine cuts of beef through to the lesser or “Tastier Cuts” and the rarely-heard-of cuts like the Bicep, Bavette, Tri tip, Flank, Coulotte and Flat Iron  popular in Europe, the USA and England. Hot topics of conversations were unique cooking techniques and flavour combinations, sustainability and working closely with producers, farm to table and keeping the message alive about Australia having the best beef in the world.

Beef Week - Chef Dominique Rizzo

Experiencing Beef Week Australia 2018 in Rockhampton is a meat-lover’s dream where the taste and quality of the meat reigns supreme across the board. It was a great experience to also meet some of the producers and to learn from them the intricate cuts that chefs and butchers alike are not so familiar with.  Each International Chef was paired with an Australian Chef to showcase how Tasty Cuts are incorporated into everyday meals as well as showcasing culinary masterpieces.

Beef Week - Chef Dominique Rizzo

The choices on where and what to eat were endless, from the “Beef Australia Bar and Grill Restaurant” to the Beef Australia Smokehouse – presented by “Black Bunny”,  the food kiosks in “The Paddock” and the number of independent outlets all showcasing the best of Australian beef and the various ways in which to cook, flavour and enjoy it.

One of the personal highlights of this year’s event for Chef Dominique Rizzo was seeing how much the esteemed Iron Chef Sakai enjoyed her signature ” Veal Carpaccio” dish, also cooking alongside Chef Jack Stein and meeting some of the world best Australian Beef ambassadors in one of Australia’s leading beef events. Meanwhile on a professional basis, the opportunity to cook,  talk and share ideas with Australia’s top celebrity chefs, is the inspiration behind many of the new dishes on the Putia Pure Food Kitchen’s seasonal menu.  Dominique was so impressed by the brisket and the cuts of beef under the brand “Oino Gustus” by Blair Angus, she now proudly uses this on the Putia menu. Showcasing the point end of the brisket, Putias’ Slow Roast Brisket with green pea smash, potato and three cheese hash, gravy, fried egg and topped with wicked crispy onions is such a show-stopper that it sells out in a flash.

And in the name of rich, hearty Winter comfort food, Putia has also included dishes such as super-tender beef cheek pie and Italian slow braised beef ragu with fresh tagliatelle pasta and in Clapham Junction Wine Bar, the New York style bicep beef dish is a knock-out.

Putia Pure Food Kitchen sources its top quality beef from North Queensland producer Signature Beef. Signature Beef is the culmination of four generations of the Angus Family’s continual dedication to produce the world’s best beef. With a surname steeped in beef history it was, in a way, inevitable that this proud tradition was passed down through their family. Signature Beef owned by Blair and Josie Angus and their four children, is a company strong on tradition yet constantly looking forward with a culture of innovation.

To get a feel for  the action and atmosphere at Australia’s National Beef Expo by listening to the  Beef Australia 2018 Podcasts – this one features Jayne Cuddihy speaking to Shane Bailey – Celebrity Chef Coordinator, Jess Pryles – Cook, Author and ‘Hardcore Carnivore’ and Dominique Rizzo Chef Putia Pure Food Kitchen.

Since a large part of the program at Beef Week Australia is dedicated to a paddock to plate experience, they talk about food vans, pop up restaurants and the Celebrity Chef program that is dedicated to not just treating people to a beefy taste sensation, but educating people on cooking techniques and cuts of meat.

Click on the Listen Here to catch some of the action of Beef 2018.

Listen here  

At the end of Beef Week, we  look back and marvel at the hectic pace visiting farms, sharing stories, meeting incredible food pioneers and passionate producers and look ahead to Beef Week 2021 in three years time.  We loved Beef Week Australia.


UrbiPod Know How with Chef Dominique Rizzo

Next in this series “How to grow fresh herbs with Chef Dominique Rizzo” –  UrbiPod Know How

UrbiPod Know How - Chef Dominique Rizzo with her UrbiPod

Follow Chef Dominique Rizzo as she shows you how to grow your herbs on your kitchen bench with Urbipod Know How.

Dominique prepares her new Urbipod for planting, giving you hints on which way is up with the self-watering system and which way is down for the natural coir growing discs, before she gets to the best part, actually planting the seeds.

UrbiPod Know How - the coir mats expanding with added water

After watching Dominique go through the steps, it will take you a mere 10 minutes from start to finish, to unpack, confidently set up and plant your new Urbipod.  Just sit back

Order your UrbiPod with Dominique Here

Or visit the UrbiPod website.

Watch “UrbiPod Know How with Chef Dominique Rizzo at Putia Pure Food Kitchen ” 

And these are the results of your UrbiPod Know How in just a few days:

UrbiPod Know How - the first growth of the herbs.


Next in the series “How to grow fresh herbs with Chef Dominique Rizzo”: harvesting the herbs, which seeds grow fastest, recipe tips.

How to grow fresh herbs with Chef Dominique Rizzo

How to grow fresh herbs with Chef Dominique Rizzo - Dominique unpacking the urbipod

How to grow fresh herbs with Chef Dominique Rizzo made easy. My new project is to grow herbs, not only in Putia garden, but also on the Putia kitchen bench with my new urbipod from Urbotanica.   

How to grow fresh herbs with Chef Dominique Rizzo

Join me as I demonstrate the first in a series on my urbipod experience from unpacking the box of all the pieces, simplifying the jigsaw of putting them together ready for planting. I want to share my tips on what bits of the pod fit in where and which way up so that you can confidently move onto the next exciting step of planting your herb seeds. This may save you time and streamline the assembly of your urbipod when you join the ever-growing number of kitchen-herb-gardeners.

You will soon see your urbipod looking like this:

How to grow fresh herbs with Chef Dominique Rizzo - Urbipod on kitchen bench.


Watch How to grow fresh herbs with Chef Dominique Rizzo

on her YouTube channel at

If you would like to check the Urbipod, here is their website Urbotanica. Perhaps you would like to join me and plant your herbs at the same time and we can grow and compare the results of our simple, fresh herbs.

Buy one now!

Next in this series “How to grow fresh herbs with Chef Dominique Rizzo“: Planting the seeds will be out soon.


Make food waste a thing of the past with clever cooking techniques – Chef Dominique Rizzo and Sam Thaiday

Make food waste a thing of the past with clever cooking techniques – Sam Thaiday & Celebrity chef Dominique Rizzo set out on a mission to bust the fact that food waste costs the average household about $2200 to $3800 per year.

Make food waste a thing of the past - Chef Dominique Rizzo and Sam Thaiday

At the Brisbane City Council Green Heart Fair, Chef Dominique Rizzo and NRL legend Sam Thaiday shared their tips on how to turn what is already in the fridge into creative meals, how to reduce your food waste and how to save time and money creating delicious dishes at home.

That’s good for your budget and good for the environment.

Living sustainably is all about reducing waste, recycling, reusing and being kind to the planet.

Make food waste a thing of the past - Sam Thaiday and Chef Dominique Rizzo

Getting into action on stage at the Green Heart Fair, Dominique and Sam chose the ingredients for the dishes that they were cooking from food leftovers that usually were tossed out in the garbage bin.

Together, they demonstrated how to cook a delicious menu of dishes starting with

Corn Soup with Avocado Salsa,

Vegetable San Choy Bow,

Sweet Potato Pizza, 

Bacon and Vegetable Strudel.

Make food waste a thing of the past - Sam Thaiday and Chef Dominique Rizzo

There were no sad lonely vegetables in the kitchen after this cook-off.

Watch Brisbane City Council’s video of Dominique in “Make food waste a thing of the past – Chef Dominique Rizzo” on You Tube

If you want to know more about how to cut down on food waste, join the “Love Food Hate Waste Workshops” supported by The Brisbane City Council and presented by Dominique at her cooking school at Putia Pure Food Kitchen.

The beauty of bakes – 7 reasons why they are so great

Pasta, rice or vegetable bakes are something that we all grew up on and the best thing about having them for dinner is that they taste even better the next day. The beauty of Bakes and 7 reasons why they are so great are:

  1. They are a fantastic way of throwing a pile of wonderful tasty ingredients together in the one pot.
  2. They makes an easy meal for anyone to put together a Bake.
  3. Also they don’t have to be heavy and full of fat.
  4. You can combine wonderful ingredients that are healthy and still full of flavour making them ideal for everyone.
  5. Bakes are perfect for school or work lunches, when they cool they are very easy to cut and place into takeaway containers.
  6. Use the combinations and suggestions given under the salad heading for grains and vegetables to make your bakes something a little special.
  7. Grains such as rice, pasta, quinoa, cous cous, barley are all perfect and when teamed with all sorts of vegetables including spinach, sweet potato, pumpkin, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, spices, cheese and eggs.

Well the list is endless and the possibilities are many. So get your bake on with this super tasty recipe:

Rice and Tuna bake
Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes
3 cups of cooked basmati rice
425g tin of tuna in brine, drained
zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 green shallots, sliced
1 zucchini, trimmed, grated and squeezed of all its liquid
½ cup chopped parsley
3 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
160g ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 egg white
20g parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200c

  • Spray a ceramic dish or individual muffin trays with oil. Combine the tuna, lemon rind, juice, chopped shallots, grated zucchini, diced tomatoes and the parsley in a large bowl. Whisk together the eggs, ricotta and parmesan and season well with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the egg mix into the rice and mix well, spread this into the greased baking dish and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden.
  • Substitute the tuna for salmon, cooked fresh fish, cooked mince seasoned with Mexican spices and a tin of diced tomatoes or diced cooked chicken. If you are looking for dairy free alternative you can use soft tofu in this dish and dairy free
    parmesan cheese.


Coffee and spice with all things nice

Cooking with coffee, entertaining with coffee, studying with coffee – it works every way. 

Australian coffee drinkers are full of beans, keeping up with their American cousins, as coffee consumption shows no sign of slowing down (under). According to the NCA, a whopping 59% of coffee consumed daily is classified as “gourmet”, and it is the younger population that are driving this trend. There is a raft of healthy recipes emerging, from coconut cappuccinos to golden lattes, and one thing is for sure – coffee is on a health kick. For 2017 it was all about looks, as we stared lovingly at rainbow lattes and licked our lips while we guzzled down the glitter. The crazier they looked, the better; but what will 2018 have in store? There is a buzz around nitro, cold-drip and siphon, but will roasting coffee take on a whole new meaning when we make the switch from drinking to cooking.
What does coffee bring to the table?
Coffee complements a host of everyday ingredients as the roasted bean can unleash a surprising diversity of flavour. It contains an impressive 800 aroma compounds, making it the ideal ingredient to balance and enhance dishes. Depending on how long a bean is roasted for, and thus how intense the flavour is, it can be matched with anything from a sweet dessert to a rich beef dish.
Cooking with Coffee
Cooking with coffee Dominique Rizzo - Photo be Athena Lamb
You can enhance the flavour of stocks, stews and soups by adding in some leftover brewed coffee – its rich, deep taste will perfectly compliment any winter warmer. Instead of throwing away any unused coffee, try pouring it into an ice-cube tray and freeze for future use.
When it comes to preparing coffee, nowadays, there are various high-tech coffee makers that can prepare your favorite brew in just seconds. With that said, if you have a bit more time to spend experimenting in the kitchen, and really want to impress your friends, then an infused coffee recipe may be just what you are looking for. Heat coffee beans slowly in your preferred medium e.g. vegetable oil, butter, milk, chicken stock. Once the flavour has infused, you can use this base to make subtle but delicious recipes, such as coffee ice-cream, coffee mayonnaise or coffee butter cream.
Furthermore, coffee adds a unique depth and bitterness to meat, particularly sweeter varieties, such as  wild duck and venison, and only a small quantity is needed to make a big impact. It also makes a great marinade for meats such as grilled chicken and duck, adding an extra depth of colour and flavour.
Roasted, blitzed, infused, marinated, however you like your beans, it’s likely you will see them springing up on the menu throughout 2018, and with Australian coffee being touted as the best in the world, you will sure be in for a tasty sensation.
Written by Lucy Stevens.

Get more from your salads – Tips to take your salad bowl to the next level

You can get more from your salads as they are a perfect lunch or dinner option and another excellent portable food that can be deliciously healthy and really quite filling. Salads are perfect as you can include many grains, legumes and some great tasty proteins teamed with fresh seasonal leafy greens and vegetables. And as I have said before the most important aspect to a good salad is the dressing. Here are some helpful tips to take your salad bowl to the next level:


Include grains in your salad

Grains or ingredients you can include in your salads are cous cous, burghal – (Cracked Wheat used to make tabouleh), barley, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, brown rice, cooked basmati rice, noodles such as buckwheat, rice, bean thread, you can also make your own croutons out of spraying a slice of bread with olive oil and chopping it into squares and baking it in a 180c oven for 10 – 15 minutes until golden. You can use this same method for tortillas, pita breads and lavosh, for crackers and pita chips to have with dips.

Aim for ½ a cup of grain in your salad per person if using only grains
Aim for ¼ a cup of grain in your salad per person if using grains and legumes

Legume salads

Legumes you can use in your salads can include cooked chick peas, lentils, cannellini beans, barlotti beans, three bean mix, check for the ingredients and buy the tinned ones without any added or extra salt or sugar. If you are cooking your own it is best to soak these over night first, discarding the soaking water and covering them with fresh water before simmering. It is not necessary to salt beans and they will take different cooking times so taste them after 20 minutes, you should be able to squash them in between your fingers> Drain and cool before storing in the fridge. You will need to eat these within the week although you can freeze them.

Aim for 1 cup of legumes per person in a salad if using only legumes
Aim for ½ a cup of legumes in your salad per person if using legumes and grains

Vegetable fillers for salads

Just about anything goes for a salad when adding in fresh vegetables. The important factor here is to use fresh not tinned, tinned vegetables serve another purpose. You can roast, barbecue, grill, steam or sauté most vegetables and use them for a salad. These vegetables could include, capsicum, eggplant, onion, Asian greens, corn, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, parsnips, green beans, broccoli and so on. Any vegetable that you eat for dinner you can include in a salad, top up your favourite combinations with some fresh vegetables like baby spinach, mixed lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, sprouts and you can also include a sprinkling of nuts and seeds. These could include sesame seeds, sunflower, pumpkin, almonds, roasted peanuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts.

Don’t forget about fruits, sliced or shredded apple, pear, orange, mandarin and grapefruit segments, pomegranates, fresh dates, diced melons, mangoes, peaches are all fantastic in certain salads and give a little sweetness and wonderful flavour combinations.

Try this tasty Quinoa salad with broccoli and feta


I know I said that the most important aspect to a salad is the dressing ! Keep an eye out for my next post that will give you four salad dressing recipes help take your salad bowl to the next level.


Healthy Smoothies – Chef Dominique Rizzo’s Recipe Tips to get it right

Healthy Smoothies are a perfect quick breakfast for anyone on the go, there are two different types of smoothies, a high protein smoothie and a fruit and or blended fruit and vegetable smoothie. Smoothies are extremely popular as they are an easy way too start the day when you system is still detoxing from the night before.

Your combinations are endless, here are some Recipe Tips to get it right:

  • It is recommended that you have about 2-3 servings of fruit a day and 5 servings of vegetables a day.
  • Fruits are high in sugar so stick to the 2-3 servings a day.
  • Like with vegetables, choosing different coloured fruits increases the variety of nutrients, which can enhance your health.
  • Eat a selection of apples and pears, citrus fruit such as oranges, mandarins and grapefruit
  • lemon squeezed in warm water first thing in the morning is a must for a healthy liver and digestion.
  • When in season choose stone fruits such as apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines and plums and tropical fruits such as bananas, paw paw, mangoes, pineapple and melons
  • Berries, grapes and passionfruit are ideal for snacks and adding into fruit salads or on desserts.

Go Dairy Free

For healthy smoothies you don’t always have to go dairy, you can also use almond milk, coconut, rice, soy, oat milk, water or coconut water. Be sure to read the labels and get unsweetened versions to avoid added sugars.

Up the Protein of your healthy smoothies

Protein powders come in many different varieties, look for an all-natural protein powder from a reputable health shop with little or no sugar and no flavourings, you can add your own vanilla or
chocolate as these are unnecessary sugars and colourings that you don’t want. Base your serving of protein powder on 30g grams for women and about 56 grams for men.

Fruit and Fiber Options

Frozen berries, bananas and chopped fruits are the best for healthy smoothies and can be easily prepared and wrapped in plastic or stored in containers in your freezer making ti easier to throw together any flavour. Most frozen fruit you can now buy in packets so there is no excuse. It is especially good to buy fruit in bulk when it is cheap and chop it up to freeze it that way you have tropical fruits all year round.


All the rage now are many “superfoods” that you can add to your smoothie for extra nutritional value. Here are a few that you may or may not have heard of, these are all available in your health
food shop and some can also be found in your local supermarket.

Acai powder – The small, dark purple Amazonian berry provides exceptional amounts of antioxidants, omega fats, protein and fibre, plus it’s an immunity and energy booster.
Omega 3 fish oil –Disappears into your smoothie and you’ll never know it’s there
Raw cacao powder – A top source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron along with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Chocolate that is good for you! This is particularly good with strawberries and coconut. You can also just use cocoa or dutch cocoa for a richer flavour .
Chia seeds or powder – Chia is a great source of healthy omega fats, protein, antioxidants and dietary fibre. It has a neutral flavour and because it absorbs water, it thickens liquids and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Maca powder – Great for energy and balance, this ancient Peruvian superfood was highly prized by Incan warriors to increase stamina and combat fatigue.
Spirulina Powder – Spirulina is 100% natural and a highly nutritious micro salt water plant. Spirulina contains rich vegetable protein, multi Vitamins and a wide range of minerals and can be
added to water, or smoothies, it is not recommended for people with serious seaweed or seafood allergies.

Try this Healthy Smoothie Recipe

Tea and fruit smoothie
Serves 2 Pre time 5 minutes
3 cups frozen white grapes
2 packed cups baby spinach
1 1/2 cups strong brewed green tea, cooled
1 medium ripe avocado
2 teaspoons honey serves 3
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup coconut milk
¼ cup natural or coconut yogurt

Place in a blender and blend until smooth and enjoy!

Want more recipes for Healthy Smoothies?

Try this Cucumber Cooler Smoothie Recipe

or this

Berry Coconut Smoothie Recipe

5 Simple Tips for Back to School Dinners

Yes, we are here, the first week of preparing back to school dinners! Do you feel like you are already running out of healthy meal ideas to get your kids (and the big kids) back to the table for week two? This follow up post from last week’s, 3 Simple Tips for Back to School Breakfasts & 4 Simple Tips for Back to School Snacks will hopefully give you some new ideas on how to put together some healthy dinners and wholesome lunches the whole family can get involved in!

If you can teach kids at a young age about healthy food choices and the fun to be had shopping, preparing and cooking food, they are more likely to grow up with a healthy attitude towards making balanced food choices and enjoying wholefoods and homemade meals rather than store bought processed meals.

Here are some Simple Tips for Back to school Dinners:

When I have conducted cooking classes for students of all ages I notice that kids love to make up their own salads. So, for great back to school dinners and lunches have a selection of healthy ingredients out on the table such as shredded chicken, chopped ham or left over shredded roast meats, maybe a selection of grains like rice noodles, brown rice and/or lentils and chickpeas and then a range of vegetables, salads items, corn kernels, cherry tomatoes, baby corn or carrots, sprouts and get the kids to make up their own salad combinations, create little food stations at home.

Healthy pizzas and burgers are a fantastic way of getting the kids into the kitchen to help and if they are helping in the preparation you are more likely going to get them to eat the food that they have proudly prepared.

Keep the sweet sauces, dressings to a minimal and perhaps make your own tomato sauce and fruit toppings using fresh fruits to pour over ice creams.

Using skewers, sticks, noodle boxes, chop sticks, straws and fresh fruit ice blocks can make food playful and fun for kids to put food together and take to school to enjoy.

Get the kids involved in the shopping taking them to food markets, local farms where they can pick their own produce or collect eggs and teach them about where food comes from, involving them in menu planning and choosing recipes from cook books and magazines that they like gives them a sense of ownership.

For more helpful ideas for back to school meals check out my 3 Simple Tips for Back to School Breakfasts and 4 Simple Tips for Back to School Snacks!

4 Simple Tips for Back to School Snacks

Back to school snacks can be a minefield for so many of our children having intolerances to wheat, gluten, nuts, dairy, preservatives and additives, so a fail proof way to keep them safe and healthy is to make all your snacks, treats and meals from scratch. By making everything from scratch you are guaranteed that you will know exactly everything that is in all of your meals depending on what your children can and cannot eat.

Here are 4 Simple Tips for back to school snacks:

  1. Kids love things that they can grab and go so prepare fruit and vegetable sticks with healthy dips, make your own chips by brushing pita or mountain bread with a little oil and a few salt flakes and pop them into a packet, try slicing potatoes very thinly and spraying with olive oil then drying them out on a baking try lines with baking paper and in a moderate oven until roasted and crispy.
  2. Sweet muffins are great but substitute the sugar for stewed fresh fruit and a small amount of honey for sweetness using coconut juice or milk alternatives for dairy intolerances.
  3. Home-made muesli bars and grain slices are great packed with seeds and fruits and can keep fresh for weeks in airtight containers in the fridge.
  4. For hot days freeze yoghurt so that it will keep for longer or enjoyed as a frozen treat!

Click here for my delicious healthy Spelt and Coconut Slice

If you would like some top tips for Back to School Breakfasts click here