Since Rebecca Pope became a mother seven years ago, her love of cooking has definitely grown. She admits that having to create new recipes to entice and appease the family has been a challenge at times (especially with young kids), but it has been a very rewarding experience.
"There have been many hours spent cooking or baking in the kitchen with my kids, with music playing in the background. It's one of our happy places," she says.
About five years ago she started documenting her cooking and recipes on her personal Instagram page @becpope. She quickly gained positive feedback from her followers who enjoyed her ideas for family meals, school lunch box snacks, baking and Sunday meal prep.
Then she started her blog rebeccapope.com.au, so that her followers had a platform to access her recipes easily and conveniently. Fuss Free Family Food was created with the hope of making meal times and lunch box preparation easier and more enjoyable for the entire family. A lot of love, sweat and long days were involved in developing and testing these recipes.
- Fuss Free Family Food, by Rebecca Pope. Are Media Books. $29.99.
Fish tacos with jalapeno and lime sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cobs corn, husks and silks removed
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tablespoons mexican spice mix
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
600g skinless white fish fillets, cut into 2cm strips
12 mini flour tortillas
1/4 white cabbage, shredded
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 cup coriander leaves
lime wedges, to serve
Jalapeo and lime sauce:
1/4 cup pickled jalapeo chillies
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a grill pan or frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the corn, making sure to turn it regularly, for five minutes or until slightly charred all over. Remove the corn from the pan and allow it to cool for a few minutes before cutting the kernels off the cob.
2. Meanwhile, to make the jalapeno and lime sauce, place the ingredients in a food processor and blitz together. Set aside.
3. Combine the flour and spice mix in a shallow bowl. Whisk the eggs in a second shallow bowl. Place the panko breadcrumbs in a third shallow bowl.
4. Coat a piece of fish in the flour mixture, dip into the egg, then coat in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining fish pieces.
5. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Place four to five pieces of fish into the pan and cook for two to three minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat with the remaining oil and fish.
6. Warm the mini tortillas as per the packet instructions.
7. Fill each tortilla with shredded cabbages, a piece of fish, corn, spring onion and coriander. Drizzle with a spoonful of jalapeno and lime sauce and serve with lime wedges.
Sweet chilli chicken burgers with sweet potato wedges
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 chicken breast fillets
1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce
4 burger buns, split in half
1/3 cup aoli
2 cups lettuce leaves, torn
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 lebanese cucumbers, peeled into ribbons
4 bamboo skewers
1/4 cup aoli
1/4 cup plain yoghurt
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat a fan-forced oven to 200C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. Place sweet potato wedges in a large bowl with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil, two teaspoons of the paprika and one teaspoon of the garlic powder. Add the salt and pepper then toss well to coat all of the wedges. Spread the wedges onto the baking tray then bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.
3. Meanwhile, cut the chicken breast fillets in half horizontally, then in half crossways to make eight small fillets in total. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl with the sweet chilli sauce and the remaining olive oil, remaining paprika and remaining garlic powder then toss to coat well.
4. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for four to five minutes on each side or until browned and completely cooked through. Set aside on a plate to rest.
5. Meanwhile, to make spicy mayo, combine ingredients in a bowl.
6. Toast the cut sides of the burger buns on the cleaned frying pan or under a preheated grill for two minutes. Spread the aoli on the toasted side of the bun bases and the spicy mayo on the toasted side of the bun tops.
7. To assemble the burgers, place half the lettuce on the bun bases then top with sliced tomato, two chicken pieces, cucumber ribbons and remaining lettuce, then the bun tops. Insert skewers into the middle of the burgers to secure.
8. Serve the burgers with the sweet potato wedges and remaining spicy mayo.
Choc hazelnut mousse
150g dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp butter
3/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
3 eggs, separated
20g caster sugar
1 cup thickened cream
double cream, chopped roasted hazelnuts, dark chocolate shavings, to serve
1. Stir the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove pan from the heat then stir in the hazelnut spread. Set aside to cool for a few minutes, then stir in the egg yolks.
2. Whisk the egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue whisking until it becomes glossy and stiff peaks form.
3. In another medium bowl, whisk the cream with the electric mixer until soft peaks form.
4. Stir the cooled chocolate mixture into the cream, then fold the egg white mixture through the chocolate cream mixture.
5. Spoon the mousse into four serving glasses, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours.
6. To serve, top mousse with a dollop of double cream, chopped hazelnuts and chocolate shavings.
Apple and berry crumble
4 apples, cored and cubed
2 tbsp caster sugar
1.5 litres water
2 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries
vanilla ice-cream, to serve
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp ground cinnamon
120g butter, softened
1. Preheat a fan-forced oven to 180C and grease a 5cm deep, 25cm round pie dish.
2. Place the apple, sugar and water in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cover and cook for seven to eight minutes or until apple has softened. Drain the excess liquid, then stir in the berries. Spoon the fruit mixture into the pie dish.
3. To make the crumble, place all the ingredients in a bowl then rub the butter through the dry ingredients until it forms a rough crumb. Spoon the crumble over the fruit mixture.
4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crumble is lightly browned. Allow to cool for five minutes, before serving with ice-cream.