Friday, March 29, 2013


Good Morning Happy Easter


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Market Day


       The Sunday market at Ohope was a great morning out!  It was pleasant to be shopping in the sunshine and fresh air with the smell of coffee and fried foods wafting on the breeze.   Despite the fact that I had only recently had breakfast I found myself looking for a snack. It was hard not to as  I had plenty to choose from crepes, freshly made burgers, croissant/danish, home baking and the list goes on.
       The moment I saw these golden beauties I just had to have one.  Crisp and crunchy samosa filled with a spicy paneer and vegetable filling then drizzled with tamarillo chutney it hit the spot beautifully.  

Energised by my snack I continued on shopping I found damson plums and since I'd only ever seen  these tart deep purple little plums on television I had to acquire a couple of bags.  
Damson Plums

Oh Joy the smell of plum jam wafting through the house I didn't mess around I used my tried and true recipe

 The day didn't stop there I came home with smokey chipolte, a bucket load of tomatoes for sauce and some sensational sweet muscatels.  All in all a very productive shop followed by a satisfying amount of time in the kitchen doing what I like best. 




Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Caribbean Jerk Chicken

             I wanted something different, I felt the need to explore a flavour profile that I had pretty much ignored.  I wasn't sure exactly what until I saw a celebrity chef selling us some processed packaged stuff that paled in comparison to the real deal.  So I played around with this and came up with a quick simple marinade that tossed over some free-range chicken made for some seriously tasty chicken.  With flavours reflecting the Caribbean how could it not be a winner the zing of fresh lime and ginger, the warm undertones of earthy spices, a hit of chili and rum and all mellowed out by dark treacly muscovado brown sugar.  Served along side sticky coconut rice this chicken is a winner.

Caribbean Jerk Chicken

1/2 onion
4 cm piece of ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 tspns cinnamon
2 tspns all-spice
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 limes zest and juice
50 mils Dark rum
1 Tablespoon oil
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
chili to suit (I used two long red chilies  In the Caribbean they favour scotch bonnets)
1 tsp salt
Chicken pieces
Blend all the ingredients together in a liquidiser.  Toss chicken in marinade and leave for as long as you can 1 hour or better yet over night.  For the best flavour cook on the barbecue on a slow to medium heat and get some nice char flavours.  Otherwise roast pieces in oven until the juices run clear.
Sticky Coconut Rice
Simply cook rice as you would normally but replace the water or stock with coconut milk.





Thursday, February 14, 2013

Summer  Harvest

             This summer I traveled cross country several times as I moved from city living to small town coastal living.  As I drove you couldn't help but notice an abundance of road side stalls some of them completely reliant on an honesty box and some organised enough to be manned and offering eftpos!  With each trip I would notice stalls I hadn't noticed the first time it was foodie heaven.  There was an abundance of fresh plums, peaches and nectarines just perfect for eating with their juices dripping down your face after every delicious bite.  As January changed to February new stars emerged watermelon, fresh ears of sweet-corn, tomatoes, basil, courgettes and eggplants.  There are only so many times that a person can eat sweet-corn on the cob slathered in butter (no really there is) before you begin to want something a little different.  This salad is the one...... imagine the sweetness of corn, the fresh hit of lime from the dressing, the bite of chili, and the slight aroma of anise from freshly cut basil.  How you use this beautiful combination that's up to you.  I served this recently with Caribbean Jerk Chicken and some gorgeous sticky coconut rice.   (recipes to follow)

Sweet-corn, Tomato and Basil Salad.

4 corn on the cob (still in husks)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 red capsicum (small dice)
2 spring onions (thin slice)
1 large handful basil leaves
1 red chili (finely chopped

3 limes zest and juice
100mls olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tspn honey

Soak the corn in water for 30 minutes.  Place on an oven tray and roast in a oven pre-heated to 180c for 1 hour.

Oven-Roasted Corn

Extra sweet cooked in the husk

When the corn is cooked using a sharp knife remove the corn from the cob.  Toss through with tomatoes, capsicum, spring onion, basil and chili.  
Combine the lime, oil, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk until combined.  Drizzle over salad and serve.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Meatless Meal

            At least once a week I try to have a meatless meal and when you combine this with using ingredients only on hand (Yes I'm still trying to empty out my pantry) you get dahl.  Easy and tasty as well as surprisingly satisfying when served with a bowl of basmati rice and some garlic naan.
If you haven't dried making dahl before you really should.  This dahl recipe is particularly fragrant with a little tartness to off set the mellow spices.  Nutricious and so simple to make this recipe is adaptable no two bowls need taste the same.

Spiced Lentil Soup

100g red lentils
1.5 litres water
2 Tbspns oil
8-10 curry leaves (optional but worth hunting down
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 stick of cinnamon
8 cloves
1 large vine ripened tomato finely chopped or 1/2 can of chopped tomato
2 cm piece of ginger finely chopped (grated)
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons lenon juice
1 teaspoon tumeric.

Cook the lentils in the water for approximately 1 hour until soft.  Blend with hand held blender or pass through a seive.
Heat a large pan add the oil and the spices (not tumeric that comes later) until the seeds begin to pop.  Add the ginger, garlic, tomato and curry leaves cook until soft.  Add the lentils, sugar, salt, lemon and tumeric simmer for thirty minutes and serve.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

            I finished my last jar of plum and vanilla jam smothered onto hot buttered toast, it added a nice little hit of luxury first thing in the morning.  But the regret was colossal and as I savored the last little morsel of my toast I wondered what next?  That was followed quickly by ah...... what do I have handy?  You see I made myself a promise that over the next month I would use up as many of my pantry stores as possible so that I could replace with fresh of course there will be exceptions but I'm liking the challenge and when my pantry contains things like rose water, orange blossom water and pomegranate molasses it's hard to complain.  Then there are those other ingredients bought  for dishes that never quite got made but one day soon........and so the emptying of my larder continues.  I can't quite see this jam smeared on hot buttered toast but it's gorgeous dolloped on a scone with some fresh cream, it makes a tasty addition to apple crumble and stars in a Rhubarb Gallette.  (And if you made a lemon meringue pie recently you may just have some pastry left over just enough to make a this quick rustic tart.  Roll out the pastry into a rough circle place dough on a tray, smear the pastry with the jam leaving approximately an inch on the outside.  Top with thinly sliced rhubarb that has been tossed in a little sugar fold the edges up and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 200c or until golden brown)

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam.

500grams roughly chopped rhubarb
2 1/2 cups sugar
100 grams crystallized ginger
1 orange zest and juice and or 1 tablespoon orange blossom water

Soften the rhubarb and ginger over a low heat with the orange juice and zest.  Warm the sugar and add to the rhubarb bring to the boil, simmer on a low heat stirring often.  The jam is ready when a small amount sets in a saucer of cold water.  Makes 4 x 200ml jars.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Lemon Meringue Goodness

             The new year has come and gone I've steadfastly refused to make any New Years resolutions especially ones that involve food which is why I have NO guilt what so ever about posting up this rich and heavenly Lemon Meringue Pie.  Make it, love it and share it.  If you don't want to make your own pastry don't but I have to say that this sweet paste is easy to make and as long as you don't fuss (and let it get warm) it is easy to handle.  Try rolling it out on a piece of no-stick paper or silicon mat so that if it does begin to get too warm you can easily put it back into the fridge for five minutes.  The following recipe will be more than enough to line your tin freeze extra for use another time or double the recipe for the express purpose of having it there for when you need a quick easy sweet.  I'll be posting a couple of other uses for this pastry soon.... so watch this space.

Sweet Paste

250grams butter (cold diced)
150grams icing sugar
4 egg yolks lightly beaten
500 grams plain flour
salt pinch
lemon or orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor blend butter, flour and icing sugar together until it resembles breadcrumbs. 
(Or by hand if you like my preference is to use the food processor as the heat in your hands is the pastry's enemy)  Add the beaten eggs, zest and vanilla and pulse until the dough just starts to come together.  Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and bring together into a ball.  Flatten the pastry and wrap in cling-film refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out this allows the gluten's in the pastry to relax and will result in less shrinkage. 

For the pie shell roll out to roughly 3mm thick line a 26cm flan (or whatever size your using if your using a smaller size your flan will need to be deeper to accommodate the amount of filling).  Allow the pastry to rest again in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Prick the pastry base with a fork.  Line with a piece of baking paper and fill with baking beans (rice or lentils work as well the idea is for the beans to hold up the sides and weigh down the base)  Bake in a pre-heated  (200c)  oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until pastry is golden.

Lemon Meringue Pie

6 lemons juice and rind
40 grams butter
100 grams sugar (castor is better as it dissolves faster than regular but it's not essential)
1 tin sweetened condensed milk 400g
40 grams cornflour
4 eggs (large)

26cm pie crust
4 egg whites
200 grams sugar (see above note)

For the filling bring to the boil lemon juice and zest with the first measure of sugar and the butter.  Whisk eggs, the condensed milk and the cornflour together.  Pour over the boiling juices and whisk.  Return to the stove an bring back to the boil stirring constantly until thick.  Cool slightly before pouring into pastry case.

Warm the second measure of sugar in the microwave or oven.  Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form slowly beat in the sugar a little at a time beat continuously for 10 minutes until firm and shiny.  (who needs a gym work out)  (For successful meringue you need to remember to keep it clean a little grease or egg yolk and your egg whites won't beat up)

Top the pie with meringue and return to oven until meringue is lightly coloured (or use a blowtorch!)
Refrigerate before cutting.