Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Food....

I haven't had any Christmas cake yet this year and haven't sampled Stollen or any other Christmas food... We don't have a pine tree in our house (cos my flatmate is allergic to the pollen)... really the only thing the FEELS like Christmas is the muggy weather and the pohutukawa in bloom.

So - I felt like Mum last night, up till after midnight baking Christmas treats for a dinner tonight. Thanks to the nifty labelling option on this blog, I was able to go straight to the Christmassy food we posted this time last year, and I made the panforte from the "food with attitude" book.

The panforte tastes really good raw and even better sampled for breakfast!

Merry Christmas to my family travelling and living around the world at this time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Red Cabbage

This goes really well with the Slow Roasted Pork.

1 red cabbage - sliced, washed and drained
3 T water
2 T brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 granny smith apples - peeled and sliced
1/4 C cider vinegar
60g butter

Place water, cabbage, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Cover tightly and cook very gently. Lift lid and stir apple into softened cabbage. Tip in vinegar and butter. Cook, covered, for a further 15 minutes. Stir once more.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Double Baked Gruyere Souffle: Not such a flop

The advantage of a double baked souffle is that you can make the first stage in advance and just finish them off when required. David and I ended up eating souffles four nights in a row. Very yummy!
  • 70g butter
  • 65g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (not not if you're cooking for David)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 380ml milk
  • 160g grated gruyere cheese
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup thickened cream
Stage 1:
Pre-heat oven to 180 C. Grease 6 x 200 ml metal dariole moulds or ramekins [I used 8 smaller ones].

Melt butter over low heat. Add flour, nutmeg, cayenne and salt. Cook for eight minutes, stirring regularly, until mixture starts to foam and flour is cooked. Add milk gradually, stirring to prevent lumps forming. Cook further 10 minutes stirring. [I slightly reduced these cooking times.]

Remove from heat and transfer mixture to a bowl then add egg yolks. Combine. Whisk whites to medium peaks and fold through in three batches. Pour evenly into moulds.

Fill roasting pan with hot water, one third the height of the ramekins. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Souffles WILL shrink (see photo 2). The souffles can be put to one side at this stage.

Stage 2:
Remove from moulds and place upside down in individual ovenproof serving dishes with sides. Pour cream evenly between the souffles. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Here is the end result - not such a flop!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cabbage coconut curry

Cabbage coconut curry recipe

High in the hills in India on our tiger trek we had all manner of yummy food - including a cabbage / coconut side. This tastes pretty close and makes a good change from steamed cabbage in the winter.

Recipe ingredients:

  • 1 cabbage, chopped
  • 100 g. coconut, grated
  • 1 green chili, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Red chilies
  • 1-2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Recipe method:

  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, red chili, curry leaves and fry for 2 minutes.
  • Grind the coconut, green chili and spring onions to a paste and add to the above. Fry for 2 more minutes.
  • Add the cabbage and cook for 10 minutes or until the cabbage is cooked.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with plain rice or chapathi.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

warm potato salad with creamy mustard dressing

...not a hug fan of red onion, so I left these out. It's also possible to leave out the asparagus and simply stir the potatoes thru the dressing.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1kg small Jersey Bennes or 30 medium waxy salad potatoes, scrubbed
2 tablespoons creamy Dijon mustard (I used Maille Dijonnaise mustard, available in most supermarkets)
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 large red onions, peeled and cut into thick chunks through the root
750g plump asparagus

Cook the potatoes in gently boiling, salted water until just tender. Drain. Combine the mustard, lemon zest and juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of black pepper. Toss the potatoes in the dressing while they are still warm.Place the onions in a frying pan with the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook very gently for about 15 minutes, until they just start to wilt. Cook the asparagus in plenty of gently boiling, salted water for several minutes, ensuring the spears retain their crunch. Drain and refresh with plenty of cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut asparagus into chunks and mix gently with the potatoes.To serve (best done while everything is warm, but not necessarily hot), place potatoes and asparagus in a large serving bowl and the red onions on top.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding

This is a classic recipe and these proportions work really well.

125g (1 cup) plain, all purpose flour
a pinch of salt
120g (1/2 cup) castor sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
250ml (1 cup) milk
85g (3oz) unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

185g (1 cup) soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
250 ml (1 cup) boiling water

Sift the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and cocoa powder into a bowl.

Add the milk, butter, egg and vanilla extract and mix with beaters until combined. Pour into 4-6 greased rammekins (do NOT overfill).

To make the topping, stir the brown sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl to combine, then sprinkle it over the pudding batter. Pour boiling water carefully over the puddings.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 C (350 F).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pumpkin Lasagne

1.25 kg peeled pumpkin, cut into 3 cm cubes
1 large spanish onion, cut in half and then into thin wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
40g butter
3 tablespoons plain flour
3 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 cup ricotta cheese
oven ready (dry) or fresh lasagne sheets

Pumpkin filling: preheat oven to 200C. Place the pumpkin and onion in a large baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with thyme leaves and chilli. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place in over and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally. Remove tray from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Then place pumpkin and onion in a bowl and mash with a fork, retaining some texture.

Cheese sauce: Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until bubbling. gradually start whisking in the milk until smooth. Add the bay leaf and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, take out the bay leaf and then add the ricotta. Whisk until combined. Season to taste.

Layer up lasagne: Preheat oven to 180 C. Lightly butter and ovenproof baking dish. Layer up lasagne starting with:
  • 1/2- 1 cup cheese sauce
  • half pumpkin/onion mash
  • lasagne sheet
  • 1/2- 1 cup cheese sauce
  • half pumpkin/onion mash
  • lasagne sheet
  • finish with remaining cheese sauce and sprinkly with grated parmesan
Bake for 35-40 minutes. Serves 4-6 for lunch.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What to do with courgettes.

Our friends Neil, Ange & Emma, and Jess & Andrew have an allotment and are presently enjoying an over-suppy of courgettes. I was there for diner last night and we had this yummy courgette soup.
Courgette Soup


Serves 4

1 kg courgettes - any size and colour
250g potatoes (suitable for mashing), peeled or scrubbed
2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
1 medium onion, peeled & chopped
30ml olive oil
150g soft cheese (see note below for alternatives)
Handful fresh chives, chopped
Handful fresh summer herbs of your choice, chopped
1 1/2 pints water (or mild-flavoured stock)


  1. Wash the courgettes and chop them into chunks.

  2. Heat the oil gently in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic.

  3. Gently cook for about 5 minutes, to soften.

  4. Add the potatoes. Stirr. Cook gently, covered, for about 15 minutes, until about half-cooked.

  5. Add the courgettes and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.

  6. Add 1 1/2 pints of water - just enough to cover the contents of the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

  7. Remove from the heat and liquidise the soup.

  8. Add the Cheese & herbs.

  9. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Allotment Photos:

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Slow-Roasted Pork

This recipe from David Herbert in the Weekend Australian Magazine [March 10-11 2007] results in a wonderfully caramelised, melt-in-your-mouth pork roast. I can't wait for Dad to try it out on some of his wild pork from Tongaporutu.

2 tsp Maldon sea salt
6 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
2.5cm pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 large rolled shoulder of pork [the recipe says 4-6kg but we can't fit anything smaller than about 2kg in our ovenware] with skin scored
2 granny smith applies, peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
2 leeks, cut into 1 cm rounds
375ml (1 1/2 cups) apple cider or dry apple juice (David uses more)
2 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 220 C.

Pound salt, garlic, ginger, chillies, sugar, oil and enough vinegar in a mortar and pestle (or process in a small food processor) until mixture forms a thick paste.Rub paste over top of pork, pushing it between the scored fat. Place pork skin side up in a large lidded casserole dish. Place in over and roast on high tempreature (uncovered) for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 120C. Spoon off any fat from bottom of dish. Add apples, leeks, cider and bay leaves. Replace lid and return to oven for at least 15 hours and up to 24 hours, if you have time. Check occasionally to make sure apples and liquid don't dry out - add a little water or cider if needed.

To serve, increase heat to 220C, remove lid and cook for 30 minutes or until nicely coloured. Transfer pork to a warm dish. Remove any fat from the liquid, ten spoon sauce and apples around the pork, Serve in thick slices accompanied with juices.

[Recipe says serves 8-10 but this is with larger pork shoulder.]

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Winter Carrot Soup (reposted on behalf of Chantel)

Now that my winter weekends are spent in Ohakune, so I can go snowboarding nearby at Mt Ruapheu, I can't go past the $10 bag of local winter veges at the store. Now what to do with all those carrots?! I have searched Google for recipes and ideas and tweaked a test run tonight...

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
4 large carrots grated
1 medium onion chopped
4 cups of vegetable stock
1 100g can of plain tomato paste
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tsp of dried thyme, or some sprigs of fresh thyme
1 - 2 tsp of dried cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

In a medium stockpot heatoil and sir in carrot and onion. Saute until tender, about 5mins.

Add stock, tomato paste, soy sauce, thyme, cumin, and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for about 5 mins.

Bright orange and full of flavour, serve it with a dollop of sour cream and/or sprig of fresh thyme. (may also be served chilled)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Lemon & Basil Risotto

On the same rainy day I made bread, we also had friends over for dinner. I remembered once eating at Paul's aunt and uncle's place (Andrew being an exceptional cook), and having a great Lemon Risotto. Now I'm sure he said it was from Cuisine, so I had a bit of a hunt and found this recipe. Now if it's not the same one, I really don't mind as this was really amazing. Not to mention super easy!

1 cup basil leaves
pinch of sea salt
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 onion, sliced
black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
300 g arborio rice
250 ml white wine
750 ml chicken or vegetable stock, heated
zest and juice of 2 lemons
sea salt
extra basil leaves

Pound the basil in a mortar with the sea salt and extra virgin olive oil until you get a fairly fine emerald green mixture. Set it aside.

Gently cook the garlic and onion with some black pepper in the olive oil until the onion is soft. Add the rice and saute a couple of minutes over a medium heat until the rice �sings� (that is, makes a faint, high-pitched cooking noise). Add 1/3 of the wine and stir until it is absorbed into the rice. Repeat this until the wine is all absorbed, then start adding the hot stock a ladleful at a time, stirring all the while. When the last of the stock is absorbed by the rice add the lemon juice and zest. If the rice is still at all chalky stir in some hot water until it is tender. Stir in half of the basil oil, and season the risotto well with sea salt. Serve immediately on hot plates, drizzling over the remaining basil oil and adding more basil leaves and plenty of grated parmesan.

Serves 2 - 3.

If you have any risotto left over, fry little patties of it to have with drinks tomorrow night. (Leftovers - yeah right)

To Serve
Wine suggestion: riesling

Food miles

On a recent Girls' Weekend to Stratford-upon-Avon we had a bike ride in the country, and passed Charlecote Flour Mill.
I found this visit interesting for two reasons. The foodie one is obvious. The less obvious one is the geek-property-lawyer. I find the historic quirks of land ownership here fascinating, and when I found out the mill was still owned by the people who owned the "big house" over the road I really saw that the old traditions and systems really weren't too old after all.

Amber & Leona at the mill with their bikes - water wheel behind

Back to the foodie...

It took no time at all for me to decide to buy a small bag of flour to take home. And when we had a grim weekend, staying in and making bread seemed like a good idea.

Of course I didn't have a brown bread recipe, so I looked at the Hot Cross Buns one, and started playing.

I ended up with a good batch of dough based on...

300ml warm water, 500g of wholemeal flour, 2T yeast, 2T golden syrup and a dash of olive oil.

The water, yeast and golden syrup were mixed together and left for about 20 mins to get all bubbly.

Then I played with the flour, oil and water mix, kneading until shiny. Leaving to double in size. Making two loaves and then leaving to double in size again.

Bake for 15-20 mins until it sounds hollow... and serve with NZ honey. Yum.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Honey Feijoa Cake

Well - what to do with all those feijoas?? Seems that despite our neighbour cutting their feijoa tree down we still manage to obtain hundreds from somewhere. At the moment there are lots of Feijoa recipes in the NZ Herald from Amanda Laird. Here is one that caught my eye...

Makes one 22cm cake

80g softened butter
3/4 cup honey
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed feijoas
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped

1 - Preheat oven to 180C and grease the cake tin.Cream the butter and honey until pale. Add eggsone at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla.

2 - Fold the feijoas into the mixture. Sieve the flour,baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold through the milk. Combine the vanilla sugar and almonds.

3 - Spoon the cake mix into the tin, bake for 15minutes then sprinkle the sugar and almond mixover the top of the cake. Return the cake to the ovenand continue cooking for another 20-25 minutes or untilan inserted skewer comes out clean.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Brenda's Brilliant Brownies

I used to think the Ghiradelli brownie, made from the packet, was the BEST but then I came across this recipe with obscene amounts of butter and sugar. Yummo!

250g (80z) butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 brown sugar
4 eggs
1 1/3 plain (all purpose) flour
3/4 cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 170 C (325F).

Beat the butter, vanilla, sugar and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. (It helps to start with soft butter.) Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder over the butter mixture and fold through. (The resulting mixture is quite dry, not runny.)

Plop the mixture into an 20cm (8in) square cake tin base lined with baking paper and bake for 40-50 minutes or until set. Cool in the tin. Cut into squares and serve warm or cool.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Girdle Date Scones

Need to whip up a quick dessert or morning tea but don't want to turn on the oven? Here's my variation on an old classic:

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tbsp butter
milk (or buttermilk) to mix*
chopped dates

Sift dry ingredients. Rub in butter and add dates. Add sufficient milk to make a fairly soft dough. Roll out fairly thin, make into a round and cut into eight or so segments. Cook on a hot greased girdle (I use my le creuset frying pan) five minutes of each side. Serve with lashings of golden syrup.

*I distinctly recall the first time I made scones when we were living in Bertram Street. The directions said "milk to mix" and I poured in too much resulting in a gluggy mess that not even Cindy, the dog, would eat.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Simnel Cake

Well, I've had to have helpers come over to help me eat the trial run of Hot Cross Buns, and a friend came over with some Simnel Cake that we could help HER eat! This scrummy cake is found in the Edmonds cookbook and is also an Easter tradition in the Wong household. Placed around the edge, are eleven marzipan balls to represent the true apostles of Jesus; Judas is omitted. (I notice that Wikipedia tells us there is also a layer of marzipan icing on top, but Kay did not ice it this time)

350g Marzipan
250g butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup sultanas
1 1/2 cup currants
1/2 cupmixed peel
1/2 cup glacé cherries, chopped

Roll out marzipan on greaseproof paper dusted with icing sugar to fit a 22cm round cake tin. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour and baking powder together. Mix in sultanas, currants, peel and cherries. Fold into creamed mixture. Place half the mixture in the greased and lined cake tin. Cover with marzipan layer then the remaining cake mixture. Smooth top. Bake at 150 degC for 2 hours. Reduce heat to 130 degC and bake a further 1/2-1 hour or until an inserted skewer comes out clean when tested. Leave to cool in tin.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Friday, March 09, 2007

A Message from Mum

No recipes today but here's a message from Mum:
I just wanted to let you know that I'm doing the World Vision 40 Hour Famine this year. I'll be helping provide the basics of life to children in need around the world by taking part. But I need your help. Please sponsor me to take part in the Famine. It will make a world of difference, creating hope and a future for many children's lives.

You could sponsor me in person or through my own online Famine Book. It's easy. Just click this link and provide your details. The Famine website is secure and accepts all major credit cards.

Thank you for considering sponsoring me in helping to provide the basics of life.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pipis and Pasta

This family favourite is from the family Wilson, who collected Pipis at Aotea Harbour. They kindly invited me over to their house to share them. They also had homemade pasta, but could be made with packet stuff for a quick and tasty meal.

Leave pipis overnight soaking in salt water to "spit" the sand, steam open, remove from shells then drown in the following (to taste)
- lime juice
- chilli (fresh, or just the jar of paste stuff)
- little olive oil
- salt/pepper
- little tabasco

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Zaaluk - Smoked Eggplant Salad

Another that Brenda emailed me, way back in 2002!

2x 300g eggplants
100 ml olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
500 ripe tomatoes, roasted peeled, seeded and mashed (I just chopped up ordinary tomatoes)
3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
4 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (I skipped these)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground (the secret ingredient I think)

Roast the eggplants over charcoal or hot coals, otherwise roast in a hot oven until the skins are blistered and the flesh is soft. Peel the eggplants, discard the skins and chop the flesh, Heat the oil in a pan and cook the garlic with the mashed tomatoes for 10 minutes. Add the chopped eggplant and remaining ingredients and gently cook for 10 minutes more, then remove from heat. Allow to cool before serving.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Red Lentil Curry

I don't know if Brenda remembers, but she sent this to me on an email a couple of years ago.

"As promised, here is the red lentil curry recipe. It is not dinner party fare but a very hearty meal that takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish. Just the thing for those nights when you get home to an empty fridge and too tired to do anything!

By the way, I have replaced the coconut milk powder with liquid coconut milk/cream quite successfully.

I also keep a pack of longlife sealed chappati in the pantry which make a perfect accompaniment.

PS: The recipe is from which looks like it has some other good recipes. "

Serves 4

1 1/4 cups (250g) TLC red split lentils
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbs oil 1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs chilli paste
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup instant coconut milk powder
Naan bread or rice to serve

1. Bring lentils, stock and tumeric to the boil then simmer, covered, for 10 mins. Stir occasionally.

2. Fry onion in oil until soft then add garlic, chilli, cumin and coriander. Stir for 2-3 mins.

3. Stir the onion and spices into the lentil mixture then add tomato. Stir in the coconut milk for 1-2 mins.

4. Serve with naan bread or rice.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pipi Fritters

Collected Pipis in Nunguru Harbour on New Years day - Left them to soak in a bucket of salt water over night so they would spit out any remaining sand and then the following morning we steamed them open and ate quite a few. So sweet and juicy! After a rummage in the pantry for ingredients, we cooked up the rest into Pipi Fritters for breakfast. So it went a little something like this....

Whisk 2 eggs
grated lemon rind
pinch of chilli powder
and a couple of finely sliced fresh mint leaves

mix in 3 tablespoons of flour
2tsp of baking powder

add the coarsly chopped pipis (about a bread n butter plate full)
and 1/4 finely diced red onion

then add sploshes of beer till the desired consistency is reached.
Scoop out of mixing bowl with tablespoon and fry on medium heat in butter or oil. Made about 12 (fed 4 of us). Eat in the sun and enjoy!