Calamari & Citrus Salad

Photo by Devin Hart
Serves 4
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 3-4 minutes


Ingredients:  
500g squid tubes
1 citrus fruit, segmented (ugli, pomelo, grapefruit, blood orange, or orange will work here)
1 red onion, sliced
spring onions, chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 cup mung beans
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
Dressing
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon minced chili
1 teaspoon rice or white vinegar
1 clove crushed garlic
3 finely sliced mint leaves
a good squeeze of citrus juice (at least a tablespoon)
Method:  
Prepare the dressing.
Cut each squid tube open and lay flat with the inside facing up.  Score in a criss-cross pattern.  Slice down centre to make two large flat "leaves".  Rinse and wipe dry.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan until nearly smoking.  Add the squid to the pan cut side down.  Spoon over most of the dressing.  Turn the squid after about 2 minutes. Toss in the pan to coat in the dressing and cook for a further minute.
Remove squid from the pan and slice.  Serve with the salad ingredients with the remaining dressing.

Vichyssoise (Amazing Leek & Potato Soup)

I cooked this recipe on TVNZ Channel 1, Good Morning earlier this year.  Recently I spent a day with photographer Manja Wachsmuth and cooked it again.  I used shallots instead of onions to compliment the leeks and the result was an even better smoother delicately flavoured soup.  Enjoy xx.

Photo by Manja Wachsmuth

Ingredients:
50 grams butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 large leek, sliced (250g white part only)
2 shallots, sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (about 250g)
1 cup organic chicken stock
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup full fat milk
mineral salt and white pepper
chervil, truffle oil and a little extra cream to serve, optional


Method:
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and reduce the heat to low.  Add the leek and shallot and cover with a lid.  Cook on the lowest heat stirring occasionally until soft.  Don't allow to brown.

Add the potato and stock and replace the lid.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

Add the cream and puree, slowly adding the milk until you reach the right consistency.  Return to the heat and warm through.  Taste and add salt and white pepper.

If serving warm serve immediately with garnish otherwise chill completely before serving.

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking time 35 minutes

Got Broadbeans?

This recipe is one that I created for my Good Morning TV appearance at the end of this month.  However I am releasing it a little early as a friend of mine in Wellington specifically requested it.  If you have broadbeans ready now, it is more likely that you are still enjoying them in there simplest form.  Tuck this recipe away for a little later in the season  when you are wondering what on earth you will do with all those damn broadbeans!

Delicious, full of flavour and freezable this falafel mixture oozes goodness.


Broadbean Falafel

Photo by Devin Hart
5 cups broad beans (2 ½ cups shelled)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon mineral salt
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes, optional
4 spring onions, chopped
½ cup  mint leaves, chopped
¼ cup coriander leaves
3 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed
¼ cup water
¼ cup vegetable oil
Hummus and natural unsweetened yoghurt to serve


Heat a pot of water until boiling and add salt  and broadbeans, simmer for 5 minutes.  Reserve ¼ cup water, drain.

Place all ingredients except the water in the food processor and blend.  Slowly add water 1 tablespoon at a time until a firm but workable paste is achieved.

Use clean damp hands to form mixture into  small balls and flatten slightly

Heat oil in a pan and add the falafel balls, fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until crisp and piping hot.

Serve with humus, yoghurt and extra chili if desired.


Book Review: Laugh with Health: Your Complete Guide to Health, Diet, Nutrition and Natural Foods by Manfred Urs Koch

     
The title of this book belies it content, but the sub-title spells it out.  There is little to laugh about, but Koch paints a complete picture of the serious nature of its content in the subtitle.
It started as a leaflet that was hand delivered within a community in Melbourne until the author self-published it.  140 thousand copies have now been sold worldwide. It has been reprinted 22 times.
Laugh with Health is one of those reference works that should on every household’s  bookshelves.  It is easy to read and takes into consideration learning styles. If you learn from things set out in charts, and colour-coded, then this is your book.  If you like photos to assist your memory, or drawings of the human anatomy, in context of your dietry needs, then you are catered for.
And if you like explanations with pithy and humorous comments to make sure you understand the serious nature of your diet, you cannot go further than Koch’s explanations.
There is an excellent quick reference chart at the back, and a well-considered index.

Laugh with Health: Your Complete Guide to Health, Diet, Nutrition and Natural Foods
Published by Exisle Publishing 2011 Edition

Baked Lemon Cheesecake

Photo provided by Devin Hart
Ingredients:
50 grams butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup quark
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup semolina or instant polenta
2 lemons, zest and juice
1/2 cup lemon curd
 
Method: 
Preheat the oven to 170C or 150C if fan-forced, butter and flour a 20 cm spring-form cake tin.
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl.
Beat in quark and egg yolks until well combined.
Stir through, almonds, semolina, lemon zest and juice.
Whip egg whites until soft peaks form and fold through quark mixture.
Pour into prepared tin and bake for 1 hour.
Remove from pan and spread lemon curd over the top.

Serves 8
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Lentil Bake


An exceptionally cheap meal, filling and flavoursome it’ll warm you up on  a winters night.  If you can’t be bothered mashing potatoes, cover with foil before baking.
Photo by Devin Hart - The Vertical Line
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup diced pumpkin
3 cups vegetable stock
4 leaves silverbeet (chard), sliced
¼ cup walnuts
1 ¾ cups red lentils
2 cups mashed potato
2 tablespoons grated parmesan or cheddar

Preheat oven to 200ºC

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, celery, garlic, and pumpkin until browned and beginning to soften.

Add the vegetable stock and heat through, using a wooden spoon to scrape the brownings from the bottom of the pan as you stir.

Add the silverbeet, walnuts and lentils and pour into an oven-proof baking dish.

Top with mashed potato and cheese.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
Cost per serve: $2.09

Watercress and Split Pea Soup


Photo: Devin Hart - www.theverticalline.co.n

Green split peas are a wonderful pulse as they do not require soaking. They are perfect for bulking up this cream-less yet creamy watercress soup.  Suitable for making ahead of time and reheating, it will also freeze well.

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ leek, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup dried split peas
3 cups vegetable stock
400 grams watercress
1 tablespoon lemon juice
a slick of avocado oil and a little yoghurt or cream to serve, optional

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.

Add the leek, onion and garlic and cook gently until soft and fragrant (about 5 minutes).

Add the split peas and vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the split peas are soft and mushy.

Discard as much of the watercress stem as possible before adding to the soup.  Heat through and then blend thoroughly using a stick blender or a food processor (take care with hot liquid in a food processor, it is usually better to cool it first and then reheat if you have time).

Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Serve with a slick of avocado oil and little yoghurt or cream to make it look pretty.

Serves 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Cost per serve: $2.00


Busy in the Kitchen & Garden

It has been such a busy month, that I haven't posted anything here at all.   I am very excited to have joined the team at Escape for the Sunday Star Times as their new food columnist.

This month I have also created and shot 3 features for New Worlds Real Magazine.

Prepared and tested my 3 recipes for this Fridays Good Morning Show on TVNZ.  I am very excited this month as photographer Devin Hart has created beautiful images for these recipes which I will also showcase on my blog.


I received the first copy of my new book Now is the season (in stores in October) published by New Holland Publishers. I have been excitedly flipping through it and cooking from it for friends.

I also now have a blog on Foodies.co.nz for people to enjoy, a fantastic New Zealand food site, I am yet to write anything interesting there yet either but next week looks a little quiter (if you discount my birthday and two full days shooting food- ok maybe next week isn't any better).

On the home front we are still settling into our funny little house, we have nearly finished fixing up the kitchen (very cheaply, thank goodness our 1970's oven is fantastic and didn't need replacing). Just to punish ourselves, my husband and i put in a full vegetable garden and it is growing away nicely. Even if the muscles in my arms are still burning from shifting two cubic metres of Living Earth organic garden mix in the weekend.

I have  a few other exciting projects in the wings that I look forward to sharing with everyone soon.

On Friday evening when I get home from Wellington I will post the recipes with Devins images- they are rather delicious, if I do say so myself.

Until then, take care


 Laura

Quick soba noodles with cabbage



With Laura Faire
It's easy when you work from home to let the lunch hour slide by.  What happens to me when I do this? At around four I am cranky, hungry and scouring the cupboard for a quick fix often of the less nutritious variety.
Cost per person: $5.00
Serves 1
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 5 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
1 small bunch organic soba noodles
1 cm grated fresh ginger
1 spring onion
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 cup frozen peas
2 teaspoons tamari
Sesame seeds, chilli flakes and coriander to serve
 
Method:
Bring the stock or water to the boil, before adding the soba noodles.
Add the ginger, white part of the spring onion, cabbage and frozen peas. Simmer for another 4 minutes.
Stir through tamari before pouring into a bowl.  Garnish with the green part of the spring onion, sesame seeds, a few chilli flakes and a little chopped coriander to serve.

Sunday 3rd July



Slow Cooked Cardamom & Coconut Lamb Curry

with Chickpeas and Spinach

















Making a curry at home need not be daunting, it is a good way of knowing you are enjoying organic ingredients and controlling the level of spicy heat that you enjoy.  This curry is mild, it can be made milder by omitting the chilli altogether, or hotter by increasing the fresh chili or adding chili powder.

6 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons Garam Masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
500 grams boneless organic lamb shoulder, cut into 3 cm chunks*
25 grams butter
a dash of vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small chilli, red or green (optional)
270 ml light coconut cream
½ cup dried chickpeas soaked overnight or 1 small can chickpeas drained
1 teaspoon mineral salt
4 cups of baby or sliced spinach (to add before serving)

Bruise the cardamom pods and remove the black seeds.  Discard the green husks.  In a pestle and mortar crush the cardamom seeds with the cumin and coriander.  Add the Garam Masala.

Rub the spices into the meat and set aside while chopping the vegetables.

Heat the EasySear™ pan or a frying pan on the stove-top and add the butter and oil, brown the meat and then add the onion, garlic and chilli and sauté until just beginning to brown.

Place in the slow cooker and add the coconut milk, chickpeas and salt, stir to combine.  (If using a frying pan, when you have removed the lamb and vegetables, add ¼ cup of water or stock and bring to a simmer, use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the pan juices and add these to the slow cooker.)

Turn the slow cooker on to low and cook for 6-8 hours.  Fold through the prepared spinach before serving.

Serves 4
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time in a slow cooker 6- 8 hours

*This curry is delicious if made 6-700 grams of lamb shoulder chops that have been roughly chopped, include the bone when cooking for extra flavour but remove before serving.

Citrus Scented Shortest Day Cake


The shortest day is here; Christmas cake is for winter in the Northern Hemisphere and suits a warming cup of tea of an afternoon.  Here in the Southern Hemisphere it works the same, but needs a new name.   

This recipe is a re-invented Christmas cake perfect for the shortest day with fruit steeped in citrus-scented tea.
1 ½ cups of boiling water
6 Lady Grey tea bags
1 kilo dried fruit mix
200 grams butter, chilled and grated
2 cups organic stoneground plain flour, sifted
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 free range organic eggs, beaten
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup real maple syrup

Steep the tea bags in the boiling water for 5 minutes and then discard the bags.  Add the fruit and cover.  Leave for four hours or overnight until the fruit is lovely and plump.

Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Line and grease a 23cm cake tin allow a high paper collar as the cake will rise.

Rub the butter into the flour by hand or in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, baking soda and salt and combine.

Stir through the soaked fruit.

Mix together the eggs, milk and maple syrup and stir through the dry ingredients.

Press into prepared pan and bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2  hours.

Simple All Season Muesli

Muesli is a staple in our house,  this simple un-toasted muesli can be mixed with apple juice in the summer for bircher or cooked with milk in the winter for porridge.  No matter what the season, with a little fruit and yoghurt muesli makes a great nutritious breakfast.


1 1/2 cups favourite nuts and seeds
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped dried fruit
1/4 cup chia seeds or crushed linseed

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container or jar.

Makes: 5 3/4 cups
Preparation time 5 minutes

Celeriac Remoulade and Rhubarb and Apple Sponge Pud

Celeriac Remoulade


With Laura Faire
Remoulade is the French term for mustard flavoured mayonnaise.
Serves 4 as a side
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 3-4 minutes
Cost per person $2.80* All prices are for organic ingredients.

Ingredients:
2 bulbs celeriac
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 pinch mineral salt
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon boiling water
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1 large gherkin, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon (or any other herb you have to hand)
1 pinch of white pepper
Method:
Slice the thick dark skin from the celeriac and discard.  Slice the celeriac into match sticks and drop into a bowl of water with half of the lemon juice.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add the remaining lemon juice and a pinch of salt.  Blanch the celeriac for 3-4 minutes and then refresh under cold water.
To make the remoulade, place the egg yolk in a baking bowl with the mustard and beat with a large whisk.  Slowly whisk in the oil in very small amounts whisking furiously.  When it is thick and yellow whisk in the boiling water.  If you still have more oil continue whisk this in until it has all been combined.
Fold through the red wine vinegar, lemon zest, capers, gherkin, herbs, pepper and salt if needed. Add remoulade sauce to the drained celeriac.

Rhubarb and apple vanilla sponge pudding


With Laura Faire
I like to think of this recipe as a cobbler, the key is to thoroughly cream the butter and sugar until it is the consistency of clotted cream.  Once that is achieved I guarantee the toping will be outrageously good.
Serves 4-6
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 30-35 minutes
Cost per person $2.80 * All prices are for organic ingredients.
Ingredients:
4 cups fresh chopped rhubarb and apple
50g or 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 free-range organic egg
1 cup stoneground organic flour
1 tsp cream of tartar (or 3 tsp of lemon juice)
1 pinch mineral or sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream whipped or pouring to serve
Method:
Preheat oven to 180C.
Fill an ovenproof dish with fruit.
Using electric beaters cream together the butter and sugar until pale and sugar is dissolved.  Beat in egg.
Sift the flour, cream of tartar* and salt into a bowl.  Combine baking soda, milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl or jug.  Fold together the dry ingredients, creamed mixture and combined liquids and spoon over the prepared fruit.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the sponge is puffed up and golden brown.
Note: * If substituting lemon juice for cream of tartar then add with the other liquid ingredients.


Sausages for dinner


Sharing with this blog is something that I enjoy doing regularly, but I had no idea how much I am inspired by the visual.  

If I see something in my kitchen that looks lovely I like to share it, however I can't do this at the moment as my camera was stolen on my travels.  

As soon as Southern Cross come through with the travel insurance money it will be back to images and more interesting and regular blogs.  Until then, here is a recipe that probably would have looked ugly, but tasted delicious!

Easy Self Saucing Sausages

8 organic free range pork sausages
1 small onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
½ cup chutney (I used Provisions - Roasted Cherry Chutney)
1 cup water
mineral salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220ºC
Place the sausages in a casserole dish.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over.
Cover with a lid and bake for 45 minutes, stirring regularly and turning the sausages in the sauce.

Remove the lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the sauce is the right consistency.

Serves 4
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour

This Months Good Morning Recipes







 

Pear, walnut and blue cheese canapés



Makes: 40 canapés
Takes: 25 minutes preparation time plus assembly time
Costs: 24 cents per canapé

A quintessentially British flavour combination, these little canapés can be topped with anything you have to hand, feta, and pesto make a happy combination as will salmon and cream cheese or my favourite kahawai pate with preserved lemon.

Ingredients: 
1 sheet of ready rolled butter puff pastry (makes approx 40 canapés)
2 pears, cored, peeled and diced
Juice of one lemon
100g strong blue cheese
100g cream cheese
10 walnut halves, toasted

Method: 
Line a baking sheet with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180C.
Use a small cookie cutter (4-5 cm diameter) to stamp out small rounds of puff pastry, place on prepared tray and bake for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool.
Prepare the pears and drop into a saucepan of water with the lemon juice as you go.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes until just soft. Cool.
Beat together blue cheese and cream cheese and place in a piping bag.
Just before serving, pipe a little of the cheese mixture onto each pastry round, top with pear and walnut.

 

 

Ika mata spoons




Makes: about 25 canapés
Takes: 25 minutes preparation time plus assembly time
Costs: 80 cents per canapé 


Ingredients: 
500g white fish fillets such as gurnard or terakihi
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest and juice of 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 fresh chilli, seeds removed and chopped
1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander
1 finely chopped spring onion
1 tablespoon freshly chopped red onion
1/2 cup coconut cream
2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tablespoon white or black sesame seeds, toasted

Method:
Finely chop the fish into little cubes and place in a bowl.
Add the lemon and lime juice and zest with the sesame oil and chilli and little of the chopped coriander. Set aside for 30 minutes until the fish is opaque (or appears cooked). Drain.
Combine the remaining coriander with the spring onion, red onion coconut cream and fish sauce and add the fish.
Serve in individual spoons sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

Pasatta as promised..


What is interesting about Pasatta is that it is a simple base, however you can add a hint of this or a touch of that to give it a unique flavour.  I keep mine simple, the garlic and the parmesan oil are my favourite additions, so these can be changed for just a simple olive oil and the garlic left out if you prefer.  The Pasatta can be preserved in jars or frozen in usable quantities; otherwise it will keep in the fridge for a week.

Parmesan oil is a sneaky cheat;
Keep left over Parmesan rinds in a jar, 
top up with oil and store in the fridge.
Pasatta
2 kg large juicy tomatoes
4 tbsp parmesan oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed with ½ tsp sea salt

Cut a little cross in each of the tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Pour ample boiling water over the tomatoes and leave for 1-2 minutes (until you see the skin starting to loosen).

Peel the tomatoes, cut in half and scoop out and discard the seeds.

Heat the Parmesan oil in a saucepan and add the onion.  Cover and cook gently for at least 10 minutes until the onion is soft and clear but not coloured.  Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes.

Add the tomato flesh to the softened onion and garlic and cook for 30 minutes. Blend to a smooth sauce.  Either seal in sterile preserve jars or freeze in small batches.

Green Tomato Relish

This recipe needs to be started the day before. 

A great change from store bought tomato sauce or as we call it "train smash" a little extra sugar will make it more appealing to children, no funny additives or colours, just good honest food.

2 kg green tomatoes
2 onions, sliced
2 green peppers
4 green chillies, optional
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground alspice
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons mustard powder
1 cup soft dark brown or muscavado sugar
1 1/2 cups malt or cider vinegar (I use dyc brand)

Mark a cross in the bottom of each tomato and pour over boiling water, stand until the skins loosen, then drain and peel.

Chop the tomatoes, onions, green peppers and chillies.  Add to a large enamel or stainless steel saucepan in handfuls sprinkling with salt as you go.  Leave to stand overnight or for 12 hours.

Drain off the excess liquid and add the remaining ingredients.

Bring to the boil and boil for 30 minutes stirring regularly.  Use a stick blender to whiz to a suitable consistency, a smooth sauce suits bottles and can be used as a tomato sauce substitute, but a chunky relish is great for spooning out into sandwiches and onto cheese boards.

Oven-dried Cherry Tomatoes with Thyme

With the wonders of technology, I am happily posting while somewhere in Brazil, by now I am most likely (all things going smoothly) in Sao Paulo, perhaps you'll be able to see on my profile page on Facebook where I am, have a look and see Laura Faire

As promised my second favourite thing to do with cherry tomatoes (first is eating them still warm from the sun while in the garden).

Oven-dried Cherry Tomatoes with Thyme

oven-dried cherry tomatoes Autumn 2011
Preheat the oven to 150ºC.

Wash all the cherry tomatoes you can harvest, discard any that are under-ripe or over-ripe and halve the rest.  Place cut side up on a baking tray and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh thyme.

Bake for about 3 hours until shriveled and starting to brown around the outside.  Leave to cool on trays before packing into sterile jars and covering with extra virgin olive oil.  Seal and store until ready to use.  Keep in the fridge once opened.



Real Almond Pesto

Quick before the basil is all over! We had to harvest it, we were going away, pesto really is a great way to store it and like I said before, this stuff tastes great, so much better than the little plastic containers filled with green stuff in the shops.  I just hope it survives in the jars until I get home, to hedge my bets a few jars are in the freezer, I look forward to letting you know if this works out.  Righto, enough from me, rambling on.

This recipe is not exact as I have no idea how much basil you have, taste regularly and adjust as you go.

Real Almond Pesto

about 100g of almonds
lots of basil, perhaps 4 super large handfulls

1/2 cup canola oil (any neutral oil will work)
1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic 
75g grated parmesan
1-2 teaspoons of mineral salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place the almonds in a blender and whiz up until finely ground (you can use ground almonds).

Add all the remaining ingredients and pulse until a paste begins to form.  Taste and adjust the salt, pepper or olive oil.  Pulse and taste again and adjust again if necessary.
Continue to pulse until a good smooth texture is reached.
Spoon into sterilise jars and bang on the bench a few times to remove air bubble.  Pour a few spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil over the top to further reduce the chance of air spoiling the pesto.  Seal and store in the fridge.

Harvest Time!

Before disappearing on honeymoon we had to bring in the tomatoes and basil.  A sink full and more of tomatoes, home-grown with all that basil has kept me bustling all afternoon amidst delicious smells.


Over the next few weeks 
I will share my harvest recipes


Keeping things moving while I am away, because seasonal food never stops! I hope that these recipes are timely with the glut in your own garden, or even the low seasonal prices in the shops.

Keep an eye out for Real Almond Pesto. "Real" because as I ate my home-grown, home-made pesto by the spoonful today, I thought how much more sublime homemade pesto is than the bought stuff. I recalled that it was a flavour that sent me into raptures when I first tried it, so much so that I remembered the very first pesto I ever had!  It was at "Sagio di vino" in Christchurch.  These guys were my first favourite restaurant, and it saddens me that they were damaged in the quake, please support them when they re-open after the earthquake damages have been repaired (to find out when they re-open, keep an eye on their website at http://www.saggiodivino.co.nz).


Also this month there will be trays of Oven-dried Cherry Tomatoes with Thyme, packed in oil and stored to give you access to summer throughout the winter months. Perhaps I am just a girl who fell in love with food in the nineties, but sun-dried tomatoes and semi-dried tomatoes need not be relegated to the back of the cupboard because of fashion.  A sun-dried tomato, especially a homegrown one will transform a pizza, is great tossed through couscous or brown rice, kicks a grilled chicken breast up the backside with a much needed burst of flavour, and the little ones, stored under oil with a twig of thyme and piled onto grill bread makes a grunty starter.

Because we had to harvest all the tomatoes before we take off for Brazil, we had to pick the green ones too.  No problem Green Tomato Relish is the stuff that makes a hamburger stand up and start talking.  I like to keep a selection of homemade relishes, jams, chutneys and pickles, not only are they an excellent way of preserving all that garden labour, but they make great koha as they are generally unique and always made with love.

And as if these aren't enough recipes to keep you going while I travel (at least until I get to South Africa, where I should be able to check in...)  I will also share my simple Passata recipe.  Passata is bottled pureed tomato, useful in any recipe that might call for canned, crushed or chopped tomatoes, pasta sauce or tomato pizza base sauce.  I flavour mine subtly with minimum fuss and never really manage to make enough to get me through the winter.

So, keep and eye on the blog as thanks to the new-fangled scheduling tool, there should be plenty going on.

See you in mid April!

 L  xx


Kiwis and Recreational Fishing


Relevant recreational quota info:

Cockles: 50 per person per day
Mussels: 25 per person per day

For more information go to:
http://www.fish.govt.nz/en-nz/Recreational/Guidleines+on+daily+limits.htm

Some facts about us and fishing according to the Colmar Brunton Survey from 2007:

    * Nearly all (88%) New Zealanders eat fish at least once a month
    * Almost half of us (45%) eat fish at least once a week
    * Only one quarter of all New Zealanders fished recreationally more than once in the past 12 months
    * 25% have never fished recreationally in New Zealand
    * 6 out of 10 recreational fishers report that they are satisfied with their catch
    * 65% of New Zealanders think that both recreational and commercial fishers should be required to catch less if there is not enough fish to meet demand
    * More than half (56%) of the recreational fishers agree
    * 85% of New Zealanders think that up to 10 fish per recreational fisher is a reasonable daily allowance and 85% of recreational fishers agree (the current limit is 20 for most finfish)
    * 64% of New Zealanders think that it is reasonable to require recreational fishers to record their catch and more than half (55%) of the recreational fishers agree.

Also a link to buy Al Browns amazingly fantastic book on amazon (its packed full of information and in my opinion the best NZ seafood book on the market):  Go Fish: Recipes and Stories from the New Zealand Coast

Rhubarb & Cream Semifreddo


The rhubarb in my garden never seems to stop producing, so as the leaves turn, because I can't stand seeing it wasted I cast around for ways of using it up.  This way is my favourite.

Semifreddo is Italian for half frozen.  The sharp flavour of rhubarb is a stunning companion to the sweet creaminess of this semifreddo.  Often in Italy it is poured into a cake pan and frozen and served as an ice cream cake.  It can also be served rolled like regular ice cream.
 
Serves 4-6
Makes 1 standard loaf pan (insert diameter)
Takes: 30 minutes, plus four hours freezing time.

300g rhubarb, chopped
2 tbsp liquid honey
½ tsp natural pink food colouring (optional)
2 eggs
85g caster sugar
1 cup cream

Place the rhubarb in a small saucepan with the honey and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes until soft.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Create a double boiler by adding water to the bottom of a saucepan and placing a large heatproof bowl on top.  Bring the water to a gentle simmer and add the eggs and sugar into the bowl.  Use electric beaters to whisk until warm, thick and pale.  This will take around 8-10 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the heat and continue beating until the mixture has cooled to room temperature, this should take 5-6 minutes.

In a clean bowl with clean beaters beat the cream until it is the same consistency as the egg mix.

Fold the two mixtures together, folding in half of the prepared rhubarb and pour into a loaf pan that has been lined with cooking paper, plastic wrap or foil.

Freeze for four hours until firm.

Serve sliced with the reserved rhubarb compote

Extra Notes for the True Food Geek (like me)...
      Semifreddo is a type of ice cream, it generally contains egg yolks or as in this instance both the yolk and the white from the egg.  A parfait uses only the egg whites.
       In summer when the berries arrive or autumn when stone fruit is plentiful, substitute 150g of purred or fresh of any of your favourites or the full 300g if it is suitable for a compote sauce as well.
      All the beating and whipping in this recipe make for lovely light frozen dessert without the need for an ice cream maker.
      Semifreddo is smooth because the proteins and emulsifiers in the egg yolks help to keep the ice crystals small when the mixture freezes.

Chilled Cucumber and Mint Salad with Vietnamese Dressing


(Source: Laura Faire) Laura Faire
From Laura Faire
Watch this clip Ondemand here 
Serves 4
Takes: 5 minutes plus cooling time for the dressing
Costs:  $1.00 per person
Dressing:
50g palm sugar
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small chilli, seeds removed and sliced
Salad:
1 telegraph cucumber
a handful of fresh mint leaves
Method:
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil and simmer until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is a little thicker.
Chill before using.
Peel the cucumber and slice on the diagonal.  Arrange on a platter with the mint leaves.  Pour over the chilled dressing.  This salad can be served immediately or left for the dressing to infuse for an hour first.
Notes:  This dressing comes from the Vietnamese dressing Nuoc Cham.  The vinegar can be replaced with either lemon or lime juice when these are plentiful.  It will keep in the fridge for months and is traditionally used as a dipping sauce.

Coconut & Lemongrass Poached Fish



From Laura Faire
Watch this clip Ondemand here
Serves 4
Takes: 10 minutes
Costs:  $5.70 per person
Ingredients:
2 spring onions, white parts only, chopped
1 bunch coriander, stalks only, chopped
4 small lemon grass stalks, sliced
1 cm knob of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 x 270 mL light coconut cream
1 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
1 tsp vinegar or a tbsp of lemon juice or lime juice
500g terakihi fillets cut into thirds
Coriander leaves and green parts of spring onion for garnish
Method:
Combine spring onions, coriander stalks, lemon grass and ginger and pulverize to  a paste with the salt either in  pestle and mortar or a small blender.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the fresh paste, fry stiring for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the coconut cream and bring to the boil.  Simmer very gently for 1-2 minutes, add the fish sauce and the fish fillets.  Continue to simmer for 3-4 minutes until the fish is just cooked.
Serve on jasmine rice garnished with coriander leaves and chopped spring onion.



Honey Pickled Beetroot, Goats Cheese & Walnut Salad


From Laura Faire
Watch this clip Ondemand here
Serves 4
Takes: 25 minutes
Costs: $4.70 per person
Salad:
2 large or 4 small beetroot, peeled and chopped
1 cup white wine vinegar (I use DYC Brand)
1/4 cup liquid honey
4 cardamom pods
12 slices French bread
2 tbsp olive oil
100g soft goats cheese
1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted
2 handfuls of beautiful salad leaves
Dressing:
1 tbsp reserved pickling liquid
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
Method:
Preheat the grill to 200ýC
Place the chopped beetroot in a large saucepan and add the vinegar, honey and cardamom pods.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes.
While the beetroot is simmering, brush the French bread with olive oil and grill on each side for a few moments.  Sprinkle with a little salt.
Divide the salad leaves, goats cheese, toasted bread and walnuts between the plates and drain the beetroot reserving some liquid for the dressing.
Combine the dressing ingredients and add to the salads with the warm beetroot just before serving.

Palm Sugar

Is a natural product made from the palmyra or sugar palm, or in this instance the coconut palm.  Here is a short video post that I found on you tube, showing how it is made.  Unlike in this video where it is set in little piles, it often comes in funny little disks, and that is because it is poured into bamboo tubes and set and then sliced.