Berry Delicious......!

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). This time its a type of syrup called a fruit shrub, which is a concentrated syrup with a vinegar base, that’s used as a mixer in cocktails or with soda. It was popular during the American colonial era, and it’s making a come back with the recent interest in mixology. On a hot day it’s very refreshing served with soda, ice and extra fruit.

This recipe has a cold brew method where the ingredients are left to sit to concentrate the fruity flavour. Some fruit, like rhubarb require cooking with the sugar first. Jen tends to use the cold brew method when she can, as it produces a fresher flavour. You could also experiment using different types of sugar, matching it to the type of fruit.

In this recipe Jen used boysenberries, but raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, logan berries will all work well, in fact you can use just about any fruit to make a shrub. Try stone fruit, rhubarb, apples, pears, and even cucumber. Pair them with herbs/spices such as Pear & Ginger, or Strawberry & Basil for a fantastic base in a cocktail.

Enjoy!

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Fig Celebrations......

In past years I’ve struggled to get any ripe figs off my established fig tree (Fig Brown Turkey) in the garden. Living in the south island of New Zealand and having to put up with the vagaries of our summer weather, most years I end up with plenty of figs that never ripen before the end of autumn.

So this year I thought I would try an experiment and plant a new fig tree (Fig Mrs Williams) in my garden. I’ve positioned it against a north east facing fence (southern hemisphere sun is best in this direction). When it gets a little bigger the plan is to espalier the fig tree along the fence to maximise the amount of sun the new fig tree gets. Fig Mrs Williams is an earlier fruiting variety than Fig Brown Turkey, so fingers crossed it comes up with the goods.

Well surprise surprise - we’re only half way through January and already I’ve had ONE ripe fig off my small fig tree. So I can’t wait till early autumn see what this little tree comes up with next.

With a single perfectly ripe fig to play with, what dish to make? It has to be something simple and tasty, so I’m thinking a Fig, Apple & Walnut Salad will be perfect! And yes it was Ç’est Magnifique or Awesome for the non francophiles out there!

Enjoy! 

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Fresh Cherry Frangipane Brioche......

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). This is Jen’s version of Bostock or Brioche Aux Amandes, and she’s used fresh cherries as they are fantastic at this time of year. Also included are another couple of favourites a marmalade version and a Christmas mince version.  Best eaten warm straight from the oven, and it’s a lovely brunch option or great with coffee. 

 Prepare the frangipane and orange syrup the night before, and assemble the brioche in the morning and bake. 

Enjoy! 

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DAY 1 - Christmas Countdown - Raspberry Pavlova Wreath

Yayyy - we’ve finally made it to Day 1 of my Christmas Countdown! And for the pièce de résistance I’ve made a Raspberry Pavlova Wreath. Living in the southern hemisphere, a summery Chrismas isn’t the same without the very popular pavlova and berries for dessert, everyone swears by their family recipes being the best ever. This year I’ve tried a slightly different version from Donna Hay Magazine (thanks Donna) in the shape a wreath, and piled it up with lots of raspberries and extra garnishes. Any fruit will do, and you could exchange the raspberries for mango, pomegranate or cherries. Let your imagination run wild.

Well this is my last day posting for awhile, so I just wanted to say thanks for following along on my Christmas Countdown - it’s been a blast. My waistline has taken a bit of a hit with all those calories, but thats what New Years resolutions are for aren’t they. I also wanted to say a big thank you to all my clients who made 2018 an epic year for my business. Looking forward to doing some more fantastic work in 2019.

Enjoy your Christmas break - and from me it’s over and out for 2018!

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DAY 2 - Christmas Countdown - Christmas Star Bread

Day 2 of my christmas countdown - and we only have two days till the big day. Hope you’ve done all your Christmas shopping, and are sprinting through your “To Do” list. Todays recipe for Christmas Star Bread is perfect for that Christmas morning snack, while your opening presents and wrangling the turkey into submission. And it can even be prepared the night before and popped in the oven first thing Christmas morning.

Enjoy!

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DAY 3 - Christmas Countdown - Chocolate Rose Truffles

For those chocoholics out there we have simple chocolate truffle recipe on Day 3 of my christmas countdown. This recipe is really easy and you can make the truffles any flavour you like. Just exchange the rose water for a liqueur such as Amaretto, Brandy, Cointreau or what ever takes your fancy. Then you can change the rose petals for a suitable topping, for example candied orange to go with Cointreau.

Enjoy! 

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DAY 5 - Christmas Countdown - Christmas Mince Pies

Day 5 of my christmas countdown is really getting into the Christmas spirit with these tiny Christmas Mince Pies. I love these pies with lots of dried fruit and a touch of nutmeg. They have to be my favourite at Christmas time, and of course I’ve been doing a fair bit of quality testing this week just to make sure they taste as good as they look.

Enjoy! 

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DAY 7 - Christmas Countdown - Gingerbread Stars

Day 7 of my christmas countdown is a recipe for a christmas bauble or two in the shape of Gingerbread Stars. They look fabulous hanging on a Christmas tree (or any tree if you’re going the non traditional route), or bagged up as pressies.

And don’t be like me and forget to put the holes in each star before putting them in the oven - doh! Never mind, out with the trusty power tool, and drill the holes once the gingerbread has cooled. Don’t forget to give the drill bit a wash first though. Perfect holes every time!

Enjoy! 

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DAY 8 - Christmas Countdown - Woodland Meringues

Day 8 of my christmas countdown inspiration is a bit special with these delectable Woodland Meringues. Looking fabulous with their different coatings, you can never stop at just one!

I’ve used pistachios, dried raspberries, and gold pearl sugar for my chocolate toppings. But you can choose different toppings such as toasted & chopped hazelnuts or almonds, dried mandarins, dried cherries, edible gold leaf, chocolate hail, sprinkles, or want ever takes your fancy.

They make great gifts, bagged up in cellophane bags with christmas ribbon and hung on a Christmas tree or stuffed in Christmas stockings.

Enjoy! 

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DAY 9 - Christmas Countdown - Chocolate, Orange & Almond Biscotti

Well here we are for Day 9 of my Christmas Countdown. Today’s recipe is a Chocolate, Orange & Almond Biscotti, just the treat to have with a coffee or anytime snack.

Might pay to do a bit of dunking first as these biscotti are super crunchy, and I don’t want to be responsible for broken teeth at this time of year.

Enjoy! 

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DAY 10 - Christmas Countdown - Cranberry, Almond & Pistachio Nougat

For all those people out there in blog land who are keen on doing some Christmas baking, I’m here to help. I’ve decide to put together a countdown of a few of my favourite recipes in the run up to Christmas. So starting today at Day 10 we have a Cranberry, Almond & Pistachio Nougat. Great for gifts or just having on hand for those unexpected visitors.

This recipe brings back lots of memories of Christmas as a child, when Mum & Dad would give us Callard & Bowser Nougat for Christmas. It became a bit of a tradition in our family and we only received it at Christmas time, as it was meant to be a very special treat. Even now after all these years I can still remember the smell and taste of the Nougat with it’s hint of rose water, crunchy nuts, and luscious cherries.

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Summer salad to impress......

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). This is a simple but beautiful recipe for a Roast Carrot Salad with Labne & Sumac. It’s just the dish for those summer BBQ’s, or a light lunch. The labne could be replaced with soft goats cheese, just give the dish a sprinkle with sumac at the end. You can serve the salad warm or at room temperature, so perfect for Christmas day as you can prep ahead.

Enjoy! 

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Dress up your salads, soups & vege

OK everyone don’t fall off your seats - another post from me only a week after the last one. I’m trying to be a bit more diligent with my social media posts (early New Years resolution), fingers crossed I can keep going for more than a few months.

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). Savoury Granola makes a great pantry staple, and a perfect topping for salads, soups, on top of eggs, and on roast or steamed vegetables. In fact anything that needs a bit of crunch! It also makes a great homemade gift, particularly at this time of year.

The dry ingredients are interchangeable with what you have in your pantry, just keep it to around six cups of dry ingredients. Don’t go too heavy on the buckwheat, they go nice and crunchy, but you don’t want too many of them.

Enjoy! 

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Getting in the mood for Christmas...?

Apologies to everyone out there in blog land - it’s been an absolute eon between posts. Been a bit busy on the work front with back to back projects, and have only just come up for air in the last week or so.

I also wanted to introduce you to fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy from the Modern Mess (www.themodernmess.com). We’ve decided to team up on a few projects and this is the first of our endeavours.

To get everyone in the mood for Christmas, Jen has cooked up a yum Christmas Mince Slice. Yes I know it’s still November, but Christmas is officially one month away today!

This is a version of Jen’s grandmother’s recipe. It’s subtly Christmasy and loved by all who get to sample it, plus great to have in the pantry for those Christmas visitors.

Enjoy! 

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A cheeky beef cheek or two anyone .......?

I don't know about you but I'm all about comfort food when the weather is doing it's best to freeze & drown you all at the same time! I tried this recipe for Beef Cheeks recently when friends braved the elements to visit me. During dinner there were lots of oohs, ahhhhh, & yummms so I guess it hit the spot. Unfortunately it's not the type of recipe to whip up quickly, but with a little pre planning and slow cooking the beef for 5 - 6 hours you will end up with a tasty and very tender meal. 

Enjoy! 

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The best end to a winter dinner .......

Searching for a light winter dessert to have at a weekend dinner with friends? You've got to try these roast spiced pears with hazelnuts and labne. Roasting the pears gives them a richer flavour, and the generous slug of port with the spices makes for a heavenly combination. Of course a little tipple during cooking doesn't go amiss either. 

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The weather, Clive James & citrus .......

Well winter has definitely arrived, and we seem to be experiencing weeks of grey overcast days with continual rain. I always remember a comment by Australian author and raconteur Clive James, about his view on the weather in London - he likened it too living under a Tupperware container. Got to agree with you there Clive, we have the same problem here in NZ at the moment.

To brighten the long grey wet weekend I’ve had a bit of a baking session in the kitchen to use up some of the citrus from the garden. This combination of the tart citrus filling with the liquoricey anise pastry is perfect! Give the recipe a go - you won’t be disappointed!

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Quince oversupply.......

You can tell it's Autumn, coz I've been busy in the kitchen trying to use up some of the bumper crop of Quinces from the garden. So far on the cooking schedule I've made Quince Paste, Quince Tarts, Quince Muffins, and finally this  very yummy recipe for Quince & Ginger Sorbetto.  

I wasn't sure how well the quince would freeze but it came perfectly, and you can't beat that AMAZING colour. Next on the baking schedule is to make another Quince Tart (or even Apple Tart) and serve with this Quince Sorbetto. Ohhh my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

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