Spice up your weekend roast with some chinese flavours....

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com).

For something a bit special you can’t go past Jen’s slow roast leg of lamb with lots of chinese spices and herbs. Go easy on the Sichuan pepper and chilli flakes if kids are going to eat it, and just serve with good quality chilli sauce on the side for the adults. Jen is a fan of crisp chilli sauce, which you can find at Asian supermarkets.

The key for perfect slow cooked meat, is to let it rest well after it’s finished cooking. It will hold its heat for a good hour if it’s covered with foil, so make sure you include that time when planning a start time for cooking the lamb.

Serve with freshly cooked greens (what ever is in season), and rice or noodles - both are delicious!

Enjoy! 

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Jen's Soba Noodle Salad with your 5+ a day in one meal!

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com).

This Soba Noodle Salad is a family favourite in Jen’s house. The recipe works well year round, and you can use whatever vegetables are seasonally available. It’s super quick to put together, and parts of it can be made in advance for an easy lunch or light dinner.

Now that avocados have returned to an affordable price and don’t cost the earth, they provide a nice contrast to the crisp vegetables. The egg noodles and edamame beans can be subbed for other ingredients like a roast chicken (Jen does a mean Miso Roast Chicken), soft boiled eggs, or other meat, fish or tofu.

Other vegetable options to try are ..... blanched broccoli, asparagus, pal choi, beans, baby spinach, shredded carrot, capsicum, roast eggplant, courgette noodles etc. Test drive your own combinations!

Enjoy! 

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Are you ready for Mothers Day.......?

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com).

Jen’s created a lovely brunch option for special mothers on Mothers Day, you can’t beat this Crispy Agria & Chorizo with Eggs, Smokey Tomato Sauce, Labne & Herb Salad. This recipe is equally good as a weekend brunch option for a crowd. With a little bit of prep before hand brunch can be ready in no time at all. I’ve also made this recipe for a light Sunday supper kind of meal, when you don’t want a big meal!

The labne and tomato sauce can be made the day before along with cooking the potatoes. Then simply crispy up the potatoes, warm the sauce and poach the eggs to serve. Omit the chorizo for meatfree and perhaps season the potatoes with smoked salt or add a little smoked paprika

Enjoy! 

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Time for some comfort food.......

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com).

This Smokey Braised Beef is a fantastic winter dish, and Jen originally made it to use up excess turnips and pumpkin. It does take a bit of time in the oven, but makes a lot and freezes well. Its also good cooked in a slow cooker. (see Note below). Could be good for a weekend dinner when you have extra time for cooking, and just reheat any leftovers during the week for a quick meal.

The Cornbread is a bit of fun, and you can mix up the flavours to your taste. Leftovers are delicious toasted and topped with butter!

Enjoy!

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Curry time.......

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com).

This Tomato & Coconut curry is a family favourite in Jen’s house, and is so quick and easy to prepare. Subtly spiced with the four different seeds, plus the fresh sweet cherry tomatoes really make the dish. The recipe came about as Jen had an oversupply of cherry tomatoes (always the way with tomatoes all ripening at the same time), one random eggplant, no legumes or meat, and chickpea flour and pantry staples. So thinking cap on and voilà and hour later a dish the whole family loved.

The pudlas are great to serve with a curry and so versatile. Plus kids love them! They are a thin crepe/pancake originating from India, and the batter consistency when mixed is like cream. The mix keeps well in the fridge so feel free to double it and crank some out for breakfast or lunch. This recipe makes 2 cups, so about 8 small crepes. You can add spices like cumin, or fresh grated ginger, or even grated vegetables in to the mix.

Chickpea flour is available at the supermarket, but the best place to buy it is at the Indian grocer or the organics shop.

Enjoy! 

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Bounty from the garden.......

This year in the garden I’ve been trying a few different vegetables, to see which grows best in my little corner of the world.

Fennel was a big fat fail, but the beetroot has turned out to be an excellent crop. Lots of fat beets and luscious green foliage. So what to do with said crop? In my book you can’t go past a yummy vege relish to have on just about everything, from a cheese board to sandwiches, burgers and cold meats. And the small beetroot leaves can be used in salads or cooked in place of kale.

So the beetroot crop got a big tick from me and will be appearing once again in next years garden. After a strenuous day in the garden, nothing is better than a tasty steak sammie cooked on the BBQ with the Beetroot & Cumin Relish and a garlicy aioli. Yum on so many levels!

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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Spiced Lamb Cutlets with Labne, Dukkah & Pomegranate

These spicy lamb cutlets done on the BBQ are perfect in this moroccan-inspired dish, and ideal for a casual weekend get together. Your guests will be salivating watching them cook on the BBQ, followed up by lots of finger licking after tasting the lamb cutlets with heaps of creamy labne and spicy dukkah.

Don't be put off by the long preparation time for this dish, it's really very simple to put together, and just a little prep time the day before. Then throw everything together while BBQ'ing the cutlets. What could be easier? Enjoy!

 

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Sunday suppers.....

Roasted tomatoes are a beautiful thing, and really simple to make into a tasty sauce (sugo). I love roasting them to bring out their inherent sweetness, and with the addition of herbs, balsamic & little sugar takes them to a whole new level. 

One of my favourites recipes to accompany a roast tomato sugo is pork and fennel meatballs. You can't beat this combination for a sunday supper, or in fact any day of the week. It's a super quick meal if you have your sugo and uncooked meatballs already made up and stored in the freezer. Give it a go - and give your taste buds a party!

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Fancy a spicy dinner in on a winters night...?

Yup we're in the middle of another cold hard winter - the ever revolving cycle of frosts then rain, more frosts, then more rain! So what better way to beat the chills than a crispy pork belly with spicy asian sauce! Best combination ever, right? It's such an easy sunday evening meal especially in the midst of winter. 

After 2 - 3 hours of gentle cooking, followed by a blast under the grill you'll be rewarded with the most gorgeous crispy pork belly, spicy sauce and vibrant greens. Whats not to like? Enjoy!

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Fire up the barbie - summer's coming!

Yikes it's November already - where did the weeks go. Big fail again on my part to regularly update the blog. But I guess it's better late than never, particularly this recipe as it's a winner for those summer barbies!

Making this recipe I normally allow three skewers per person, but it would pay to do extra as they seem to disappear at a fast rate when the ravenous hordes are around.

Enjoy! 

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It's been a long time....

Apologies - yes I know it's been a long between posts from the Food Union, but life has been a tad chaotic of late what with cookbooks and advertising clients all vying for my attention. 

To rectify this lapse and appease the masses I've thrown together a scrumptious dish for you all from Emma Knowles at Gourmet Traveller using lamb racks and spices. I think its one of those trans seasonal dishes that could be good at any time of the year, and hits the spot in my book for flavour.

Enjoy!

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Ugly Dumplings....

OK you'll have to excuse the wrinkly nature of my dumplings - these tasty morsels aren't going to win any dumpling beauty pagents. But hey I'm still a learner driver making these things and I think lots of practice in this case does indeed make perfect.

The recipes are very simple and I've gone for two combinations of Chicken & Coriander and Pork & Garlic Chive. But have a play and experiment a bit with the mix of flavours and make your own unique combinations.

Enjoy!

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Chicken from down Mexico way......

Need a speedy lunch or dinner for 4 - you gotta check out this Mexican Chicken recipe. Packed with flavour - it's spicy with plenty of zing from the limes plus the salty feta.

It's really easy to prepare ahead, and you can just throw it in the oven when your guests are banging on your front door. After you've had the odd  compulsory margarita (or two), the chicken will be ready to serve with a simple green salad.

Que aproveche!

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Need a long weekend......

Yay for a long weekend in New Zealand for Waitangi Day. It's timed perfectly for those of us out there fighting the return to work blues and wishing we were still in the middle of their christmas holidays!

To make the most of the warm evenings over Waitangi weekend we cranked up  the barbecue and gave our new outdoor table & chairs a test drive. The results were table & chairs = big tick, lamb/salad = yummmm,  plus a few vinos to wash it all down. So good night had by all!

This moroccan inspired lamb recipe is equally good cooked on a barbecue or the stove. It takes a bit of prep, but you can do the dukkah in advance so it doesn't take too long to pull together. 

Enjoy!

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Summer - what summer......?

I have to say that summer has been a real disappointment this year, particularly with the last week being wet & miserable in Christchurch. Over the weekend to combat the bad weather blues I've was craving a bit of comfort food.  

So after a bit of umming and ahhhing and several sessions of looking in the pantry and fridge for inspiration, I settled on throwing together some gnocchi with extras from the garden. 

I love this Summer Pesto recipe as it uses lots of things from my garden, and is quick & easy to make. Even with lots of overcast wet days my kale crop has done well, with the plants now turning into triffids. I could be eating kale every day and I'm sure the plants would still keep up - downside I'd probably develop a greenish appearance! 

You'll have to excuse the rather rustic appearance of my gnocchi as I was in a bit of a rush and didn't roll them properly - never mind they still tasted good even if they left someting to be desired in the beauty stakes. 

Bon appetit!

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