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! 

Read More

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! 

Read More

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! 

Read More

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!

Read More

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! 

Read More

Fresh Peaches = Summer on a Plate!

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). She recently managed to score a 12kg box of peaches at a bargain price, so had to get creative in the kitchen cooking and preserving the peaches before they were past their best. This recipe Jen has developed is a very simple and light summer dessert, and a perfect finish to a BBQ or summer salad. The peaches went down a treat on our shoot day, and I definitely fulfilled my role as chief taste tester by having seconds and thirds! They’re also fantastic as leftovers the next day on your breakfast cereal. Any stone fruit would work well instead of the peaches, as well as fresh figs.

Start this recipe a day in advance as the labne needs time to hang.

Enjoy! 

Read More

Valentines day - are you sorted ......?

Well it’s that time off year again - yup Valentines Day!. Have you got everything sorted for your special other half? Flowers/pressie, special dinner in or out, yummy cocktail to start the evening? Well I’m here to help you out with the last item on that list. Sorry can’t help you the other items, you’re on your own for those!

This Strawberry Basil & Gin Cocktail is pure summer in a glass, and perfect for Valentines Day in the southern hemisphere. Not so great for northern hemisphere peeps, it’s probably still snowing and freezing cold in your neck of the woods. Maybe try this cocktail at another time of the year.

Your challenge on Valentines Day is to try and stop at just one cocktail. They’re very addictive so it would be easy to drink 2 - 3 cocktails, and forget about that yummy dinner you’ve got in the oven!

Enjoy! 

Read More

Courgette heaven ......?

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). As per usual at this time of year the courgettes take over the vege patch. Jen was telling me she had planted 4 courgette plants this year, which was one less than last summer, and she’s still trying to cope with them all ripening at the same time. Puts my single plant to shame, but I’ve still got the same problem.

If you aren’t picking almost daily, in the blink of an eye they turn into marrows! This rich moist cake is a nice way to use up any extra courgettes you have before they end up the size of a marrow football.

Enjoy! 

Read More

Blackcurrant heaven......

This week I’m rolling out something a bit special, plus using up the last of my blackcurrant harvest. If you want an appetiser/canape to impress the neighbours when they drop in for drinks - then this is it! The rich ruby red colour of the Blackcurrant Salmon Gravlax is very striking and it tastes AMAZING!

The recipe takes a little preparation a few days in advance, but boy is it worth it. I served it with pickled vegetables and blinis, but it would be equally good with eggs at breakfast or over a salad with some crusty bread.

Enjoy! 

Read More

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!

Read More

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! 

Read More

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! 

Read More

Happy 2018.....!

Happy New Year to everyone out there in blog-land. Many thanks for your wonderful support in 2017, and I can't wait to see what fabulous things 2018 brings. Here's how we started our New Year's celebrations last night with a summery sangria. It's the perfect drink for those long summer evenings. Enjoy!

Read More

Champagne Breakfast for Show Week

In Canterbury we have Show Week at this time every year, which is fantastic excuse to get dressed up in your fancy clothes complete with fascinator (for the girls - google it if you haven't heard the term), and go watch the horse racing.  As part of Show Week there are a myriad of Champagne Breakfasts and sponsored events to attend, which by the end of the week most people need to followup with some extended couch time and a quiet weekend.

I'm always on the lookout for something slightly different to serve at a champagne breakfast - and as many foodies say "always start the day right with a good breakfast", particularly if there is some alcohol involved! This Herb Waffle with Smoked Salmon and Fennel Cucumber Salad caught my eye and is perfect for any early summer breakfast or brunch. It's super tasty and a great stomach liner for all that early morning champagne. Enjoy!

Read More

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!

Read More

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!

Read More

Winter is not over yet.....

It's September so you would think spring is on its way with blossom and spring flowers? But no winter this week has to have a last blast with gales, hail & freezing temps. So here was me thinking I'll do something spring like for the blog. Arrgghhhhh - change of plan and back to the hearty winter food. 

Soup & bread, or toast, or bagel or flatbread feature quite a lot in my winter repertoire, so I had to crank out a loaf to go with my winter soup while the weather misbehaved outside. Yeah I know this Pumpkin, Fennel & Olive bread looks like it's had a bad spray tan at the beauty salon, but beneath it's dodgy looks lies a scrumptious bread with heaps of flavour.

Give it a go you won't be disappointed!

Read More

Party time in my fig tree......

During autumn I can always tell when the figs on my tree are ready as the birds seem to be having a party every day. With the amount of bird noise I can hear I'm guessing there's lots of squabbling going on between birdy individuals as to who has the perfect fig.

With this years mild autumn, the figs are huge and some nearly fill the palm of my hand. OK I have little hands - but even so that's pretty big for a fig.  The tree I planted about 10 years ago is called Brown Turkey - don't ask why as the figs aren't brown & there aren't any turkeys involved. It seems to cope well with the winter frosts we have here in Canterbury and produces a good crop most years - autumn weather dependent for ripening of the figs which are green to black on the outside and a creamy colour inside.

So before the birds damage all the fruit, I have a bit of a baking frenzy in the kitchen and cook up all sorts of dishes. This recipe is one of my favourites and always generates plenty of ohhhs & ahhhhsss from hungry guests!

Enjoy!

Read More

Autumn garden clean up......

Autumn is definitely here - so my garden was well overdue for a bit of a clean up and final harvest. Last weekend, before the cold nights took hold, I managed to pick the last courgettes before consigning the plants to the compost heap for another year. 

This year the courgette plants produced a bumper crop - which probably had something to do with all the compost and feeding the plants got throughout the summer. I could have sworn that the courgettes were growing heaps every time I turned my back! Ended up with a few marrows, but mostly managed to pick them early enough to keep to a manageable size. 

This yummy recipe comes from Lou & Ant Bentley at the Akaroa Cooking School, just over the Banks Peninsula hills an hour from my place. It's great for using up the courgette glut and has a lovely herby flavour with the addition of the tarragon and basil at the end of cooking the soup.  I make big batches of this soup, and freeze portions when I need something quick & tasty. 

Give it a try - you won't be disappointed!

Read More

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!

Read More