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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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! 

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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! 

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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! 

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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! 

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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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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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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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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!

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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!

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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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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!

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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!

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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!

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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 - sort of.....!

After complaining in my last post about the lack of summer the weather gods finally turned on a few hot humid days last weekend just to tease us, then turned the water works back on again for the rest of the week. I'm still hoping the remainder of summer is going to be sunny but I'm not holding my breath on that one! 

So on the hot humid days I had a go at making some jellies with fruit from the garden. The blackcurrants needed picking so this recipe looked perfect for a test run. Adding the blackcurrant shots after the elderflower jelly is set is optional but adds an interesting look to the jellies if they are are in glass containers. The idea came from Jellyologist Jess Mentis (www.thejellyologist.com). I've been following Jess on Instagram for while now and her jellies look amazing. Often they have different colours or flowers inserted in the jelly. Hmmm more practice needed I think on my own attempts.

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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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