Who like quick & simple recipes with lots of flavour ....?

Everyone who knows me well, knows that I like simple recipes with lots of flavour. Who wants to be slaving away in the kitchen making a masterpiece, when everyone else is having fun. This super quick recipe for Corn & Herb Fritters with Hot Smoked Salmon & Aioli is my go to recipe for bite sized appetisers or a brunch/lunch dish, made with slightly bigger fritters. Most of the recipe can be prepared before hand and then doesn’t take long to serve up when needed. It also scales well to make more serves. Give it a go this spring/summer when the hordes need feeding.

Enjoy! 

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Jen's Middle Eastern Vegetable Tajine with a couple of extras....

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

It’s a middle eastern Vegetable Tajine with a couple of extra sides of Spiced Chickpeas and a Roast Cauliflower & Grain Salad, which makes a fantastic winter meal to have with friends or family. Plus it’s totally meat free, so will suit lots of people.

Enjoy! 

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Speedy lunch for the weekend.........

I’m all for quick and simple dishes, especially when the hordes descend and you have to feed them toot suite! This tasty tart fits the bill, and you can mix up the flavours a bit with different vegetable and cheeses. Just remember to make sure the vegetables are very finely sliced to ensure they cook through in the time it takes for the pastry to cook. Best kitchen tool ever invented is the mandolin, which makes this job so quick and easy.

Serve with a salad or two and you’re done. Time to put your feet up with a glass of vino. Plus the hordes will be happy too.

Enjoy! 

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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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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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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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Check out these bad boys....

I was doing some recipe testing for a client recently, and thought I should really do something with the left over fish fillets. So after fighting off my two cats, who thought they would shimmy up my leg to bench level for a lightening raid, I threw together some fish sliders with a spicy vegetable pickle to share with a couple of friends.

After a few vino's they lasted all of 2 mins, and barely touched the sides going down. Make sure you make plenty of these bad boys, coz they won't last long. 

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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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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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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 - 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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