Sunday, 31 July 2011

prawn linguine

Pasta is not really loved in our house hold, the exception Jacob and myself,  so I have to make it for myself at lunch time if I want to eat it.

For this recipe you will need

  • 1 packet of linguine (my favourite type of dried pasta)
  • 1 packet of raw prawns
  • zest and juice of 3 lemons
  • 10 garlic cloves finely chopped - yes 10
  • 2 handfuls of basil - or more
  • 100g of butter
  • generous amounts of olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Boil the water in a large pot for the pasta and cook until al dente - keep some of the cooking water to stop the pasta from sticking together while you are cooking the prawns
Prepare all the ingredients so you are ready to go
Gently fry the garlic in the butter and olive oil, do not let it burn
Add the prawns and fry until cooked through and coated nicely in the garlic and butter
Pour prawns over the cooked pasta and add the remaining ingredients and mix  well and transfer to a serving bowl.
I cannot stress enough - do not scrimp on the flavorings or it will be well boring and tasteless.
More is more in this case.

Friday, 29 July 2011

salmon, avocado, egg bagel

I had some smoked salmon in the fridge that needed to be used and was inspired to make this bagel after coming across this post by 'Framed Cook'.

Rather than scrambled egg, I boiled some eggs and mashed with mayonnaise and salt and pepper and added some finely chopped red onion and capers on top.
Toast your bagel or whatever you prefer.  Put down some mayonnaise followed by the avocado mixed with lemon juice and S & P, the egg and smoked salmon.
Finally add the chopped red onion and capers combined with a little olive oil.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

maldon salt

I am in love with this product.  I have been using it for years now but it never ceases to amaze me how devine it is.  Whenever I am referring to salt in my recipes, this is the salt I am using.
It's quality and pure salt taste, texture and look is beyond compare.
I urge you to give it a try if you are not already using it.  I know it seems expensive, but it is worth every last sprinkle.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Beef stew

I seem to have come across 'Beef bourguignon' every where I have looked lately and I guess it is one of those meals that you have to make at least once over the winter.
Well I didn't have all the ingredients for 'Beef bourguignon' so I just made a simple beef stew.  Really simple and no fluffy around.

For my recipe for beef stew you will need

  • approx 1kg of chuck beef steak ( I like chuck for slow cooking as it has great flavour and not too much fat)
  • 10 shallots or small onions (peeled left whole)
  • approx 2 cups of mushrooms (left whole)
  • 2 big carrots (cut in half and  then on the diagonal)
  • 3 large potatoes (cut into cubes)
  • 1-2 bulbs of garlic (divided into cloves and paper skins removed)
  • approx 300mls of red wine
  • approx 300ms of good beef stock
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • Italian parsley
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of quince jelly or something else sweet, sugar, red currant jelly, honey, if doesn't really matter what it is - something to balance out the flavour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cornflour

Cut up the beef into cubes and fry gently in batches (medium heat) until caramelized in an oven proof pan. Add salt to the meat as you are frying.  I don't bother with coating in flour as it just seems to burn and make the stew taste yuk. 
Next remove the  beef from the pan and then put in the mushrooms, shallots and garlic and saute in the meat juices for a little while until coated with flavour.  Add a little splash of wine to deglaze the pan.
Remove and put aside until later.
Put the beef back into the pan, adding the wine, stock and 1 sprig of the rosemary and bring to the boil on stove top.  Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 200C.
Put the lid on the pan and put into the oven.  Let it cook at 200C for 10 minutes and then lower the heat to 170C.  You want the beef to be at a gentle simmer in the oven.  Cook for about an hour.
Pull it out of the oven and check it.  Give it a stir and top it up with water if needed.  Bring it back to the boil on the stove top before putting it back in the oven.
Give it another hour, the meat should be tender by now.
Add all the vegetables and the other sprig of rosemary and cook for another 30 minutes.
Pull out of the oven and taste for seasoning.  Do not add any salt prior to this except for when you were cooking the beef, because as the sauce cooks down the salt intensifies.
Take some of the cooking liquid out of the pan (about 1/2 cup) and add the cornflour, stir to combine and add back to the stew to thicken the sauce.  Put it back on the heat on the stovetop if need be.
Add the quince paste and lots of ground black pepper and the chopped parlsey.
We had bread rolls with it .

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Choc pots

Lily wanted to make an easy chocolate dessert after the failure of chocolate mousse last week.  It wasn't a failure really, but she has decided that she doesn't like chocolate mousse.
Anyway this is 'Jamie Olivers' recipe from the book  'The Naked Chef Returns'.

You will need

  • 300 mls of cream
  • 200g of dark chocolate - Lily used 60% cocoa as she doesn't like it too bitter
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 Tbs of brandy - Lily said she would not put it in next time
  • 20g butter

Heat the cream in a pot not quite till boiling.  Remove and set aside for 1 minute before adding the chocolate, broken up into pieces.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Next add the egg yolks and brandy and stir until smooth.  Allow to cool a little before adding the butter.  Stir till smooth.
Pour into serving pots and place them in the fridge for a few hours until set.

Lily gives it a 7 out 10.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

prawn noodle salad

This is what I had for lunch the other day.  

  • Finely slice up some red and white cabbage
  • Grate 1 carrot
  • Cook 1 serve of dried egg noodle (make sure not to over cook) you need the bite of the noodle for this dish.
  • Cook 6 prawns any way you like.  I pan fried mine and let to cool.
  • Sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • 1 finely sliced spring onion cut on the diagonal
  • Sprinkle of 7 spice assorted chile pepper - nanami togarashi
  • Miso dressing

Toss the first 5 ingredients together with the miso dressing in a bowl and then transfer to a plate.
Place the spring onions on the top and sprinkle with the chile pepper

3 dressings for coleslaw

Cabbage and coleslaw is great in the winter as it is in season and good value.  
Raw cabbage is nutrition rich, full of antioxidants, one of the strongest cancer fighters out there.

Here are 3 different dressing ideas...

 Creamy mayonaise dressing

1/2 cup of best food mayonnaise
1 tsp of sweet chile sauce
zest of lime or lemon
juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
smidge of garlic, crushed to a paste.  ( no chunks of raw garlic) 
Mix all ingredients together

juice of 1 or 2 limes depending how juicy they are
1 heaped tsp of white sugar
1 tsp of fish sauce
pinch of chile flakes
Mix until sugar is dissolved

1 tbs of miso paste
1 tsp of white sugar
2 tbs of rice wine vinegar
2 tbs of canola oil
squeeze of lemon or lime juice
Whisk together

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Mini turkey burgers

Turkey mince makes really good burgers and meatballs.
This recipe is really simple.
You will need

  • 2 small packets of turkey mince ( I think it was about 700g total)
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 big bunch of basil or parsley finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs of cornflour
  • soft white dinner rolls
  • salt and pepper
Don't be put off using onion and garlic powder.  It is just been dehydrated and ground to a powder.  I have been experimenting with it lately.  It is essential for dry rubs.  I really like its mellow flavor.
You can buy it from shahji spices.

Combine all the ingredients together and shape into patties.  I cooked these on the BBQ.
Assemble the burger with coleslaw with mayonnaise and tomato.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Art Expo

Check out Facebook for more information on Artists and works for sale.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Asian omlette with prawns

We eat a lot of eggs in our house and this is another way to have them.
I use my 20cm cast iron fry pan to make the omlette.
This is a generous portion.
For 1 serve you will need

  • 3 eggs whisked together
  • 3-4 cooked chopped prawns  ( you don't have to add them, still really good without them)
  • 2 spring onions sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 tsp of sweet chile thinned with a bit of boiling water
  • 3-4 tablespoons of sweet soy sauce (without the cornflour)
  • sprinkles of chile flakes or 7 pepper (nanami togarashi)

Add some peanut oil to your pan and make sure it is hot, the egg should bubble when you add it.
With a spoon pull the mixture to the middle to help it cook exposing the bottom of the pan and moving the egg mixture to the space.
Place the prawns and half the spring onions down the middle of the omlette and when nearly set fold one side over the prawns and then the other side, so it is folded into thirds.
When you think it is done and the prawns are warm  through, gentle remove from the pan and put onto a plate.  
Put the pan back on the heat and add the sweet soy sauce.  It will bubble away, be careful so it doesn't burn.  You want it to become syrupy.  
When ready, pour it over the omlette along with the sweet chile sauce, spring onions and chile flakes. 

Monday, 18 July 2011

Round red chiles

I bought theses round chiles a while back from 'Shahji spices'.  They look so devine.  What am I going to do with them?
Got any suggestions?  Maybe a sambal of some sort.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Beef with red wine jus

Unfortunately these are the only pictures from friday nights dinner.  Family too impatient and not cooperative.
Anyway I will explain instead.  We had beef rump with cauliflower puree, garlic saute baby spinach with red wine jus.
As you can see I have marinated a whole piece of beef rump,  thick cut is crucial.  The butcher at 'Nosh' cuts a decent size.  It is simply marinated in garlic, good olive oil, maldon sea salt (a generous amount) and pepper and not much pepper at that.  Despite what chefs say about not salting meat well before cooking.  I have had only good results.  Always tender and juicy.

Cook the beef as a whole piece on the BBQ.  It takes about 10 mins total.  Be sure to let it rest for a good 10 mins also before slicing thinly on the diagonal.  For a sliced photo view here.  It's the last photo of the  post.

This is the first time I have made a beef red wine jus and it was damn good.  Had to take a photo with the left overs on sat morning.
Add 1 cup of red wine to a pot and reduce down to about 2 tablespoons so it is nice and syrupy when cool.  Add about 3 cups of homemade beef stock and reduce down to about a cup.  I didn't need to add anything else, other than the butter (1-2 tablespoons) at the end.  It pulls the sauce together and adds a nice gloss.  The flavour of the beef stock was good so I think that is the key.  Taste for seasoning though.  Auctually I tell a lie, I added some sweetness in the form of my quince jelly.  I used a small teaspoon.  Anything sweet will do.
Assemble first with the cauliflower puree.  I used beef stock to thin the cauliflower this time and I think it is better for this dish.
Next add the baby spinach which I quickly wilted in the wok with some butter, salt and garlic.  It took only seconds.
Lay your slices of beef on top of that and pour over the jus.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Mouse traps

I haven't made mouse traps for years now.  I used to make them a lot when the kids were little.  Don't know why I stopped, as they are really delicious and great if you need to feed a lot people in a hurry.

I made Finn s using his gluten free baps (Venerdi range).  This is his favourite bread of the moment.
Use mustard instead of butter to spread on first.  Toast the bread lightly first.

Mix together all the ingredients so that it is all  ready just to spoon onto the bread before grilling.

For the cheese mixture you will need

  • grated cheese.  I used 3 varieties - mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan, but anything is fine
  • 1 finely chopped white onion
  • 3-4 slices of ham or as much as you prefer, I used champagne ham, use what you have
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • lots of black ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients and pile on toasted bread that is on a baking tray.  Finn likes a swirl of sweet chile sauce on his before going under the grill.

It colours up really quickly so keep an eye out.
Jacob had his using Vogels 12 grain bread.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Lis and Stuarts' home

This is the home of my sister and brother in laws, Melissa and Stuart.
 It is currently being showcased in The latest habitat of the week at
Their family home is wonderfully modern and practical, making the most of space and light.
As you can see it is filled with  gorgeous quality furniture and accessories most of which you can get at either Meluka or Apartmento, their stores.  Their home is a reflection of the things they love.
All their furniture and accessories are manufactured in their own factory in Auckland NZ.
Melissa and Stuart are hugely creative and talented with a great, easy style aesthetic.  Both Melissa and Stuart are responsible for the designs of their furniture for their own stores.

Their range includes dining tables, dining chairs...

benches, cabinets, side tables, cushions, mirrors.....

sofas, drawers, wall shelving systems, ottomans...

chairs, coffee tables, sofas....

desks, bunks, storage cubes, low boys, peg rails, shelving....

low boys,  storage cubes...etc
For a more extensive range, view Meluka and Apartmento online.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Lamb meatballs with couscous

I think I have made meatballs with just about everything except lamb so here is my lamb meat ball recipe

This is a recipe to feed my family of 5

  • 1 kilo of lamb mince
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • big handful of chopped green herbs, all or either mint, coriander, parsley
  • black pepper
  • plenty of maldon sea salt, 1-2 teaspoons

I toasted whole seeds and ground the spices in the mortar and pestle for my spice mix.

Combine all the ingredients thoroughly and then roll into balls.
I always cook a small piece off to taste for seasoning and that it tastes good for you.  Add what ever you think it needs more of.

I cooked the meat balls in minimal oil as the lamb renders its fat as it cooks, perfect for basting as it goes, so cook gently on low to medium heat.  You want nice even colour on all surfaces.  It will take about 10 to 15 mins.

Once the meatballs are ready,  assemble,  firstly with couscous,  then the meatballs,  topping off with the yogurt sauce and the sweet tomato sauce.

Basic sweet tomato sauce

 I make a huge variation of tomato sauces and this one is probably the most basic.
This is a sweet sauce and goes perfectly with yogurt sauce, they really compliment each other.

You will need

  • 1 can of whole tomatoes
  • 3-6 cloves of finely chopped garlic (depending how gutsy you want it)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of maldon salt  ( taste and fine tune)
Gently heat the olive oil and fry the garlic until it has flavored the oil and basically cooked.
Next add the tomatoes and break up with your wooden spoon, followed by the salt and sugar.  Let it bubble away on medium - low heat  and reduce until you have a jammy consistency.  Watch that it doesn't burn.  The sugar adds a glossy brightness to the sauce.

Yogurt sauce

Like the tomato sauce I make variations of yogurt sauce, depending on the season and what is available.
This is a perfect accompaniment for the sweet tomato sauce.  They are great together.
So for this one...

You will need

  • 1 cup of yogurt  ( I use Yoplait greek)
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • As much chopped mint as you want.  I could only scrape together about a tablespoon from my garden.  You can never have to much herb.
  • A smidge of garlic ( i use the plane to get it nice and fine, nothing worse than chunks of raw garlic)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients together and let it sit for a while so all the flavours can get to know each other.

Couscous for lamb meatballs

This couscous recipe was intended for the lamb meatballs, but you could use it with any sort of meat.
I made far too much of this so have stacks leftover in the fridge.  I made 3 cups.

You will need the following

  • 1 cup of uncooked couscous cooked with chicken stock (follow packet instructions)
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon of finely chopped currants
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • glug of olive oil
  • some garlic if you want to,  (I forgot )
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • As much green herbs as you want.  I used a combination of parsley and coriander.  Mint would be perfect as well but I didn't have any left.
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes

Add some olive oil to a fry pan and saute the onions until translucent then add the currants and spices, mix so all coated in the olive oil.  Then add the onion mixture to the couscous along with the lemon zest and juice, herbs and salt and pepper.  And there you have it.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Basic fried rice

Finn's lunch is fairly basic today.  Mind you it is still very tasty.

You will need

  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 2 eggs made into an omlette and sliced
  • 1 cup of steamed cauliflower
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup of finely sliced ham
  • 1 spring onion sliced 
  • 1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chile sauce

 First start by adding some peanut oil into the wok or fry pan and cook your omlette.  Remove and put aside.  Next fry the onions until cooked, add the ham and cauliflower, rice and egg.  Finish off by adding the soy sauce, sweet chile sauce and stir to combine and heat through.