Monday, 28 November 2011

tomato confit

By now you probably know that I love tomatoes and I am so glad they are out there in abundance.  They are so summer.
I also love flavoured oils and one great way to create your own is to confit with olive oil and that is what I have done with these tomatoes.

Slice the tomatoes in half on top of some fresh rosemary, thyme and a bay leaf in a small baking dish along with a couple of garlic cloves and a fine sprinkle of salt and sugar.  Then pour some good olive oil to just cover.
Cover with foil and and bake for about an hour at 180 C.  Just long enough to become squashy.

When cooked remove the skins.  I added these to pasta with basil and parmesan cheese along with some of the confit oil and plenty of maldon salt and pepper and some fresh thyme.

They would also be nice squashed on some toasted bread with goat cheese.
The left over oil would be great to make crostini or perfect for salad dressing.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Finn Bowman Gromdays 3

Found another 'you tube' video of Finn.  I think his camera man is getting better.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


It was cheap dinner night last night, so out came the mince.  It was on special some where.  Nacho's are a good meal in our house, as it is gluten free.  Funny Finn didn't turn up for dinner anyway.

For this recipe you will need

  • 1 kilo beef mince
  • 2 cans of tinned tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 3 chipotle chilies in adobe sauce finely chopped ( I use morena brand)
  • 2 carrots finely diced
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • lots of salt and pepper (use maldon salt where ever possible)
  • chopped fresh tomatoes
  • sour cream
  • coriander ( only if you want, it was in the garden)
  • Plain corn chips ( I like 'homebrand' from 'countdown' salted, as they have no crappy fake flavourings and they are really big and crisp)

Start off by gently frying the onions and carrots with some olive oil in a large fry pan, then add the garlic.  Saute for at least 10 mins so the veges get soft and cooked down.  Add some water if they start to stick.  Next,  add the mince and cook until all the pinkness is gone and now starts to fry in its own fat.  You can hear it sizzling.  Add salt and taste it to see that it is seasoned properly.  This is crucial, minced beef is blah if not seasoned correctly.  Also add the cumin, oregano, smoked paprika and chipotle chilies mix well into the beef and keep frying.
Next add the 2 tins of tomatoes and 2 tin equivalents of water and the sugar and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stir and watch occasionally so it doesn't catch.  Then add the can of beans, make sure you drain the liquid and give them a quick rinse. 
Add some more water and let it simmer away for another 30 minutes at least until it gets down to the sauce consistency you like,  there needs to be some movement.  Check again for salt and sweetness and add accordingly.  This is a spicy hot mixture. (use less chipotle chilies if you don't want it hot.)
Finally add the black ground pepper and serve on top of your chips.  Along with sour cream and tomatoes.  Jacob needed grated cheese and avocado on his.  I think sour cream is plenty.
This is a good make ahead dinner as you can prepare the mince mixture in advance and heat up later, just add a little water to loosen it up.

the piha cafe

The piha cafe has been open since November 18th 2010 after 3 years of controversy and perseverance. The owners appeared in environment court and at council hearings fighting opposition from some locals to open.. It is set back from the road fitting in with the environment and allowing space for car parking.  It is situated at 20 Seaview Rd.
I haven't been there yet but hope to try it out this summer.  They are open weekdays Wed to Fri from 10am to 4pm and the weekend 7.30am to 5ish depending on whats happening.
Read the article here by Graham Hepburn to learn more about the cafe.

Check out the food they serve here, unfortunately they do not have a liquor license... but that is not all bad I guess

There is something really beautiful and magical about the wild west coast and definitely worth the trip for the views alone.

Has anybody been to the piha cafe?... I'd love to know what you thought...

piha surf club

Monday, 21 November 2011

spring salad

We had this salad for dinner with our usual Sunday lamb.  The lamb was simply bbqed with rosemary and garlic.  The photo above is before the dressing is added

For the salad you will need
  • asparagus
  • courgettes (finely sliced and fried in a dry pan)
  • broad beans ( I used frozen ones.  Just pour boiling water over and let them sit for 5 minutes and then slip off the outer skin)
  • tomatoes
  • basil
  • mint (finely chopped)
  • red pepper (finely sliced)
  • feta cheese (crumbled)
  • balsamic dressing
Put together  as much or as little of the above as you like and then toss with the dressing

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

5 good food blogs

Here are just a few of the thousands of food blogs and food sites out there that I like...

crispy shrimp tacos -

Don't these look devine.  I will attempt to make them some time soon.  They are filled with a spicy prawn mixture and served with a tomato broth...

asian sesame chicken noodle salad - steamy kitchen

The recipes from 'steamy kitchen' are all pretty easy, fresh and fast...

lobster diavolo -

This food site you will find healthy, modern and uncomplicated food and more...

pear, blue cheese, and walnut salad -

A good winter salad from Samantha Linsell at 'drizzle and dip'...

chocolate mousse and brandy snap baskets - our

'Our kitchen' was created by a group of friends working at 'Fisher and Paykel'...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

miso soup

Everybody loves miso soup in our house.  I like to have mine filled with vegetables or noodles and make a decent lunch out of it.

My simple version  you will need

  • 2 tablespoons of white miso paste
  • 1 sachet of dashi
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 spring onion
  • vege of choice ( I have used steamed cauliflower and broccoli)
  • 8 small raw prawns

Add the sachet of dashi and miso to the water in a pot along with the chopped spring onion and gentle bring to the boil until all is dissolved.
At this point add the veges and heat them through, then add the  prawns.  They will be cooked as soon as they turn pink (not long and they keep cooking in the broth).
Pour it into a bowl add some sweet chili sauce and some sesame oil if you feel like it as I do and enjoy.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

sort of kedgeree...

Actually I made the curry powder (previous post) because I felt like this dish for breakfast on Sunday morning.  I can eat any types of food any time of the day and any left over dinner to me is the ultimate breakfast.
Anyway there was some left over plain white rice in the fridge from the previous nights dinner and I felt like something savoury and spicy, so kedgeree came to mind, not that I have made it before or actually eaten it either.
Well I started looking at some recipes and realised I did'nt have the main ingredient which is smoked haddock.  Well that wasn't going to deter me and I thought tuna from a can would be a reasonable substitute.  I was pleasantly surprised, very tasty.  I love eggs and tomatoes so it couldn't be wrong.
Probably a dish you don't want to eat at work as it has the winning smell combination of eggs, fish and curry.

For my adapted recipe from Jamie Oliver, you will need

  • 2-3 cups of cooked plain white rice
  • 1 small tin of lite tuna  (or preferably use smoked haddock or even smoked fish would be better)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 4 chopped tomatoes
  • 4 soft boiled or hard if you prefer eggs
  • 1 handful of chopped coriander

Start by frying the onions in some butter on medium heat then add the garlic and ginger and gently fry till they have softened.  Next add the curry powder and mustard seeds and mix together to get a good paste.
Next add the rice to the pan and mix through the spice mixture till well coated and warmed through, followed by the tuna, tomatoes, coriander and eggs and there you have it.

homemade curry powder

Curry powder is much more vibrant if you make it yourself.  I adapted the recipe from here

To make it, put together

  • 4 tablespoons of cumin powder
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons of coriander powder ( I dry fried whole seeds and smashed them in the mortar and pestle)
  • 2 tablespoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger powder
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder

Spices have so many health benefits especially tumeric see here for all the wonders it does

Finn Bowman Gromdays 2

This is a you tube video of Finn skateboarding at 'Victoria Park' a few weeks ago.  He will kill me if he knows I have posted this.  I was just experimenting on how to upload video on to my post.  Obviously it was successful.  I now see why Finn has so many bruises and scabs.  Make sure you watch it to the end when he finally gets his tricks down.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

roast for one

This is my dinner that I made and took to work last night.  We had some drumsticks left over from another dinner and decided I would roast whatever was about.  Which was carrots, kumara, potatoes, some cabbage an onion, cloves of garlic and one very small red pepper and of course some herbs that are in the garden.

 Prepare the vege, add a glug of olive oil and lots of salt and pepper.  I slice the onions and layer them on the bottom of the dish along with the rosemary and thyme.  Then pile on the rest any way you like.

Roast in a 180C - 200C preheated oven.  I cook it in 3 lots of 15 minutes, turning it over and making sure things aren't getting too charred and that everything is getting coated in the juices.
I added some fresh thyme at the end because it tastes so nice.  The cabbage becomes really sweet and amalgamates with the onions perfectly.  Lastly it's added to my lunchbox all ready to be reheated in the microwave at dinner time at work.  Yum...

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

spicy lamb with lebanese bread

I made this for myself and Jacob for lunch using the left over lamb from the night before.
I chopped up the cold lamb from the fridge and fried in a pan with a big pinch of ground coriander, cumin, and sweet smoked paprika and salt and pepper and some olive oil.

I heated up a lebanese bread ( I like the 'Jabal brand - you can get it from most supermarkets)
in a large cast iron fry pan with no oil.  It only takes a couple of minutes on both sides.

Then I put down a layer of sweet spicy tomato sauce (just add some chilli to it) on the bread, then the lamb and what ever vege you have.
I used lettuce, red onion, red cabbage, tomatoes, coriander and mint and topped it off with some yogurt sauce.  The flavour combinations go so well together, really delicious.  You could make it vegetarian and use hummus instead of the lamb if you prefer.
Jacob ate his like a loaded pizza and I used less filling and folded mine over in half.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

marinated butterflied lamb

We had this marinated butterflied leg of lamb for dinner on Sunday night.  I have posted this marinade recipe before but there was no picture and it is so easy and delicious I thought I would post it again.

For the marinade you will need

  • 1 butterflied leg of lamb  ( you could use any cut of lamb - steaks or chops)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander ( I dry fried whole seeds and ground )
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • handful of coriander finely chopped
  • lots of salt and pepper

For the cooking I seared it fat side down in a large fry pan on moderate high heat with a small amount of olive oil until golden, then I turned it over, cooked for about another minute and then put it in a pre heated oven 180C for about 20 mins or until a thermometer reaches 63C.  Make sure you let it rest for 15 mins before slicing.

We had the lamb with a simple tomato salad of tomatoes, red onion, chopped mint and coriander, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar.
Along with some small cut roast potatoes and yogurt sauce with a lot of finely cubed cucumber added to it.

Monday, 7 November 2011

photos from sunday

Lily has wanted a hammock for our outside room forever.  I came across this one at the 'Trade Aid' shop.  Chris put it up yesterday.

Beautiful Peonies.  Just about to do there dash, but their colours at this time are just beautiful.  I bought these from the 'lady who sells them from her truck' at Shore Rd, Remuera (Sports ground carpark).  She is there Wed, Thurs and Fri morning till about 1pm.  Really fresh and much cheaper than any where else.

The tuis have been waking me up at the crack of dawn clicking and barking away for the last few weeks.  Nice but the flax flower nectar it likes, are right by our bedroom window,  really loud!  Apparently the tui has a huge vocal range, some sounds that we as humans cannot even register.

I was delighted to capture some shots in the Pohutakawa tree out the back.  Usually by the time I have found my camera it has flown away.