Saturday, 31 March 2012


I love sushi and I go through patches where I make it all the time and then nothing for months, I guess that is like anything though.
Well, I am going through a sushi making phase once again and this time I attempted to make inside outside rolls.  Not too bad for my first attempt, still far from perfect.  I think the photo makes them look better than they were.  They are filled with tuna mixed with kewpie mayonnaise, avocado, red pepper and cucumber.

Friday, 30 March 2012

'Fleurs' Irish lamb stew with seaweed dumplings and glazed carrots- made by Anna

Anna shared this wonderful picture of her dinner the other night and the recipe.  It came from 'Fleur Sullivans' new book called 'Fleurs Place'.  The same name as her renowned restaurant in Moeraki Bay Central Otago.  Fluer is known for sourcing her regions finest local produce and getting her seafood supply straight from the jetty outside her restaurant.  A visit to her place is a definite must on my culinary bucket list.

Anyway this is what Anna said about the dish...
"This was an amazing recipe from 'Fleurs Cafe' photo not as good as hers in the book...tasted amazing apart from the dumplings!  Made from suet with karenga fronds (didn't think flavour mixed well) it was a classic Irish lamb stew with glazed carrots, was thickened by taking stock out of stew after cooking, then cooking potatoes in rosemary in stock, pureeing it, then adding back in...was pretty delish... nice simple ingredients, and lamb so tender...

Thanks Anna for your contribution.  I will give it a go.  I especially like the first step of the recipe where everything just goes into the pot and stock it added.  So simple.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

roast vegetable salad with beef fillet

I do like a beef salad and this is my 3rd variation. Using the beef added to the salad makes it go a lot further.  I made a basil, chipotle mayonnaise with my stick blender as well but the colour of it was a hideous muck green so I did not post it.  It tasted ok though.

For this recipe I used

  • 4 small pieces of beef fillet, marinated in garlic and olive oil and BBQ
  • 5 medium sized carrots
  • 2 handfuls of mushrooms left whole
  • 4 small orange kumara
  • 5 smallish red onions
  • 2 whole beetroot (roasted in foil separately so the rest of the vege do not turn purple)
  • 1 small red pepper finely sliced in strips
  • 1 small yellow pepper finely sliced in strips
  • 4 tomatoes into wedges
  • rocket
  • sprig of rosemary and thyme, only because they are in the garden
  • handful of finely chopped basil 
  • parmesan cheese about 1/2 to 1 cup grated on a fine grater plane
  • handful of finely chopped italian parsley
  • balsamic dressing made with good olive oil.

I started by roasting the beetroot in foil with its skin on for an hour and a half at 180C.  Once cooled peel off the skin.  It comes off very easily.  Cut into chunks.
Next peel and cut the carrots and kumara lengthways , quarter the onions, leave the mushrooms whole and toss with lots of salt and black pepper and olive oil, rosemary and thyme.
Roast in the oven at 180C for about and hour, turning regularly at 10-15 mins intervals.  Watch that they do not scorch too much.
I then mix the parmesan with the basil, parsley and black pepper.

To assemble the salad start with the rocket and a sprinkling of the parmesan cheese mixture.
Then the roasted vege and beetroot, some more cheese sprinklings, peppers and tomatoes, more cheese sprinklings and finally add the beef and the dressing and toss.

Monday, 26 March 2012

duck ragu with fettuccine

This dinner we had last night was devine and I will definitely make it again.
I have only cooked with duck twice before so when I saw these duck legs on special at 'Nosh',I thought it was time to cook with them again.
As duck is expensive a ragu is a really good way to make it go as far as it can go.
I bought 4 legs and that easily feed 6-8 people.
You need to start early for this recipe or you could do it in stages.  You could make the sauce in advance and put it in the fridge and just heat it up and cook your pasta when you are ready to eat.  This makes it a good dinner party recipe.

For this recipe I used

  • 4 duck legs
  • 1-2 carrots finely diced
  • 2 stalks of celery finely diced
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 leek washed and finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of  red wine
  • 1 can whole tomatoes in juice
  • 500mls of homemade beef stock
  • sprig of rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese 
  • parsley
  • 500g dried italian fettuccine 

Start off rendering the fat from the legs by placing them skin side down in a cold pan on medium heat until golden brown.  You only need to cook it on the skin side.
Set them aside to cool.  Once cool remove all of the skin and fat from the legs.
In a heavy based pan add some of the rendered duck fat and add your flavour base of finely diced onions, carrots,celery, leeks and garlic and salt and pepper.  Cook it down gently until well softened and just starting to colour.  It should take about 20 mins.
Next, add the tomato paste, mix it through the veges and cook it out.
Deglaze with the wine, then add the tomatoes and beef stock.
Next, add the duck legs (skin and fat removed) and bring to the boil and then gently simmer uncovered for 2 hours.  Keep an eye on it as you may need to add some water from time to time so it doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan.

Take the meat of the bones and add back to the sauce along with the sprig of rosemary and cook for another 20 - 30 minutes to get your sauce right.  Remember taste and tweat to your liking.  The sauce should be rich and luscious and thick and tasty.

Cook the pasta and pour on the duck ragu, finish it off with some finely chopped parsley, parmesan cheese and black pepper.
I  hate to waste anything so the skin and fat that I took off, I fried it until it became golden and crispy like crackling and finely chopped it, and sprinkled it on the top for those who wanted it.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

thai chicken curry

 I have been making this chicken curry for years and is a firm favourite in our house.  Unfortunately I don't follow a recipe so it is slightly different every time I make it.  I will try my best to get quantities right.

For this recipe I used

  • 3 large chicken breasts, chopped and lightly salted
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic or about 3 tablespoons finely chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 green chiles or more it you want really hot
  • 2-3 tablespoons of finely chopped coriander root and stems
  • 2 courgettes diced
  • 4 small coloured capsicums or 2 large
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons of jaggery, palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves

 Finely chop the onion, coriander stems, chile, garlic and ginger and gently fry in the wok with some plain oil, ( I used coconut oil, only because I had it) for about 5 mins until nicely cooked down.  Do not colour.
Then add the diced courgettes and capsicums and some salt and cook for about 10 mins,  they  should become very soft.
Next add the coconut cream, fish sauce, kaffir lime and sugar and simmer until you get a nice consistency of sauce.  Taste for balance of flavours and add more fish sauce or sugar if you need to.
Next, add the chopped raw chicken and let it cook in the heat of the sauce on a gentle simmer.  Stir it around until just cooked.  The chicken can remain tender if you watch it.
Lastly add the lime juice and zest and some chopped coriander leaves.
Taste and tweak again and then serve on some plain boiled long grain rice.

Friday, 23 March 2012

nz flavours 1st birthday

Happy Birthday nzflavour.
I can't believe a year has gone by.  It has been a year of enjoyment, discovery and frustration as I have learned about the world of blogging, cooking and taking photos.
I looked forward to the next year and all that is brings, sharing more of the food I love to eat and other things that inspires and amuses me.
Chris made me the cake.  Thankyou darlin x
Thanks to all who support and encourage me.

I love it when you come to visit and especially when you leave a comment.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

courgette angel hair pasta

This was my lunch yesterday.  The angel hair pasta has been in the pantry for a long time now, as everybody prefers either penne or linguine.  So it is me who has to eat what the others won't.
I had plenty of courgettes in the fridge as they are really good value at the moment and decided to put the 2 together along with some garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and a ton of parmesan cheese and of course salt and pepper.
Start by putting your large pot of water onto boil ready to cook the pasta.
Then slice the courgettes 'Kylie Kwong style', which is slicing the courgette on the diagonal and then slicing into julienne.  I think this looks nicer than matchsticks.  I think I used 2 courgettes.
Heat up your pan and gentle fry the courgette and the garlic with a generous amount of olive oil and maldon salt (remember the oil acts as sauce).
Once they are tender and cooked to your liking turn of the heat.  Meanwhile cook your pasta, mine only took 3-4 mins, do not over cook as it will not be worth eating if you do.
Drain and add to the pan with the courgettes, then squeeze on your lemon your handful or more of grated parmesan cheese and more salt and pepper.
The only problem I have with pasta is that I need a huge amount of it and eat a huge pile.  Oh well I don't have it everyday.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

what I'm lovin today...

I have been loving this extra virgin olive oil for a  couple of years now.  It is by far the best general purpose extra virgin olive oil out there (in my opinion) so superior than anything else that you can get at the supermarket and the best value for money at only $13.99.  Well it is at New World and Pak n Save. Nosh sells its for $19.99, sometimes cheaper on a special.
It has great colour and is real olive fruity with a soft finish.   Great on pasta and in salad dressings.  We go through tons of it.
Give it a go, you won't go back.

Monday, 19 March 2012

chorizo chicken soup with crispy tortilla strips

This was our dinner last night.  I sort of made this up as I went along.  I have wanted to make a soup like this for a while now.

For this recipe I used

  • 4 small uncooked chorizo sausages - casings removed
  • 6 chicken tender loins or whatever chicken meat you have, chopped
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 leek washed and finely sliced
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • 1 large potato diced 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can of whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp of chile powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp or more of maldon salt
  • black pepper
  • 500 mls of home made chicken stock ( I used the stock pot and not the slow cooker)
  • deep fried strips of left over tortilla wrappers - I think I used 4 - you can make them while the soup is cooking
  • 1 avocado diced
  • sour cream
  • sweet chile sauce

Start of by heating your pot on low to medium heat, it will need to be a relatively large one.  Add some olive oil and your onions and cook for a couple of minutes, try not to colour them.  Next add the chorizo sausage that you have removed from the casings and broken up into small pieces and fry.  Next add the leek, carrot, potato,garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes or so.  Once everything has softened up a bit add the can of tomatoes, the salt and sugar, smoked paprika and the water and let it simmer away for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Finish off by adding the stock and let it reduce down until you get the desired consistency.
Finally add the chicken and turn off the heat and let the chicken gently cook in the soup.  Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.  That way you will not over cook it.
 Make sure you taste for sweetness, salt and spiciness and adjust to your liking.

To make the tortilla strips 

Slice your tortilla wrappers into strips and shallow fry them until golden. Do them in batches.  They only take seconds so watch out.  Drain on paper towels.  

Garnish the soup with the strips, avocado, sour cream, sweet chile sauce and salt and pepper.
Some chopped coriander would be nice also.
I really enjoyed it,  make sure you dunk the strips in the soup and get a bit of avocado in your mouthful.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

chicken spring rolls

Springs rolls like the 'kransky sausage rolls' are an extended family favourite and again this recipe is courtesy of sister in law Sarah.  I have tweaked it a little to my taste.

For this recipe you will need

  • 2 packets of 20 spring roll wrappers ( found by the pastry in the freezer section of the supermarket)
  • 500g of chicken mince
  • 1/2 clove of very finely crushed garlic
  • 2 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1-2 carrots julienne - 5cm
  • 1-2 courgettes julienne 5cm
  • bunch of coriander
  • sesame oil - 1 teaspoon
  • maldon salt -1teaspoon

Add the spring onion, salt, garlic and sesame oil to the chicken mince and mix till combined.
I fry a little bit to taste to see if if needs more salt or sesame oil.

Prepare your veges

Start by placing about 1 teaspoon of the chicken mince mixture near one corner of the wrapper, next put 2 slices of the carrot and 3 slices of courgette and 1 sprig of coriander down on the top.

Pick up the corner and roll over the mixture folding in the sides as you go, making sure you keep the sides parallel.  It doesn't really matter if they are not perfect, as you can see with mine.

Heat up the wok to medium heat and deep fry till golden and cooked through.

Let them rest for a bit because they are extremely hot.  Slice them on the diagonal or eat them whole whatever you like best.  Make sure you dip into some sweet chile sauce first.
We had this for dinner last night served with a cabbage salad with red and yellow peppers and cucumber dressed with sweet lime dressing

Thursday, 15 March 2012

planter update

Yeah, some action happening in the garden,  26 days later mind you.  This is the Italian parsley and in the back ground you can just see the fine strands of the chives.  I could be waiting a long time.  Patience is a virtue.

I am not sure if this is the cauliflower or the beetroot, I m going with the beetroot.  Actually I think its cauliflower.
There has been no sighting of any lettuce leaves.  I think the seeds were too old.  I have since put in some spinach, rocket and buttercrunch lettuce.  I will cross my fingers.

I am having some success with my sugar snaps peas that I planted on the 19th of Feb in the patch down the side of the house.

Can't believe how well the broad beans are going.  Only planted them from seed 15 days ago.  Just look at those rows.  I need to get Chris to make me some device to support these plants before too long.  My stick method for the sugar snaps are a bit random.

Monday, 12 March 2012

master stock chicken

I can't believe it but my oven has died.  This is not the first time.  2 years ago it also happened and I didn't get it fixed for over 6 months as I was too embarrassed to get someone over as my oven was so dirty.
We had to rely on stove top meals and BBQ.  We would have a roast dinner when we went down to the bach which was a real treat.  I hope this is not going to happen again.

Anyway,  this is the reason I cooked the chicken this way as I have no oven.
This is a really good way to poach chicken for a number of uses.  Just good to have in the fridge.

Put the chicken in a large pot, big enough that it can be totally covered with water.
Add what flavourings you like
I put in 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery an onion with its skin still on, some parsley and rosemary and some pepper corns and a bayleaf.  Pretty traditional stock ingredients.
Then pour enough cold water to cover the chicken.
Put on the lid, put the pot on high heat on the stove and bring to the boil.  Once boiling turn it right down to the lowest setting and simmer for 15minutes.  Then finally turn off the heat and let the chicken sit in the hot stock for 2 hours.  After the 2 hours remove the bird.  You will have an incredibly succulent chicken ready for use.  At this point I remove all the chicken from the bones and put the bones back into the stock and simmer away for another 2 hours until you have a nice light tasting stock ( Don't forget to season the stock with salt).

This is really simple and provides you both with beautiful chicken and homemade stock.
I used the chicken for sandwiches for school lunches mixed with mayo and herbs.  Of course you could make chicken soup.
I did take more photos but can't seem to find where I filed them.
Any way you get the gist.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

simple prawn salad

This is really simple and the sort of food I like to eat.  I bought the prawns already cooked.  They were surprisingly good and I will buy them again.  The rice is my sticky rice recipe.
The salad is what you can see, prawns, cabbage and sticky rice.  Of course I did put a dressing on it before I ate it and some chile as well.
I think it would be nice with a wasabi mayo type dressing which I will make some time soon but I had it with the usual sweet soy sauce.  It's kind of eating sushi without the nori.  Some avocado would be nice also, oh and some sesame seeds, ah and some raw tuna, the possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

dashi stock

I have always wanted to make my own dashi stock but sourcing the right ingredients have previously  been difficult.  I have used the dashi granules before but I am never 100% sure if they are gluten free.  I have since found what I need at Japan Mart out at Sylvia Park.
I got this recipe from the book 'Notes from my Kitchen Table' by Gwyneth Paltrow.

For this recipe you will need

  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 50g of dried bonito pflakes
  • 3 dried shitake mushrooms  ( I used the equivalent of dried sliced)
  • 1 10cm piece of dried konbu or wakame seaweed
Heat the water in a pot and when bubbles form around the edges, add the bonito.  Turn the heat down and simmer for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the broth sit for 5 minutes.  I needed to reuse the same pot so I let it sit in another bowl.  Strain the broth into a clean pot, discarding the bonito.  Add the shitakes and seaweed to the broth and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the seaweed and the mushrooms and there you have it.  Beautifully clear subtle broth ready to make miso soup or a multitude of other things.

Just add 1 tablespoon of miso paste to 1 cup of dashi.  Heat the dashi first and add the miso last.  Do not boil as you will destroy the good properties of the miso.
You can add anything to this basic soup, noodles, prawns, tofu, veges as I have in a previous recipe

Saturday, 3 March 2012

make dinner not war

get stickers from here

Bluff oyster season has started and they got there first haul yesterday, unfortunately the weather will probably dampen further catches for the next couple of days.
The season will go onto till July- August with the 'Bluff Oyster and Food Festival' commencing May 26th 2012.
I wish I liked them, I will always try them.  I have progressed from the gag stage.
From the 5th of March 'the Foodstore'  is having a deal during March where you can buy 3 dozen oysters and a bottle of yellow label 'Veuve' for $199

Meet the  Mc baguette which  'Mc Donalds' is introducing in France in April joke!

Yet another amazing home here and amazing accommodations here, for the extremely loaded..

Angelina Jolies right leg had caused quite the sensation and even a tumblr has been dedicated in her honour...

Have you ever listened to a podcast about food and dining and other stuff, well,  I have come across 'The Dinner Party'
which seems to be quite interesting.  I have only listened to 1 but there are a total of 137 episodes to choose from.  You can go to there website to download or if you have an iphone, pod or pad you can get the 'The Dinner Party' app

Something I would like to read is 'On the Future of Food - The Princes's Speech' he had always been a great food advocate...


Friday, 2 March 2012

beef noodles

I had a piece of beef (rump) left over from the prevoius nights dinner so I decided to do a noodle dish for my lunch today.
The only veges I had were peppers and courgettes so that is what I used

For this recipe you will need

1 piece of rump steak chopped into strips
2 courgettes julienned
1 red pepper julienned
basil leaves
2 serves of egg noodles
homemade hoisin sauce to taste

 Start off frying the beef in some vege oil in small batches in a hot wok.  Then set aside.
Next put in the courgettes and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the peppers followed by the noodles.  Put the beef back into the wok and add  some of the hoisin sauce.  Go easy as you can always add more.  Gently mix and finish off with some basil.  I also added some chile powder when I went to eat it as I just couldn't help it.

homemade gluten free hoisin sauce

My sister had the cook book by Gwyneth Paltrow 'My Father's Daughter' over the holidays which we both really enjoyed.  Her type of food is really up my alley so I requested it out of the library, but I got a book that was called 'Notes from my Kitchen Table .
 It is exactly the same book, though it does have a different photo on the front cover.
Anyway this recipe has been adapted from her recipe only because I didn't have exactly what she had at hand.  I also halved the amount just in case I didn't like it.

Combine the following ingredients use a whisk

2 teaspoons of grapeseed oil
1 small clove of garlic mashed
1/4 teaspoon of 5 spice
3 tablespoons of miso (I used white, her recipe asks for red)
70 mls of real maple syrup
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar (her recipe asks for brown rice vinegar)

It is nice and makes a change from my usual sweet soy recipe

I used it for  the beef noodles recipe