Wednesday, 30 May 2012

amandas infamous pork belly

These are the final shots of Amandas' 'infamous pork belly' served with creamy mashed potates, spiced apples and watercress and fennel greens...

She is submitting the recipe for her kids' primary school, 'cookbook'...

Amanda plated up 5 diffent looks...

All of them look amazing to me...but I think I like the first photo...

Of course not only does it look gorgeous, it tastes magnificent also.  I was fortunate to take it home after shooting.  The husband and kids devoured it... leaving just a taste for me...
Oh well, the recipe will follow shortly once Amanda gives it too me.  If not, you might have to buy the 'Meadowbank Primary School' cookbook coming out soon...

behind the scenes - Amandas infamous pork belly

This Amandas' infamous pork belly.
She is submitting the recipe for the 'Meadowbank Primary school' cookbook and she kindly asked me if I would take some photos for the book.
These are some photos from behind the scenes before I took the final shots.

These are the spiced apples...

watercress and fennel greens...

Cutting up the pork belly into its pieces...

Amanda adding the final touches...

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Finn Skateboarding

I found another clip on ' of Finn skating on 'You Tube'.
Jacob is filming...Make sure you are watching in HD for best quality.  Finns seems to have got better from that 1st clip I posted a while back.
you can see more of finn skating here and here.

raw sandwich pizza

  When I was in high school I had the same sandwich just about everyday.
Grated raw beetroot, carrot and cheese on vogel bread and maybe some lettuce if we had some. (actually, vogel bread what pretty new back then).        I had two sandwiches one for morning tea and one for lunch.
So that was my inspiration for my lunch yesterday.  I added a few extra things also as you can see.

For this recipe I used  - layered in the following order

  • 1 small lebanese bread  ( softened up in the toaster )
  • avocado mixed with some mayonnaise
  • finely sliced cabbage
  • grated beetroot
  • grated carrot
  • grated cheese
  • sliced yellow pepper
  • bean sprouts 
  • some more avocado mayonaise
  • finely some chopped chives

I just folded it over to eat.  As you can see it was a little messy.  I did eat every last bit though.
You don't have to add this much filling, but that is the way I like it...

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

prawn sushi

 God I am a pig.  I bought the prawn sushi first, but the teriyaki sauce and mayonnaise on the large sushi roll was too irresistible so I had to get that too.  I won't eat it all...well I probably will...nah I didn't ... I left 3 pieces but I am sure I will eat it later on... I am so full... Jacob has just come home from school and eaten the last bits so it is all gone.
I bought the sushi from 'sushi and sushi' in Marua Rd Ellerslie.  The man has been there for a few years now and has been perfecting his craft.  He was a bit rip shit and bust at first, but it has always been fresh and most importantly tasty.
I needed a treat today as my car has been making strange noises and I took in to get fixed yesterday.  I picked it up this morning.  They hadn't fixed anything but they did charge me $196 to tell me that I need to spend $2500 to get it fixed.  How does that work, I told them so to.  Essentially I had to pay to get a quote.  Bloody hell I hate car crap.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Roast chicken, Israeli couscous, roast cabbage

This is a really simple easy dinner.
I tend to roast 2 chickens so we have plenty for dinner, leftovers for lunches and 2 carcasses to make chicken stock.

I like to roast my chickens on a bed of sliced onions, lots of maldon salt and olive oil.  I used 4 onions.
I put a lemon cut in half and some rosemary up its bum for some flavour.  This does mean a longer cooking time if you have something in the cavity.

I put the chickens in a 200C oven for 20 minutes and then turn down to 180C for another 2 lots of 30 minutes basting as you go.  Keep the onions tucked under the birds so they don't burn too much.
I do not turn them over during the cooking time, as I think it makes for better presentation.
Once the chickens are done remove from the roasting pan as you want to make way for the cabbage.
Take out the onions and some of the juices for the couscous leaving just enough to coat the cabbage.
Slice the cabbage into thin wedges.  I have used half a cabbage and coat in the juices at the bottom of the pan, finally add some salt and pepper and roast for about 10 - 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on it as it can scorch easily, this does add to the flavour though.

For the couscous, cook as the packet directs.  You can do this in advance as it doesn't have to be hot.  Add the onions and the some of the saved chicken juices from the roasting pan  and squeeze the juice from one of the lemons from the cavity and add what ever else you like.  I added 1/2 a finely chopped red onion and some sliced raw spinach and italian parsley, (just because it was in the garden).  I wanted to add some chives but I forgot about them.

 Really simple and devine and enjoyed by all...
I have the left overs for my dinner  tonight at work along with some of the beetroot relish that was left over from the previous post.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

goat cheese, beetroot and caper crostini

The combination of chevre (goat cheese) and sweet beetroot relish is absolutely sublime.  Add some deep fried capers, lemon zest and Colonna olive oil and you are in heaven as far as I am concerned

Start off by making the beetroot relish.
You will need 1 medium to large beetroot.  Peel and grate.  Heat up a fry pan and add the beetroot with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cold water.  Bring it to the boil and then add 3 tablespoons of sugar and 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.  Let it simmer away for about 20 minutes uncovered until the liquid reduces down.  You can add more sugar and vinegar to your taste.  You can make it tart and sweet and syrupy. Just play around with it.  I love it.  It also goes really well with BBQ meat.

Next up are the deep fried capers.  I use the large cheap capers when I deep fry them.  Drain a handful and put on paper towel to dry them so they don't sputter in the oil.  I use my wok, but any pan with oil will do.  Heat the oil to medium heat add the capers and cook to your liking.  I like them with a light crunch on the outside but still have some texture in the middle.   Again cook to your liking and put on paper towel to soak up some of the oil when done.
Deep fried capers match amazing well with fish and seafood, especially raw fish.

Slice your bagette or whatever bread you have and bake in the oven to make your crostini.  I don't add oil to the bread as I don't like it.  A gentle rub of raw garlic is magic though.  I forgot to do that.
I spread the goat cheese on the crostini and then grilled for a couple of minutes just to soften it.  Then on goes the beetroot relish a few capers, lemon zest some black pepper and a few drops of Colonna olive oil.
A delightful fresh vegetarian option.

Monday, 14 May 2012

shrimp cocktail

I don't know about you but I still like a good old fashioned shrimp cocktail.  Made with iceberg lettuce and cocktail sauce of course.
This was my lunch today.  Not really wintry food, but just what I felt like and of course I had some prawns in the freezer.

For this recipe I used

  • large handful of raw frozen prawns that I thawed, steamed and chopped
  • 1/2 and avocado sliced and chopped
  • iceberg lettuce
  • salt and pepper

Cocktail sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of mayonaise
  • 1 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp of sweet chile sauce
  • smidge of garlic
  • few drops of fish sauce
  • squeeze of lime juice

Assemble how you see fit.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

colourful mothers day breakfast

We had a very nice mothers day brunch at my sisters house this morning.  As you can see extremely colourful and delicious...

The tropical fruits were fresh and delectable...

Creamy scrambled eggs... and sides of salmon, avocado, beef steak tomatoes, mushrooms and bacon.

This was my plate combo... I also had some fruit toast and banana bread and coffee after this...
I am still full...
Thanks Phillipa for having us all and Happy Mothers Day Mum.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

modern retro glam

This new kitchen belongs to my friend Amanda who very kindly allowed me to take some pictures and ask her some questions.
Amanda is a great cook and incredible host.  It is always a joy to be invited for dinner.

Who were the people who did your kitchen?

"Stylehouse Kitchens, who are awesome cabinet makers, though you need to work with them on the design side as I found  them to be rather conservative.
The kitchen brief was to design an easy working kitchen for a family of 5 consisting of 3 young kids and an avid cook.  The kitchen is always the engine of the home, for creating, eating, discussion, homework, entertaining, laughter and in our case dancing.  We drew from many styles, retro, country, and industrial.  While still maintaining the design it also had to complement the 60s decor of the rest of the house.
We opened the kitchen up to flow into the living areas by removing the half walls and posts.  It was reinforced by cantilevering a 12x4 beam in the ceiling.
Creating open spaces for entertaining is important to me so I can cook and entertain at the same time.
It had to be easy to maintain and look gorgeous."

The oven is a F.L Bone Falcon Excel FSD 110 dual fuel in black.
The features include, slow cook separate oven, fan assisted oven x 2, defrost fan circulates cold air only.  Rapid response 220C in 6 minutes, separate grill, wok element, wok cradle, x 4 gas hobs, ceramic hob and griddle.

The tap is Reece teknobili Oz T7 chrome full out mixer 137.

The cabinets are made from moisture resistant 18mm board quarter cut covered with American white oak veneer.  The boards were individually picked for high grain detail.
We created the colour with a combination of dyes to compliment floor and wall colour.  A laborious process of toing and froing, but definitely  worth it. ( the light, angles and surrounding pallets drastically effect the colour tone.)
The open shelving is designed to give the kitchen an industrial working kitchen edge...veneer covered ply with stainless steel bars to hold cast iron pans etc.

The final surface was coated with a marine finish to protect it from UV and halogen discolouring and finger prints.  The bench top is 'Caesarstone' Risotto 30mm.

The stools are from 'Real time' in Ponsonby and 'trademe'.

The drawers are Blum Tandembox soft close.

The fridge is 'Fisher & Paykel french door with ice and water - 614L RF610ADUM2.

The coffeemaker is Italian - VBM domobar super stainless from Vibemme.
The gold mosiac tiles from 'Duno' in Sydney.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

carrot curry chicken soup

I haven't made a carrot soup before as the thought  hasn't really inspired me.
I do like carrots so I thought I would give it ago.  Anything with vegetables and chicken stock has got to be good.

For this recipe I used -   Serves 4 people

  • 6 medium carrots roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions roughly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
  • 2 chicken thighs and 2 drumsticks
  • 275 mls approx of homemade chicken stock
  • 1 table spoon of homemade curry powder
  • S and P
  • chopped chives

Start off by frying the chicken pieces in a fry pan on medium heat with a small bit of olive oil to render some fat by browning the skin.  You are not cooking the chicken.  Take out the chicken and put aside.
Add the onions and garlic to the pan with the chicken fat and gently cook for a couple of minutes and then add the curry powder and salt and pepper.  Remember fat is flavour.

Next in goes the carrots, give them a stir around and deglaze with stock which will also cook the carrots.  This will only take about 10 - 15 minutes.
Taste for flavour.  It should be pretty good.  Let it cool and whiz in your blender or what ever whizzing device you have.  I used my stick blender.
Meanwhile remove the skin from the chicken add it to the wizzed soup that you have put back in a pot and cook for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove, take the chicken off the bones.  You can either add the chicken back to the soup at this stage or just add it to the top of the before serving.

 I added a little bit of water after I whizzed it as it was a little thick.
Add some chopped chives or any other green herb you have if you want too.