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SAVOUR THE SIZZLE

My favourite animal is steak,’ quipped American writer Fran Lebowitz.   And yes, there’s nothing quite like a perfectly grilled beef steak. It’s ‘feel good’ food and it can be dressed up in so many ways — including served with a mushroom, mustard or red wine sauce.  Grilling steak lends itself to numerous dishes including ethnic favourites such as Greek kebabs, Asian stir-fries, Italian pizzaiola, Spanish tapas and Mexican chillis. Carpetbag steak — a scotch ...

November 20, 2023

OBLIX, OBLIIX & NZ FOREST FLOWER

Sir George Fistonich, 83, founder of Villa Maria in the early 1960s, has been developing three new brands made from Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough grapes on family-owned vineyards in both areas: Oblix, Obliix and New Zealand Forest Flower.At present production of the new wines is boutique, with the vines producing around 3500 bottles in the last year. But, Fistonich says, potential output could be big.For George, wine is a passion. “If you want to be successful in life, do what you love doing....

November 19, 2023

MICROWAVE CHRISTMAS PUDDING

1/2 cup flour1 tablespoon powdered cocoa1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice1 cup fresh breadcrumbs1/3 cup brown sugar2 1/2 cups dried fruit mixl00g shredded suet1 tablespoon marmalade1 large egg, lightly beaten1 tablespoon treacle2 1/2 tablespoons milk1 1/2 tablespoons port Sift the flour, cocoa and mixed spice into a bowl. Add the crumbs, sugar, fruit, suet and marmalade. Mix well with a fork. Stir in remaining ingredients. Mix well. Spoon the mixture into a medium-sized greased pudding basin. Cover w...

November 17, 2023

COUNT YOUR CHICKENS

Chicken is the most universally popular of all meats. And deservedly so. A singularly versatile meal-maker, it features in such national or regional dishes as Arabian couscous, Hungarian chicken paprika, Florentine polla alla diavola, Indonesian sambal hati hati, Indian vindaloo, Japanese oyako donburi, Chinese beggar’s chicken, Spanish olla podrida, Malayan satay, Russian kurnik and South African peri peri to name but a few. The blandness of chicken gets the creative juices flowing in mo...

November 3, 2023

HALLOWE’EN HIGH JINKS

Evil will be abroad on the evening of October 31 as ghosts, demons and witches roam the land. But don’t worry — they are only the neighbourhood kids dressed up to celebrate Hallowe’en. It is the Irish and the Scots that we have to thank for Hallowe’en. It was part of ancient Celtic religious celebrations in the AD 800s. At the end of the northern hemisphere summer, the Celts held a big party to scare away the ghosts and spirits they thought would wander the earth at the end of the se...

October 24, 2023

Chill Out On Cheese

Many of our specialty cheeses are created by boutique cheese producers located from Kaitaia to Invercargill. Some are only available from the ‘farm gate’, some online, but increasingly supermarkets are showing keen interest in the more exotic varieties. This year we’re also celebrating our Top NZ Cheese Stores. The winners are spread across the country from Northland to North Otago.Over the Moon Dairy Company in the South Waikato town of Putararu specialises in traditional and non-traditio...

October 11, 2023

Sea Fare

Eat healthy. Eat seafood. It can help prevent heart attacks and strokes, it can lower blood pressure and may even help ward off depression. The magic ingredients are the omega-3 fatty acids which are notably common in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna. Cooking temperatures should be kept to medium though as high heat can destroy the fatty acids. All seafood contains goodly amounts of protein, has low levels of saturated fat and contains vitamin E, an important antioxidant. Although so...

September 2, 2023

RED HOT RED CENTRE

Michael G. Ryan explores Australia's mystical heart....

September 2, 2023

MAKE MINE MICROWAVE

Like many great inventions, the microwave oven was a by-product of another technology. Developed in 1946 by Dr Percy Spencer, a specialist in radar research, the first oven was almost two metres high and weighed over 300 kilograms. Born in 1894 and forced to leave school to find a job at the age of 14, Percy Spencer had ‘an itch’ for knowledge. He studied text books at night to work out how to introduce electricity to a local paper mill. He took a shine to wireless technology and joined the ...

August 14, 2023

BEST PASTA BAKES

Winter is the ideal time to enjoy hearty cheesy, meaty, fishy or vegetable pasta bakes. Comforting and nutritious, they can often be prepared in advance and cooked just before serving. They’re the perfect prepare-ahead meals for family or friends. The origin of lasagne can be traced back to Ancient Greece. The name is derived from the Greek word ‘laganon’, a dish of layers of thin dough cut into strips, and sauce. The Italians used the word to refer to the dish the pasta was baked inand of...

August 1, 2023

WINTER VEG TRIFECTA

Savour the spud! The ever-popular potato was first cultivated in South America between 5000 and 8000 years ago. However, it took until the 16th century for the pleasures of the potato to be introduced to Europe where they quickly — and understandably — replaced turnips as the most widely used veg. Pumpkins and squashes were among the earliest foods planted by American Indians and, prior to the arrival of Columbus, this New World staple was unknown in Europe. A French explorer, Jacque...

July 21, 2023

TASTE AMERICA

The Fourth of July is celebrated in the US with a national holiday and families gathering together to enjoy the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776. Food plays an important part. And there’s mothing more American than ‘fruit’ pie. When immigrants arrived in America, they were amazed at the abundance of fruits. Using them in pies was both nourishing and filling. During the 1800s the pie craze cooled due to health professionals advocating for less carbohydrate. However, in...

July 4, 2023

Sticky Chocolate Pudding

A sauce is formed on the base of the pudding during cooking.1 cup plain flour2 teaspoons baking powderpinch salt3 tablespoons dark, bitter sweet Dutch cocoa powder1/2 cup icing sugar1/3 cup hazelnut meal or ground hazelnuts 50g dark chocolate, finely chopped1 tablespoon canola oil1 egg1/2 cup milk1 teaspoon vanilla essenceSauce: 1/3 cup brown sugar3 tablespoons dark, bitter sweet Dutch cocoa powder1 1/2 cups boiling waterPreheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 19cm round x 6cm deep baking d...

June 27, 2023

SLOW COOKER CRACKERS

Mmm. Yum! Just love the aroma of French onion soup simmering away in the slow cooker. The long low-heat cooking brings out the flavours and there’s more than enough to feed the hungry gang when they come in from the cold. Served with crusty bread, this wholesome warming soup will banish any thoughts of takeaways which are more expensive and less nutritious.  Getting to know your slow cooker is important. They vary in size therefore the cooking time for a particular recipe may vary. Using ...

June 26, 2023

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Topping

Cake: 1 cup brown sugar2 large eggs3/4 cup canola oil1 teaspoon vanilla essence1 cup gluten-free flour mix1/2 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon each: baking soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon1 1/2 cups freshly grated carrots1/2 cup chopped walnuts nutsCream Cheese Topping: 1 tablespoon butter50g cream cheese1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence1 1/4 cups icing sugarPreheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly oil and line a 20cm round cake pan with baking paper.Cream the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bo...

June 13, 2023

Gluten-free Chocolate Fudge

225g gluten-free crunchy coconut biscuits or similar125g butter1/4 cup sugar1 egg, lightly beaten1 tablespoon cocoa powder1 cup chopped walnuts1/2 cup sultanas1 teaspoon vanilla essenceIcing: 1 3/4 cups icing sugar3 tablespoons cocoa powder2 tablespoons each: butter, boiling water1 teaspoon vanilla essence Lightly grease and line a 15cm x 24cm dish or cake pan.Crush the biscuits in a food processor — but not too finely. Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk...

June 11, 2023

GLUTEN-FREE FARE

Several years back, when two family members were diagnosed as gluten intolerant, I thought ‘Oh no, planning meals is going to become harder’. There weren’t many products available to help alleviate my dilemma. But today I make enjoyable gluten-free meals and bakes for the whole family — all without that ‘oh no’ feeling.  Over time, gluten-free baking products have improved. The flavours are fine and baking results are pretty similar to using traditional flour. I often substi...

June 11, 2023

GET TOASTIE

The 2023 Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover has attracted over 185 entries from restaurants, cafés, bars and even supermarkets throughout the country. Each toastie must include a bread, cheese, McClure’s pickles plus loads of imagination.Run-of-the-mill sliced bread, can used or ciabatta, tortillas (Mexican bread), brioche, Turkish, naan, wraps, pita and panini to add interest to the creation.We have the prolific American inventor Thomas Edison to thank for the electric sandwich-maker in the ...

May 18, 2023

HOT FOR SOUPS

Hurray! Soup weather has arrived. For me, Monday’s lunch is also Wednesday night’s dinner. I simply double the recipe then freeze it in meal-lot quantities. A good soup is a meal in one bowl, nutritious and easy to eat.  Soup is as old as the history of cooking. It was an economical way of using cereals (roasted and ground into a paste), animal bones and vegetable trimmings cooked in water to produce a hearty meal for rich and poor alike.  While chicken soup is undoubtedly the worl...

May 2, 2023

KIDS’ KITCHEN

1 slice wholemeal breadbutter or table spread2 cheese slices2 thin slices luncheon sausage or salami2 capers1 black olivesprig dill or fennel Place the bread on a plate. Lightly spread with butter or table spread. Top with 1 cheese slice. Using a small biscuit cutter or top of a jar, cut 2 rounds from the luncheon sausage to make a head and body. Place on the cheese. Use the trimming to make ears, arms and feet. Cut ovals of cheese to make a nose and the base of the feet. Place the capers above ...

April 12, 2023

APPETIZING EASTER

Let’s celebrate Easter. Taking a break, enjoying the end of summer and feasting with friends should set us up for the cooler weather to come. Easter is a time when traditional treats take pride of place on the menu. Hot Cross Buns, chocolate Easter eggs and rabbits and lamb are enjoyed worldwide but how they are presented can make all the difference. Barbecued lamb is our family fave but a butterflied roast doused in a minty pesto is also a winnerThe hot cross bun has not always been asso...

April 4, 2023

COOKIES PLUS

Nothing beats the aroma of freshly baked cookies. According to culinary historians, the first record of cookies was their use as test cakes. A small amount of cake batter was baked to test the oven temperature. There are also records showing cookies were a result of sugar cultivation in 7th century Persia. During the 11th to 16th centuries, sugar spread through the Mediterranean and then to northern Europe. By the 14th-century wafer-like cakes could be purchased in Paris.  By definition, a ...

March 26, 2023

CORN AND CUKES

Trivia quiz time! How many kernels does the average corn cob have? Apparently, 800 arranged in 16 rows. I was given this information by an enthusiastic grower but haven’t had the time — nor the inclination — to check this out. Sweetcorn is at its sweetest when the cobs have grassy-green, tender husks. The silk should be dry but not brittle. This is the perfect ripeness for nibbling the kernels off the cob — a refreshing summer snack. Raw, juicy sweetcorn kernels are also deli...

March 7, 2023

CAPSICUM DELIGHTS

Capsicums are the taste of colour. They originated in South America and in 1585 were taken to Hungary where the red variety became synonymous with Hungarian cooking — in the form of paprika.  Whether they’re green, red, orange, yellow, purple or even white, capsicums — they’re sometimes called bell peppers or sweet peppers — should not be confused with chilli peppers which are usually very much smaller. They are all members of the same family but chilli peppers contain...

February 23, 2023

TASTY THAI-STYE MUSSELS

36 medium green-shell musselsSauce: 2 tablespoons each: olive oil, grated root ginger1 medium onion, diced2 cloves garlic, crushed2 makrut (kaffir) lime leavesgrated rind 1 lemon1/4 cup each: riesling, light coconut cream2 cups fish stock2 teaspoons each: curry powder, Thai chilli paste, fish sauce, lemon juiceGarnish: 1/2 cup each:  coriander leaves, finely sliced spring onions Scrub the mussels and remove the beards.Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stock pot on medium-low. Sauté ...

February 16, 2023 Posts 1-25 of 355 | Page next
 

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