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CHEAP AND CHEERFUL

Budget meals don’t have to be boring. Try different combos of herbs, spices or sauces to add interest to your dishes. They’re relatively economical and once your pantry is well stocked, your creations are only limited by your imagination.  Meals with rice, pasta and noodles can be great budget beaters. And there always seems to be a new variety to try.  Ramen noodles are named after the popular Japanese soup they are used in. They are an adaption of the Chinese wheat noodle and onl...

July 22, 2021

FRUITFUL SEASON

Persuading kids – and even ‘big kids’ — to eat their veg is often a challenge. I tempt my family with broccoli trees and a dip of mayo and tomato sauce; or fresh Vietnamese-style spring roll wraps with finely shredded cabbage, julienned carrot and capsicum; or julienned assorted greens in fritters. It easier to persuade your family to enjoy fresh produce in the winter because seasonal fruits can add pizazz to greens. Tamarillos stir-fried with mushrooms and broccoli; tender spinach l...

July 12, 2021

COOKING USA

The Fourth of July is party time in the United States when families gather together to celebrate the Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1776. I’ve experienced a couple of Independence Day parties in the USA and on both occasions was amazed by the quantity and quality of the food offered. Everyone brought a plate of food large enough to feed twice the number of guests. Buffalo wings (or just ‘wings’ as they’re called for short) were popular. Unbreaded chicken wing sections are ge...

July 3, 2021

CURRIED VEG VIM

I remember the day I discovered one of the secrets of a successful French chef in Melbourne. Standing next to him as he cooked, I noticed a tiny pinch of curry powder being added to a sauce. (Very non Cordon Bleu!) The taste wasn’t obvious in the sauce at all — it just made it intriguing. I’m sure he wouldn’t admit to his fellow countrymen that he used curry powder. Powder was the only type of curry in my mother’s pantry. Today we are spoilt for choice. There are Thai green and red...

June 28, 2021

SPICE OF LIFE

Love is like a spice. It can sweeten your life — however, it can spoil it too. Confucius. Using spices in cooking is a balancing act. Too little can be too vague, too much can dominate.Chinese Five-spice is a pungent combination of ground cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves and Szechwan peppercorns. It enhances pork, beef, poultry and seafood and should be used in moderation. Add just a little at the beginning of cooking as it can always be spiced up at the end or just sprinkled ove...

June 21, 2021

FOUR DAY’S FARE

Monday to Thursday you need dinner fast. These meals have to be tasty, easy to cook and family friendly.  The term ‘munchie’ originally referred to snacks that were devoured before dinner to relieve hunger pangs. In recent years it has become a term for yummy food that can be eaten easily, usually held in the fingers. The Monday Munchie became family slang for burgers that were more often than not served on Monday.   Which got me thinking about Taco Tuesdays. The name taco ori...

June 17, 2021

GLUTEN-FREE TREATS

“Removing gluten from one’s diet isn’t a choice but a necessary way of life for up to 70,000 Kiwis living with coeliac disease,” says Coeliac NZ General manager Wendy Bremmer. Even a tiny portion of gluten has serious consequences for coeliac sufferers and that’s why families living with this disease need two toasters — one for common bread and one for gluten-free — to avoid mistakes. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats and causes inflammation and gut d...

June 6, 2021

PORK APPEALS

Pork provides more bang for your buck than many other meats. It’s a firm favourite on the summer barbie and a top choice for warming winter winners.   The key to producing tender, juicy pork is to avoid over-cooking. Pork schnitzels take about 1-2 minutes each side to cook depending on the thickness. Sliced in a stir-fry, schnitzels take 2-3 minutes to cook.  And the New Zealand Pork Board has been advocating new rules for cooking chops and steaks. It’s the ‘6+2+2’ method....

May 29, 2021

KIMCHI

Add julienned carrot if preferred or combine a mix of red and green cabbage. 1/2 large Savoy cabbage4 tablespoons salt1 tablespoon sugar4 cloves garlic, crushed2 tablespoons each: finely grated root ginger, fish sauce, gochujang (Korean chilli paste)4 each: spring onions, round radishes, thinly sliced Remove any thick core from the cabbage. Chop the leaves into 3cm pieces and place in a large ceramic bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and mix it in with your hands. Stand for 1 hour...

May 29, 2021

Kim Chi Lamburgers

Burgers: 500g lean minced lamb3/4 cup kim chi1 small egg, beatenfreshly ground black pepper to taste1-2 tablespoons olive oilExtras: 4 small buns4-6 tablespoons mayonnaise2 cups finely shredded lettuce1/4 cup mint leaves (sliced if large)4 slices tomato or cooked beetroot1/2 cup mint jelly, melted Place the lamb in a large bowl. Drain the kim chi well and finely chop. Squeeze out any excess moisture. Add to the lamb with the egg and mix well. Form into 4 patties the same diameter as the buns. Se...

May 24, 2021

VIVA ITALIA

For me, many of Italy’s dishes are feel-good comfort food. And countless dishes have been embraced by other cultures and countries and become firm favourites. Indeed, the bible of the French kitchen Larousse Gastronomique, makes the concession that ‘Italian cooking can be considered for all countries of Latin Europe, as a veritable mother cuisine.’ Lasagne (or lasagna) is an all-time favourite in Italy. It is thought to have originated in the city of Naples during the Middle Ages. However,...

May 23, 2021

AUTUMN APPEALS

This is the season of mellow fruitfulness and apples and pears are available in juicy abundance. Both marry beautifully with other more robustly flavoured fruits such as raspberries, feijoas and tamarillos. There are many varieties of apples — the ‘king of fruits’. Supermarkets, however, tend to carry only a select few — ones with the best shelf life. Most apples are at their peak in autumn but innovative chilling facilities have extended their season without loss of quality. The...

May 11, 2021

MAKE MUM’S DAY

Mother’s Day beckons and all I want is a happy family gathering — someone to make me laugh and to cook a meal and clean up afterwards. Many of my friends share my simple wishes. I wonder whether my hopes will be realised? The origin of Mother's Day can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. However, the celebrations as we know them are only about 100 years old. Mother’s Day is celebrated in over 40 countries (although on different dates) and is a popular event. Besides New Ze...

May 2, 2021

HIGH-FIVE FAVES

You don’t need a supermarket in your pantry to create and enjoy delicious meals. And when you’re running from work to make the school pick-up followed by the shuttle service to dance classes or sports practice, when you get home easy meals are a must. Five-ingredient meals using clever combinations plus a few basics from your pantry can be quickly and attractively prepared. The flavourful dinners that follow prove that you don't need much to make a great meal. I kick off today’s recipes wi...

April 18, 2021

SQUASH CHAMPIONS

My love affair with pumpkin started many years ago when I dined at the Chateau in Tongariro National Park. The chef served pumpkin soup with orange. He had cooked the pumpkin in a concentrated mix of water, orange juice and finely grated orange rind. I can still remember the unique taste. The grey-skinned, crown-shaped pumpkin is a member of the squash family which also includes the rich green round buttercup, the curious spaghetti squash, the elongated cream-skinned butternut and the vivid oran...

April 10, 2021

WOK WIZARDRY

Woks are versatile. Their use is not just limited to stir-frying. You can steam, smoke, braise or simmer, deep or shallow fry. The wok’s shape was originally dictated by the Chinese hob that had an open top surface into which the round-bottomed wok with its flared sides fitted securely. Nowadays a metal collar or ring purchased with the wok adapts it neatly to gas or electric hobs.  Steaming is fashionable at present due to the popularity of Asian dumplings. They’re sold fresh and ...

April 5, 2021

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.  My local region is celebrating with a huge foodie festival including: culinary gems showcasing their skills at cooking classes; unique dinners including a progressive one; a Taste Asian walking tour; a free foodie movie night; and among others, a wine and food evening. If you’re interested in a taste of the Waikato then check out these events at ...

March 28, 2021

CONDIMENTS COMPLEMENT

Can you let a morning go by without a fix of Marmite or Vegemite? No? When travelling, do you need to pack a jar of chilli or hoisin sauce? Or is that a tube of addictive habanero mustard tucked in your handbag? Well you must be a condiment fanatic. Congratulations, you’ve joined my club. A condiment is a spice, sauce or a combo of ingredients that is added to food to impart a specific flavour, enhance flavours or complement a dish. The most common is salt, followed closely by freshly ground b...

March 15, 2021

Sankaya Fak Thong

A traditional coconut custard cooked in a pumpkin. 1.5kg pumpkin or buttercup4 large eggs100g raw sugar1 cup coconut cream Wash and dry the pumpkin. With the point of a small sharp knife, cut out the stem and a small amount of skin, leaving 4-5cm diameter opening. Retain the stem piece as a lid. Spoon out the fibre and seeds and — if very thick — any excess pumpkin. Place the pumpkin upside down on a paper towel in the microwave and cook for 8-10 minutes on high (100%) powe...

March 7, 2021

B & B DELIGHTS

Bagels and burgers are hot! They’re quick to prepare, can be highly nutritious with the right combo of protein and veg, and there’s hardly any cleaning up.  An authentic bagel — the chewy bun with a hole in the middle — is made with a flour, yeast and water dough which is shaped into a circle then boiled in water for two to three minutes. After draining, the bagel is baked until golden. Sometimes it is brushed with egg wash before baking, sometimes the egg is added to the do...

March 6, 2021

PEPPY PRESERVES

It’s time to preserve the tempting tastes of summer. Time to pack a pickle or two. And a jam or three. However, preserving does not improve poor quality produce — the better the quality, the better the appearance and flavour of the preserve.  Piccalilli is my husband’s favourite pickle. I think it’s childhood memories that kindle his obsession. The Oxford Dictionary traces the name back to the mid 1700s when Hannah Glasse — the first ‘kitchen goddess’ — wrote ‘...

February 24, 2021

CHINESE CHEER

Celebrate Chinese New Year — the longest and most important festival on the Chinese calendar — commencing on February 12 and continuing for 15 days. There are 12 different animal signs in the Chinese zodiac, one for each month of the year. This is the Year of the Ox. According to Chinese belief, those born under the sign of the ox are patient individuals — but when opposed, watch out! Chinese astrologers maintain that the Year of the Ox will bring career advancement, success in...

February 15, 2021

LUNCH BOX LEADERS

It’s back to school and back to work. And back to finding ways to make the transition from holiday fun easier. Interesting new lunch box creations fit the bill. The sandwich is the lunch box supremo: open to endless interpretations and as simple or as elaborate as you like. Sandwiches are popular around the world — Americans eat more than 300 million a day! — with many countries offering their own unique versions. These include; the crust-free cucumber, salt and pepper summer sandw...

February 7, 2021

SIMPLY SALMON

Salmon is a perfect summer food. It’s readily available, nourishing and quick and easy to cook. New Zealand’s fresh salmon is farmed in pristine coastal waters and in the chilly canals close to the Southern Alps. Salmon is a naturally rich source of top-quality protein, vitamins and long chain Omega-3s which are linked to the protection against heart disease and certain cancers, alleviation of arthritic pain, and the boosting of the immune system. But best of all its taste and versatility ma...

January 25, 2021

RENEW YOUR MENU

Surprise yourself. Next time you visit your local supermarket or deli browse the shelves with an eye for something different. There are always new temptations to try which will add interest to meals. I recently discovered black bean noodles. They’re 100 per cent plant based, have a low sugar content and are gluten-free. The thin spaghetti-like noodles cook in five to eight minutes. Slightly chewy and with a mild flavour, they marry well with hot sauces or cold dressings.   Date syrup...

January 18, 2021 Posts 1-25 of 313 | Page next
 

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