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RICE REWARDS

As the Chinese proverb goes ‘The smartest housewife cannot cook a meal without rice.’ And over half the world’s population agree — rice is their staple food and an essential meal maker. In China, Japan and the Philippines, for instance, a meal without rice is usually regarded as simply not a proper meal. Economical and versatile, rice makes a great base for a huge variety of meals— everything from a budget stir-fry to a hauté cuisine risotto. Rice is now cultivated in ove...

May 16, 2022

SUPER BOWLS

Soup is the food that suits all seasons — especially winter. This most versatile of all dishes is deservedly a universal favourite with virtually every culture having their own unique version — Spanish Gazpacho, Japanese Miso, Italian Minestrone, Russian Borscht, French Onion, Chinese Won Ton are just a few. Soup is your ticket to a world food tour without leaving home.  Soup is as old as the history of cooking. Archaeological evidence from China indicates the first bowl was ser...

May 9, 2022

MUM’S THE W0RD

This year our kids will be at opposite ends of the country, so I won’t be able to enjoy their company or culinary skills on Mother’s Day. I would be happy though to receive a restaurant voucher — it would help both me and the hospitality industry. However, I suspect my husband will cook up his amazing spaghetti bolognese for Mother’s Day dinner. He uses minced venison which is the same price as prime minced beef in our local supermarket. But it’s venison that makes a million dollar...

May 2, 2022

VEGGIE VARIETY ACTS

According to American humourist Fran Lebowitz ‘Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat.’ An amusing quip but only partially true. While meat plays the main role and veggies are relegated to the supporting cast in many culinary productions, veggies often share top billing with meat or even take the lead. And of course, they can have the limelight all to themselves. It's worth noting that frozen veggies are often cheaper and more nutritio...

April 25, 2022

PEAR POWER

Pears — with their delicate  flavour— are one of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits. In 5,000 BC, Feng Li, a Chinese diplomat, first grafted pears for the commercial market. In The Odyssey, Homer, the Greek poet, praised pears as a ‘gift of the gods.’ Roman farmers documented extensive pear growing and grafting techniques. And for the Renaissance Masters, pears were a popular still-life subject.   Thanks to their versatility and long storage life, pears were a ...

April 20, 2022

EASTER ENTERTAINERS

Around the world, Easter is a time when traditional treats take pride of place on the menu. Dried fruits and nuts feature in numerous Easter bakes. Hot Cross Buns, generally considered an English custom, combine spices with currants, peel and raisins. They were originally made to honour an Anglo-Saxon goddess 'Eastre'. With the advent of Christianity, goddesses went out of favour, but the bun remained and was decorated with a cross. Lamb — a symbol of spring in the northern hemisphere &mda...

April 11, 2022

Women in the Wine Industry - Rosie Menzies

Winemaker | Carrick | Central OtagoGrowing up in Central Hawke’s Bay, Rosie wanted to work with animals and become a Veterinarian. After not getting into the required programme at University, Rosie defaulted into a Science Degree while still trying to figure out what to do with it. After fondly reflecting on a wine making project she did in her high school chemistry class under wine lover and teacher Marty Marshall, Rosie was led to spending a summer helping out at Lime Rock in Centr...

April 5, 2022

OF THE ESSENCE

Vanilla can add umami (Japanese for savoury deliciousness — the fifth basic taste alongside sweet, sour, bitter and salty) to many dishes. It is produced from a variety of orchid that flourishes in the tropics. In 2002, Bay of Plenty family Jennifer and Garth Boggis together with Jennifer's father John Ross, launched an aid programme to help Tonga recover from cyclone Waka. A small vanilla plantation was established in the remote Vava'u Islands. Twenty years on Heilala Vanilla has won nume...

April 5, 2022

MEXICAN ON THE MENU

They are meals with real family appeal. Finger lickin’ good, fill-your-own fun south of the border style. Flour tortillas are the bread of Mexico and are perfect for wrapping around fillings. If they tend to stick together, pop them in the microwave on high power for 20-30 seconds and they can be peeled apart. Tacos are corn tortillas that have been bent in half and fried until crisp. Pork carnitas are popular street food in Mexico where the pork is submerged in lard and slow-cooked to juicy t...

March 29, 2022

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 23, 2022

CHEERS TO COOKING

Wine is the elixir that can remedy many a cooking problem — besides providing a pleasurable sip while you’re preparing dinner. As a marinade, wine softens the tissue of tougher cuts of meat. Wine can add liquid pizzaz to casseroles and some cakes and desserts. And it adds flavour to a variety of dishes enhancing but not overpowering them. To make the most of the flavour, ensure the alcohol is burnt off. It evaporates at about 78 degrees Celsius. When it is included in a casserole it will...

March 17, 2022

LOAFING ABOUT

Apparently, many Kiwis decided to accept lockdown — albeit reluctantly — and simply ‘loaf about’. The increase in loaf pan sales indicates a new found taste around the country for making bread and other loaves to satisfy comfort-food needs. Sweet or savoury loaves — whether yeast, culture or baking powder-risen — their popularity soared.  There are a many different types of loaf pans available including traditional metal, heat-proof glass, fancy designer cardboar...

March 6, 2022

THINK TOMATOES

‘In this world of uncertainty and woe, one thing remains unchanged: Fresh, canned, puréed, dried, salted, sliced, and served with sugar and cream, or pressed into juice, the tomato is reliable, friendly, and delicious. We would be nothing without it.’ Laurie Colwin (American author) And she is right. Tomatoes are extremely versatile. They’re also a great source of vitamin C and a good source of fibre, and the vitamins A and B. Plus, when tomatoes are cooked, lycopene — an antioxidan...

February 28, 2022

STIR IT UP

We have the Chinese to thank for creating one of the world’s most popular methods of cookery — stir-frying. With fuel expensive and living conditions cramped, Chinese cooks sliced vegetables, meats and fish into thin strips so they could be cooked quickly in one pan. Distinctive halfmoon-shaped pans — woks — were designed to channel the heat up the sides of the pan as it nestled on the burning wood or coal. Special flat-based woks have been developed for electric hobs. Howeve...

February 20, 2022

LUNCHBOX BETS

I’ve often thought that coming up with a winning school lunchbox can be a bit like picking the winner of a horse race. Today’s sure bet is often tomorrow’s also-ran. But your kids’ sometimes fickle tastes mean you have to provide a variety of different treats. And it’s important to provide a balanced diet to energise them through the day. Fruits and vegetables hit the vitamin and mineral trifecta when it comes to nutrition. And if you can include a good selection, your kids will benefi...

February 12, 2022

WINNING FIVES

Summer is still with us and easy meals created with just five ingredients are welcome. Salads are excellent — and healthy — but many of us enjoy warmer dinner treats. Planning the week’s menu and a one-stop supermarket shop avoids the temptation to purchase instant meals. Keep a good supply of veg in the fridge. They’re not only super salad ingredients but can be diced and combined with eggs and flour to make fritters — courgette and feta; corn and ham; carrot, cumin seeds ...

February 3, 2022

VERSATILE VEG

They can be a main, a side or a salad. Vegetables are an appetising source of enjoyment — the variety, the combinations, colours and flavours.  One of my favourite Kiwi chefs — Peter Gordon — authored a cookbook in 2006: Vegetables — The New Food Heroes. In it he recognises that vegetables are the unsung heroes of a meal. My tatty copy has bookmarks at various intervals including: Roast Baby Beetroot & Red Onions: Creamy Peas, Shallots & Mint; and Romano Peppers Stuf...

January 27, 2022

Hello Agaricus Bisporus

There's not 'mushroom' for argument when is comes to the popularity of this fungi.  ...

January 21, 2022

Hunter's MiruMiru™ A Winner

Two of my favourite bubbles keep on winning. Awards and Accolades MiruMiru™ Reserve 2016GOLD – Champagne Sparkling Wine World Championships, October 2021GOLD – The Marlborough Wine Show, October 2021GOLD & CHAMPION SPARKLING – Aotearoa Regional Wine Competition, October 2021GOLD – Winestate Annual Champagne & Sparkling Wine Show, September 2021 MIRUMIRU™ NVGOLD – The Marlborough Wine S...

January 20, 2022

SEAFOOD SAVVY

I’m looking forward to dangling a fishing line over the back of a boat this summer. It's years since I’ve enjoyed fish straight from the sea. My only fresh ‘catch’ in recent times has been a trout — given to me by a neighbour.  Do salt-water fish taste saltier than the freshwater variety? No. Fish have a special physiological mechanism that prevents them from becoming as salty as the water in which they live. They are, in fact, low in sodium. A 100g portion of raw fish contain...

January 17, 2022

FRUITY FLARE

Peaches and their copycat cousin, nectarines, are two of the tastiest delights of summer. Juice running down your chin is joy – but not, of course when it hits your T-shirt! Prunus persica — the botanical name for the peach — had its origins in China where the blossoms are thought to ward off evil spirits and provide vitality and the tree symbolises longevity. It’s one of China’s most popular fruits and the country is the world’s largest producer of peaches — about...

January 10, 2022

CELEBRATION NIBBLES

We may ring in the New Year like it’s going out of fashion — but it isn’t and it won’t.  Celebrations to mark the beginning of the New Year began several millennia ago. The first were recorded about 2000 BC in the city of Babylon in ancient Mesopotamia. Festivities in other regions of the world were often connected to the land or astronomical events. For example, in Egypt the beginning of the year coincided with the flooding of the River Nile, which usually happened when the sta...

January 4, 2022

EASY ANSWERS

Those festive leftovers are easy, economical mealmakers after day or so of hectic entertaining and eating. There’s nothing easier than to pull the ham from the fridge and serve it sliced with a salad and some crusty bread. But it’s on the third or fourth day we start to think, “Not ham again.”  Here are some tips for ‘hamming it up’ with leftovers:• Croquettes: Combine minced ham with mashed spuds and mustard, roll into small logs, dip in beaten egg to coat then in crisp ...

December 26, 2021

ASIDE FROM MAINS

Magnificent main course meat dishes might be the centrepiece of your festive table but side dishes also need to live up to expectation.  Sides and accompaniments should complement and showcase the mains — they are the bridesmaids in this celebration. But if some veggie dishes can act as a substitute bride then this makes it easier for menu planning — especially when there are vegetarians at your get-together. Veggie dishes that can be prepared ahead are a cook’s best friend. T...

December 23, 2021

Merry Meat Mains

Many people celebrate Christmas by serving meats that are ancestral. The fact that Kiwis of British origin still serve hot roasted meats and veg on a humid summer day is testament to that.  Turkey became popular in England after King Henry V111 introduced it to his Christmas table. Before the 16th century the wealthy English feasted on peacock or swan, while a pig’s head was the main course for everyone else.   Turkey was celebrated in Charles Dickens’s 1843 classic A Christma...

December 20, 2021 Posts 1-25 of 341 | Page next
 

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