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THE TASTE OF PASSION

Passionfruit were first discovered around 1700 in the jungles of Brazil by a Jesuit priest. They were named the ‘Passion of Christ’ because the plant’s flower resembled religious symbols.  An alternative name for passionfruit, granadilla, literally means ‘little pomegranate’. The interior of the passionfruit, which is full of little black seeds, is vaguely similar to that of the pomegranate. Botanically, passionfruit are a berry and there are many varieties. Kiwis are most fa...

March 18, 2019

Beer Essentials

There’s nothing like a long, cool beer for quenching the thirst during summer. But beer can also be eaten. It’s a great flavour enhancer for many dishes including marinades, stews, breads and even desserts. Beer was first brewed from a variety of cereals such as wheat, oats, rice, millet and sorghum. It was used for braising and poaching as well as a leavener and flavour for breads and cakes. Some recipes that incorporate wine can also be prepared with a beer. The flavour will be more malty ...

March 11, 2019

LUNCH MUNCH

The school lunch challenge is never-ending. Trying to overcome dislikes and cater for constantly changing wants, requires planning. Lunches require protein to curb hunger pangs, the vitamins and minerals in vegetables and fruits are necessary to keep the brain alert and the body fully functioning and a little carbohydrate is required for energy. These days there are some delightful carb choices for holding healthy fillings. I’m a big fan of the mini milk brioche rolls from my local superm...

March 4, 2019

VEG WITH VIM

Summer is the season to enjoy guilt-free, colourful, healthy vegetables.  Beetroot has made a comeback and is often a main ingredient in restaurant dishes. The dark red variety is still popular but Chioggia with its inner red/white concentric rings is a winner. The beet originated on the shores of the Adriatic Sea near Chioggia in Italy and is very sweet. The Albino beet is a completely white but with the regular sweet flavour of red beetroot. It’s a great novelty item and the juices don...

February 26, 2019

Takapoto — Trophy Winner

In 2017 and 2018 Karapiro winemaker Andy Anderson won the New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year at London’s prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition. He was also awarded the World’s Best Pinot Noir Trophy for his 2012 Takapoto Bannockburn Single Vineyard Pinot Noir.His love for winemaking began in 1998 while studying at Lincoln University — together with friend Rob Cameron — for a Bachelor of Viticulture & Oenology. Andy went on to experience several vintages oversea...

February 21, 2019

PORK PLEASERS

For the Chinese, the fifth of February was the beginning of a new lunar year — the Year of the Pig or boar. The Chinese calendar begins on the second new moon after the northern hemisphere winter begins. It is divided into 12-year cycles with each year represented by different animals. The rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and lastly, the pig or boar. Each animal imposes its personality on its allocated year. Pork is a popular meat in China and other...

February 16, 2019

VIVA VALENTINE’S DAY

As the American poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson put it "All mankind loves a lover." And Valentine’s Day (14 February) is the recognized time to send special greetings to a sweetheart usually in the form of a card, chocolates, flowers or bubbles. Dining out has also become a fashionable way to celebrate. But, a special meal — prepared with love in your own kitchen — is a real winner. There are many stories relating to the origin of St Valentine’s Day. Some trace it to the an...

February 9, 2019

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 4, 2019

SNAZZY SUMMER SCHNITZELS

In the 70s, Wiener schnitzel was a popular meal-in-a-minute — paper-thin veal dipped in seasoned flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs, then quickly fried on each side and served with wedges of lemon and sometimes tartare sauce. It has fallen out of favour but a good Wiener schnitzel is a true delight. The recipe originated in Milan (scaloppine alla Milanese) and was so relished and praised by an Austrian general during the 1857 military campaign in Italy, it was finally claimed by the Austria...

January 30, 2019

STONE FRUIT SUMMER

Yum! It is the season of the plum. And our local trees are laden with tempting red fruits. However, I’ll have to wait a little longer for my favourite greengage plums. There is much controversy regarding the origin of the plum. Some botanists claim it is native to China then became popular in Japan. But the plum from which our most common varieties originated is European.  Peaches had something of a cult following in China – its original habitat – where for poets, sculptors and painte...

January 21, 2019

SOUR IS SUPER

Fermented foods are increasing in popularity and availability — all in the name of good health. They can aid digestion and help with other health issues.  Historically foods were fermented as a way of preserving them. Microorganisms convert starches and sugar into alcohol or acids and these enhance the natural, beneficial probiotic bacteria in food. Kimchi — a Korean staple — is a traditional side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables including cabbage. Spici...

January 16, 2019

ONE-PAN WONDERS

Holidays are the ideal time for quick and easy meals: those meals that don't use every pot in the cupboard; whole and healthy meals that can be cooked in an electric frypan, casserole or saucepan. In the 1950s, the electric frypan revolutionised small home kitchens. They saved power and were often used for roasting thus leaving the oven clean for baking. Electric frypans have gone out of fashion a little which is disappointing because they are the ideal one-pan cooker. As the name suggests, the ...

January 7, 2019

IT’S A WRAP

At one second past midnight on December 31 we start celebrating the New Year. Monday turns into Tuesday with one tick of the clock. If we are partying most of us will think, ‘Wow, it’s 2019.’ But why is the last minute of the old year the cause for so much jubilation? Is it because we have survived yet another year? Is it because we think that 2019 could be a fresh start? Or is it because we’re social animals and just love a party? Making New Year resolutions is great at the time because...

December 30, 2018

ENCORE, ENCORE

Throwing away food is throwing away cash. There is no excuse for tossing out leftovers from festive meals. For one thing it’s cheaper than ordering in or rushing off to the supermarket burning fuel and probably spending way too much on more festive fun food — some of which will probably be leftover too.  It’s easy creating enticing eats with leftovers. Tacos are always a winner: chopped cooked meat, crisp salad greens, avocado, a salsa and a little sour cream is all that’s requi...

December 26, 2018

ON THE SIDE

Festive meats are great and salads, sides and sauces make them even better. What would a roast of be without the pleasures of an awesome sauce? If you’re planning on serving some simple steamed greens then a couple of flavoured butters will add to their appeal. Bring butter to room temperature and using about 150 grams for each flavour add a dash of smoked paprika; or crushed garlic and a squeeze of lime; or mashed anchovies. Roll the butter into small logs then roll up in baking paper twistin...

December 22, 2018

SWEET ON CHRISTMAS

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. There’s a touch of tension in the air. Who is coming to the Christmas feast? Why won’t the family make up their minds? It’s often a bit awkward with families. Some live in different towns; there are the in-laws, siblings and cousins to consider. What are we going to eat? Why don't you all just bring a plate! However, I’m not one for being caught short and the following recipes can all be prepared in advance.  Pavlovas are great — ...

December 17, 2018

FESTIVE MAIN EVENTS

Christmas is a time of celebration and festive foods. And if dishes can be prepared ahead — well great! The more time spent with family and friends the better. Turkey is an excellent special occasion meat and it can always be prepared in the slow cooker — if you have one large enough. This allows you can use the oven for baking and roasting vegetables without any hassles.  Make a sling for the turkey from a length of folded foil. Place some veggies on the base of the cooker...

December 11, 2018

A MATTER OF TASTE

Christmas is a time for giving, sharing and caring. It is a time for catch up with friends and neighbours. Whether the fraternising happens before Christmas or during the holidays, a small gift is a great way of showing the friendship is appreciated. Interesting wrapping papers or containers add individual flair to your gifts. And there’s always a chance you can recycle by keeping any interesting jars left over from pasta sauces or jams to fill with your own tasty creations. Sturdy wine glasse...

December 5, 2018

SIZZLE SEASON

Tantalising smells are wafting across my backyard — it must be time to rev up the barbecue and compete with the neighbours in our annual competition for the best summer aromas. Whatever the type of cooker or fuel used, the secret to successful barbecues is the quality of the heat. You don’t need a mountain of coals on a charcoal barbecue — under normal circumstances, about 25 coals are sufficient. Allow 30 minutes between lighting up and cooking. The coals should be glowing under a...

November 29, 2018

YULE BE RIGHT

“Bring out the figgy pudding” rings the Christmas song. But what is it and how is it made?  Originating in England in the 1600s, this fruit pudding was the forerunner of the Christmas plum pudding — neither of which generally contained figs or plums. The pudding was a mixture of dried fruits steeped in brandy or sherry, with bread, spices and suet and which was either baked, boiled or steamed. Originally animal casing was used to wrap the pudding while it boiled in the laundry ‘...

November 19, 2018

Jan's Dukkah

1/2 cup each: flaked almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin kernels 4 tablespoons each: cumin seeds, coriander seeds2 teaspoons each: rock salt, oregano, fennel seeds1 tablespoon each: ground turmeric, paprika Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the almonds and seeds (but not the fennel) in different areas of a large roasting pan and bake for about 5-10 minutes. If some items cook more quickly than others, remove them with a spoon. Cool, then place in a food processor or blender with the remaining ingredi...

November 12, 2018

TROPICAL TEMPTERS

I recently relaxed for a few days in Fiji and noticed a change in the culinary climate. I’ve always enjoyed the tropical fruit, kokodu (marinated fish) and the local curries, which are often a little milder than the true Indian versions. However, a raft of new chefs have introduced a more modern approach to many menus. At the adults-only Koro restaurant at the Hilton, locals and tourists alike are relishing the shared small plates multinational menu. You could be anywhere in the world but for ...

November 7, 2018

Mercury Bay Estate Vineyard

Mercury Bay Estate Vineyard, Winery & Cellar Door on eastern Coromandel Peninsula is a showcase for local and Hawke’s Bay grapes. Simon & Veronica Ward purchased a piece of an original vineyard choosing a Pinot Noir block purely as an ideal location to live.   However, they have developed their Cellar Door & Restaurant so locals and tourists can relax and enjoy the beauty of the area while tasting wines — together with platters of local food. The current range of wines include ...

November 7, 2018

ROSÉ PROSPECTS

What I love about the warmer weather is the opportunity to dine al fresco with friends, enjoying a light lunch and a glass of rosé. This blush-coloured winner is now the ‘go to’ wine when invitees are unsure of what to bring to an event, or — if you’re the host — what to serve. And there are some very well-priced rosés to be enjoyed.   Rosé marries well with many light lunches including those featuring, cheese, raw or cooked fish, eggs and vegetables including aspa...

November 5, 2018

DISHY FREEZER DISHES

We’re expecting a truck load of visitors this coming month so I’ve been freezing a selection of mouth-watering meals in expectation. This includes a favourite way of cooking a whole duck — in a slow cooker. Asian spices flavour the duck which can be served in Chinese pancakes available frozen from many Asian supermarkets, or on rice or noodles. I like to freeze meals in the containers in which they will be reheated. Line the casserole or baking dish first with foil or plastic film, add...

October 23, 2018 Posts 1-25 of 191 | Page next
 

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