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GREENS ARE GOLD

There’s a new leaf in the superfood stakes. Or is it so new? Kumara leaves are becoming popular not because of their novelty value but because recent research undertaken in the USA recognizes that the leaves have three times more vitamin B6, five times more vitamin C, and almost 10 times more riboflavin than the actual kumara. Nutritionally they are similar to Mr superfood spinach. However, they have less oxalic acid. Kumara leaves are available from specialist greengrocers, farmers’ markets...

May 22, 2018

SOUP SAVVY

Whatever it is called — suppa, zuppa, suppe, soupe— or whatever the ingredients — fruit, vegetables, cereals, meat, fish — every country has their own version. Soup is the world’s favourite treat. Historically, soups were either thick and a meal in themselves, or thin and broth-like and used medicinally. Today, many a gourmet claims that a clear soup should announce the tone of the dinner ‘as an overture of an opera announces the subject of the work.’ Others si...

May 15, 2018

SMALL BIG DELIGHTS

Little bakes such as muffins, cupcakes and friands are very popular sweet treats —especially for celebrating Mother’s Day. Over the years the difference between cupcakes and muffins has almost become non-existent. Muffins have become sweeter, more’s the pity.  The first muffin I ever tried was my grandmother’s bran creation. It was heavy, stodgy and stuck in my throat. It almost put me off muffins for life. However, I have developed a really moist version, which I find very...

May 9, 2018

DISHY DAIRY

Labna, crème fraiche, mascarpone, buttermilk and sour cream are dairy delights that have become synonymous with enticing eats. Labna is a Middle Eastern staple — a ‘cheese’ prepared from salted yoghurt. It is easily prepared at home and is a fave of mine to offer with nibbles. It can be marinated and spread on crusty bread; or if left plain, spread on breakfast toast and drizzled with honey and hazelnuts; added to crisp salads; served on sautéed greens; and it makes an interesting ad...

April 30, 2018

NO BOTHER BISCUITS

One of the most appealing aromas for me is that of biscuits baking. It was often an enticing greeting when, as a child, I arrived home from school. But it is highly unlikely that this little welcome is still practised. Many homemakers are too busy.  But biscuit baking need not be time consuming. Just about every cookie which requires the butter and sugar to be creamed — the unenviable part of baking — can be prepared in the food processor. Butter, or any other form of shortening...

April 24, 2018

KID COOKS

Encouraging your kids to cook can be rewarding. Initially you may need to work alongside them giving little demonstrations of cutting techniques and measuring. However, allow them to enjoy working with food and eventually you could have your own personal chef on call — well, at least for a couple of meals a week. At breakfast encourage the children to cook an egg in the microwave. Lightly grease a small dessert bowl suitable for the microwave and break in an egg. Pierce the top with a toot...

April 16, 2018

MUSHROOMS MMM!

Although the first seasonal mushrooms are pushing up through the soil in the field next door I’m thinking dried mushrooms after enjoying some of the best fungi dishes ever — some with a mixture of fresh and dried mushrooms for awesome flavour. Most dried porcini mushrooms originate from Italy where they are considered a gourmet treat. Their intense nutty flavour is popular in soups, sauces, meat dishes and on pizzas. Fresh porcini are sometimes found in New Zealand pine forests where the...

April 9, 2018

RAVENSWOOD MANOR

A relaxing break was the highlight of our weekly agenda. We’d bid successfully at a fund-raising event for a night at Ravenswood Manor, which offers boutique B&B accommodation overlooking Lake Karapiro — just a 10-minute drive away from our Cambridge home. The imposing manor is set in extensive manicured grounds — large trees were beginning to shed colourful leaves. The manor is furnished in French-style elegance with many pieces collected by the owners on frequent visits to Europe...

April 4, 2018

AUTUMN APPEALS

Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.Samuel Butler, English author. So let’s enjoy these seasonal treats: apples, nashi and eggplants plus pumpkin. Eggplant — commonly thought of as a vegetable — is actually a fruit, or more specifically, a berry. Also known as aubergine it is popular around the world. It originated in India but was introduced to Europe over 1500 years ago where it is now a staple. Eggplant belongs to the nightshade...

April 4, 2018

SMART STARTS

Last year my cousin was advised to lose weight. She could not understand why she had a problem as she never ate a thing before 10:30am. And that was her problem. If she’d had a substantial breakfast she wouldn’t have craved that large double chocolate muffin with her mid-morning coffee — followed shortly after by a high carb lunch. Sweet things curb your appetite — but only briefly. Eating breakfast can help you lose weight, improve your mood and even help ward off disease. Break...

March 28, 2018

EASTER ENJOYMENT

Easter is approaching — a time to share sweet eats with family and friends. Food stores are laden with chocolate eggs, rabbits and chickens this year and — judging from my last few supermarket visits — by the time Easter arrives I think many children will have overindulged and soured on sweet treats. The tradition of eating of eggs was once prohibited during the lead up to Easter (Lent) and their return afterwards provided a reason to celebrate. Hence the evolution of the givin...

March 18, 2018

CHINESE DELIGHTS

Our three-plus week stint in China was primarily to experience the history and culture and enjoy the stunning scenery. But I was also keen to discover if there had been any distinct changes to the cuisine since my last visit and to try something new. However, I wasn’t tempted to sample any of the insects offered at street vendor food stalls. I tried cricket once in Hong Kong and I’ve done huhu grub at the Wild Food Festival in Hokitika on New Zealand’s West Coast — and I’ve de...

March 11, 2018

When Harry met Fiona

Harry Williams is the head chef at Cambridge’s Alpha Street Kitchen & Bar. He lives in Cambridge, New Zealand with his wife and eight-year-old son. How long have you been at Alpha Street? Two years. New owner Fiona Massey was on the hunt for a chef. A friend of her brother-in-law’s had my phone number and she gave me a call. Fiona and I met for a coffee on the day she became the proud owner of the restaurant. We share the same philosophies about food. I started two weeks later. It ...

March 11, 2018

FROM THE USA - CHARLES SMITH WINES

Charles Smith’s first job of note was as a rock band manager and it was on the road that he realised that entertaining music industry heavies was easy when you served good wine.  In 1999 he moved to Washington State to fulfil his burgeoning passion for wine and here he met French wine who had similar aspirations. He may not have a classically trained palate, but his brazen personality, full-flavoured wines and bold packaging have earned him the moniker: ‘Rock star winemaker of Washingt...

March 10, 2018

PIQUANT PETAL POWER

Flowers and herbs have been used for flavouring and medicinal purposes since the time of the ancient Romans and Greeks. The Romans flavoured wine with roses and violets, the Greeks developed a thyme and honey herbal remedy for soothing sore throats that is still used today. Now edible flowers are used with gay abandon by chefs worldwide. This trend was also very popular 20 years ago but dropped right out of favour because it was totally overdone. I’m enjoying this renewal of culinary ‘flower...

March 5, 2018

GETTING SAUCY

Sauces can turn otherwise plain-jane meals into scrumptious treats. For example, roast pork is great but even better with apple and/or mustard sauce; barbecued sausages are naturally best with tomato sauce; and one can make a meal of eggs with hollandaise. These convenient foods are just an arm’s length away in the pantry or fridge. But are they being used to full advantage? Apple sauce complements myriad dishes: pour over salmon before baking; mix with sour cream and mustard to serve with chi...

February 26, 2018

CURIOUS COMBOS

Chocolate and chilli is a classic combination dating back to the Mayans who spiced their drinking cocoa. Chocolate and chilli is the base of Mexican mole sauce for cooking meat and seafood. Now many chocolate manufacturers produce a chilli chocolate. But sweetcorn and raspberry does not have such a history. Cornflour — derived from corn — was discovered in 1840 (by mistake) to have the ability to thicken sauces. Before that it was used for starching laundry. Puréed raspberries thick...

February 19, 2018

CELEBRATE CHINESE STYLE

Kung Hei Fat Choy. Happy New Year! For the Chinese, the New Lunar Year generally falls on the arrival of the second new moon after the start of the northern hemisphere winter — this year, on February 16. Traditionally celebrations continue for 15 days and 2018 heralds the Year of the Dog. According to Chinese belief, those born under the sign of the dog — 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018 — possess the best traits of human nature. They are usually honest, fr...

February 12, 2018

JAN'S DUKKAH

1/2 cup each: flaked almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin kernels4 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 ingredie...

February 5, 2018

LUNCH MUNCH

It’s lunch box time again. Although your children might relish the thought of peanut butter sandwiches, will that provide sufficient nourishment for them to cope with an afternoon of schooling? Peanut butter does contain some protein but adding a little grilled bacon, tomato and lettuce — a PBLT — provides a more rounded meal. Children need carbohydrate for energy, protein to make them feel satisfied and some fruit or vegetables for vitamins, fibre and crunch. Some of my fave filli...

February 5, 2018

NO-BAKE DELIGHTS

Unbaked sweet treats are a great way to entice budding young masterchefs into the kitchen. No-bakes are quick and easy to prepare, require little electricity and cleaning up is a breeze. They’re also a cool option for hot summer days. And kids of all ages love creating treats they can enjoy. Often nourishing cereals and dried fruits can be incorporated — making them popular with raw food fans and suitable for lunch box treats. Most recipes for unbaked treats can be doubled and then store...

January 29, 2018

TEMPTING TOMATO TREATS

Small, yellow — and supposedly an aphrodisiac — the first tomato was native to the Peruvian Andes. Over the years it has had many name changes, transformations and descriptions. Few vegetables have had such culinary impact as the tomato. Botanically it is a fruit but it is enjoyed as a vegetable. There is some debate about the nutritional content of tomatoes. Is it better to eat them raw or cooked? Water-soluble vitamins such as C and B which include folate, leach out of vegetables w...

January 23, 2018

Paul Bocuse

RIP Paul Bocuse. 1927-2018 I wrote this last year celebrating his 90th birthday. His kindness will never be forgotten. 'Since 1765 the Bocuse family has kept a restaurant at Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or just north of Lyons, France. The earliest customers were boatman. In 1960 Paul Bocuse took over as head chef. By 1967 he had earned his third Michelin star, the recognised award given to the best 18 French restaurants.  Known as 'the emperor', the Castro of cookpots or the Kissinger of cuisine, Pa...

January 23, 2018

A SEASON TO SAVOUR

Luscious fruits are the essence of summer. Peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums and melons are the basis for many traditional desserts. But they can also be fashioned into refreshing savoury salads especially those with Asian-inspired dressings containing lime juice, root ginger, mint and coriander. Purées prepared from the seasonal fruits are excellent drizzled over desserts, stirred into yoghurt or combined in sorbets and ice creams. They are also a staple for savoury sauces and dressings. Th...

January 15, 2018

THE SUMMER ONES

Summertime and living should be easy. And one-pan meals are a key factor. Whole meals from the electric frypan, the wok and saucepan take the stress out of cooking as well as reducing the washing up. Electric frypans are often overlooked as an economical and convenient method of cooking. The non-stick coating makes them excellent for one-pan meals and oriental stir-fries, especially when rice is used. And the cost of cooking a roast and vegetables in a frypan is about half the price of cooking o...

January 6, 2018 Posts 1-25 of 153 | Page next
 

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