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LARGELY LENTILS

Lentils are a nutritious versatile food. A key ingredient in soups, salads, sides, casseroles and savoury bakes, they’re ridiculously cheap and can be stored in airtight containers for months. Lentils are high in protein and fibre and low in fat making them a healthy substitute for meat. They're also packed with folate, iron, phosphorus and potassium. However, the protein in lentils is incomplete. For proper nutritional balance other protein foods such as grains, nuts, seeds, eggs or dairy pro...

May 20, 2024

Sideways New Zealand by Rex Pickett

Have you viewed the film Sideways (adapted from Rex Pickett’s book of the same name) where the lead character Miles Raymond introduces his about-to-be-married actor friend Jack Manse to Pinot Noir during a trip to northern California wine country? There are high jinks galore, Jack not being the most faithful fiancé. The popularity of the film launched Pinot Noir into orbit around the world. Winemakers in the region call it the Sideways effect. I love the movie. A huge laugh with a dash of poi...

May 7, 2024

POSITIVELY PRUNES

The other day I noticed that America’s Sunsweet Prunes is running a promotional campaign on social media and it brought back memories of my early career.A few years ago, when I was finishing my marketing degree, I was shoulder-tapped by the management of Sunsweet Prunes to help improve their NZ sales. To me, prunes were an old-fashioned breakfast food that my grandmother enjoyed.However, prunes are much more. They are nuggets of nutritional goodness: rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, a good...

March 25, 2024

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...

March 18, 2024

PETAL PIZZAZ

The creative use of flowers and herbs in cookery was a feature of Roman banquets. They were also popular (and still are) in medicines and Chinese and Indian recipes, and plates gaily decorated with flowers were particularly prevalent during Queen Victoria’s reign. It is important that all the flowers and herbs you serve are pesticide free. They should also be allergy-free, non-toxic and preferably organically grown. Check a good garden reference book or a reliable web site for information...

February 28, 2024

SUMMER SEAFOOD WINNERS

When it comes to fishing, I’m an unsuccessful angler. Fish must know what I have in store for them and dart away. It’s most frustrating. But I love a fish fuelled summer. Most seafood is low in calories but high in protein, omega-3, a variety of B vitamins and many minerals. However, the number of calories in a fish dish will, of course, depend on the cookery method. Deep-fried fish contains at least twice the calories of baked fish. The microwave oven is excellent for fish cookery...

February 16, 2024

FAVOUR SUMMER FLAVOURS

Preserving abundant summer fruits and veg provides sun-kissed flavours to enjoy in cooler months. But if you are a family of just two then it’s best to make small amounts. When jams, pickles and chutneys are left forgotten for months on pantry shelves they lose their summer flavour and colour. Hints:• Jams and jellies need pectin to set. To test if a fruit has sufficient pectin, cook a small portion in a little water. When soft, take one teaspoon of the juice and combine it with one tablespo...

January 22, 2024

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...

December 29, 2023

CHRISTMAS CRACKERS

If there was ever a year when Christmas celebrations are particularly welcome then this is the one. But every year there are more whims and wishes to cater for. Vegans, vegetarians, coeliacs, meat lovers and ketogenic dieters will gather round the family festive table this year to enjoy good food and friendship. Coeliacs are relatively easy to cater for: if you usually toss your spuds in flour before roasting, swap it for gluten-free cornflour — and also use it as a thickener in sauces. Ve...

December 16, 2023

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

RED HOT RED CENTRE

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

September 2, 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

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 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 Posts 1-25 of 360 | Page next
 

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