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PIE PERFECT

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a hearty homemade pie for warding off winter blues. And making your own pastry need not be a chore. A food processor is a bonus. However, if you don’t have one when making short pastry, grate the butter into the flour then rub it in lightly with your fingertips. Keep everything as cool as possible during pastry preparation — your hands, bench surfaces, utensils and ingredients.  Pastry should be rolled with short, sharp strokes starting ...

July 9, 2020

CHEAP AND CHEERFUL

It's dollar-stretching time — but choosing lower-cost foods does not necessarily mean lowering your standards. Add a little imagination to your meal presentation and your dinner can still look a 'million dollars'.  Carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and potatoes help stretch meat dishes. Check out Indian, Chinese and Moroccan recipes — many are light on meat but rounded out with healthy veggies and rice or noodles. If fresh veggies appear a little expensive then use frozen which ...

July 2, 2020

SLOW AND EASY

Colder days are with us — time to enjoy yummy warming meals from the slow cooker. It’s the busy cook’s best friend. I’m using ours twice a week. I just throw all the ingredients in the cooker, cover it and let it slowly simmer away all day filling the house with mouth-watering aromas. Slow cookers use little electricity; they can be stored in a cupboard or just left on the bench; and can be used in the smallest of kitchens making them ideal for flats and holiday hideaways. To obtain ...

June 23, 2020

SWEET ON GLUTEN-FREE

I love to indulge in winter puds but I usually limit my treats to visits from friends or family. For me, hot, saucy, sweet endings to meals are cheerful comfort food. And as we have a couple of gluten-intolerant family members coming to stay, this week’s creations are wheat and gluten-free.   About 10 per cent of New Zealanders suffer from coeliac disease — a lifelong intestinal intolerance to gluten in the diet. But many don’t even know it. Symptoms can include chronic fatigue, b...

June 14, 2020

EGGSELLENT EATS

If there was a perfect food then the egg would be a top contender. Eggs are packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. They’re easy to cook, readily available and very affordable. Boiled, scrambled, poached or fried, eggs make wholesome snacks, breakfasts, brunches, lunches and main meals. Eggs should be gently treated not only during storage but during cooking. If cooked too quickly at a high heat then the egg’s protein becomes tough. I prefer to boil eggs by the ‘cold start’ method. P...

June 8, 2020

VEGETABLES PLUS

Over the last few weeks my family’s ‘Meatless Mondays’ have been extended to Tuesdays and sometimes even Sundays. I used yummy, long shelf-life, meat-free goodies from the pantry — all of which make wholesome meals when combined with vegetables from the garden or freezer.  Barley is one. I love its chewy texture and nutty flavour. It’s packed with fibre, folate, potassium and vitamin B6, and also helps lower blood cholesterol, thus decreasing the risk of heart disease. Economi...

June 2, 2020

MICRO MAGIC

Why should we be utilising our microwave ovens more? Because they use less power than traditional ovens, they save time and often foods are higher in nutritional goodies than if boiled or steamed.  Less moisture is lost from the food as there are no radiant elements in standard microwave ovens to heat and thus dry the air. This means that minimal liquid is required for cooking many foods — especially vegetables and fruits.  Jams, chutneys and relishes also require less liquid &md...

May 20, 2020

FEEL-GOOD FAVES

If there was ever a time when we’ve needed comfort foods then that time is now. Comfort foods give us a sense of wellbeing — of emotional comfort. People’s preferences will differ but generally the consoling dishes will be prepared in a traditional style. For example, roasts, pasta and crumble puds. They are foods that people often associate with close relationships and happy times. Eating these delights helps shift our emotional state from negative to positive. However, many comfort f...

May 12, 2020

SIMPLY SOUPER

All soup is soul food. Bee Wilson, British Writer Deservedly a universal favourite, soups come in more varieties than any other dish. A soup provides warm comfort on cooler days and can be a meal in itself — served with chunky breads and/or cheese on the side. Prepared using vegetables, meats, herbs, lentils and stocks, soups are also extremely nourishing. Stocks form the basis of most good soups.   Tetrapack stocks can be boiled and reduced to intensify the flavour. I often add a few...

May 5, 2020

COOL KIDS COOKING

Holidays and weekends are a great time to let your kids loose in the kitchen. Whether it be tearing up lettuce leaves for a salad and tossing them with a dressing or some simple baking, food preparation can become a fun art form — if you encourage the kids to use their imaginations. However, it’s best to provide some guidelines for success. Such as reading the recipe through first then gathering all the ingredients and equipment required on the bench. With baking it is important to use s...

April 27, 2020

RICE IDEAS

On a visit to my supermarket just prior to lockdown the only rice I could find was 90-second (Tilda Lime & Coriander). And yes, I love it because it’s flavoursome, instant and can be used in many recipes calling for cooked rice. However, the empty shelves indicated to me that Kiwis love all rice varieties and obviously a food column on the subject was required. Luckily, I managed to source an assortment at my local greengrocer. Rice varieties are categorized as long, medium or short grain. Lon...

April 20, 2020

CAN-DO COOKING

Judging by the number of delicious looking dishes posted on Instagram, cooking has become a creative outlet for both young and old in these unusual and stressful times. Our enforced lockdown is obviously a great time to develop new skills. Canned foods have come into their own. Where would we be without canned tomatoes as a base for soups, casseroles and pasta sauces? But it is a time for adapting recipes as not every ingredient will currently be on everyone’s pantry shelves Recipes will still...

April 14, 2020

SIMPLY SODA

‘Can I substitute baking soda for baking powder in my cake recipe?’ asked a friend. Both are raising (or leavening) agents providing carbon dioxide that encourages cakes to rise. But they're different. Baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda) requires an acid and liquid to ‘fizz’ — and it’s instant. The acid can be buttermilk, yoghurt, lemon juice, vinegar, cream of tartar, molasses, applesauce or natural cocoa powder. The resulting bake is dark in colour and — if used alone &...

April 6, 2020

EASTER INSPIRATIONS

You don’t have to be a fanatical foodie to enjoy gorging your way through the Easter break —after all, feasting during this period is a historical tradition around the world. Although many countries have their own unique customs festive food is the common denominator. Lamb is an Easter Sunday favourite in Greece, Italy, France and Britain while ham is the centrepiece on American tables. Eggs, symbolising fertility and birth, are a feature of Greek, Portuguese, Italian Easter bakes and el...

March 30, 2020

CELEBRATING KIWI KAI

The bounties of summer are fading away but we can still celebrate the best of the country’s food and wine whether it be at home, under an apple tree or beside a lake.   I love the fact that numerous New Zealand regions are promoting local foods, wines and beers so enthusiastically. It provides competitiveness, a sense of pride in the country’s eclectic kai and offers locals and tourists with a true taste of New Zealand. For example: Bluff has its iconic oysters; Nelson its super sw...

March 24, 2020

Dog Point

Dog Point Vineyard is owned and managed by highly respected husband and wife teams, Ivan and Margaret Sutherland and James and Wendy Healy. Famed for gathering a cult following almost prior to the release of the first vintage in 2002, Ivan and James specialise in producing outstanding wines that are the epitome of both the vineyard and winemakers' skills. The wines are made from grapes sourced from selected vineyard plantings dating back to the late 1970s. These older well-established vines...

March 20, 2020

ON CRANBERRY POND

An unusual fruit catches the eye of Michael Ryan. We are in the heart of Massachusetts cranberry country, about an hour's easy drive south of Boston. "Amazing," says the woman standing next to me. "I never thought a cranberry bog would look like this. She is right — the carpet of red berries rolled out across the water was an unusual sight. But then, the cranberry is an unusual fruit. ...

March 17, 2020

CELEBRATE IRISH STYLE

He was born around 385AD in either Wales or Scotland (it’s debatable). Kidnapped by raiders he was taken to Ireland but escaped. He later returned to introduce Christianity. Ireland’s patron saint is commemorated in grand style on St. Patrick’s Day — March 17 — the day when all things Irish are enjoyed the world over. And you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy the pleasures of the Emerald Isle wherever you are — you can go on a leprechaun hunt, quaff a Guinness or two or j...

March 12, 2020

BIG ON BAKES

The tantalising aromas of cakes and cookies baking is enough to tempt even the family’s most hardened cell phone addict to abandon playing on their device and head for the kitchen.  According to food historians, the ancient Greeks were the first to develop sophisticated baking skills. Their cakes were, however, more like bread sweetened with honey. It wasn't until the 17th century that round cakes with icing were first baked in Europe.  Even then, the secret of producing the perfect ...

March 8, 2020

FRUITS IN THE MAIN

The current mantra ‘eat more vegetables’ can also be applied to fruits. And summer is the season of bountiful fruitfulness. A lunchtime favourite at our house is crisp lettuce, topped with fresh juicy sliced peaches, canned salmon and a little dressing. How simple and delicious is that! Sandwiches with sliced apple and a tasty cheese, or the Japanese-inspired strawberries and cream cheese combo, make excellent lunch takeaways. But it is the mains where an assortment of fruits and vegetables ...

March 2, 2020

BEANS, BEETS & BOK CHOY

Green beans are a popular summer vegetable. But are they a veg? Botanists call them ‘fruit’ because fruits are structures that contain seeds. And the green bean we enjoy is an immature pod with seeds inside. Left to mature, the pod dries out leaving seeds that can be planted or stored for use as dried beans.  The term ‘vegetable’ identifies whether it should be used in a sweet or savoury recipe. And beans are not the only fruits enjoyed in savoury dishes. Think tomatoes, capsicums a...

February 26, 2020

HOT CHICKEN COOL

Tempting aromas of hot roasted chickens greet me every time I enter my local supermarket. If you’re hungry there’s a chance you’ll grab one for dinner. They’re relatively budget-friendly — between $11 and $14 and a little extra when free-range. And they’re versatile.   First introduced in the 1990s, hot rotisserie birds have become a popular item with work-weary home cooks. The roasting is carefully regulated: the chickens must be above 85 degrees Celsius after cooking; the ...

February 18, 2020

DOUBLE DELISH

Cooking for two is something many of us do every day. Because there are fewer likes and dislikes to cater for, it can be fun, easy and a great time to experiment with new ingredients. It doesn't need to be Valentine's Day to serve something super to a partner or friend.  Dill is a delicious but underused summer herb. Dill’s refreshing flavour marries well with fish, potatoes, cucumbers, eggs, yoghurt and sour cream. Its feathery fronds also make attractive garnishes. In the home garden, d...

February 11, 2020

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 28, 2020

KUNG HEI FAT CHOY

Just when you thought the festive season was over, along comes Chinese New Year. The longest and most important celebration on the Chinese calendar, the festivities this year run from 25 January to 8 February. According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2020 is the Year of the Rat, the first in the cycle of the 12 animal signs.  Legend has it that in ancient times Buddha asked all the animals to meet him at the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Twelve came and Buddha named a year after each one. He a...

January 20, 2020 Posts 1-25 of 258 | Page next
 

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