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SEE THE LIGHT

Spring is here! Time to lighten up with lighter meals. It’s an opportunity to get in shape for summer. I want to be able to wear last year’s slim-fit ‘trou’ and shorts.  Although a recipe may specify a few tablespoons of oil, you can usually get away with using a lot less – think teaspoons rather than tablespoons. For frying, choose a non-stick pan and brush the base with oil. You can also use water in place of oil when frying onions or even for stir-fries. Water helps soften...

September 27, 2020

CANNED DELIGHTS

Health professionals encourage us to eat more fruit and using canned varieties is an economical way to bump up your daily intake. However, where possible, choose canned fruits in juice rather than syrup to prevent adding excess sugar to your diet.  The advantages of using canned fruit in meals include: they’re a time-savers as they are already prepared; any fruit leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container without loss of nutrients; they are sometimes cheaper than seasonal fres...

September 21, 2020

GO GEORGIAN

Recently I received a message out of the blue from a client in Georgia (SE Europe) asking me if I could develop suitable recipes for a local (Georgian) product to be sold in Japan. An intriguing request! But it got me thinking. I love Japanese food. But Georgian cuisine? Well, it’s delightfully diverse. Nestling between the subtropical Black Sea shores and the snowy crest line of the Caucasus Mountains, Georgia is gourmet country. Tea, citrus, almonds and olives thrive near the mountains. In m...

September 12, 2020

WINE DINING

Men are like wine — some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age. Pope John XXIII Most cooks will agree that it’s wise to cook with a wine that you would be happy to drink. But that doesn’t mean you have to select a wine from the top shelf. Just choose a good one that fits the budget. Wine adds a little magic to many a recipe. The complex combination of flavours of the wine provide body and depth to dishes as well tenderising and adding moisture. Wine’s acidity softens the tis...

September 5, 2020

Lychee Lamington Sponge

Make your own sponge cake or use a bought unfilled sponge. Sponge cake: 4 eggs3/4 cup caster sugar1/3 cup boiling water2 teaspoons butter1 cup self-raising flour1 tablespoon cornflourCoating: 1 packet raspberry jelly crystals1 cup each: boiling water, desiccated coconutFilling: 560g can lychees1 cup cream2 tablespoons icing sugar To make the sponge, first preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly brush two 21cm cake pans with oil and line with baking paper.  Breat the eggs in a lar...

August 31, 2020

SIMPLY SUPER GRAINS

Although they have only recently become a foodie favourite around the world, nutritionally-rich super grains have been enjoyed for thousands of years. Quinoa has been used as a cereal for over 5,000 years and was regarded as a sacred food by the South American Incas. It’s gluten-free and an excellent source of protein as well B vitamins.   Kasha (toasted buckwheat), is one of the oldest dishes in Slavic countries — at least 1000 years — and often consumed as a porridge. Kasha ...

August 27, 2020

KHACHAPURI

Georgian cheese bread. Dough: 1/2 cup warm milk 1/3 cup warm water 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar 2 teaspoons each: active yeast granules, olive oil 2 1/4 cups plain flour 1 1/4 teaspoons saltFilling: 125g mozzarella cheese, grated125g feta cheese, crumbled 2 large eggs 1 tablespoon butter pinch salt Combine the milk, water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Stand until the yeast begins to foam. Add the olive oil, 2 cups of the flour and the salt. Mix until a sticky dough forms. Turn the d...

August 25, 2020

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...

August 18, 2020

COCONUT COOL

Venetian explorer and writer Marco Polo is considered to be the first westerner to pay any attention to the coconut. ‘One of these nuts,’ he wrote, ‘is a meal for a man, both meat and drink’. In the tropics, the backyard coconut palm takes the place of the family cow. Coconut cream and milk play an even more important part in tropical menus than cows’ milk in our cuisine.  The thin, refreshing clear liquid which pours from a young coconut when it is opened is not coconut cream or ...

August 11, 2020

TRIPLE K TREATS

Kale, kumara and kiwifruit — all nourishing winter nosh.  Kale comes in several varieties including the common curly and the long-leafed cavelo nero. All are great sources of vitamin A, C and K plus copper. They also contain folate, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium plus beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients. Whew! Discard any thick kale stalks and shred or coarsely chop the leaves. Add to smoothies, mashes, stir fries, soups, pasta or pies. Te...

August 6, 2020

COSY COMFORTS

One of my favourite winter warmers is a casserole. The combination of meat (usually), vegetables, spices and herbs slow cooked in the oven or on the hob to mouth-watering deliciousness is a cosy comfort. And with cosiness in mind Food Writers New Zealand has released an e-cookbook. ‘Cosy’ features 40 family-style recipes for warming mains and desserts created by food writers from across the country. And it is just $10.  All profits go to ‘Meat the Need’, a national charity with the ...

August 5, 2020

GET TOASTIE

During July the toastie — a lunchtime favourite — is being celebrated nationwide. The third Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover has attracted over 80 entries from restaurants, cafés, bars and even supermarkets throughout the country. Each toastie must include bread, cheese, McClure’s pickles plus loads of imagination. We have the prolific American inventor Thomas Edison to thank for the electric sandwich-maker in the early 1900s. The first toasted sandwich recipes used cheese with ...

July 26, 2020

MAD ABOUT MINCE

I’m not going to mince matters. (As they say!) I think mince is a better invention than sliced bread. And we have a German, Karl Drais, to thank for this popular mealmaker. Drais invented the first hand-powdered meat grinder (mincer) in the 19th century. He also invented the hobby horse — the precursor to the bicycle, the typewriter, the stenograph for court shorthand, a wood-saving cooker, the railway handcar (later called the draisine) and two four-wheeled human-powered vehicles. But i...

July 14, 2020

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 Posts 1-25 of 271 | Page next
 

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