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SUPER SIMMERS

Add a little variety and flavour to family meals with pickled or corned meats. The traditional method of cooking these treats is commonly known as boiling. However, the term is a misnomer. Boiling is spoiling — simmering or poaching is best as this prevents the meat from toughening.   Generally corned meats are placed in a saucepan of cold water to cover and slowly brought to a simmer. Placing the meat directly into boiling water causes the meat to shrink. Seasonings such as suga...

September 19, 2018

BOWLED OVER

It’s ironic that we’ve come full circle. We start our lives eating or being fed from a bowl. And after years of designer food served on flat plates, there are now sections on restaurant menus dedicated to ‘bowl food’. Even Lonely Planet has published a book on the subject — The World’s Best Bowl Food. It is believed that the trend started in New York where time-poor hungry workers wanted healthy salads they could devour easily with a fork. Power bowls and Buddha bowls h...

September 11, 2018

LEMON ZINGERS

Is this the year of the lemon? My tree is laden and so are the trees of all our neighbours. Gifts of our lemons are being refused — for the first time in my lemon-growing life. Mine are the Meyer variety which do not have the same tartness as the firmer Lisbon lemons. However, they do juice easily. Store these beauties in the fridge to keep them firm but return the lemons to room temperature before use so they juice more readily. Pop them briefly in the microwave or warm them in hot w...

September 7, 2018

MEXICAN MUNCHIES

The chimichanga might sound like a new dance craze but in reality it is a soft flour tortilla which is topped with a savoury filling then rolled and fried or baked. Tortillas — Mexican breads — have become popular because, like the hamburger, they are a meal eaten with the fingers.  Flour tortillas have been consumed in Latin American countries since Aztec times to mop up stews or chillis. They are the base for quesadillas, burritos, tostadas, fajitas and enchiladas or substitut...

August 18, 2018

KIWI CHEESES PLEASE

New Zealand cheeses are overwhelmingly tops. And the variety is such that you could savour a different delight almost every day of the year. Cheese is the perfect after school snack and the ideal nibble with drinks. Many of our cheeses have their origins in Europe. Gruyère originated in Switzerland. With its nutty, fruity flavour and smooth creamy consistency, gruyère is a great melting cheese and is used traditionally in fondues, sauces and hot dishes. Several Kiwi cheesemakers have take...

August 14, 2018

New Orleans comes to SOUL

It’s American Express restaurant month in Auckland and SOUL at the Viaduct brings some bohemian extravagance....

August 6, 2018

CLEVER COFFEE COMBOS

There’s nothing quite like a good cup of freshly brewed coffee to rev up your day. However, coffee has other uses. Not only does it add flavour to desserts and bakes, the liquid and the grounds make an excellent marinade for meat Coffee, like red wine, is acidic and acts as a tenderiser for meat. The grounds can be mixed with spices, garlic and sugar and rubbed over meat before grilling. The result is tenderness plus a spicy crust. Strong, sweet coffee is an excellent baste for roast lamb or i...

July 31, 2018

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...

July 23, 2018

WICKED WINTER WARMERS

Puddings — as we know them — are distinctly English creations. There is a school of thought that the Roman sausage was a type of pudding, and the Portuguese have their pudimand the Spanish their pudin. However, it was a new style of oven which revolutionized English home cooking and established ‘pudding’ as their sweet national treasure. In 16thcentury England, many ordinary houses introduced small ovens built into their chimneys. The ovens were not very hot w...

July 16, 2018

MAKE MINE MEATLOAF

According to my American friend Susan, the newest dinner craze in California is one of the oldest standbys — the meatloaf. This summer she has been barbecuing meatloaves but says they’re popular sliced cold in sandwiches the next day so occasionally pops one in the oven to cook alongside baked potatoes. Meatloaves are versatile menu makers. With a little imagination, economical minced meats can be turned into attractive meals for family or friends. And they’re quick to prepare. They’...

July 8, 2018

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 1, 2018

SHELLFISH FOR COMPLIMENTS

Hundreds of oyster buffs at the recent Coromandel Oyster Festival enjoyed warm and rain-free weather between days of showers and gales. Held at The Mussel Kitchen just south of Coromandel township, organiser Anne Louden said it was a great example of how smaller communities support each other.  Sliders were my favourite of the day. Oysters were dipped in a tempura-like batter, deep-fried then skewered between split slider buns containing tangy slaw. Raw oysters were plentiful and served wit...

June 26, 2018

EAST-WEST EATS

Many of our dishes now embrace Asian flavours with gusto. Gone are the days when we thought ‘fusion food’. Kiwi cooks are creatively and instinctively combining foods and flavours from around the world. A popular new sauce appearing in many recipes is sriracha (see-rotch-aa), a hot Thai sauce prepared from a paste of chilli peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. It is named after a city on the east coast of Thailand — Si Racha — and it is frequently used as a dipping...

June 19, 2018

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 ...

June 11, 2018

"I'm A Man in Love with Words"

In 2005, Anthony Bourdain, in New Zealand to promote his Les Halles Cookbook, chatted to Jan Bilton, editor of the Foodtown Magazine....

June 9, 2018

Curry In Favour

Due to the huge numbers of Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani restaurants in Britain (over 9000), the UK has adopted curry as a national dish. According to the National Curry Week website, about 23 million people eat curry regularly.  In Britain the word curry was first used to signify any leftover meat served in a western-style sauce flavoured with curry powder. The word is derived from the Tamil ‘kari’ or spiced sauce which was originally a thin, soup-like dressing for meat and vegetab...

June 5, 2018

EXOTIC INFLUENCE

In 1980 New Zealand kiwifruit hit New York for the first time. They cost one US dollar each and were celebrated hugely “in tart after tart, fruit salads, savoury salads and sauces lending an algal tinge to beurre blanc,” according to The New York Times. It was everywhere and even featured on the back of cake mix boxes. Kiwifruit became ‘cultish’. After three years the Times declared it passé. However, what our kiwifruit did do was open the eyes and awaken the palates of New Yo...

May 29, 2018

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 Posts 1-25 of 163 | Page next
 

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