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APPETIZING EASTER

Let’s celebrate Easter. Taking a break, enjoying the end of summer and feasting with friends should set us up for the cooler weather to come. Easter is a time when traditional treats take pride of place on the menu. Hot Cross Buns, chocolate Easter eggs and rabbits and lamb are enjoyed worldwide but how they are presented can make all the difference. Barbecued lamb is our family fave but a butterflied roast doused in a minty pesto is also a winnerThe hot cross bun has not always been asso...

April 4, 2023

COOKIES PLUS

Nothing beats the aroma of freshly baked cookies. According to culinary historians, the first record of cookies was their use as test cakes. A small amount of cake batter was baked to test the oven temperature. There are also records showing cookies were a result of sugar cultivation in 7th century Persia. During the 11th to 16th centuries, sugar spread through the Mediterranean and then to northern Europe. By the 14th-century wafer-like cakes could be purchased in Paris.  By definition, a ...

March 26, 2023

CORN AND CUKES

Trivia quiz time! How many kernels does the average corn cob have? Apparently, 800 arranged in 16 rows. I was given this information by an enthusiastic grower but haven’t had the time — nor the inclination — to check this out. Sweetcorn is at its sweetest when the cobs have grassy-green, tender husks. The silk should be dry but not brittle. This is the perfect ripeness for nibbling the kernels off the cob — a refreshing summer snack. Raw, juicy sweetcorn kernels are also deli...

March 7, 2023

CAPSICUM DELIGHTS

Capsicums are the taste of colour. They originated in South America and in 1585 were taken to Hungary where the red variety became synonymous with Hungarian cooking — in the form of paprika.  Whether they’re green, red, orange, yellow, purple or even white, capsicums — they’re sometimes called bell peppers or sweet peppers — should not be confused with chilli peppers which are usually very much smaller. They are all members of the same family but chilli peppers contain...

February 23, 2023

TASTY THAI-STYE MUSSELS

36 medium green-shell musselsSauce: 2 tablespoons each: olive oil, grated root ginger1 medium onion, diced2 cloves garlic, crushed2 makrut (kaffir) lime leavesgrated rind 1 lemon1/4 cup each: riesling, light coconut cream2 cups fish stock2 teaspoons each: curry powder, Thai chilli paste, fish sauce, lemon juiceGarnish: 1/2 cup each:  coriander leaves, finely sliced spring onions Scrub the mussels and remove the beards.Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stock pot on medium-low. Sauté ...

February 16, 2023

SUPER SALAD SEASON

Summer is the time for simple tasty food. Healthy salad greens, tomatoes, fresh fruits, cold meats, and cheeses are perfect for the cook and the menu on hot balmy days.  Classical Roman salads were simple — salted vegetables eaten with a dressing of oil and vinegar. In medieval times salads composed of green leaves — and sometimes flowers — were drizzled with lemon juice. Later in England, oranges and lemons were used as salad garnishes. Today the salad has become a showca...

February 6, 2023

ROSÉ PROSPECTS

What I love about the warmer weather is the opportunity to dine al fresco with friends, enjoying a light lunch and a glass of rosé. This blush-coloured winner is now the ‘go to’ wine when invitees are unsure of what to bring to an event, or — if you’re the host — what to serve. And there are some very well-priced rosés to be enjoyed.   Rosé marries well with many light lunches including those featuring, cheese, raw or cooked fish, eggs and vegetables including aspa...

January 23, 2023

WOK WIZARDRY

Woks are versatile. Their use is not just limited to stir-frying. You can steam, smoke, braise or simmer, deep or shallow fry. The wok’s shape was originally dictated by the Chinese hob that had an open top surface into which the round-bottomed wok with its flared sides fitted securely. Nowadays a metal collar or ring purchased with the wok adapts it neatly to gas or electric hobs.  Steaming is fashionable at present due to the popularity of Asian dumplings. They’re sold fresh and ...

January 17, 2023

NEW YEAR NEW START

I'll wait for a week or so into the New Year before I act on my resolutions. This allows me time to carry on enjoying seasonal festivities ahead of my planned and positive decisions for 2023. I’m not going to go on a diet as such but I’m going to enjoy more fruit and veggies for lunch rather than hot crusty bread and smooth, creamy camembert. And in place of that tasty savoury muffin with my morning coffee I’ll relish a seed cracker sans butter. February sees a walking challenge to raise m...

January 9, 2023

Sideways

When the Oscar-winning Sideways hit international movie theatres it showcased pinot noir wine as a wine for real wine lovers. Before the movie, many wine drinkers wouldn’t give a glass of pinot noir a second sip. Sideways is the story of two 40-ish buddies — Miles and Jack— taking a road trip through California wine country prior to Jack’s impending marriage. Their aim is to steep themselves in everything that makes it good to be carefree and single: pinot noir, golfing and cruis...

January 6, 2023

Merry Meat Mains

Many people celebrate Christmas by serving meats that are ancestral. The fact that Kiwis of British origin still serve hot roasted meats and veg on a humid summer day is testament to that.  Turkey became popular in England after King Henry V111 introduced it to his Christmas table. Before the 16th century the wealthy English feasted on peacock or swan, while a pig’s head was the main course for everyone else.   Turkey was celebrated in Charles Dickens’s 1843 classic A Christma...

December 18, 2022

FAB FESTIVE DESSERTS

Christmas — a time to indulge in delicious desserts. But it's important to balance rich temptations with generous servings of fresh summer fruits. A (glass) bowl of mixed berries such as blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries is simple, eye-catching — and delectable. For variation, enhance berries with a balsamic syrup. Combine equal amounts of good balsamic vinegar and sugar. Heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Cool. Drizzle a little over the berries just ...

December 8, 2022

GF CHRISTMAS RING CAKE

My ring cake pan holds five cups. So any ring cake pan holding five cups will be ideal.70g each: hazelnuts, blanched almonds1 cup each: dried apricots, pitted prunes, coarsely chopped3/4 cup glacé pineapple chunks375g good quality dried fruit mix1/2 cup gluten-free flour1/2 teaspoon each: baking powder, ground mixed spice100g butter1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar 2 eggs1 tablespoon orange flavoured liqueur1 teaspoon vanilla essenceTopping: whole or halved red and green glacé cherries, skinne...

November 28, 2022

BREAKFAST BOOST

That grouch that sits beside you in the office every morning probably didn’t have any breakfast. As the name suggests, breakfast breaks the overnight fasting period. It replenishes your energy levels and helps put you in the right frame of mind for the day.  The term ‘breakfast’ didn’t exist before the 15th century and the concept of specific breakfast foods is even more recent than that — sometime after the late 1800s.  Cultures throughout history have had widely differi...

November 27, 2022

Arbour

It’s earned two hats from the prestigious Cuisine magazine’s Good Food Awards; Best Regional Restaurant NZ, Cuisine Good Food Awards; and a five star rating on TripAdvisor. It must be good. Arbour restaurant is nestled in Marlborough wine country about a 20-minute drive from the Blenheim CBD. Business partners, Bradley Hornby and Liz Buttimore spent two decades in five-star hotels, resorts and award-winning restaurants before settling in Marlborough with their respective partners. They estab...

November 20, 2022

GARLIC A-GO-GO

Garlic has been a favourite with chefs for years. But recently some international chefs have abandoned their friend. They’ve eliminated garlic from dishes saying customers have thanked them for giving them ‘a breath of fresh air’. But I can’t imagine aioli or most pasta or Asian dishes without a little garlic. If the chef wants an odour-free restaurant then there are ways of disguising the sharpness of this aromatic bulb. Black garlic is common white garlic that is aged for about six wee...

November 1, 2022

BROWN BROTHERS 1889 RANGE REFRESHING REBRAND

I’ve always admired the original logo featured on Brown Brothers Australian wine labels. It’s one of those designs that simply says, ‘time-honoured and trustworthy’.  And I am glad to see it still highlighted on their blazingly beautiful new labels for the 1889 range now known as the Brown Brothers Origins Series. The new labels are influenced by the ‘origins’ of the wines....

October 19, 2022

CZECH THIS OUT

Most tourists visit Prague to savour the unique ambiance of the Old Town area. My Bucket List attraction was the 1410 Town Hall astronomical clock around which many stories and fairy tales are woven.  And Czech food was a pleasant surprise. I knew traditional dishes were hearty, with an emphasis on pork, game and sausages often cooked in lard. However, times have changed. The influence of international food chains, international TV culinary shows and a booming tourist industry, has encourag...

October 6, 2022

TWO TERRIFIC TAMS

Although tamarillos are not the cheapest fruit at the greengrocers, when combined with apples, tamarind, onions, sugar, vinegar and spices they power a fabulous chutney with flavours and colour not found on supermarket shelves — and more economical than similar commercial products. Tamarillo ice cream is also a treat you can't beat. Tamarillos are native to South America but New Zealand is renowned for improving and commercialising them. Normally they are peeled before use. If very ripe, y...

September 12, 2022

COFFEE BREAK BAKES

Scones and muffins are top sellers in New Zealand cafés and coffee shops. However, these old-fashioned delights have evolved since grandma baked her plain scones and bran muffins. Additions such as caramelised onion or blueberries now add interest to scones and bacon and cheese or pumpkin, spinach and sunflower seeds can jazz up muffins. Scones are more like bread while muffins are more cake-like. Scones need gentle handling and should never be overmixed. If the dough is too crumbly add a littl...

September 3, 2022

SPICE OF LIFE

Love is like a spice. It can sweeten your life — however, it can spoil it too. Confucius.      Using spices in cooking is a balancing act. Too little can be too vague, too much can dominate. Chinese Five-spice is a pungent combination of ground cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves and Szechwan peppercorns. It enhances pork, beef, poultry and seafood and should be used in moderation. Add just a little at the beginning of cooking as it can always be spiced up a...

August 30, 2022

ON THE BALL

There are three good things about bliss balls and truffles. One, they are generally mixed by hand and easy to make. Two, they don't require baking and three they taste delicious. These winners can be served as snacks, with coffee after dinner or they can be a substitute for dessert. Truffles, the chocolate variety, were so named because of their similarity from afar, to the famous fungi found underground.  Looking like dark, mushrooms, truffles are regarded as a savoury delicacy. And the af...

August 15, 2022

PASTA PLUS

Pasta and noodles are great comfort foods plus they are key ingredients in a huge range of delicious vegetable, meat and seafood combos. The origin of the noodle is disputed. The Chinese claim they first appeared about 4000 years ago in north-western China. However, the Italians also claim they created noodles. Whatever their origin. I love both, Chinese and Italian noodles. Chinese noodles are usually prepared from rice flour, bean paste and/or tapioca flour while Italian pasta noodles are prep...

July 26, 2022

COOL CURRIES

Creating a curry from scratch is a real pleasure. However, not all of us can afford the time during the working week. And that is where ready-to-use curry powders and pastes come into their own. Many of them are top notch substitutes for MYOs. Depending on the region, most Asian curries are created around a spice blend such as ginger, turmeric, fenugreek, cardamom, cumin, coriander and chilli. Not all of these are hot so if you’re making your own blend then use the ‘hot’ spices such as chi...

July 19, 2022

FRENCH FAN’S FARE

One of the most celebrated dates on the French calendar is the14th of July — the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, which signalled the beginning of the French Revolution. It is a day of leisurely family activities and celebrations. In the evening in Paris, a grand concert takes place and around 11pm the sky explodes with a magnificent firework display which features a different theme each year. I’m a great devotee of French cuisine and the respect that the French peopl...

July 10, 2022 Posts 26-50 of 358 | Page prev next
 

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