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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

SUMMER SEAFOOD

When I was a kid, a holiday highlight was catching snapper from the family dinghy. It’s been a long time since I last enjoyed that summer pleasure but I will always remember that delicious taste of the sea. And a sea-fresh smell is what fish should have when you purchase it. ‘Stinky’ seafood will simply ruin a good dish. If you unwrap fish and have to take a step backwards then more often than not it should be tipped out. However, even fresh fish may be a bit smelly. To alleviate the probl...

January 14, 2020

VEG FEST

Two vegetarians are joined us for Christmas dinner and I was delighted. Serving a selection of jazzy vegetable dishes is probably more satisfying for the cook than roasting a leg of lamb. Black garlic (Garlic Noir) is a great source of curiosity and comment. It’s white garlic that has been given a low-heat treatment in a confined enclosure for 60 days. During that time the sugar levels increase to 60 brix (the sugar level in an aqueous solution), the garlic ‘ferments’ and becomes black. Th...

January 10, 2020

NEW YEAR NIBBLES

Do we ‘Ring in the New Year’ or ‘Bring in the New Year’? Well, despite the debate at the dinner table last night, we were all correct. Ringing in the New Year refers to the old tradition of bell ringing to announce the end of the old year and herald the start of the new one. Bringing in the New Year refers to ushering in a new beginning. And as we all join hands on the dot of midnight and mumble Auld Lang Syne — even if we don't know more than the first few words — does anyon...

December 30, 2019

SALAD SAVIORS

According to an Electrolux group survey, one-third of all the food the world produces ends up in the bin. However, one-ninth of the world’s population does not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. Something to think about when emptying the festive food scraps into the trash. These lovely leftovers can be frozen and added to casseroles or soups at a later date. Meat left-overs can often be added to vegetables or fruits and served as salads. Waste not! Once I thought that taking a ‘...

December 27, 2019

MEAT GREETINGS

Why do Kiwi Christmas dinners still reflect chilly northern hemisphere celebrations? Hot roasted meats and vegetables are still preferred by most New Zealanders — even when temperatures rival those in the oven. Our families have already had their say on the menu and, instead of choosing their favourite barbecue meats, they’ve unanimously opted for the once regular Sunday lunch — roast lamb. It will be accompanied by hot ham and followed by — their choice — pav. How Kiwi...

December 17, 2019

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 11, 2019

SUPER SIZZLERS

Ask most people ‘who invented the barbecue?’ and the majority would say the Americans. However, cooking over coals has existed since the beginning of time — primitive peoples found relighting already charred wood produced the perfect coals for cooking food. In about 1920, Henry Ford — who found great success with his Model T — purchased a sawmill to make wooden parts for his cars. He watched the growing mountain of wood scraps, and being a frugal man, hit on the idea of bur...

December 2, 2019

OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING

Warmer weather is here and that means al fresco meals are on the menu. It’s magic to escape to the countryside, beach or lake during the weekend with delicious dishes tucked in the chilly bin. I also enjoy entertaining friends for Sunday brunch or lunch with dishes that can be prepared a day ahead. Also, when guests depart there’s ample time for a leisurely clean-up. Warmer weather encourages bugs so ensure your food remains in prime condition if you’re planning to eat outdoors. Choose con...

November 25, 2019

PARTY PLEASERS

It’s party season — time for some festive frolics with friends and family and providing those essential finger foods does not have to be stressful or time consuming. Just plan ahead and remember it’s important to provide some choices that are dairy, meat and gluten-free. Many party nibbles can be prepared ahead. For example, chicken liver pâté can be prepared up to three months in advance, frozen in small bowls then thawed in the fridge for 6 hours. It can be made with an olive-oil b...

November 19, 2019

SNACKING ON RICE

Rice has long been the staple diet of over half the world’s population and there are over 100 varieties. It was thought that rice was native to either China or India, dating back to 2800 BC. However, recently rice grains discovered at an archaeological site in northern Thailand have been dated at 3500 BC. Rice varieties are categorized as long, medium or short grain. The latter two are plump, starchy and absorbent. Long-grain rice such as Jasmine and Basmati, is thinner, dainty and pointed.&nb...

November 12, 2019

BAKES YULE LOVE

The festive fruitcake as we know it today dates back to the Middle Ages. In the 13th century, dried fruits were transported to Britain from the eastern Mediterranean. As a result, breads became light fruit breads then morphed into rich fruit cakes to be enjoyed on special occasions.  For years, making a rich fruit cake was a labour of love. Dried fruits needed to be washed, dried and pitted if necessary. Sugar came in loaves and had to be cut, pounded and sieved. Butter was rinsed in water ...

November 5, 2019

VEGAN VIM

Friday 1 November is World Vegan Day. Many interesting events are planned throughout New Zealand including special restaurant menus and potluck meals. There are two types of vegans — dietary and ethical.  Dietary vegans abstain from eating all animal products lowering the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and possibly some types of cancer. And, they declare, there is the feel-good factor — energy levels shoot up and weight is likely to drop. Engli...

October 29, 2019 Posts 26-50 of 271 | Page prev next
 

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