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SOLD ON SIDES

Plant-based diets are all the rage and health professionals are urging us to eat more vegetables. ‘Swap out most of the meat for more veg.’ This makes sense when animal protein is so expensive although for many people meat and three veg is more important than five veg. But with two vegetarians in the family to cater for, I cook extra plant-based protein side dishes when they visit. Some simple options include baked stuffed potatoes, pasta with five veg, hot pumpkin, onion, corn and spinach s...

August 27, 2019

CITRUS COMFORTS

Nature’s timing of the citrus season is impeccable, providing vitamin C-packed oranges and lemons to fight sniffles, coughs and colds. There’s plenty of choice. This year, limes — especially kaffir limes — are abundant. The first kaffir limes I grew about 20 years ago had little juice. The grated rind and the waisted leaves were used for flavouring mainly in Asian cuisine or trendy desserts. However, newer varieties of the lime can be juiced. But beware — the juice is bitte...

August 20, 2019

SWEET ON WINTER

Let it rain, let it blow, let it snow. All are great excuses for enjoying decadent warming winter puds. And some of the old traditionals have made a comeback. Rice pudding for example. I can’t remember enjoying it that much when I was a child, but this winter I’ve actually been craving it.  Originally — because rice was an expensive import — this pudding was prepared exclusively in the kitchens of English kings and queens. It was unsweetened and served as more of a side dish...

August 13, 2019

ROAST TOAST

The perfect antidote to winter blues is a hearty roast. Over the years, roasts have evolved — a plain lamb roast has morphed into a Turkish delight sprinkled with fennel, caraway and cumin seeds and basted in yoghurt. And I sometimes adapt menus to include gluten-free gravies and meatless roasts. However, the aromas that waft through the house still give me the warm fuzzies. There is one important step to remember when roasting meat. After removing from the oven, it should be allowed to re...

August 6, 2019

Mercury Bay Wines

Sunny and surf-washed the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula seems an unlikely location for viticulture. But Cooks Beach on the shores of Mercury Bay is ideal for growing pinot noir. The area enjoys a unique microclimate and the considerable day/night temperate exchange extends the growing season and assists with flavour development. Mercury Bay is a historic inlet where Captain James Cook observed the transit of the planet Mercury on 10 November 1769. Five days later, while still there, he ...

July 29, 2019

CHAMPION CH-OICES

Chives, chowder and chicken — a tasty trio of winter winners. Chives are the most delicate member of the onion family and have been enjoyed for at least 5000 years. They can be used in just about any recipe which requires a smidgeon of raw onion for flavouring. Best of all they are home garden naturals. Chives marry well with cream and cottage cheeses, scrambled eggs and omelettes. They’re convenient garnishes and — together with finely chopped parsley, tarragon and chervil —...

July 29, 2019

LARGELY LENTILS

Lentils are a nutritious versatile food. A key ingredient in soups, salads, sides, casseroles and savoury bakes, they’re ridiculously cheap and can be stored in airtight containers for months. Lentils are high in protein and fibre and low in fat making them a healthy substitute for meat. They're also packed with folate, iron, phosphorus and potassium. However, the protein in lentils is incomplete. For proper nutritional balance other protein foods such as grains, nuts, seeds, eggs or dairy pro...

July 22, 2019

MALAMALA — THE SUN FUN ISLAND

Fiji is, understandably, a favourite destination for Kiwis fleeing the New Zealand winter. And just a short 25 minutes journey from the resort-dotted coastline of Denarau near Nadi is the world’s first beach club, which nestles on its very own island. A relaxing South Sea Cruises catamaran ride from Port Denarau to the iconic Malamala pier, a short stroll later and you find yourself among swaying palms beside an azure sea lapping the white sand beach. A barefoot meander around the island takes...

July 17, 2019

SUPER SLOW COOKING

A slow cooker can be the best friend of those living in the fast lane. Tasty, nutritious meals can be quickly assembled in one pot in the morning and the delicious aromatic results enjoyed while relaxing in the evening. Another good thing about slow cookers — they’re great for the budget using minimal electricity and transforming cheaper, tougher cuts of meat into the very, very tender and tasty. A meal that normally takes one hour to cook in a conventional oven at 160° Celsius takes si...

July 14, 2019

CHEESE WINNERS

There are approximately 4.2 million dairy cows in New Zealand. Thank goodness. Their top quality milk provides the opportunity for small and larger cheesemakers to experiment and deliver some of the best taste treats in the world. New cheeses such as burrata – a fresh mozzarella-like ball with a buttery inside from cheesemaker Viavio — won a gold medal this year’s NZ Champion Cheese Awards for the best fresh Italian-style cheese. And it’s deliciously decadent. However, the country’...

July 8, 2019

FRUITFUL BAKES

When the weather is cold and blustery head into the kitchen and whip up some bakes. Adding some fresh fruit will enhance their appeal. However, baking is an exact science. Here are some tips. •Use level metric measures. •Spoon flour lightly into a measuring cup and gently level the top with a spoon. Do not pack it in. The only ingredient normally packed firmly is brown sugar. •To measure dry ingredients by the spoon, fill the spoon then level the top with the straight edge of a k...

July 1, 2019

GO WINTER GREENS

My son’s fave joke for many winters was: “What’s green and goes to summer camp? A Brussel scout.” He had a distinct dislike of sprouts probably because they grew in abundance in our garden. However, after I began halving Brussels sprouts and roasting them with bacon and also thinly shredding them for a slaw, they won him over. Brassicas — which include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauli, cabbage, kale and boy choy — are a good source of vitamin C, potassium and dietary fibre a...

June 24, 2019

CURRYING FAVOUR

Chilly days equal warming curries. There are some good curry pastes readily available from supermarkets and Asian food stores — ideal for quick family meals. However, there is nothing quite like the tingling taste of a genuine aromatic curry created from scratch. But they do include more than a sprinkling of spices.  Because there can be up to 20 ingredients in any one recipe, it’s important to have everything measured out before you start cooking.   Indian curries can be serve...

June 18, 2019

SUPER FOR COELIACS

It’s estimated that between 60 and 70,000 New Zealanders have coeliac disease but about 80 per cent don't realise it. Hence the Coeliac New Zealand Organisation is providing helpful hints during Coeliac Awareness week the 10 - 16 June. If you’re feeling bloated, have constant stomach pains or other stomach upsets then take advantage of an online assessment at www.coeliac.org.nz to find out more. Some people might just be gluten intolerant but others with full coeliac disease could find that ...

June 11, 2019

TANTALISINGLY FRESH

The recent inaugural Feast Waikato proved beyond doubt that the small food producers in New Zealand have talent. From award-winning boutique butters, ferments and cheeses to brews, honeys and ice cream, these dedicated entrepreneurs are at the forefront of the country’s culinary discoveries. Rory and Helen O’Brien of Hunter & Gather Bee Co (huntandgatherbeeco.com) are a great example. Wanting to be part of an industry that had a more positive effect on the environment and the future of ...

June 1, 2019

PASTA PLEASE

Although today pasta is a widely enjoyed meal, it was once available only to Italian noblemen. And up until the 16th century, pasta was combined with a variety of sweet ingredients and cooked well beyond al dente or ‘just tender’. However, in the late 17th century when living standards started to decline for the ‘not so wealthy’ and meat became too expensive, pasta was recognised as an economic meal maker. It was also the era when the mechanical preparation of pasta was introduced and sw...

May 27, 2019

HIGH FIVES

Help remove the stress from weekday cooking with a little bit of planning and these easy-to-prepare five-ingredient meals. For Monday to Friday dinners, there’s nothing practical about a recipe with multiple components. However, meals need to be balanced. Keep staples such as rice, couscous and pasta plus dried herbs and spices in the pantry. And add salad greens from the fridge. Salt, pepper and cooking oil are essentials so I haven’t added them to the five ingredients listed in the followi...

May 21, 2019

HOT FOR SOUPS

Hurray! Soup weather has arrived. For me, Monday’s lunch is also Wednesday night’s dinner. I simply double the recipe then freeze it in meal-lot quantities. A good soup is a meal in one bowl, nutritious and easy to eat.  Soup is as old as the history of cooking. It was an economical way of using cereals (roasted and ground into a paste), animal bones and vegetable trimmings cooked in water to produce a hearty meal for rich and poor alike.  While chicken soup is undoubtedly the worl...

May 13, 2019

FRUITS OF SUCCESS

Autumn fruits are a tasty antidote to a dose of the blues that come with cooler days. And a new star on the scene is the red-fleshed kiwifruit, albeit in limited quantities. I first tasted an Asian variety in China’s Yangtze Valley and wasn’t impressed with either the flavour or colour. However, the vibrant Zespri Red cultivar produced in New Zealand is a winner. I keep thinking ‘custard’ as I eat it but it is slightly tangy. Its red flesh comes from a unique and naturally occurring pigm...

May 5, 2019

APPETISING ASIAN

Asian cooking techniques and condiments are now so widely used in Kiwi kitchens that they have become the norm. Stir-frying has been around since New Zealand’s gold rush days and the popularity of Chinese restaurants in the 1950s had a big influence on home cooking. The change from English-based meals of meat and three veg has been evolving over many years. Today, combining Chinese sauces and spices with a lamburger is no longer thought of as fusion food — it’s Kiwi cuisine.  Root...

April 22, 2019

ENJOY EASTER

Most countries observing Easter have their own unique traditions but all have one thing in common — food. Maybe this is because in many societies it follows weeks of foregoing treats. Easter breads, cakes and biscuits are popular especially in predominantly Roman Catholic countries. Traditional breads laden with symbolism — crosses, fish and lamb — are generally not as rich as Christmas bakes although eggs are still freely used.  Simnel Cake is a fruit cake with a layer of...

April 15, 2019

MUSHROOM MAGIC

Once known as the ‘food of the gods’, wild mushrooms have been enjoyed around the world for thousands of years. However, not all of us wish to experiment with the wild varieties found in the countryside. It’s easier to have fun with the commercially grown varieties available from supermarkets and greengrocers. Mushrooms are the ‘meat’ of the vegetable world. They are more closely related in DNA to humans than to plants. Just as with human skin, mushrooms can produce vitamin D by being ...

April 9, 2019

GLUTEN-FREE FARE

Several years back, when two family members were diagnosed as gluten intolerant, I thought ‘Oh no, planning meals is going to become harder’. There weren’t many products available to help alleviate my dilemma. But today I make enjoyable gluten-free meals and bakes for the whole family — all without that ‘oh no’ feeling.  Over time, gluten-free baking products have improved. The flavours are fine and baking results are pretty similar to using traditional flour. I often substi...

April 1, 2019

TASTY TRENDS

So what’s happening with food trends overseas? My foodie friends in the UK tend to agree on one thing — plant-based meals are certainly on the up. Vegetarian and vegan meals are becoming extremely popular choices on many restaurant menus.  Sri Lankan cuisine is now, quite rightly, regarded as a cuisine in its own right rather than simply a variation of Indian dishes.  Fermented drinks such as kefir and kombucha are still on the rise together with vegan wines — it’s all ...

March 25, 2019

THE TASTE OF PASSION

Passionfruit were first discovered around 1700 in the jungles of Brazil by a Jesuit priest. They were named the ‘Passion of Christ’ because the plant’s flower resembled religious symbols.  An alternative name for passionfruit, granadilla, literally means ‘little pomegranate’. The interior of the passionfruit, which is full of little black seeds, is vaguely similar to that of the pomegranate. Botanically, passionfruit are a berry and there are many varieties. Kiwis are most fa...

March 18, 2019 Posts 26-50 of 238 | Page prev next
 

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