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NEW YEAR NEW START

I'll wait for a week 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 2018.

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 money for my local Hospice. I need 10,000 steps a day for the month to earn my sponsorship. This requires a start in January to ensure I’m fit enough for February. It’s happy hour that could spoil the results.

I’m also going to hone my cooking skills by trying new ingredients each month. But to do this, visits to new cafés and food stalls are necessary. This is my favourite New Year’s resolution.

And then there’s the kitchen spruce up. Before the year goes crazy the kitchen will be scrubbed from ceiling to toe plate. The pantry will be cleared of all those little bits that should have been used up in 2017. Then I’ll start again. New Year, new start. Have a good one.

BLUEBERRY MOJITOS

A refreshing party starter with a difference. Enjoy while blueberries are in season.

Syrup: 2 tablespoons grated root ginger
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold water
Mojito: 1 cup fresh blueberries
1 lime, cut into wedges
20 mint leaves
1/2 cup each: syrup, vodka
1 cup sparkling water
ice cubes
extra blueberries and mint leaves for garnish

Combine the syrup ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cover and steep on low heat for 10 minutes. Strain and chill.

Place the blueberries, lime wedges and mint leaves in a jug. Muddle with a spoon until the blueberries release some of their juice. Chill until ready to serve.

To serve, add the syrup, vodka, sparkling water and your preferred number of ice cubes. Stir, then pour into glasses and garnish. Serves 2-3.

CAMBODIAN BEEF SKEWERS

Great for nibbles with drinks or as a main meat.

2 tablespoons lemon grass paste
3 kaffir lime leaves, deveined and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3cm knob root ginger, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 tablespoons each: honey, canola oil, fish sauce, oyster sauce
1kg rump steak

Place the lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, ginger and turmeric, honey, oil, fish sauce and oyster sauce in a blender and mix until smooth. Pour into a zip-lock plastic bag.

Trim the steak and cut into 2cm cubes. Add to the marinade moving the steak around so it is well coated. Mix well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Thread the beef onto skewers. Grill for about 8 minutes, turning often. Serves 6 as a main or 12 as nibbles.

SPICY ONION TART

Serve small wedges for happy hour.

50g butter
5 medium onions, thinly sliced
pinch cayenne pepper
1 egg
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
25cm pizza base  
75g blue cheese

Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the onions. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with the cayenne. When soft and light brown, cool for 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place a baking tray in the oven to heat.

Stir the egg, sour cream, walnuts, salt and pepper into the onion mixture. Spread over the pizza base right to the edge. Crumble the blue cheese over the top.

Place on the hot oven tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Cut into small wedges to serve. Serves 8.



 

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