Category Archives: meat

Traditional roast lamb

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Across the world roast lamb has a cultural place in the homes and hearts of all meat eaters. So many variations and all delicious, however they are prepared. In our home I am a fan of a wet Greek style roast lamb cooked long and slow with tomatoes until the lamb is so meltingly tender it can almost be eaten with a teaspoon. The only addition required is some cooked orzo stirred through the tomato gravy and salty feta cheese crumbled over the top until it amalgamate in with all the delicious lamb juices. My second favourite is a Provencal style wet roast studded with rosemary, garlic and anchovies, wrapped tightly in parchment paper so it cooks slowly and sweats in all the divine juices. All you need to serve this with is some nutty, cooked barley, cherry tomatoes and lightly steamed silverbeet, a little shaving of parmesan cheese over the top is lovely. I am forever on the search for new ways to roast a lamb leg.

These holidays my darling husband has been requesting a traditional lamb roast. A harking back to a New Zealand tradition of meat and three vegetables and accompanied with a mint sauce; perhaps gravy. Traditional does not have to mean dry overcooked meat and boring over boiled grey old vegetable. I couldn’t help myself when I made this so decided to jazz it up a little.

I used a Rachel Allen easy meals cookbook recipe as a guide. She recommended slicing potatoes, red onions and parsnips and tossing together in the roasting tin with olive oil,  adding finely chopped rosemary and season. I then lay the seasoned lamb leg over the top of the vegetables and roasted in a preheated 180c oven for 1 1/2 hours.  Once the lamb was done I rested it and increased the heat to finish the potatoes in a hot 220c oven. All the lamb juices soaked into the potatoes and went lovely and crispy. This easy to make mint sauce – 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint, 1 heaped tbsp caster sugar, 50 ml boiling water, 1 tbsp lemon juice – stir and sit for 10 minutes; made all the difference to the meal as only fresh mint can. The sides were green beans lightly steamed and then tossed with toasted almonds and sateued garlic and anchovies for a great savoury flavour. The carrots were roasted with the meat in a separate tin with maple syrup, olive oil and sea salt and pepper. I am with Nigel Slater when it comes to cooking and savouring the rustic crispy sticky pieces. This roast was superb.

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January 2, 2013 · 7:24 PM

Greek Style Pork

This summer in Christchurch I have been enjoying an abundance of the most juicy, flavoursome tomatoes. My local Mt Pleasant farmers market has been offering vine tomatoes,  big meaty heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. My husband has been requesting that I make this dish quite a few times over Summer. It is based on a very rustic Greek Cypriots casserole. I love the simplicity of it; big chunks of pork shoulder, new potatoes, tomatoes, onions and a few spices cooked slowly in the oven in my round earthenware dish. It is utterly divine served with rocket and a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar. This is rustic and simple food exactly how I like it.

Recipe – Hirino spithkasimo/Greek Style Pork

1 kg shoulder of  free farmed pork, cut into fist size pieces

  • 1 kg waxy potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 onions, peeled and sliced lengthways
  • 1 crushed garlic clove (optional)
  • 5 tomatoes, (more if in season) sliced lengthways


1. Fry the onions gently in olive oil until translucent and softened quite a bit. Be careful not to brown or burn at all. Once done set aside for a minute.  Put the pork and potatoes in a large earthenware dish.
2. Pour a good drizzle of oil in the dish and mix around well. Add the spices and mix again.
3. Lay the onions and tomatoes over the top pour over a little more oil and season.
4. Cover with foil and cook in a hot oven (200C) for around 1 hour, then lower the heat to 180C and remove the foil and cook for another hour till browned. Keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn.
5. Serve straight from the earthenware dish with rocket and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.


Filed under cooking, food, meat, potatoes, recipes

The Beaut patch

We have recently got back from a few days lazing at our bach named after the Isle of Beaut, Scotland (my husband ancestors hail from there). It is inland 170km from Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, well basically let me tell you it is in the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by high mountain ranges (winter ski field is ten minutes up the road), a river, sheep, Llamas, cattle, willow and native trees, it is a restoring backwater.

With no power and bathing choices being; tank water, an outside fire bath or a bucket of river water it is perfect for exploring my off grid side. Admittingly I don’t rough it entirely as well as I like to imagine, usually I am hankering for makeup, a fresh blow dry and high heels after three or four days.  It all makes up for it to see LB running barefoot with honey bees and enjoying nature, eating popcorn and hanging out with her friend from Nelson Luca.

Food however makes the whole experience much more pleasurable. Reading, cooking, eating, drinking, sleeping…..then repeat is generally the daily rhythm of the Beaut Patch breaks. We are lucky to have a tiny gas fridge and a gas cooker.

I try to plan meals that are simple enough to make in my Bach kitchen but never plain.

Our first night I cooked a spicy beef and red kidney bean chilli con carne and filled a soft burritos.


Beaut patch Burritos


  • 4 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • Small Green pepper chopped
  • One onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 250 grams beef mince
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (to taste)
  • Tomato paste
  • 400 grams tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 400 grams chilli red kidney beans (rinsed if in brine)
  • Two cups of water while it simmers over the fire
  • 6 Soft burritos
  • Iceberg lettuce sliced
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Grated cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Optional spring onions, advocado

To make

  1.  Chop onion and green bell pepper, chop carrot finely, finely chop the garlic.
  2.  Heat olive oil over medium heat and add the carrot and onions, cook until softened, this may take 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and beef mince, fry until browned. Add the cumin and chilli flakes, season a little with salt as you go.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook off for a minute. Add the tin of kidney beans  and the tomatoes, add a cup of water. Bring to the boil, lower heat to a simmer. Leave to cook for 30-50 minutes. The flavours will mingle and develop. Add more water if it gets to dry.
  4.   Serve with burritos, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and cheese.

Sometime you need to go far away to appreciate simple honest food. I tastes so much better cooked over the fire, or maybe it fills me with thanks to be eating anything at all so far away from civilisation.


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Coriander and mint cold curry

I am a huge fan of Ray Mc Vinnie and his take on classic recipes. Sunday’s highlight is reading the Sunday Star Times Ray McVinnie food section for two recipes he supplies each week. I was excited when I saw the picture of his Balinese coconut Chicken, my mouth was watering. I have never been to Bali and thought I was not familiar with this style of cooking. I liked the look of crisp tender green beans, simple sliced cucumber and a delectable looking roast chicken turned into a cold coconut curry with plain steamed rice.

Balinese/Indonesian/Malaysian style Cocunut Chicken

As I started to prepare the recipe I realised I had no Malaysian shrimp paste and that the recipe felt similar to a Lindsey Bareham recipe I had made from her book The Fish Store (Highly recommend this book). Lindseys recipe is called a Malaysian Chicken Rendang which her fore-word says is a famous curry eaten for breakfast in Malaysia. I fondly remember eating lots of curries for breakfast when I travelled through Nepal and India, the breakfast curry is strangley perfect in a hot climate.  This version originates in nearby Indonesia or Western Sumatra where it is made so hot and spicy it keeps at room temperature for a week. Lindsey and Ray’s versions are softened with plenty of coconut cream to stop your head blowing off!.

Malaysian/Indonesian Style coconut Chicken

(recipe adapted from Lindsey Bareham and Ray McVinnie)


  • 1 size 14 free-range chicken
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 6 Tbsp soy bean oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 150 ml cold water
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted desiccated coconut
  • 400ml thick coconut cream
  • 4 Tbsp chopped coriander
  • lime juice, to taste
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced; 200g green beans, stalk ends removed, blanched in boiling water for 4 minutes, cooled under cold water, well drained, mint or coriander leaves to garnish
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c. Cut down each side of the chicken’s back bone (I use kitchen scissors) and discard the back bone or keep to make chicken stock. Cut through the middle of the breast bone so the chicken is in two halves.
  2. Put the garlic in a roasting dish and place the chicken on top, skin side up. Drizzle 2 Tbsp of oil over the chicken and season well. Place in the oven for 1 hour until cooked through and browned.
  3. Place the finely chopped ginger, onion, red capsicum, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp ground
    coriander and  150 ml cold water in the bowl of a food processor and blitz till you have a smooth paste.
  4. Heat the oil in a wide hot pan or wok  and add the puree and cook for 15-20 minutes till it has darkened a bit and is fragrant.
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven and when cold enough to handle, take the crisp skin and meat of the bones and shred coarsely.
  6. Mix the chicken, toasted desiccated coconut, fresh coriander, coconut cream and bring to the boil and simmer for 6 minutes or until it is very  hot. Add the lime juice, salt and pepper so the mixture is pleasantly tart and well seasoned.
  7. Serve with steamed rice, sliced cucumber, green beans and mint leaves.


Filed under breakfast, cooking, food, home cooking, meat, recipes, travel

Converted for Crepes

I am so excited by my latest purchase a crepe pan. I saw the crepe pan for sale at and have always been afraid of attempting making crepes, they fell into my too hard list. They seemed so delicate and not having the right equipment I have never tried. The crepes were a breeze to make in this pan. I made 10 lovely silky thin crepes, no disasters. I then followed Tessa Kiros recipe for Cannelloni made with soft home-made crepes, wrapped with a rich cinnamon infused meat sauce, rolled and covered with a bechamel sauce and sprinkled in freshly grated parmesan cheese then baked until bubbling and oozing. Every mouthful of this was so decadently tasty and felt perfectly balanced with a green salad.

cinnamon infused slow cooked meat sauce encased in my lovely crepes, awaiting the bechamel sauce and home-made tomato sauce.

The recipe calls for the tomato sauce to be pushed and scattered amongst the bechamel sauce.  It looks so pretty.

Recipe for Meat Canneloni 

Make sure you have a morning set aside, this can be prepared ahead and baked when ready. I made mine on a sunday afternoon.

  • The crepes:3 large eggs
    150g plain flour
    50g butter, melted plus extra butter for frying
    250ml full cream milk
    pinch of saltIn a medium bowl whisk the eggs, add the flour and salt and whisk in. While whisking add the melted butter. Slowly add the milk, whisking until you have a smooth crepe batter. Now put this aside to sit for about 20 minutes. When the batter has rested, heat a small non-stick frypan over medium to high heat and place a little butter in it. As soon as butter has melted, add half a large ladleful of batter to the pan and tilt the pan around until the batter covers the bottom of the frypan. Fry until the underneath is golden and then flip and cook the other side until golden too. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Continue this process until you have used all the batter. Put the crepes aside until you are ready to use them. If preparing the crepes in advance, allow to cool and cover with cling film and place in the fridge.The tomato sauce:

    1 garlic clove, peeled and lightly smashed
    2 tbsp olive oil
    400g tin of diced tomatoes
    4 basil leaves

    In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and garlic together until you start smelling the garlic odour. Then add the tin of tomatoes and salt to season. Bring to a simmer and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes until the diced tomatoes have broken down. When the sauce is nearly ready add the basil and 1/2 cup water. Optional puree sauce when finished – I didnt. This sauce can also be made in advance, and set aside, or once cooled place in the fridge.

    The meat sauce filling:

    3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500grams minced beef
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cinnmon stick
  • 1 tablespoon worcester sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon quality smoked paprika (buy from speciality shop)
  • 185ml white wine
  • 400gram tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 handful chopped italian leaf parsley

For the mince sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute the onions over medium heat for 8 minutes until the meat starts to brown, stirring often to prevent sticking and to brown all the mea. Add the wine and cook until it has all evaporated. Add the tomatoes , cook for a few minutes and then add 375ml (1 1/2 cups) of water. Season with salt. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes. Add the parsley for the last ten minutes.

The bechamel sauce:

60g butter
40g plain flour
550ml milk
freshly grated nutmeg

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Over a lowish heat, add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth and continue cooking and stirring for a couple minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Slowly add the milk a bit at a time, whisking and adding more milk until all the milk has all been added and the mix is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring this sauce to a boil, and simmer for about 5 minutes, while constantly stirring. When it is ready it will be thick and smooth.

Time to prepare the canneloni:

In addition to the above ingredients, you need 50g grated parmesan cheese.

First, heat up your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Prepare a 20cm x 30cm baking dish by greasing it. To construct the canneloni, place a thin layer of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Place a crepe on a flat work surface, and spoon about 2 heaped tablespoons of the meat sauce along one edge of the crepe and roll up. Place the filled crepe in the baking dish so it fits snugly. Continue this until you have either used all the crepes or have used up all the space in the baking dish.

Once all the crepes are lined up in the baking dish, spread the rest of the bechamel sauce over the top. Sprinkle on the tomato sauce and top with the grated parmesan.

Bake for about 40 minutes until the top is golden and oozing. Let it cool down so its not piping hot. Serve with a freshly dressesd green salad and crusty bread if desired.


Serves 4-6


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Food diary

There is an abundance of overladen lemon trees on the hill at the moment, with a lot of people out of their homes due to the earthquake. I have been lucky enough to receive a few bags of these juicy, unwaxed lemons. I recently bought myself a tart tin, so was really excited to make some sweet short crust pastry and have a go at making a Lemon Tart.

I have been really enjoying cooking from an old Rachel Allen cook book Food for Living

I have made the Fillet steak with mushroom brandy sauce and a tomato fondue twice now. My guests have all said it was better than a restaurant. Here is a hungry man-sized serving!.

My husband then found one of those marinara frozen seafood mixes at the supermarket that I would usually turn my nose up at. It was hugely economical $6.90 for the tray of mixed sea foods. I then made a basic chowder soup base and created a really tasty home-made seafood chowder for a lazy sunday night dinner.

I need to also rave about a cook book I have been enjoying Yottam Ottolenghi from London.

I made two amazing dishes. This mango coleslaw with an asian lemongrass and sugared hazelnuts. It had the whole sweet & sour flavours going on. I served it with a very moist perfectly roast free range chicken. I wanted the coleslaw to be the star so also made a big rice cinnamon, turmeric pilaf to feed the crowd who came to dinner to enjoy this special meal. Being a food blogger I am learning how sometimes photos really do not do the meals complete justice.





Filed under cooking, earthquake, fish, food, home cooking, meat, organic, photography, potatoes, recipes, soup, travel

Turkish Lamb Manti

I am sure I must have long forgotten ancestors from the old worlde of Eastern Europe in the Southern Caucasus  – Armenia, Turkey, Iran. I feel intuitively drawn to theses flavours, the textures and style of these similar cuisines.

This simple recipe of ground lamb, soft cheese, lemon zest, garlic, paprika, mint & spices combined to make a tasty filling encased in thin pastry to resemble a ravioli. Well loved and commonly known in this region as manti which is simply prepared by baking, frying or steaming.

When Mum and Dad have been travelling they always gets asked where they are from especially from turkish people. They even got invited to a turkish wedding recently. So with jewish roots maybe I really do have it in my blood, I certainly enjoy cooking this style of food.

Mum and Dad

Baked Turkish Lamb Manti with minted Yoghurt Sauce  – Recipe courtesy of DISH magazine Issue 31


  • 24 thin paper thin wonton wrappers
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock


  • 200 grams of full fat lamb mince (if it is low-fat mince it will be too dry)
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese  (or substitute goats cheese or feta cheese)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of ground allspice
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons pistachios, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To assemble

  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water

Yoghurt sauce

  • 1 cup thick  plain yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • juice of 1 lemon

Paprika butter

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • mint for garnish

Pre heat the oven to 180°C

Yoghurt Sauce: Whisk the ingredients in a bowl and season

Filling: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well and season.

To assemble; Lay out 6 wonton wrappers at a time and place a tablespoon of filling in the centre of each. Brush the edges with the egg wash and cover with another wrapper, pressing out any air and firmly sealing the edges. Trim the edges if necessary. Place on a lined baking tray. repeat with the remaining wontons and filling. Brush with olive oil and bake for 5-6 minutes until golden and crisp.

Transfer the manti to a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. The edges can slightly overlap. Pour the hot chicken stock around the manti and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Paprika butter; Heat the butter, garlic and paprika in a  small saucepan until sizzling.

To serve: Transfer the manti to shallow serving bowls and spoon over the chicken stock. There wont be a lot of stock.

Top with the yoghurt sauce then drizzle with the paprika butter. Garnish with mint and serve immediately with a green salad.


Filed under cooking, earthquake, food, home cooking, lamb, meat, pasta, photography, recipes, travel