Tag Archives: baking

Grateful for Spring

It makes me feel so productive to bake and cook, these are some of the things I have been enjoying …. Blueberry and chocolate bit muffins.

Lentil salad, new season sautéed courgettes, blanched green beans, sweet red onion and feta cheese. Gently tossed in a simple squeeze of lemon juice & my best New Zealand extra virgin olive oil. Season, season, season.  The perfect accompaniment to a greek oregano & lemon roast chicken.

Early season tiny broad beans, podded , dressed raw with lemon juice, sea salt and a tickle of olive oil. After a half hour of therapeutic broad bean podding, I decided to put this Haloumi salad together. Not strictly traditional, I have no idea if they eat broad beans in Greece. It was delicious, after some quick googling for further inspiration and desire to keep it as simple as possible; I decided on a tahini, honey,  lemon juice & olive oil dressing. The greek haloumi was wonderful fried nice and crispy golden, the trick is too eat the haloumi hot immediately.

 A highlight of a recent trip to Wellington, New Zealand was a visit to a Cuisine magazine recommended restaurant http://www.capitolrestaurant.co.nz/ . When I saw the Creamy pumpkin, sage, parmesan and pine nut risotto on the menu I was excited, when it came to the table it was a decadent wet style risotto, which I love. Pure comfort food. I have been dreaming of this risotto ever since, so was even more excited when I came across a recipe for it in an Old Australians Womans Weekly magazine. This version as per my photo below had half a cup of mascarpone and parmesan cheese through it. Definitely not for lettuce leaf eaters!, which I am certainly am not. The recipe was divine.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under cooking, food, home cooking, recipes

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 http://www.rachelallen.co.uk/book4.html

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.

http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/

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.

 

 

 

3 Comments

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

Beautiful creative people

My Mum is one of these people, she has always expressed herself beautifully by being a very generous woman who has given  through cooking, baking, home making, collecting, sewing, crafting, mothering, being a faithful and loving wife, and more recently a successful creative business owner of Truly Scrumptious on Victoria St, Christchurch, NZ. (Which she lost during Feb 22nd 2011 Earthquake). I am so proud of my Mum, look what she achieved in her shop, her shop  is really an overflow of the creativity she expresses in her home.

Mum also had a cafe selling delicious chocolates, friands, muffins, dainty club sandwiches, scones, pretty iced cupcakes, coffee La Farre espresso and high teas served all with fine antique bone china.

These special little dense fruit cakes were available in different icing styles and Mum even had one called the “boyfriend cake’, It was iced with masculine style icing.  A perfect gift. Here is a pretty iced cake which sold for around $20.00 each.

Mum’s nickname is Fou, because she loves, laces, fou fou and anything that is insanely beautiful, feminine and pretty. She has had a few stares at the supermarket dressed in vintage 1950’s petticoats and that’s all on!. She alway says she would be much more comfortable living in the 18th century wearing Victorian clothes. She really is a soul borne in the wrong era, she would agree.

When at home Mum loves to entertain and she is fabulous at creating an atmosphere for elegant dinners and creating a lovely table setting. I love her dining table which is an antique french farm table with the original chairs.

Mothers influence daughters and even though I always joke I don’t like too much pink, lace and antiques (after being surrounded growing up with it) I really am my Mothers daughter and have been blessed to inherit her love of all things beautiful and carry on a legacy to the beautiful creative people.

Mum is also a fabulous cook and baker, this is her soft as angels wings Pavlova cream filled sponge cake.

Truly Scrumptious Shop is hugely missed by all my Mums loyal customers in Christchurch, it was seen as an escape from the ordinariness of life to a beautiful dream world of sensory experience. I know Mum will find another outlet for her creativity in the near future – it is natural as breathing.  Being beautiful, creative people you can not help but express yourself in whatever you do. I love my Mum.

6 Comments

Filed under cafes, cake, cooking, earthquake, food, home cooking, photography, recipes, travel

Worthy of praise Baghdad eggs. spiced lentils. tomato kasundi

I managed to escape from the aftermath of Christchurch third major shakes June 13th 5.7 and 6.3 Magnitude earthquakes for the heady, cosmopolitan pleasure of an undamaged city – Auckland, New Zealand.  Thank goodness for a breather from the constant aftershocks I have been experiencing. Armed with a current Entertainment dining discount book I used it as my guide to search out a cafe which I could experience a stand out great breakfast. Most breakfast brunch menus bore me to tears, most cafes stick to the same formula, eggs Benedict, big breakfast, french toast, predictable, safe, yawn, yawn. So I was excited when I turned up to Urban Cafe on Carlton Gore Rd, Newmarket, Auckland at 9am this morning. Firstly it was very busy with plenty of good Auckland people watching – corporate types and fashionistas sipping lattes, deep in conversation on a superb sun spilled  patio. I love it when I see plenty of fresh baking – caramel, cinnamon, raison brioche, perfect bakewell slice, red velvet cupcakes. My early morning sweet tooth was bound to be satisfied. I started off with a round of coffees for my group and yes my sweet tooth insisted on a sneaky cinnamon brioche shared with our coffees while we pondered and tried to decide what to order from a very good menu. Baghdad eggs with spiced lentils and a tomato kasundi served with more than enough turkish bread beckoned me. The dish was served piping hot in a small cast iron pan with three soft poached eggs set amongst brown lentils, not unlike a frittata. Garnished with a generous handful of fresh coriander which infused the dish. Bagdad eggs were Perfect. I can not wait to try making this dish at home.

http://www.urbancafenewmarket.co.nz/

Review

  • Food 9/10
  • Coffee 10/10
  • Atmosphere 8/10
  • Toddler/child friendly 8/5

Leave a comment

Filed under babies, cafes, cake, cooking, earthquake, food, home cooking, organic, photography, recipes, travel

Kitchen Tours

I just have to have a quick rave… check this out. http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/home-tours 

What a very cool site. This is a photo gallery of kitchens around the world. I always find it interesting to look at people’s kitchens, the kitchen is most definitely the heart of the home. After all this is where all the action usually happens.

4 Comments

Filed under cooking

What’s on the menu?

Are you like me, constantly planning what’s for dinner for the week ahead?. Some of my friends think I am MAD!. I love it!, searching for recipes, ideas, inspirations for wonderful meals. I usually start with a depleted fridge and cupboard, I then start to mentally collate lists and  ideas for meals, recipes which I have been sourcing  from online food websites, cook books, magazines which go on to become written menu ideas. Farmers Markets provide a huge influence when it comes to what is in season. Earthquakes and the imminent winter weather is motivating me to fill the store cupboards.

This week is shaping up to be a very delicious looking Autumn, end of April Menu.

  • Thursday Evening – Cinnamon Beef Stew with creamy mash, french green beans & shallots.
  • Friday Night THE ROYAL WEDDING – Fillet Steak Gratin with creme fraiche, chive sauce & rocket.
  • Desert Rhubarb crumble served with custard
  • Saturday Night – Pork with caramelised pear and parsnips
  • Sunday Night – Handmade by moi, Agria Potato Gnocchi with cherry tomato, basil sauce and parmesan
  • Monday Night – Home made Chicken Soup, stock and all.

Thats as far as I have planned right now. I like to keep my ingredients as fresh as possible and I find if I plan to far ahead I end up with some forgotten, limp vegetables at the back of the fridge that do not get used. I can’t wait to get cooking. Who would like to come to dinner?

Leave a comment

Filed under babies, cafes, cooking, earthquake, food, home cooking, lamb, organic, photography, potatoes, recipes, soup

Living through the Christchurch Earthquake

My favourite Local Metro cafe, Ferrymead re-opened today, this is a milestone let me tell you. The last time I had coffee and a pumpkin chocolate muffin there was 10:43am the morning of February 22nd, 2011 (a bit like the last supper, for I ate nothing else that day) . The 6.3 Christchurch Earthquake rocked my city at 12:51pm.The  epicentre was only minutes away from this location. ALL the businesses, cafes, supermarkets, have been closed in this area. The nearest supermarket has been a 30 minute drive. For this trip you must be a skilled driver to negotiate the lumps, bumps, detours, roadworks, potholes and general road damage. I was so excited to go and have a coffee there. This felt a little like normality.

I lost all my food in my fridge/freezer as the power was off for weeks. Fish sauce!!! smashed onto my kitchen floor and the smell has only been removed with some very thorough cleaning.

The force of the earthquake was so strong it picked my island bench and huge oven and shifted it across my kitchen. I was in shock when I saw this mess…where do you start? with no power or water to clean the glass and mess and an active toddler who is on the move. We moved out. I have felt like a refugee. We are one of the lucky ones up on our hill as our house appears to have no structural damage unlike about 80% of my neighbours homes. We still have our fair share of cracks. Two days after the earthquake we were staying at my brother in laws house. I felt very grateful as I watched the news reports…over 200 missing presumed dead or missing. I felt the desire to make a  Chocolate cake!. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of it.

1 Comment

Filed under babies, cooking, earthquake, food, home cooking, photography, recipes