Tag Archives: cooking

Spring salmon asparagus salad

Smoky smoked salmon is the perfect fast food when you want dinner on the table ASAP. If only bought fast food tasted this good; this is natural, simple ingredients put together to make an easy light meal.

Recipe
Smoked salmon with couscous, roasted feta and asparagus

Ingredients
200 grams smoked salmon
2/3 cup uncooked couscous
100 grams. Cucumber thinly sliced on the diagonal (dressed in lemon juice olive oil and sea salt, pepper)
Bunch of fresh asparagus spears
100 grams feta cheese
Fresh dill
100 grams sour cream with a squeeze of lemon juice to loosen it.
X2 medium boiled fresh eggs

Method
1/ prepare couscous according to packet instructions.
2/ bring salmon to room temperature
3/ pre heat oven to 190 degrees and snap ends of asparagus and wash and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper. Add the feta cheese to this by breaking Into chunks and make sure it has some olive oil and seasoning on it too. Roast this on a tray for approx 12-18 min till the asparagus is tender and feta a bit browned.
4/ assemble salad couscous, cucumber , asparagus, salmon broken into chunks, spur cream, feta, egg and dill.more seasoning.

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October 17, 2014 · 6:22 PM

Creamy Pain Perdu with strawberries

Just when everyone is trying to eat themselves slim and stick to their New Years resolutions, I am doing neither. Instead I am enjoying today’s freshly picked organic strawberries with eggy French toast or sometimes known as gypsy bread. Though looking at this gorgeous plate of food I am not sure this conjures up gypsy food?. So french it is, Pain Perdu, usually made from yesterday’s bread. I took Diana Henry (celebrated food writer) lead and made my pain Perdu with brioche.

Recipe Pain Perdu
Ingredients and instructions:
2 eggs, 1 egg yolk, 2 tablespoons caster sugar, 150 mls cream. Beat this together in a shallow bowl or dish.

8 slices of brioche, cut in half. Lay them in the eggy mixture for 5 minutes. Melt a knob of butter in. Frying pan and fry the brioche until they Are golden. Set aside to drain on paper towels. Serve with whipped cream, icing sugar and sliced strawberries.

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January 10, 2014 · 12:12 PM

The fragrance of home

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I bought this beautiful mimosa and mandarin soy fragrant candle today. It got me thinking about the little things that make my home special; fragrance, food, wine friends and music. I know I gain a renewed sense of wellbeing when I throw open the windows and let fresh air in. Clean laundered crisp, cotton white sheets blown through with the wind and sunshine. Fresh from the oven baking, cooling on the bench until its time for friendship & afternoon tea. Slow, slow cooking on the stove with the assuring smell of comfort that dinner is under control. Light, open the curtains, I am blessed my little kitchen is positioned to soak up the last of the days rays. Views, if you aren’t ready to invest in art – buy flowers. Vitality in a jug, what a visual feast and pleasure they are, the star of the show in even the dullest of space.  And if you missed the florist, cheat like me and spray some lavender water or diluted essential oils around. It instantly erases yesterday and create a clean and fresh smelling room.  Music, sing, dance, tv -no way, no ads, no radio, yes to jazz, world music, nostalgic old school music – I love this. I love creating an atmosphere of relaxation and pleasure. Good food, call up some friends, what its Monday? excellent. Have a dinner party, don’t save anything for a special occasion, open that special bottle of wine today, celebrate, what’s the occasion?. Its Monday, Monday is the occasion, Dress up! dress for life. Put on some bright lipstick, a sequins dress and heels. The silver, the crystal, the fine china (who has fine china these days?). Open all the windows, air the house, light a candle, arrange some flowers, prepare something delicious to eat, open the wine, invite some friends, dress up – be special. Turn the tv off, play the guitar/ukulele/piano/bongo drum. Ok you don’t know how, invite someone who does? I am sure my friend Jill will come and play the ukulele for you. Breathe in the good fragrance of home…a holiday…exotic destination?. No. home is wonderful. Play, eat, drink, dance, sing until you fall into those fresh sheets. Home is very satisfying.

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October 12, 2013 · 7:31 PM

All about a kiwi cook

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Five things Bonnie Brown loves

Eating gelato next to the ocean/kisses from her two pretty daughters/planning & dreaming about cooking  the next meal/chocolate desert & treats/real food that makes you feel virtuous

Want to know more…

I am a romantic gourmand and am pining to experience food in Europe. Until then I have my cook books and am a very enthusiastic cook and an even more enthusiastic eater. Cooking and sharing vibrant, fresh food makes me feel vital and happy.  I am inspired by the timeless dishes of Mediterranean Europe and their food simplicity. I adore the flavours and home style dishes of Greece and Islands, Italy and France. Eastern European and Italian peasant food is continuously a revelation in its basic simplicity and frugalness. North African and Middle Eastern food is fascinating and exciting to cook.

What I am cooking with at the moment, almost all is locally produced. Through taste experience I know that locally grown food that has not travelled by aeroplane or boat tastes so much more juicier, tastier and is always more satisfying.

Seasonal produce from my local Christchurch, New Zealand Farmers markets. We are heading into a bright and beautiful autumn. I am enjoying the new season squash and pumpkins, bio dynamically grown snow peas, leeks, fennel bulb, radish, French green beans, locally smoked chicken, olives, Italian quality De Cecco dried pasta, shiny green puy style  lentils, fresh herbs, ground spices, nuts,  free range chicken, New Zealand lamb, free range pork, dry cured bacon, smoked fish.  Farro, red rice, brown lentils, chickpeas, brown rice, oats, stone ground local fresh flours- oat, spelt/dinkel, spelt, rye, buckwheat, vanilla pods and essence, 72% dark chocolate, ground almonds, organic clotted cream, whole milk, Italian parmesan cheese, Clearwater full fat yoghurt http://www.clearwaterorganic.co.nz/ organic butter, coconut oil,  Also love artisan bread, agria and new potatoes, orange and red kumara, vine and cherry locally grown sweet tasting tomatoes, creamy organic avocado, onion, local plump juicy garlic, ginger, celery, cauliflower, baby spinach, rocket, soft lettuces, carrots,  pumpkin, courgettes,  portobello mushrooms, apples, bananas, oranges, raspberries, blueberries.

I love to shop and it is a lovely pleasure to buy food for your family to cook. I usually shop at the Farmers market once a week for my fresh produce and sometimes supplement that with greens from Liberty organics. I purchase meats every day or every third day depending how organised I am or how much protein or meats we are eating. I do like to make a plan for the week as to what and how I will go about you my produce and leftovers. I buy these magnetic meal planners from Kikki K shop. I buy fish from the fish market fresh on the day I plan to use it. I try to avoid buying any seafood on a Sunday as it can be a bit old which is usually what happens if you purchase from the supermarket. I like to keep a really well stocked store cupboard with spices, canned beans, rice, pasta, nuts, oils, vinegars.

Best store cupboard meal, what would you make?

Risotto; rice, good stock, best cheese, seasonal vegetable…think smoked goats Gouda and green cauliflower with sourdough and thyme croutons.  I love its oozing, soothing ability to calm; each mouthful is like eating relaxation.

What don’t people know about you that you wish they did?

I wanted to be an actress when I was growing up. My Uncle Dave worked in television as a camera man and I would ring him after school and ask him if he could get me an agent. I would sign my autograph at the end of each school year and give it to my teacher and tell them to hold onto it as I would be famous one day and they could say they taught me.  Susan Boyle was only discovered at 47, so I guess I still have time…

How did you learn to cook?

I was influenced with good food through my family, my Mum and Aunties who are great bakers and cooks. In my twenties I took great pleasure learning all I could from hundreds of cookbooks loaned from the local library. I self taught with my willing husband who has been happy to eat and critique

As a self-taught cook, who would you say have been your biggest influences?

I had if you like an epiphany, I could loan these books from the library and be imparted cooking wisdom and knowledge from the most inspiring talented, creative cooks.  I especially love these food writers; Diana Henry, Tamasin Day-Lewis, Nigella Lawson, Harry Eastwood, Nigel Slater, Rachel Allen, Tessa Kiros, Annabel Langbein, Bill Granger, Elizabeth David and Lindsey Bareham to name some of my favourites. I also soaked up each issue of my subscription to DISH magazine, a New Zealand food magazine. Online food blogs and BBC food TV website was a continual source of inspiration.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure when no-one else is around?

My favourite late night dessert indulgence is homemade hot chocolate fudge sauce, vanilla ice-cream and toasted nuts, especially during my two pregnancies.

Tell me three things on your must-cook-next-list

 

What was your worst cooking disaster?

Well it was the first time I made carrot cake. I got through making the cake perfectly, iced it with thick cream cheese icing and decorated it beautifully with walnuts. It was looking divine and I could not wait to try it. It was loaded into the back seat of my car to take to a friend’s house. We had arrived, as we were standing outside the car greeting our friends; when to shock horror (it was like in life in pictures slow motion) a friends dog jumped into the car, we yelped, the dog freaked and leaped into the back seat, paws straight into the cake and then sat on it!.

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Filed under food

Perfect scrambled eggs

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In times past I admit I could cook an impressive dinner main, however, I feared and was at a loss how to cook cafe style scrambled eggs. My home attempts at scrambling eggs looked like a curdled plate of milk with soggy toast. My scrambled egg confidence has now peaked and I almost resent having to pay for this simple meal from cafe. Especially when it is so darn easy and usually much nicer at home, creamed scrambled eggs poured hot from the pan onto your waiting toast.

For one person.
Ingredients
x2 free range eggs
1/4 cream
big pinch of salt
10 grams butter

Optional: bacon, roasted tomaotes.

1: Crack eggs into a bowl, add cream and salt. Beat lightly till just combined.
2: Cut toast and get toasting.
3: I like to use a small non stick wok or small frypan. I put the heat onto medium to high, add the butter, pour the eggs into the pan and using a spatula start to turn bits of egg from around the pan on top of each other. Wait a few seconds in between stirs. The idea is you want nice big bits of cooked egg and more runnier bits throughout. Try not to stir too much as you dont want it to separate out too much. This should take about 20 seconds or so. Turn the heat off before the eggs are all cooked as they will continue to cook in the heat. Pop your toast on the plate and slide the eggs on top of the toast. Do not worry about buttering the toast as the eggs are creamy enough with the cream and butter in the recipe.

2 Comments

June 17, 2013 · 11:53 AM

French Kitchen

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I have just returned from a relaxing weekend visit to Akaroa, New Zealand. Akaroa is a picturesque seaside, historic French/British settlement; set in an ancient volcanic area 75km from Christchurch, New Zealand. I was so looking forward to staying at Fleur cottage on Rue Jolie, it did not disappoint. This historic 1870’s two storey cottage has been romantically restored. The owner Valerie has a wonderfully creative eye and the overall sensitive renovation has managed to retain a nonchalance which is in keeping with the relaxed spirit of Akaroa. The cottage is very chic, very frenchy!; for two days I was able to dream I was really in Provence. I love garden design and interiors magazines and this was like stepping inside one.Image

The garden was lush, green and a bit bohemian, a canopy of six trees covered the outdoor table for intimate outdoor dining. Apparently the owners of Fleur cottage had hung bags of bricks on the branches as they grew to weigh the branches down so they grew outwards. The garden had a magical sense, it could easily be a set for A Midsummers night dream.

I adore the old worlde sage green that Fleurs kitchen is painted. I loved looking in the cupboards and discovering treasures; a groovy vintage Kenwood stand mixer and eclectic china. This is one of those little kitchens that is soooo inviting; Tiny & cosy with a real big Baltic pine turned leg dining table. We hung out round the table, drinking and eating, writing and reading, talking and laughing. The chairs were painted a delicious sorbet lemon colour. This overall interior effect was good enough to eat.

Once we ate (seafood pie bound in white wine cream sauce) and drunk too much <em>(Syrah and Chardonay) we retired to the lounge and sunk into one of the comfortable, french linen, shabby chic couches, dimmed the lights and enjoyed the wonderful home that is Fleurs cottage.
Ces’t la vie !
Bonnie x

To view or book see link
http://www.holidayhouses.co.nz/properties/11854.asp

5 Comments

Filed under cooking, food, home cooking, Interior design, Interiors, travel

Banana & Almond muffins

Banana & Almond muffins

I am immensely proud of these little beauties. This is the kind of mid afternoon pick me up I crave with a cup of tea. They are a little sweet, moistly dense (think brownie), and crunchy on the top. Yes these hit the spot nicely…very easy to go back for a second or third.

Ingredients

60 g plain yoghurt
1/4 cup sunflower oil
60 g butter melted and cooled a little
3 medium overripe bananas
1 cup soft brown sugar
2 eggs
80 grams ground almonds
1 1/4 cup plain white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon golden syrup
pinch of sea salt

25 grams sliced almonds for sprinkling over the top prior to cooking

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, mash the bananas with the oil, yoghurt, butter and oil. Add the vanilla extract and the sugar. Beat together to combine.
Now beat in the eggs.

Sift the flour with ground almonds, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt. Fold these dry indredients into the wet mixture unitl no flour is left visibly white. Be careful not to overbeat this mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins, sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until cooked when a skewer comes out with hardly any crumb. Leave to cool five minutes in the tin then place on a cooling rack. Serve warm.

3 Comments

March 6, 2013 · 3:19 PM