Tag Archives: earthquake

French Kitchen

Akaroa April 2013 220Akaroa April 2013 217
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

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

Right time, right place – out of the rubbble of Christchurch

In my opinion if not one of the most exciting and progressive things that has happened to Christchurch since the February earthquake has been
the opening of the Cassels & Sons Brewery & Cafe at the Tannery Woolston http://casselsbrewery.co.nz


This new start venture reads like one of those classic kiwi business ventures, father and sons home brew beer over a unique wood fire in the back
yard and over a beer decide let’s start a boutique brewery. After a few setbacks and two major earthquakes which nearly decimate there business with vision they decide to push forward and rapidly expand the brewery into a prime restaurant, cafe, bar & entertainment music venue.

With the choice of the crème  de la crème of the Christchurch hospitality staff out of work they recruit them all, Barista Tonto from ex Vivace Cafe fame, chefs, bakers, front of house  staff.

We are now utterly spoilt for a premium destination for most importantly  boutique beers, wood fired pizzas, rustic food, sumptuous cabinet food that  would not be out of place in any international city. I adore this place, it  opens seriously early in time for all day breakfasts (try the chilli baked beans on hot buttered toast), serves up lunch, affordable cabinet food by a  clever mother and son kitchen team. The salads are vibrant and piled high on  platters, think Otto Lenghi style http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/.

 The Dinner menu is thoughtfully written, wood fired pizzas inspired by local place  names, how tempting does Horotane Pear, Blue Cheese, Thyme & Smokey Bacon  wood fired pizza sound?. Check out the website for a line up of entertainment in the form of live music acts, this is bound to fill the void  for  entertainment deprived locals that the loss of CBD has left. This is what a  true local food & drink place should be like; children are welcome with  highchairs and a big old cane basket full of wooden toys and books. I get the innate sense that this is just the beginning for the Cassels and this Brewery/Bar/Cafe/Restaurant/Entertainment venue is filling the gap perfectly and will be here for a long time to come….in fact it feels as if it has always been.

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Change of season

I guess I have been suffering from food boredom. My jaded palate has not
been craving anything at all. The thought of cooking has been giving me food
fatigue. I guess the most enthusiastic chefs or foodies all go through these
seasons. I put this down to too much cooking, I have overdone it and have been
falling back on my favourite tried and true recipes. Burrittos, Roast chicken, rissotto,
simple spaghetti cabarnora made with fresh eggs, bacon and parmesan cheese and lot of fish dishes!. Sorry no photos, the meals have not even warranted a photo. When my husband says at the end of the meal ‘that was a bit simple’ I know he has been far too spolit with decadence night after night. With my spring fitness motivation I also decided It was time to make some salads for dinner.

Lamb, Barley & spinach salad

We have been having an early spring with some lovely days in the 15-18 degrees. Let me tell you that is like a blessing after a few months of cold, wind, rain & snow. So all this food fatigue has been swept away by some warmer days. I have been working ALOT, and have now managed to get back into my training routine. I have an amazing trainer Jess Ford who runs weight resistance circuit style girls only group training 3 mornings a week in Sumner. So I have been getting up at 5:35am and have enjoyed getting my sluggish butt back into some vigorous training.  Post feb earthquake my favourite Bikram hot yoga was closed. I have since discovered www.hotflowyoga.co.nz and went along to a class today. I loved it the room was only heated to 36ºc and the class was a power vinyasa style yoga. In true yogi style I came home with the inspiration to make a simple red lentil, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato soup. I used my freshly made chicken stock as a base, it makes such a huge difference to bought stock. The soup was thick and delicious and I felt as if I was nourishing my body just by eating it. The change of season is welcome with so much to look forward to…aparagus, strawberries, blueberries, stonefruit, tomatoes and a bounty of courgettes.

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Cauliflower fritters

It has been hectic working two jobs and at the end of the day whirling together a luscious meal worthy of a career superstar, Mother & Wife. I have standards and even though I have been trying to simplify my mid-week evening cooking, I always end up picking recipes and ideas that take three hours!. Well this amazing little dish I made last night hit all the right taste buds. Again it was from my new Bill Granger cookbook (see my previous post).

I bought a huge 800gram organic Cauliflower from the Mt Pleasant Farmers Market for $2, broke it up into little florets and blanched it for one and a half minutes. It was then coated in this light tempura batter recipe from Bills new book and thrown into shallow hot olive oil so it went all light and crispy. It smelled amazing too. It reminded my of fish and chips, except this was like cauliflower and cauliflower. I made little mini soft lettuce leaf and Cauliflower tacos, with a squeeze of lemon juice and freshly chopped coriander. I ate so much of this last night I can now say you can get FULL eating Cauliflower. By the way the photo below was shared with two hungry men, just in case you thought I ate the 800 gram whole plate of cauli all by myself. I wanted to but had to share it. It was so so good. It would be perfect as a pre dinner snack with a cold beer on a hot summer evening. If you would like the recipe get the book or email me and I will post it online. 🙂

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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 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.

 

 

 

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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.

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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

Ingredients

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

Filling

  • 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.

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