Tag Archives: organic

Joyful eating from 2012

When caught out hungry I can be a right grouch. My husband jokes we need to keep a mini snack box in the car just for me, his favourite line is ‘are you hungry again we just ate 3 hours ago’ I say ‘yes that was breakfast’. Call it low blood sugar levels but I really do need to eat quite regularly so am always planning out what I am going to eat next!.  Cooking is a passion, but more thrilling is the joy of eating what I cook. The icing on the cake is serving that food up to my hungry, appreciative guests. When greedy silence descends on the table you know you have nailed it.

My second daughter Evie Rosa was born on 19th September 2012. A second peaceful birth at home meant that I could get in the kitchen and cook some nourishing post birth meals. 2012 was a huge cooking year for me pregnant and with a new-born baby and I never got around to posting the photos and recipes I made. So here is a quick 2012 photo diary of some of the everyday meals that came out of my kitchen and were very joyfully received by my family and friends that never made it on to my blog.

Crumbed, golden and glorious! chicken, fish, haloumi cheese, there are so many options. I can never decide whats best fresh breadcrumbs, or ground macadamia, almond nuts, parmesan cheese, panko crumbs. Crumbed foods shallow fried in butter and olive oil, or the fat of your choice, find me someone who can resist this. Forever the reason my home has been affectionately nicknamed ‘fat camp’ from my friends and family.

evei 011

Cake and baking became my friends in 2012. As Nigella Lawson says if you can measure and follow a recipe then you can bake!. It’s not that hard I have firmly discovered. I thoroughly enjoyed baking some of Diana Henrys lovely recipes from her book http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Cook-Simple-Diana-Henry/9781845335748?redirected=true&gclid=CPK1y7n3_7QCFQRKpgodXVcAUA

This recipe came from this book. A very easy chocolate cake that takes minutes to mix the batter. The almonds look so stunning contrasting against the glossy chocolate icing.

21112012 071

I am also in love with Nigellas new Nigellisima cook book. This is her italian apple pie cake I made. http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Nigellissima-Nigella-Lawson/9780701187330

LATEST OCT 12 099

I ate my fair share of rice and potatoes last year. Fish kedgeree stared a few times. certainly a dish which is more than its sum of parts. Breakfast, lunch or dinner – the perfect meal for anytime of the day. Nelson New Zealand Mapua smokehouse produces outstanding moist, sweet, oily smoked fish. It is swooningly delicious and never dry.

LATEST OCT 12 004I discovered Dulche De Leche. Why it has taken me this long to taste something this decadent from a jar. For once I praise industrial food. Thank you Argentina for Dulche De Leche. Right now you will fall into two camps.

1: you are nodding your head knowingly as you read this and have a secret stash of Dulche De Leche in your cupboard which you sneak spoonfuls straight from the jar when you need to mainline some pure sugar!. Oh its good.

Or

2: If you have no idea what I am going on about. Please go to a specialty food imports store or online and buy some asap. There are so many ways to have your dulche de leche – milk caramel sauce. I made a chilled vanilla rice pudding, I then mixed dulche de leche with some cream to thin it down and drizzled it all over the rice pudding. The only problem here is stopping at one bowl. We also enjoyed a banoffee style american pancake stash with bananas, softly whipped cream and dulche de leche drizzled. delicioso.

lucia and evie 029

With all this cake eating going on in 2012 I have been thinking my pantry needs a health overhaul and it is time to get my kitchen whizzing up split green pea soups, quinoa salads, farro oyster mushroom rissottos, buckwheat pancakes with blackberries and bowls of steel cut oats. I cant wait to get cooking.

5 Comments

February 11, 2013 · 5:38 AM

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

80’s Meatloaf revivalist!

What will I make for dinner? This is forever the question and my problem is I always have a long list of recipes and dishes I am longing to try out. As I am a self-confessed cook book addict my home has a big stash of cookbooks which ensures I never get bored or lack inspiration to put on my apron!. I read and evaluate each recipe to make sure it meets the must cook criteria.

  • Comfort factor – After a busy day it seems dinner is quite often the only meal that you can really relax and enjoy without having to inhale your food before we hurry on again. Its a pleasure to take time out and truly enjoy a nourishing meal that restores you physically and mentally brings comfort and calm.
  • Easily accessible ingredients – There is no point trying to make mousakka in the middle of winter when eggplants are $8.00 each (unless you have an absolute craving for mousakka then permitted!). Buy in season and locally sustainable food as a rule.
  • Looks Delicious – Who doesn’t eat with their eyes!. Oozing melted cheese, bubbling over the side lasagne, a perfectly moist and tender roasted chicken. It makes you hungry looking at it.
  • Get out of your comfort zone – It motivates me to try out new recipes that are a bit of a challenge or use unusual ingredients that I have not tasted or familiar with. If you are cooking a recipe you have made every Monday night for the last ten years….please STOP!. Try something new your taste buds will love you for it.

These are some of my recent cosy family meals we have been enjoying.

Meatloaf – Doesnt this just remind you of the 1980’s?. My Mum use to make this for us all the time. My husband jokes I have a love for mince. When I met him I prided myself on the fact I only had ever eaten fillet steak and I certainly did not eat mince (nose in the air). Well I have changed, mince is just so versatile, Pork mince, beef mince, venison mince, lamb mince, chicken mince. I love what I can make with Mince!. I usually make meatloaf out of pork and beef mince. It is so simple to put this together and it tastes divine. Truly!. Sometimes I make the meatloaf in a tin – self saucing meatloaf,  by pouring over a container of tomatoe puree and a few dashes of Worcester sauce or red wine or whatever takes my fancy. The recipe below is utterly divine and a little more sophisticated baked free form on a tray, the bonus here is the vegetables benefit form all the delicious juices to create a complete meal.

Meatloaf with roasted vegetables

Meatloaf with roasted vegetables – Recipe loosely taken from Tessa Kiros Apples for Jam.

Ingredients

  • 80g white bread crusts removed  (about 4 slices)
  • 125 ml Milk
  • 2 large zucchini, trimmed
  • 1 large potato or sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 large red capsicum
  • 500 grams lean mince (beef or pork or combination)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 100 grams thinly sliced pancetta (or streaky bacon will work)
  • 2 sage sprigs
  • 2 small rosemary sprigs
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 125 ml white wine
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Soak the bread in the milk for about 15 minutes, squashing it up a bit with your hands so it collapses.
  2. Cut the red peppers, carrots, zucchini into strips and  potato into chunks. You want all the vegetables to roast evenly so make sure they are not too small that they shrivel up in the heat. Now put these aside for now.
  3. My favourite bit…put the mince in a large bowl with the parsley, egg, chopped garlic, parmesan and squashed up bread, and season with a flat teaspoon of salt. mix together until smooth. Then form a large loaf like a giant egg.
  4. Drizzle half the olive oil into a large flameproof baking dish and put the meatloaf on top. cover with overlapping slices of pancetta, tucking them in at the bottom. Scatter the vegetables all around , drizzle with olive oil and toss with some salt. Tuck the herbs and garlic under the vegetables. Bake 1 1/4 hours and, turning the vegetables over half way through. Keep an eye on them they do not over cook. The vegetables should be golden and crusty and the bacon crispy also. Turn the oven off. Remove the vegetables and meatloaf to a platter, cover with foil and put back in the oven to keep warm. Put the baking dish on the stove top over high heat and sprinkle in the flour. Cook stirring constantly to scrape up all the bits and pieces from the bottom of the dish. Pour in the wine and stir until evaporated. Add 250 ml of hot water; season with salt and cook until the sauce becomes smooth and thickens a little. Serve with the meatloaf cut into thick slices and the vegetables.

Your man and your little ones will love this MEATloaf!. It is great sliced cold on sandwiches the next day also.

Leave a comment

Filed under babies, cooking, earthquake, eggplant, food, home cooking, meat, organic, photography, potatoes, recipes

Gricklegrass Lentil Pie

Gricklegrass Organic farm nostalgia, Oxford, North Canterbury, New Zealand late 1990's

Here is a little bit of background on the name Gricklegrass lentil pie. When It was 1998 I was 18, a student studying professional photography, living in a small rural North Canterbury town Oxford, New Zealand. Not far from our family home on Woodside Road was a commune called GRICKLEGRASS organic farm. I decided one day for an assignment I would visit and ask if I could photograph some of the people living there. Gricklegrass consisted of a lovely character, rambling home from the late 1800’s which was in a state of disrepair set on over 20 acres of farmland that ran down to the Coopers Creek riverbed. At this time there were a number of eclectic residents, a few young families, alternative, idealistic young organic farmers and always some transient eccentrics like Graham who lived on his bus. My first visit to the intriguing Gricklegrass I met the dreadlocked 23-year-old Andrew MacDonald who was digging some holes out by the front door. This meeting was perhaps one of the most profound moments which changed the course of both of our lives. Andrew and I entered an extremely special season of close friendship and companionship.  I often would be invited to shared pot luck meals. I remember these always to be fun and the Gricklegrass table was always overladen of lovingly made whole food salads, curries and sourdough breads. Lentil pie reminds me of these feasts. I had a nostalgic hankering for a Wholemeal Lentil pie. This is the recipe I came up with.

Andrew and I at Gricklegrass - 1998/99

GRICKLEGRASS Lentil pie before the lid goes onChamp Mash Top (I have upgraded the pie to my 2011 budget and added some leftover Taleggio cheese)

Champ Mash Top (I have upgraded the pie to my 2011 budget and added some leftover Taleggio cheese)Gricklegrass Inspired Hearty Wholemeal Lentil Pie

RECIPE : GRICKLEGRASS WHOLEMEAL LENTIL PIE

Ingredients

  • Homemade is best Wholemeal Shortcrust pastry for base
  • 200 grams  Wholemeal pastry (I used freshly organic stoneground flour)
  • 100 grams chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • cold iced water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed and chopped
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 cup of lentils (I used blonde lentils, but brown or puy would still work)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-2 tbsp rice wine vinegar to taste
  • Agria mashing potatoes for the top and I used leftover cheese Taleggio from my fridge to melt over the top.

Method

  1. In a large pot bring well salted water to the boil and boil potatoes in well salted water till  tender. Then put through a potato mouli or mash the old-fashioned way with milk, butter, salt till creamy. 
    • To make the pastry, work the flour into the butter with your fingers in a big bowl until they resemble breadcrumbs and add the water until it comes together into a smooth ball, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
  2. In a large frying pan heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes taking care not to burn it. Add the carrots and continue to fry for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spices and cook until it smells aromatic. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil and then turn down to the lowest heat and simmer for a 1 hour. Season and adjust if needed, I would add the rice wine vinegar now if it needs a lift. Then set aside and cool. The mixture should be moist but not swimming in liquid, if it is simmer it longer.
  3. Once mixture has cooled a bit and not piping hot. Roll out the pastry to fit a pie dish or deep loose bottom flan tin. (Bake blind – Google this technique for a good description. This stops the pastry from going soggy on the bottom)
  4. Fill pastry case with filling and top with the mash. Optional sprinkle with any melting cheese.

Delicious served with cauliflower and eggplant salad (previous post) or a big green salad. A side relish or chutney is a perfect accompaniment.

The finished pie ready to be served

I also went on to produce a series of portraits of the residents of Gricklegrass farm for my Professional Photography studies. These are some of the photos (originals were all handprints and taken with a 6×6 format  vintage Rolliflex camera, 2.8mm Zeiss lens)

Graham on his bus - Gricklegrass Organic farm, Oxford, North Canterbury 1999 NZ Andrew in his carpentry workshop from Gricklegrass Organic Farm 1999. Fast forward to 2011 Andrew is an Anglican Minister, married with three children.Jude at Gricklergrass Organic FarmGus and his dog Morphine - Gricklegrass organic farm 1999

 

Steve from Gricklegrass organic farmAndrew 1999

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Andrew at GricklegrassJude

 

Steve the Musician from Gricklegrass in his Hut

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Gus and his dog Morphine - Gricklegrass organic farm 1999Andrew 1999A family living at Gricklegrass - Kane and Sharon

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

You can see part of Gricklegrass home in the background.

 
 
 

Graeme cooking food in his bus. I ended up giving my diesel Lancer car to Graeme and the last I heard he moved to the West Coast

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
THE END

1 Comment

Filed under cooking, food, home cooking, organic, photography, recipes

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

My new love affair, After the Red Verandah.

A quick update to my previous post, Where to eat out in Christchurch Post Earthquake 2. The beloved Under The Red Verandah Cafe, Christchurch, which was demolished post February 22nd quake is now under construction with a temporary cafe. This new Cafe as I mentioned is called After The Red Verandah. Which is so fitting, luckily they managed to save a part of the verandah which is being incorporated into the new building. Nearly all the same staff remain too, as they are like part of the furniture too!. In the meantime we can all enjoy some time out at After The Red Verandah. I almost lived there last week, so nice to have a humble home away from home to read the morning paper and drink delious espresso, with some very tempting, decadent treats…dark chocolate muffins, fat slices , fudgy chocolate cake, homemade flaky pastry chicken pies, salmon bagels. WE LOVE YOU AFTER THE RED VERANDAH. XX

Leave a comment

Filed under cafes, cooking, earthquake, food, home cooking, recipes

Heirloom Vegetables grown by people that care!

It is so refreshing to meet to meet people who care about the food they sell when it is evident they have obviously grown it with attention, care and love. After the impersonal, depressing, bleak experience which is the commercial supermarket which may I say seems like it is run by corporate accountants and not foodies. I find it my pleasure to visit (and important to support) the fabulous Farmers Markets which have sprung up through out New Zealand. I found this stand with a big sign Heirloom vegetables, for some reason their fresh produce they were selling looked exceptionally  stunning and really stood out even from some of the other organic growers.

Heirloom Vegetables

The growers were two enthusiastic young guys which I assume is a family business. They were extremely knowledgable about everything they were selling and convinced me to buy a spaghetti squash. It looks like a pumpkin but tastes like a melon and looks like spaghetti. I am intrigued I will post some photos once I roast it in the oven!. Sounds bizarre huh?. I would be interested if anyone else has cooked with this before…I need recipes. Apparently they also told me that when onions are really pungent and strong and make you want to cry it means they are old!. New onions are mellow and sweet. This is all news to me…I have yet to find my green thumb. I always say my husband is the gardener and I am the cook!. I am so inspired by the vegetables they were selling I am now even keener to develop my own green thumb!.

Mr Heirloom Gardner (to the left) Assistant (right)

Leave a comment

Filed under babies, cooking, food, home cooking, organic, recipes