Tag Archives: watercress

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)

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A bit of this, a bit of that

Improvisational Salad

Prosciutto, Pan fried Haloumi, mizuna lettuce, red and yellow baby roast beetroot with Pedro Ximenez sweet sherry sauce sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and a squeeze of lemon juice, cracked pepper and sea salt of course…There was some extra virgin oil too. This salad was one of the best things I tasted in 2010! believe it or not. The flavours were intriguing yet not so in a weird way but they really seemed to work it was extremely moorish. You should give it a try.  

So following on from my last post about the sexy vegetables I bought home from the market which were just too good to eat which became ornamental art in my kitchen for 12 hours. Well I did get hungry and I ate them. The photo above is how I put them altogether. Now I ALWAYS use to freelance in the kitchen and create my own dishes since I was a teenager and into my early 20’s. However in my quest to further my kitchen cooking knowledge and skill I have purposely restrained myself to following recipes as I think it is so easy to fall into the trap of staying in your comfort zone and cooking from your own knowledge and what you are comfortable with and never really pushing out and finding new ways of doing things. It can be hard work following a recipe sometimes, I believe I have read it activates that part of your brain which helps with fighting off and slowing dementia (not that I should be worried about that at 30!). I guess I am putting myself through a self-taught home cooking school – like some very other well-known cooks who learnt in the same way. This is the beauty once you confidently know which flavours and ingredients can  balance and go together you can take off the training wheels (cookbooks) and the world of cooking is your oyster. Heres to freelance cooking!.

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Roasted Vegetable Goodness

I always am amazed how delicious and easy roasting food can be. I think I go through stages of labouring over my hot stove thinking I am being so clever, pan sauteing , braising, poaching, frying, however I am probably just making a lot of work for myself even if the result is sumptuous. I then stumble across some ingredients or a recipe which makes me throw all my chopped, prepped ingredients in a roasting tin, pop them in the hot oven and ahhhh relax until my trusty beeper tells me it is all ready to be simply served & enjoyed. 

The ingredients that caught my eye this week were a a couple of perfect  lean pork fillets from the Redcliffs Butchery (he knows his pork he is the guy on the pork advertisement on TV!),  winter pumpkin – this is the best $1-3 you can spend this winter, red onions, new season carrots, whole garlic cloves, braeburn apples all from my Local Lyttleton Farmers market. 

The inspiration came from my 2008 Issue 19 Aug-sep DISH magazine. 

Pork Fillet and Roasted Vegetable Salad with Honey Baked apples….oh this is as good as it sounds actually it was better than my expectations. 

Pork Fillet and Roasted Vegetable Salad with Honey Baked Apples

Prepped winter vegetables ready for the oven

 

Ingredients 

600 grams free-range pork fillets, 

2 table spoons olive oil 

2 cloves of garlic crushed 

2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary 

finely grated zest of 1 lemon organic/unwaxed 

sea salt and ground black pepper 

Salad – 1  pumpkin butternut or buttercup or I used a small gem squash I think it is called(Dish recommended parsnips), 2 red onions, peeled and quartered through the root, I also used some red pepper cut into thick strips, 3 carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal, 8 whole cloves of garlic, skin on as they will pop out like juicy morsels once roasted, 2 handfuls of baby spinach. 

Home made apple sauce

 

Apple sauce – 4 braeburn apples, skin on, cut into wedges, knob of butter, juice of 1 lemon, 3 tablespoons honey, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme. 

Dressing – 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard, 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Preheat your oven to 200c 

Pork: Trim the pork of any silverskin and tie with kitchen string, tucking the thin end under for even cooking. Combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary and lemon zest in a bowl and season. Rub over the Pork and set aside until ready to cook. 

Pork fillet trimmed and tucked ready for cooking

 

 Apple Sauce: melt the butter in a ovenproof saute pan (I love my www.lecreuset.co.uk) , add the apples and lemon juice until they just begin to colour. Stir in the honey, salt & thyme. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until just tender and caramelised. 

Salad: Combine the Pumpkin, red pepper, red onions, parsnips, yams  or whatever veggies you have chosen in a large roasting dish. Toss with a little olive oil and season. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Leave until just warm. 

Dressing: Whisk the ingredients in a bowl and season. Add the spinach to the roasted veggies and toss with the dressing. 

To finish: Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan and brown the pork on all sides. Roast for 12 minutes or until just cooked. 

To serve: Slice the pork on the diagonal and toss with the roasted vegetables. Serve with the apples. Serves 4-6 

Please leave a comment if you like the look of this and please let me know if you try this recipe and how you find it. Thanks for visiting, Bonnie

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Rainy Day Watercress Simple Sandwich

Its raining it’s pouring the old man is snoring…I have been stuck in side with a 14 month old baby for too many days. Southerly winds and driving rain is running down my window panes. I was planning to make a twice baked watercress souffle from Sophie Grigsons cook book – The definitive guide to delicious cooking & eating vegetables. I got my Little river grown fresh watercress from the fridge ready and waiting while I started to prepare my ingredients.One major problem I only had one egg left!.   So I flagged that idea and with the inspiration from Sophie Grigson describing her “british childhood suppers of first class white bread with salty butter and packed full of watercress” decided I would make a simple watercress sandwich. 

As it is cold and rainy I couldn’t have a cold sandwich, so I fried my solitary egg, toasted my honey vienna bread and added a big pile of watercress, halved cherry tomatoes and added a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and pinch of sea salt.  It was actually delicious, ok I know this is not cooking…more assembly, however I do recommend.  

Watercress & Egg SandwhichWarm buttercup pumpkin, bacon & tomato autumn salad

  

Rocket has now been bumped from no 1 spot for my winter salad green and watercress is now the winner!.  Here are some simple facts you may not of known about watercress:

Taste & texture: Peppery taste, crisp stem & soft leaves. It puts up well with being used in a warm salad or as a cushion for other ingredients.

Nutritional benefits: Watercress is part of the cabbage family with anti cancer properties and can boast it has more iron than spinach. It is a very good source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, D & E, (basically the whole alphabet) fiber, folic acid, iodine, iron, copper, and calcium . They also provide an excellent source of manganese, sulfur, protein, and carotene.  It stimulates the appetite and boosts your energy!.
 
From this list I am sure you are sold on watercress now also!. I use to live in Oxford, North Canterbury and remember seeing it growing wild on the bank of the stream. It really is a beautiful green!. Keep your eye out for it at the farmers market.
 
The Home Cookie x

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