Wednesday, 31 August 2011

lemon kaffir lime leaf cordial

This is what real lemons look like off a tree.  They came from Nola from work, who kindly gave them to me from her tree.  Fragrant and really really juicy, perfect for making cordial.
It frustrates me when I'm out and about and see beautiful citrus, laden on peoples' trees untouched.  Lemons, grapefruits and tangelos.  I unfortunately have a struggling lemon tree that has only produced 2 lemons.  On the other hand I have a kaffir lime tree that produces no fruit but does have beautiful glossy kaffir lime leaves, that was my inspiration for this cordial.

I adapted the recipe from the book, 'The Cooks Companion' by Stephanie Alexander

You will need  (I halved the original recipe,  2kg of sugar was just too much for me)

  • 1kg of sugar or castor sugar
  • 500 mls water
  • 15g citric acid
  • 15g tartaric acid
  • juice of 3 lemons, strained 
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • I used 8 kaffir lime leaves,  but next time I would double that, as the lemon easily overpowers it

Dissolve the sugar in water over heat in a big pot, along with the kaffir lime leaves that you have scrunched up and bruised to release as much flavour as possible.  Add the acids and stir until completely dissolved.  Cool.  Stir in juice and zest and bottle into clean, dry bottles.
Dilute with soda water or mineral.  A touch of gin would be perfect for a summer cocktail.

Monday, 29 August 2011

I'd rather be...

 here in Santorini, Greece at the Mystique Hotel sunbathing..

drinking this pink dragon fruit cocktail...

eating crayfood salad...

reading this book...

with this man... (well maybe not...Chris wouldn't be too happy about it..)

than cooking anything today...

we can dream...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

superfood salad

It is always this time of year that I feel that I need to get myself healthy. So after a few salads like this I feel like I am back on track.

 There is only goodness in this salad.

1 serve quinoa
grated carrot
grated beetroot
edamame beans
mixed toasted nuts (tasti make a nut fusion blend which I toast in a dry pan with sea salt)
finely chopped red onion
finely chopped currants

It doesn't really need more than a squeeze of lemon juice because it is quite balanced in flavour, but I did add a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegrette.

 To make the quinoa you will need twice as much liquid to quinoa.
For a one serve I use 1/4 cup of quinoa to 1/2 cup liquid and in this  case I used beef stock (because there was a small amount in my freezer).  You can you chicken stock, miso broth, water and soy sauce, anything as long as it is a little bit tasty.

Firstly you need to wash the quinoa in plenty of water as it has some bad stuff on it that needs to come off.  I rinse and strain 3 times.

Put the quinoa and the stock together in a pot and bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to the lowest setting and let it simmer away for about 10 minutes.
At this point you need to keep on checking it so it doesn't dry out and burn.
You may need to add more liquid before it has cooked through properly.  I boil the jug and add small amount as I need to.  Taste it for doneness and stir it around for even cooking.  It should still have a bite to it, you don't want it to become mush.  It takes me usually about 20mins total.  At the end I turn off the heat and put a lid to just get it right.

This photo the quinoa is nearly done but not quite.

I decided that feta cheese was needed just to add some badness.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Chocolate Brownie

This recipe is the 'Famous Dio Brownie' from the Dio school cafeteria.  Chris made it at the weekend.
It is very good and especially chewy.

You will need

  • 300g butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 150c (fanbake).  Grease and line a 21cm x 30cm tin.  Melt the butter and cocoa and add the vanilla and brown sugar.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Mix in the flour

and add the chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for (it says 25mins) but it takes at least an hour in my oven.  Keep an eye on it, it should be firm to the touch on the edges and still soft in the middle.

When cool, cut into whatever size you like.  Dust with  icing sugar or  cocoa  powder.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


I was watching 'Master chef' master class last week. They were making Paella and decided I would give it a go as I have never made it before.  My recipe is n't exactly authentic but close enough.  I researched a few recipes and they are all done quite differently.

This is my recipe - You will need

  • 500g of Bomba rice (quite expensive but I wanted to use the real thing)
  • 1.5 litre of stock, chicken or fish ( I used a combination of chicken and some stock that was left over from the mussels that I steamed when making some fritters the other day)
  • 1 chorizo sausage sliced
  • 1 chicken breast sliced into chunks ( thigh would probably be better)
  • 15 whole raw prawns with their heads and shells on
  • 250g of squid ( I bought the already prepared scored diamond patterned in a packet)
  • 1 red pepper chopped 
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 5 small tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon of saffron 
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • parsley
  • lemons sliced into quarters

I started off frying the chicken with salt and pepper just to get some colour on it and then removed it from the paella pan.  It was not cooked through.
Next I added the onion with some olive oil along with the pepper, chorizo and garlic until golden.

Add the stock (which has been heated in a pot), tomatoes, bay leaves, saffron, smoked paprika and lastly the rice.
Keep the temperature at the lowest setting and gently cook till the rice absorbs the stock.  You can stir it around for even cooking.  I even turned the heat off so as not to burn the bottom at times.  It is supposed to have a crunchy bottom or 'soccarat' crust.  You just don't want it burnt.

When you think it is fully absorbed or nearly add the prawns first then the chicken and squid.  I overcooked my prawns and chicken.  So I suggest you just add the protein turn off the heat and cover in foil and leave for 5 minutes.  Apparently it is really hard to overcook this rice, so don't worry about over doing it.

Finally finish up with the chopped parsley and lemons.
Don't forget to squeeze on the lemon and some ground black pepper before eating.
I really enjoyed it, it was  full of flavour and just what I felt like.

Friday, 19 August 2011

homemade taco seasoning

There is no need to buy already prepared taco seasoning when it is so easy to put together.
I got this recipe from 'a couple cooks'.  You can use this mix to spice up any sort of meat, especially for burritos, tacos or nachos.

You will need

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes

Combine all the ingredients together and there you have it. 

Finns' lunch - nachos

This was Finns' lunch today.  Sort of thrown together.  I used what was on hand.
I browned off some lean beef mince with some homemade taco seasoning and some tomato puree.  It looks a little dry, I should have added a splash of water to it.
I added the beef to the layer of tortilla chips and then added some sour cream, avocado, grated cheese, sweet chile sauce and the chopped mango (only because I know Finn likes it).
Add whatever you like, olives, tomato salsa, refried beans, fresh herbs and make a large plate for everyone to share.

Monday, 15 August 2011


 I am a little embarrassed about posting this post, but my husband was very keen.  Anybody who knows Chris will know of his loyality and love of Steinlager beer and Steinlager only.  So when he saw the re-release of the white can (to celebrate 25 years of unconditional support and official sponsor of the  'All Blacks' ) he got all excited.  As it is only back for a limited time a photo was required.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

beef salad with maple syrup vinaigrette

Yay... finally tomatoes are back at a reasonable price.  I have missed them over the winter.  I bought these lovely red and yellow ones from 'Jack Lums'.  I decided to use them in a beef salad that was inspired by 'food for my family'.  The combination of the blue cheese and the maple syrup is delicious.

For this salad you will need

  • 2 whitlof or you could use cos lettuce
  • baby watercress
  • 1 avocado
  • red and yellow tomatoes
  • thinnly sliced rear beef ( i used a big piece of thick whole rump that was BBQed)
  • crumblings of blue cheese (I used blue castello)
  • walnuts (optional - i didn't bother, kids don't like them)

You can plate up individually or serve yourself from a big salad bowl

For the dressing you will need
  • 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar  (you could use any type of vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 clove finely minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 1/2 finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Friday, 12 August 2011


I was at the food show the other week and came across this product.  It is actually quite good.  I would be the first to steer clear of anything that is nasty.  It comes in 2 styles, mild and spicy.  I have only tried the mild.  It does have coriander, lemon juice and garlic in it, but the avocado taste is real.  Certainly not as good as a perfectly ripe newly sliced avocado, but pretty decent and if you add things even better. It really is a good product just to have in the fridge.  I think it lasts for about a week.  It costs $3.99 and is found in the fridge by the produce section.  It has 2 packets.
We have had it with 'Nachos' and Lily has been taking it too school for her lunch along with some tortilla chips.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

anna's sushi

Beautiful sushi made with freshly caught snapper, avocado, sugar snaps, crunchy beans and springs onions.
Kindly shared by my friend Anna made with the sticky rice recipe.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

food love

I have not posted this weekend as I have cooked nothing new, just repeats.
Here are a few things that I would love to be eating.  
Just roll over the title and it will link you up with the original site.

spiced peaches with ham and basil

Bring on summer...

savannah spring rolls

I will attempt to make these one day...there are step by step photos on her blog.

crispy pork belly

 Yum and yum


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

pizza pinwheels

Had some pizza dough left over from the other night and sort of threw this together literally.  Didn't' really know how it would turn out so not a lot of care was taken.  Anyway turned out ok, well the kids thought so.

Roll out the dough and add what ever toppings you have.

Then roll and cut..

Bake in the oven at 200C,  Can't remember how long they took so just keep an eye on them.