Tuesday, 26 June 2012

camembert with caramelised onions

Haven't had camembert for years, probably back in the 90s.  It was 1/2 price at New World so decided to give it a go.  I was not disappointed. It went nicely with the caramelised onions that I made.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

pool envy

At this time of year I start craving the warmth of the sun.  Seasonal affect disorder has firmly set in. Lack of vitamin D is not good.  Anyway, just looking at these great pool locations gives me something to dream about and take the edge off.

Casa China Blanca Puerta Vallarta

Philip Babb Architects

Gardens of Guy Hervais

Ramon Esteve

Casa Kimball - Dominican Republic

Baja Mexico - Gracia studios

Idee Per Viaggiare

Crystal lagoon - Chile

Friday, 22 June 2012

garden surprise

Look at what is growing in my garden.  I am chuffed.  I really didn't expect it to get this far.  Out of the 9 seeds I planted only 3 have made it to this stage.  Still I am very happy.  The broad beans are growning like weeds but no sign of any pods yet.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

tomato chicken pappardelle

Lily and my favourite pasta at the moment is pappardelle, big wide ribbons of deliciousness.
This is a simple sauce which is just my sweet tomato sauce  that I use for just about everything.  I did add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to the sauce to add more depth of flavour (but not essential).  The key to the sauce is to make sure you reduce it right down so there is no liquid left.

For this recipe I used

  • 3 serves of pappardelle
  • 2-3 tablespoons of tomato sauce - you don't need much
  • 1 chicken thigh chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped italian parsley
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper 
  • olive oil

Put your pasta on first.  Cook your chicken in a large fry pan (so that you can add the cooked pasta to the pan).  Next add the tomato sauce, then the pasta, followed by the parsley.  Add some pasta water to loosen it up a bit.  Toss it all around, serve in it your favourite bowl and add some olive oil and parmesan cheese and black pepper.

Other recipes that use my basic sweet tomato sauce can be found here and here on pizza, here with spicy lamb and lebanese bread and here, with meatballs and couscous.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

australian green prawns

These are probably the best prawns I have had in NZ, no bull.  These are Australian green prawns and they are so sweet and succulent.  I usually buy the Aussie banana prawns as they are good value for money.  These green ones surpass them by miles.

I bought them unbelievably from 'Countdown'.  I try to avoid 'Countdown' at all costs, but I do go there from time to time as it is very handy.  These prawns were on special for $19.99 a kilo.  I got a dozen for $6.  I sent Chris back on Sunday to get some more but they were all gone as their specials go from Sunday to Sunday.  Very disappointing.  I will be on the lookout in the future. If you see them get them.  I made a pizza with them and I couldn't stop going on about it.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

chicken bacon,lettuce,tomato mini rolls

Chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise in pre- bake mini rolls.  YumYum...how can you not love these.  Heavenly combination with warm soft chewy rolls...

Friday, 15 June 2012

easy scallop potatoes

I watched this video on 'Saveur' - How to make speedy scallop potatoes.
I made this dish last night for dinner along with lamb steaks and salsa verde and I thought that I would share it with you as it is so simple to make and extremely delicious and watching it on video makes everything less complicated.

I used about 5 medium potatoes, 1 clove of garlic grated on the microplane,  1/2 cup cream and the rest of milk (not quite covering the potatoes) and some finely grated parmesan cheese and yes, some butter.   Above, is at the stage when it had finished its cooking on the stovetop.  Around 10 mins of cooking time,  You need to stir it around or it will stick on the bottom.

I know this ridiciously indulgent with the buffalo mozzarella on top, but it was in the fridge and needed to be used.  I usually think it is sacrilege to cook fresh mozzarella.  I also added some grated mozzarella and some more parmesan. Use whatever cheese and as much as you like. I left it in the same pan and  baked it till golden.  

I found a patch of mint that had sprung up secretly in my garden, so I decided that would be my basis for salsa verde.
This is not your traditional salsa verde.  Literally it means green sauce so I just made mine up with what  I had in the fridge and cupboard and in the garden.
I used a bunch of mint, 1/2 the amount of parsley to mint, 1 small finely chopped red onion, 1 large tablespoon of capers, 2 gerkins finely chopped, lemon juice and olive oil.
I like my salsa verde sweet and tart pefect for cutting through the richness of the potatoes.

This is a sometimes dinner, perfect for a weekend comfort winter meal.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

brown rice salad with butternut pumpkin

I made this salad yesterday to use up the ingredients that are floating around in my kitchen.  I have had a butternut pumpkin sitting on my bench for over a week now and the nut mix was not going to be nice if I didn't use it soon.  The last of the goat cheese was used and so was the sweet tomato sauce that was left over from the weekend dinner.  There are always onions and brown rice in my pantry.

For this  salad I used

1 cup of uncooked brown rice - cooked
1 butternut pumpkin - that was a lot you probably only need to use half
handful of nuts that I toasted  (tasti do a nut mix that have cashews, pumpkins seeds, sliced almonds and pinenuts)
2 onions cut into 1/8ths
bulb of garlic (optional) I over cooked most of mine
handful of water cress or rocket
chile flakes
a few crumbles of goat cheese or feta
chopped chives - they were in the garden - you can use any herb
sweet tomato sauce dressing

Start off by cooking your rice.  I did that as soon as I was up so it was already to go at lunch time.
Next cut your  pumpkin into whatever size you like.  (Jacob said he thought ours was too big).
Roast with the onions and garlic.  Divide up the bulb but leave the skins on.  I like to put all in a bowl and mix with the olive oil and salt and pepper before putting in the roasting pan so they all get a good coating.  Space out the vegetables as they will go soggy and gently turn them over 3-4 times during their cooking time.  A little care is required so the pumpkin retains it shape.  If the onions are getting too scorched, take them out ahead of the pumpkin.
While the veges are cooking make the dressing.  Use 2 tablespoons of the sweet tomato sauce along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.  Whisk together and add to the brown rice along with some chile flakes and combine well.  Always a good idea to dress your rice first so it can absorb the flavour and it doesn't mush up your vege if you added it later.
Once the veges have cooked to your liking let them cool for about 15 mins then add to the rice mixture along with the rest of the ingredients.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

chevre with sweet tomato relish and rocket and parmesan salad

Well we had the dinner party and I made the Coq au vin with my new pot. I was not entirely pleased with it, the Coq au vin I mean.  Not one of my better efforts.  The pot was great that it could fit 2 size 22 chickens but I cooked it too long and the chicken completely fell apart and went stringy.  The sauce lacked something too, despite the red wine, homemade stock, bacon, garlic etc etc, so as a result I did not photograph or post.  A little disappointing I had such high hopes.  The guests didn't complain so wasn't all bad.
Anyway, sticking with a french theme we had some chicken and duck liver parfait and chevre with tomato relish as a starter which I enjoyed.
We had left overs so we had it for lunch today along with a rocket and parmesan salad.

If you haven't tried goats cheese before I recommend you give it a go.  I thought I didn't like it and on its own it's not that pleasant but combined with something sweet it becomes something else.

The tomato relish recipe is this one with a few chile flakes added.
Put down some of the tomato relish in a bake proof dish.  Tapas plates are ideal.  Then add a 1 cm slice of the cheese to the middle of it.
Put it in a 200 degree oven for about 5 mins until the relish is bubbling and the cheese just starts to catch.
Add a little olive oil if you wish.  I used some lemon Colonna oil.

The salad is simply rocket, shaved bits of parmesan with some slivers of red onion and croutons dressed  with red wine vinegar and good olive oil and of course salt and pepper.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

the beast of cookware

This incredible beast of french cookware is all mine and I can't believe the good fortune as to why it is in my possession.  I have wanted a dutch oven for many many years and a big one at that.  I have borrowed one from time to time.  This beauty is a massive 12 litre capacity 'La Cocette Staub' the absolute creme de la creme of dutch ovens and cast iron cook ware.  You literally could put a new born baby in it with the lid on.

So I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this beauty at the 'Hospice shop' in Glen Innes.  It cost me a mere $149, probably a lot for a hospice purchase but when they retail for over $800 bucks, it was an absolute steal.  This pot hasn't even been used.
I love cast iron and cook almost exclusively with it, this will be a welcome addition to my collection.
I will have to plan a dinner party for next weekend.
I'm thinking something traditionally French.  Coq au vin sounds good.  I will keep you posted.