Blue Cod in Crazy Water

blue cod in crazy water

Blue Cod in Crazy Water

Here I am cooking our beautiful South Island blue cod again.  Firm fleshed, white, delicate, delicious, locally and sustainably fished, there is nothing not to love about this fish. I spoke very briefly the other day to local seafood expert, restauranteur and chef Darren Lovell of Queenstowns amazing Fishbone Bar and Grill, about sustainably fished New Zealand seafood. I was heartened to take away from our conversation, the fact that he felt we had a lot to be proud of in our New Zealand fishing industry, and the work that is happening to ensure the long term sustainability of our fisheries.  Comments like this from informed people are great to hear, and it is always a conversation worth having regarding anything we choose to eat. The phrase ‘crazy water’  in the title of this recipe-  is from the Italian aqua pazza, which in translation may refer to the simple tomato, garlic herb and chilli broth, or to the sea water that the fishermen use to cook there catch – there seems to be no definitive answer to this.  It is though, a very alluring title and one that drew me to it straight away. The beauty in this dish lies in its simplicity and the integrity of the ingredients.  Show casing fresh fish with the best tomatoes you can find, a few fresh herbs, garlic, chilli flakes and your best extra virgin olive oil.   It is often simple meals  like this that show off the best of any countries real […]

simple celeriac salad

Quick and Delicious Celeriac Salad

If the fennel I wrote about last week seems still exotic to me what do I now think of celeriac?  Not so sure.   I  wonder why, even though it is definitely not a vegetable I have grown up with or cooked with or eaten – it still almost falls in my mind, to the category of the much maligned swede.  Having said that, price wise it is more of a luxury vegetable, and certainly in culinary sense you will find it much used in french and european cooking – remoulade sauce and salad being very traditional uses of celeriac.  We also often see it on restaurant menus in soup or puree/mash under fish and meats and with its celery flavour it lends itself to all these ideas and many more salads. I have paired it today with walnuts, cornichon, apple, radishes and lots of fresh herbs -dill, parsley and mint.  This salad reminds me a little of my easy-raw-beetroot-salad in its simplicity of preparation and in its ability to satisfy.  This salad works well in many situations, it is great as a side with a main meal or made into a salad meal in its own right.  It works well teamed with lightly smoked and rich flavours – think about – smoked fish tumbled gently through this salad, with boiled egg and your favourite greens, or with chicken or pork braised in rich smoked paprica and lemon sauces or chorizo sausage, or you could eat it as part of a salad […]

roast fennel and tomatoes

Simple Oven Roast Fennel and Tomatoes

Fennel is one of those ingredients that still seems exciting and exotic, challenging me to try new combinations and create meals that are new to my palate. I let it take me to places I haven”t yet been –  I imagine lunch between the vines on warm summer evenings under ancient trees with family and friends, or Scandinavian winters, open fires and apres ski – melty cheesy baked fennel dishes.  In reality I have traveled little in my life, but from my love of food, cooking and reading about the people, the cooks and the chefs – the places they come from and travel to – food has taken me, in my imagination to these places.  Maybe not real but vivid and enchanting. Winter in my world is at its best now, spring is around the corner and the days are starting to get longer.  Knowing that the shortest days are past I am enjoying these last lingering evenings.  This roast fennel dish is still warming but a little lighter after the heavier, comforting winter meals and could be easily eaten at room temperature on a summer evening. This is leisurely cooking, simple and easily prepared at the end of the day while completing the necessary tasks of the day, or prepared as a simple light lunch. ROAST FENNEL WITH TOMATOES CAPERS AND PRESERVED LEMON Serves two people as a side dish or part of a light lunch, but can easily be doubled and more for a crowd. Pre heat […]

roast cauliflower salad

Roast Cauliflower Salad with Crunch

Salads are the stuff of my life at work and at home.  So much so that at times I forget which kitchen I am in!  I’m surprised at what I find or more often don’t don’t find in the kitchen I am in.  In the confusion of what has been done or brought for which kitchen, there is sometimes a creative disjunct and the great ideas and foods that get created are in the rush of life forgotten.  To create a trail of recipes, ideas and memories was always one of the reasons for creating this blog,  for myself to remember what I spend my time doing, and to share these ideas with people I care about.  So sometimes a simple (ish) comfort salad like this deserves a place in these memories as a reminder of meals I have made and want to share. This is a hearty and delicious, comforting salad that can be a meal in itself, or served as part of a selection with your main meal.  Once cold you could extend it a little by tossing through a bag of baby lettuce leaves or mesculin before drizzling with your favourite balsamic vinegar. Some ideas are so simple they hardly seem worth writing about, but it is sometimes these simple things in my pantry that take a meal from ho-hum to delicious.  I hate food waste and to be able to toast up stale bread ends, and scraps of parsley hidden in unexpected parts of my garden, […]

prawn croissant tapas

Prawn Croissant Tapas

Any time is a good time to have friends and family around and to be able to share with them simple and delicious snacks, or tapas,  with a glass of wine is for me the some of the best of times! These prawn croissants can be prepared earlier and served cold, at room temperature, or gently warmed. You can also easily halve the prawns and pastry to make them a  one bite canapé size.  These are simply  made, with foods that you can have in your refrigerator and freezer at any time, all that is required is a little defrosting time for your prawns and pastry.   PRAWN, KIMCHI, CREAM CHEESE CROISSANTS Preheat oven to 220’c If  you are using Good Honest Pastry, start by cutting it lengthwise in half and rolling it again lengthwise to 3/4 its length. You need a long rectangle of pastry approx. 15 cm wide and 60cm long Cut your pastry into long triangles the width of the pastry and about 4-5cm wide at the base. (See photo). Place 1/2 a tsp of cream cheese and one teaspoon of chopped kimchi at the wide end of the pastry and the prawn across the top of this. Roll from the wide end to the narrow end of the pastry stretching it slightly around the prawn mix as you go. Place on a lined baking tray and brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in a hot oven 15 – 20 minutes until crisp […]

korean carrot crepes

Spicy Kimchi and Carrot crepes

Korean Kimchi has been front and centre of my attention this year, I am hooked on this crunchy, spicy, nutritious condiment.  You really do have to love something that tastes so good, is simple to make, and is good for you.  My http://freshkitchen.co.nz/kimchi-everyday/ has become my go to condiment, and this is another way of including it in my every day meals. The inspiration for these crepes comes from “Green Kitchen At Home” by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl, a beautiful book that is high on my wish list. These are great to have as a sharing, construct-it-yourself-at-the-table meal, or you can make and wrap them in advance, put a little extra dressing in a jar and take for a picnic or packed lunch.  The crepes are light, easy to eat and delicious, complimenting the ingredients and holding together perfectly. I love that by adding carrots to the crepe batter, it adds colour and extra vegetables into my life. I used the blender to make my crepe mix and the carrot was completely blended in, giving the batter a beautiful golden colour.  I think it would also look beautiful if you finely grate the carrot and make the mix with a whisk so you can see the shreds of carrot in the batter. I bought a beautiful big organic chicken for this and cooked it with hoisin sauce and garlic. I used only the breasts for these crepes and now have the carcass quietly boiling away to make bone broth and there […]

mushroom pearl barley parsnip rosti pie

Mushroom, Pearl Barley and Parsnip Rosti Pie

Despite the fact that we celebrated the shortest day last week and dreamt of spring skiing and a returning to summer, I found myself yesterday subject to a very cool winter blast . Today the sky is clear and frost lies heavily on the ground and, as the winter sun streams into my kitchen, I am cooking both to warm me now and give comfort and shared happiness later. This is another delicious slow cooked comfort food for these bone chilling days that also comes back again the next day tasting even better. Use this as a substantial vegetarian main with a platter of roast vegetables and some lightly steamed green vegetables to the side, or as a comforting side to a steak with a big green salad.  (Members of  my family are beginning to think there is a vegetarian plot happening in their midst, so tonight I will distract them with a steak!) MUSHROOM, PEARL BARLEY  AND PARSNIP ROSTI  PIE Serves four as part of a main meal and can easily be doubled or altered to fit the size of your cooking vessel. Pre heat oven to  170 -180’c   Begin by rinsing and cooking the pearl barley in a pot of lightly salted water with a sprig of rosemary, thyme and bay if you want.  This will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and put aside once cooked. Meanwhile heat a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and equivalent of butter (or two tablespoons of olive […]

lentil and black bean chilli

Everyday Lentil and Black Bean Chilli

I read a phrase last week that captured my interest  “cook once eat twice”,  sort of a no-brainer,  but for some reason we have always shunned leftovers.  My cooking is spent avoiding left overs knowing that in most instances they will be abandoned mouldering in the refrigerator and one of my biggest hates is food waste!   So, thinking on this, I decided to consider meals that could be cooked in larger quantities and reinvented to seem new second time around. Where better to start looking than the young people I work with, these are busy people juggling finances, work and fun. From my conversations with these inspirational people came the idea for lentil braises – one was eating a chilli and one a Bolognese, straight away I had my idea to run with.  Thanks ladies! The next issue confronting me, and a surprising number of other people I talk to, is that of including more meat free vegetable rich meals in life that wont leave the meat eaters thinking something was missing.  Once again lentils are a great answer. If you need any further reason to make this, then that reason has to be that it is a real store cupboard / refrigerator meal.  You can change up the ingredients and use those lonely carrots, bag ends of vegetables and pulses and at the end have a delicious meal (and a good conscience for your efforts!) This is a weekend cooking-at-leisure meal that it will be better for time […]

orange chilli tahini sauce

Best Ever Chilli and Orange Tahini Sauce

Okay that is a pretty big claim but I really do love this sauce and for now I am happy to pour it over just about any thing. Winter really is here now and it is time to look for comfort foods in my part of the world.  My challenge to myself  is to try and do this in ways that I can still feel happy about what it is I am eating, and also to use as many as I can of the amazing winter vegetables in the process.  There are many staples of winter that I return to every year they give comfort in there flavours and the memories of the shared meals when they have been enjoyed.   This delicious tahini sauce adds a new dimension and level of enjoyment to some of these old favourites.  I enjoyed it last night over a platter of roast vegetables and cherry tomato salad and I am looking forward to pouring it onto a lentil chilli that is simmering on my stove as I write.  Use it instead of mayonnaise, aioli or yoghurt dipping sauces and in conjunction with anything you would put with hummus   It would be delicious on a wrap or mixed salad bowl, adding both flavour and richness with all the goodness of tahini, orange chilli and apple cider vinegar. I live with the fact that not every one is a tahini lover, I have always loved it though, especially the “top secret” blend made in […]

preserved lemons

Essential Preserved Lemons

I am a confirmed lover of condiments, sauces, salsas and dressings my fridge is dominated by jars of tasty concoctions to make the ordinary extraordinary.  Preserved lemons are among my favourites and although not something I use every day, when I am cooking fish, braised meats and vegetables or salads with a mediterranean twist these are part of my go to flavour options.  New Zealand citrus fruits are at there peak over the winter months so its a great time to make use of them and preserve some for the rest of the year.  You could also get an early start and make a few jars now to give away as christmas gifts or hostess gifts. They take minutes to make and need at least a month (minimum) and up to three months to cure. Once cured they can remain in a coolish dark cupboard and are stable for at least a year. Once opened keep them in the fridge.  In the fridge they seem to keep indefinitely and I have had them at times for up to a year with no apparent loss of quality, as long as they remain covered in the brine.  Over the years I have decreased the amount of salt I use and have not noticed any deterioration in quality and found I am able to use more without over salting my food. You can make as many or few jars as you like, as I say they do make great gifts, you could add […]