Organic Chicken Bone Broth

miso bone broth

Organic Chicken Bone Broth

Bone broth – miracle cure all maybe – that would certainly be great.  It definitely gets a lot of good press for its health benefits, and while some sources suggest these benefits may not be scientifically proven it is an old fashioned tonic made with affordable but good quality ingredients, and looking at the finished product can make you feel closer to being a domestic goddess.  In everyday cooking it both tastes great and works really well as a flavour boost for quick and nutritious soups risottos…and any other meal you might consider using stock or water in. Bone broth is said to benefit us in many ways, the following are some of the ways I have read it can help us Boost immunity Fight inflammation Alleviate the common cold and bronchitis Strengthen bones and teeth Promote weight loss Improve hydration Aid sleep Skin vitality Help normalise stomach acid ……. Including Bone Broth in our diet has to be a win win situation, and even if it is not a miracle cure all, it is still real food made simply out of quality ingredients. To make this at home is simple – especially if like me you have an under utilised slow cooker taking up  valuable space.  It can of course be made on the stove top and there are also some very good bone broth products available for purchase.  My reading suggests that this is a product that you are best to make or buy organic, as any negative […]

chicken liver pate

Pate and Pinot

This may be a detour from the eat – healthy’ish’ – seasonal – mostly vegetable options I mostly aim for on the blog,  but this is unapologetically about good times and celebration food. Today I am giving you an old and trusted recipe for Chicken Liver Pate,  this recipe, slightly abridged, was originally given to me by one of the first people I met in Queenstown, the lovely Libby Lohmann –  to this day one of the most socially accomplished  people I know. One of the best reasons to make this delicious Chicken Liver Pate is that it pairs superbly well with Pinot Noir and good times.  The Pinot Noir paired with the pate here is that made by my amazing friend Ruth, this is her fabulous 2015 vintage Te Amo Pinot Noir, shared at a birthday celebration for friends, this was a great combination of food and wine and a fabulous day with inspiring people. This chicken liver Pate has been in my repertoire  for more years than I am prepared to number, it sometimes disappears from the menu for a few years but always returns and the flavours never grow old.  It is decadent with its cream and butter and brandy and maybe should come with a moderation warning, but for a special occasion or the odd occasion, it is delicious.   I could argue that it is full of iron and good fats like butter and cream but my nutritional background is more one of common sense, good […]

roast cauliflower

Whole Roast Cauliflower

This spiced-up whole roast cauliflower with lemony herb yoghurt is bringing sunshine into my winter.  I have made this several times over the past few weeks and I think it would be just as delicious as a spring vegetable for my friends on the other side of the world. For us, cauliflower is in season – along with snow and heavy frosts – letting us know that as of June 1 Autumn is finished for another year and it is time to lean into winter. A few remnants of the final fruits of the autumn still linger, clinging to the branches or lying on the ground returning to the soil – I hope that these will provide compost for the next seasons crop.  It is time now though, to light the fire and think about warming winter comfort foods to tempt my friends and family out on cold and stormy evenings. Cooking a whole cauliflower does offer a few conundrums – such as whether to steam it first or just to let it cook slowly in the oven. At this point I have decided it depends for me on what is going on in the oven and with my time.  Steaming, or dare I say it, even steaming in the microwave will definitely hurry the roasting process and allow you to just give it a quick char grill in the oven. But, if you have the oven on anyway it is fine to cook it in there.  One tip I […]

tahini eggplant bake

Tahini Eggplant Bake

This is delicious winter comfort food that can be served as a side dish, or the main event.  It is also exciting because this vegan and gluten free bake is comfort food at its wintery best. I was was inspired in this dish by the Lamb Siniyah recipe in the beautiful Ottolenghi book Simple, a recipe described as the middle eastern equivalent of Shepherds Pie. I absolutely loved this recipe and the tahini sauce baked on top was a revelation to me.  I have since talked it up and spent a lot of time in the middle of the night creating recipes to use it. This is the first of my experiments and one that I have enjoyed three times already and now a forth in the writing and photographing of it for this post. I have made it in my favourite smallish 5 cup capacity enamel baking pan and find it is the perfect size for four people as a side vegetable dish or two as main meal with side salad.  This is another of those recipes that can easily be doubled or more to feed a crowd.  It is also great, and possibly even better (as are most similar baked dishes) the next day.  This also makes me very happy when Ed is away and I am cooking for one as it is delicious as leftovers and makes a tasty easy start to the next days meal. Today I had a friend coming to visit and I wanted […]

polenta chips

Polenta

Such a simple cupboard staple with so many variations.  A block of cooled polenta is great fridge food for busy lives, the polenta can be made in minutes and refrigerated ready to snap to action.  Best of all it goes with almost anything and makes it better.  Most of these photos have been taken over the summer but as we transition to winter I am looking forward to teaming it with the likes of – buttery mushrooms with loads of garlic and parsley or roast pumpkin, maybe some chorizo, spinach, walnuts and cheese, or a slow cooked juicy ragout – mmmmm. Sliced into “chips” and baked or fried polenta is never a bad choice and will make the most conservative palates happy.  Set it like a trivit under a stack of roast vegetables and olives or a whole cauliflower drizzled in a spicy paprica oil, or for meaty options – think chicken pieces, lamb fillets, chops, rumps or racks, or a steak on the bone to roast and catch the juices – any of these choices will never be wrong and if you want to test its versatility just crumble it and bake or fry to use as croutons in your next salad and you will be equally happy. Another great feature is that although like most foods polenta can be richly enhanced with any amount of butter cream and cheese, the polenta can be equally delicious when made with fresh herbs, olive oil and or spice mixes such as […]

courgette and goats cheese butter

Zucchini/Courgette and Goats Cheese Butter

Zucchini – courgette whatever the name they are definitely a part of summers bounty, in the stores they are plentiful and affordable and if you have a garden chances are you have a constant supply of them.   This is one of my favourite ways of using them, it hits all those exciting flavour notes with chilli, garlic, lemon and basil.  It is great on croutons for a party or a snack, spread on flat breads with a bit of salad on top, or spread on your wrap as well as or instead of hummus or mayonnaise,  and, it is an especially useful way of using those crazy courgettes gone rogue that look more like marrows. It makes a little bit of good quality goats cheese go a long way and it can make a large quantity of courgettes aka the marrowlike version of courgettes shrink down to a more manageable volume when necessary. When you are preparing the courgettes for this, you can use one of two methods, firstly with young firm courgettes you can simply grate them and add to the pan, but with the larger or watery marrowlike versions, I grate them on to a tea towel and then twist the towel with the courgette well enclosed, over the kitchen sink to wring as much of the liquid as I can from them ( I am sure this liquid is very nutritious and would be great added to smoothies or soups).  This squeezing of water from the […]

white chocolate fruit muffins

White Chocolate Fruit Muffins for a Picnic

Over the last couple of years I have spent a lot of time and energy coming up with aspirational recipes to share, recipes to channel my best self and to give ideas to maybe help you to do the same.  I love this and still want to continue this journey trying to live and cook for my best life. Moving on and a couple of weeks ago my son George sent a message from the other side of the world requesting a recipe for my muffins – I sent a quick recipe off the top of my head -forgot the sugar – doh….  Probably the best answer would be to think this through and put the recipe properly on the blog.  The stumbling block with this idea comes from a feeling that for my best self no white sugar or flour should appear on this blog, and because of this I have always discounted the idea of recording some of these home favourites here   Then over the last week or so I kept thinking about this and my reluctance to put the muffin recipe here on the blog.  Lots of wondering has bought me back to my original reason for the blog which was principally was to keep in touch and share with friends and family at home and around the world –  for me this means sharing my world as reflected in the kitchen.  So it seems that something I have cooked so often that no recipe is required, […]

labna and char grilled vegetables

Labna Yoghurt – Everyday Delicious

Welcome to 2019, I wish you all well and I hope it holds everything good for you. I did have a momentary panic as I sat down at the computer this morning, wondering if I would even remember how to open this blog — it feels it has been a long time since I have sat myself down and written anything, being busy and being creative it would seem do not go hand in hand for me.  Luckily life seems to be in some sort of order now (an optimistic view of my normal state of semi controlled chaos) and with the madness of Christmas behind me I am looking forward to some slightly more considered and creative eating and cooking. As always for me it is condiments that star in my cooking and the main player the last few weeks has been strained yoghurt called Labna or Labneh.   Labna is a Middle Eastern staple made by straining yoghurt to remove excess whey and resulting in a thickened slightly sour spread.  Inspired by both some delicious Turkish eggs eaten at a local cafe, and a recipe from Ottolinghi s new book – Simple – for “Hot charred cherry tomatoes with cold yoghurt”.   I was ready to make again that staple I have talked of before Labna/Labnah.   While both these recipes use greek yoghurt I wanted to make my own version of this thickened greek style yoghurt in order to control the thickness. With Labna you can choose how thick you […]

salmon gravlax and Te Amo pinot gris

Salmon Gravlax and Te Amo Wines Pinot Gris

This weekend I shared a day with my friend Ruth from Te Amo wines, matching food with her beautiful Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir wines.  It was also Ruths birthday and I was lucky to also be able to share food and wine with her amazing friends and family. The story of Ruth and her wine is all about the special relationship with family, friends, food and wine, and all of this was embodied in the spirit of the day I spent with her.  See the bottle in the picture above and her story is there – the drawing by her amazing daughter, a speech bubble with the name Te Amo,  meaning I love you, and on the back of the bottle a brief description of the wine giving you a feeling for the wine but allowing you to draw your own conclusions For this special occasion, and to match her Pinot Gris, I prepared  Scandinavian Salmon Gravadlax. This is a simple preparation that can happen slowly in the refrigerator over a few days. There are many variations on this traditional recipe that are also amazing, but for me I am happy to keep with the original simple recipe – no added spirits or beetroot today.  Most times I will eat gravlax as a pre prandial, canape or tapa, but today I wanted to make a seasonal salad to share as part of a birthday lunch, hoping to embrace fresh spring flavours for the party.  I have served the Gravadlax […]

simple and sophisticated bean sallad

Simple and Sophisticated Summer Green Bean Salad

Summers on its way and this simple salad is sophisticated enough to have with your Christmas turkey, a beautiful lemony roast Bostok organic chicken or your weekend barbecue leg of lamb.  Tarragon is one of my favourite herbs, it reminds me of amazing traditional French cooking and it matches fantastically with the beans, the hazelnuts and the blueberries in this salad. Tarragon is not often seen in todays cooking but it is a beautiful and under used summer herb and not difficult to grow. If you have left over tarragon from this salad or a glut of it in your garden pop it in a sterilised  jar or bottle with some white wine vinegar and you will have tarragon vinegar for your next salad.  Leave the tarragon in the bottle with the vinegar for several weeks and then strain it off for delicious tarragon vinegar that will keep in a cool dark place for at least a year.  There are definitely more sophisticated methods for making tarragon vinegar but this has worked for me. Tarragon works well with eggs, potatoes, seafood,  poultry, and is great in creamy or lemony sauces, think about delicious hollandaise or bernaise sauces or a butter, white wine, caper and tarragon pan reduction over fish  ….. My favourite salad at work recently used tarragon vinegar, brown rice and a mix finely sliced and grated different coloured beetroot that I marinated in tarragon vinegar and then olive oil mustard and lots of seeds chervil and chives.  So […]