Autumn

beetroot salad
Autumn, Gluten Free, Lunch, Salad

Autumn Beetroot salad

I was inspired today by recent conversations with my Mum who has been eating lots of salads in her bubble.  She spoke of having beetroot in her salad which  took me back to childhood salads at my grand mothers which had iceberg lettuce, beetroot, egg, fresh herbs and more and of course with the essential condensed milk dressing served on the side. They were the sort of salads that I think of as the iconic New Zealand food of my youth.  Like most things that were good “in the day”, they are still delicious – old school salads, prawn cocktails and egg sandwiches, to name a few which when properly executed with care and quality ingredients, as they always were, are timeless.  I am not sure I am ready to return to condensed milk salad dressing yet, but who knows. I served this salad with cheesy pan toasted sandwiches on the side which made for a delicious, light Anzac day dinner. I think this salad makes a great starting point for lots of options such as serving as a hero side salad with a simple steak, roast chicken or salmon fillets, or by keeping it as “the meal ” and adding blue vein cheese or parmesan to the salad. Today I cooked the beetroot in the oven at the same time as I was cooking other things, (Anzac biscuits of course!,) and dressed it with a tangy pomegranate molasses dressing.    I think you could just as easily use tinned […]

slow cooked lamb shoulder
Autumn, Gluten Free, Meal, Winter

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

Comfort food – but still contemporary – this lamb shoulder is full of zesty intricate flavours that give balance and interest and will make you want to eat it again and again. Inspired by a photo, but less inspired by the recipe that went with it, I created my own recipe to fit the image, and my lamb shoulder turned into a meal that was everything I hoped for and more.  It has fed two of us for two dinners and one lunch, so there is definitely enough for four to six people and it was definitely delicious enough to keep and record as a recipe. This slow cooked lamb recipe is one that I will look forward to making again and sharing with my  family and friends when we are able to meet again soon. The recipe does take time – a day to marinate and another for long slow cooking, but this gives you time to get on with life, soak some beans or search out some rice or grains –  your choice of what you have – and know that dinner for tomorrow is sorted. Maybe take some time to think about a really simple, fresh, zingy salad to go with this.  I had been given a beautiful red radicchio which I made into a salad with orange slices, pine-nuts, chardonnay vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil – this seemed on the day to be the perfect bitter and textural contrast to the slow cooked sticky lamb […]

cheese pastry
Autumn, Canape, Snack

Easy Cheese Pastry

  I have been wanting to share this cheese pastry recipe for some time, it is a family favourite and a great party recipe to have up your sleeve – even if it is a bubble party for two. Brilliant  at any time it is also great for times like these when we are looking to  stay home and use store cupboard items and foods that are already in our refrigerator.  This is a practical and delicious way to use up left over pieces of hard cheese lurking in the refrigerator, allowing us to do the right thing – stay home- and serve up delicious comfort food at the same time. The dough can be customised, with the weights of cheese, flour, seeds etc that you have to hand. It doesn’t need to be fancy or for a special occasion either! The crackers are definitely popular here and often disappear as simple snack food throughout the day. The dough/pastry is quickly made in a food processor and can both be made to fit the purpose using preferred cheeses or as an isolation special with cheese ends from your refrigerator – any hard’ish cheese will work whether tasty, edam, gruyere or cheddar –  and using those flours and seeds already in your pantry.   They can also be specifically made with your favourite harder style cheese such as blue vein cheese (leave the lovely soft ones to eat another day).  They will be perfect to go with (fresh or grilled) end of […]

zucchini cannelloni
Autumn, Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, Summer, Vegetable

Zucchini Cannelloni

It is the end of summer and my garden and, more to the point – my daughters gardens – summer vegetables are ready to be harvested.  Although I have got wiser about the number of courgette plants that need to be planted each year I still seem to engage in a constant quest to come up with new ways to cook them. Today I am feeling the squeeze (muffin top jeans), a worthy result of a wonderful summers entertainment with so many very good friends, but it means today I am looking for a lighter dinner option. I need to point out that the photos I have taken today are of a half batch of the recipe that follows.  This worked well but if you are feeding a family or would like leftovers for lunch or dinner tomorrow go ahead and make it as the recipe is written. A LIGHTER SUMMER ZUCCHINI CANNELLONI RECIPE Serves 4 – 6  people Begin by lightly toasting your pine nuts. Next make your cottage cheese filling/topping in a large bowl  ADD All the cottage cheese, 2 eggs Half the parmesan finely grated, Most of the basil finely sliced (save a couple of whole leaves to garnish if you like) Half the pine nuts (save half to garnish) Finely sliced spring onion Finely grated garlic 1 teaspoon lemon zest Salt and pepper Ends of courgettes finely chopped Mix well and taste to check seasoning add more salt and pepper if necessary. Finely slice your courgettes length […]

eggplant meatballs
Autumn, Canape, Gluten Free, Meal, Vegetable

Simple Vegan Eggplant ‘Meatballs’

These delicious little “meatballs” have been simmering in my mind for several months. After two beautiful, and hardworking!, vegetarian Swedish girls came to stay, I promised them I would work on a recipe for vegetarian ‘Swedish meatballs”.  There were a few fails before this recipe, and now that I have made it this far, I confess the inspiration was Swedish but the translation from this non Swedish chef (me) who has never been to Sweden (yet!!!!!! ) – is probably far from anything Swedish, luckily it is versatile and delicious and I am sure my friends will enjoy them. With todays rendition I have tried to channel my best “Swedish chef” and  have thought about the flavours that might work for Tess and Adela home in Sweden at the beginning of their autumn.  I have paired the eggplant meatballs with a  dill, horseradish beetroot, apple and red cabbage salad (very similar to the beetroot salad here – A Quick Fridge Pickle and a Favourite Easy Raw Beetroot Salad,)  I made a mash consisting of potato, peas, broccoli, spring onions, dill, lemon and mint yoghurt sauce, with a drizzle of olive oil  to finish the plate.  This tastes as good as it looks with lots of fresh vegetables, crunchy texture and a little comfort from the potato vegetable mash. I made the same recipe last week with the addition of curry powder and served them with an Indian spinach “Saag” sauce with was also delicious.  My next plan is to serve […]

courgette and goats cheese butter
Autumn, Canape, Condiments, Gluten Free, Summer, Vegetable

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 […]

pumpkin feta fritters
Autumn, Breakfast, Brunch, Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, Winter

Spicy Pumpkin and Possibly Feta, Fritters

The chill in the south continues to deepen and with the forecast temperature at -7’c this morning, the kitchen is a great place to be. That chill coupled with an amazing vege lettuce burger I had a couple of months ago has certainly encouraged my quest to create a simple and tasty winter vegetable fritter at home.  Having now settled on my favourite version, I think their uses are far from limited to burgers. Stacked up for breakfast or brunch with an egg, some spicy tomato salsa and greek yogurt or as an alternative to fritters make the mix as one or two whole rosti style pancakes and serve with some hot or cold smoked salmon, sour cream capers and lemon…….. With all these options I am still excited about the lettuce burger today.  Not a new idea at all but still a really good one – put together one, two or three Iceburg lettuce leaves to make a great vessel for your favourite burger, refreshing, crunchy and amazingly sturdy. Couple this with a tasty vege fritter, simple salad or slaw, a spicy salsa or some kimchi, maybe a little creamy dressing or yogurt and possibly a few potato crisps or tortilla chips inserted at the last moment for extra crunch. Delicious! I am making these today and plan to put them in the refrigerator ready for “tired and can’t be bothered” night, because on those nights I can’t be bothered to go out and get food either. SPICY PUMPKIN […]

pumpkin crostini
Autumn, Canape, Salad, Vegetable, Winter

Multi Tasking Pumpkin Crostini

Pumpkin season is upon us and even if the calendar says it is still autumn the snow on the hills and the snow makers working hard on Coronet Peak suggest otherwise.  I love pumpkin, and was lucky enough this year to have some – grow themselves – from my Bokashi compost in the vegetable garden. Those lush rambling pumpkin plants did a great job of making my neglected garden look as if something purposeful was happening, yielding several pumpkins and smothering a multitude of weeds. Today Ed is briefly home and so I am hoping these pumpkin crostini will be a welcome step up from his usual hurried travel fare. These are quick to put together taste delicious, and today they then doubled as a side vegetable/salad for the venison we had for dinner. Happy days! Fresh sage is one of those herbs that is easy to grow, and holds on through our sometimes harsh winter. Sadly it is also a herb which I struggle to get around to using.  It teams so well with pumpkin making it a great winter herb and is also great with pork.  This method of frying the leaves renders them absolutely delicious so don’t skip this step if you are lucky enough to have fresh sage available. I dithered today over whether to use blue vein cheese or the Chevre De Bellay goats cheese, I chose the the blue vein cheese this time as Ed does not enjoy goats cheese, and while the blue […]

tomato,pumpkin,basilandlentilsalad
Autumn, Brunch, Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, Salad, Spring

End of Summer Tomato Pumpkin Basil and Lentil Salad

This delicious salad marks an end to the summer days in my world, but, it could just as easily be a welcome to spring salad for my friends in the Northern Hemisphere.  It makes the most of this transition period for vegetables in my garden, when the tomatoes and basil  are coming to an end, and the pumpkins are just coming into their prime season.  For those of you heading into spring, the opposite will be happening in the vegetable markets and gardens. The temperatures plummeted here this week, which left me looking urgently for the comfort of warmer, more substantial food, while still wanting to finish the last of my summer harvest.  This salad bought these needs together perfectly. With events not being quite as I anticipated, and with over ambitious ideas of how much three people really want to eat for lunch – I found myself home alone this week with a lot of left over salad!  Four dinners later, I can tell you that as well as being delicious this is a very versatile salad! Starting with enthusiasm – I mean who doesn’t like to think they haven’t already got a delicious dinner already made just waiting for the finishing touches – dinner number one was enjoyed with a piece of white fish, pan fried and placed on top of my lightly warmed salad.  Unfortunately in my enthusiasm to eat, photography was not the priority it should have been.  I can only say that it really did […]

potato fennel artichoke gratin
Autumn, Gluten Free, Vegetable

Fresher, Lighter – Potato, Fennel and Artichoke Gratin

Cook this soon, it is delicious and simple to make!  A lighter, fresher feeling version of the classic potato gratin we all grew up loving. Somehow despite a deep desire to eat foods like the traditional creamy potato gratin, my body and common sense suggests that other than special occasions, eating Potato Gratin is not in my best interests. Meet this super tasty and satisfying answer to the cheese/cream lovers dilemma – just as tasty and introducing some extra vegetables and complex flavours.  It is a little bit sophisticated, with references to Italy in the fennel, artichokes and parmesan, it goes with anything from a simple green salad, to salmon, to a big juicy steak.   I have made it three times this week – just to make sure it is always good!  I have found it simple to put together – using just a few ingredients,  it is one of those recipes where time in the oven brings the sum of ingredients deliciously together.  It makes for great every day food, or it is equally appropriate for a special shared dinner with family and friends. I found the basis for this idea on Jamie Olivers latest five ingredient TV series – there are some great ideas for busy people wanting delicious food – not always fast or cheap, but very do-able. Despite my ongoing but inconsistent efforts and attention to my garden (over many years), the only thing that consistently does well is potatoes, and even they seem to grow […]