Gluten Free

Brunch, Canape, Condiments, Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, quick meals, Salad, Savoury, Seafood, Snack, Spring, Summer, Vegetable, Winter

My Japanese Ponzu Sauce

Home made summer inspiration coming right up.  This cooling Japanese condiment while delicious at any time is particularly suited to hot summer days when you are wanting to do little more than some quick chopping and mixing to achieve dinner. I was initially motivated to make this having had a delicious Beef Tataki at a local restaurant.  Inspired, I decided to pair it with Ponzu Sauce and some of Eds venison fillets. This worked really well, but over the next few weeks it came into its own making big entertainment salads with venison Shitake mushrooms, Mushroom House-Crispy Oyster Mushroom Chips (worthy of a mention on there own for there utter deliciousness)…., simple salads for one – namely me – with a piece of salmon, tofu or beef over the top,   and more Tataki inspired  dishes. It turns out though that this amazing and complex sauce lasts well in the refrigerator – up to six months as long as no water is added and it it works over and beside a huge number of meals.  Use it – As a simple salad dressing with a Japanese twist. Make a great big family style salad Over raw or cooked fish such as salmon, tuna, oysters… Beef thinly sliced. Tofu. Potstickers or dumplings as a dipping sauce Shabu – shabu Noodles Poke bowl Buddha or grain bowl Steamed sautéed or charred vegetables Tempura. Crumbed fried or baked meats or vegetables… I am sure there are many other ways just waiting to be tried.  […]

Breakfast, Brunch, Canape, Condiments, Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, Salad, Spring

Mimosa Sauce and Spring Asparagus

We are enjoying the beginning of the asparagus season here in my world – delicious, crisp, young spears to let us know that spring is really here.  I have been celebrating its arrival with an old world sauce that is new to my repetoire, but one that I am sure will become an old favourite. At the start of the season I like to savour my first bunches of asparagus, serving them simply, lightly steamed or blanched  with some good butter, salt and pepper and relishing the taste of each slightly salty buttery spear.  It is week two now and I am ready to add a little something more,  that said I am still looking for clean fresh flavours to enhance but not overwhelm the asparagus. Enter Mimosa sauce, a traditional accompaniment to asparagus that I had somehow missed.   Eggs and asparagus are a traditional combination always rich and delicious, and although I will never say no to hollandaise sauce, this delicious Mimosa sauce – which is almost an egg salsa – is somehow fresher and lighter for the start of spring.  With the red wine vinegar, capers and mustard this is a punchy sauce that offers lots of umami goodness. Mimosa Sauce is conveniently made up of  ingredients that are easy to come by, and often in our refrigerator anyway.  Parsley is one of the herbs that hopefully survive the winter somewhere in the garden, and although I haven’t done this I am sure you could sub the shallot […]

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 […]

miso bone broth
Brunch, Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, quick meals, Savoury, Snack, Soup

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
Canape, Gluten Free, Savoury, Snack

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
Gluten Free, Lunch, Spring, Vegetable, Winter

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
Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, Vegetable, Winter

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
Condiments, Gluten Free

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
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 […]

labna and char grilled vegetables
Breakfast, Brunch, Canape, Condiments, Desert, Gluten Free, Lunch

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 […]