Lunch

bombay carrot salad
Autumn, Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, Salad, Snack, Spring, Summer, Vegetable, Winter

Bombay Carrot Salad

Spring is fast approaching and I am very excited – I love new beginnings, and this would seem the time for lush and abundant vegetables and fruit.   Maybe not so much? As always happens,  just when I start longing for springs perceived abundance, the reality hits and in truth I am a little bit premature in my thinking and in reality this is the time of the year in the south of New Zealand, when there is little in the way of abundance, last seasons produce is all but exhausted and this seasons not quite ready .  This situation requires a little creativity in order to get my taste of spring. Today it means using one of the few stars/work horses of the vegetable world, one that can survive the winter – the always available, humble and affordable carrot! Although this is a salad trying to welcome the change of seasons, it is still pretty comforting and as I am made to remember by the snow flakes on the weather map,  the truth is that this is still the tail end of winter. This salad can take you through all the seasons though and is lively and substantial.  The star of the salad is in the flavours brought by the curry powder – have some fun in the local deli and choose one made with care – you can use the same spice mix as in the http://Week Night Indian Spiced Fish Parcels  . Then, to make this salad something […]

mediterranean slow cooked rice
Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, Sweet

Mediterranean Slow Cooked Rice

This rice is not one of my fastest recipes, but it is definitely delicious (and one of Ed’s favourites!)- plump, luscious grains of rice reminiscent of risotto, or paella rice, loaded with flavour. Although there are several steps to follow, none of them are arduous or time consuming – the time that is spent, is spent in soaking and in the cooking, not hard labour! I have had a few disappointments developing this recipe. I wanted to change it from a delicious white rice recipe to a more nutritious and delicious brown rice version.  I tried to hurry it – (sad but true) – and can only confirm what you already know, that is crunchy and chalky half cooked rice is not delicious! This adapted brown rice recipe is a dish for a day when you are able to think ahead and put the rice aside to soak in a bowl of acidulated water and know that later you will need an hour and a half to cook it.  This recipe was inspired by a recipe in one of my food hero’s books – Ottolenghi Simple – and as happens, it has evolved into something a little different. My rice recipe requires some soaking of brown rice with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, between 8 hours (or overnight soaking is recommended!)  This is done to help breakdown the phytic acid and make the nutrients more available and easier for the body to digest  (or so I am […]

easy eggplant parmigiana
Autumn, Brunch, Lunch, Meal, quick meals, Spring, Summer, Vegetable, Winter

Weeknight Eggplant Parmigiana

Today is a beautiful Sunday in the middle of winter and although an unlikely time to be contemplating what I would normally think of as summer food, today I am going to tell you that this also makes wonderful winter comfort food.  This recipe is definitely given as a cheats version of a traditional Eggplant Parmigiana, a meal which is beloved by many, myself included.  It is a really delicious achievable alternative though, and can be made quickly at the end of a a work day.  I hope you will enjoy it and maybe it will remind you of all the joys of the long slow cooked version that you can make on a leisurely weekend. One of those weekends I imagine, with days which stretch out in long languorous hours allowing you to do all the things you think you can in one day. What a day that would be! Several years ago I was lucky enough to have one of my very first amazing “Cultural Exchange” guests, Katie, make this for me. She made it in the traditional manner with every element made from scratch, I will never forget her making her authentic version of this dish or the stories she told of learning to make this with her very traditional grandparents.  These experiences and memories are some of lifes amazing treasures, the love and kindness and the time spent are the gifts that make me keep cooking and sharing the experiences of the  kitchen and the table,  […]

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 […]

jackfruit salad
Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, Salad

Crunchy Jackfruit Salad

Jackfruit!  ????   One of my isolation challenges was to spend some time considering and using Jackfruit in our meals. It is something I have only come to even notice on the supermarket shelf or to cook with in the last couple of years and even then I have not cooked with it often. It comes in a can so is isolation friendly, it is also affordable, sustainable,  and it has a crazy texture that when torn up looks not dissimilar to pulled pork. All good reasons to spend some time experimenting! With most of us trying to mix up our diets and include more exciting vegan and vegetarian meals, Jackfruit is a really interesting option. I have mainly used Jackfruit in ways that mimic pulled pork with sticky, smokey barbecue sauces.  You add it to a pan of sticky barbecue type sauce and it heats through and is easily shredded which makes it a great vegan alternative in pulled pork Bau buns, Asian style Hoisin duck pancakes, sliders etc. These are all delicious options but today I was looking for something lighter and fresher and also something that would allow plenty of flexibility to use ingredients that I already had in the refrigerator and pantry. I have tried to write this recipe so that you too can use what you have available and still come up with a delicious salad to make you feel good, and potentially to try and enjoy something new. My favourite part of this salad making […]

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 […]

Bahn mi roll
Condiments, Gluten Free, Lunch, quick meals, Salad, Sweet, Vegetable

Vietnamese”ish” Pickles

I have been muttering about Bahn Mi Rolls at work for a long time – trying to find a space in the work cabinet to fit these tasty Vietnamese/french rolls.  Counter intuitively it would seem, I didn’t make them when I had a Vietnamese chef working with me – mainly because I suspected – probably rightly – that he would be appalled at the cafe twists I had in mind for them.  I think, for me it is the idea of adding these simple pickles to brighten up a sandwich, wrap, or roll that is the genius of the Bahn Mi Roll. Keeping it simple, healthy and affordable I am using them to add some bright notes to my Salads Lettuce wraps Bau buns Wraps Lunch rolls Tacos Nachos Roti roll I’m was planning to use tofu for the protein component today but have leftover chicken from last night so for the first photo thats what I am using.     I will come back to the tofu though as tofu is an ingredient that hasn’t always been in my repetoire but with increasing numbers of reliably produced brands, and as always with a desire to mix up the variety of foods we eat I am having some fun experimenting  and definitely enjoying the results.  Jack fruit is another simple affordable and under used ingredient that works well in this format. After a little experimentation I have come to this interpretation which can be eaten within fifteen minutes of putting together […]

zucchini slice
Brunch, Lunch, Savoury, Snack, Vegetable

Zucchini Slice – With Options

This simple slice has been a part of New Zealand and Australia’s  family food culture for a very long time, it is certainly something I remember my Mum making.  It can be as plain or as complicated as you like but starts with a base recipe that is delicious enough all on its own – just look at the list of optional ingredients in the recipe though and you will see how easy it is to make this recipe your own. During a visit last year my eighty year old Mum and her ninety year old sister volunteered to help me cater for a hens party my daughter was hosting.  Having gamely offered to help, Mum and Sylvie spent an entire day in the kitchen with me – at one point suggesting this zucchini slice that they both still make (both with there own special touches!) feeling it would work well with the rest of the menu.  I left these two amazing women to it and needless to say the slice was a big hit.  It reminded me that many of the old favourites became favourites for good reasons.  It also reminded me that one of the original reasons I started this blog was so that I could share special family favourites with my family and friends scattered locally and around the world, and in doing so feel that they are still sharing my table. This recipe also fits with my challenge of sharing quick, easy, affordable meal ideas. It […]

wildrice and quinoa meal prep
Breakfast, Brunch, Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, quick meals, Salad, Savoury, Snack, Sweet

Weekday Black Rice and Quinoa Meals

    Today I am cooking with the intention to multi task a couple of ingredients.   I am working with my friend Ollie on a project to create simple, healthy and affordable meals.  As always, this is part of my food journey (and I am looking forward to the challenge within this) of preparing some basic items to make my weekday meals easier.   My struggle with preparing food in advance is that often when it comes time to eat it, it is not what I want  – brattish  I know!  My thoughts this week were to prepare something that could then transform into the flavours I did want on the day, be it sweet or savoury, breakfast, lunch or dinner.. Starting with this in mind I prepared Wild Rice (which isn’t actually rice at all) and  black quinoa.  Shop around for wild rice (it can vary in price a lot) and it is only recently that some  more affordable home-brand varieties have become available. The idea here is not that you have to use these two grains, you can absolutely substitute your favourite rice or grain, or better still use what you have in the pantry.  This is a great way to finish some of those half used packets.  I love combining grains, pulses and beans, which as I show below,  can form the base of all sorts of different meals.  Using a variety of grains, pulses and beans gives you a broader nutrition profile and more interesting textures to […]

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.  […]