Lunch

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.  […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]