Savoury

socca crepes
Breakfast, Brunch, Canape, Meal, Salad, Savoury, Snack

Simple Versatile Socca Pancake Mix

I have been listening to people and the media talking about food.  Two phrases that have caught my attention lately are to do with the idea of either – breakfast for dinner and or salad for breakfast.  I love these ideas and their seems to be something comforting about them that implies ease and simplicity.  Even better they can translate to either, family feasts or simple meals for one. To make this idea work today I have been cooking simple but delicious chickpea flour pancakes called Socca or Farinata, a traditional recipe idea originating from Nice and the neighbouring Italian coastline.  These incredibly versatile pancakes can form the base of an array of meals – breakfast, lunch, pre prandial or supper – they can be folded and used as a scoop on the side of your plate, rolled with your favourite mix of fillings traditional pancake/crepe style, cooked with fillings such as teaspoons of pesto and or mozzarella or feta, and basil in the batter before flipping (see the photos at the bottom of this page), or even poured and baked in the oven and used as a simple pizza style base, and if you have some left over, keep turning them in the pan until they dry and crisp, or bake them in the oven as you would for crostini and use like a cracker.  The batter can be used after sitting for half an hour, or, it will be even better for you after soaking overnight and using […]

mussel fritters
Canape, Gluten Free, Meal, Savoury

New Zealand Green lip Mussel Fritters

Healthy, affordable, available and delicious, New Zealand Green lip Mussels are found in abundance in our supermarkets and fish mongers – fresh in tanks, frozen in the half shell, as pates, pickled/brined and smoked. I love that, in a world in which good quality foods can be expensive,  mussels are so much a part of our food culture and can still be so affordable. I love to buy them fresh from the tank as an easy Friday night meal, simply steaming them open and serving them in a big bowl with some crusty bread and good butter. These mussel fritters are simple and very versatile, you can easily change the flavour profile by adding spices or pastes to your base mix, or using different toppings Use smoked mussels fresh. Load with fresh herbs such as parsley, chervil and dill. Add a spoon full of zhoug or harissa to give a middle eastern feel. Add a teaspoon of curry powder – a great savoury addition to a surprising number of things. Handful of grated cheese. Add some fresh chilli and asian herbs and spoon an Asian dipping sauce over them in the shell. Serve with yoghurt, labna, mayonnaise, cashew based sauce, zhoug……… Make them larger and serve them as part of a meal rather than a canapé. BASIC MUSSEL FRITTER MIX This will make approximately 25 small but chunky fritters to fit in your half shells If using fresh mussels steam these open in a large pot.  Simply add a half […]

prawn croissant tapas
Canape, Savoury, Seafood, Snack

Prawn Croissant Tapas

Any time is a good time to have friends and family around and to be able to share with them simple and delicious snacks, or tapas,  with a glass of wine is for me the some of the best of times! These prawn croissants can be prepared earlier and served cold, at room temperature, or gently warmed. You can also easily halve the prawns and pastry to make them a  one bite canapé size.  These are simply  made, with foods that you can have in your refrigerator and freezer at any time, all that is required is a little defrosting time for your prawns and pastry.   PRAWN, KIMCHI, CREAM CHEESE CROISSANTS Preheat oven to 220’c If  you are using Good Honest Pastry, start by cutting it lengthwise in half and rolling it again lengthwise to 3/4 its length. You need a long rectangle of pastry approx. 15 cm wide and 60cm long Cut your pastry into long triangles the width of the pastry and about 4-5cm wide at the base. (See photo). Place 1/2 a tsp of cream cheese and one teaspoon of chopped kimchi at the wide end of the pastry and the prawn across the top of this. Roll from the wide end to the narrow end of the pastry stretching it slightly around the prawn mix as you go. Place on a lined baking tray and brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in a hot oven 15 – 20 minutes until crisp […]

korean carrot crepes
Autumn, Gluten Free, Meal, Salad, Savoury, Snack, Spring, Summer, Winter

Spicy Kimchi and Carrot crepes

Korean Kimchi has been front and centre of my attention this year, I am hooked on this crunchy, spicy, nutritious condiment.  You really do have to love something that tastes so good, is simple to make, and is good for you.  My http://freshkitchen.co.nz/kimchi-everyday/ has become my go to condiment, and this is another way of including it in my every day meals. The inspiration for these crepes comes from “Green Kitchen At Home” by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl, a beautiful book that is high on my wish list. These are great to have as a sharing, construct-it-yourself-at-the-table meal, or you can make and wrap them in advance, put a little extra dressing in a jar and take for a picnic or packed lunch.  The crepes are light, easy to eat and delicious, complimenting the ingredients and holding together perfectly. I love that by adding carrots to the crepe batter, it adds colour and extra vegetables into my life. I used the blender to make my crepe mix and the carrot was completely blended in, giving the batter a beautiful golden colour.  I think it would also look beautiful if you finely grate the carrot and make the mix with a whisk so you can see the shreds of carrot in the batter. I bought a beautiful big organic chicken for this and cooked it with hoisin sauce and garlic. I used only the breasts for these crepes and now have the carcass quietly boiling away to make bone broth and there […]

kale pineapple and kumera salad
Autumn, Gluten Free, Salad, Savoury, Winter

Kale, Pineapple and Kumera Salad

These are fairly humble ingredients available all year round.  Kumera is our New Zealand sweet potato, so substitute what you have available and pester your green grocer to get these in stock, they are versatile, delicious and a great form of slow burning energy.  Kale, both green and purple, would have to be the easiest things I have ever grown even surviving our southern winter, and, If you don’t grow your own it always seems very affordable to buy.  Pineapples aren’t a locally grown food but they do seem to be a staple on the shelves year round and offer a delicious and exotic twist to this salad.  Peppers chilli and onions add to the complexity and savoury notes and colour in this salad. I  have made this at work as well several times and have added black rice sometimes, which makes it even more sustaining, and adds another chewy texture, for a whole meal salad.  The black rice I have used is  Riso Toro,  an Italian long grain rice, and has an almost sweet smell when cooking and is the most delicious rice!  It is also beautiful to look at and adds amazing colour contrast on your plate. KALE PINEAPPLE AND KUMERA SALAD Enough for four as a side salad, but easily doubled or more. Pre heat oven to 200’c First I like to twice roast my kumera.  As soon as you decide to make this turn your oven on and put your washed but not peeled kumera straight […]

bloody mary steak salad
Autumn, Brunch, Gluten Free, Meal, Salad, Savoury, Seafood, Spring, Summer

Bloody Mary Steak Salad

There is snow on the hills today and definitely our first taste of winter to come. My cherry tomatoes though, are oblivious to this, and are still giving the last of their summer bounty.  Ripening on withered vines, even the black tomatoes that I had given up on, are producing delicious fruits.  Most of my friends, with orderly lives have long since discarded their withered vines but – perseverance, gluttony and a blind eye to their unsightly appearance, has paid off for me and I will enjoy all they have to offer.   I have looked at this salad on one of my favourite food sites – Food 52 – for a long time, and finally made it this week.  I loved it and I am making my slightly amended version again now to share with you.  The dressing for this salad looks to have a lot of ingredients, but work with what you have.   I didn’t have any horseradish – sadly – because I do think this would be an amazing addition.  I also think you could double the balsamic vinegar if you don’t have sherry vinegar.  The hot sauce and the Worcestershire Sauce though are must haves for authenticity in your your Bloody Mary dressing.  It is not important to use the most tender cut of beef as you will be cooking it rare to medium rare!!!!! and slicing it thinly, making sure you trim any sinew or fat as you cut it.  These cuts have a […]

raw fish kokoda
Canape, Gluten Free, Meal, Salad, Savoury, Seafood, Snack

Delicious and Easy Raw Fish Kokoda

Sadly, I haven’t just returned from a holiday in Fiji sitting in beach front restaurants eating genuine Fijian raw fish Kokoda.  But, I was this week the recipient of some beautiful line-caught tuna, fresh from the West Coast.   The immediate problem was that the only time available to prepare the fish was now!  Luckily it came with a reference to a local restaurant that has a delicious Kokoda (Fijian ceviche), on the menu.  Thanks to Google, and the fact that making Kokoda requires just a few every day ingredients,  our dinner was delicious! Inspired by success, I knew I wanted to share this with you.  It is such a simple and delicious treat that can be made in large or small quantities – a dainty canapé, an entree or served with salad as a light main course.  Although I chose to use tuna a second time, this was because it was the freshest fish available on the day, you could make this with any very fresh fish you are lucky enough to buy, catch or be given.   So – to my lovely daughter who gave me the first piece of tuna and the idea for Kokoda, I say, “make sure you take a lemon, a red onion and a can of coconut milk on all your fishing trips, but please bring home a little fish as well xx”. As is becoming apparent, I do like food to mostly be quick and tasty .   Mid week particularly is […]

pumpkin plum and walnut salad
Autumn, Brunch, Condiments, Gluten Free, Salad, Savoury

Pumpkin, Plum and Walnut Salad

Autumn is here with its mad weather swings and the end of season produce bounty.  Amid cyclone warnings and Easter holiday breaks suddenly summer – such as it was –  is definitely behind us.  I always mourn the end of summer, and then as the realities of autumn arrive with all its beauty, seasonal produce and shorter days,  I remember again that there is so much to autumn that I do enjoy.  The lawns and the garden are definitely slowing down ready for a final mow and tidy up before winter, mushrooms are popping up for foraging, there is a glut of fruit and vegetables and the kind of weather that makes it okay to hunker down in the kitchen, entertain family and friends, or find a cosy place and relax with that book I have been wanting to read. Here is a great crossover salad born of a glut of herbs, end of season omega plums and the first of the winter pumpkins.  Fresh walnuts are starting to fall, but I made this with the final handful of last seasons walnuts.   Although all the ingredients are heros here I have to pay homage to the French walnut mustard which is one of my top ten ingredient picks at the moment “Edmond Fallot Moutarde Aux Noir”, (available at Raeward Fresh in Queenstown).  So delicious, you may find yourself wanting to eat it off the spoon, I know I do this too often, but really it is that good!  It […]

kimchi salad
Condiments, Gluten Free, Savoury

Kimchi Everyday

Spoiler alert, you can buy delicious Kimchi! Locally made organic Kimchi absolutely delicious, and with all that fermented goodness.   Authentic Korean Kimchi,  found in the chillers at the Asian stores,  is also delicious, not crazy expensive and worthy of sneaking to the fridge with a spoon and eating from the straight container (only when no one is looking of course!).  The only problem with this last one is the ingredient list, which you need a magnifying glass to see and is still too confusing for me to say it is definitely what I want to eat.  These are both delicious though and I have eaten them both with great joy. Curiosity, quality control and a need to do it myself have led me to try and make my own.  This has been a process, never catastrophic  (no explosions as experienced with kefir and kombucha), a little smelly at times but always edible.   At last though I feel I am on the right track and would like to share my latest brew recipe with you and in doing so save it for myself as well. MY SIMPLE EVERYDAY KIMCHI RECIPE     Begin with your cleaned and trimmed cabbage.  Save one large leaf to top your finished kimchi in the fermenting jar. Cut into approximately 4cm/1inch squares and place in your large bowl with the salt. Spend 4-5 minutes massaging the salt into the cabbage and breaking it down.  It will start to release liquid as you do this. Put […]

hummus antipasto platter
Canape, Condiments, Gluten Free, Meal, Salad, Savoury, Snack

Hummus For Everyday

Hummus.  A simple chickpea spread that anyone can make in seconds, lined up on supermarket shelves and appearing everywhere.  How amazing that this simple Middle Eastern staple should become such an international superstar.  No surprises really, it ticks all the boxes, as simple or complex as you want it to be, everyday comforting or maybe cleverly sophisticated, substantial but healthy.  You can just pluck a jar off the supermarket shelf and many of these are of a very high quality, you can pick up a can of chickpeas and in seconds in a food processor or with even the cheapest stick blender have made your own (probably for not much more than a couple of dollars) or soak some chickpeas over night simmer them for an hour and go from there.  Because I love the comfort of the kitchen and I love chickpeas I will always take the route of soaking and cooking my own chickpeas, that definitely doesn’t mean you have to. My history owning Habebes Cafe, and a love of carbs like these, means I have cooked a LOT of chickpeas in my life.  As versatile and useful as Hummus is so are chickpeas, Use them in a summer salad, with tomatoes, green beans, red onion, fresh herbs olive oil and lemon juice.  Or tomatoes, cucumber peppers red onion and feta or black olives, olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar of choice. Mash or chop them a little and use them as you would couscous or grains […]