Snack

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 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.  […]

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 […]

white chocolate fruit muffins
Breakfast, Brunch, Desert, Snack, Sweet

White Chocolate Fruit Muffins for a Picnic

Over the last couple of years I have spent a lot of time and energy coming up with aspirational recipes to share, recipes to channel my best self and to give ideas to maybe help you to do the same.  I love this and still want to continue this journey trying to live and cook for my best life. Moving on and a couple of weeks ago my son George sent a message from the other side of the world requesting a recipe for my muffins – I sent a quick recipe off the top of my head -forgot the sugar – doh….  Probably the best answer would be to think this through and put the recipe properly on the blog.  The stumbling block with this idea comes from a feeling that for my best self no white sugar or flour should appear on this blog, and because of this I have always discounted the idea of recording some of these home favourites here   Then over the last week or so I kept thinking about this and my reluctance to put the muffin recipe here on the blog.  Lots of wondering has bought me back to my original reason for the blog which was principally was to keep in touch and share with friends and family at home and around the world –  for me this means sharing my world as reflected in the kitchen.  So it seems that something I have cooked so often that no recipe is required, […]

carrot top pesto
Condiments, Gluten Free, Snack

Carrot Top Pesto

Todays pesto combines the mild flavoured, fresh green goodness of carrot tops, with some punchy flavoured Peccorino cheese, garlic, chilli, lemon juice, olive oil and toasted cashew nuts. Carrot top pesto was not my intention for the blog today, but having bought the lovely baby carrots to go in a salad it was immediately apparent that the tops were almost more vibrant than the carrots.  This reminded me of my frustration in seeing people throwing carrot tops like these in the rubbish bin and so here I am making peace with my own carrot tops and making pesto today.  I could just have easily have used these lovely greens to made a herb dressing, a salsa verde, or used then in another batch of last weeks sassy salsa / ravigote sauce. Carrot tops have a mild  slightly parsley / spinach like flavour making them ideal for my pesto today.  You can, of coarse, use this method and list of ingredients to make what ever pesto you like – basil, parsley, rocket …  This loose recipe offers another quick and tasty option to use up those spare ‘herb’ greens  that you have either taken the trouble to grow or purchased. I have used cashew nuts in my pesto as in this part of the world they offer a more cost effective option than the more expensive pinenuts.  The cashews will still give the same buttery texture, but as always you should feel free to use what you prefer. This pesto, or […]

carrot and white bean falafel
Canape, Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, Snack

Carrot and White bean Falafel

Spicy little “falafel’ that hold together well and can be made to what ever size suits in the moment – pan fry them bake them or waffle them.  Make them into little snack size balls and serve canape style with chilli sauce and or a citrus tahini, wrap them in a tortilla, a lettuce burger or on top of a salad,  waffle them for a power breakfast, or maybe even try them with a curry sauce or dahl and some naan breads or chapati and a cucumber raita…. I am of course waiting to be struck down by the middle  eastern food gods for calling these falafel – no chickpeas? carrots? …madness!  In my defence – I do feel that these capture the feeling of the falafel I know and love and offer something a little bit same but different to try. As I was making these and thinking about flavours, I got a little distracted, wanting to share my thoughts on caramelising onions.  The humble onion is the perfect, affordable, accessible, non seasonal vegetable for creating unbeatable umami flavour.  Herbs and spices hit the high notes of flavour but the caramelised onion base in anything you cook with onions gives a balanced, comforting, deep flavour base.  It gives what ever you cook – soup, meat sauce/ragu, frittata… the unmistakable feel of something cooked with patience, skill and an understanding of flavour. I’m not talking about anything tricky or requiring great skill – all the caramelising of onions requires is […]

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 […]