Spring

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 […]

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,  […]

mediterranean white fish supper
Gluten Free, Meal, Seafood, Spring, Summer, Winter

Simple Mediterranean Style White Fish Supper

I need to start by telling you that we love this meal! It has been in regular rotation here for the past four months and the only reason I haven’t told you about it sooner is my disappointment with the previous attempts with photos and a belief that they never do justice to how delicious this is – if you enjoy fish and you enjoy complex Mediterranean flavours please  – make it! It is a simple one pan fish meal that can work well with just about any white fish.  We love Southern Blue Cod and it is mainly what I have used for this, but it is hearty enough to stand up to much stronger fish as well and is perfect with Snapper,  Gurnard or Monk fish, to name a few, and even bigger fish such as Tuna would be amazing in this.  Try the Tuna and please let me know – or I will let you know when I do! This meal is a delicious light supper using simple staple ingredients I like to have in the refrigerator and pantry. As an aside, the canned cherry tomatoes are a great pantry staple that I highly recommend especially in winter when fresh tomatoes are expensive and not at their most delicious. This is a great meal at any time of the year with strong, clean, simple flavours, and the only prior preparation needed is to cook off some baby or new potatoes. SIMPLE MEDITERRANEAN STYLE WHITE FISH SUPPER Start […]

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 […]

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 […]

scrambled tofu
Breakfast, Brunch, Gluten Free, Spring

Cafe Style Scrambled Tofu Breakfast

Today I feel like I am trying to channel my inner Yotam Ottolenghi – my flavour, food styling, all round food hero! I am collaborating with a friend on a project which involves a gluten free dairy free breakfast.  I have added my own challenge to this by deciding it was time to make friends again with tofu and hopefully make some new converts along the way.  I have definitely spent the week pondering my breakfast, wanting it to be something I would want to eat – and eat again – and be good enough to share with you… I am also hoping for my breakfast tofu to be a contemporary adaptation, not a fringe dwelling remnant of the sixties or a meal more reflective of other cuisines and cultures. So I sit here eating my breakfast at 1 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon in food heaven – (disclaimer -I did have a first breakfast so that is not just a matter of pure hunger!) This is a great cafe style comfort food combo which – I think – doesn’t involve quirky ingredients or time consuming procedures. It is simple to make for one person or easily extended to cater for a crowd. Like similar egg dishes – seasoning is the key, so think about and taste the tofu while adding the salt and pepper.  The asparagus and tomatoes are both umami rich vegetables and worked amazingly to bring this together, and when teamed with my seedy nutty daily bread, […]

tomato,pumpkin,basilandlentilsalad
Autumn, Brunch, Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, Salad, Spring

End of Summer Tomato Pumpkin Basil and Lentil Salad

This delicious salad marks an end to the summer days in my world, but, it could just as easily be a welcome to spring salad for my friends in the Northern Hemisphere.  It makes the most of this transition period for vegetables in my garden, when the tomatoes and basil  are coming to an end, and the pumpkins are just coming into their prime season.  For those of you heading into spring, the opposite will be happening in the vegetable markets and gardens. The temperatures plummeted here this week, which left me looking urgently for the comfort of warmer, more substantial food, while still wanting to finish the last of my summer harvest.  This salad bought these needs together perfectly. With events not being quite as I anticipated, and with over ambitious ideas of how much three people really want to eat for lunch – I found myself home alone this week with a lot of left over salad!  Four dinners later, I can tell you that as well as being delicious this is a very versatile salad! Starting with enthusiasm – I mean who doesn’t like to think they haven’t already got a delicious dinner already made just waiting for the finishing touches – dinner number one was enjoyed with a piece of white fish, pan fried and placed on top of my lightly warmed salad.  Unfortunately in my enthusiasm to eat, photography was not the priority it should have been.  I can only say that it really did […]

Japanese inspired seeded salad
Brunch, Condiments, Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, Salad, Spring, Summer

Popped and Toasted Seed and Nut Mix – And Salad Inspiration

Its beginning to gear up to the busy time of the year – when we all try and get prepared for the Christmas season, and, at the same time get out and enjoy the sunshine.  In my world that means lots of catering for summer, end of year break-ups, and festive parties.  It is an exciting time, full of the promise of good times with friends and family, and also, memories of the best of previous summers and Christmas seasons.  It is fun and busy,  and with the outdoor sunshine and warmth calling (you can’t take either of those things for granted here in the south) time in the kitchen can feel limited. Enter kitchen store cupboard essentials, and today I am talking about crunchy blends of  spicy toasted seeds and nuts. A jar in the pantry ready to snack on, put over salads, sprinkle on top soup, scatter over roast or mashed vegetables, tumble through your grain salad, buddha bowl,  or over your breakfast  shakshuka  –  the texture, the taste and the well seasoned spicy flavour makes food better.  If you are anything like me, you will feel better too, for eating something tasty, good for you and quick to assemble.   This – as always – is an idea more than a recipe it is a reminder to toast a batch of what you have to hand so you can have a jar ready to add some excitement and extra nutritional value to your next meal.  Of course while […]

medjool date and char grilled broccoli salad
Autumn, Lunch, Meal, Salad, Spring, Winter

Medjool Date and Char Grilled Broccoli Salad

Another salad with enough weight and complexity to be eaten as a meal on its own – as lunch or supper,  but also fantastic as a side to whatever else might be on the menu.  Although my mind is on spring this salad would work in any season.  It has all the elements you are looking for in a delicious salad – something raw and zingy in the red onion, something crunchy with your croutons and almonds, something rich to carry the flavours and make it a substantial in the cheese, and something green and virtuous in the broccoli.  Spinach or rocket tossed through this is also a great idea. Medjool dates are certainly a luxury item and I will often use ordinary dry dates in  baking recipes soaking them to reconstitute if necessary.  But if you haven’t tried them before I suggest you treat your self to a handful of  fresh medjool dates.  Easy to prepare,  you can simply tear them in half and remove the seed and put a brazil nut in its place for  one of the best instant healthy treats you will ever eat – great for two or three o’clock in the afternoon when you start circling the refrigerator ready to eat anything quick and easy and usually not recommended for best health.  Or you can take them to the next level, by warming a little olive oil in a pan and sautéing them carefully with a pinch of flakey malden sea salt (as I […]