Tag: Healthy

shakshuka
Breakfast, Brunch, Condiments, Gluten Free, Meal, Snack

Zhoug – spicy-green-delicious

Zhoug, shakshuka, labna, all words my computer would rather I changed, but which offer a delicious look into another world of  vibrant and exciting foods and flavours. Today it is all about Zhoug. This spicy middle eastern condiment,originally from Yemen and now a favourite in Israel, had somehow missed my food radar. Happily Lily, an inspiring young work colleague – knowing my love of middle eastern foods –  bought me a small jar of both a red and a green zhoug that her father had made.   I was immediately hooked and needing to be able to make this myself, I turned to my ridiculously large collection of recipe books – (it is always good to have an excuse to justify the purchase of more though!) – and found this sauce in a number of my middle eastern recipe books.  After some further reading and research, (reality says – lying around, thumbing through recipe books and surfing the food files of the internet), I have been happily giving these recipes a try! I am sure the real deal is different in its nuances, but I am so happy with the results that I think you should give it a try too.  It will warm up just about anything you wish to eat and will be something you are happy to find in your refrigerator – my friend Lily said you can even freeze it!  Most importantly, this isn’t all about the chilli, it is a whole palate of flavours giving this […]

blue cod in crazy water
Gluten Free, Meal, Seafood, Spring, Summer

Blue Cod in Crazy Water

Here I am cooking our beautiful South Island blue cod again.  Firm fleshed, white, delicate, delicious, locally and sustainably fished, there is nothing not to love about this fish. I spoke very briefly the other day to local seafood expert, restauranteur and chef Darren Lovell of Queenstowns amazing Fishbone Bar and Grill, about sustainably fished New Zealand seafood. I was heartened to take away from our conversation, the fact that he felt we had a lot to be proud of in our New Zealand fishing industry, and the work that is happening to ensure the long term sustainability of our fisheries.  Comments like this from informed people are great to hear, and it is always a conversation worth having regarding anything we choose to eat. The phrase ‘crazy water’  in the title of this recipe-  is from the Italian aqua pazza, which in translation may refer to the simple tomato, garlic herb and chilli broth, or to the sea water that the fishermen use to cook there catch – there seems to be no definitive answer to this.  It is though, a very alluring title and one that drew me to it straight away. The beauty in this dish lies in its simplicity and the integrity of the ingredients.  Show casing fresh fish with the best tomatoes you can find, a few fresh herbs, garlic, chilli flakes and your best extra virgin olive oil.   It is often simple meals  like this that show off the best of any countries real […]

simple celeriac salad
Gluten Free, Salad, Spring, Winter

Quick and Delicious Celeriac Salad

If the fennel I wrote about last week seems still exotic to me what do I now think of celeriac?  Not so sure.   I  wonder why, even though it is definitely not a vegetable I have grown up with or cooked with or eaten – it still almost falls in my mind, to the category of the much maligned swede.  Having said that, price wise it is more of a luxury vegetable, and certainly in culinary sense you will find it much used in french and european cooking – remoulade sauce and salad being very traditional uses of celeriac.  We also often see it on restaurant menus in soup or puree/mash under fish and meats and with its celery flavour it lends itself to all these ideas and many more salads. I have paired it today with walnuts, cornichon, apple, radishes and lots of fresh herbs -dill, parsley and mint.  This salad reminds me a little of my easy-raw-beetroot-salad in its simplicity of preparation and in its ability to satisfy.  This salad works well in many situations, it is great as a side with a main meal or made into a salad meal in its own right.  It works well teamed with lightly smoked and rich flavours – think about – smoked fish tumbled gently through this salad, with boiled egg and your favourite greens, or with chicken or pork braised in rich smoked paprica and lemon sauces or chorizo sausage, or you could eat it as part of a salad […]

roast fennel and tomatoes
Meal, Salad

Simple Oven Roast Fennel and Tomatoes

Fennel is one of those ingredients that still seems exciting and exotic, challenging me to try new combinations and create meals that are new to my palate. I let it take me to places I haven”t yet been –  I imagine lunch between the vines on warm summer evenings under ancient trees with family and friends, or Scandinavian winters, open fires and apres ski – melty cheesy baked fennel dishes.  In reality I have traveled little in my life, but from my love of food, cooking and reading about the people, the cooks and the chefs – the places they come from and travel to – food has taken me, in my imagination to these places.  Maybe not real but vivid and enchanting. Winter in my world is at its best now, spring is around the corner and the days are starting to get longer.  Knowing that the shortest days are past I am enjoying these last lingering evenings.  This roast fennel dish is still warming but a little lighter after the heavier, comforting winter meals and could be easily eaten at room temperature on a summer evening. This is leisurely cooking, simple and easily prepared at the end of the day while completing the necessary tasks of the day, or prepared as a simple light lunch. ROAST FENNEL WITH TOMATOES CAPERS AND PRESERVED LEMON Serves two people as a side dish or part of a light lunch, but can easily be doubled and more for a crowd. Pre heat […]

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 […]

lentil and black bean chilli
Brunch, Gluten Free, Meal, Winter

Everyday Lentil and Black Bean Chilli

I read a phrase last week that captured my interest  “cook once eat twice”,  sort of a no-brainer,  but for some reason we have always shunned leftovers.  My cooking is spent avoiding left overs knowing that in most instances they will be abandoned mouldering in the refrigerator and one of my biggest hates is food waste!   So, thinking on this, I decided to consider meals that could be cooked in larger quantities and reinvented to seem new second time around. Where better to start looking than the young people I work with, these are busy people juggling finances, work and fun. From my conversations with these inspirational people came the idea for lentil braises – one was eating a chilli and one a Bolognese, straight away I had my idea to run with.  Thanks ladies! The next issue confronting me, and a surprising number of other people I talk to, is that of including more meat free vegetable rich meals in life that wont leave the meat eaters thinking something was missing.  Once again lentils are a great answer. If you need any further reason to make this, then that reason has to be that it is a real store cupboard / refrigerator meal.  You can change up the ingredients and use those lonely carrots, bag ends of vegetables and pulses and at the end have a delicious meal (and a good conscience for your efforts!) This is a weekend cooking-at-leisure meal that it will be better for time […]

orange chilli tahini sauce
Condiments, Gluten Free

Best Ever Chilli and Orange Tahini Sauce

Okay that is a pretty big claim but I really do love this sauce and for now I am happy to pour it over just about any thing. Winter really is here now and it is time to look for comfort foods in my part of the world.  My challenge to myself  is to try and do this in ways that I can still feel happy about what it is I am eating, and also to use as many as I can of the amazing winter vegetables in the process.  There are many staples of winter that I return to every year they give comfort in there flavours and the memories of the shared meals when they have been enjoyed.   This delicious tahini sauce adds a new dimension and level of enjoyment to some of these old favourites.  I enjoyed it last night over a platter of roast vegetables and cherry tomato salad and I am looking forward to pouring it onto a lentil chilli that is simmering on my stove as I write.  Use it instead of mayonnaise, aioli or yoghurt dipping sauces and in conjunction with anything you would put with hummus   It would be delicious on a wrap or mixed salad bowl, adding both flavour and richness with all the goodness of tahini, orange chilli and apple cider vinegar. I live with the fact that not every one is a tahini lover, I have always loved it though, especially the “top secret” blend made in […]

mushroom lentil and kumera bake
Autumn, Gluten Free, Meal, Winter

Winter Kumara, Mushroom and Lentil Bake

Lucky me sharing a version of this delicious winter warming comfort food with my family in Wellington, I am having a winter break with family in the North Island of New Zealand, where the weather while still not tropical is a good deal warmer than the far south.  What a bonus to share a meal and find inspiration, that is easy, healthy, delicious, and a new way of putting familiar ingredients together. Best of all – a recipe that when I cook it,  will always remind me of good times spent with family. This meal fits in with my favourite ways of eating, being quick healthy and delicious. The cup of cream I have justified as being a natural ingredient, it adds a slight richness to it but not so much as to feel decadent and you could easily sub in your favourite type of milk if you are lactose intolerant.  If you need further reasons to make this – it works really well as the main event with some vegetables or a salad on the side – some fresh crusty bread is also delicious and mops up the last creamy goodness, eat it as a side to your meat of the day, and when you think it can’t give any more it reheats beautifully and makes fantastic leftovers.  This recipe makes enough for four as part of a main meal but it easily doubles or more for a bigger crowd… and why not make enough for your lunch box […]

black rice and coconut breakfast
Breakfast, Brunch, Desert, Gluten Free, Sweet

Easy and Delicious Black Rice and Coconut Breakfast

So easy and so delicious. This is creamy, chewy, sweet, and slightly exotic tasting – this is breakfast heaven.  I realise now that I am very late to the black rice breakfast idea, traditional in some cultures and popular on cafe menus, but now I have tried it I am a convert and I can see no reason why I am not going to eat this for desert as well. The black rice has an amazing flavour and natural perfume as it cooks, it is slightly sweet and even though this particular brand of rice is from Italy it is very reminiscent of Asian flavours.  I have cooked it today with cardamon as this is the flavour I had been wanting, but I love the idea of lemongrass, lime and ginger served with mango, or sweet cinnamon and nutmeg, or vanilla….  Go wild but  please let me know what  flavours you enjoy! The grains of this rice are slightly short and round with a  wonderful chewy quality that you find in brown rice, which makes it feel substantial enough to fuel your morning. I followed the rules as I read them (soaking my rice over night), this makes the rice easier to digest and faster to cook but is not absolutely necessary.  If you don’t soak the rice it will need more water and an extra half an hour or so to cook.  The cooking process is a little like risotto (but without the fuss), adding water and coconut milk […]

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 […]