Tag: Summer

simple and sophisticated bean sallad
Salad, Sweet

Simple and Sophisticated Summer Green Bean Salad

Summers on its way and this simple salad is sophisticated enough to have with your Christmas turkey, a beautiful lemony roast Bostok organic chicken or your weekend barbecue leg of lamb.  Tarragon is one of my favourite herbs, it reminds me of amazing traditional French cooking and it matches fantastically with the beans, the hazelnuts and the blueberries in this salad. Tarragon is not often seen in todays cooking but it is a beautiful and under used summer herb and not difficult to grow. If you have left over tarragon from this salad or a glut of it in your garden pop it in a sterilised  jar or bottle with some white wine vinegar and you will have tarragon vinegar for your next salad.  Leave the tarragon in the bottle with the vinegar for several weeks and then strain it off for delicious tarragon vinegar that will keep in a cool dark place for at least a year.  There are definitely more sophisticated methods for making tarragon vinegar but this has worked for me. Tarragon works well with eggs, potatoes, seafood,  poultry, and is great in creamy or lemony sauces, think about delicious hollandaise or bernaise sauces or a butter, white wine, caper and tarragon pan reduction over fish  ….. My favourite salad at work recently used tarragon vinegar, brown rice and a mix finely sliced and grated different coloured beetroot that I marinated in tarragon vinegar and then olive oil mustard and lots of seeds chervil and chives.  So […]

green bean and tarragon salad
Salad, Summer

Fresh and Simple Summer Bean and Tarragon Salad

The summer days of January are drifting by, all the drama and rituals of Christmas are behind us and the tree is safely stowed away again until next year  (thank you George for help with that one!!).  We can sit back, relax a little, enjoy the photos and make plans for the new year.  I love these new beginnings and clean slates,  the opportunity they offer to make changes and challenges – this year 2018, I hope to set some new goals that will set the year apart and make it stand out – go to new places, meet new people and try new things – sounds good and I love the anticipation and savouring of ideas! Maybe I will go and sit under a shady tree and think about it….one day. In the mean time I decided that shady tree could wait, as I had heard about a Sunday Arrowtown farmers market which I was excited to visit.  I found these beautiful green beans there, freshly picked and bundled, bursting with market fresh goodness. They inspired this salad. SUMMER BEAN SALAD WITH TARRAGON Start by steaming or blanching your beans, and then cooling them quickly in some iced water.  Then set them aside to drain.  At this point all my beautiful purple beans turned green – funny how that happens with asparagus as well.  I wonder if their nutrients are different because of the colour difference?  If anyone out there has any wisdom on this subject I would be […]

vietnamese noodle salad
Canape, Lunch, Meal, Salad, Snack, Summer

A Vietnamese Noodle Salad or Rice Paper Rolls

This is a little bit old school, but they are still flavours and textures that are hard to beat on a summer day.  It is the type of food that is great to make ahead and share with friends at a party or shared table or barbecue. Today I have made them with some beautiful Canter Valley Free Range Duck breast, but you could easily use Prawns (leave out the Hoisin sauce) or – leave them deliciously vegetarian.  Spicy peanuts, a little chilli and sesame oil, and lots of fresh Asian herbs are the basic elements that make the salad and Rice Paper Rolls sing, finished with simple dressing or sauce, it is the kind of food I love to eat and would be very happy if someone made to share with me. Cool healthy and delicious, the rolls take a little time but you are rewarded with the simplicity of presentation and taste, they are a great repetitive job to do together while chatting with friends or just zoning out in the heat. My biggest dilemma today was whether to add a dipping sauce or not for the rice paper rolls.  I’m not the biggest fan of shared dipping bowls, so I tried to make them tasty enough that they didn’t need any.  While I had felt I achieved this, when we sat down and ate them they were better with a little sauce spooned over.  I have since seen photos of them served in baby cos leaves which […]

sushi salad lettuce cups
Canape, Gluten Free, Lunch, Meal, Salad, Seafood, Summer

Summer Sushi Salad Lettuce Cups

A spell of early summer days has hit Queenstown and with it happy times and a need for cool, soothing, quick and simple meals.  My photography today definitely doesn’t do justice to how delicious and easy these were to eat.  You need to check for Ed’s tips on lettuce preparation and enjoy these yourself while the summer days last.  There is plenty of scope here to ad-lib and to add all of the good bits you want a little more of in your traditional sushi. Sushi salads have long been popular at home and at work, but this week sushi salad randomly collided with a plan to make Prawn San Choy Bau for the blog.  The sushi salad was to be for our evening meal and the Prawns for San Choy Bau blog post, that will have to be another day!  It all came together by happy chance as dinner for family, and Marko, my hard working Cultural Exchange helper.  It was declared delicious and definitely blog worthy in its own right – so here we are!  The prawns, although providing another delicious crunch element, could easily be replaced with any other seafood – fish fillets, crab, calamari – or tofu, or as you see in the pictures  – some slices of avocado, cucumber, snow peas etc. (The snow pea sprouts unless chopped are not such a good idea in my mind – why do they always seem to end up hanging out the side of my mouth – is […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

ricotta,parmesan gnuddi
Brunch, Gluten Free, Meal, Salad, Savoury

Fresh Ricotta and Parmesan Gnuddi

Gnuddi are gnocci-like little dumplings made with ricotta rather than potatoes.  It is said to be the filling for ravioli without the pasta, which to me sounds – and is – just the good bits. These are simple and light in texture, a little rich and delicious.  A great entree or vegetarian option, which won’t leave you feeling like you have missed out on something. I did make this ricotta myself, after a conversation that set me imagining warm fresh ricotta drizzled with honey and berries for breakfast. It is very delicious I promise you but not what happened this time! I had intended to pass on the recipe for making ricotta, but after making the ricotta and waiting for the subsequent draining my timing went way past breakfast. Considering the cost when using good quality milk, it actually very similar to the wonderful Zany Zeus ricotta. I was not convinced you would want to know how to make it after that result but do  let me know if you do want to know and I will happily show you how it is made. The method as it is is very simple. I then returned to ricotta gnuddi, an idea I have been working with, and now thanks to my beautiful fresh ricotta I have a recipe worth sharing. I  served these two ways today. Firstly, with a little crisp fried sage and brown butter and a simple salad of rocket with a lemon vinaigrette, and secondly with some fresh […]

fresh tuna, chimichirri salsa
Condiments, Gluten Free, Salad

My New Favourite Chimichirri Salsa

Sometimes good things just come out of the blue or happen at the right moment, this salsa is both of those things.  I made it to go with the amazing Tuna I had bought and wanted to give proper respect to. Now I want it on every thing. I have a love of condiments, for me they can transform a few simple ingredients into something special.  I love to know that I have a few jars of flavour boosters in my fridge and pantry. Yes, this can get a little out of hand and there are moments when I see my family looking sadly in the fridge as if to say how can this be so full and there is nothing to actually eat!  Haha and bad luck them, they just need to put a little effort and imagination in and there is a whole lot of deliciousness in there! I have made chimichirri before and it has been good on the day, but right now this is the best, a little chunky, fresh, bright and straight up delicious salsa. It is my go to “put on everything” sauce of the summer.  What’s more, it isn’t  fussy or tricky to make! The main thing is the red wine vinegar, a squeeze of lemon and plenty of parsley and fresh herbs.   Have a look outside if you live in Otago, origanum and thyme grow like weeds here, so useful and delicious or you might have some other wild herbs around […]

kumera,kale and corn fritters
Breakfast, Brunch, Gluten Free, Savoury

Kumera Kale and Corn Fritters

Good morning breakfast I love you!  On a good day off,  if get up early enough I can even manage two breakfasts.  Actually I am hideously routine in my initial breakfast, and always start with a piece of the toast I featured on the blog a couple of weeks ago  http://freshkitchen.co.nz/my-daily-bread-and-crackers/ .  Although this is great, because of my early starts by mid morning I am ready for something else.  As luck would have it a second breakfast/brunch is the perfect answer, especially on a day off. These fritters are beautiful, the ones I made this morning for the photos I made with golden kumera,  but any kumera (purple NZ, orange or gold)  will work well. These are beautiful light, crispy, tasty fritters. I did try to make my fritter into one big rosti like cake the other day thinking I might simplify my fritter life.  This was no great success, the kumera doesn’t seem to have the same gluey qualities of potato and it was all a bit more like a kumera hash, delicious, but not my intention.  In my research, I found people lightly salting the kumera leaving it for a while and then squeezing out the liquid, along with giving the kale a quick steam I found this made the cooking process quicker and they held together better, especially as I did not want to use any flour in these fritters. I chose to poach the egg as I wanted to keep this healthier but you could fry […]