I am planning to add delicious recipes here, each month (February – November) of each year ..  They might be personal favourites of mine, or they may be ones I have stored in the endeavour of one day trying…



July 2015: Vegetarian Brioche .. I absolutely love Little and Friday’s Vegetarian Brioche and have been hoping to make a version of it for some years (yes years) but with a really healthy twist, using much less butter and maybe no eggs, and maybe Avocado as my fat of choice ..  so this recipe is a mix up .. a homemade variety .. of which great recipes are born ..here goes …images-1.jpg

Brioche Dough

1/2 cup warmed almond milk
15g fresh crumbled yeast, or 3 teaspoons dried yeast
2.5 cups of ‘strong’ flour
1 cup plain flour
1.5 t sea salt salt
2 T brown sugar
1 egg
35gm butter and 1 mashed avodaco
then I add: olives, sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, chevre..

In a sauce pan, heat milk over a medium heat until lukewarm. Remove milk from heat and sprinkle over yeast, stir until yeast has dissolved.

Place flour, salt and sugar and into a large mixing bowl mix ingredients until combined, then add the wet ingredients (yeast/milk mixture, egg, mashed avocado) to the dry ingredients. Using a electric beater with a dough hook mix on a low speed until a sticky dough forms.  Stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 10 minutes on a medium speed until a elastic, shiny dough forms and pulls away from the bowl. If doing this by hand, tip dough onto a bench and knead for 10 minutes.

Cut butter into small pieces and gradually add to dough mixture, mixing until well combined. Cover bowl with a clean tea towel and allow dough to prove until it has almost doubled in size.  Pour dough onto a well floured bench, it is now ready to use for any brioche recipe… fill with vegetables, brush with egg wash, and bake at 220 for 35 minutes.

 



June 2015: Pumpkin and Chickpea Hashcakes .. how delicious.  I make these to add to my vege burgers, it took me along time to get the recipe right, mashing the pumpkin with a hand masher is much better than blending it as it becomes too gluey (much like it you blend boiled potatoes .. it becomes potatoe glue:).  Here goes: ..

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Pumpkin and Chickpea Hashcakes

a can of organic chickpeas washed and drained
a large piece of pumpkin
fresh herbs, garlic, unsalted butter and sea salt (maldon)

Method: peel and boil pumpkin, and drain really well.  Lightly mash it with a hand masher and add the (drained and washed) chickpeas .. super gently fold together with the fried onion, garlic and fresh herbs and then form into round balls, which you can flatten and quickly pan fry .. don’t let the butter (frying in) soak into the hash cakes as they become heavy .. I add them to warmed sourdough buns, add grated beetroot, Australian chevre’, any lettuce, homemade aoili (see recipes below for my recipe)  and lots of red onion.  Boom .. deliciousness.



May 2015: This is extremely easy to make, but feels and tastes like ‘steak tartare’.. for a vegetarian..CREAqdjB46k9nL79VI2wVl
Field Mushrooms on Sour dough

lots of mushrooms, I always buy large flat
hot pan with a butter/coconut oil mix
fresh thyme (lots)
fresh organic garlic
sourdough .. often quinoa
Method:  toast sourdough and while that’s happening fry off the mushrooms, adding thyme and garlic.. serve hot.



April 2015:  I havent made this yet but cant wait to try it.. Coconut Butter ..

Creamy Coconut Butterimages
Organic desiccated coconut
and a blender (high speed)

Method: place organic desiccated coconut into a high speed blender and blend for 8 – 10 minutes.  Changes take place: coconut becomes wet, then runny and then its done.  You need to swipe down the sides of the blender to make sure all of the coconut is used.  Ive been trying to figure out how to make it really creamy ..what I can add to it and I cant figure that out yet as its a little bit grainy (maybe straining it) .. lets know how you get on..



March 2015: Now this recipe comes from the amazing cook book by Aucklander Megan May
(http://littlebirdorganics.co.nz/blogs/our-story/40005633-megan-and-jeremy#).  Megan developed the Little Bird, The Unbakery and The Squeezery (juice brand).  With permission to copy here for us (thank you Little Bird: http://littlebirdorganics.co.nz/#) .. This is one of her recipes that always brings applause from my family and friends when I make it .. here goes.

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Crispy Almond and Hazelnut Tartlets with Harissa Chickpeas and Carrots (w Almond Hummus)

for the tartlets:
2.5 cups of almonds (soaked)
1/2 cup of Hazelnuts
1/3 cup of golden flaxseeds
1t nutritional yeast
1.5 t sea salt (maldon)
freshly cracked pepper
3 T virgin cold pressed olive oil
1/4 cup of filtered water
for the filling:
baby carrots
sprouted chickpeas
baby spinach
2 T sesame seeds
1 T harissa spice
sea salt (maldon)
lemon juice
5 t virgin cold pressed olive oil
2 c almond hummus (page 139 of their book)


Method for the tarts: Drain the soaked nuts and rinse thoroughly.  Blend all the golden flaxseeds until they resemble flour and put all the ingredients (except the olive oil and the water) into the food processor until thoroughly mixed (but not overtly fine).  Add the olive oil and water until the mixture holds together well.
Oil tart tins and press the mixture evenly into the cases – with the crust around 3mm.  Place them onto a dehydrator tray (I use the oven on a low temperature) until dry and crispy.
Method for the filling: peel and chop the baby carrots into halves and place them and the chickpeas, spinach, sesame seeds, harissa, sea salt, lemon juice and olive oil into a bowl and toss. Place everything onto dehydrator sheet and dehydrate (46degrees) for an hour.

Place hummus into individual tarts, place a handful of the chickpea and carrot mixture on top and drizzle with some cooking oil from the mixture. Garnish with fresh pepper, lemon zest and parsley.


 

 February 2015:   In March I began making Dolmades.. I had been buying them (in a can!!!) on and off for years, they are quite exotic but really brilliantly easy to make, especially when you can add what ever is in season .. here is how I do it .. images-4.jpg

Dolmades

vine leaves (I buy mine in a salty brine in a jar)
Campbells (liquid) Vegetable Stock
Lupi Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of lemon juice
israeli couscous
fresh garlic
red onions
fresh grated ginger
coconut oil to fry
sundried tomatoes
pinenuts
kalamata olives
fresh herbs: italian (flat leaf) parsley,
mint, dill
grated lemon rind

Method: once I have drained the leaves and laid them out on a board I prepare the filling. I boil a jug of hot water and soak the Israeli Couscous for say 10 minutes, and drain (making sure they aren’t completely soaked). I lightly saute the red onion, garlic and grated ginger (to soft), and then tip into a bowl.  I then add (to that bowl) the lemon zest, olives (chopped) chopped fresh herbs and pine-nuts.  I mix this together and line onto each vine leaf a small portion of the filling.  I roll them and place neatly (tightly) into an oven dish and top with the oil, vegetable stock, balsamic and lemon juice mix.   I cover the top of the oven dish with a tight fitting plate and slow bake in a medium oven for say 30 minutes.. one note: keep checking them past the 15 minute mark to make sure they are still moist and getting softer..  I serve once cool but equally you can serve them while warm .. with hummus and warm sour dough.




November 2015:  In the summer of 2015, while still dairy free, I trialed some new ways to make nourishing nut milk.  I had some successes but have recently found this recipe from Auckland food company, ROAR (www.roarfood.co.nz), graciously Gabriel Power has agreed for me to reprint here . .. I hope you enjoy making it ..

Nutritious and Tasty Activated Brazil Nut Milk
Gabriel Power, March 2014

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Brazil Nut Milk (makes 1lt):

100g activated Brazil nuts
1 litre water (ideally filtered)
50cm² muslin cloth or a clean tea towel
2 tbsp coconut sugar

You can use sugar, honey, dates or any other sweetener you wish – coconut sugar thickens the milk slightly and gives it a great flavour, it is also one of the healthier choices of sweetener.

Method: Blend the activated Brazil nuts, coconut sugar and the water in a high powered blender until the nuts are ground very very fine – the finer the better! If your blender is not very powerful don’t stress, it should still work fine. You may have to try using slightly more water to nuts ratio, but try out this ratio first.

leave the nut water to sit and infuse for at least an hour. Stir occasionally if you can. Leave it in the refrigerator overnight if possible. If you’re short of time you can strain it straight away, but you will just have a slightly more watery Brazil nut milk

after leaving to sit, strain the Brazil nut mixture through a muslin cloth. You can use a clean tea towel if you don’t have any muslin cloth, but it will take a while to strain through. Or failing that you can use a fine tea strainer, but the consistency of your milk will be grainy. Either way it will still taste delicious!

Chill and stir before serving. This Brazil nut milk goes brilliantly with coffee and iced coffee. It is also great in smoothies, cereals or as a stand-alone drink.



October 2014: With the on-set of summer Ive gone back to making juices (although in winter I cant seem to stomach them .. too earthy :).  My new favourite mix is: oranges, ginger, beetroot, carrots .. that’s it, and maybe half a cucumber if I have it.  I also add a whole avocado (good fat) if I have one ..enjoy.

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September 2014: This is one of my favourite little wraps .. a skin-on snapper and winter green salad wrap (taco).  I buy my fish from Jimmy the Fish at Ponsonby Central and buy any winter greens from Ceres (Organics also at Ponsonby Central.  I usually buy field smushrooms, US asparagus and grate some fresh beetroot and pumpkin on last..

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Winter Snapper Tacos

fresh skin-on snapper
field mushrooms
fresh asparagus
fresh garlic (chopped)
grate fresh beetroot (not peeled)
freshly grated pumpkin (skin off)
fresh homemade aoili

Method: In a relatively hot pan with butter and avocado oil I fry my snapper (skin side down) then add sliced mushrooms, asparagus, and garlic.  Move them around the pan, flip the snapper and serve into warmed tacos..  Finally add fresh aoili (recipe above in other recipes) and grate the pumpkin and beetroot last .. just before serving..a quick but delicious meal ..enjoy :)




August 2014:  With winter really upon us I have began making this delicious soup, again from the ‘Meat Free Monday’ cookbook by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney.  Consent has been approved for the copying of the recipe and photo, thank you Kyle Publishing (UK)..   

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Watercress Soup with Toasted Almonds

unsalted butter/avocado oil
onions and garlic
potatoes
watercress
vegetable stock (I only use Campbells liquid stock as others are toooo salty)
cream plus coconut yogurt
flaked almonds

Method: I fry off the onions and garlic in the butter (half butter/avocado oil mix) ..I add the peeled and diced potatoes, and after say 5 mins add the stock and simmer for a further 20 minutes.  I add the watercress, cream, coconut yogurt right at the last minute and pour it all into the blender (cover with a teatowel in case the lid leaks and you get boiling soup onto yourself .. have sadly done this and learnt).  I serve warm with a spoon of yogurt swirled around in it ..and the almonds sprinkled on top..






July 2014:  This is an oldie but a goodie.  I probably should be mixing the vegies with an olive oil and balsamic dressing but make my own lemony, mustardy aoili .. and add that..

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All Year Round Slaw
red cabbage
whit cabbage
red onion
fresh dill
aoili: fresh egg, pinch sea salt, seeded/wholegrain mustard, avocado oil,

Method: I use white cabbage, red cabbage, red onion, carrots, spring onions (or even better is fresh dill).  I cut the cabbages really fine, and then add the aoili and mix just lightly, not completely through.  This is lovely on the day but not the next day.





June 2014: This year I’ve been experimenting with the humble wrap :)..  So many possibilities and almost a guaranteed success rate ..  My favourite being: cos lettuce, grated beetroot (fresh with skin on), fresh mayonaise, fresh sprouts, pan fried fish (anything fresh .. snapper, guarnard, john dory), and some roasted vegetables .. wrap and eaten straight away.  It does tend to drip (the grated beets and mayo make it quite runny) but its delicious and keeps you going for hours and hours ..

 

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 The humble and delicious Vege Wrap ..

Method: Here in New Zealand I use the 10″ ‘Farrah Wraps’, they tend not to crack (unless not fresh) and are a great size for one meal.  I wash my salad vege, shaking off excess water, grate my beetroot, grate a carrot, shave a cucumber and thinly slice the red cabbage.  I then add the mayo, sprouts, sometimes red onion, sometimes capers.  I pan fry the fish (skin side first) in a quite hot pan with an oil/butter mix.. I only turn once and don’t turn it until it is visibly cooked through on the skin side (you can see this).  It should be quite crispy and browned on the edges but just, just cooked in the very centre … don’t worry, it will keep cooking once out of the pan..  It add this to my wrap, then roll and wrap and eat on the spot.  I don’t think you will have much luck trying to save it for later, too much liquid..




May 2014: This past week it started to cool down here in AKL and so came the desire for comfort food(s).  A relatively quick meal which turned out to be stunning was: NZ Mash (potato and kumara) with Skin-On Snapper, and Winter Asian greens… its actually brilliantly simple to prepare..

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Potatoe/Kumara Mash & Skin-On Snapper, Asian Greens and Mushroom Jus’

kumara and potatoes (more potatoe), butter and organic milk
fillets of fresh snapper
asian greens – brocolini, bok choy, watercress
large mushrooms
Campbells Reduced Salt Chicken Stock
Butter and Olive Oil to fry
sea salt and cracked pepper
fresh garlic and thyme

Method: I scrub the root vegetables and get them boiling, (and mashed with butter, sea salt and white pepper), put the lid back onto the pot to keep it hot, hot..  Then onto the Asian stir-fry ..I heat a pan adding oil and butter, and then fresh garlic and fresh herbs… then add the stock and asian greens, including mushrooms, I add lots of stock which turns black.  These cook quickly and need to be watched/moved around the pan.. Once in the frypan I start another one (non-stick frypan) with the fish.  Get it hot and with oil and a knob of butter, lower fish in, skin side down..  You really want this to seal and crisp up (so, a hot pan) and then turn it, for half the time to brown the flesh side, whilst keeping the fish almost raw inside (it will keep cooking once plated)…  Then plate it, mash first, then Asian greens, next and the crispy fish sitting on top .. season and serve ..





April 2014:  This delightful and health giving recipe comes from Ripe (174 Richmond Road, Grey Lynn), and is reprinted with permission, thank you Lisa and Angela…
logo“RAW ENERGY SALAD.. This has to be our most popular salad. There are various versions out there – ours was perfected by Jo Williams.  Jo worked with me at Ripe at the very beginning. I can’t thank her enough for all the ideas and recipes she has given us.  Jo now owns a very successful business here in Remuera, Auckland, Madame Jo Jo’s Foodstore. Definitely worth a visit if you haven’t yet been”.

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 Raw Energy Salad

500g raw beetroot, peeled and grated
700g carrot, peeled and grated
1 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
½ cup (80g) raisins
¼ cup (30g) sunflower seeds, toasted
¼ cup (30g) pumpkin seeds, toasted
½ tsp salt

DRESSING
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup (60ml) orange juice
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
1 tbsp honey

Method:  To prepare the dressing: place all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well to combine.  To prepare the salad: in a large serving bowl, combine the beetroot, carrot, mint, raisins, seeds and salt and mix. Pour over the dressing – toss again when ready to serve.






March 2014:  Also this summer I have been making freshly processed juices: into a juicer I will put the likes of: (all pre-washed and all ORGANIC): pineapple, celery, beetroot, ginger, curcumin, feijoas, apples, spinach, frozen banana.  A few tips: I try and have at least half the glass full of just vegetable juices, otherwise it is too sweet and theres too much sugar in it for your body.. images-1images



February 2014:  Hi, I took January off and have compiled some delicious recipes for 2014.  Firstly Ive gone back to making ‘falafel’ … we used to eat if frequently but then I questioned chickpeas (they are great nutritionally), so here is a nifty little number for homemade falafels..

Falafel
Falafel

1 x can of Ceres Organic Chickpeas (or soak and rinse and boil your dried ones)
1 x can of Ceres Organic Fava Beans
1 egg
handful of Italian parsley
handful of coriander
as much as you like of ground cumin seeds
and the same for ground harrisa
and the same for ground allspice
freshly ground pepper and sea salt
2 tablespoons of flour

Method: drain chickpeas and beans, add to the blender, with the egg, and all other ingredients, blend until smooth and then roll in flour and shallow fry until golden… I serve mine with homemade Tabbouleh and homemade Mayonnaise and not in a pita pocket, but on a shared platter .. delicious..


 


November 2013: Again this is a really delicious meal for summer, with baked kumara, chickpeas, fresh Italian parsley, fresh coriander, crushed brazil nuts, an amazing curried mayonnaise and a dash of my favourite balsamic dressing … its a show stopper and delicious to boot ..

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   Kumara, Chickpeas, Italian Parsley, Coriander and Brazil Nut Summer Salad

fresh parsley (italian), fresh coriander
kumara maybe 1 kg
fresh brazil nuts (stored in fridge)
chickpeas (I use canned ones (from Farro) washed and drained)
balsamic dressing: lupi balsamic vinegar, light oil, lemon zest, chopped garlic, freshly ground pepper and sea salt
mayonnaise: 1 egg, light oil, clove of garlic, freshly ground pepper, 1 t seeded mustard, lenmon zest, curry powder

Method: Scrub and then chop the kumara into quite large pieces (leaving skin on), place into a pot of boiling water, almost need to stand guard as it quickly turns from par-boiled to mush .. so boil for 8 minutes tops.  Kumara needs to be hard.  Drain and place onto a oven tray, toss in oil and bake on around 180 for 25 mins, keep an eye on it, I often take it out and turn the pieces as I want them crispy golden and they can burn in only a few minutes.. (if they go past golden and burn even a little, throw them out … burnt food is carcinogenic)..  Once roasted, leave to cool on try out of oven, needs to be completely cold otherwise it will wilt the fresh herbs…  I wash both the coriander and parsley and leave to drain on clean tea-towel.  For the mayonnaise: in blender add egg, lemon zest, salt and pepper, grainy mustard, and garlic clove.  With motor running add oil (maybe a cup and a half, just drizzling in.. Stop and taste and if it becomes too thick, add lemon juice in tiny amounts until desired consistency is achieved.  Then,  I make sure I have everything ready to plate up: balsamic dressing already made, fresh wet herbs, roasted kumara, fresh mayonnaise, washed and drained chickpeas.  I plate up with fresh herbs first (I break off storks and just use leafy parts) … so lay herbs, then crushed brazil nuts, then chickpeas, then balsamic dressing, then kumara, then mayo, then crushed nuts, then I repeat another layer …





October 2013: This month I have been making the most delicious vegetarian mushroom, feta and sweet tomato pizza, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.. Here’s the recipe:

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Homemade Mushroom, Feta and Balsamic pizza

Paneton par-baked pizza rectangles
organic fresh large brown mushrooms
homemade tomatoes sauce: cans of Italian tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, brown sugar, bouquet garni,
Australian Meredith’s Dairy chevre
balsamic vinaigrette: Lupi balsamic vinegar, Macademia Oil, chopped garlic, cracked pepper and sea salt, seeded wholegrain mustard

Method: I oil both sides of the pizza, then bake it in a hot oven for say 20 minutes.  You want the side facing the oven to brown slightly (whilst the side that touches the oven tray remains moist).  Once out of the oven, flip it and add the toppings: a layer of sweet tomatoe sauce, layered sliced mushrooms, crumbled chevre, and then liberally drizzle the vinaigrette on and return to a hot oven.  There is nothing to melt (cheese) but you want to heat it significantly to allow the oil in the dressing to moisten the mushrooms..




September 2013: This delicious juice is one I originally bought from Ripe (Richmond Road, Grey Lynn) and then modified it adding the yogurt for gut health.  It is bright green and includes: 1 cup of coconut water, 1 T coconut oil (hard at room temp), 1 banana, 1/2 c biofarm yogurt, 1 c fresh spinach leaves PLUS: in the fridge I keep a container with organic spirulina and organic chia seeds mixed together, I sprinkle a good sized tablespoon into this (and other) smoothies (its incredibly packed with nutrients)….

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August 2013: This month I have been making exceptional Winter Roasted Vegetable Salads… they almost always start with the basic root vegetables: pumpkin, kumara (not potatoes), beetroot and then I might lightly roast a fresh bulb of fennel.

Baked-veg-0018-959802fa-4e1f-49f0-9670-1857cd5adda0-0-536x357Winter Roast Vegetable Salad

Organic Pumpkin
Organic Kumara
*Baby Fennel Bulb (if you like and can find it)
1 c chickpeas (often I will use organic canned chickpeas) drained and washed thoroughly
fresh herbs (Italian parsley and dill)
Lupi balsamic vinegar
macademia nut oil
bulb of fresh garlic cut finely
1 t wholegrain mustard

Method: I lightly brush root vegetables and then roast them in an hot over (180) with one cup of water and a good dollop of coconut oil.  The water help the vegetables stay really moist inside.  I turn them once or twice over the 45 minutes they take to roast, but do watch them as they can go from golden to burnt in minutes and then you have to throw them out…  Once roasted and cooled, I start to plate the salad.  Roast vegetables on the bottom, then a handful of (washed) chickpeas, then a handful of fresh herbs.  I repeat that layering until I have used all of my ingredients up, then drizzle on top the dressing of the combined: balsamic vinegar, macademia nut oil, chopped garlic, and mustard.  I keep the remaining dressing in a jar in the fridge for days..

 




July 2013: This month I have been making Laksa … its a delicious Asian inspired spicy, soupy/broth, served over the top of hot noodles, fresh seafood, fresh Asian greens and a dollop of homemade Mayo (mayonnaise), sounds crazy but trust me.. absolutely delicious.  Now I must say I tweaked the original take on a laksa, I wanted less noodles, healthier noodles, more vegetables and seafood, so my version is healthier and a little bit more robust looking than the photo.. Easy to make, it consists of four main groups of ingredients: the broth/noodles, the seafood, the mayo and finally the vegetables.. Basically in your bowl you end up with hot noodles, topped with hot broth, topped with lightly (not completely cooked) seafood, the mayo  the ‘pi’ece de ‘resistance’ and finally the crunchy fresh salad vegetables,  here goes:Soups 19

Asian Inspired Laksa

For the broth: 1 litre of Campbells Real Chicken Liquid Stock
3 Tablespoons of Laksa paste (this must be authentic, thick, strong smelling, dark orange with an oily top)
1 x carton of Kara (Indonesian) UHT Coconut Cream 200ml
fresh garlic and grated ginger
oil to fry aromatics

For the noodles: we usually use: Hakubaku Organic Udon noodles (270g)

For the vegetables: very, very thinly sliced red cabbage, very, very thinly sliced white cabbage, white bean sprouts, fresh coriander (chopped)

For the mayonnaise: 1 x egg, good pinch of sea salt, good grind of freshly ground pepper, 1/2 t wholegrain mustard, 1/2 clove of garlic, zest of 2 lemons, neutral oil (such as grapeseed or macedemia oil)
For the seafood: 1 x long fillet of fresh fish, 6 – 7 fresh prawns (shell off)

Method: Prepare the 4 groups of ingredients individually, then toss together in the last few minutes for this knockout meal.  Firstly, the broth: Fry off the aromatics (grated garlic and ginger and Laksa paste), add all of the chicken stock and let it simmer. Then, the noodles: the packet of Hakubaku Udon noodles comes in 3 individually wrapped portions, I tend to use half a portion per person… So using that quantity, boil Udon noodles in hot salted water for 8 minutes, drain and keep warm, I am often temped to drain them into the broth but Udon will keep soaking up the laksa broth and I end up with not enough broth, so even if tempted, don’t do that.  For the vegetables: chop cabbages as thinly as you can, they look amazing cut super thin, lightly wash bean sprouts and chop coriander.  For the mayonnaise: in a blender put one egg, drizzle in the oil, stop, add salt and pepper, lemon zest and mustard and garlic.  This should be result in a thick, thick mayo.  Now I dilute it with lemon juice (fresh only) but only a few drops at a time with the blender going..   For the seafood: I tend to cook the fish and prawns in a hot pan with a mix or butter/coconut oil, I don’t cook completely as when you compile the dish the seafood will keep cooking in that hot broth and this can dry out your seafood.To compile; in bowls, start with the hot noodles, then add the hot broth, then the warm seafood, then a great dollop of homemade mayonnaise, then topping it off with a handful of crispy, crunchy vegetables.  I never, never mix it all together, but instead it makes a mountain shape and looks amazing, with clear crisp colours and aromas … have a go and ring me if you need a ‘pep’ talk part way though …








June 2013
: This is a recipe I have used for years.  The creamy-ness is out of this world but it is high in fat which may concern some of you.  I buy organic pumpkin, use the richest coconut cream I can find (in NZ try to source: Kara UHT Coconut Cream).  I also use fresh nutmeg, and then the other suspects… sea salt, cracked pepper, chicken stock, bouquet garni, red onion, garlic and roasted pumpkin… Quantities are something like this:

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Winter Pumpkin and Caramalised Red Onion Soup

500gm winter pumpkin (roasted in the oven skin on)
1L of Campbell’s Real Chicken Stock (liquid – salt reduced)
250mls Cara UHT Coconut Cream
fresh thyme leaves
ground pepper and sea salt flakes (to taste)
freshly ground nutmeg (grated yourself)
a good pinch of soft brown sugar
red onions
brown sugar
olive oil and a good knob of unsalted butter
ground pepper

Method: cut up pumpkin (skin on) and roast in the oven for say 40 minutes at around 180.  Once cool (almost cold), peek skin and pop the pulp into a tall strong glass blender, half of the liquid stock (500mls), fresh thyme, cracked pepper and sea salt, freshly ground nutmeg, good pinch of brown sugar.  Blend to smooth, adding more liquid stock as required.  When smooth, and seasoned to perfection pour into a pot to heat slowly.  For caramalised onions, add butter to a sided tray/or loaf tin/or cake tin, add peeled onions, drizzle with oil, crumble brown sugar and cracked pepper  … roast in a medium heated (150) oven for 30 minutes, turning after 20 minutes.  Skins will dry out but onions should sweat and ‘jam’ up with the sugar.. delicious.  Now, when soup is hot, serve into bowls, pouring coconut cream over the top, then carefully place a red onion into the bowl and serve immediately … love your feedback..





May 2013: This recipe comes from a fabulous cook book called ‘The Meat Free Monday Cookbook’ foreword by: Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney, published by: Kyle Books (UK), 2011.   Consent to copy and publish here has been granted and I thrilled to bring you this recipe.  On page: 159 there is the recipe for Puy Lentils (rich in protein and vitamins), Roasted Red Peppers with Goats Cheese … it looks fabulous but also it tastes beautiful.  Its well balanced and I would and will be making it year round for family and friends…


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Puy Lentils with Roasted Peppers and Goat’s Cheese

3 red capsicums
175gm Puy lentils
2 red onions
bunch of fresh herbs – such as: thyme, sage, oregano tied together with string
large bunch of Italian (flat leaf) parsley
Australian Merediths Dairy 150gm soft chevre cheese
dressing: balsamic vinegar, oil, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper

Method: roast the red peppers on an oven tray (lined with baking paper) in an oven at around 180C,gas mark 5 for 30 minutes.  They will change colour slightly (don’t let them burn they will need to be thrown out !), then straight out of the oven place them into a plastic bag and seal, to let them sweat.  When cool, de-seed and rub skins off, clean up the pepper and then slice. Wash the Puy lentils (in colander) and cook, thoroughly covered with water, with onion and fresh herbs, for 12 or so minutes, drain and set aside.  Prepare other items: remove cheese from its wrapper and chop roughly, de-stem parsley and plate up … parsley, lentils, chopped red onion, crumbed goat’s cheese and peppers and repeat.  Drizzle with the dressing and serve … its a knockout salad.   Tips: I buy my lentils already cooked (in a can) and gently rinse well, without disturbing as they often break up and disintegrate.  I often buy and use yellow capsicums as a lovely taste and colour, and lastly I personally don’t like a strong olive oil and so use light non flavour-some oils for my dressing, for this one I use a grape-seed oil.










April 2013: All summer (and often in winter too) I make (Middle Eastern) Tabbouleh.  I’m abit of a purist when it comes to buying fresh produce and tend to go the extra mile (literally) to source fresh, fresh produce, and although it sounds a little bit over the top, its actually cost effective to shop for fresh, fresh produce.  I tend to shop for fresh produce probably 3 times a week and tend to swing by both Fruit World’s (Greenlane and Ponsonby), Farro (Grey Lynn) and Harvest Wholefoods (Grey Lynn), to check out what is in season.  In saying that I buy flat leaf parsley all year round and this summer has sown my own herb garden with 26 large Italian Parsley plants which are growing beautifully, with luscious dark shiny, green parsley. I tend not to use recipes, and I cook by way of ‘sight and taste’ (does it look and taste well balanced).  But here is a rough guide to quantities…

Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh

1 cup of organic Bulghar wheat or Israeli couscous (even nicer)
2 big bunches of Italian parsley
2 smallish red onions
a handful of sweet fresh tomatoes (maybe 5 or 6)
maybe 1/4 cup of light olive oil
1 cup of good quality Balsamic vinegar (I am loving Lupi Aceto Balsamico)
grated zest of one lemon (not lemon juice)

Method: Place bulghar wheat or Israeli couscous into a high sided bowl, boil the jug and pour (boiling water) an inch above the bulghar wheat/couscous.  Leave to rest/absorb for 10 minutes. Then pour into a fine sieve and rinse under a tap, until the water runs clear.  If the wheat/couscous isn’t cooked yet (you don’t want it soft, falling apart soft, just al dente), I repeat the process and after 5 minutes, rinse and try (taste).  I then leave to drain for up to an hour, shaking sieve whenever I go past, this is actually a really good tip, if the wheat is still dripping wet when you tip it from the sieve to a mixing bowl you lessen the effect the vinegar has on being absorbed into the wheat/couscous…. If I am in a hurry I will even tip the cooked wheat/couscous into a clean, clean tea-towel (some years ago I came across a supplier of great quality white hand towels, and so I bought 24 and only use them in my kitchen … they are phenomenally absorbent and soft, and I can bleach/sterilse them clean) and shake and quickly the water runs out the bottom of the tea towel.  The drier you can get the wheat/couscous after cooking the better.

Then pop that into a bowl, add your chopped tomatoes, finely chopped red onion, grated lemon zest, toss and then drizzle on the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I don’t use cucumber in my version, I prefer the clean tastes and don’t want to compromise a beautiful thing :).  Nor do I use lemon juice as the acidity overloads the dish and the lemon juice will not allow the vinegar nor the olive oil, to stick to the wheat…  This recipe makes around 5 cups of Tabbouleh and although I will take a good quantity away (take to dinner with friends) I always save some for me at home, it gets better with age for about 12 hours but after 2 days it starts to whilt.






March 2013: As the end of summer draws to a close I have been experimenting with ‘Gallettes’.  I was first introduced to these little rectangular pastry portions topped with the most fabulous combinations, at my all time fav. cafe, Little and Friday, Belmont, Auckland. Trying to re-create these I came up with some success using fresh wild mushrooms, New Zealand’s Meredith’s Farm Chevre (goats cheese) and home-made tomato sauce, double baking the pastry and serving hot with a balsamic vingarette and chopped flat-leaf parsley.

IMG_0834
Mushroom, Chevre & Balsamic Galettes

Pastry: the best puff pastry you can buy
 Mushrooms x 12 large
Australian Meredith’s Dairy Chevre Cheese 150gm pack
Fresh thyme
Homemade tomatoe sauce: 2 x T Macademia Oil, 2 x cans Lupi tomato’s, 2 x cloves of garlic, sea salt, ground pepper, fresh thyme (tied into a bouquet garni with string) large pinch of s
oft brown sugar,
Balsamic Vina
grette: half a cup of plainish oil (Macademia), 1 clove of garlic, freshly ground pepper, pinch sea salt, grated lemon zest, teaspoon of seeded mustard, half a cup of balsamic vinegar (I only use Lupi Aceto Balsamico) 






February 2013: Summer for me (as in winter) is about fresh food, so a favourite of my family’s is the classic French Caesar.  The balance of flavours are just remarkable in this more-ish salad … give it a go, you may love it..

a_deconstructed_caesar_salad
Classic French Caesar Salad

Dressing/mayo: fresh egg, a clove of garlic, shaved parmasen, freshly ground pepper, seas salt, lemon zest and juice, macademica oil,
Salad leaves: only use Cos (it is robust and holds it shape and crunch)
Crispy bacon, soft boiled egg, fresh ciabatta croutons, hand shaved parmasen, white anchovies (Nosh)

Method: I firstly make the dressing/mayo… Into a high speed (700W) blender I add: 1 x egg, 1 x clove of garlic, a few good shavings of parmasen, the salt and pepper, and the lemon zest.  While the blender is running I drizzle in (quite thick/fast) the Macademia oil, the quantity is really irrelevant, it depends on the moisture in the environment, the weight and freshness of the egg, and other things so just use your eyes to guide the quantities… drizzle in the oil until the dressing/mayo starts to form, slowing down the drizzle until it is really really thick (can hear the blender slow/struggle at this consistency).  At this stage I drizzle in fresh lemon juice, to loosen the dressing/mayo.  Lemon juice also lightens it and gives it that zingy aroma.  (Watching the whole time is key here, as the dressing/mayo can SPLIT if it becomes unbalanced)..
For the salad, wash and dry (shake in a teatowel) lettuce, soft boil eggs and peel, oven
/pan fry bacon, oven fry ciabatta croutons … combine salad so it sits high, I actually layer ingredients .. lettuce, mayo, egg, bacon, croutons, anchovies, dressing/mayo, shaved parmasen … it is a knockout salad .. eat a.s.a.p.. although the dressing/mayo will last for up to 3 days in the fridge (covered)

 


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