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    Friday, March 14, 2008

    On the Road again

    It’s 4 in the morning… now just to digress a little …as there are so many famous first lines in novels
    e.g. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again” and
    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” etc
    "It’s 4 in the morning" immediately conjures up Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” the title song of my favourite album…so now of course it is running through my head.

    Anyway back to It’s 4 in the morning and I am up early…Dale and our friend Pete have sailed our boat Cajun Moon up north to the beautiful Whangaroa Harbour.

    Pete’s wife Elphie and I are driving up this morning to join them. We need to get on the road fairly early. It’s a 4 hour drive. and we are anxious to get up there and join them.

    I just wanted to make a quick last post before we leave. It’s a little difficult and very slow from that region.

    So…some nice things have been happening.
    On Thursday I went to visit a fellow food Blogger Arfi from HomemadeS
    Arfi lives way out in the country. I have never been to that part of New Zealand before so it was an adventure.
    It took me about an hour to get out there. But it was worth it.
    It’s lovely, Arfi and her family have a lifestyle block with an orchard and they keep chickens and sell the chicks.
    2 lovely little children…it’s nice to meet another Blogger.
    Arfi made us coffee and accompanying it was a wonderful moist ginger cake.
    But the best was yet to come.
    Arfi gave me her homemade Damson Plum Cheese.
    I have had quince cheese before but this is divine.
    The depth of colour and flavour are quite exceptional

    Took a quick photo…this is coming up north with us.
    can see fresh bread, blue cheese, Damson Plum cheese. Yum
    On my way home as I drove over a hill this wonderful view hit me

    The Waikato River. Magnificent.
    How about this for a quirky letterbox?

    Thank you Arfi it was fun.

    We had family dinner last week and I made a divine Prawn and Orzo salad
    Courtesy Barefoot Contessa plus an excellent Pear Vinaigrette which is goes really well on a rocket walnut and blue cheese dressing.
    Roasted 3 fat chickens with a truffle butter and lots of herbs.

    A veritable feast but more about all of that next time.
    My driver awaits me.

    Friday, March 07, 2008

    Yellow Squash Soup for International Women’s Day

    Yellow is the flavour of the month. The excellent Livestrong Event and now Zorra is also using Yellow as the inspirational colour for International Women’s Day Read about it here on her blog.

    So as luck would have it I have been cooking a bit with yellow food and I can dedicate this post to the event.
    Asha from Foodies Hope made this herb bread

    Click here for the recipe

    It is an Herb Swirl Bread

    You make the dough.
    Let it rise
    Roll it out and brush it with this lovely herb oil mix
    ¼ cup butter, softened I used olive oil
    strong>1/3 minced fresh parsley or ¼ dry parsley
    1 tablespoon minced chives
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    ½ teaspoon cumin powder
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon dry red chilli flakes

    Then roll it up like as for pinwheel scones

    Rise again another hour

    Bake 190C 20-25 minutes

    So to accompany this bread
    I made soup

    So Simple Butternut Squash Soup

    Cut up 1 butternut squash
    Remove seeds
    Cut up into chunks
    Cut up a large onion
    Toss all in olive oil and season with salt & freshly ground black pepper
    Roast 190C till fork tender

    Remove skins and pop into a pot
    Cover with chicken stock
    Simmer about ½ hour

    With a wand blender puree till smooth

    Garnish with strip of sautéed red pepper
    And to make it special
    Drizzle with leftover herb oil

    An excellent soup and fabulous bread
    All So So Simple

    Monday, March 03, 2008

    Yellow Food - The Fight Against Cancer

    Barbara from Winos and Foodies (have a look at her post about this event "Livestrong With A Taste of Yellow" here ) is once again hosting this inspirational event.

    Basically it's to remember those loved ones who are no longer with us, support those still fighting and celebrate with those who have won the fight against cancer.

    I don’t wish to be disrespectful but forget the Wars around the World… the fight against Cancer is ongoing and equally as devastating...more so to the average person…because War (unless you live in the war-torn country or have family or friends effected) is something most of us shrug off.
    It's all around us but not real. Meanwhile Cancer is personal.
    Nobody is safe and everyone has a family or a friend who is fighting cancer, surviving it or unfortunately has died from it.
    In New Zealand our Daffodil Day The Symbol of Hope is in August (our Springtime)

    The trick is to post food with something yellow in it. I am cheating a little as these two recipes actually are more orange than yellow but they are both so good I had to do it
    After all Orange has Yellow in it...Yes?

    "LiveSTRONG with A Taste Of Yellow" Barbara's event has been accepted by the Lance Armstrong Foundation as an official LiveSTRONG Day event.

    Our friend Rex is a wonderful fisherperson and I know some people won’t believe this, but he sometimes gets really fed up with fresh fish everyday while at sea.
    Yes that’s right…
    Since working on the "temporary" non-dairy in my everyday life, I am looking at eating lots of fish and I want to have it a different way every day.

    So I saw a couple of recipes that took my eye on the Food TV
    First up “Surfing the Menu” made this recipe using Scallops

    I did it with Grouper, scallops are out of season and the grouper was an excellent replacement…nice meaty fish but if you have scallops I’m sure they will be wonderful.

    Scallops on Carrot Flavoured Vermicelli Noodles
    For 2 people

    First make the carrot puree

    2 large carrots peeled and diced
    50 gms butter or olive oil

    Zest and juice of 1 orange - put zest to one side
    ½ teaspoon cumin
    Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

    Add carrots, butter or oil in pan and just cover with water
    Gently cook till all water is absorbed
    Into blender and puree till smooth
    Season with orange juice and S & P to taste
    Return to pan

    150 gms rice vermicelli
    Soak in boiling water till soft about 5 minutes
    Drain and add to carrot puree.
    Keep warm

    Clean the scallops 4-5 person
    If you are using the white fish cut it into shapes to resemble scallops.
    Trellis the top of the scallop with a sharp knife this will help it to open up like a flower when cooked
    Dab a little zest on top of each one
    Add a little chopped coriander
    Dust with a little cinnamon

    Place in a steamer
    Cover and steam about 5minutes not too long. They will go rubbery.

    To serve
    Either use a scallop shell or a nice little serving bowl

    Place vermicelli in dish and place scallops/fish pieces on top
    Drizzle with a little olive oil and touch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    It looks a bit messy but I can vouch for wonderful flavour
    Now onto dish two
    Would you believe I actually made a similar dish last week for lunch
    As I was writing it up it occurred to me - same recipe - different ingredients.
    Once again the lovely little Giarda deLaurentiis was the inspiration .

    She was in Capri…of course with her heritage…a very privileged visit to Capri.
    What a wonderful place.
    We stayed there for a couple of days in 1988…it was Spring.
    The Judas trees were in full bloom, wisteria and lemons everywhere.

    We had dinner one night in a little restaurant where you ate what Mama cooked that day.
    I remember vividly…hot citrus soufflés. Fabulous.

    We walked up to the top of the hill complete with a picnic of bread wine and pate.It was sensational…we just loved it. I wanted to live there.
    We stayed at Hotel Calypso, we had to…our company at the time was called Calypso Communications.
    It was so magical on the island.

    One lesson for future travelers…we went at the right time.
    First... the time of year…April and also we planned our visit during the week.
    As we were about to return to Sorrento on Friday afternoon our ferry arrived and hoards of holiday makers disembarked.
    All quickly filling up the lovely square.
    Phew lucky break for us.
    Anyway Giarda and her family dined on this wonderful pasta dish
    Prawn and Butternut Squash Rigatoni

    Peel and cube 1 butternut squash
    Saute in a little olive oil
    Season and add a little water just enough to lightly cover and simmer
    When tender puree

    Cook rigatoni till al dente

    Meanwhile for the prawns
    Add good slosh of olive oil to hot pan.
    Throw in 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    Let it sizzle
    Add prawns
    Toss well to cover
    Slosh in some white wine
    Cook till tender and pink.

    Arrange over pasta another sprinkle of chopped parsley