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    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    Parties for Young and Old

    Zorra of Kochtopf (have a look here) is running a red or white food event for Switzerland’s National Day
    So here is a yummy dish I made that could easily pass for Swiss.
    The occasion was our Grandaughter Baby Cleo’s 1st Birthday.
    Easy Fondue
    Take 2 camembert cheeses. If you can afford it you should buy Le Rustique Camembert you can cook it in the little wooden container.

    it is delicious but it was $20 at the supermarket so I used 2 local cheeses

    You need 1 clove garlic per cheese blanched 10 seconds in the microwave
    Big sprig rosemary broken into little sprigs
    White wine
    Red wine
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Extra virgin olive oil

    Unwrap the cheese keep it in it’s foil wrap
    Make holes all over and pop in garlic and rosemary

    Pour white wine over one and squash it in

    and red wine on the other
    Pour over some Extra virgin olive oil and a good grind of freshly ground black pepper

    Fold over the foil wrap and leave at least 4 hours for the flavours to meld.
    Into 200C oven 10 minutes
    Serve with crusty bread.

    So back to the party.

    Of course it was All Pretty In Pink

    Auntie Helen made the birthday cake.It is the Nigella Coconut Cake.
    I have posted that a year or so ago.

    Mother and daughters cutting the cake
    A little pensive 1 year old
    A major sugar hit...she loved it.The birthday party was the finale of a wonderful weekend of fun starting off with lots of drinks on Thursday night to welcome the Heinzie’s, Commodores from Napier…a well behaved lunch on Friday to welcome some more Commodores, Rocky and Jeannie (absent from the lunch was Commodore Jeannie she had to work) but there you go,
    Then on Saturday night what we had all been waiting for. The Royal Cajun Yacht Club Occajun.


    16 years ago Dale and I started the Royal Cajun Yacht Club.

    Everyone who belongs becomes a Commodore.

    No Hierarchy in this yacht club.

    The first Occajun was held July 4th 1992 (pictured above) with a lunch featuring Cajun food delights, well made Margaritas and a promise of a good time. It was very successful.

    The parties have continued over the years and on Saturday night July 26th was Occajun No 5.
    There will be more about that in a future blog.

    I need to go to bed.Good night.

    Saturday, July 19, 2008

    The Best Boeuf Bourguignonne Pie Ever

    Our friend CJ, is a man of simple, catholic (you might say) tastes when it comes to food, but like all new age men, is really starting to enjoy cooking. He has a nice line in pasta and is developing a nice little reputation on the Barbie.

    A bit scared of ethnic food. He was known to go Japanese recently.
    When the Bento box lunch arrived…it was picked over.
    Not really very hungry he pouted.
    He left early. “I have an important meeting” was the cry as he exited.
    It was only 10 minutes later he was spotted by a fellow luncher… sitting in his car scoffing down a foot long Subway…not enough satisfaction in that far too healthy food, for our boy.

    Amongst his very favourite food is sausages wrapped in white bread
    with lashings of tomato ketchup.
    His description of this New Zealand Icon… “Stunning”
    But hot on the list of next favourites is a good pie
    He has entered into the “Laurie’s Birthday Pie-making Contest” for the last six years.
    He has been spectacularly unsuccessful, till this year.

    CJ was a little concerned as he hasn’t been winning this contest
    Last year he decided to pull in the expert.
    He commandeered the services of our son Dan, (above) who is a pie eating, and pie cooking aficionado

    Following is the correspondence between CJ and our son Dan re his entry.

    From: CJ
    Sent: Monday, 12 March 2007 9:24 a.m.
    To: DanSubject: [SPAM] - Meat Pie recipe --

    Hi Dan. Quite a few years back you gave me your recipe for a beef meat pie. We are having a boy’s pie bake off and I remember your pie was great. Do you still have it?

    From: Dan
    Sent: On 12/3/07 9:45 AM
    To: CJSubject: Meat Pie recipe

    Oooo that sounds good!
    My favourite is the make a Boeuf Bourguignonne Pie...
    but I've been known to rustle up a mince variation...Depends on Size a bit too...
    Boeuf Bourguignonne goes great in individual sizes...
    Mince is better as a Square Baked on the flat

    Bourguignonne version

    Olive Oil
    Rump steak (diced in 2 cm chunks trim off fat)
    Onions (Finely Diced)
    Carrots (Finely Diced)
    Garlic (Shit loads)
    Good strong Garlic Salami (if chub then diced or if sliced then just chop fine)
    Mushrooms (Meaty Big Brown buggers for colour & Flavour diced)
    Good Red Wine (Pinot noir preferred... 2 cups for the Stew... remainder for chef :)
    Bouquet Garni (Thyme, Parsley, Bayleaves) Tied together then removed later
    Cheese (Go for a Gruyere or something winey)
    Heavy based saucepan
    Dice the Meat and season with Salt (lots about 2 good pinches of sea salt) pepper
    & 1 Tsp of flour
    Brown the meat on high heat and remove from the pan
    Saute onions & carrots until onions are soft
    Add Salami
    Add Garlic
    Add Mushrooms
    Chuck in Bouquet Garni, the meat and the Red Wine...
    Season with Salt & Pepper
    Cook for 30 minutes until liquid has reduced and stew is thick
    Remove Bouquet Garni and let the mixture cool

    Line Muffin tins or Pie dishes with Flakey Pastry
    Fill each with cool mixture ...
    Then top with Gruyere Cheese and a Flakey Pastry top
    Whack them in the oven pre heated to 200C
    Then Watch the magic unfold

    Mince version
    Soften 2 x chopped onions in olive oil
    Add 500 gms mince & brown on High heat
    Add 1 cup very finely diced carrots
    Add Garlic 3 cloves
    & Dried Oregano & Dried Thyme (Tspoon of each)
    Season with Salt & Pepper
    Add 1 tin of Diced tomatoes
    Reduce heat and
    add 1 cup red wine,
    1 cup strong Beef stock
    & simmer for 30 minutes until liquid reduces
    Lay 1 sheet of Flakey pastry on a oven dish

    Place cooled mixture on top ... use a slotted spoon and reserve any liquid to make gravy if you're feeling frisky... Perfect with Brussels sprouts
    Cover with Grated Cheese (Again gruyere is the go)
    Then place another sheet of Pastry on top & seal the edges by folding and crimping
    Place a slit or two in the top to allow air to vent out & chuck it in the oven
    at 200 c until it goes puffy & golden

    Then GET STUCK IN TO IT!!!

    Hope these help... both are pretty yummy...

    Bourguignonne will win the creative department...

    Mince pie for Party fun times and gluttony

    Hope all's well & see you very soon

    Yours in Pies

    Dan :)

    Unfortunately it didn’t work for CJ last year he was pipped at the post by another contestant with his beef and stout pie cooked in a camp oven, see below. Apparently the beef was divine.

    Below last year's contestants;

    Left to right (Alistair Waite eventual winner with his beef and stout pie cooked in a camp oven – see other photo attached). Lawrie Newhook, who created a tasty chicken pie, CJ who gave an airing to his Beef Bougignone creation which came second, and seated, Terry ‘Smart’ Jones who created a mince and cheese number (highly commended).

    Not deterred he gave it his best shot this year And here we go.

    Sent: Tuesday, 15 July 2008 4:45 p.m.

    To: Dan Subject: Meat Pie recipe -

    Email contains remote images

    Praise the lord. Success at last!!! Dan you will be pleased to know that I won the ‘Supreme Pie Award’ at our annual (6 years running) pie night using your recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon. From four entrants (fish, mince, steak and my own creation) your (our) recipe won. I must admit there was daylight between our entry and second place (a rather lacklustre mince pie). As I cannot use this recipe next time I will need to ask you again for another stunner for next year! As you were a big part of my award I will share with you the engraved rolling pin (cost $3.50 from The Warehouse) for a few days. Suggest spot lit over the fireplace, is always a conversation stopper when friends pop around.Thanks again for your recipe and helping me bath in the warm glow of gastronomic success.

    Yours in pie-makingCJ

    So a winner for CJ and Dan…can’t wait till next year.

    Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the winning event
    So I had to make one of the pies.
    I opted for the Mince version. See above.
    It was great, full of flavour, and perfect for sitting around in front of the TV last night.
    Gluttony did rule.

    This could feed four people but Dale and I managed to consume it all.
    Along with a couple of glasses of good red wine.

    PS After a visit to the movies Get Smart...very funny
    The leftover mince turned into a wonderful Sunday dinner.
    Topped with Kumara and garlic mash
    Sprinkled with gruyere cheese
    Baked 25 minutes @ 180C


    Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    It's Family Dinner Sunday

    We had family dinner the other weekend, and I was on cooking duties.
    Lana brought some Bloody Mary Prawns for the starter and they were delicious.

    She found the recipe on the web site.

    Click here to find out how to do it

    Meanwhile I have been watching a programme called Simply Deliciso
    Ingrid Hoffman is the host
    I loved these Salt and Vinegar Roast Potatoes

    Peel plenty of roasting potatoes and cut into chunks

    Make marinade
    ¼ cup red wine vinegar
    ½ teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon chilli

    Pour over potatoes let soak 15 mins or so
    Add ¼ cup olive oil mix well

    Spread onto Roasting tray
    Season with Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    180C for 40 minutes

    Peel and cut a red onion into chunks
    Add to potatoes
    20 mins @ 180C

    The first time I made these potatoes I paired them with some beautiful fresh orange roughy.
    I never used to buy it, as when we received at the fish mongers it was frozen and tastleless, but my fishmonger the lovely people at Catch a Fish Takeaways in Parnell assures me this is chilled not frozen.

    It looks fab. So white and fresh.
    I just seasoned it, lightly pan fried in a little olive oil.
    Turned it over and added a little knob of butter.
    About 3 minutes on each side not too hot. I didn’t want it crispy

    A small broccoli salad to accompany these delights a meal fit for a king.
    But back to the family dinner, my other contributions to the evening were;
    Buttercup Squash pureed with butter and with a grating of nutmeg
    Filet of beef, marinated in mustard and red wine

    Cooked to perfection by Dan on the BBQ

    Ingrid had a Chimi churri sauce recipe

    This is a traditional sauce served in Argentina with their wonderful beef.
    On a visit to Buenos Areas, I was knocked over with their meat. The way they cook the meat is superb. Not at all afraid of seasoning and it is wonderful.
    Personally I was a little disappointed with her recipe but this week (as luck would have it)

    Tyler Florence on The Ultimate TV Show made his version and this is what I am giving to you now.

    6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
    2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
    ¼ cup red wine vinegar
    About ½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    About ½ cup finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
    3 limes, juiced
    1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
    Everything in the blender and whiz.

    Makes a great marinade as well.

    I also made
    Mushroom sauce

    Slice 700 gms brown mushrooms
    Nice hot pan
    Add 2 tablespoons olive oil
    Add mushrooms toss around over high heat
    Add good knob of butter
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2-3 sprigs of thyme

    When the juice has been absorbed add
    100 mls wine
    Reduce down
    Add 2 tablespoons flour
    Cook the flour taste out
    Add enough beef stock to make a sauce.

    It can be made earlier in the day.
    Just before serving, add marinade from beef.
    Another 5 minutes simmering.
    Don’t forget to add any beef juices that have been released from the meat.

    All adds to the wonderful flavours.

    Now to the pudding
    I saw this on the Britain’s Best Dishes programme.
    This contestant made it to the semi finals, but was pipped at the post, not too worry this is a great pudding and the judges were very keen on it.
    It is called

    Bramley Crump


    100 g butter, at room temperature •
    100g sugar, granulated •
    4 heaped tablespoons organic plain flour •
    450 g Bramley apples (I used Granny Smith and Braeburn mix.)



    1. For the crump topping, place the flour into an oven proof bowl and add the sugar and butter. 2. Transfer the bowl to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the butter has melted 3. For the filling, peel, core and slice apples, place in another ovenproof dish and put in oven for 5 minutes.

    4. Remove the crump mixture from oven and stir the ingredients together and spread over the part cooked apples. 5. Place in oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes.

    You can make custard but I mixed equal quantities of marscapone and crème fraiche with a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a dusting of icing sugar.
    Half of the fun of Family dinner is having the grandchildren over
    They are all growing up so fast.
    Sophia and Joseph stayed the night at our place all tucked up watching TV in bed.
    Miss Mia has just been a little French girl at her School Performance
    And Miss Cleo just continues to delight.
    The joys of my life.

    Wednesday, July 09, 2008

    Spicy Fish Pasta Bake Along with Green Pea and Ham Soup

    Spicy Fish Pasta Bake
    It’s quite chilly here at the moment...Of course it is winter you know.
    So I am working through the fridge, freezer and pantry.
    in order that I don’t have to go out to the shops.
    It was quiche last night and the night before was a very tasty pasta bake which I must share.

    I had made a delicious vege soup containing parsnips, swede leeks and onions bolstered with a little curry and chicken stock.
    After one meal of this soup I added some pumpkin stock, a carrot and an onion.
    Let’s take it further and turn it into a pasta dish.
    The result was great. And this makes a great entry for Ruth's of Once Upon a Feast Presto Party (whoops) Pasta Nights.
    Katie from Thyme for Cooking
    is the host this week have a look at her blog. She lives in France and her stories of her life makes great reading.
    You can use any homemade vege soup for the base and any fresh fish
    but the hero in this dish is Piri piri breadcrumb topping.

    I really like this Masterfoods Piri piri seasoning. Piri piri is of Portuguese derivation and this seasoning has some heat along with lemon and garlic flavour.
    It delivers quite a punch so use at your discretion. I like it hot.

    You will need
    100 gms pasta per person
    100 gms white fish per person in 2 cm chunks
    2-3 cups of vege soup
    ½ cup breadcrumbs
    ½ cup grated cheese
    1 teaspoon piri piri seasoning

    Cook the pasta till al dente.
    It will continue to cook in the oven so don't overdo it.
    Heat the soup and add the fish
    Add the pasta to this mixture and pour into gratin dish
    Mix breadcrumbs, cheese and piri piri together
    Sprinkle over the pasta
    Bake 180C about 30 minutes.

    It was good that night but even better when reheated the next day.
    Green Pea and Ham Soup

    I had a ham hock and was about to make pea and ham soup with split peas.
    Our supermarket has no lentils or split peas of any colour at the moment...
    Very boring
    I though I had better cook up the hock into some stock at least and boiled it up with lots of root vege.
    Then I thought “how about some frozen green pea soup?”
    But I didn’t have very many peas in the freezer so I improvised again

    So I sautéed in
    1 tablespoon butter in a pot
    1 onion chopped finely till soft but not coloured
    Add 1 grated courgette
    1 cup peas

    Little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Add 2 cups ham stock

    Simmer for about 10 minutes
    Put through a sieve to remove pea skins (optional)
    Check the seasoning adjust if necessary

    Just enough for 2 people for a quick lunch
    The courgettes were a great addition...helps to bulk up the soup.

    Wednesday, July 02, 2008

    La Baie de Nuarei Moorea- Divine- Club Med Moorea Desolate

    I really love Tahiti. We spent quite a lot of time there in the 80’s. The weather is superb I love the ‘Frenchness’ of it. It is so beautiful
    These days though it has become a really expensive destination for most people…but if you do it the way we just did, it becomes an obtainable holiday. We had facilities for cooking and refrigerator space in both of the places that we were booked into. What more could holiday makers need really!
    So we arrived in Moorea.

    Our first couple of days were spent at Tamara’s Beautiful Bungalows in La Baie de Nuarei.
    Looking out over Tahiti in the distance La Baie de Nuarei is on the most gorgeous lagoon you will see anywhere. Those colours.
    We were introduced to Tamara our host and shown to our bungalow
    Tamara is the progeny of a Tahitian Mother and a Greek father

    What an excellent mix of cultures. She has lived all over the world and the Greek influence is obvious in her beautiful Bungalows.

    Our gorgeous bungalow
    looking out from our bedroom
    Michael and Sheryl were in the larger bungalow
    This is part of their delightful bedroom
    A sample of another bungalow
    So stylish.
    Of course on our arrival we had a bottle of Moet and took off for lunch.
    It was quite breezy on our side of the island so Tamara suggested lunch at Restaurant Vaimoana just down the road from the old Club Med and old haunt of ours.
    Unfortunately it was closed in 2001. The story went out it was because of 9/11, but really it had got quite run down and there was a lot of local politics going on. Club Med can be very decisive and if it doesn’t go their way they just close places down. This was apparent in Iles de Pins, New Caledonia in the 70’s. But that is another story.
    Here is the old tennis court. Apparently some of the families who are part of the ownership live there now.

    I think the closure did quite a lot of damage to the island’s economy but as the French say “C’est la vie.”
    Michael and I had Cheeseburgers in Paradise and Dale and Sheryl tried the local fish. Nice food - Desserts a bit lack-luster but ambience 10/10. Right on the beach
    A couple of dusky maidens!!!
    There are some very enterprising entrepreneurs on the island when it comes to Take-Aways.

    There is the Ma Poulette Van complete with rotisserie chickens.
    Put in your order and come back for it in a couple of hours. The aroma is fab. He also sells pate and lasagne.
    Then there is a lady with a caravan serving Poisson Cru, Tuna Tartare all freshly made and divine.
    We dined on that our first night soaking up the juice with some baguettes.
    Along with pre-dinners Vodka and Butterscotch Schnapps and Champagne.
    Not too bad for the first day I think.

    Next day dawned and we were out in the sun early. Still blowing but we were pretty well sheltered in our little garden.
    The water just laps up at the gate. So clear.
    We found it necessary to wear beach shoes for swimming, our little city feet can’t take the coral at the edge, but once in, just fabulous. The water temperature was perfect.
    Michael and I went shopping. Once again the French influence made the Supermarché exciting. Not too good on fresh vegetables…most of those are imported and not that fresh…good pineapple though - BUT le fromage, les saucisses, foie gras, the bread - excellent. We found nice French rosé wine. Reasonably priced around $NZ22-$NZ35 a bottle.
    Great shopping.
    Home for lunch. Pre-lunch Pastis. Of course a nap was needed as we had to prepare for our evening. Our hosts Tamara and Michel had invited us over for dinner at their Bungalow. They used to run a restaurant in their resort but it was very hard work.
    Michel had already started heating his pizza oven for our dinner. How exciting!

    Michel comes from Nice and his Food was very Nicoise influenced...naturellement!
    First we had little toasts with olives, tomatoes and cheese
    Then the classic Provencal Pissaladiere from his home town.
    They kept coming… then Michel made the Pissa Strasboug
    This is a Pizza Bianco, a great favourite on the island.
    He put Crème fraiche on the base, then lardons of bacon, onions and cheese
    Lovely, quite rich though.
    He also popped some prawns seasoned with Moroccan spices into the oven – finger licking good.
    We were getting really full but the piece de resistance was the dessert.
    He smeared pureed apple over the base, apple slices, brown sugar and lots of knobs of butter.
    My word it was superb.
    We were lucky enough to meet Tamara and Michel’s dear friend Hatara.
    All 3 delightful people.
    Hatara had brought her ukulele.
    It was sing-along time
    "Raindrops are falling on my head" Michael's interpretation
    The lovely Tamara did her Tina Turner impersonation.
    We rolled back to Michael and Sheryl’s bungalow and watched "Nouvelle Star"
    France’s answer to American Idol.
    The winner sang Queen’s “Find Me Someone to Love”
    If she was the winner what were the others like?
    She looked the part though…très chic.

    If you are going to Moorea…this is my highest recommendation

    Look at that lagoon. Breathtaking.
    Click here for the website