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    Thursday, December 30, 2010

    We're all Going on A Summer Holiday - Where's the Summer? I Say

     View from Whangaroa Marina Tuesday 28th December 2010
    Far North 2010-11

    So once again a cloudy day which is good for driving not too hot Everything going smoothly till we reached the Toll Rd what a pain 1 hour to go 3 kms.

    Onto Ms June’s country estate up in the Kaipara hills beautiful views. While there got a call from the Armourguard people, the alarm had gone off. Luckily Chris was at work, building builing… and he was able to go around to check up. Surprisingly! he found the garage door open. In our rather stressful departure we forgot to close it. I suspect the little neighbourhood cat got in and set the alarm off. That was lucky or we could have been open for days, perfect pickings for burglars. Quelle domage,

    After tasty lunch with June she drove us back to her parents place where we packed ourselves into our cars and then back on the road again. All going well, till out of Wellsford, once again major traffic jam but we were patient and finally we were heading to Whangaroa. Decided against shopping in Keri Keri and just went onto the Marina, unloaded just before the rain came. Unpacked and Lana made nibbles, big fat G & T and not long out of bed.
    Tuesday off to Keri Keri bought provisions and clothes including a new sunhat, when will we ever get to use it I wonder.
    Back for lunch, rest, dress up for dinner at the Gamefish Club but the rains came down again So we had whitebait fritters with a salad. NICE

    Sick of storms now just want the sun. Watched first 2 episodes of Downton Abbey
    Courtesy John and JT excellent series.
    Wednesday, finally left the Marina and off to find a nice quiet Bay. No rain, warm but not really summer yet

    I made French Bread, (read this post for the recipe) we ate it with French Cheese and side bits and bobs. NZ Wine, preceded by Pastis. So onto an afternoon of reading.

    Duck for dinner with roast vege. More Downton Abbey and another good nights sleep.

    Bloody drizzling, so a lie in was the best thing to do, I’m onto Book 2 already. Sun please put your hat on and come out it play.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    What to Do with Tomatoes and Vodka -Well, Make Vodka for Bloody Marys

    Merry Christmas Everyone

    Looking for something to make and also you could give this as a present.
    Tomato Infused Vodka… accompanied by your own homemade tomato juice.
    By the way these are the ingredients for a superb Bloody Mary.
    Bloody Marys for me, really have be drunk pre-noon, with brunch or pre-lunch. I sampled this cocktail last night, pre-dinner. It tasted fabulous, but its just not right at that time of day
    But enough of this frivolity.

    Take 1 litre bottle of Vodka (you don’t have to Top Shelf on this but no Kerosene please)
    750 gms good ripe tomatoes
    2 x 1 litre preserving jar

    Just cut up the tomatoes into wedges
    Divide between the 2 jars
    Top up with VodkaScrew on lid
    Quick shake and just leave for 5-7 days.
    Strain and re-bottle.

    You can chill this down and have as a shot, with a drop of Tabasco
    Or turn it into this excellent Bloody Mary.

    Couple of hints I discovered this recipe on Alton Browns Good Eats TV programme.
    I used the Habanera Tabasco, it really has a kick so be careful, how much you put in.
    2 teaspoons of that were quite powerful
    I like spicy but not rip the roof of your mouth off.
    Also I still think a perfect BM has celery salt in it. So I added that.

    750gms cherry tomatoes
    2 teaspoon Tabasco
    3 teaspoon lemon juice
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    Good shake celery salt

    Throw everything into the blender
    Whiz away for at least, 1 minute 30 seconds
    Either use straight away, or you can store in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
    Actually another use for this divine juice is mix it with Mayo and makes a great dip for seafood or even a potato salad.
    Here's a Handy Hint for keeping Fresh Herbs
    Pick your Herbs from the Garden, when they are very dry. Not wet... AT ALL.

    Place them into little Ziplock Bags. Gently squash all of the air out and they will keep up to 3 weeks.
    For hard herbs Do the same and pop them into the freezer.
    Really works.
    Pictured above... they had been in the fridge for over 2 weeks and good as new.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    They Are Sailing - Food For Travellers

    So its that time of the year again. As we speak, Our Boat Cajun Moon is going North.
    It will be parked and will be awaiting us in Whangaroa Marina. So after all of the Merry Making, we shall drive North, with our friend and constant sailing buddy Lana.

    On this trip, Dale has our friend Andy, as first mate.

    Of course this trip of the two blokes, means a bit of filling the freezer, from me.
    So I put pots into action and made them some really good food.

    Fish Pie is a favourite and I pinched an idea from Annabel Langbein.
    I added lemon juice and the zest of 2 lemons to the béchamel sauce.
    What a great idea. I think I will do that Every time now. Wonderful flavour.

    I like to quickly pan fry the fish for extra flavour but please do not overcook as it has more cooking in the oven and it needs to keep moist
    Also the addition of grated carrot adds some sweetness

    So I used 3 lots of fish. Salmon, a meaty white fish, like ling or lemon fish and prawns.

    Béchamel sauce
    1 shallot finely chopped
    1 carrot grated
    200 gms butter
    200 gms flour
    1 litre milk
    2 lemons zested and juiced
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Olive oil
    150 gms salmon filet
    150 gms lemon fish
    150 gms prawns

    400 gms mashing potatoes
    100 mls Milk
    50 gms Butter
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Grated cheese

    First peel and cook the potatoes, in salted boiling water till soft enough to mash
    When cooked, drain and let steam a little to dry.
    If you have a potato ricer use it, or you can just mash with a masher
    Add hot milk, a bit at a time till it is the right consistency and then the butter
    Beat well with a fork
    Taste, and once again adjust seasoning, if necessary and set aside.

    To make the sauce
    Melt the butter in a big pot
    Add shallots and carrot
    Gently cook till they are soft
    Add flour
    Season with S &P
    Cook about 2-3 minutes to cook out the flour taste
    Warm the milk and add to the roux
    Stir well till it thickens
    If it is too thick add more milk
    Cook another few minutes
    Add lemon juice and zest
    Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary

    Put aside

    Season the fish and prawns with S &P
    Gently pan fry in a little olive oil
    Just a few minutes to get some extra flavour
    Cool, flake and add to sauce

    Pour into baking dish
    Cover with Mashed potatoes
    Sprinkle with grated cheese
    Heat oven to 180C
    Bake about 30 minutes till bubbling and golden.

    Let cool a little and devour.
     I made this in foil containers for the trip.
    Cover with lid and place in freezer.
    All ready for the boys to just pop into the oven.
    If they can remember how to work it!!!

    Japanese Lamb and Eggplant Curry

    I love the Japanese Curry Paste. The flavour is so different to your actual Thai or Indian Curries.
    Japanese Curry Paste has ‘Umami’ have a look here
    This savouriness, is probably the best way to describe it. (Actually its got MSG in it. Not wise to eat it a lot, but this of course, is why it is so good)

    I have had a text from the Travelers 2 days ago, and they loved the Curry, so it’s worth making.
    Cooking the rice, was a challenge for them. Maybe next time, I cook and freeze rice as well!
    I like to have the vegetable chunky for this dish so here we go.

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    4 Lamb leg chops
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 large onion cut into wedges
    1 large eggplant cut into med cubes
    1 carrot peeled and cut into chunks
    Chicken Stock
    1/2 packet Japanese Curry paste
    Lightly season the chops with S & P
    Heat the oil in a pan and sear them
    Remove and set aside
    When cool break into chunks

    Add the onions to the pan cook till translucent
    Add eggplant and the carrot

    Cook for another 5 minutes, till they start to soften
    Return Lamb to Pan
    Cover with Chicken stock
    Bring to boil and simmer gently for about 30 minutes till the lamb is tender

    Put the curry paste into a small bowl
    Add about 1/2 cup of the liquid from the pan
    Dissolve and return to pan
    Stir well and cook again for about another 15 minutes.
    Keep an eye on it, as the paste thicken the curry and you don’t want it to stick

    Serve with rice
    Guaranteed yummy.

    I thought the Crew needed some vegetables and something that will freeze well, is Ratatouille
    The fabulous Provencal Vegetable Stew
    This is my version and a good one I think.

    I make it by sautéing the vege one at a time then put together at the end

    3 tablespoons good olive oil
    I red onion chopped into wedges
    2 cloves garlic finely chopped
    2 tomatoes cut into wedges
    1 red pepper and 1 yellow freshly ground black pepper cut into chunks
    1 med eggplant into chinks
    2 courgettes thick slices

    Extra 3 tomatoes cut into chunks
    1 tablespoon dried Oregano
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Pinch red chili flakes

    Grab nice big pot
    Add olive oil and sauté the onions with the garlic, then courgettes, peppers, eggplant and the first lot of tomatoes separately, till tender with some colour.

    Don’t forget to season each layer
    Put to one side
    You may need to add some more olive oil with each addition. Its up to you.

    Then place the last 3 tomatoes into the food processor Whiz, till they form a nice juice

    Put into pan, season with S & P, oregano and chili flakes
    Bring to simmer
    Add all the vege back
    Mix well carefully you don’t want to break up the vegetables.

    I would serve it warm, not hot, but it also is very good at room temperature.

    I also made them a meat sauce to pour over pasta
    So I think all the food groups are well covered .

    Have Good Sailing Boys.

    All Homemade Bloody Marys

    It's Christmas and it's also preparation time for the Summer Holidays...Inspired by Alton Brown on Food TV, I am making Tomato Infused Vodka, to make Bloody Marys. Also a fresh Tomato Juice to serve with it. This is so simple and I think it is going to be fantastic.
    Beware of the Humble Habenero Tabasco.It is HOT but delicious.
    So for 3  x 1 litres jars.
    I bought 1700 mls of Vodka, doesn't have to be the very flash stuff.
    But please no kerosene!
    1 kg of fresh red tomatoes
    Cut into 8 and place in the 3 jars
    Top up with the Vodka and leave for at least a week.
    Shake once a day.
    And he showed how to make the Tomato Juice to go with it.
    Quick as flash
    But a warning
    I used the Habanero Tabasco, I think 1 teaspoon of that would be enough
    It's pretty fiery. So I had to put in a spoonful of sugar to help balance the heat.
    Next time I will get the normal Tabasco.
    I will post again when it is all complete.

    Just put into the blender 
    800 gms Cherry Tomatoes
    2 teaspoons Tabasco
    3 teaspoons lemon juice
    2 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
    1/2 tsp Sea salt

    Blend for 1 1/2 minutes.
    It will store in the fridge for up to a month.
    I actually made my juice into ice blocks
    and will make a new batch... Not quite so hot
    I can see Great bloody Marys next week.
    Maybe Christmas morning. Yum
    Christmas is so much fun.

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    "Heroes of the Mine"- Dedicated to Our Miners, Their Families and Friends

    This week a big box of photos and memorabilia was delivered to me. It had been in storage for about 10 years.
    As I was sifting through papers, belonging to my Father, on Wednesday morning... I came across this poem written by My Grandfather, dated 5th March 1927
    It was particularly relevant and poignant, due to the terrible tragedy, unfolding here in the West Coast of New Zealand.
    As I was typing the Poem, to send to my family, there was a newsflash, that there had been a second explosion and that the 29 Miners, trapped in the mine would have perished.
    In shock, I Googled 1927, and found that indeed there was another terrible tragedy, on 1st March 1927 in
    The Marine Colliery
    Cwm, Blaenau Gwent
    55 souls perished.
    This area was close to my family home in Rogerstone, Monmouthshire, Wales

    My Grandfather, John Samuel was obviously moved by that disaster and on the 5th March 1927, he wrote this poem,
    I had to share it. So relevant.
    I never knew my Grandad (he died aged 65 in 1929). I wish I had.

    Heroes of the Mine

    Not alone on the fields of battle
    Mid the roar of shell and gun
    Where the awful fight is raging
    Is the name of Hero won.
    Who will dare to tell the story
    That our heroes all are dead?
    No, we have them by the thousand
    In the fight for daily bread
    Facing death with all its terrors
    In the dark and tragic mine,
    Risking all to save a brother
    With an energy sublime
    Once again that awful message
    Flashes through the morning air
    Filling homes that were so happy
    With its note of sad despair.
    While the cry for willing helpers
    Stirs each faithful loyal heart,
    Ready, stands a band of heroes
    Eager there to play their part.
    Nurses, Doctors, grim old miners
    Quickly answers to the call,
    If by chance to save a brother
    In the fight they too may fall.
    Noble deeds has been recorded
    That should stir our hearts with pride,
    Men of stations high and lowly
    Stand together side by side
    Let those deeds be ne-er forgotten
    Deep engraved upon each heart,
    For a duty done so nobly
    Each one played a heroes part.

    John Samuel 5th March 1927

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Easy Healthy Bread

    Annabel Langbein’s Easy Bread
    I was watching Annabel Langbein’s TV Programme on TV1 and she made this very easy bread.
    I decided to try it and it was very good.
    I halved the recipe and just made one loaf.

    Now it does need time to cool, before you cut or it just becomes a mess, but it tastes terrific.

    4 teaspoons honey
    2 cups very hot water
    2 cups cold water
    7 teaspoons yeast

    2 3/4 cups whole meal flour
    2 3/4 cups strong white flour
    3 teaspoons salt
    2 cups sunflower seeds

    Handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds to topping (Optional)

    Into a bowl add the honey and the hot water
    Dissolve the honey and add the cold water
    This should now be hand hot water, perfect for yeast to work
    If it is a bit hot, let it cool a little
    Sprinkle yeast on top and let it bloom
    Set aside 5 minutes

    In another bowl place the flours and the salt and the sunflower seeds

    Add yeast and water

    Mix and pour into 2 greased loaf tine
    Sprinkle top with Pumpkin or Sunflower seeds
    Snip top of loaves with scissors or slash with a night

    Into 80C oven for 20 minutes to help rising

    Then turn up to 210C and cook a further 30 minutes.

    I found that the 30 minutes was not long enough so I did the Doris Grant trick
    Took the loaf our of the tin and put it back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

    When you remove it tap it
    It should sound hollow
    Then it’s done.

    It is delicious.
    Toasted a slice for breakfast, with melted Butter, Vegemite and Tomato slices.

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Peach, Blueberry and Craisin Pie, Absolutely Fabulous

    I have been messing around with fruit pie fillings and this is so good I have to share it.
    I used bought frozen pastry but next time I will make my own.

    A hint from Ina Garten, when cooking fruit pies, toss the fruit in a little flour to thicken the juices while it cooks.

    When it hot its like eating hot chunky berry jam.

    1 400 gm tin sliced peaches (drained and chopped into chunks)
    1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries (thawed)
    Handful of Craisins
    2 heaped teaspoons flour
    2 tablespoons demerara sugar

    2 x sheets of frozen Sweet Short pastry
    1 egg whisked with a tablespoon of water (egg wash)
    1 tablespoon demerara sugar

    Place all the fruit, flour and sugar into a bowl and toss well
    Set aside

    Meanwhile heat oven to 190C
    Grease a 20cm pie tin
    Roll pastry to fit tin
    Also roll a lid
    Let rest in fridge for 20 minutes

    Remove from fridge
    Prick base with fork
    Fill with the fruit

    Brush edges with egg wash
    Top with lid
    Press edges together
    Make a couple of slits in the top
    Brush with egg wash and sprinkle over with the remaining demerara sugar

    Into oven for 25 minutes
    Remove and cover with foil and put back into oven for another 15 minutes.
    Look at it beautiful

    Hint: I found that even after that time, the bottom is still not cooked properly
    If this happens to you
    Let the pie cool a little
    Remove from tin and put back into the oven, onto a hot baking sheet.
    Loosely cover with foil to stop burning
    And give it another 10 minutes

    Remove and cool
    It is divine. I just love it.