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    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Riverside Matakana- Wonderful Weekend Retreat

    We have just spent a weekend at the Riverside Matakana. Excellent units. Each one sleeps 6 people.
    2 double bedrooms with en suites and a sleepout with 2 single beds perfect for kids.
    Well appointed kitchen, Sky TV, on the river. Complete with Tennis Court, Swimming Pool.
    If you have a boat (as we did) a ramp for launching directly onto the river, close to excellent fishing grounds. We even just tied the boat up to the Jetty.
    Around Matakana there are lots of activities, including the Famous Matakana Market on Saturday Morning.
    Take a bottle of Wine and watch the sun go down.
     Anyone for Tennis

     Fabulous Kingfish
     Fabulous Sprat
     Beautiful Sunset
     Wine and Fishing on the Jetty

    We liked it so much, we have booked 10 days at Christmas for the Family again.
    Only 9 months away!!!

    Baked Salmon Florentine - Gluten Free Food

    I have been doing a bit of Gluten Free cooking recently
    Not for me but for other people
    This Salmon recipe (which I pinched off Katie's Thyme for Cooking Blog )
    was perfect. I served with mashed potatoes one night and with rice the next
    Both work! More recipes to come soon.

    12oz (350gr) salmon
    1/2 tsp thyme
    1/2 tsp paprika
    2 leeks
    4oz (120gr) fresh spinach
    1/2 cup (4oz, 120gr) white wine
    1/2 cup (4oz, 120gr) chicken stock
    1 tsp tarragon
    2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbs water
    1/2 cup (5oz, 150gr) Greek yogurt
    2 tbs whole grain mustard
    1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) Gruyère cheese
    2 tsp olive oil

    Sprinkle thyme and paprika on salmon.
    Bake for 10 minutes at 400F (200C).
    Remove and break into large flakes

    Heat wine, chicken stock and tarragon to a boil.
    Add cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened.
    Remove from heat and stir in yogurt, mustard and cheese.
    The cheese doesn't need to melt...

    Trim and slice leeks.
    Sauté in oil for about 2 minutes
    Add a splash of water season with sea salt and pepper
    Cover and let cook till tender about 5 minutes

    Wash spinach and blanch in boiling salted water for about 10 seconds
    Drain and squeeze out excess water

    To assemble:
    Put spinach in a gratin dish just large enough to hold everything.
    Top with leeks and sliced salmon. 

    Pour sauce over and

    Bake, 350F (175C) for 15 minutes.

    If you have increased the quantities as I did Bake for at least 25 minutes.

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Meat Loaf in Pastry with a lean to the Greek Side

    We are now home from the boat. Look at what we are missing. Its looks gorgeous.
    Now onto food.

    Years ago some friends of mine, Glen and Annie were called on by my husband, to supply him and his crew with dinner, while they slaved away making TV commercials at night.
    At that time there was only one Post production Facility in New Zealand and it was in Auckland.
    He flew up every week from Wellington,
    Made several commercials stayed a couple of days and flew home.

    Studios didn’t have any catering services in those days and eating junk food wasn’t an option.
    Glen and Annie served them all sorts of tasty morsels and kept them sane.
    Out of this came their very successful Catering Company, which they called Spring Onions.
    Of course before long, everyone who worked at Vidcom, wanted their services and next thing you know they were doing Large Parties, Boardroom functions, lots of lunches.
    One of their specialties was Pate En Croute.
    A specially made Terrine... Cooled and wrapped in pastry.
    Bryan a dear friend of ours loved it...he called it Meat Loaf in Pastry,
    Which of course is what it actually is... a Posh version no less.

    So for Bryan, I have made an actual Meat Loaf in Pastry.
    With our friend Andy in mind, I opted for Greek flavours.
    Probably best made with lamb to be more authentic... but I only had Beef

    Meat Loaf mix
    500 gms mince
    1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (whiz up in food processor with a small onion, some rosemary, thyme sage and sea salt and pepper)
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon milk
    100 gms cooked spinach ( I used frozen, great product)
    75 gms feta, crumbled
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1 packet frozen Puff Pastry
    1 egg beaten with a little milk

    Mix all the meat loaf ingredients together in a big bowl
    Get it to a nice wettish consistency, not sloppy,
    just enough to bind together

    Roll out the pastry into a rectangle
    Place meat mix down the middle

    Brush egg wash around the sides
    Fold over
    Crimp edges

    Leave to rest about 15 minutes...that pastry just needs to get its breath back
    Brush well with egg
    Put on a couple of little decorations if you feel inclined
    Slash some steam holes

    Into 200C oven for about 10 minutes then turn down to 180C
    The pie is cooked when it is golden brown and you can see clear juices in the slits.
    Too hot to eat straight away.

    Leave for about 20 minutes
    We had it with a homemade tomato sauce.
    You could use ketchup it’s up to you.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    The Best Chicken Pies - Good Picnic Food

    Have just made a delicious pie filling. I keep on going back and tasting it. 
    We are off to Matakana for the weekend and I am supplying Friday nights dinner. 
    Didn’t think, the kids would like The Baked Salmon Florentine I am going to make, so I decided to whip up some pies for them. 
    Chicken Pie Anyone? Yes Please Grandma.

    Very simple but so so tasty.
    You need to spend some time chopping. You don’t want big hunks of vege.
    Particularly for kids, they have to eat those little jewels. They don’t even notice.

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1 carrot, finely chopped
    1 leek, tops removed, washed and finely chopped
    1 medium potato, chopped into little cubes
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
    1 glass white wine

    1 chicken breast, chopped roughly
    2 chicken thighs, chopped roughly
    2 tablespoons flour

    1 chicken stock cube
    1 cup hot water

    Sauté onions in olive oil in a medium hot pan till soft
    Add carrots and leeks and potato
    Season with Salt and Pepper and sauté about 3 minutes
    Keep an eye on them so they don’t brown
    Add herbs and white wine
    Raise the heat and reduce the wine
    Lower heat again and add chicken

    Add flour and cook about 3 minutes
    Keep stirring, it can stick

    Dissolve stock cube in hot water
    Add to pan.
    Bring to boil and simmer about 30 minutes
    Let it reduce and thicken
    Cool and use to make pies.
     Lucky kids
     Now I didn't think the kids would be thrilled with the addition of parsley so I saved a bit of the filling
    Added some chopped parsley and made a couple more pies.
    All the food groups, in this pie.
    Chicken, vege, greens, (parsley)
    Water for juice
    Pastry, for the carbs
    Butter, to grease the  tins
    and Egg to wash the tops and make them pretty.
    What more could one ask for?

    Sunday, March 06, 2011

    Orange Buns - A real treat for Morning Tea -or maybe Apres lunch

    A little snapshot out of the car window overlooking the Kerikeri inlet.
    My first view of the Bay of Islands for about 4 years.
    It is very beautiful place to be. we are so lucky.
    Yesterday I made Oranges Buns. Like a little touch of sweetness for Morning Tea. Actually it became Apres Lunch. I didn't get up early enough, for these to bake in time for Morning Tea.
    I have already done a post on this a couple of years ago, so click here and you can get the recipe and instructions on how to bake

    Before baking
    Just out of the oven
    And what a beautiful 'bun out of my oven'

    Saturday, March 05, 2011

    Tomatoes, Asparagus and Butter - What a Combo

    There is little tastier than Tomatoes gently sauteed in Butter. Turn this into a Bechamel sauce, pour over Asparagus and little potatoes and bake with a cheesy topping. What a wonderful lunch.

    I have been making an Asparagus and Tomato casserole for years. Originally I sourced this from The Lower Hutt Plunket Society Triple Tested Cook book. One of my well thumbed and stained cook books from the early 70's. This time I added some boiled new potatoes to bulk up the meal. A wonderful addition. You could of course add cooked pasta.

    In the boat we have a good pantry and one of the staples is canned Asparagus. Of course a must for Asparagus rolls, this vegetable is the poorer cousin of the fresh variety but hey better canned than none.

    1 can Asparagus, drained
    4 small potatoes sliced and boiled in salted water till just tender, drain

    3 tablespoons butter
    4 medium tomatoes,roughly chopped
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    3 tablespoons flour
    1 cup milk (approx)

    Breadcrumbs and grated cheese

    Heat butter in a pot and add chopped tomatoes
    Season with Salt and Pepper
    Saute gently about 3 minutes
    Add flour and cook another 3-4 minutes to cook the flour taste out.
    Add milk and stir till thickened
    you may need to add more the sauce shouldn't be too thick
    Continue to simmer about 4 minutes
    Meanwhile layer asparagus and potatoes in a casserole dish
    Season with some freshly ground black pepper
     Pour sauce over the top of them
    Cover with breadcrumbs and grated cheese
    Bake in 180C oven till bubbly and golden
    Should take about 20-25 minutes.
    Don't be too greedy and eat too fast... tomatoes hold their heat and many a burnt roof of mouth, has happened in our house. Just too tempting to hold back.

    Tuesday, March 01, 2011

    Hundertwasser Toilet, Kawakawa- Bay of Islands - Homemade Mince Pies

    There has been an enormous tragedy in New Zealand and our hearts go out to all in Canterbury. Christchurch City has enormous destruction from this mammoth earthquake and every New Zealander here and around the world is really feeling for our compatriots in the South Island.
    I have been at home for a week and I was glad I was, so that I could watch this tragedy unfold on television. But after a week it was time for me to go and join my husband on the boat.
    While I was away in Auckland he moved from the Whangaroa Harbour to the beautiful Bay of Islands.
    A sight for sore eyes. If you have never been to this part of the world. Put it on your Bucket List,

    On the drive up I stopped in Kawakawa for a coffee and relief stop. Kawakawa is the home of the famous

    Hundertwasser Toilet. We have passed through so many times but seeing as I had the need, I decided to spend my penny there. What an amazing place. read about it here

    Then of course after leaving Kawakawa, I reach Kerikeri, wonderful fresh Fruit and Vege at roadside stalls
    As I was leaving one of these stalls I heard the cooing of doves and there they were
    Wild doves all perched in the tree. Gorgeous
    Back on board it's back to cooking and I fancied some French Bread Rolls for lunch
    Thanks to Terry Thompson's Cajun Creole Cooking Book, I have a great recipe.
    Check it out here
    Crunchy crusts and a crumb full of holes.
    Stuffed full of of avocado, salami /smoked salmon, cheese and tomato.

    Been listening continually to the radio, as we hear the story of the tragedy of Christchurch, our second biggest city here in New Zealand

    People have been amazing, including supplying food to the poor people in Canterbury, who have no power, water or sewage. If I was able, I would be making pies to supply those in need.
    So I fed us instead. Bit hard to contribute food from a boat in the Bay of Islands.
    I thought I should make a basic Grandma style of mince.

    Mince and Mushroom Pie 
    1 packet Puff Pastry

    1 onion finely chopped
    250 gms minced beef
    Sea salt and Pepper
    2 tablespoons Flour
    1 cup Beef Stock
    Large dash of Worcestshire sauce
    Large dash Tomato ketchup

    2 tbs Vegetable oil
    200 gms mushrooms roughly chopped
    Sea salt and Pepper
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    1 glass red wine

    In a pot saute chopped onion
    Add minced beef, season with Salt and pepper
    Fry till brown
    Add flour and stirring, cook it out
    Add beef stock, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and simmer till it thickens

    Meanwhile in another hot pan add chopped mushrooms
    Saute quickly in oil
    Season with Salt, pepper and oregano
    Add wine and reduce
    When reduce add to mince cook for another 5-10 minutes
    Cool completely
    This mixture should be fairly thick for the pie

    Roll out pastry and line tins
    Fill with cold mince mixture and bake
    till golden brown
    Two for dinner tonight - two for tomorrow

    I quickly sauteed carrots, courgettes and celery in some butter. Seasoned and then added a little water. Let
    simmer till water is absorbed. Tender, tasty and great with a pie. Dale accompanied his with Homemade ketchup. I had mine naked. Both worked.