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    Sunday, May 29, 2011

    Vietnamese Style Hot and Sour Fish Soup - It Has Got to be Good for You

    In the 80’s and early 90’s, before we bought our boat, we used to spend our Saturday Lunch times at a wonderful Vietnamese Restaurant called ‘Saigon’.
    Run by Andy and His Wife Tina.
    There would sometimes be up to 12 or more around the big round table.
    Lots of wine, of course, a fun way to spend Saturday Lunch time…then home to watch the Rugby on the TV after lunch. Many happy days.
    Andy supplied us, with some of the freshest, most delightful food I have tasted.

    We always loved Andy’s Hot and Sour Fish Soup.
    This is the equivalent of the ‘Jewish Penicillin’….Chicken Soup.
    It makes you feel really good, particularly great with a Hangover.
    As, of course, I am currently eating the least amount of calories in my meals...
    I thought this would make a great lunch
    I searched around the Internet, discarded any recipes that had far too many ingredients, and finally found one. that I have changed to suit us and I think I have cracked it.
    It is very simple, using ingredients, most people have in their pantry

    Great for Gluten Free and definitely low on Carbs
    I didn’t add any extra salt, just relied on the Fish Sauce to supply those needs
    The Coriander Stalks certainly add some extra flavour.

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    2 shallots or 1 small onion, chopped
    1 teaspoon chili flakes
    Mushrooms 70 gm
    1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
    2 medium tomatoes, chopped
    3 tablespoon fish sauce
    2 tablespoon raw sugar
    700 mls good chicken stock
    2 tablespoons lime juice
    225 g firm fish fillet, cut into small slices
    1 tablespoon Coriander stalks

    Coriander Sprigs to Garnish

    Method :
    Heat oil in a wok or pan and lightly brown garlic and shallots or onion.
    Add chili flakes, tomato ketchup, chopped tomato, fish sauce and sugar.
    Blend well, then simmer for 2-3 minutes.
    Add stock with lime juice and bring to the boil.
    Just before serving, add fish  to stock, bring back to boil,
    Cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes
    Taste soup and adjust seasoning.
    Serve hot, garnished with coriander sprigs.

    Lunch for two
    Popped it into My Net Diary only 390 Calories for a very satisfying lunch
    Or spread it around and you could serve 4 people as a starter

    Golden Noodle Cake with Prawns and Bok Choy

    I was watching Chef Ming Tsai this morning and he and his Mother made a delicious Noodle Cake.
    Brought back to mind a recipe that I posted quite some time ago have a look here
    I also was reading Ruth Daniel's Presto Pasta Night site and was also inspired by a blog from The Beet Reporter .
    So 3 recipes to inspire me. I think this should go in this weeks Presto Pasta Night

    I have decided this winter, instead of just eating everything wonderful, not caring about calories, just eat everything I love... I would put a bit of thought into how fattening my food is.
    I have found a great App on the Ipad called My Net Diary and when you make a project out of your eating habits...its great fun to know how much you actually can eat. without going over the top.

    So of course Asian Food is generally healthy and reasonably Lo Cal
    My portion of the lunch, netted 470 cals.
    Cheap too.
    If you want to make this Gluten Free, use Rice noodles and Tamari Soy Sauce.

    So to get this delicious lunch for two people you will need
    200 gm pkt of Udon Noodles
    2 tsps rice bran oil

    300 gms raw prawns peeled and deveined
    1 tablespoon chopped garlic
    1 tablespoon minced ginger
    Zest and juice of a lime (2 tablespoons)
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 tsp rice bran oil

    1 tsp rice bran oil
    100 gms Bok Choy
    1 tsp Sesame Oil
    Fresh Coriander for garnish

    Pre-heat oven to 210C
    Marinade prawns in soy sauce, lime juice, garlic and ginger
    Have a flat baking dish heating up in the oven.
    When the temp is reached
    Lift prawns out of marinade and
    quickly throw them onto the hot tray
    and back into the oven for 6 minutes

    Heat Rice bran oil 
    Place noodles into oil in the shape of a cake
    Cook till golden, one side about 4-5 minutes
    Flip and cook the other side
    Meanwhile while the prawns and the cake are cooking are cooking
    In another pan you will cook the Bok Choy

    Add rice bran oil, heat quickly
    then chopped Bok Choy
    Throw in the drained marinade from the Prawns

    Add a little water
    Toss well and cook for about 3 minutes till the Bok Choy is wilted
    Drizzle a little Sesame Oil to give that authentic Asian Flavour

    To serve
    Place cake on the plate
    Cover with Bok Choy
    And smother with the Prawns.
    Asian Heaven

    Tomato Risotto - Quick and Easy Sunday Night Dinner

    It's Sunday, I was determined not to go to the shops for food.
    One must use the fridge, freezer and pantry.
    I pulled some tomato soup that I made a year ago.
    See what I mean, we fill the freezer then let it sit there.

    So for this tasty Risotto which I have 'calorie counted' on the excellent App.
    Called My Net Diary

    So you will need

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 med onion chopped
    1 cup arborio rice
    75 mls white wine
    200 mls homemade tomato soup
    Hot water
    Sea salt and black pepper

    1 red pepper roasted deseeded and large chop
    100 gms frozen peas
    7 gms finely grated Parmesan Cheese
    20 gms butter

    First bring tomato soup to a simmer in a pot
    Then heat olive oil in a wide pan to medium heat
    Add onions
    Season with sat and pepper
    Cook gently till soft
    Add rice
    Toss to cover with the oil and onion mix
    Add white wine
    Heat to evaporate the wine
    Now start to slowly add the hot soup
    Ladle by ladle
    Stir well between each addition
    This absorbs into the rice grains for maximum taste and creaminess

    Keep on adding till you have used the soup
    Now start slowly adding the hot water by the ladle
    Taste to see if the rice is cooked
    Also taste and adjust seasoning if necessary

    The rice needs to be tender, with a slight bite. (al dente)
    Throw in peas and red pepper
    Cook another 3-4 minutes
    When the rice is cooked to your satisfaction
    Take off the heat
    Beat in the Parmesan and butter
    Into a nice big bowl and devour.

    Excellent, quick and pretty too.

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    Orecchetti with Mushroom Sauce

    Orecchetti is a fabulous little Pasta.  From Puglia, these "little ears" are so good to soak up fabulous sauces. I love these multi coloured ones. I bought them for the kids. This Pasta is from Puglia. Aren't we lucky to get these excellent imports.
    I haven't entered a Pasta Recipe to Ruth's from Once Upon A Feast Special Weekly Event called Presto Pasta Night for quite some time I thought this recipe definitely worth sharing

    Ruth started this 214 weeks ago Yes 214...and if you need any pasta ideas... pop onto the website and see what you can find. Also this week it is being hosted by Trish at My Slaphappy Kitchen

    I made this Mushroom Pasta Dish last week. My husband loved it so I am about to make it again.
    In line with Puglia, this is a non meat dish.
    Also I love the way Italians add crispy breadcrumbs on top of the pasta just before serving.
    That crunch is divine and also good way to use up leftover bread. I added some fresh herbs to bump up the flavour. You could add a pinch of chili flakes, I am very keen on that little hit, but up to you.
    For 2  Greedy People
    200 gms Orecchetti cooked to Manufacturers instructions

    400 gms white button mushrooms
    2 cloves garlic
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    2 sprigs of fresh thyme
    100 mls white wine
    100 mls Chicken stock
    75 mls full cream
    Zest of 1 lemon

    Fresh Breadcrumbs about 1 cup
    1 spring onion finely chopped
    2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
    1 Tablespoon Olive oil
    Knob of butter
    Some extra chopped parsley for Garnish

    Put the mushrooms and garlic into the food processor
    Whiz up till finely chopped
    Heat a pan and add olive oil
    Add mushrooms and garlic mix

    Season with S &P and oregano and thyme
    Saute about 5-7 minutes to get a good flavour going
    Add white wine and reduce
    Add chicken stock and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so
    Let it reduce don't want it too sloppy
    Add lemon zest and cream and cook for about 5 minutes for everything to meld

    Mix the breadcrumbs and herbs together

    Heat the olive oil in a pan
    Toss in the breadcrumbs
    Season with S & P
    Toast until they get brown and crisp

    Cook the pasta
    Drain and add to mushroom sauce

    Serve topped with the Breadcrumbs
    And a little extra chopped parsley for Garnish
    Guaranteed Great.

    Gluten Free Three Course Meal- Cooking with Produce from Friends

    First hands up those who remember Gravenstein Apples. Very tart. Perfect for cooking, they do tend to fall apart a bit but they were perfect for my dessert, in this Gluten Free Meal.

    We were given the apples from my friend Derrick, who has some land in the Manawatu.
    On a previous visit he clipped a bottle onto a pear bud and when the pear had grown in the bottle.
    His wife Lorraine filled it with Brandy and I got my own personal Poire William.
    Here is the now empty Poire William and also some Preserves from Derrick and Lorraine.

    So I pinched the idea from Hugh Fearnely Whittingstall for these excellent Baked Apples
    First you need to make the filling for the apples
    1 cup mixed dried fruit
    I used a mix of sultanas, mixed peel and craisins
    Cover with Brandy or Rum and marinate for several hours
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    100 gms Butter

    Meanwhile prepare the apples
    Take out the cores to make a good hole for filling
    Make a light cut horizontally around the apples
    to give them room to swell as they cook
    Mix the fruit, butter and sugar
    Stuff the apples with all of the filling
    Spread any remaining filing all over the apples
    This made enough for 6 apples
    Cover with foil
    Heat oven to 180 C
    Bake about 45 minutes
    Remove foil
    Baste apples
    Back uncovered for another 15 minutes

    Serve with juice drizzled over the top
    I made Lemon Posset to serve with these delights.
    Look here for the recipe. So simple

    Now first course. Once again going with produce given to me by friends. My friend Mr Heinz has a stunning garden and on his last visit brought me a big bag of walnuts from his very fertile tree.
    Fabulous things about the walnuts is that until you shell them they can last for ages.

    So I sat down with the nutcracker, in front of the TV and cracked my nuts (so to speak).
    The idea was to make a Waldorf Salad stuffed into a lettuce leaf
    Light, easy and a great way to start a meal
    The mix of sweet and salty is delicious and so so healthy what's more.

    2 pears peeled, cored and chopped into small cubes
    2 stick celery cut into small dice
    1 small red apple skin ON and fine dice
    About 20 green grapes cut in half
    20 walnuts shelled and chopped
    2 tablespoons Craisins

    50 gms blue cheese ( I used Castello Nice and creamy) crumbled
    3 tablespoons of Mayonnaise

    1 Iceberg lettuce broken into cups
    5 rashers streaky bacon diced and fried till crisp

    I used Ray McVinnies Mayonnaise from the Masterchef New Zealand Masterclass.
    Very simple, very lemony and perfect for this salad.
    You can use shop bought Mayo, just add some lemon zest and a little lemon juice to get the real lemony flavour.

    2 egg yolks
    1 cup vegetable oil
    Zest and juice of one medium lemon
    Salt and pepper to taste

    I did it in the Food processor
    Whisk the egg yolks 
    Slowly add the oil drop by drop
    When it thickens
    Add zest and lemon juice
    Salt and pepper

    So mix all of the fruit, nuts and cheese together
    Dress with Mayo
    Do this at least a couple of hours ahead so the flavours can meld

    Just before serving fill the lettuce cups
    Sprinkle with bacon pieces
    And serve, The punters should pick them up in their hands and devour.
     Now for the main course
    Filet Steak with Green Peppercorn Sauce
    with Fondant Potatoes and Green Beans

    I have always wanted to cook Fondant Potatoes
    I have seen a lot of Chefs cooking them on TV
    I watched Mark from The Food Store Chefs on Food TV make this meal.
    I thought it looked very tasty and a well balanced meal.

    So first the potatoes.
    Peel as many potatoes as you need.
    As you are cutting lovely little cubes there will be a lot of waste.
    But in this Waste not Want not kitchen of mine.
    I just sliced the remainder, par boiled them...put them aside to make
    an easy Moussaka for the grandchildren.
    Its important that the potatoes are all the same size for even cooking.
    These were 3 cm cubed.

    I used I large Agria potato per person
    100 gms butter
    2 cloves garlic peeled and sliced

    3 sprigs thyme
    2 sprigs rosemary
    Salt and pepper

    Place all the ingredients into a pan
    Top up with cold water
    Bring to boil on high heat
    The water evaporates and then the potatoes are left to brown in the remaining butter
    When the potatoes are cooked if there is too much water left
    Remove them and place to one side
    Reduce the liquid
    Put the potatoes back in and let them continue to cook
    They will be brown on the bottom which is your presentation side
    and so flavoursome
    Great look
    Steak is very simple I bought a whole filiet
    Trimmed in and used all of the trimmings to make an easy stock to use in the sauce

    1 filet steak per person at least 4 cm thick
    1 shallot peeled and finely chopped
    1 clove garlic peeled and finely chopped
    50 mls Brandy
    200 mls veal or beef stock
    50 mls cream
    1 tablespoon green peppercorns

    Season steak with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Cook to your liking
    Remove from pan and keep warm

    Add shallots and garlic to the pan quickly saute till soft
    Deglaze with the Brandy
    Add stock and peppercorns and reduce by half
    Add cream and simmer till a nice sauce forms

    Plate steak onto a warm plate
    Cover with sauce and serve with potato
    I used green beans which is of course a very french thing to do
    but any green vegetable would do

    Now just to add how I used the potato scraps
    For 6 people
    700 gms of meat sauce
    and I made 1 litre of Bechamel
    75 gms cheddar cheese

    Easy Moussaka
    Make your favourite meat sauce
    Plus bechamel sauce
    Add cheddar cheese to the bechamel
    Plus 1 egg lightly beaten

    To assemble
    First grease a gratin dish with butter
    Make a layer of potatoes covering the bottom of the dish
    add the meat sauce
    Then finish off with the rest of the potatoes
    Season the potatoes with salt and pepper
    Cover with the cheesy eggy sauce
    Cover with foil
    Bake 180 about 30 minutes
    Take out remove foil
    Back into oven and bake till golden and bubbling
    Handy hint to get the best out of your Moussaka. I suggest you leave at least 30 minutes before you serve. This gives the custardy topping to set and the potatoes will totally absorb the meat sauce.The kids just loved it.

    Saturday, May 07, 2011

    Wellington's Top Food Shop - Moore Wilson

    Wellington, very Cosmopolitan.
    Skyscrapers everywhere, in the CBD.

    Yesterday we made our usual visit to Moore Wilson, probably the best food shopping in New Zealand, certainly in Wellington and Auckland.
    Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me, so I can't show you the best fruit and vege around.
    Bins of Celeriac, Big fat bulbs of Fennel... beautiful Leeks grown especially for them in Otaki. Divine
    Everywhere you look. Fresh colourful and Fabulous.
    Everything you could possibly want to buy.
    Then, there is this really innovative wrapping procedure.
    Buy your fresh fish, they wrap it in this wonderful foil bag.
    They seal it and you can just pop it in your fridge... will keep your fish fresh for a couple of days. They will even garnish it for you, with herbs to match the 'breed' of fish
    I bought Salmon. There it is all ready for tonight's dinner.
    Another reason I'm sorry I didn't take the camera, it was dead calm yesterday.

    There was even a wee person, doing the stand up paddle on the board thing, in the Harbour, which seems to be very in, these days. And you need flat calm for that.
    Yachts were becalmed...floating on gin.
    This morning, quite a different kettle of fish.
    We get a glimpse of the Harbour from our friend's apartment.
    Those are white horses out there.
    But it is sunny.
    We also got a look at The Roxy Cinema in Miramar.
    Peter Jackson and Friends have turned this old cinema into an Art Deco delight.
    It is an absolute delight. Check it out here

    Friday, May 06, 2011

    Hot Club Sandwich - Christchurch Benefit Concert at Old St Pauls Wellington

    Last night we were lucky enough to be part of a wonderful concert at Old St Paul's Cathedral in Wellington.
    "Hot Club Sandwich" made up of  Andrew London, Terry Crayford and friends... find out about them here

    They were performing a benefit Concert for Christchurch and had invited our friend Bob Heinz,,, one of the World's Finest Guitarists. Fiona Pears...Violinist Extraordinaire. Check her out on her website here and Malcolm McNeil, Great Jazz Singer, specializing in songs from the Great American Songbook.
    What a night ,over 3 hours of superb music. Great fun and what a venue.
    Old St Paul's stunning 19th Century Architecture, check it out here

    Wine for sale. Perfect for us of course. We need concerts with our wine!
    Now we know what these shelves ont eh back of the pews were built for,,, You might mistakenly have thought Hymn Books. NO... Wine glasses. Mind one doesn't want to lay them down whilst still full, Could be interesting.

    Sorry about the quality of the snaps but hopefully you get the picture.
    Thanks Guys, we had a wonderful time.

    Monday, May 02, 2011

    Raspberry Pastries-Fun for the kids to Eat and Make

    Raspberry Pastries

    I saw these on Everyday Baking on Food TV

    Ready Rolled pastry
    Raspberry Jam
    2 tablespoons sugar

    1 Egg beaten with 1tablespoon water
    Extra tablespoon sugar

    Thaw the pastry and cut into 5 even pieces horizontally
    Spread raspberry jam over
    4 parts of the pastry
    Leave one piece free to make a lid
    Sprinkle with sugar
    Layer one on top of another
     Top with the lid

    Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with extra sugar
    Put into the freezer about 30 minutes to firm up and stop from sliding when you cut them

    Cut into little pieces
    Arrange on a piece of baking paper
    Make sure they are wide apart,
    they do spread and when I first cooked them they all joined up.

    Bake at 200C
    They should take about 10 - 12 minutes

    Cool, don’t want to burn your mouth
    Our kids loved them with ice cream.
    I loved them just as they were.
    They were still very good the next day.
    Nice with morning cup of coffee.

    Fresh Salmon - Three Ways

    Easter 2011 and Easter means long weekend on the boat. The lateness of Easter this year, meant the weather was a little inclement, but nice to be out on the water.
    I was lucky enough to manage to get a side of Salmon for $24. Salmon is a great fish to take on the boat. It's oiliness means the "Keeping Power" is superior to white fish.
    I spread through 3 different meals and I have to share.
    Got first idea from Chef Michael Smith
    I didn't have any horseradish so I used Wasabi which worked.
    And Braised leeks as an accompaniment
    Potato Encrusted Salmon

    The Salmon

    * 2 russet Potatoes baked and chilled
    * 2 tablespoons Horseradish
    * 2 tablespoons Oil
    * Salt & Pepper
    * 4 Fillets Salmon 6 ounces each

    The Pickle Sauce

    * 2 dill Pickles chopped
    * 1 small bunch of Dill chopped
    * 1 green onion chopped
    * 1 tablespoon Mustard
    * ½ cup mayonnaise
    * Juice of half a Lemon
    * Salt & Pepper

    The Salmon

    1. Preheat oven to 190C
    2. Grate potatoes through the large holes of a box grater into a medium sized bowl.
    3. Stir in horseradish, oil and salt and pepper mixing well.
    4. Pat crust onto top surface of filets and place in a baking pan or on a baking sheet.

    5. Bake until salmon is cooked through and the crust is golden and crispy, about 15 minutes.

    The Pickle Sauce

    1. Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
    2. Serve with salmon
    I just served with a wedge of lemon but the pickle sauce would be excellent.

    Salmon Number Two
    I have always loved rice bakes and this has some excellent flavours
    Lovely winey leeks and carrots mixed with salmon
    If you want to be gluten free use rice flour or cornflour to thicken the sauce.

    Salmon and Rice Bake
    1 piece of Salmon Skin on
    200 gms per person

    Season and oil salmon skin on
    Into hot pan presentation side down
    Sear about 2 minutes
    Turn over cook about 1 minute
    Add 150 mls white wine
    Let it bubble up
    Cook about 2 minutes
    Turn heat off and cover
    Cool in pan

    Remove salmon and flake

    Add 2 tbs butter to the liquor
    Add 1 leek chopped
    1 carrot peeled and grated
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Plus 1 tablespoon dried tarragon 
    or fresh is best if you have it

    Sauté till soft
    Good slosh wine let wine evaporate
    Add 2 tbs flour
    Cook about 3 minutes gently
    Add 1 cup milk let thicken you may need a bit more milk
    Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary

    Take a pot of boiling salted water
    Add 1 cup rice
    Cook about 5 minutes
    Drain it should be separate grains
    Don't over cook as it it has more to go in the oven

    Pre heat oven to 180C
    Grease a souffle dish with butter (or oil)

    Now time to assemble
    Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the bottom of the dish
    Cover with half of the salmon
    Then half of the rice

    The top off with the remainder of the sauce
    Bake about 30 minutes or till golden brown and bubbling

    Now Salmon Number Three
    I remember I first made this dish about 1972. Unless you went Salmon fishing, the only Salmon available was canned Salmon
    Boy, what a difference a few decades make.
    We now have at our fingertips beautiful fresh Salmon
    So I used a recipe from Delia Smith for this superb Fish Pie
    Russian Coulibiac
    A wonderful fish pie, full of Salmon, Rice, Mushroom and Hard Boiled Eggs, all encased in golden pastry.
    I made my pastry from the Edmonds Cook Book which I don't have on hand at the moment.
    It was very good, not quite like the bought Flaky Pastry, but a lovely dough to handle.
    I will find the recipe and remake it and post it another day. handy to have when you are not close to shops.

    200 gms of Salmon Skin on
    Season and oil salmon skin on
    Into hot pan, presentation side down
    Sear about 2 minutes
    Turn over cook about 1 minute
    Add 150 mls white wine
    Let it bubble up
    Cook about 2 minutes
    Turn heat off and cover
    Cool in pan
    Remove salmon and flake

    1 packet Flaky Puff Pastry

    75 gms butter
    75 gms white Basmati rice
    225 mls fish or chicken stock
    1 medium onion finely chopped
    110 gms button mushrooms finely chopped
    1 level tablespoon fresh dill (I used tarragon)
    1 tablespoon lemon zest
    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    2 large eggs hard boiled and chopped
    1 1/2 level tablespoons parsley chopped finely
    Sea salt and Freshly ground black pepper

    Egg Wash
    1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

    Melt 25 gms butter in a pan
    Add rice
    Add stock, season
    Bring to boil
    Stir cover and simmer on low heat about 10 minutes

    Remove cover and
    Meanwhile in another pan add the rest of the butter
    Add onion and sweat till soft about 10 minutes
    Add the mushrooms and half the dill
    Carry on cooking gently another 5 minutes
    Stir in lemon zest, juice and S & P
    Add to rice mixture

    Mix Salmon, Eggs and Parsley together
    Taste and season well with S & P

    Now, assembly.
    Cut pastry in half
    Roll out one half, into a rectangle
    Lay half of the rice mixture
    Leave a border free and brush with egg wash
    Cover the rice with the Salmon and egg mix
    Top with remaining rice and form into a loaf shape
    Roll out the other half of pastry and place over the top
    Crimp and roll edges
    Slash the top and brush with egg wash
    Leave to rest while the oven heats
    Pre-heat to 220C
    Bake should take about 20-25 minutes
    Cut off a big fat slice and serve with either, homemade ketchup or try this sauce from Delia
    Foaming Hollandaise Click here
    Look at those layers. Mouthwatering.