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.
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
Back uncovered for another 15 minutes
Serve with juice drizzled over the top
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.
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
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
Make your favourite meat sauce
Plus bechamel sauce
Add cheddar cheese to the bechamel
Plus 1 egg lightly beaten
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
Cover with the cheesy eggy sauce
Bake 180 about 30 minutes
Take out remove foil
Back into oven and bake till golden and bubbling