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    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    You say Frittata, I Say Tortilla- Depends on the Country-Our time in Spain

    I am still trialing dishes for the Juice TV Crew lunches next week.
    Mainly I need timing. My delivery time is before 11 am, so I need to know how much I have to do the day before and how much on the morning.
    This Frittata is a very simple dish. A stable in Spain, part of the Tapas Menu as well.
    When we were in Spain in the 60's, we stayed at a wonderful Camping Ground, called Vilasar De Mar.
    Just outside of Barcelona.

    The owners of the property, Damian and Isabella, plus his brother Jose and wife Maria adopted us.
    This put our original plan, to drive through to Torremolinis and onto Morroco aside.
    We had such a good time, we spent 2 weeks in their camping ground.
    It was the end of the holiday season, so they devoted their time to making sure we saw everyting we could in Barcelona and the Environs.
    They took us of course, to bullfights
    They introduced us to Gerhard and Adele, a German couple, who ran a water ski school.
    They taught us to water ski. Even I got up first time. A miracle.
    I think I spy a cigarette in my hand.
    Gerhard also took us to a big football game in Barcelona... which was very exciting, as he was an even more aggressive driver than Dale, and that's saying something. It was scary.
    Isabella, also showed me, how to make the Spanish Omelet or Tortilla.
    In New Zealand at that time, Spanish omelet was a bit like that Russian salad, with peas, potatoes and carrots.
    The Spanish only add potatoes and fried potatoes at that.
    Couldn't wait to tell My Mother that she had it wrong. (Bit of youthful arrogance perhaps)
    God, it was wonderful.
    They also invited us to dine with them.

    Which was a nice change from eating in the tent.
    How about those shorts?
    So, onto the Spanish Omelet
    I have added some onion and parsley.
    And just for a little extra flavour, I grated some Parmesan on the top.
    I like that.
    This will feed 6 people for lunch, with some french bread and a little relish on the side.

    Olive oil
    2 large potatoes, peeled, chopped into chunks
    1 large onon peeled and cut into chunks
    8 eggs
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Some chopped parsley
    Grated Parmesan Cheese

    You need a pan which can go into the oven
    The omelet starts off on the stove, then you pop it under your Grill/Broiler to finish off

    Toss the potatoes in olive oil S & P
    Into 175C oven roast till tender and golden about 20 minutes
    Remove and place in a bowl
    In you pan lightly saute the onions in olive oil till tender, don't brown them
    Add to potatoes.
    You can do all of this ahead of time.
    Which is great, if you have to make a few of these.

    Hey look at these eggs. A carton of double yolkers!

    Pre heat your Grill/Broiler
    Break eggs into a bowl
    Season with S & P
    Whisk well
    Add cooked potatoes. onions and parsley
    Heat your oven proof pan on the stove top
    Add a good slurp olive oil
    Throw in egg mix
    Grated Parmesan Cheese over the top
    Let sit and and cook till the omelet starts to set
    About 4 minutes
    When you can lift it up with your spatula and it has started to brown
    Pop under the grill.
    It will take about 5 minutes and it will rise and look wonderful
    Remove onto a board or plate
    Cut into slices and enjoy

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    Easy Lunch Food

    This was for lunch but would also make a great breakfast
    I am 'trialing' easy lunch foods... as I am going to cater for Juice TV crew, in a week or so.
    The brief is, "food they can eat easily"...lunch and afternoon tea.
    Wraps seem like a great idea and I made these for lunch today.
    Bacon and Omelet for me.
    Smoked Salmon and Omelet for Dale
    Very simple and mouthwatering.
    I have the  Farrah 12 inch wraps.
    They promise never to crack when you roll and so far they seem to work really well.
    For each individual wrap
    I made a simple 2 egg omelet

    1 teaspoon Butter
    2 large eggs
    1 tablespoon water
    1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan Cheese
    1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
    1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1 tablespoon mayonnaise
    3-4 rasher of bacon cooked to your liking
    Whisk together eggs, water, cheese, S &P and herbs
    Heat a non stick pan
    get it pretty hot 

    Add butter
    turn it around the pan
    pour in egg mix
    It will start to cook and set
    Shake the pan to move the egg around

    Start bringing the eggs in from the outside, to the middle
    Meanwhile, tilting the pan, so the uncooked mixture goes to the outside

    You want this to cook as quickly as possible
    When it is nearly set should only be about 1 minute
    Remove from heat

    Lay the wrap on the bench
    Cover with mayo
    Turn the omelet onto the wrap
    Cover with bacon/ or smoked salmon if you would prefer
    Fold in edges

    and roll up  to a nice sausage

    Cut on the diagonal for better presentation.
    Easy peasy lunch.
    Served with a piece of fruit and a cookie

    Prawn Cocktail-An Oldie but a Goodie with a Difference-Perfect for Summer

    Prawn Cocktails
    This can bring shivers to your spine but basically it is still an excellent starter for the summer.
    Prawns are so cheap these days. I like to buy what they call prawn meat. They have been topped and tailed, so ready to cook. Just keep a bag in the freezer pull out what you need defrost them, cook them and Bob's your Uncle.  this is not as spectacular as when you use whole gorgeous prawns...but this is not a restaurant. Just a little old home kitchen.
    On 'Martin Likes Fish' on Food TV he made this simple sauce, which he devised, to serve with Salmon but I thought it would make a great dressing for any seafood.
    My addition was Tabasco, for that extra kick.

    I also thought. that I would pull on my memory, of my Mother's lettuce salads.
    Remember the sliced lettuce, with the sliced tomatoes and sliced eggs laid on top.
    Served with the Condensed Milk Salad Dressing!
    A bit boring, but My Mum spiced it up a bit...always added chopped onion, celery, radish, all fresh from the garden to her lettuce.
    Seasoned it with salt and pepper (white of course), a little sugar and tossed it all in a little vinegar.
    No oil in the 50's.  Closest we had to vinaigrette!
    Then she laid the sliced cucumber, sliced tomato and sliced hard boiled egg.
    She also served with the Condensed Milk  Dressing, actually I shouldnt be so rude.
    It is quite tasty. Mustardy and tangy.
    The vinegar really lifted the lettuce,  my Mum's knew how to make food taste good.

    So to make The Prawn Cocktail 

    You will need some Iceberg lettuce, Baby cos could be good, something crisp
    Red onion
    Chopped Chives
    Ripe tomatoes
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    French Dressing
    Olive oil

    Prawn Cocktail Dressing (see below)

    Tomato. lemon and some Chopped Parsley

    So for the base of my Prawn Cocktail
    First I marinated some finely sliced red onion in French Dressing, for about 2 hours just to take the sharpness from the onion
    I cooked the thawed prawns

    Pre-heat the oven to 210C
    Toss the prawns in some sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and some lemon zest
    Lay on a baking sheet
    Into the oven for exactly 6 minutes
    Remove from baking sheet straight away and chill for about an hour

    Then I made the dressing
    Very simple
    2 tablespoons of Good Mayonnaise
    Juice of 1 large lemon
    Good pinch sea salt
    2 tablespoons lightly whipped cream
    Several drops Tabasco sauce
    Lightly fold everything together
    Set aside for about an hour for the flavours to meld
    Now to assemble

    I shredded the lettuce, and added the onion, and some chopped chives
    I then cut some sweet little tomatoes into thin wedges and sprinkled on top.
    Then I tossed the chilled prawns, in the dressing
    Popped on top of the salad
    Be generous with the prawns
    Just top with some chopped parsley, tomatoes and a little wedge of lemon
    Actually the photo doesn't do it justice. I'm afraid. There were at least 10 prawns there.
    It was so delicious, I am glad I have revived it for our table.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Quick Roast Salmon-Makes a Great Salad

    Yesterday I did a blog on Quick Roasted Salmon. I was very pleased with it.
    We were off to see Bic Runga last night. She was performing at the Cathedral in Parnell.
    By the way, it was a very enjoyable concert.
    I wanted to make a quick dinner using the salmon.
    This salad...
    So so simple and very very tasty

    The amount below, fed two of us
    Piece of roasted Salmon click here
    1/2 red onion finely sliced
    About 9 cms of Cucumber. seeds removed
    3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2 cm cubes
    1 stick of celery, chopped
    2 tablespoons chopped chives
    Lettuce. I used Iceberg, I still like it's crunchiness.

    French dressing
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon mustard
    Sea salt and pepper to taste
    1/2 tsp sugar...just to cut the acidity a little
    Whisk together

    Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water till just tender
    drain and toss with a little of the dressing
    Add celery and chives

    Meanwhile marinate the onions and cucumber
    Best to marinate for at least 2 hours
    this takes the sharpness from the onions

    So when you are ready. 
    Rip the lettuce into bite size pieces
    Place the potatoes and celery over the lettuce
    Throw onions and cucumber on top
    Finally, break up the salmon and place that around as well
    Drizzle the rest of the dressing over the salad
    Perfect for a quick meal

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Salmon at its Best-Roast Quickly

    I saw Mark Sargeant cook this Carppacio of Salmon on Food TV yesterday.
    With Christmas coming up, I am always looking for exciting ways to cook Salmon.
    We only get farmed Salmon here in New Zealand shops.
    (You can get Wild Salmon, but you have to hunt it.)
    I actually bought this filet at the supermarket.
    On Christmas Day, we are going to stay at Riverside en masse.
    We don't have an oven, just hobs and BBQs.
    You could do this recipe on the BBQ as long it has a lid, so you can get a really good hot temperature.
    This is so fabulous. I am drooling.

    You need boned and skinned filet of Salmon.
    I butterflied this piece, to get the salmon nice and thin.
    Pre heat 205C
    Line a baking sheet with baking paper
    add 1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Grate the zest of 1/2  large lemon
    Add salmon
    Oil, season and add the rest of the lemon zest
    Pop into the oven
    Just 6 minutes
    Remove from oven and onto a serving dish
    I just chopped a few chives over the top
    Sorry not very Chefy looking but I'm not a Chef.
    It is moist, tasty, DELICIOUS.
    Roll on Christmas Day.
    I am having problems, keeping my greedy hands off it.
    We shall have it for dinner, with some Couscous I think.
    Can't wait.

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    A Rick Stein Inspired, Sardinian Tomato Pasta Sauce

    There is something really special about Rick Stein, I think you don’t even have to be a Passionate Cook/Foodie to enjoy his Television programmes. I can even get my husband to watch somewhat grudgingly and he has to admit, he enjoys the programme.
    Not only is Rick a wonderful inspirational chef, but he seems to really love having a good time. Not adverse to the odd drink or two as well..A Bon Vivant you might say.
    Anyway thanks to Food TV and Prime we have a lot of Rick to watch.
    Repeats of course but like any good TV programme or movies. They frequently improve with any re-viewing.
    So The Mediterranean Escape episode this week has Rick in Sardinia and Sicily.

    So many so, so simple dishes. Not recipes as such. Just a wonderful feel for great flavours.
    My mouth was watering.

    This recipe is from Sardinia and the sauce is for Skate Wings Antipasto Dish
    It is served at room temperature.
    I didn’t have any skate wings on hand but thought that the sauce could be good over spaghetti. I was right. It was wonderful.

    There is a Southern Italian Dish called Scapece, which is marinated flounder, have a look here

    Both of these dishes make great antipasti. I think this Skate wing dish could transfer to flounder or sole. Will try this at some stage.

    Anyway here is the sauce, a little bit of sweet, sultanas… and a little bit of sour, vinegar.
    I like to use White Balsamic Vinegar, it has a little extra sweetness, complements the saltiness of the capers
    1/4 cup of good Olive oil
    3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
    2 tablespoon capers
    2 bay leaves
    3 tablespoon chopped parsley
    1 teaspoon chili flakes
    1 400 gms can of tomatoes
    Handful of Sultanas
    Good slosh white balsamic vinegar

    Add the oil to a pan over medium heat
    Add garlic
    Let it cook for a minute or two don’t let it burn
    Add parsley, chili flakes and bay leaves
    Careful it will spit a bit
    Then add the capers
    Cook for a couple of minutes

    Add tomatoes toss well
    Taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper 
    as much as needed

    Throw in the sultanas
    And the vinegar
    After a couple of minutes
    It is done
    So while you are doing this
    Cook your spaghetti in boiling salted water,
    to the manufacturers specifications
    and when it is al dente (about 8-9 minutes)
    Add the pasta to the sauce
    Toss well
    And serve

    Now if you want to do the skate
    Gently poach the skate for a couple of minutes
    Remove the skin and any bones

    In a serving dish
    Put half of the sauce in the dish
    Lay the fish on the top
    Cover with the rest of the sauce
    Leave to cool to room temperature
    Will be trying this shortly, with flounder I think.

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Beautiful Cous Cous-Healthy Fast Food-Fresh, Fragrant and Fast.

    I am trying to use food I have in the house, instead of just running off to the Supermarket everyday.
    There is lots of goodies in the pantry and the freezer
    Its a lovely day and a nice fresh Citrusy Couscous seemed like a good idea for lunch.

    I also thought it would a good addition to Ruth at Once Upon A Feast 's weekly event Presto Pasta Nights. This time the event is being hosted by Simona at Briciole click here to visit Simona's blog

    There were some blanched almonds in the freezer, an orange and celery in the fridge...sultanas, onions and couscous in the pantry. Plus fresh herbs from the garden.
    That will do.

    I like the instant Couscous, it is so simple and you can make a meal less than 20 minutes.
    Fresh, fragrant and fast.
    You can change the quantities, I used what I had.
    In the dressing, I added a little Cider Vinegar, just for some extra acid to boost the orange juice

    So: Take
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1 stick celery, finely chopped
    2 cups boiling chicken stock (I used a stock cube)
    1 cup instant Couscous
    Zest of 1 orange
    Handful each of parsley, mint and chives
    2 tablespoons blanched almonds toasted in a pan, then roughly chopped
    2 tablespoon sultanas

    Juice 1/2 medium orange
    1 teaspoon cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Melt butter in a saucepan
    Add onion and celery
    Saute gently till soft

    Add boiling chicken stock
    Bring back to boil

    Turn heat off
    Add Couscous and stir
    Cover and leave for about 10 minutes

    Toast the almonds gently, then chop
    Zest the orange
    Chop the herbs
    and make the dressing.

    Just add all of the ingredients and stir well.
    Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
    A lovely light lunch.

    Gorgeous Golden Syrup Pudding and Tacos at Grandmas-Kid Friendly Meals

    It's Thursday and this is the first time I have had the kids around for 3 weeks.
    We of course, have been in Rarotonga .
    Joseph sent me an email, he has been cooking steamed puddings with his father.
    Golden Syrup Steamed Pudding, what’s more
    Great… dessert problem solved.
    In my freezer, I had some Black Bean Chili, click here for the recipe which is delicious
    So let's do tacos.
    The beauty of Tacos is that they assemble themselves
    Make their own choices.
    The kids just loved this meal.
    So to make the pudding
    Joseph used the Chelsea Sugar Recipe from their Website.
    This is enough for 4 individual puddings or 1 larger one
    We used Dariole Molds

    125g butter
    1/2 cup Chelsea White Sugar
    2 eggs
    1 cup flour
    Pinch salt
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/4 cup unsweetened yoghurt
    1/2 cup Chelsea Golden Syrup

    Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
    Add eggs one at a time, beating well.
    Add sifted flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
    Add yoghurt and half the golden syrup and mix well.
    Lightly grease a pudding bowl or in our case individual Dariole molds
    Pour in enough of the remaining Golden Syrup to cover the bottom of the molds
    Spoon the batter on top.
    Cover with lightly greased foil and secure with string.
    Place molds into large pan
    Pour boiling water till halfway up the molds

    Cover with lid
    Bring water back to boil, then turn down to simmering
    Boil gently for 40 minutes, adding extra boiling water if necessary
    Remove molds carefully, and slide knife around pudding before turning out.
    Serve warm with whipped cream

    What lovely light pudding, soaked in Golden Syrup.
    We served with a big dollop of Chantilly Cream.
    (Cream whipped with sugar and vanilla).

    The tacos were great
    I wont give exact quantities, it is really up to you.
    All depends on how many people or how much of each ingredient suits you

    So you will need a box of Taco Shells
    Then to serve with the Chili, I made a simple Avocado Salsa

    1 ripe avocado,
    1 tablespoon of finely chopped red onion,
    1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley,
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Mash lightly with a fork, just enough to break the Avocado up

    Had a stressful time whilst making the Avocado Salsa
    The lid came off the black pepper grinder and black peppercorns went everywhere, including into the salsa. Very frustrating.

    So all the Avo had to be scraped clear of any pepper and virtually, I had to start again.
    No-one wants whole peppercorns in their salsa

    A Quick Tomato Salsa
    Chopped tomatoes,
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Slurp of olive oil,
    Several basil leaves, torn

    I also mixed a 1/2 cup of unsweetened yogurt with a handful of chives and
    The juice of half a lemon
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    A bowl Grated Cheese
    And a bowl of Grated Carrot
    A very easy meal and how healthy is that?
    Joseph grating the Cheese
    Miss Cleo was desperate to help
    She picked the herbs for me.
    She cleared the table
    Then she cleaned it
    But it all gets a bit much for her at times...

    Yes once again I am the Leftover queen
    One must use up the bits and pieces in the Fridge
    There was some Chili, not quite enough for a full meal
    1/2 an avocado
    Some cooked potatoes
    There was still some Yogurt left from the night before
    and some fresh Herbs from my garden

    How about Mexican Rostis
    Rosti, Potato Cake is a Swiss dish but I thought would make a good carrier
    for the leftovers

    Fusion Food?
    Yes I think so.

    First grate the potato
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Heat some olive oil in a pan
    Take a big handful of grated potato
    Place into the hot pan
    Squash into a flat cake
    Turn the heat down to medium and cook the Potato Cake till golden
    Turn onto a plate and slip back into the pan to cook the other side
    When that side is golden slip onto a plate for serving

    Make a quick Avocado Salsa
    Lightly mash the Avocado
    Add 1/4 red onion finely chopped
    1 tablespoon chopped parsley
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    1 tablespoon Olive oil
    1 medium tomato de-seeded and finely sliced
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Dash hot sauce
    (I used Chipotle Sauce, that I had in the fridge, but Tabasco would be fine)
    Mix and set aside

    In another bowl place
    3 tablespoons unsweetened Yogurt
    Juice 1/2 lemon2 tablespoons of chopped chives
    Mix well and set aside

    Heat the Chili and you are ready to assemble
    Top the Rosti with the Chili

    and finish off with the Avocado

    Nice glass of wine and Friday dinner sorted

    Black Bean Chili - Feeding a Crowd - Thank you Bobby Flay

    Bobby Flay, King of South Western Cuisine, is the inspiration for this Chili Dish
    It was son-in-law Chris's birthday

    and there was a crowd. What better to feed many people.
    This delicious Chili, is served with Toasted Cumin Crème Fraiche and an Avocado Relish.
    I served it with rice.
    I also added frozen corn, it seems to me, that one should have corn, in this kind of Chili
    There was enough for the meal that night and enough leftovers to make Chili and Rice Pies
    and then plenty more to freeze. (This made a Taco meal for the Grandkids)
    So so tasty and so so economical.
    This is his recipe in entirety, which includes Chili Powders that I couldn’t find here in New Zealand, so I just used the Chili Powder available. BUT if you can buy his Chili please use it

    For the Chili
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 kilo minced beef,
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 large red onion, finely diced
    4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
    1 tablespoon pasilla chili powder
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    1 bottle dark beer
    5 cups homemade chicken stock, or canned low-sodium or water
    1 can chopped tomatoes, drained and pureed
    1 tablespoon chipotle pepper puree
    1 tablespoon honey
    2 cups cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
    2 cups frozen corn
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    Handful of chopped Coriander leaves


    Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat.
    Season the beef with salt and pepper, and sauté until browned on all sides.
    Transfer the meat to a plate and remove all but 3 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.

    Add the onions to the pan and cook until soft.
    Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
    Add the ancho powder, pasilla powder, and cumin and cook an additional 2 minutes.
    Add the beer and cook until completely reduced.
    Return the beef to the pot,
    Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, chipotle puree, and honey, and bring to a boil.
    Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan, and simmer for 45 minutes.
    Add the beans, the corn and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
    Remove from the heat, add the lime juice, coriander and adjust seasonings.

    Serve with a dollop of Toasted Cumin Crème Fraiche and Avocado Relish.

    Toasted Cumin Crème Fraiche

    1 tablespoon cumin seed
    1 cup creme fraiche
    Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Place the cumin in a small sauté pan over medium heat.
    Toast until lightly golden brown.
    Place in a small bowl.
    Stir in the crème fraiche and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

    Avocado Relish:

    2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
    1/2 small red onion, finely diced
    1 jalapeno or serrano chile, finely diced
    Lime juice
    Chopped cilantro leaves
    Salt and pepper

    Our friend Justine would have happily eaten the Avocado Relish as is.

    Monday, November 07, 2011

    Rarotonga-Beach Days with the Family and Banana Bread from the Bananas growing in the Carport

    We have our own bunch of Bananas. Between us and the chicken we have managed to use them
    Great for Breakfast, Cocktails
    And I decided to trial some Banana Bread. It made great toast.
    This bread is really easy
    Just make up some of my Basic Bread dough
    I used 3 cups of flour
    1 tsp salt
    2 pkts yeast (16gms)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tsp sugar
    Approx 300 mls of hand hot water

    Click here for the method

    To make the Banana Bread
    After the first rising
    Take 350 gms of the dough
    (I used the rest to make bread rolls)
    Put on top
    1 ripe banana mixed with 10 gms sugar
    40 gms of nutty muesli

    Fold over and knead for about 5 minutes
    It will take about that amount of time to mix all the ingredients in
    Leave it to rise again till double in size
    Shape and put into greased loaf tin
    Leave to rise again and then dust with flour and slash top
    Bake in 200C oven.
    It should take about 25 minutes
    So off to the No-ever Beach
    You don't normally see Dale sitting like this
    This is the normal view.
    Just love all those shades of Turquoise
    Katie testing the water
    Miss Cleo, so cute
    Our Mermaids, Mia and Cleo
    Happy Families
    So gorgeous here in Rarotonga