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    Monday, January 30, 2012

    A Summer Stew-Turn that into A Summer Pie -My Word, What a Pie

    I have been watching a programme on Food TV Britain’s Best Chef, it has been fascinating watching amateur cooks trying out to cook the best Dish in Britain. One of the dishes I was intrigued by was a Yorkshire Beef and Pale Ale Pie.
    This short crisp pastry  doesn't brown up like puff pastry.
    There is no egg wash.
    Good for people allergic to eggs!
    It is fabulous though, very simple.
    This is how it looks.
    Of course it is the middle of summer here, so Beef and Pale Ale… not really appropriate!
    The judges all commented on the pastry, so I thought I would make the pastry and fill it with something more summer like.

    So I made a Mediterranean Style Stew
    I had some tomatoes and peppers, getting close to their use by date so I used them

    Basically a this stew is a Ratatouille with some beef, gently simmered away till the beef is tender and lovely flavours have developed.

    The pastry for the pie is very simple, but not exactly healthy
    I don’t imagine I would making it often..
    We all need treats.
    It contains lots of butter and also lard. This should make it very light and crisp.
    But let's attack the Stew first

    I actually used a Rosemary infused oil which gave extra fabulous flavour
    But you could add some sprigs of fresh Rosemary
    I also had some left over Rose wine in the fridge
    Nice light wine flavour

    2 tablespoons Rosemary Infused Avocado Oil
    I large onion chopped
    1 red freshly ground black pepper chopped
    1 yellow freshly ground black pepper chopped
    1 courgette chopped
    5 tomatoes chopped
    Sea salt and freshly ground black freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon sugar

    2 tablespoon vege oil
    300 gms thinly sliced beef chopped into squares
    2 tablespoons flour
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    300 mls wine

    Gently heat the Rosemary oil in a medium fry pan
    Add onions
    Cook till just soft
    Add rest of vegetables
    Season with S & P
    Cook till soft

    Add tomatoes
    Season with S & P and the sugar
    Cook about 5 minutes

    Place into a large pot
    Toss the meat in seasoned flour
    Then add vege oil to the fry pan
    Heat till hot
    Add meat and brown
    You may need to do this in two batches
    Don’t overcrowd the pan

    Add to the vegetables in the pot
    Add wine to fry pan to deglaze
    Bring to boil and simmer for about 5 minutes

    Add to pot
    Taste and check seasoning,
    then simmer the whole stew for about an hour very gently

    Gently being the operative word.
    Here's what happened while I was busy writing this copy.

    Oh dear
    I did save it though
    Your Mediterranean Stew is ready

    Now for the pastry
    I made a mistake...when I made the first batch it was a disaster
    I did it by hand and didn't add enough water
    I thought it looked too dry and I didn't trust my instincts
    Maybe it would be OK after it had sat resting in the fridge
     Oh No
    So I threw it away and started again
    This time I made it in the food processor
    and added more water than the recipe states
    Just do it slowly
    Test the pastry by pushing with your fingers, it should suqash up nicely.
    Not too much water or it will be tough
    Voila I did it...see how nicely it rolls out
    So here you go

    455 gms plain flour
    125gms butter cubed
    125gms lard cubed
    pinch sea salt
    60 mls or 2 tbs cold water (you may need more)

    Put flour and salt in food processor
    whiz for a couple of seconds to mix
    Add butter and lard
    Whiz till the mixture looks like breadcrumbs
    Don't over work it
    Add water a tablespoon at a time
    It will start to get together but don't let it go to a ball stage
    Push the mix between your fingers if it squashes together
    Its done
    Tip onto bench
    Form into a ball
    Wrap in Gladwrap and let rest in fridge for at least 20 mins
    Meanwhile heat oven to 180C
    Also grease your pie tins
    This makes 6 pies
    Cut off 2/3 dough
    Roll out cut and use to line pie tins
    Trim edges
    Fill with cooled stew

    Roll out the other third to make lids
    Place a lid on each pie
    Crimp the edges together
    Into the hot oven
    These pies will take about 25 minutes to cook
    I could eat both of those. God help my waistline though.
    Treat your self it's worth it.

    Marinated Olives- Perfect to have with drinks-Add to your salads

    I have posted this before but I took a picture this time
    If you have any left, just pop them into a jar and into the fridge
    Can be eaten at any time but very good with drinks.
    1 can Kalamata Olives in Brine, drained

    4 tablespoons of Olive oil

    4 cloves garlic peeled and lightly smashed to flavour the oil

    3-4 Sprigs of fresh Rosemary or Thyme or Oregano

    Sprinkle of chili flakes to taste

    2-3 strips of lemon zest,

    Freshly ground black pepper
    Heat the oil gently 
    Add the garlic
    Just warm through
    Add the rest of the ingredients
    Let cook very gently for about 15 minutes
    Sometimes I put them in a 130C oven for 15 minutes

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    A Vegan Pasta What’s More!

    The idea of this dish is inspired by the South of Italy Province of Puglia
    Mario Batalli who I really admire, cooks a lot of food from there.
    It is renowned for its simple vegetarian food
    Not all vegetarian but ‘making the most of what you have’ type of food
    I like Vegetarian food, but this is unusual for me. No dairy or animal products at all...but for anyone who is interested, this is a fabulous pasta dish.
    Very easy, just a little tomato sauce mixed with cooked spaghetti, topped with herby breadcrumbs
    As they say Healthy As. And I say Simple As
    Except for the spaghetti… all made by moi.

    I made breadcrumbs from some leftover bread, that I had made by my own two hands

    Sage and parsley from my little garden
    Not the other vege though
    All courtesy of the local supermarket

    2 cloves peeled garlic lightly Smashed
    6 leaves sage
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    6-8 bail leaves chopped
    2 handfuls fresh breadcrumbs
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Pinch sea salt

    3 tablespoon olive oil
    1 red onion peeled and chopped
    1 red pepper finely chopped
    4 medium tomatoes chopped
    Chili to taste
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    200 gms spaghetti cooked to manufacturers instructions

    For the tomato sauce
    Sauté onion, pepper in olive oil till soft
    Add chili and tomatoes
    Sauté about 5 minutes
    Don't cook too long, the fresh taste is what we are after
    Season with S&P and a little sugar

    Meanwhile cook the spaghetti

    In another pan gently heat the garlic and sage leaves in olive oil
    Chop the sage with parsley and basil
    Chop the garlic and add to the tomato sauce

    Add breadcrumbs to flavoured oil
    Toast till just crisp
    Add chopped herbs and season with S&P

    When spaghetti is cooked add to tomato sauce
    Mix well

    Serve topped with seasoned breadcrumbs and devour

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Pretty in Pink – Pickled Onions Fit for a Princess

    I saw these pretty onions on Market Kitchen by a Chef called Valentine
    Had to make them
    1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
    ½ tsp dried oregano
    5 black peppercorns
    2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
    Juice ½ orange
    ½ tsp sea salt
    1 bay leaf
    ½ tsp ground cumin

    Bring a small pan of water to the boil
    Blanch the sliced onions for about 30 seconds
    Place in a glass or ceramic bowl
    Cover with the other ingredients
    Marinate for at least 1 hour
    The onions will turn a vibrant pink. Pretty as.

    These will keep for several days in the fridge

    Another first for me Lamb Schnitzel
    I used Lamb Steaks
    bashed out in thin slices

    First make a marinade
    10 mint leaves finely chopped
    1 tsp sugar
    2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 red chili finely chopped

    Marinate the thin slices for at least 2 hours

    Drain on a rack
    The dip into flour well seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Into beaten egg
    Then into Panko breadcrumbs
    Let sit for another hour to set the crumbs

    Fry in vegetable oil till golden brown
    I served this with a Cabbage Salad which contains
     Red pepper and of course the Pretty Pink onions
    Plus some grated carrot and finely sliced celery
    Toss well with a slosh of olive oil
    The onions will supply the vinegar part of the dressing
    Dont forget to season with S&P

    On the side a tasty potato salad very much improved by tossing in Tartare Sauce

    ½ cup mayo
    Tablespoon chopped mint
    Tablespoon chopped parsley
    1 spring onion finely chopped
    2 tablespoons chopped gherkins
    1 tablespoon chopped capers
    Juice ½ lemon
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Peeled and cut potatoes into 2 cms chunks
    Boil till just tender
    Drain and toss in a little French dressing while still hot
    This flavours the potatoes and stops them sticking together

    When they have cooled toss them with the Sauce Tartare
    Once again, this needs to sit for at least an hour, to take on all of these wonderful flavours.

    A dinner... for a princess

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    How to Peel Boiled Eggs - Good Hint for Cooking Steak

    Just to prove Auckland can turn on a good day.
    This is the view from our deck
    Auckland City there in the distance
    Turn around
    And again

    Only 5 kms from the city Motuihe Island. Haven't been here for a while but it is lovely.
    Lucky Us.

    Got a handy hint from Ed Baines, Celebrity Chef and judge on Britain's Best Dish.
    It can sometimes be a problem when peeling Boiled eggs. What a mess it turns out.
    Ed Baines came up with this. Peel your eggs under wtaer.
    Voila it works.

    Plus decades ago my friend's father Doug Peacock, gave me a hint how to cook stek.
    I did it for years then you try other methods BUT this is great and always works.
    For med-med rare
    First lightly oil the steak and season with freshly ground black
    HOT pan
    Add sea salt directly to the pan
    Add steak
    Cook about 3 minutes
    Do not touch
    The blood will start to rise
    Flip and cook another 2 minutes
    Rest about 5 minutes and serve
    Guaranteed perfect

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Cajun Moon-First Voyage 2012- Perfect Boat Food

    Took a while to get on board, it's been over 6 months, since Cajun Moon has been out and about, the dislocated thumb put the skipper out of action for months.
    Not quite the maintenance man we are used to!
    We arrived to a mess, but Lana (Plane Server, her occupation according to her little friend Zavier…Love it, Not Trolley Dollie, just a plain Plane Server)
    got working.
    We finally got the food stored and in-between showers, managed to unload the rest of the stuff from the car.
    Finally got underway, no rain thank God and about 15 knots wind...on the nose of course.
    An easy trip to Islington Bay.
    The best first anchorage when it has been a little stressful leaving port.
    On arrival the anchor caused a little problem, it was very stiff, from under use and the breeze was chilly but Lana persevered. 
    Yay done.
    Should be easier next time
    Lana made great lunch.
    Prawn cocktail with fresh bread and a Watermelon, Marinated Feta and Celery Salad.

    How simple is this, Lana used a bought seafood dressing. It was fine.
    So big fat prawns, tossed in a seafood dressing,on a bed of lettuce, with some avocado, chopped spring onions
    A little bowl of chilli mussels on the side, a Perfect Boat Lunch
    Bottle of Deutz, to whet the whistle, we rested, read and I finished "Before I Go To Sleep"…Good little thriller.
    It had been a late lunch and luckily,we had already decided to have an easy dinner, 
    bit of cheese and crackers glass of wine
    Just as well, because when Dale went to turn on the gas...
    guess what...wasn't working. Bugger.
    Now as it turns out two Xmas holidays ago, we had a gas problem, whilst in the Coromandel and bought a couple of burners from Mitre 10.
    Cheap as chips and very efficient.
    Found them in a locker.
    Hooray, but where are the canisters. No luck,
    Skipper couldn't remember where they were.
    Lana scuffled through the side cabin but to no avail.
    No problems, we could always go shopping in Waiheke tomorrow.
    Drank wine and ate the cheese, with left over bread and some crackers.
    Problem no 3
    Dale has had a sleep button put on the stereo, so that we can go to sleep with the iPod going, a great idea, but as it turned out…it went off after 30 minutes. All of the time!
    We couldn't seem to over ride it.
    Oh well, worry about that tomorrow!

    After a couple of dodgy starts we got the DVD going and settled down to watch "The Killing"  Series2. Gripping, except for the sleep button.
    The TV turned off every 30 minutes.
    Never mind, worry about that tomorrow.

    Next problem the solar anchor light is not working, BUT we do have a real one on top of the mast, so problem fixed.
    Uses a lot of power, but we are visible and we do have plenty of battery power.
    Oh well, worry about that in the morning.
    Another small problem.
    For Christmas, Dale gave me a car charger for the iPhone and supposedly the iPad..Thought it would great to use on the boat.
    But it seems it only does the phone.
    Oh well, we have the inverter and other chargers.
    Next, cleaning the teeth...mmmm, water tasting a little salty, strange.
    Off to bed.
    Slept all night.

    Dale woke up and found the canisters, in the locker, obviously too hard at night.
    Hooray… We could have our hot lemon and water which gets our systems going.
    It was a lovely day.
    Warm sunny.
    Lana had her first swim of the year
    A bit of ship shaping and we were off to Waiheke.
    This is more like it
    The familiar sights of Skipper
    And Bosun
    Calm as - lovely.
    Yes the anchor went down reasonably easily. Great.

    Nice to be back on board, just need to get rid of a few niggles!!!
    Changed over to a new water tank, still salty...
    Oh well, good for cooking pasta and potatoes.
    We have many containers of fresh water, so we are Ok for drinking.
    Interesting for showers though.
    Salty skin.
    Not to worry, lots of body lotion.
    Oh and the Hot water is not working.
    This would normally not be too big of a problem, but when washing dishes with salt water, one finds that, one gets through a hell of a lot of washing detergent
    Oh well Weather is good.

    Made a nice Risoni Salad for lunch.
    Cooked up some olives, (see below) using Lana's fresh oregano.
    She also brought rocket from her garden.
    Marinated some red onions,
    I think this Pasta Salad would be a good recipe for Ruth Of Click Once Upon a Feast
    Blog Event, Click Presto Pasta Nights 
    to have a look at this weekly event.
    Lots of ideas for Pasta Dishes from all over the world
    This week, the event is being hosted by Alisha at Cook Craft Enjoy
    Once again a Perfect Boat lunch
    I am very keen on my cooked Marinated Olives
    So So Simple
    1 can Kalamata Olives in Brine, drained

    4 tablespoons of Olive oil

    4 cloves garlic peeled and lightly smashed to flavour the oil

    3-4 Sprigs of fresh Rosemary or Thyme or Oregano

    Sprinkle of chili flakes to taste

    2-3 strips of lemon zest,

    Freshly ground black pepper
    Heat the oil gently 
    Add the garlic
    Just warm through
    Add the rest of the ingredients
    Let cook very gently for about 15 minutes
    Sometimes I put them in a 130C oven for 15 minutes

    Let cool and either eat straight away or store in an airtight container

    This Salad is once again So So Simple
    Just prepare your ingredients
    Then, throw them all together
    1 can Tuna in Olive Oil drained

    Reserve the oil

    250 gms Risoni cooked to Manufacturers instructions and drained

    Toss it in 1 tablespoon of oil from the Tuna

    1 red onion, sliced and marinated in 3 tablespoons French dressing

    Best to leave for about an hour

    About 12 olives

    Good handful of Rocket

    Freshly ground black pepper

    Mix all ingredients together
    Taste, you may need some more French Dressing
    Once again, best prepared about 30 minutes before you eat
    Nice time to meld all of those flavours
    We all had swims. It was beautiful.
    Here's to Us
    For dinner, we had schnitzel with mashed potato and cauliflower plus sautéed courgettes
    Here is the trusty burner, we are very grateful for this burner. The gas only lasts for about 2 hours but as luck would have it, we had 3 canisters.

    Lovely dinner.
    So we’ve got gas
    Dale fiddled with the Solar light, so that works
    AND he managed to over ride the Sleep Button on the Stereo.
    We settled down to another episode of The Killing.

    Another lovely day. Sun, Sea, Good Wine, Good food.
    Can’t ask for much more than that.
    Lovely Sunset
    One more episode then nice sleep. 
    Well so much for "Red Sky at Night, Sailors delight"
    Oh Well, we just sat and watched the next 7 episodes of The Killing.
    Didn’t feel at all guilty. It was pouring.
    Stopped for lunch and Dinner.

    Sunday, time to go home, forecast was for Gale Force winds, but now luck is on our side and the forecast, as it is frequently, was wrong.
    It blew a bit but was quite comfortable and no rain
    We arrived back to the Marina safely.
    So, Dale now left with many chores, before we go out again.
    The Joys of Being Skipper.

    Sunday, January 08, 2012

    Christmas Continues at Riverside Matakana-A Wonderful Venue for Our Family

     Nerdy Santa, with his adoring Elf
    After the Champagne, the Oysters and still digesting the breakfast...we were starting to panic.
    Lunch is looming, guests are arriving soon.
    Turkey and Beef need to go onto the BBQ.
    Ham is coming with Sheryl and the Salmon for Dale, was leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner.
    New potatoes
    Green Bean Salad
    Fresh Asparagus
    The Famous Stuffing Balls
    All in all an excellent feast.
    This year I wasn't quite so diligent about the photo taking and we are missing one guest from the shots.
    One Craig Walsh Wrightson, actually I note that Dale is not in the shots either. Oh well. They were there.
    Plus we are also missing the puddings.
    OMG they were so good. Helen made her Christmas Pud, teamed with Rum Butter
    Chris made an Eton Mess. There wasn't even anything leftover for me to shoot. Oh well.
    C'est La Christmas

    First we had some Cooked Prawns with an excellent Tartare sauce.
    1 cup Mayo (shop bought is OK)
    1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
    3 tablespoons chopped pickles...we like bread and butter cucumber
    2 tablespoons chopped capers
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    2 tablespoons chopped shallots

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Zest of 1 lemon 
    Lemon juice to taste
    Good shot of your favourite hot sauce
    Mix well and leave in fridge for at least 2-3 hours for flavours to meld
    Longer if possible
    In fact it will keep for a few days

    Pate and crackers, all washed down with some chilled Methode Champagnoise
    They were wolfed down.
    The prawns were roasted click here to fine out  how to cook these.
    So so simple, so so good

    Really the best way to cook them in my books.
    This year, we cooked Turkey Breasts
    Helen had heard Chef Extraordinaire, Mr Tony Astle, from Antoines Restaurant in Auckland, suggest that steaming the Turkey breasts was the way to go.
    We had bought ready stuffed breast from Farro Fresh, Auckland's Boutique Market click here
    Our problem was no oven but we did have BBQ's

    So Helen rolled the breasts, wrapped them in foil,
    We made a water bath, in a foil roasting dish
    Made sure the dish wasn't sitting on direct heat
    The result
    So tender and moist. Will do that again. The stuffing contained cranberries as of course it should.
    Here is Sheryl's beautiful Ham. Green Bean Salad and of Course Asparagus
    Chris cooked the beautiful piece of Rib Eye Steak
    Stuffing balls, our family tradition, recipe here
    New Potatoes,

    Everyone lined up, getting a bit was nearly 3pm already
     Baby Ella, took the Fancy of her little sister Jordan, Mia and Karen

    So time for the Secret Santa
    Santa needed a little padding. Don't you love the nerdy glasses. He was very proud of himself.
     Santa is staring to look a little bored
    The presents came out thick and fast and were very popular

    The elves were more keen on having their photos taken, than helping wonder he was bored

    And "Ladies and Gentleman, We give you, Queen Elizabeth II".
    We always watch the Queens Speech.
    One can score points, when someone gets the phrases right...
    e.g "My husband and I" etc
    So it was time for a little fishing off our jetty

     Turn to the left
    Turn to the right
    Someone was little tired and emotional, she needed a lift home

    What a beautiful Christmas Day.