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    Tuesday, September 13, 2016

    Brown Sugar Mixed Berry Cobbler

     I found this recipe off the Epicurious Website. It is from an issue of Gourmet 2010 by Andrea Albin

    Thought this would a perfect dessert for the Grandchildren
    AND I was right… they loved it
    As it is winter here, I used frozen berries, in fact I love Frozen berries
    especially for baking

    When I was young, I really loved it when my Mother made a hot dessert
    Steamed puddings, Fruit pies, Lemon Delicious Pudding
    Cobbler is not really a New Zealand Tradition, but I'm always trying something new
    After all it is just scones /dumplings on top of cooked fruit! 
    Easy Peasy
    This recipe feeds 6-8, I halved it for the 4 of us. It was enough

            3/4 cup packed brown sugar
            2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
            1 kg of frozen mixed berries
            2 cups all-purpose flour
            2 teaspoons baking powder
            Rounded 1/2 teaspoon salt
            1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
            3/4 cup whole milk
            1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    plus 1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar

    Preheat oven to 200C with rack in middle.
    Stir together brown sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl.
    Add berries and toss to coat. 
    Transfer mixture to a shallow 3-quart baking dish and bake until mixture is hot, about 12 minutes        Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
    Add butter and blend with your fingertips or a pastry blender
    until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. 
    Add milk and stir until dough just comes together.
    Remove baking dish from oven and drop mounds of dough onto hot berries.
    Stir together the topping... the brown sugar and the granulated sugar and sprinkle over dough.
    Bake cobbler until topping is golden, 25 to 30 minutes.
    Cool to warm, about 30 minutes.
    Some cream or ice ream
    and an excellent dessert is on the table

    Sunday, September 11, 2016

    New Zealand School of Food and Wine - A W & F Celebration

    This weekend The NZ  School of Food and Wine, in Auckland,  which is run by Celia Hay,
    held an event in their premises, in Customs Street. My friend Lana enrolled us
    This Tapas and Spanish Wine Experience appealed to us
    So Off we trotted
    Girls On Tour
    These events are an experience for the Students, to cater for a large crowd.
    We were part of a group of volunteers, who were on hand to help prepare the Mis en Place
    for the 6 course dinner that evening.
    So hair up, Aprons on... we were ready
    It was  6 course dinner.
    In charge were visiting  Spanish Chef David Puig Zaragoza and the
    Head Chef at the School Chef Stefan Lötscher pictured below
    We were ushered into the Demonstration Kitchen where the students, were divided into groups   
    for each course
    Here is Chef David sorting out the groups
    We, the Volunteers, attached ourselves to a group, then knives out, we chopped and peeled
    They were prepping for the 6 course dinner, plus delicious little Iberico Ham Croquettes
    to have with drinks 
    Lana was involved in this course. After this mixture had cooled it was rolled into little balls
    Just the Classic Breading. Flour, Egg and Breadcrumbs
    Deep fried and served with drinks
    Here is the Menu
     Meanwhile, I joined the Group, who were in charge of the Salmon Ceviche with Salmon roe, Crispy Quinoa dressed with a Citrus Sesame Sauce Course
    Our two students, both at Stage Three
    Canada here on cucumber dicing
    and Craigen, who was in charge of painstakingly cutting Nori into strips
    I got the "chop up the Chilies" job
    100 gms of "beautifully chopped" chilies
    When Lana was finished with the appetiser, she joined and was on Cubing the Salmon
    We became very friendly with Paul and Tina Ivory, seen below
    Paul completed a 16 week course at the School, a couple of years ago. He was responsible for making the dressing, He brought his wife Tina for the School experience
    Tina was on the Churros, she snipped, while the Student piped.
    These were served in the Traditional way, with Warm Chocolate Sauce. Yum
     Meanwhile Moi on dish washing duty. Looking very professional methinks
    Around the kitchen everyone was very busy
    Some beautiful dough being kneaded for the fresh ciabatta bread,
    I just loved the look of the dough it was so full of bubbles. Of course they had a sour dough starter, which obviously helps the rise
    This accompanied The Slow Cooked Duck Egg With Chorizo and Potato Foam
    Divine. Plates scraped clean
     Chef David in action frying Croutons
    These Crouton became crunchy Breadcrumbs, topping the Slow Cooked Duck Egg
    There was a Gazpacho Course, the secret ingredient Cherry Puree
    Might have to do that this summer
    The Gazpacho was served with a Oyster au Naturel topped with tiny chopped vegetables
    It was divine.
     Some lucky people got to "French" the Lamb Racks. Long painstaking job
    Then they went onto the grill and were served
    Medium Rare Lamb, with Romesco Sauce, a Classic Spanish Sauce
    and Braised Baby Leeks
    Taste anyone?
    Of course you cant have a Spanish Meal without Paella
    Actually it presented more like a Risotto, seasoned with finely chopped Octopus and Squid
    Then, dressed with beautiful slices of Octopus, cooked in red Roasted Garlic Allioli

    So once we had finished the Prep, we, The Volunteers, were whisked away for a tasting of Spanish Wines. Supplied by Sophie Cotter, from St Vincent's Cave
    Love her Business Card

    This was a fabulous Presentation By Sophie with her sidekick, whose name unfortunately, I didn't record
    He had set a little map in front of us all.
    Each wine came from a different region and sitting on top of each region, sat a small vial, reflecting the main character of the wine
    For instance Peach, Lime, Rosemary, Date, Cocoa, Dark Berries and for the Dessert Wine Golden Raisins
    So Sophie set the mood.
    We closed our eyes and she described the region, pictures flashed into my mind, of tropical beautiful Spanish villages,, Vineyards, Towns...she then suggested we remove the cork and inhale the aroma, then tasted the wine
    We then were ushered into the restaurant where we had a cocktail and the Croquettes
    Then we sat down for the delicious dinner
    I would to thank Celia and all of her staff, for a wonderful experience 
    Plus a big shout out to Maximal Concepts. Their DNA Director, Shiz Scott came down for the weekend event bringing Chef David Puig Zaragoza, who wrote and supervised the wonderful menu
    An Excellent Occasion

    Sunday, September 04, 2016

    White Chocolate, Craisin and Lemon Muffins - Perfect for The Lunch Box

    I had some Buttermilk in the fridge.
    I had bought it for another recipe, 
    It was part of the delicious dressing for The Indonesian Chicken Salad
    A wonderful  dish click here
    I only used a small amount and there it was sitting in the fridge, doing nothing
    There has to be something interesting
    I subscribe to the Good to Know Website and I found this recipe
    It called for blueberries, I replaced them with Craisins
    This proved to be very popular with the kids and the whole dozen went in one sitting
    150g caster sugar    
    250g self-raising flour
    1tsp baking powder
    100g butter, melted
    1 medium egg, beaten
    284 ml buttermilk
    1tsp vanilla
     Zest and juice 1 lemon
     200g white chocolate, chopped
     180g Craisins

    Heat the oven to 180C fan
    Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
    Mix together the caster sugar, flour and baking powder, 
    then pour in the butter, egg, buttermilk, vanilla and lemon zest and juice. 
    Mix well, then fold in the chocolate and the Craisins
    Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tin
    Bake for around 20-25 mins,
    until golden and springy.

    Chicken Asian Style - Indonesian Flavours Delicious

    I was having some friends around for dinner. I was looking for a delicious not too heavy first course. I came across this idea for an Indonesian Style Chicken Salad.
    Well that was a huge success so I must share it. It is based on a recipe from Martha Schulman
    It would make a wonderful lunch as well

    I decided to use a mixture of chicken legs and breasts. My favourite way to poach chicken is the way taught by Jacques Pepin
    Basically you develop a lovely full of flavour stock
    Add the chicken to the boiling stock, bring back to the boil, simmer for a few minutes, then turn it off and left the chicken sit in the beautiful stock, till it has totally cooled
    The chicken is so moist and tasty.
    It is the only way, in my opinion.
    As the dish was Asian, I decided to poach it in an Asian Flavoured Stock 
    So simple. In  this case I used a chicken stock powder as a base.
    This worked well, but if you have homemade chicken stock or maybe some stock from the supermarket please use that

    Rice bran oil  - 1 tablespoon
    Shallot  -1 chopped
    Coriander stalks handful
    Kaffir lime - 2 leaves
    Kaffir lime zest  - 2 tablespoons, Use ordinary limes if Kaffir not available
    Chili flakes  - 1/2 tsp
    Fish sauce - 1 - 2 tablespoons
    Chicken stock powder - 2 tablespoons dissolved in water or chicken stock
    Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Grated ginger 1 tablespoon

    In a stockpot, over medium heat place the rice bran oil
    Add the
    shallot, sauté till soft, don't brown
    Add coriander stalks, kaffir lime leaves, zest
    Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes
    You now, have a wonderful, flavourful stock to poach the chicken
    Bring the stock back to the boil
    Add  4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts simmer for 5 minutes
    Turn heat off
    Cover and leave to sit in the stock, till cooled to room temperature
    Shred about, should get about 4 cups shredded chicken, to the left of the bowl is the Peanut dressing
    These quantities serve 4 for dinner, 6 for Lunch or as a first course

    For the Salad
    Shredded Chicken from 4 chicken breast as above 
    Sea Salt
    Freshly ground pepper (optional)
    1 bunch spring onions, white part and green, thinly sliced
    1 carrot grated
    ¼ cup slivered fresh mint leaves
    ¼ cup chopped cilantro
    1 small red bell pepper, cut in thin strips
    1 serrano pepper, finely chopped seeded if desired

    2 cups mung bean sprouts or sunflower sprouts
    1 Cos lettuce heart, leaves separated, washed and dried¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts
    For the Dressing
        ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
        2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
        1 garlic clove, minced or shallots
        1 tablespoon Southeast Asian fish sauce
        Pinch of cayenne
        2 tablespoons crunchy or smooth natural peanut butter (more to taste)
        ⅓ cup buttermilk

    Place the chicken in a large bowl, and season with salt and pepper. 
    Add the white part of the scallions, the mint, cilantro,
    red pepper, minced chile pepper and sprouts.
    Toss together.

    The Dressing
    Combine the lime juice, ginger, garlic, fish sauce and

    Stir together.
    Add the peanut butter, and combine well. 
    Whisk in the buttermilk. 
    Taste and adjust seasonings.
    Line a platter with the lettuce leaves. 
    Toss the chicken mixture with the dressing, and arrange over the lettuce.

    Sprinkle the peanuts and the spring onion greens over the top,
    and serve.
    Table set ready to go