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    Sunday, November 22, 2015

    If you like Apple Shortcake - Try Strawberry Shortcake

    Only a couple of weeks ago I posted a delicious Apple Shortcake
    Now there are strawberries Galore
    I had a punnet sitting on the bench and thought perhaps I could substitute Strawberries, for the Apples

    What a good idea
    So I am off to visit the Beloved with Strawberry Shortcake in hand

    Click here for the recipe for the Shortcake

    Follow the recipe for the Shortcake
    To prepare the Strawberries
    Slice and sprinkle with a couple of spoons of sugar
    You do need to do this
    Pre-heat the oven to 180C

    So make the Shortcake
    Cut the dough in half
    Roll both halves out, to about 1.5 cms thick
    Spread with the srawberries
    Add the other half on top
    Press edges to seal

    Brush with a little extra milk and sprinkle a little sugar on top

    Bake for about 18-20 minutes
    Cut when hot and devour

    Warm Goats Cheese with Sherried Figs and Onions

    I posted this recipe in 2007. I was on nibbles for dinner with the family the other night.
    I knew somewhere, I had a warm goats cheese recipe, and I also remember it being very popular.
    Below is the original recipe, as usual, I didn't have all the ingredients, no time to go to the shop...
    so I made do.

    So instead of Figs, Sherry, and Rosemary, I used, Craisins with Rum, Mint and Basil
    Also, you don't have to go to the expense of Soft Goats Cheese,
    I had some Goats Feta in the fridge, it was perfect
    What a find

    Perfect for these parties coming up

    Warm Goats Cheese with Sherried Figs and Onions

    300 gms soft goats cheese.

    2 onions sliced finely
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    4 cloves garlic chopped
    2 sprigs rosemary
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    10 dried figs sliced
    50 mls water
    ¼ cup Sherry

    For the alternative
    1 250 gm pkt Goats Feta

    2 onions sliced finely
    4 cloves Garlic finely chopped
    2 tbs each of chopped mint and basil
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

    1/2 cup craisins
    50 mls water
    1/4 cup Rum
    Method is the same for both flavours

    First place fruit in saucepan add water and booze
    Bring to simmer turn heat off and leave to steep.
    This will plump up the fruit.

    Meanwhile sauté onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil with herbes
    Season with salt & pepper
    Till soft and translucent
    Mix in fruit, which will probably have soaked up all of the liquid

    Break up goats cheese into gratin dish
    Pour over onions and fruit mixture
    Into 170C oven for 20minutes

    Serve with slices of fresh baguette or maybe even croutons.

    I took this picture before the cheese was completely covered with the fig onion mix so that the method is shown

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

    Christmas Entertaining- Food to Have with Those Christmas Drinks - Go Italian Flavours

    It is that time of year again and
    the Jolly, Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly Season, is once again, upon us.

    So let’s add to the usual suspects, some Italian inspired bites
    I am really keen on my pinwheels and they are always popular.
    So many ideas for flavours
    This year, The wonderful Italian Flavours
    Tomatoes, Basil and Parmesan

    This is so simple and you can prepare ahead,
    in fact they need to sit for at least 2 hours, the longer the better in fact

    Remove from fridge just before you need them,
    Slice, brush with egg wash and bake

    I use the bought Pastry Sheets.
    Quantities are really up to you, depending on how many you want to make.
    I make up my simple tomato sauce, for the base
    If you don’t use it all, you can pop into a container and keep for a later date

    So Ingredients

    Tomato Sauce
    1 can good preferably Italian chopped tinned Tomatoes
    2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
    2 tbs Olive oil
    Sea salt and freshly Ground Black pepper
    Good pinch of sugar
    Splash red wine vinegar

    Gently heat olive oil in a pot and add the garlic
    Let cook for a couple of minutes, just to soften, don't overcook it will become bitter

    Add tomatoes
    Stir, season to taste with Salt, Pepper, and Sugar
    Let simmer gently till it becomes quite thick
    Add splash of vinegar

    Put aside to cool

    Sheets of Flaky puff pastry
    Bunch Basil leaves
    Parmesan cheese finely grated

    1 egg beaten with a splash of water

    Lay out the pastry on the bench
    Cover 2/3 of it with the Tomato sauce
    Cover with Basil leaves

    Grate Parmesan over

    Brush to the empty 1/3 with the egg wash
    Reserve the egg wash for cooking
    Roll up and press down to seal

    Cover and into the fridge for at least 2 hours
    Overnight is better
    Heat oven to 200C
    Cut into slices
    Place on lined baking sheet

    Brush with remaining egg wash
    Bake for 16-18 minutes, until golden It may take a little longer, depending on your oven

    Keeping on the Italian theme…everyone likes Club Sandwiches
    It’s one of the times, that only Supermarket Bread will do.

    So I thought Caprese Salad
    Tomatoes, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella

    I’ve done quite a bit of research on Club Sandwiches, which includes, eating plenty of them!
    also reading up on tips.
    If you are watching your weight, well, maybe, only eat one.

    Make sure you use plenty of butter, this protects the bread from getting soggy
    Make sure your fillings are well seasoned and moist

    Cut the crusts off, very important
    Once again quantities, this is up to you.
    So these are the ingredients for the Salad Caprese Club Sandwich

    Nice ripe tomatoes, finely sliced,
    Sit on paper towels for at least 10 minutes to absorb excess moisture
    Bunch of basil leaves
    Fresh Mozzarella, I used Boccacini sliced
    Packet of sliced bread
    Softened Butter
    Sea Salt and freshly Ground Pepper

    You need 3 slices of bread for each whole sandwich
    Place slices of bread on the table
    Butter the bread
    Cover with slices of tomatoes
    Place leaves of basil on  top

    Season with S & P
    Place another slice on top butter side down
    Butter the top side of that
    Cover with sliced cheese

    Season with S & P
    Cover with another slice of bread... Butter side down
    Press very firmly,
    Cut off the crusts
    Slice into 3

    or for pretty little sandwiches, cut into triangles

    Place on serving plate
    Cover with damp paper towels, till ready to serve
    If making further ahead, also cover with plastic wrap
    But I suggest when using tomatoes, eat as soon as possible

    So so yummy

    Some other ideas for fillings
    Just add seasoning to your taste

    Chopped chicken,
    Spring onions finely chopped
    Chopped parsley
    Grated Cucumber (squeeze all of the juice out before using)

    3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
    1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
    Squeeze Lemon juice
    Sea salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Mix all the mayo ingredients together

    Add enough of the Mayo mix to the chicken etc... to make a nice moist filling
    Rocket (Arugala)

    Hot smoked salmon
    Gherkins finely chopped

    3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
    Touch of gherkin vinegar
    Sea salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Mix all mayo ingredients together 

    Once again. add as much of the Mayo mix, to the salmon as needed


    So, with the two fillings above
    Make the protein layer the bottom layer

    Cover with bread
    Then keep the rocket separate,
    Top with final slice of bread

    Monday, November 16, 2015

    Seared Cumin-Spiced Prawn and Cous Cous Salad with Green Tahini - Created by Sarah at The Ponsonby Bistro

    Earlier this month, I was asked to help, behind the scenes, at the excellent
    Festive House Tour, held each year in Auckland
    10 accommodating families, open their homes to visitors, to raise money for
    this years Charity... World Child Cancer’s Pacific Chapter Appeal
    Each house is assigned a stylist, to dress the house for Christmas, plus a Chef from an Auckland Restaurant.
    The house I was working in was in Parnell, and our Chef was Sarah Conway, from Ponsonby Bistro.

    Not only did they supply a delicious Cous Cous Salad but also, Melissa Morrow,  Front of House at The Bistro, made a delicious Punch.

    The salad was so yummy, I asked, and was given permission by Sarah, to post the recipe on my blog
    It is perfect for summer. Think Boxing Day Lunch, Think any hot Summer day
    Even though I look a bit po-faced pictured below, with Melissa, on the left, serving a little, salad and Sarah beavering away, creating...
    I really enjoyed my day, picking herbs, helping serve, taking the money
    Just  my cup of tea,

    So below, is the recipe,  Serves 10-12 people.
    Cheeky little Rose on the side
    Perfect lunch

    Ingredients (serves 10-12)
    1kg frozen tiger prawn meat 

    3 cloves garlic, minced

    2 tsp salt

    1 tsp sugar
    11/2 tsp dried chili flakes
    4 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
    2 big or 3 small lemons, juiced and zested
    2 cups couscous, cooked as per packet instructions
    1 cup golden raisins
    1 cup sliced almonds, toasted (plus a few extra for garnishing) 

    Large bunch spring onions, washed and sliced thinly
    Good olive oil

    2 punnets cherry tomatoes, 
    3 baby gem lettuce, washed and leaves pulled
    Salt and pepper
    Extra lemons for serving 

    300ml Tahini
    450ml water
    1 cup each of mint, coriander and parsley, set a bit of each aside for garnishing
    1/2 tsp honey 1/2 tsp salt 


    1: Cut each prawn into three, and marinate with garlic, salt, sugar, dried chili and cumin.
    ideally, leave overnight. or for at least 2 hours.

2: Make dressing by whizzing together, the tahini, water, herbs, honey and salt in a food processor until really creamy and green.

    3: Add lemon juice and zest to couscous, 
    then add raisins, almonds, spring onions, and a big splash of good olive oil. 
    Mix until combined.

    4: Sear the prawns in a hot pan with a little olive oil until just cooked through.
    When cool, combine with the couscous salad.
    Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    5: Quarter the tomatoes and toss in a bowl with a little salt, pepper and olive oil.

    6: Arrange the washed lettuce leaves around a large serving platter.

    Pile the Prawn Couscous in the middle. 
    Drizzle with green tahini
 and scatter over tomatoes, extra herbs and almonds. 
    Tuck in some extra lemon wedges, and
    serve the rest of the Green Tahini in a dish on the side.

    Just had to add photos of the beautiful mint and lemons, just love the colours

    Tuesday, October 27, 2015

    Apple Shortcake - Best way to use up extra Apples

    I'm always trying to think of nice things to make, as a Treat for My Beloved and the Wonderful Staff at Marino Ward,
    As luck would have it my friend Mary gave me some apples, They needed some urgent attention.
    Solution Apple Shortcake
    Sourced from the Trusty Edmonds Cookery Book
    A cooking Bible for New Zealanders... for ever

    Every child,  that leaves home should be given one, to start them off in their new lives
    All basic food groups covered

    This Apple Shortcake is so so simple and very delicious.
    I thought that I should double the recipe, so that I could get many pieces
    I actually made 2 batches, one for the bottom and one for the top
    Rather than 1 large one
    Worked well
    The Quantities below, are for one batch

    225gms Flour
    1 tsp Baking Powder
    Pinch salt
    125 gms Butter
    1 egg
    Milk about 2 tablespoons
    1 dessertspoon Sugar
    3 medium apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced

    Milk and some extra suger
    Pre heat oven to 180C

    Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl
    Grate the butter into the flour
    Rub with your fingers till it resembles breadcrumbs
    Meanwhile whisk together egg and milk 
    Add to flour mix
    Add milk and blend together with your hands
    Knead together lightly, to make a nice dough
    Do not overwork

    Cut in half and roll out to about 1.5 cms thickness
    Lay on a lined baking tray
    Cover with sliced apples
    Sprinkle evenly with sugar

    Meanwhile roll out other half to same size
    Cover and press down lightly
    Push the edges together

    Brush with some milk and sprinkle with extra sugar

    Bake for about 20 - 30 minutes tyill golden
    I found it took about 25 minutes

    Cut into squares while hot and devour

    Cooks treat, I tided up the edges and wolfed down the delicious pieces
    It was very popular, with inmates and staff alike.

    Sunday, October 18, 2015

    Breakfast Muffins - Viva Les All Blacks

    Thanks to my friend Lorraine Woods, (who sent me a video by Tip Hero
    Check out their website here )
    We were able to enjoy a fabulous, non French, Breakfast, to accompany
    the Magnificent Quarter Final between the All Blacks and The French

    First we had a Bloody Mary and then these wonderful little Omelet Muffins
    So so simple and very tasty

    Just assemble and then pop in the oven
    Just served with a Sriracha sauce on top , for that little extra kick
    and a piece of buttered Vogels's Toast
    They are so light, probably because there was a little baking powder added to the mix

    So for 3 people... 2 muffins each
    I used the Texas Muffin Tins

    1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped
    1/2 re pepper finely chopped
    3 rashers bacon finely chopped
    A little olive oil
    Grated cheese

    Butter to grease the tins

    8 eggs
    1/3 cup milk
    3/4 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp olive oil
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Heat the oven to 190C
    Lightly grease the muffin tins

    Meanwhile lightly sauté the shallot, pepper and bacon in a little olive oil
    till just soft

    Beat together, the Eggs. Milk, Oil, Baking Powder, Salt and Pepper
    Divide the sauté vege into the bottom of the greased tins
    Place a good amount of grated cheese on top

    Top up with the Egg mixture

    Bake for 18-20 minutes
    Let sit in tins for a few minutes

    Then serve

    Viva Les All Blacks
    Sorry France

    Sunday, August 30, 2015

    Blinis - Another way to serve - Try Prawns

    Recently I posted a recipe for Yummy Blinis click here for the recipe
    I made a couple of changes
    First, defrosted then roasted a bag of Prawns
    as below

    Just toss the defrosted prawn tails with a slosh of Olive Oil
    Some sea salt 
    A grind of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Grated zest of a lemon

    Into a 200C oven for just 6 mins
    Remove from the oven
    Squeeze juice of 1 small lemon and mix 
    Take about 8-10 cooked prawns and chop finely 
    Make a batch of the blini mixture
    add the prawns and 
    1 tablespoon lemon zest
    Leave to rest on the refrigerator minimum 30 minutes
    Then cook and set aside

    Meanwhile, prepare some Cream Cheese for the topping
    Whip together 1/2 cup cream cheese with a tablespoon of chopped parley
    Grind of black pepper
    1 tsp grated lemon zest
    2 tbs of a good olive oil
    Spread over cooked blinis
    Top with a cooked prawn and little bit of chopped parsley

    Everything packed up ready to take to Granddaughter Sophia's 18th Birthday
    Seems like it was months ago she was this beautiful baby
    I also provided some Pinwheels with an Italian Flavour, Tomato, Basil and Pecorino Cheese and 
    Little mushroom filled bread cases
    We just warmed them up
    All perfect with drinks

    Cauliflower - So Trendy - So Tasty - This Recipe Not Paleo Though

    In fact this is from Ottolenghi’s “Plenty More” book
    I love his recipes and this is a winner
    Cauliflower Cake
    When I started to cook this little delight, I realised that I had forgotten to top up my cheddar cheese supply, so instead of running out to the supermarket.
    I used the Castello White Cheese that I had in the fridge
    It was delicious but was very rich, next time I will use  Cheddar or Parmesan

    To serve, I just sautéed some mushrooms, garlic and spinach
    Very tasty.

    With the leftovers, Popped some beetroot relish on the side. Yum
    I reckon served with a  lovely crisp Salad and some French Bread. That would be superb

    1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken into 3cm florets (450g)
    1 medium red onion (170g)
    75ml olive oil ½ tsp finely chopped rosemary
    7 eggs
    15g basil, chopped
    120g plain flour, sifted
    1½ tsp baking powder
    ⅓ tsp ground turmeric
    150g coarsely grated Parmesan, or another mature cheese
    melted butter, to line the tin
    1 tbsp white sesame seeds
    1 tsp nigella seeds salt and black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC/Gas Mark 4.
    Place the cauliflower florets in a saucepan and add 1 teaspoon of salt.
    Cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes, until the florets are quite soft:
    they should break when pressed with a spoon.
    Strain and set aside in a colander to dry

    Cut 4 round slices, each 0.5cm thick, off one end of the onion and set aside.
    Coarsely chop the rest of the onion and place this in a small pan, with the oil and rosemary.
    Cook gently for 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft.
    Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
    Transfer the cooked onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil, whisk well and then
    add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Whisk until smooth before adding the cauliflower and stirring gently, trying not to break up all the florets.

    Line the base and sides of a 24cm springform cake tin with baking parchment.
    Brush the sides with melted butter, mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them around the inside of the tin so that they stick to the sides.

    Tip in the cauliflower mix and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. 
    Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until golden-brown and set:
    a knife inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
    Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving:
    it needs to be served just warm, rather than hot, or at room temperature

    Sunday, August 23, 2015

    Flavours of Morocco - Pinwheels - Perfect to have with drinks

    Off to a Family dinner. Theme is Moroccan.
    I frequently make my Pastry Pinwheels for pre-food drinks
    Always very popular and I have developed many different flavours, so why not Moroccan
    Here is my little Cooks treat. Yum
     As luck would have it, in my fridge and pantry, I had enough interesting goodies that would deliver what I was wanting
    I haven't put quantities, use as much or as little as you like

    In this case, I had some Goat Feta, the crumbly kind
    But a soft Goats cheese would be best
    Actually that is quite expensive, so I usually use Feta

    For some other flavour ideas of these yummy pinwheels… click Here

    By the way, I used two products from Local Chef’s and I want to mention them, as I find both excellent


     Al Browns Orange and Chili Olive Oil

     Simon Gault's Moroccan Seasoning

    Sheets of Frozen Puff Pastry
    Goats Feta Cheese
    Zest of 1 orange
    Slosh of Al Brown’s Orange and Chili Olive oil

    Black Olives stoned and chopped
    Semi dried tomatoes in oil (I used a tablespoon of this oil as well)

    Simon Gault’s Moroccan Seasoning
    Beaten egg

    Lay out the pastry on the bench
    Mix together, the Feta, Orange zest, Orange and Chili Olive Oil
    Plus  1 tablespoon Moroccan Seasoning
    Beat till you can spread it

    Cover bottom 2/3 of the pastry sheet
    Sprinkle over the olives and the semi dried tomatoes

    Brush the beaten egg over the top third of the sheet
    Refrigerate the egg in a container, to finish off the pastries

    Roll up,
    Press down gently

    Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, overnight is fine
    Heat oven to 200C

    Cut into pinwheels and place on baking sheet covered with baking paper
    Brush with reserved beaten egg, sprinkle over with some more seasoning
    Bake for about 15 minutes, till golden and crisp

    Best served just warm or room temperature to get the best flavour
    And my word, they went very well with
    Helen’s Celery Gimlet, which is divine.
    Bloody fantastic, even if I do say so, my self