Red Rice Spring Salad with Sweet Delicate Broad Beans

Red Rice Spring Salad
This is a beautiful fresh tasting salad that I make every spring when broad beans and asparagus are brand new for the season.  Broad beans are loved by few and detested by many due to memories of overcooked tasteless rubbery grey globules.  I know of keen vegetable gardeners that grow broad beans and then give them away to the neighbour across the fence.  They don’t know what they are missing out on…… as broad beans don’t have to be rubbery or tasteless.  Along with Brussels sprouts, it is all in the preparation and cooking.  Treated right, broad beans are sweet, delicate morsels tasting of peas and cucumbers. Continue reading

Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara

Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara

This is a recipe I created for our local newspaper, The Gisborne Herald. Roasting cauliflower brings out intense flavours while keeping the florets tender and yet retaining a bite (broccoli is also very good when roasted).  Continue reading

Leek & Stilton Tart with Wholemeal Yoghurt Pastry

A lot of my recipes include yoghurt in some shape or form. We usually have natural unsweetened yoghurt in the fridge and I like the idea of the live cultures in the yoghurt being included in my food.  I am not sure if cooking with the yoghurt affects these live cultures – I’ll have to do a little research on that point.
Leek & Stilton Tart with Wholemeal Yoghurt Pastry
These tarts have yoghurt in the pastry and the filling – buttermilk or sour cream would probably work for both (I haven’t tried it but I do substitute yoghurt for buttermilk or sour cream in a lot of recipes so imagine it would the other way). Continue reading

Apple & Rhubarb Cobbler

Apple & Rhubarb Cobbler

This cobbler is a recipe I created for our local newspaper, The Gisborne Herald.  Cobbler is one of those dishes that means something different to almost everyone that makes it. A traditional cobbler is a dish of stewed fruit, topped with a sweetened scone mixture and baked – much like the cobbler I have made. However, there are many other dishes such as buckle, betty, clafoutis & even our humble crumble which masquerade as cobbler. Whatever form the dessert takes, it is simple and easy to prepare. Any combination of fruit can be used – peach is often used, but the apple can be paired with many other fruits – berries, feijoas, or currants to give a delicious dessert. I often double the fruit portion to make enough cobbler for breakfast leftovers. The cobbler can made as one large dish or evenly divided into individual portions. Apple pie spice is a simple spice mixture I make and keep on hand – substitute with cinnamon if you wish. Continue reading

Smoked Chicken, Portobello & Kale Mac’n’Cheese

Pasta bakes are a great for week-night dinning.    I have taken a classic macaroni & cheese recipe and amped it up a little by using smoked chicken, Gruyère cheese and kale, the green vegetable of the season.  I have made this with cavolo nero and curly kale – both vegetables retain a semi-crunchy texture adding good contrast to the gooey sauce.
Smoked Chicken, Portobello & Kale Mac'n'Cheese
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Pork, Kumara & Black Bean Soup with Oven-Roasted Chipotle Salsa

Pork, Kumara & Black Bean Soup

A pot of soup simmering on the stove on a chilly afternoon makes the whole house fragrant and has everyone asking when dinner is ready.   The pork hock (or shank) is not the easiest cut of meat to skin, however it is worth the effort. The meat is succulent and full of flavour and is perfect with the creamy kumara.

Home prepared black beans are very easy when using the crockpot – I have used my Crockpot Savoury Black Beans. The recipe can also be found on here. This makes a large pot of soup – enough for dinner for 4-6 and leftovers for lunch the following day.
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A hint or hit of Mexico: Smokey Tomato Salsa

Enjoy fiery hot heat or just a hint of heat of Mexico in this delicious smokey tomato salsa …
Smokey Tomato Salsa
Mexican food has a lot of staple dishes that are then used in lots of different meals – refried beans, salsa, tortillas….  This is a smoky tomato salsa which can be as mild or as hot as you wish.  Only use 1 hot chilli for a hint of heat and all three including the seeds if you are a chilli-head.  This salsa keeps well in the fridge and can be used as a side to corn chips or a topping on quesadilla, tortilla, burritos – use it as the Mexican equivalent of tomato sauce. Continue reading

Dates & chocolate

If you are partial to dates, then this slice is for you.  If dates aren’t really your cup of tea, then try it any way – the chocolate & date flavour combination is very very good and will convert many a date-hater into a date-appreciator.  Well maybe a date-tolerator would be a better way to put it.

The date & chocolate spread can also be spread straight onto some grainy toast for a delicious alternative to chocolate hazelnut spread.

Apricot & Almond Slice

The Chocolate & Date Slice is at the rear of the photo.  Right front is Lemon & Currant Cake, left front is Apricot & Almond Slice.

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Easy & super popular: Apricot & Almond Slice

This Apricot & Almond Slice seems benign in appearance and the simple ingredients don’t shout. However it is a huge hit and will disappear lightning fast from the baking tin.  It can be made with wholemeal flour, but in this instance plain white flour is good.  Try the Chocolate & Date variation for something different.
Date & Chocolate Slice

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A piece of cake: Lemon & Currant Cake

Lemon & Currant Cake

This Lemon & Currant Cake is a super easy, old-fashioned style cake that takes about 2 minutes to throw together, not including the resting or cooking time.  It tastes good with a glass of milk after a hard day at school; so good that it is hard to stop with just one piece.  The wholemeal flour adds a nice nutty flavour and good texture, however the cake is also quite delicious with plain white flour. Lemon & Currant Cake

Lemon & Currant Cake

Zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ – ¾ cup water
200g (1 cup) brown sugar
150g (1 cup) currants
½ cup sunflower oil
1 t baking soda
188 g (1 ¼ cups) wholemeal flour
1 t baking powder
70 g (¾ cup) ground almonds

Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
Add lemon juice to water, using extra water so that there is 1 cup of liquid.
Combine brown sugar, currants, oil, zest and lemon water in a large saucepan and bring to boil.  Boil for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Stir in baking soda then sift in flour and baking powder.
Add ground almonds and mix until combined.
Spread into a greased & lined 20cm square baking tin and smooth the top of the mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean of crumbs.
Cool in the cake tin for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.

Lemon & Currant Cake

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