Cookbook Review: Recipes from my French Kitchen

Recipes from my French Kitchen – Allyson Gofton
Published by Penguin NZ
Recipes from My French Kitchen

NZ food writer Allyson Gofton and her husband Warwick relocate their children Jean-Luc & Olive-Rose to rural South-West France for a year.  The idea behind the move was to experience a different culture and help the children learn a second language.  Allyson has written an honest account of their year and shared the experience in Recipes from my French Kitchen.  The resulting book is more than a recipe book – it allows the reader to learn about the lifestyle of rural French villagers from Caixon – a small village nestled beneath the Pyrenees. Continue reading

Baking with Feijoas: Wholemeal Feijoa & Ginger Cake

Wholemeal Feijoa & Ginger Cake
Feijoa fruiting season is eagerly anticipated by most people in the New Zealand and many backyards have a tree or three that drop the green fruit in a thick carpet from the trunk to the drip line.  Feijoas drop when they are ripe although they can be picked to help prevent bruising. Feijoas are also known as pineapple guava and guavasteen – they are native to several countries in South America but grow extremely well here in the North Island of New Zealand. Continue reading

Planting time in the apple orchard

Golden Delicious
Here in New Zealand, we are smack in the middle of Autumn.  The mornings and evenings are cooling off but the days are fine with blue skies and warm rays of sunshine beaming down from above (well, this week anyhow).  Last week I had to put aside some other tasks in order to rearrange our sitting room to the winter setting – we no longer look out onto the chook-poop covered deck, instead we are cosily gathered around the fireplace. Continue reading

Peppered Zucchini Sausage Scrolls

Zucchini, courgette, marrow – whatever you like to call them – are very useful vegetables to have a surplus of. It is possible to serve zucchini every night of the week without really noticing that it’s zucchinis for supper again. Cooked simply as a vegetable side – grilled, barbecued, roasted – they are a tasty addition to any meal.
Peppered Zucchini Sausage Scroll
Grate them and add to all sorts of things – quiche, meatloaf, sausage rolls as well as cakes and muffins.  I don’t bother peeling the vegetables before grating them, however if I am using a ginormous zucchini (marrow), I cut them in half and scrape out the seeds. These are donated to the compost bin.  The grated flesh is then used just as you would grated zucchini.  It is a great way to dispose of marrows.  This year I have grated and dehydrated grated zucchini in two cup portions.  The idea is to rehydrate them whenever I need to bake or cook with zucchini.  I have also frozen about 10 lots of 2 cup portions to keep us going throughout the year.  The frozen idea came first then I read about dehydrating zucchini here and away I went. 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

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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Swapping produce: Pomegranates for Quinces

Pomegranates vs Quinces

When asked out for dinner and told not to bring anything but yourselves, the need to take at least a block of chocolate or some juice is very strong.  And when we say the same to our guests, we really do mean for them to just bring themselves and an appetite.  So after a dinner invite for Saturday night, I tried very hard to walk out the door with nothing other than a pair of jandals (returning them to my nephew) and a healthy appetite.   I couldn’t do it.
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Apples & Pomegranates

Apple & Pomegranate Syrup
I admit that I bought this Apple & Pomegranate Syrup partly because I love the shape of the bottle.  I have a ‘thing’ for interesting and unusual glass bottles – they make lovely vases and are very good a cluttering up my limited cupboard space.  I won’t go into detail about the four or five large boxes of antique bottles that my Uncle saved from my grandparents place – they have been safely wrapped in newspaper for about ten years – awaiting a lovely display unit in the living room.  As the Anster doesn’t share my passion for glass, the display unit is nearer the bottom of the ‘want’ list.  And I suppose I do agree that a proper laundry would be more useful that a display shelf for obscure bottles.  More useful but less exciting. Continue reading

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

Baked sausages with apples, onions, raisins & cider

Diana Henry: Baked Sausage with Apples, Onions, Raisins & Cider

Baked sausages with apples, onion, raisins and cider
Sometimes, beginning a day of hard work in the office, dinner is the last thing on my mind.  Other times, the whole week of meals are planned out in advance.  Yesterday was not a planned type of day.  2 packs of six sausages had been retrieved from the deep freeze and were thawing, awaiting some inspiration.

Waiting for Mr L to have his golden surf-locks to be trimmed, I browsed through pinterest to find something interesting for dinner.  I happened upon the following recipe Baked sausages with apples, onions, raisins and cider and decided that tea was sorted.

It wasn’t until today when I searched for the source of the recipe that I discovered the recipe belonged to Diana Henry.  It shouldn’t have surprised me as I have several of her books on my “want list” due to the delicious looking food she creates.

I used Calvados apple brandy and Badger Apple Wood Cider.  The recipe has been saved in our “to be made again” folder as it was better than delicious.