Christmas Trifle with Chianti & Berry Sago

A trifle can be as time-consuming or quick as time permits.  If, as I used to be, you have all day to create, cook and enjoy time in the kitchen then make each element of this dessert yourself. I haven’t provided recipes for sponge cake, custard or meringues as mostly likely you’ll have a go-to recipe tucked away.  And if, as I am now, you work full time and try to squeeze as much in to the time before work and the time after work, then the quick option is just as good. Continue reading

Panforte with White Chocolate

Panforte with White Chocolate

Panforte, an Italian Christmas cake of Siena, Italy, is more confection than cake. A variety of nuts & fruit are coated in heady spiced flour then enrobed in honey-caramel.  The result is a rich chewy treat, delicious when cut into thin slivers and served with coffee.  In Italy, each village has their own variation of Panforte, and so I was inspired to make not one but two Gisborne variations.  Here is the White Chocolate version. Continue reading

What to do with gigantic zucchinis (aka marrows)

The original plan for the early autumn edition of Savour was a lovely dessert tart featuring fresh fat figs.  Nature intervened in that the figs aren’t yet ripe while the vegetable garden was throwing zucchini after zucchini at us.  And with my attention wandering and wondering, watching the figs fail to ripen, the forgotten zucchinis continued to grow.  And grow.  Time to turn these gigantic zucchini (aka marrow) into the pot.  This recipe will use about half a large marrow.  As an aside, grated (unpeeled) marrow works well in baking in place of grated zucchini, the only concession I made was to scrape out and scrap the seedy core.   Cooking dried beans from scratch is super easy, and you have the advantage of flavouring them as you like (tinned black beans can be used but drain & rinse them if they are in brine).  Epazote is a Mexican herb I have in my herb garden.  If it is hard to come by, leave it out or swap it with another herb of your liking.  I also have a wide range of chillies in the garden – if you can’t find a particular type of chilli, substitute another of similar heat.  This casserole makes plenty – enough for leftovers for lunch the next day.
Brown Rice & Black Bean Casserole with Summer Vegetables

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