The last of the autumn figs.........

The racket in the garden at present is getting ridiculous, with birdie visitors squabbling over the last of the figs on a daily basis. Anyone would think they were eating their last meal for awhile, as the Waxeyes, Thrush, Starlings and the occasional Fantail duke it out in my fig tree!

I managed to rescue a few figs that didn’t have any beak holes, and baked in this Fig Frangipane dessert. Great flavours in this autumn dessert and really quick to make.

No figs available, no probs. Just swop the figs with thinly sliced apples, pears or quince.

Enjoy! 

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Are you ready for Mothers Day.......?

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com).

Jen’s created a lovely brunch option for special mothers on Mothers Day, you can’t beat this Crispy Agria & Chorizo with Eggs, Smokey Tomato Sauce, Labne & Herb Salad. This recipe is equally good as a weekend brunch option for a crowd. With a little bit of prep before hand brunch can be ready in no time at all. I’ve also made this recipe for a light Sunday supper kind of meal, when you don’t want a big meal!

The labne and tomato sauce can be made the day before along with cooking the potatoes. Then simply crispy up the potatoes, warm the sauce and poach the eggs to serve. Omit the chorizo for meatfree and perhaps season the potatoes with smoked salt or add a little smoked paprika

Enjoy! 

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Time for some comfort food.......

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com).

This Smokey Braised Beef is a fantastic winter dish, and Jen originally made it to use up excess turnips and pumpkin. It does take a bit of time in the oven, but makes a lot and freezes well. Its also good cooked in a slow cooker. (see Note below). Could be good for a weekend dinner when you have extra time for cooking, and just reheat any leftovers during the week for a quick meal.

The Cornbread is a bit of fun, and you can mix up the flavours to your taste. Leftovers are delicious toasted and topped with butter!

Enjoy!

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Calling all Easter Bunnies.......

With Easter just around the corner, it’s time to start up the Hot Cross Bun production line again. I always think home baked Hot Cross Buns taste so much better than store bought, and you can mix up the flavours a bit with different combinations. One of my favourites is Apple Cinnamon, made with tart Granny Smith apples rather than the more traditional dried fruit. Excellent for a mid morning snack or anytime really.

Time to pop on the pinny and get baking.

Enjoy! 

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Starting the day right.......

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com).

This has become a favourite breakfast at my place after Jen introduced me to hemp hearts. It’s an easy recipe and great for busy mornings as there’s minimal prep. You can change the fruit topping, depending on what is around at different times of the year.

Jen tells me Hemp hearts are nutritious hulled heart of the hemp seed, that look a bit like sesame seeds. They taste nutty and are a high quality protein containing omega 3 and 6, plus an excellent source of good fats. They’re great sprinkled on breakfast dishes, salads and you can even add them to smoothies. Available at organic grocers, health shops and online direct from the grower. Just remember to keep them in the fridge so they don’t go rancid.

Enjoy! 

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Autumn Baking.......

The weather has definitely changed over the last few weeks, and the temperature dropped considerably with Autumn setting in. My pear trees are coming to the end of this years crop, so as per usual we have ended up with a pear overload. This means pears in everything, from desserts, baking, chutneys, to even tossing a few in salads and roasting with meat dishes. Pretty versatile fruit when you think about it.

So here’s one of my favourite pear based cakes with lots of nuts, and a topping of Mascarpone cream. Great with a cup of tea or even as a dessert.

Enjoy! 

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Bounty from the garden.......

This year in the garden I’ve been trying a few different vegetables, to see which grows best in my little corner of the world.

Fennel was a big fat fail, but the beetroot has turned out to be an excellent crop. Lots of fat beets and luscious green foliage. So what to do with said crop? In my book you can’t go past a yummy vege relish to have on just about everything, from a cheese board to sandwiches, burgers and cold meats. And the small beetroot leaves can be used in salads or cooked in place of kale.

So the beetroot crop got a big tick from me and will be appearing once again in next years garden. After a strenuous day in the garden, nothing is better than a tasty steak sammie cooked on the BBQ with the Beetroot & Cumin Relish and a garlicy aioli. Yum on so many levels!

Enjoy! 

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Fresh Peaches = Summer on a Plate!

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). She recently managed to score a 12kg box of peaches at a bargain price, so had to get creative in the kitchen cooking and preserving the peaches before they were past their best. This recipe Jen has developed is a very simple and light summer dessert, and a perfect finish to a BBQ or summer salad. The peaches went down a treat on our shoot day, and I definitely fulfilled my role as chief taste tester by having seconds and thirds! They’re also fantastic as leftovers the next day on your breakfast cereal. Any stone fruit would work well instead of the peaches, as well as fresh figs.

Start this recipe a day in advance as the labne needs time to hang.

Enjoy! 

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Fig Celebrations......

In past years I’ve struggled to get any ripe figs off my established fig tree (Fig Brown Turkey) in the garden. Living in the south island of New Zealand and having to put up with the vagaries of our summer weather, most years I end up with plenty of figs that never ripen before the end of autumn.

So this year I thought I would try an experiment and plant a new fig tree (Fig Mrs Williams) in my garden. I’ve positioned it against a north east facing fence (southern hemisphere sun is best in this direction). When it gets a little bigger the plan is to espalier the fig tree along the fence to maximise the amount of sun the new fig tree gets. Fig Mrs Williams is an earlier fruiting variety than Fig Brown Turkey, so fingers crossed it comes up with the goods.

Well surprise surprise - we’re only half way through January and already I’ve had ONE ripe fig off my small fig tree. So I can’t wait till early autumn see what this little tree comes up with next.

With a single perfectly ripe fig to play with, what dish to make? It has to be something simple and tasty, so I’m thinking a Fig, Apple & Walnut Salad will be perfect! And yes it was Ç’est Magnifique or Awesome for the non francophiles out there!

Enjoy! 

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Fresh Cherry Frangipane Brioche......

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). This is Jen’s version of Bostock or Brioche Aux Amandes, and she’s used fresh cherries as they are fantastic at this time of year. Also included are another couple of favourites a marmalade version and a Christmas mince version.  Best eaten warm straight from the oven, and it’s a lovely brunch option or great with coffee. 

 Prepare the frangipane and orange syrup the night before, and assemble the brioche in the morning and bake. 

Enjoy! 

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DAY 1 - Christmas Countdown - Raspberry Pavlova Wreath

Yayyy - we’ve finally made it to Day 1 of my Christmas Countdown! And for the pièce de résistance I’ve made a Raspberry Pavlova Wreath. Living in the southern hemisphere, a summery Chrismas isn’t the same without the very popular pavlova and berries for dessert, everyone swears by their family recipes being the best ever. This year I’ve tried a slightly different version from Donna Hay Magazine (thanks Donna) in the shape a wreath, and piled it up with lots of raspberries and extra garnishes. Any fruit will do, and you could exchange the raspberries for mango, pomegranate or cherries. Let your imagination run wild.

Well this is my last day posting for awhile, so I just wanted to say thanks for following along on my Christmas Countdown - it’s been a blast. My waistline has taken a bit of a hit with all those calories, but thats what New Years resolutions are for aren’t they. I also wanted to say a big thank you to all my clients who made 2018 an epic year for my business. Looking forward to doing some more fantastic work in 2019.

Enjoy your Christmas break - and from me it’s over and out for 2018!

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DAY 5 - Christmas Countdown - Christmas Mince Pies

Day 5 of my christmas countdown is really getting into the Christmas spirit with these tiny Christmas Mince Pies. I love these pies with lots of dried fruit and a touch of nutmeg. They have to be my favourite at Christmas time, and of course I’ve been doing a fair bit of quality testing this week just to make sure they taste as good as they look.

Enjoy! 

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Summer salad to impress......

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). This is a simple but beautiful recipe for a Roast Carrot Salad with Labne & Sumac. It’s just the dish for those summer BBQ’s, or a light lunch. The labne could be replaced with soft goats cheese, just give the dish a sprinkle with sumac at the end. You can serve the salad warm or at room temperature, so perfect for Christmas day as you can prep ahead.

Enjoy! 

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Christmas Raspberry & White Chocolate Trifle

Yay it's Christmas time - that special time which only comes once a year to slightly overindulge on the food front! And have I got the creme de la creme ('scuse the pun) of all christmas desserts for you.

Check out this christmassy Raspberry and White Chocolate Trifle with Raspberry Macaroons - it's slightly different from your standard every day trifle but boy does it taste good! You can follow the recipe or get a bit creative and do multiple thinner layers of jelly and white chocolate, then top it all off with the macaroons and mascarpone cream. Which ever way you put it together it will always cause a stampede at your christmas table. 

Merry Christmas everyone - enjoy!

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Spiced Lamb Cutlets with Labne, Dukkah & Pomegranate

These spicy lamb cutlets done on the BBQ are perfect in this moroccan-inspired dish, and ideal for a casual weekend get together. Your guests will be salivating watching them cook on the BBQ, followed up by lots of finger licking after tasting the lamb cutlets with heaps of creamy labne and spicy dukkah.

Don't be put off by the long preparation time for this dish, it's really very simple to put together, and just a little prep time the day before. Then throw everything together while BBQ'ing the cutlets. What could be easier? Enjoy!

 

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Dealing with a lemon glut...!

Well its the first day of spring, and it's hosing down outside. Guess the weather gods didn't get the spring starting now memo!

Too brighten up the grey day outside I've whisked together this super easy Lemon Posset recipe to use up some of the glut of lemons I currently have in the kitchen. Teamed up with the Citrus Shortbread this is a yum dessert with a good citrus kick. The berries add a tart flavour and cut through some of the posset sweetness. Give the recipes a go - they can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Enjoy!

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Party time in my fig tree......

During autumn I can always tell when the figs on my tree are ready as the birds seem to be having a party every day. With the amount of bird noise I can hear I'm guessing there's lots of squabbling going on between birdy individuals as to who has the perfect fig.

With this years mild autumn, the figs are huge and some nearly fill the palm of my hand. OK I have little hands - but even so that's pretty big for a fig.  The tree I planted about 10 years ago is called Brown Turkey - don't ask why as the figs aren't brown & there aren't any turkeys involved. It seems to cope well with the winter frosts we have here in Canterbury and produces a good crop most years - autumn weather dependent for ripening of the figs which are green to black on the outside and a creamy colour inside.

So before the birds damage all the fruit, I have a bit of a baking frenzy in the kitchen and cook up all sorts of dishes. This recipe is one of my favourites and always generates plenty of ohhhs & ahhhhsss from hungry guests!

Enjoy!

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