Check out these bad boys....

I was doing some recipe testing for a client recently, and thought I should really do something with the left over fish fillets. So after fighting off my two cats, who thought they would shimmy up my leg to bench level for a lightening raid, I threw together some fish sliders with a spicy vegetable pickle to share with a couple of friends.

After a few vino's they lasted all of 2 mins, and barely touched the sides going down. Make sure you make plenty of these bad boys, coz they won't last long. 

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Fire up the barbie - summer's coming!

Yikes it's November already - where did the weeks go. Big fail again on my part to regularly update the blog. But I guess it's better late than never, particularly this recipe as it's a winner for those summer barbies!

Making this recipe I normally allow three skewers per person, but it would pay to do extra as they seem to disappear at a fast rate when the ravenous hordes are around.


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Winter is not over yet.....

It's September so you would think spring is on its way with blossom and spring flowers? But no winter this week has to have a last blast with gales, hail & freezing temps. So here was me thinking I'll do something spring like for the blog. Arrgghhhhh - change of plan and back to the hearty winter food. 

Soup & bread, or toast, or bagel or flatbread feature quite a lot in my winter repertoire, so I had to crank out a loaf to go with my winter soup while the weather misbehaved outside. Yeah I know this Pumpkin, Fennel & Olive bread looks like it's had a bad spray tan at the beauty salon, but beneath it's dodgy looks lies a scrumptious bread with heaps of flavour.

Give it a go you won't be disappointed!

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It's been a long time....

Apologies - yes I know it's been a long between posts from the Food Union, but life has been a tad chaotic of late what with cookbooks and advertising clients all vying for my attention. 

To rectify this lapse and appease the masses I've thrown together a scrumptious dish for you all from Emma Knowles at Gourmet Traveller using lamb racks and spices. I think its one of those trans seasonal dishes that could be good at any time of the year, and hits the spot in my book for flavour.


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Ugly Dumplings....

OK you'll have to excuse the wrinkly nature of my dumplings - these tasty morsels aren't going to win any dumpling beauty pagents. But hey I'm still a learner driver making these things and I think lots of practice in this case does indeed make perfect.

The recipes are very simple and I've gone for two combinations of Chicken & Coriander and Pork & Garlic Chive. But have a play and experiment a bit with the mix of flavours and make your own unique combinations.


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The last End of Summer cocktail....

A week back I test drove this cheeky cocktail recipe, while the weather was still trying to kid us it was summer with temps in the mid 20's even though it was early May.

I have to say this recipe by Trolley'd hits the spot for a refreshing drink with the perfect balance of tart grapefruit & fragrant kaffir lime. Just make sure you have enough supplies in as one cocktail is never enough.


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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!


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Autumn garden clean up......

Autumn is definitely here - so my garden was well overdue for a bit of a clean up and final harvest. Last weekend, before the cold nights took hold, I managed to pick the last courgettes before consigning the plants to the compost heap for another year. 

This year the courgette plants produced a bumper crop - which probably had something to do with all the compost and feeding the plants got throughout the summer. I could have sworn that the courgettes were growing heaps every time I turned my back! Ended up with a few marrows, but mostly managed to pick them early enough to keep to a manageable size. 

This yummy recipe comes from Lou & Ant Bentley at the Akaroa Cooking School, just over the Banks Peninsula hills an hour from my place. It's great for using up the courgette glut and has a lovely herby flavour with the addition of the tarragon and basil at the end of cooking the soup.  I make big batches of this soup, and freeze portions when I need something quick & tasty. 

Give it a try - you won't be disappointed!

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Easter treat for adults.....

Yeah I know there a thousands of posts already in blog land this weekend with hot cross bun recipes - so in case of FOMO I'm throwing in my own version of an "adult only" hot cross bun!

While the kids are on their eater egg hunt getting hyper on all that sugar, the adults can be chowing down on some of their own hot cross bun action with their coffees/teas. 

If you feel the need to share these with younger persons, you can swap the rum for water to remove the alcohol. These are best eaten warm from the oven and don't keep more than a day. 

Happy Easter everyone!

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Chicken from down Mexico way......

Need a speedy lunch or dinner for 4 - you gotta check out this Mexican Chicken recipe. Packed with flavour - it's spicy with plenty of zing from the limes plus the salty feta.

It's really easy to prepare ahead, and you can just throw it in the oven when your guests are banging on your front door. After you've had the odd  compulsory margarita (or two), the chicken will be ready to serve with a simple green salad.

Que aproveche!

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That time of year again......

Yup it's that time of year again when florists work around the clock and love is in the air. Thought I would share this recipe & images with you all out there in blog land of a shoot I did recently for a client. I think it fits the Valentines brief perfectly and super easy to make. And yes the client and I did eat this dessert and the spare afterwards. Result - both decided it was super delicious and were looking for more!

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Need a long weekend......

Yay for a long weekend in New Zealand for Waitangi Day. It's timed perfectly for those of us out there fighting the return to work blues and wishing we were still in the middle of their christmas holidays!

To make the most of the warm evenings over Waitangi weekend we cranked up  the barbecue and gave our new outdoor table & chairs a test drive. The results were table & chairs = big tick, lamb/salad = yummmm,  plus a few vinos to wash it all down. So good night had by all!

This moroccan inspired lamb recipe is equally good cooked on a barbecue or the stove. It takes a bit of prep, but you can do the dukkah in advance so it doesn't take too long to pull together. 


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Summer - sort of.....!

After complaining in my last post about the lack of summer the weather gods finally turned on a few hot humid days last weekend just to tease us, then turned the water works back on again for the rest of the week. I'm still hoping the remainder of summer is going to be sunny but I'm not holding my breath on that one! 

So on the hot humid days I had a go at making some jellies with fruit from the garden. The blackcurrants needed picking so this recipe looked perfect for a test run. Adding the blackcurrant shots after the elderflower jelly is set is optional but adds an interesting look to the jellies if they are are in glass containers. The idea came from Jellyologist Jess Mentis ( I've been following Jess on Instagram for while now and her jellies look amazing. Often they have different colours or flowers inserted in the jelly. Hmmm more practice needed I think on my own attempts.

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Summer - what summer......?

I have to say that summer has been a real disappointment this year, particularly with the last week being wet & miserable in Christchurch. Over the weekend to combat the bad weather blues I've was craving a bit of comfort food.  

So after a bit of umming and ahhhing and several sessions of looking in the pantry and fridge for inspiration, I settled on throwing together some gnocchi with extras from the garden. 

I love this Summer Pesto recipe as it uses lots of things from my garden, and is quick & easy to make. Even with lots of overcast wet days my kale crop has done well, with the plants now turning into triffids. I could be eating kale every day and I'm sure the plants would still keep up - downside I'd probably develop a greenish appearance! 

You'll have to excuse the rather rustic appearance of my gnocchi as I was in a bit of a rush and didn't roll them properly - never mind they still tasted good even if they left someting to be desired in the beauty stakes. 

Bon appetit!

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