Jen's Soba Noodle Salad with your 5+ a day in one meal!

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

This Soba Noodle Salad is a family favourite in Jen’s house. The recipe works well year round, and you can use whatever vegetables are seasonally available. It’s super quick to put together, and parts of it can be made in advance for an easy lunch or light dinner.

Now that avocados have returned to an affordable price and don’t cost the earth, they provide a nice contrast to the crisp vegetables. The egg noodles and edamame beans can be subbed for other ingredients like a roast chicken (Jen does a mean Miso Roast Chicken), soft boiled eggs, or other meat, fish or tofu.

Other vegetable options to try are ..... blanched broccoli, asparagus, pal choi, beans, baby spinach, shredded carrot, capsicum, roast eggplant, courgette noodles etc. Test drive your own combinations!

Enjoy! 

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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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Curry time.......

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

This Tomato & Coconut curry is a family favourite in Jen’s house, and is so quick and easy to prepare. Subtly spiced with the four different seeds, plus the fresh sweet cherry tomatoes really make the dish. The recipe came about as Jen had an oversupply of cherry tomatoes (always the way with tomatoes all ripening at the same time), one random eggplant, no legumes or meat, and chickpea flour and pantry staples. So thinking cap on and voilà and hour later a dish the whole family loved.

The pudlas are great to serve with a curry and so versatile. Plus kids love them! They are a thin crepe/pancake originating from India, and the batter consistency when mixed is like cream. The mix keeps well in the fridge so feel free to double it and crank some out for breakfast or lunch. This recipe makes 2 cups, so about 8 small crepes. You can add spices like cumin, or fresh grated ginger, or even grated vegetables in to the mix.

Chickpea flour is available at the supermarket, but the best place to buy it is at the Indian grocer or the organics shop.

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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Valentines day - are you sorted ......?

Well it’s that time off year again - yup Valentines Day!. Have you got everything sorted for your special other half? Flowers/pressie, special dinner in or out, yummy cocktail to start the evening? Well I’m here to help you out with the last item on that list. Sorry can’t help you the other items, you’re on your own for those!

This Strawberry Basil & Gin Cocktail is pure summer in a glass, and perfect for Valentines Day in the southern hemisphere. Not so great for northern hemisphere peeps, it’s probably still snowing and freezing cold in your neck of the woods. Maybe try this cocktail at another time of the year.

Your challenge on Valentines Day is to try and stop at just one cocktail. They’re very addictive so it would be easy to drink 2 - 3 cocktails, and forget about that yummy dinner you’ve got in the oven!

Enjoy! 

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Courgette heaven ......?

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). As per usual at this time of year the courgettes take over the vege patch. Jen was telling me she had planted 4 courgette plants this year, which was one less than last summer, and she’s still trying to cope with them all ripening at the same time. Puts my single plant to shame, but I’ve still got the same problem.

If you aren’t picking almost daily, in the blink of an eye they turn into marrows! This rich moist cake is a nice way to use up any extra courgettes you have before they end up the size of a marrow football.

Enjoy! 

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Blackcurrant heaven......

This week I’m rolling out something a bit special, plus using up the last of my blackcurrant harvest. If you want an appetiser/canape to impress the neighbours when they drop in for drinks - then this is it! The rich ruby red colour of the Blackcurrant Salmon Gravlax is very striking and it tastes AMAZING!

The recipe takes a little preparation a few days in advance, but boy is it worth it. I served it with pickled vegetables and blinis, but it would be equally good with eggs at breakfast or over a salad with some crusty bread.

Enjoy! 

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Berry Delicious......!

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). This time its a type of syrup called a fruit shrub, which is a concentrated syrup with a vinegar base, that’s used as a mixer in cocktails or with soda. It was popular during the American colonial era, and it’s making a come back with the recent interest in mixology. On a hot day it’s very refreshing served with soda, ice and extra fruit.

This recipe has a cold brew method where the ingredients are left to sit to concentrate the fruity flavour. Some fruit, like rhubarb require cooking with the sugar first. Jen tends to use the cold brew method when she can, as it produces a fresher flavour. You could also experiment using different types of sugar, matching it to the type of fruit.

In this recipe Jen used boysenberries, but raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, logan berries will all work well, in fact you can use just about any fruit to make a shrub. Try stone fruit, rhubarb, apples, pears, and even cucumber. Pair them with herbs/spices such as Pear & Ginger, or Strawberry & Basil for a fantastic base in a cocktail.

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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