All posts tagged: dinner

Freestyler in the Kitchen: Throw-together recipe #2

I recently took Fisher & Paykel’s online quiz WHAT’S YOUR COOKING STYLE? and was branded the Freestyler. Freestylers have mastered the basics and enjoy pushing the boundaries and going “off-piste”. The quiz was designed to help you get the most out of your time in the kitchen and results in eight distinct personalities, from the Curious Novice to the Professional and everything in between. Understanding your style can help you to choose ingredients, recipes and appliances to make your kitchen time more enjoyable and efficient. You can find out what type of cooking style you have by taking the quick quiz here. Go on, I’ll wait. Thanks to Fisher & Paykel, I’ve created a series of throw-together recipes that celebrate the Freestyler approach to cooking. These recipes are more templates than traditional recipes. I’ve suggested ingredients, but in all honesty, whatever you have in the fridge can be substituted and you’ll only know if you try. If you enjoy this recipe and this style of cooking, please check out the other recipes in this series. …

Chorizo meatballs and kale in red wine sauce (as seen on Instagram)

Am I in denial or has this winter been pretty mild? If you don’t pay any attention to the wind that howls threatening to take the roof, and if you ignore the rain that batters viciously and sideways, it’s really not too bad. Our heater is set to number 1 and I haven’t even contemplated buying an electric blanket (like I have other years). But if winter plagues you, you could try some warming kitchen activities to keep your mind off what’s going on outside. I just posted a photo of this hug in a bowl on Instagram and Facebook tonight and the response was so positive I thought I better share the recipe on my blog. There’s lots of things I eat and cook that never make it to this blog. This was going to be one of them. But I changed my mind. While hibernating indoors, I’m eating free range This comforting recipe is gluten free, dairy free and uses free range meat. There’s enough for dinner for two with leftovers for lunch the next day. I …

Too easy free range sausage rolls

I could eat my weight in sausage rolls. If I see sausage rolls at a party, I’ll make a beeline and scoff them without shame. I’m not the only one, there’s always others. I know who you are. Sausage rolls are one of New Zealand’s most beloved foods. Golden puff pastry with a meaty filling, cut into bite-sized morsels and served with plenty of tomato sauce, sausage rolls appeared at all the childhood birthday parties I attended growing up. They are a comfort food and a party food for all generations. Sausage rolls can be eaten hot or cold making them equally good for winter nights or summer picnics which is why I’m submitting this post to Taste of Summer edition of Our Growing Edge this month. I’ve been experimenting and perfecting this recipe using L’Authentique’s french grind. Made locally, L’Authentique sausages are made from free range meat and contain no fillers. Coming in a range of different flavours, I’ve made these sausage rolls at home using their Toulouse, Angus Beef, Pork & Fennel and Chicken & Bacon sausage meat. My …

5 ways with Dairyworks cheese

Hi, I’m Genie and I am a cheese addict. Our fridge is always stocked with cheese. Like, a SELECTION of cheese. I always have a block of cheese open but the thing that annoys me is how the packaging is rendered useless after opening. When I wrap the packaging back on, the cheese is exposed like a cutout dress. Not cool. Blocks of cheese are designed to be used over time so I was delighted to see that Dairyworks has come up with re-sealable packaging for their convenience range of cheeses. At the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards a few months ago, Dairyworks won four category awards for their innovative cheese packaging. The Dairyworks range comes with recloseable packaging, a homey wood design and windows so the consumer can eat with their eyes. I really like the new grated cheese mixes 3 CH3EEZE and SMOKEY JOE which appeal to the glutton in me. Can’t decide on which cheese to buy? Well these packs are a blend of 3 cheeses each! The 3 CH3EEZE is a …

Cheap date – $5 Wednesdays

Academy Cinemas is a boutique cinema right in the heart of Auckland City. They’re located just under the public library and you might miss them if you don’t go to the library. They show a small selection of movies including biopics, festival, arty and indie. Academy Cinemas serve Stoke craft beer, organic juices, boutique wines, Kokako Coffee and Kapiti Ice cream. On Wednesdays, thanks to Vice, movies are $5 all day. Make sure you book ahead as this is proving to be quite popular. Tickets are usually $15.50 which is still cheaper than other cinemas who usually charge around $20. Academy Cinemas have an active Facebook page here if you would like to keep up to date with their goings on. Watch and Eat Combo I love a good dinner and movie combo and I’ve blogged about food and movie pairings before. Dinner and a movie can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. These are my suggestions on movie and dinner combos that won’t break the bank. All restaurants are within walking distance of the cinema (I’ve provided walking times) …

4 years

In my world, each celebration is marked with a meal. It is compulsory. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, new jobs, babies, weddings are all celebrations and all come with a meal. I’m sure it’s Maybe it is just another excuse to eat well. I don’t need an excuse to eat, but if I can find one, I’ll take it. Today is The Koala and my 4 year wedding anniversary. We met on a summer’s night on Freyburg Square 11 years ago. We fell in love. You marry one person. Make an effort. Celebrate your triumphs. You miss an anniversary, you may as well miss them all. The secret to a lasting relationship? Enjoy and respect each other. Have similar but not identical views and interests. Maintain your own hobbies and friends. Be complimentary persons, not the same person. For example, if The Koala didn’t like pies, it might be over between us. But he doesn’t have to love the same pie as me. As long long as we both agree that pies are awesome, we can respect that he …

Experience a degustation

Celebrate The Koala and I have been together for 10 years, and we recently celebrated our third wedding anniversary. As with any good relationship, good eating has been and will probably always a part of our relationship. To mark 3 years, we treated ourselves to a degustation dinner at Kermadec in the Viaduct. Two years ago, our first official anniversary dinner was unplanned. It ended up being at KFC in Hamilton. It was scoffed down, on the way home from a wonderful weekend in the Bay of Plenty, but we can’t help thinking of how far away a degustation in the Viaduct is from “Kaccas in The Tron”. Degustation A degustation is a tasting menu, designed by the chef. You get to sample a range of delights over many courses, and the number of dishes usually ranges from 6 courses up to 12. It’s considered the best way to sample a chef’s skill. Instead of choosing what you want to eat, you completely surrender your choice to the chef. Degustation can be matched with wine …

Seeing Red

On our Valentine’s Day, we enjoyed a scarlet feast of both sweet and savoury with friends in our backyard until late. Red is one of my favourite colours and it was fun to eat and dress for the occasion. There are loads of red foods and drinks out there and everyone really got into the spirit. Our read feast included: Red velvet cupcakes, jam tarts, pies, cheerios (cocktail sausages) with tomato sauce, home made salsa with nachos, spaghetti and meatballs, plenty of red wine, virgin and non-bloody mary drinks. Instead of having two or three courses, we  put everything on the table and as we pleased. Much like a children’s birthday party, where you don’t distinguish  the appropriate order of eating chips, lollies, fairy bread, sausage rolls or cake. It was a fun way to eat…even if a little sickening. I’m already thinking of the next excuse to have a themed pot-luck.

Celebrating VD

The freakiest, exotic and un-romantic meal I’ve eaten with The Koala was in Vietnam. At a restaurant where such things happen, The Koala killed a snake and I swallowed it’s raw heart in a shot of vodka. Then we proceeded to eat the rest of the snake over 8 courses cooked by professionals. Supposedly an aphrodisiac, but after we washed down our snake soup shots of Hanoi vodka, we were feeling more sloshed than sexy. Our love is a rom-com. With that in mind, there is world of sexier feasts out there and this coming Tuesday could be a day to eat them. Caviar, oyster and chocolate sellers must look forward to this day. Even if these foods don’t actually get the juices stirring, the purpose is people want to think they’re getting into the mood. The whole aphrodisiac thing is more about rituals than medicine. Since Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday, and because it is red and has a cool name, I leave you with a recipe for Virgin Bloody Mary Shooters. No …

Eating at the Night Bazaar, Chiang Mai

Back to sharing our epic SE Asia adventure…It’s already June and I’ve only chronicled about half of our time away… Sila-aat two times Our first night in Chiang Mai was our last night together with our tour group. For dinner, we visited the Night Bazaar which is also a shoppers paradise. Over the next 2 weeks, The Koala and I would come back many times to shop and to eat. Our last meal as a group was at seafood restaurant Sila-aat. They have a few live fish and the rest is displayed on ice at the counter. They have some a good selection of seafood platters that we wanted to try but the timing  was never quite right. I felt like something light so picked some light Chinese dishes. The Koala picked a heavy Chinese dish. Snow peas. I adore snow peas, but they are freakin expensive back home. My local supermarket sells snow peas for $26NZ per kilo. Does anyone know why snow peas are so damn expensive? Straw mushrooms and shrimp. I love …

Baked fish and chips with coleslaw

Happy Easter everyone! Hope you all have some feasting and chocolate eating this long weekend. We have both Mondays and Friday off for Easter. Is that the same the world over? I thought it fitting to write about fish today since Good Friday is traditionally a day when you abstain from meat, but apparently, fish is fair game. Personally, I don’t morally differentiate between eating fish and meat, but hey, I didn’t make the rules. If you don’t eat meat on Good Friday, you don’t eat meat on Good Friday. We don’t eat fish and chips very often. It’s not one of our regular takeaway choices – it’s a summer treat reserved for afternoons spent at the beach. Fish and chip shops here can be a bit hit and miss. Fresh fish comes at a price. The fish and chip shops by us are either too greasy or too expensive so it’s easier just to go without. Our too greasy local was to be just around the corner from our Sandringham flat and their “number …

Creamy Tomatoey Chicken

My local Chinese supermarket now offers boneless thigh! I prefer the texture and flavour of thigh over breast meat. Boneless thigh is the same price as breast meat so I guess I’m not going to be buying breast ever again. I cooked up some the chicken for me and the boys*. Some cream, some tomato, some spices like garam masala and curry powder. Whip up some rice and some vege and you got yourself some tasty nutrition. The boys gobbled it all up. * By boys, I’m really referring to men. I don’t have any offspring.

Delicious Vietnam: Eating In The Old Quarter, Hanoi

Before our epic SE Asia holiday, I had read a few  blogs to inspire my appetite. One of the best was A Food Lover’s Journey by Ahn in Melbourne. Mouthwatering and easily relatable, Ahn is a Vietnamese expat and reading her blog is enough to make anyone crave Vietnamese food. The monthly Delicious Vietnam blogging event conspired by A Food Lover’s Journey and Ravenous Couple was never something I thought I would participate in. When I saw their reminder this month, I realised that it was just about time I wrote about Vietnamese food and our time in Hanoi. Vietnamese food in Auckland There is a lack of Vietnamese restaurants in Auckland, but one of my favourites is Hansan Vietnamese Restaurant. One of those places with cheap, fresh and delicious food, but severely no frills service, my review can be found here. The other Vietnamese place worth mentioning in Auckland is Banh Mi. Who do great filled rolls and all the classic Vietnamese dishes as well. Anticipation “”Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best — ” …

Lamb and Pinot Noir Meatballs

I still had a little pinot noir leftover from the other day when we all needed a BFGOW after work. So I got half a kilo of lamb mince in a bowl, added a good glug glug of the wine, some chopped garlic, chopped basil, salt, pepper, some breadcrumbs, no, more breadcrumbs, no, still more breadcrumbs and rolled up 60 little meatballs and baked them for about 15 minutes in a hot 200°C oven. Then I made this light sauce to go with it. If it wasn’t a school night, I might have cooked this sauce for longer, but I’d already laboured over the meatballs and hey, a light sauce is good too. Chop up 2 red capsicums, 2 sticks of celery, 1 onion and brown in a hot pan with a little oil. Add 2 cups of water and boil for 20 minutes. Drain most of the water out. Work some voodoo magic with a stick blender and then put it back on the heat and add salt or bouillon as you wish. Serve with …

Mystery fruit

Someone at work dumped a bag of citrus in the lunch room so I popped a couple into my handbag to experiment with later. Still not sure what these are, they have thick yellow skin, orange flesh and no pips. They are more sweet than sour with no bitterness. It didn’t really matter what they were, I squeezed one and marinated half a kilo of chicken wings with the juice and little soy sauce and chili sauce. Popped them in a super hot oven for about half an hour and…Bam! Mystery fruit chicken wings. I admit, I maybe have gone a little overboard with the vegetables. That or we need larger plates!

Vegetarian superfoods dinner

A 2 course vegetarian meal with superfood. Quinoa (keen-wah) is a South American seed and “The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as chisaya mama or mother of all grains”. You eat this, you can carry llamas and build civilisations at high altitudes*. Broccoli is awesome too. I’m pretty sure that if you eat broccoli you can move small hills and clear forests with your bare hands*. Quinoa salad with balsamic mushrooms and red onion. Brocolli soup served with buttered toast (not pictured). * Disclaimer. I’ve never actually done these things, but I have a vivid imagination.

Coffee Italiano Cook Off

I was invited to a dinner at my friend Linh’s flat. I thought it was just going to be your average potluck dinner. She did mention themes and prizes but I’ve never been to a cook off before. I might have upped my game if I had realised it was competitive. The 2 categories were Italian for mains and Coffee for dessert and there was a prize for the winner of each category. There was a crown for each winner and a crown (but no prize) for the best failure. Everyone had to try every dish and vote for their favourite in each category. I roasted portabello and button mushrooms with red wine, balsamic vinegar and garlic. It was well received but didn’t win. That’s ok. The 3 other entries were lasagna, risotto and pizza. All very Italian. The lasagna with it’s whole portabellos, eggplant, blue cheese and mince was the winner on the day. It was delicious. Maybe I’m starting to warm to blue cheese after all. As an ingredient mind you, not as …

Crispy stuffed skin

I felt like eating stuffing, but didn’t feel like roasting a whole chicken on evening, so I dreamed up this instead. I made a stuffing mixture using breadcrumbs, salt & pepper, fresh sage from the garden, oil and garlic. Using my fingers, I loosened the skin of 2 chicken legs and pushed a layer of stuffing into the space between the skin and meat. I replaced the skin and brushed the chicken skin with a bit of oil, salt and peppered generously and baked in a hot oven 200°C for 30 minutes. Turned down the oven to 170°C and baked for another 30 minutes. The result is crispy skin chicken with stuffing soaking up lots of the chicken juices. Reserve the cooking liquid to mash with kumara or potatoes. Roast chicken flavoured mash. Yum!!!