All posts tagged: Recipes

Our Growing Edge – August 2016 Intro

August edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Cheryl from BusinessChic. Theme: WORK DAY EATING   I love Cheryl’s theme suggestion of WORK DAY EATING this month. The majority of lunches are eaten at work and it’s hard to eat well at work if you’re not prepared. When I first started working full time (way back in my early twenties), I ate out every day. I didn’t make the time to prepare lunch in the mornings and I liked having a bit of “me time” in the middle of the day while I checked out local cafes. Eating out for lunch cost me $50 to $70 per week but I didn’t mind because I had gone from a student budget to a full time salary. I was splurging. Then I got smart. Eating out every day is a big waste of money. Nowdays, I’m all about leftovers, whether it’s straight up leftovers or rehashing it slightly for lunch – such as a chicken salad using leftover chicken from the previous night’s roast dinner plus some chopped salad ingredients. You hardly notice a cost difference if you cook …

Chipotle and passionfruit with Long White Vodka

Some people are iffy about fruit with meat. I am not some people. Sweet and savoury have always been in my culinary vocab. I practically grew up in a Chinese takeaway in Rotorua during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Back then, Dad and Uncle worked as chef owners and cooked a thousand sweet and sour pork dishes for their customers. Battered deep-fried pork smothered in a homemade sweet and sour sauce; this came with onions, capsicum and of course, pineapple. An instant classic. I grew up loving sweet and sour pork and I think many of you did too. I enjoy cooking with natural sweet flavours and pork lends itself traditionally to fruit pairings, most commonly apple and pineapple but I found passionfruit also works beautifully. This sweet and smoky pulled pork taco is inspired by Long White Vodka Passionfruit. With a light, tropical taste that’s not too sweet, Long White Vodka Passionfruit is my favourite of their three flavours. Containing no added table sugar, apple juice is used to give it just a …

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. …

Freestyler in the Kitchen: Throw-together recipe #1

Hey guys, I have a confession… Even though this blog is FULL of recipes, I am NOT a good recipe follower. I use recipes as inspiration – a starting point to leap from and aside from recipe testing, I seldom stick to the script. I like to make things up as I go along, eyeballing quantities, changing it up with whatever ingredients I happen to have. I season to taste or mood. I am not the kind of girl to cook an exact dish twice. What’s your cooking style? So, when I took Fisher & Paykel’s online quiz WHAT’S YOUR COOKING STYLE? I wasn’t surprised that I was branded the Freestyler. Freestylers have mastered the basics and enjoy pushing the boundaries, putting together flavours and textures that complement each other. They also enjoy going “off-piste”. I shall wear the Freestyler badge with honour. The quiz was designed to help you get the most out of your time in the kitchen and results in eight distinct personalities. Understanding your style can help you to choose ingredients, …

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 …

Gluten free Feijoa Muffins

Just over two years ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. At the beginning, I looked for nutritional answers as I didn’t want to be relying on medication just to be normal. Some people said that gluten free was the answer so I went gluten free. I ate gluten free pasta, gluten free bread, gluten free bagels. I didn’t like them. Luckily I prefer rice and rice noodles over gluten alternatives. I also tried gluten free baking. I inherited a bunch of gluten free flours from my mum who tried gluten free baking but had lost interest. Then I also lost interest. I count my blessings that going gluten free had no measurable benefit to my health. I’ve been off medication for 8 months and feeling great. Still, having a gluten free recipe up your sleeve can be handy. I’ve made these muffins with berries and bananas before and my friend announced that gluten free or not, they were the best muffins he ever tasted. That’s quite a proclamation. Feijoa season Since it’s feijoa …

Ramen at home

Autumn is delightful. I’m enjoying the cool, crisp air and the bright sunlight, filtering through the trees into my shady home office (aka lounge), and the food. Oh the FOOD. I’m not a summer salad kind of girl. I’m a steamy bowl of something something queen. Steaming bowls of ramen is up there in my 10 ten things I love about cold weather and I recently tried the Tonkotsu ramen set compiled by WASHOKU Explorer. Tonkotsu is one of the most popular varieties of ramen. The creamy, rich, pork broth is made by boiling pork fat, collagen and well washed pork bones for hours (even days). Due to the labour intensive process, this dish is not often made at home, though you will find it at any ramen shop. The Tonkotsu ramen set comes with comes with a cool ramen bowl, renge (spoon), dried noodles, soup, seaweed, dried green onion and dried kikurage (wood ear mushroom). If you like, you can add a boiled egg or slices of meat – neither of which ship or keep …

Spicy garlic beef and eggplant

This recipe is inspired by a dish that led me to fall in love with eggplant. I used to hate eggplant. For reals. I found it absolutely disgusting in flavour and texture. Now I love the stuff. I rejoice when I see eggplants for under $1 each at my local Asian grocer. Weird right? I’m constantly amazed at how my palate has changed and this blog has been a great record of the changes.  The Koala also used to hate eggplant but likes it now too. Have eggplants changed? Have we? Spicy garlic eggplant can be found at many of the Chinese restaurants along Dominion Road and I think I first tried this at Shaolin Kung Fu Noodle, though Barilla Dumplings also does a mighty fine version. Vegetarians and meat eaters will enjoy this tasty dish. I’ve adapted this to include beef because well, I like beef. Feel free to skip the beef or replace with another vegetable such as mushroom (or more eggplant) for a vegetarian dish. Spicy garlic beef and eggplant Serves 2 with …

Our Growing Edge December 2015 Intro

This month is hosted by Jazz from Dash of Jazz. The theme is NOSTALGIA. To join, click on the submission button below: We all have bucket lists. Whether they’re written down somewhere or kept in our heads and hearts. Our Growing Edge is the part of us that is still learning and experimenting. It’s the part that you regularly grow and improve, be it from real passion or a conscious effort. This blogging monthly event aims to connect and inspire us to try new things and to compile a monthly snapshot of what food bloggers are getting up to. If you have a blog and are planning to write about a new food related experience, join us! More info on the event can be found here. Our host, Jazzmine is a Texas native with Nigerian roots, loves classic Southern cooking and has suggested the theme NOSTALGIA for this month. Some ideas you could try this month: Cook a recipe you remember from childhood Make a family favourite with a new main ingredient Cook a loved one’s favourite recipe Recreate a recipe that is well …

Whitebait fritters fit for kings and queens

Spring is whitebait season here in New Zealand and as a North Island girl, whitebait has always been a slightly unattainable delicacy. So imagine my delight when The Koala’s parents visited from the South Island with a precious cargo of whitebait for me as an early birthday present. Having never done anything with whitebait before, I thought whitebait fritters was the best dish to cut my whitebait teeth on. Known in New Zealand (particularly the South Island) to be a casual seasonal treat, served with lashings of butter on soft white bread this simple dish is a delicacy us North Island folk can only dream of. Fresh whitebait is best (if you can get it), I froze mine so that I could take some time to think about what to do with it. Thaw whitebait in the fridge overnight and make sure you drain it well before working with it. Fritters served with lemon, asparagus and a pale ale, this is a spring time lunch fit for kings and queens. Dig in with your hands or use …

Balsamic garlic mushrooms

We are obsessed with mushrooms at our house. I disliked mushrooms as a child but now I don’t go more than a couple of days without eating mushrooms. I love that mushrooms are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner and you can bet that I have eaten them at all times of day. In fact, I have distinctly awesome memories of eating mushrooms from The Burgerie on K Rd late, late at night (or is that early hours of the morning) after a night out. If you haven’t had those mushrooms before, they are dangerous morsels of delicious molten lava. You have been warned. Four mushrooms or a handful is considered a good daily dose to reap all the benefits mushrooms offer. Mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked, raw is healthier, cooked is tastier (in my opinion). It doesn’t take much time to prep mushrooms and even The Koala can rustle up some tasty mushrooms. Thanks to Meadow Mushrooms I have a mushroom prize pack worth $25 to giveaway to one Auckland mushroom lover. …

Sliders Party

  The Koala and I had friends over for a sliders party last weekend. We love home made burgers and make them all the time. With The Koala as captain and me as his prep chef, we usually create towering cheeseburgers with all the trimmings that require you to unhinge your jaw to feast upon. Having a burger party was on my foodie bucket list. Having never made sliders before, we might have been too ambitious with our five slider menu. Luckily we didn’t have many guests and everything went smoothly (if a little frantic). We made 50 sliders but this was too many as the sliders were more filling than anticipated. Our eyes were much bigger than our stomachs so we sent everyone home with extras and we grazed on leftover sliders all night. It was hard to pick the winning slider, but the top three were: (in no particular order) Crispy Pork Belly Pan-fried Fish Peking Duck All the sliders were good, some were just better. In future, I would just make the top three flavours. Five kinds was too much …

42 figs

  Around this time last year, I started noticing fresh figs in my blog feed and on Facebook. Figs might have a rich and colourful history, but I didn’t grow up with figs. I didn’t know much about them so I bought a couple of figs at a crazy $4 each and cooked them up. I was naive and paid way too much for those figs, but I did enjoy them so tucked my fig love away for the day when figs were more affordable. Fast forward a year, I saw that Te Mata Figs in Hawke’s Bay were offering a special deal to their Facebook followers. One tray of figs for $27 delivered. I had no idea what a tray of figs looked like but it sounded like it would be more than 7 figs. I was in for a surprise. A huge tray of 42 figs arrived a couple of days later. Figs are highly perishable so I carefully moved them to a bowl and refrigerated them (the tray wouldn’t fit in our …

Recipes for Easter

From ages 9 to 18, I attended Catholic schools. I wasn’t a “Catholic school-girl”, but I was a “Catholic-school, girl”. Easter is a big deal for Catholics. Bigger than Christmas. I understand the ins and outs of Easter, I attended Easter mass and observed Lent for all my pre-teen and teenage years. But at the end of the day, for non-religious people like myself, Easter is a couple days off work, a whole lot of chocolate, hot cross buns and some feasting. Have you got any eating or cooking plans this Easter? Here in New Zealand it’s autumn and no doubt there will be many families firing up the barbecue for one final pow wow before winter. Here’s a round up some of my recipes for Easter. I’ve included lamb, hot cross buns, eggs, more eggs and a carrot cake just for the Easter bunny. Most of them teeter on the fence between sweet and savoury. Enjoy! Hot Cross Buns with Custard and Cognac (bread and butter pudding) A decadent version of bread and butter pudding using hot cross buns. Use traditional sultana …

Yakitori-Style Scallops and Bacon

    Warning: Food in this post may cause incoherant babbling and sighs/moans of agreement. Scallops wrapped in bacon make me weak in the knees. I always order them if I see them in a Japanese restaurant and The Koala is a big fan of them too. The ingredients are a bit expensive, but making them at home is far cheaper than eating them at a restaurant and you’ll probably get much more. Fresh vs. Frozen It’s no longer scallops season here, but not long ago my seafood guy was peddling some fat scallops from Nelson. Although they were frozen, I thought I’d give them a spin. While fresh scallops are always better, frozen scallops are better than none at all. If using frozen scallops, defrost overnight in the fridge and make sure you drain them very well because a lot of liquid will appear on thawing. Never thaw scallops in water as this affects the texture and flavour. I think I was supposed to receive a dozen scallops, but I actually got 14 scallops. I took …

Favourite Seafood Recipes

Summer in New Zealand is all about gorging on simply prepared seafood. This summer has been particularly seafood filled. Here is a collection of five my favourite seafood recipes. Just click on the images to view the recipes. Enjoy!   1. Steamed Garlic Prawns Super easy recipe for Steamed Garlic Prawns, a very popular dish at Kingsland’s Canton Cafe. Includes a handy guide to prawn sizing in New Zealand.   2. Pan Fried Flounder The most popular recipe on my blog by miles, this buttery golden pan fried flounder makes use of a whole flounder. You’ll need a flounder (or two) butter, more butter, flour, salt and pepper. 3. Raw Fish Salad I fell in love with Ika Mata (raw fish salad) in Rarotonga. Here’s my version of it using fresh tuna fillets, though you can also use any firm white fish. 4. Oysters Kilpatrick Oysters Kilpatrick are an easy crowd pleaser. Oystes, bacon, tasty sauce and cheese. What could go wrong? 5. All-in-one Seafood Stew I test out Adie McClelland’s all-in-one seafood stew from her …

Bacon Jam

The Koala and I spent Christmas in Christchurch. Our first meal off the plane was at Terra Viva Cafe with The Koala’s parents. When I saw Hot smoked salmon and bacon jam salad on their menu, I didn’t look any further. I didn’t have to. Nothing could beat that combo for me. The salad was both tasty and light, the perfect meal for a “just got off the plane and I’m going to have an epic dinner later”. You can read my review and photos over here. Since then, I’ve been dreaming about bacon jam. “But Genie, what the hell is bacon jam?” I hear you cry. Well, bacon jam is bacon (of course) cooked down with onion, garlic and sweet gummy goodness until it is caramelised and crazy good. I had to make it. I had a browse at some recipes and decided on this one from Dinner With Julie. I’ve simplified an already simple recipe. Seriously, if you are a fan of bacon, you need this in your life. This recipe will make your house smell …

Mr Fancy Cabbage Pants

The Koala enjoys cabbage boiled, I prefer it cooked quickly on high heat. We both eat cabbage either way. Sometimes, I tease The Koala about how white people smell like milk and cabbages. It’s not true. I love milk and cabbages just as much as the next girl, maybe even more than the next girl. We don’t smell like milk and cabbages (unless we’re immune to the smell). Kale was fashionable in a big way, then came brussels sprouts. I think cauliflower tried to knuckle in (particularly with cauli rice and cauli crust pizza) but it’s time for the humble cabbage to make a comeback. Of all the brassicas, cabbage is the most affordable by weight. A dependable, good value vegetable. It’s time to get creative with cabbage. Very Pinteresting I kept seeing grilled cabbages on Pinterest. To be more precise, cabbage wedges with a special dressing. I browse Pinterest quite a lot and grilled cabbage food porn kept popping up as different bloggers posted variations of the recipe. It came with glowing reviews like: “I don’t really like cabbage, but I fixed this recipe …