Thursday, 15 December 2011
Tan slice is one of those treats you find at the traditional corner bakery or teahouse, nestled next to the lolly cakes and the ginger slices. I would love to know when this became part of the New Zealand vernacular because it’s definitely a national treasure.
The combination of shortbread and caramel is utter decadence. Tan slice differs from caramel slice which is has a chocolate top layer. This recipe is superbly easy, and the recipe is forgiving. It’s best to make this the evening before, as it does need to cool down completely.
Labels: sweet things
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
I like asparagus, though I struggle to find different ways to cook it apart from the usual sauté with garlic and lemon juice. It’s one of those vegetables that I have a love/hate relationship with. When it’s out of season, I miss it, but when it’s here and so abundant, there is a rush to stick it on the menu as much as possible resulting in asparagus burnout.
This recipe tempers the green taste of the asparagus with the nutty walnut and creamy risotto. It's such a comforting food. I would serve this with simply pan-fried fish or poached chicken. I poached some free-range chicken with sweet vegetables (celery, onion and carrot) and herbs for the chicken stock, then served the risotto with slices of the poached meat.
As an aside, can someone explain the cult of (canned) asparagus rolls to me? I was introduced to them during a potluck lunch at my first job. I took one naïve bite, and was desperately trying to find a way I could spit it out without upsetting the colleague who made the dish.
Sunday, 11 December 2011
I spied this clever adaptation of Ottolenghi’s recipe in Milliemirepoix’s blog. The original recipe calls for young broad beans, which are not easy to find (unless you grow them), and also, having eaten broad beans before, I am unconvinced. Edamame (young soybeans), on the other hand, is delicious, and can be purchased as frozen shelled beans.
I also had almost all the ingredients in the kitchen or garden. My paltry harvest of radishes had to be supplemented from the supermarket.
The creamy avocado, spicy radish, tangy lemon and earthy cumin complements the nutty flavour of the quinoa and edamame beautifully. I couldn’t discern the chilli, so you may want to increase the quantity. The quinoa can be (and should be) cooked earlier in the day, so it has time to dry out. Otherwise, my hack is to dry it with paper towels. A bit messy, but it works reasonably well.
Friday, 9 December 2011
Since my move up to Auckland, I’ve had to think differently about veggie gardening. I had a good size vegetable garden in Palmerston North, and even an allotment at work (one of few perks of working for a pastoral research institute in a small regional town), which coincidentally was where I got introduced to veggie growing.
|herbs, green cabbage and red cabbage (centre)|
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
The pedestrian western suburbs of Christchurch have become the reluctant pseudo city centre since the events-which-should-not-be-mentioned took place. Some inner-city shops and restaurants have moved into this area, giving it a modicum of sophistication usually reserved for the more leafy genteel suburbs.
One of these establishments is Joe’s Garage, a chain of casual-dining cafés. The Hereford St branch had to be shuttered, but a replacement branch opened at 7 Leslie Street, Upper Riccarton (Ph: 03-420 4420) on Nov 30. Mum and Dad were quite excited by the prospects, so when I asked for a new place we could go for dinner; there really wasn’t much of a debate. This place is basically a 10-minute walk from their house (umm… we drove… oops).
The décor is industrial chic, with polished concrete floor, plywood and exposed brickwork accents. I loved the spanners in lieu of door handles and the retro metal die-cast toy trucks. The metal chairs look great, though I’m not sure how they would be in winter.
Labels: eating out
Sunday, 4 December 2011
Can you be seduced by a vegetable tart? I’ve flirted with vegetarian food in the guise of being healthier and saving the planet. Who hasn’t? But it doesn’t last. Not even. My upbringing in Malaysia and and its myriad of meat-y cuisines makes it seemingly unpalatable.
However, this simply amazing roast vegetable tart makes the whole idea of going meat-free a few days a week plausible. If vegetables can taste this great, who would quibble? I purchased this cookbook without realising Plenty is a vegetarian cookbook. (I am somewhat of a slut for award-winning cookbooks, put a gold sticker on a cookbook, and it will find its way into my Amazon basket). This cookbook had been sitting forlornly on my shelf for near-on a year before my sudden vegetarian urge took me on a hunt for recipes across all my cookbooks.
Ottolenghi’s background means the recipes have a surprising and delicious Mediterranean/Israeli twist. This recipe is long, but there’s some waiting around, so make sure you have a timer on hand, and other chores to do around the house.
Friday, 2 December 2011
A sushi party is one of the best ways to hold a dinner party. For any Japanese and/or sushi connoisseurs reading this, I am using the term ‘sushi’ quite broadly. In this context, it’s anything served with sushi rice. At a sushi party, your guests do half the preparation, adding to the occasion.
All you have to cook is the sushi rice, which does need to be done several hours in advance, - the rice has to cook, and then cool to room temperature. I allow 4 cups of Japanese rice for 6 people. The traditional way is to wash and polish the rice many times to remove the ‘loose’ starch and let the rice soak in water for 30 minutes before cooking so your cooked rice is fluffy, but not sticky. I tend to just wash it a couple of times, and straight into the rice cooker. I don’t eat enough sushi to be an expert, but good sushi rice should have a firm texture but you can still pull away the individual grains and is sticky, but never gluggy.