Thursday 20 July 2006

spic·ed lab·neh

Since I make yoghurt, I like to use it in place of other dairy products where I can. I strain the fresh yoghurt through a coffee filter paper to drain off the whey, leaving it for varying lengths of time to produce different thicknesses. This is essentially labneh, or yoghurt cheese. Only straining the yoghurt briefly makes a thick Greek style yoghurt and leaving it for a good 24 hours gives a good thick cream cheese substitution. Somewhere in between lies what I use for sour cream.

I wanted to make a light but tasty nibble to take advantage of the baby carrots and radishes in the vegetable box. I wanted something that had some body but nothing too rich or heavy. And I wanted to use some more of the Balmain & Rozelle spice mix ; just the thing to mix with some thick strained yoghurt and serve with the vegetables.

Spiced Labneh

1/2 cup thick strained yoghurt
2 teaspoons (approximately) of your chosen spice mix. This could be garlic and fresh minced herbs, a favourite sauce, a selection of dry spices or for the easiest option a preblended spice mix.

Mix the yoghurt well with enough of your chosen flavour to suit you. Leave to rest in the fridge for an hour or so, then serve!

This could be served as a dip for crudités
, or served as composed bites as shown in the photo above.

quiche Lor·raine

I really wanted this to be the best quiche that I ever had, honestly I did.

I mean I love eggs, especially with cheese. I love pastry. So put them together and i am in heaven, right?

Well, right and wrong. The moral of this story is :

Never try to improve something you already love. Especially if what you love is made by your mother, and has been your entire life.

Saturday 15 July 2006

Balmain la·vash

When I made the semolina dough the other day I decided to use a bit to try to make a lavash style crispbread. I thought that adding a bit of flavour would be a good idea and thanks to A Year's Worth of Eating and Antipodean Blogging by Post I had just the thing :

Balmain & Rozelle spice - Fragrant spice blend. "A spice blend that celebrates the contemporary character of the area, supported by traditional Australian values". Including lime leaves, lemon myrtle, cumin, ginger, garlic, galangal, caraway and coriander.

I rolled out a portion of dough as thinly as I could, sprayed it with oil and sprinkled it with the spice mix. Then baked it at 190°C for about 15 minutes until it was crispy and golden. Break into pieces and eat. Very nice!

Wednesday 12 July 2006

roast beef

sem·o·li·na bread

Here is another example of cleaning-out-the-pantry-because-I-want-to-use-it-up cooking. This time, featuring semolina flour!

I have another store of semolina flour that I use for making pasta, which is much more yellow and seems to be a larger mill than this much paler flour ; I hadn't used the bag of semolina flour that my hand always passes over in favour of the supposedly fancier Italian pasta durum wheat flour. That is, until now.

I had an inkling that some Italian bread may be made from semolina flour, so why couldn't some of my bread. Why not indeed? I think this is one of the nicest, richest, most flavourful breads I have made. It is soft and moist and oh so moreish.

semolina bread

450g semolina flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt

Mix the flour with the yeast and enough water to make a shaggy mess. Leave for 10 minutes for the flour to absorb the water. Mix in the salt and add enough water to form a soft and silky dough. Leave in a warm place for an hour to double in bulk then shape into a loaf* and leave to double in size once again.
Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes or until a rap on the bottom sounds hollow. Leave to rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

* Or maybe something else . . . !

Tuesday 11 July 2006

buck·wheat soda bread

Soda bread is a great recipe to have up your sleeve. Everyone will be astounded at how quickly you can rustle up some bread! Soda bread is traditionally made with wholemeal flour, but since I usually only have stoneground unbleached flour I generally use that. But this time it was different.

You see, I am trying to use things up and clean out the pantry at the moment and there was a bag of buckwheat flour that just needed to be used. We were having leftover oxtail stew from the freezer (yes, cleaning that out too!) which we were going to turn into soup to make it go further so bread was the perfect thing to go with it. Soda bread is quick and easy enough make after work on a week night. And more to the point it was going to make the leftover oxtail stew seem a little more appealing.

[This oxtail stew has been hanging around not being eaten for long enough that even the mention of it had become predictable : What shall we have for dinner? What is there? Chicken or there is the oxtail stew? Chicken.]

So from the frugality of not wasting anything and the obsessiveness of cleaning out the cupboards and freezer was born buckwheat soda bread, and what a joyous gift that was! I love the taste of buckwheat and it really shines in this bread. Soda bread has always seemed nuttier than a yeasted dough to me anyway and the buckwheat accentuates that wonderfully.

Buckwheat Soda Bread

200g buckwheat flour
250g stoneground unbleached flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons of salt
150mL buttermilk mixed with a squeeze of lemon

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add enough buttermilk to make a dough, adding some water if required. Shape into a round loaf and slash a deep cross in the top. Bake at 220°C for 30 minutes then leave to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and slathering with fresh butter. Easy!

You could make some fresh butter to go with this and use the buttermilk from the process in the bread to really feel like a domestic god(dess)!

Sunday 9 July 2006

ap·ple crum·ble

cous·cous stuffed pep·pers

leek and po·ta·to soup

po·len·ta, pine nut co·ri·an·der mad·e·leines

There has been a Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand, signed in 1835, prior to the better known Treaty of Waitangi, which was signed in 1840. The Declaration of Independence of New Zealand was signed by Maori chiefs and the official representative of Britain in New Zealand to declare an independent state with the United Kingdom as protector.

It also appears that it was signed in the hope that it would make the British people living in New Zealand better behaved! And for the United Kingdom to declare sovereignty before France! Very altruistic of the British Empire, what?!

So, to be philosophical, in order to appreciate the independence we now experience in our respective countries we must search for memories of lost times [Is that too obvious a reference to Proust?!]. So my recipe to celebrate independence is one for polenta, pine nut and coriander madeleines.

Who knows, if the British hadn't beaten the French to the post, we might have been eating madeleines instead of ANZAC biscuits!

Along with Independence, the ingredients for , as hosted by Kevin of Seriously Good are :
Pine nuts
Ground coriander
I made the madeleines like this :

Polenta, pine nut and coriander madeleines

25g butter, melted
1 small egg
20g polenta
25g pine nuts
1 scant teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon flour

Put a medeleine tin in the fridge to made brushing with butter easier.
Beat the egg with a pinch of salt until the consistency of mayonnaise, about 5 minutes in an electric mixer.
Grind the polenta, pine nuts and coriander seed until fine. Do this in stages, perhaps by pulsing the machine to stop it from forming pine nut butter.
Push the pine nut, polenta and coriander mixture through a sieve over the now beaten egg and sieve over the flour. Fold in gently, but thoroughly. Fold in all but a teaspoon of the melted butter.
Put the mixture in the fridge to rest for at least an hour.
Brush the madeleine tin well with melted butter, chilling the tin stops the butter from just pooling in the bottoms.
Take the madeleine mixture from the fridge and let come to room temperature for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 220°c.
Put teaspoon dollops of the mixture into the tin and bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until firm.
Turn out onto a rack to cool.

Serve as an hors d'oeuvre with a glass of dry sherry and indulge the involuntary memories of the independence of your country!

Addendum : These go really well with a good garlicky guacamole.
After finishing taking the photos and writing up this post we ate the madeleines and decided to make a guacamole to go with them to use the perfect avocado sitting on the shelf. Lovely. Corn and guacamole are always a good combination.

Saturday 8 July 2006

an·tip·o·de·an blog·ging by post I

What a haul! First I would like to say thank you so much to kestypes of A Year's Worth of Eating, for organising and for sending me such a fantastic parcel!

So, what do you see above?
  • A cookie cutter in the shape of australia - what more could a kiwi want! I love cookie cutters, and I certainly don't have one of these!
  • Balmain & Rozelle spice - Fragrant spice blend. "A spice blend that celebrates the contemporary character of the area, supported by traditional Australian values". Smells so good, as it should, containing lime leaves, lemon myrtle, cumin, ginger, garlic, galangal, caraway and coriander. I think I will be trying this as a dry rub for pan-fried meat.
  • A caramello koala, first thing to go of course!
  • Caramelised figs poached in muscat, these I will save until I have a suitable piece of cheese. I am thinking a good strong cheddar with oatcakes.
  • Nougat, I love nougat. Looks packed full of pistachios, and maybe cranberries and figs . . .
  • Organic udon, these are great noodles, and they come beautifully presented in three bundles.
I hope that this is just the beginning of an Antipodean blogging by post tradition. Read more about Antipodean Blogging by Post on these blogs :

A Year's Worth of Eating
Bron Marshall
Winos and Foodies
A Few of My Favourite Things
Suburban Hippy
The Wine Wanker

Wednesday 5 July 2006


I hope you too are lucky enough to find a bag of frozen edamame while you are getting your groceries, then you can also enjoy a most delicious treat.

Edamame in
Boiling water. Salt!
Two minutes to go.

Tuesday 4 July 2006

se·cret gar·den of lamb and len·tils


Elvis's skil·let al·mond pork

As a nod to the celebrations our American friends are having today, the 4th of July, Independence day, we dedicated the food of our day to Elvis.

Lunch was, of course, the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich . Albeit with slight modifications ; actually it was a peanut butter and mashed banana sandwich cooked in the panini maker at work, but the thought was there!

For dinner I turned to a wonderful book, a book I love to see on the shelf but rarely use : Are you hungry tonight? Elvis' favourite recipes by Brenda Arlene Butler. When I saw this book at the shop there was no way I could resist!

It was actually hard to decide, burgers would have been classic and obviously a fine choice for the forth of July. As would hot dogs and apple pie. You see the generalisations we make?!

But turning to the section "Meat and Potatoes" I saw there was a recipe for which I not only had almost all the ingredients but also thought I might enjoy eating! Skillet almond pork.

I made it like this, which is a bit of a variation on the original recipe, but it turned out rather well :

Skillet Almond Pork
250g thin cut pork steaks, beaten thin and flat with a meat mallet
A selection of dried or fresh herbs, finely chopped or rubbed (I used parsley and dill)
Olive oil
2 teaspoons of butter
1 teaspoon of flour
1/2 cup of cider
1 chicken stock cube
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of slivered almonds, toasted

Sprinkle the pork with some salt and the herbs and leave for an hour. Heat a pan and add a splash of olive oil and half of the butter, when hot quickly brown the pork in batches, removing to a plate to keep warm as you cook the rest.
To make the sauce, or gravy as I like to think of it, melt the remaining butter in the pan and add the flour scraping the bits from the pan as you make the roux. Add the cider, stock and mustard and simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan well to form a thickened sauce. Adjust the seasoning, pour over the pork and sprinkle with the almonds.

Serves two with mashed potatoes and buttered cabbage.