Monday, 18 December 2006

va·nil·la in·fused lem·on·ade syr·up

It was such a lovely surprise! I got home from work last thursday, checked the mail on the way in and found a jar of Jules's famous vanilla bean infused lemonade syrup in the letterbox.

Isn't it beautiful?! So golden and decadent. And so very lovely diluted with some sparkling water on a lovely summer day.

Thanks so much Jules for the fantastic surprise! I hope you share the recipe with us all ; there are people who want to know!

Monday, 11 December 2006

men·u for hope III

Menu for Hope III is raising funds to support the UN World Food Programme, which provides hunger relief for needy people worldwide. Most of us writing and reading Food Blogs are able to treat food and cooking as a joyful and happy experience ; not everyone has this privilege. For many in this world, food is not guaranteed and is a matter of survival. Menu for Hope is an annual event, last year raising US$17,000 for UNICEF.

Supporting Menu for Hope is a small way for you to help those less fortunate.

I am proud to offer a $100 gift voucher to Truffle, Wellington, New Zealand, very generously donated by John and his team, to tempt you, and encourage you, to support Menu for Hope :

Truffle are specialists in fine European food and wine with both physical and online shops. Truffle are New Zealand agents for many exclusive and otherwise hard to find imported gourmet foods, carrying over 600 different product lines. A voucher for Truffle is a fabulous gift for yourself or for someone you love, care about or simply want to impress. A visit to Truffle will open an unbelievable world of gourmet rice, salt, wine, cheese, chocolate, truffles, saffron, vinegar, oils, jam, pâté, paprika, tuna, verjuice, capers, flour, nougat . . .

Raffle tickets are purchased online at First Giving, an online fund raising company. All ticket monies are collected by First Giving on behalf of Menu For Hope. Each prize has a unique number which should be included in the 'Personal Message' section at the First Giving site when you purchase your tickets and make your donation.

The code for this fabulous Truffle voucher is AP07, be sure to include this in the 'Personal Message' section as you donate at First Giving. Each ticket in the raffle is $10 - quite a bargin for a $NZ100 voucher - so buy a few!

There are many fantastic prizes offered by Food Bloggers for Menu for Hope III, details for which can be found on these Blogs :

Chez Pim - The full round-up of prizes worldwide.
Grab Your Fork -Asia Pacific/Australia/New Zealand. - Europe and UK.
The Cooking Diva - Latin America.
Cardamom Addict - Canada.
Becks and Posh - US West Coast.
The Amateur Gourmet - US East Coast.
Kalyn's Kitchen - US (the rest).

Details for this prize :
Prize : $100 voucher for Truffle
Prize Code : AP07

How to purchase a ticket to support Menu for Hope III :

1. Go to the donation page at First Giving (

2. Make a donation, each $US10 will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize or prizes you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. Do tell us how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code -for example, a donation of $50 can be 3 tickets for AP07 and 2 for AP14.

3. For US donors, if your company has agreed to match your charity donation, please remember to check the box and fill in the information so we may claim the corporate match.

4. Please also check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

5. Check back on Chez Pim on January 15 when we announce the results of the raffle. (The drawing will be done electronically. Our friend the code wizard Derrick at Obsession with Food is responsible for the wicked application that will do the job.)

Thursday, 7 December 2006

buck·wheat and corn tor·til·la

I love making tortillas. So what must naturally follow from a successful recipe? A bit of fiddling to see what else you can do! Well, what I tried as a variation on the flour tortilla was to substitute some of the plain flour for a different sort. In this case a buckwheat and corn polenta that I found at truffle.

Buckwheat polenta is also known as "Polenta Nera" (Black Polenta), which really isn't so black just a light golden grey with a few flecks of black to give it some detail, so to speak. I am dying to make a soft polenta dish with this but at the rate I am making tortillas I might have to buy another packet reserved especially for polenta!

Once again I made these using a chappati press but rolling would be just as good, but my dough was fairly soft so it would be trickier. I also found that these tortilla were crispier and more brittle than the flour only ones, as you can see from the photo. I think they would make great tacos maybe baked in the oven hanging on the bars of the shelf to form a truely crisp taco. As it was they became taco, less by design, more by accident - but they sure tasted good!

Buckwheat and Corn Tortilla
makes about 12

1/2 cup buckwheat and corn polenta
1/2 cup unbleached stoneground flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoons lard or goose or duck fat
boiling water, about a 1/2 cup

Mix the flour and the salt together then rub in the fat. While stirring with a wooden spoon, add enough boiling water to form a dough then knead briefly. This dough will be quite soft, but the polenta will absorb some while it rests so err on the side of wetness.
Wrap in plasitc and rest for an hour. Heat a cast iron frying pan to hot.
Divide into 12 pieces and either using a tortilla/chappati press or a rolling pin form circles as thin as you can, cooking them for 30 seconds per side, or until then have golden patches and are puffy, then wrapping in a teatowel to keep warm and soft.

Sunday, 3 December 2006

Christ·mas has come ear·ly

Christmas has come early in my house thanks to the very generous Paul!

A bottle of Camshorn Pinot Gris from Waipara, Braeburn apple juice, 2 beetroot that Paul grew himself, some rosemary from his garden, cold smoked Akaroa salmon, ciabatta from Rachel Scott in Amberly, Talbot Forest Castle Rock cheese from Geraldine, Verona Salami made by Peter Timbs, Italian artisinal orzo, Valrona Caraibe chocolate.

As you might imagine lunch yesterday included the ciabatta, salami and cheese and chocolate. All of which were very special and delicious. I think I can buy the cheese up here, so it will be appearing again! We are going to have the smoked salmon today and the wine this evening. The apple juice was the perfect thing to have when we got up this morning - you can really taste the braeburn apples. The orzo will be ripped open tomorrow night for a special pasta. The beetroot and rosemary are such a special inclusion ; the beetroot will be roasted and served in a salad at lunchtime, and the rosemary will flavour some roast potatoes this evening.

Thanks Paul, I love it!

Parcels will be arriving around the country as we speak, and a round up will be featured here soon!