Archive for February, 2011

>Can you believe it?

>Apparently there are people in this world who don’t like coriander (cilantro)!  If that’s you, you’d best leave now – there’s quite a lot of coriander coming up…
 We had our annual family reunion a little while ago. I had been unwell for a couple of months and had lost a lot of weight. Though I felt like a piece of chewed string – I thought I was also looking a bit skinny…. a cousin sent me a photo today…sigh… I need another bout of galloping gutrot, because there is more weight to lose… please… So, salad

Guacamole Salad (What’s not to love?)

Avocado – peeled, stone removed, finely sliced
Tomatoes – sliced and seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper (my Great-Aunty Syb would always sprinkle tomatoes with a tiny bit of sugar – nobody ever guessed why her tomato sandwiches were so good – I do it too)
Red capsicum – finely sliced
Cucumber – finely sliced
Red onion – finely sliced
long red chilli – seeds discarded, sliced longways – as finely as possible
Coriander leaves

Build the salad, starting with avocado on the bottom, then top with tomato, capsicum etc – sprinkle coriander leaves as you go

1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
60 ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
dash of Tabasco
freshly ground black pepper
Shake it all together to dissolve sugar – add more lime juice if necessary.
Spoon the dressing generously over the salad. Feel virtuous as you eat well 🙂

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>I am addicted to magazines. All kinds. Mostly cooking. House and Garden too. As addictions go – it could be much worse…

This pile is a selection of February and March issues of some of my favourite cooking magazines. I want to cook with the seasons, and I also want to find recipes that are good for me. So, I decided to look through my magazines and put post-its on each recipe that I wanted to try…. can you see them all? I have my work cut out for me, but I’m up for it 🙂
There is something comforting about the word ‘fritters’. It sounds no-fuss, no-frills. I like that kind of food. I’m not a chef, just a home cook. I like cooking things that can be done ahead. I’m a one-pot kind of girl – and not just because I get to do the washing up too. I love using spices, I love curries and stews and casseroles. These fritters are a little bit special – with prawns in – but they have the advantage of using up some of the zucchini that just keep coming
Prawn and Zucchini Fritters
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
250g green prawn meat – roughly chopped
1 zucchini (about 100g – obviously whoever wrote this recipe doesn’t grow zucchini the way we grow zucchini)

uhoh – this is what happens if you miss picking one…

2/3 cup of flour. (the original recipe called for tempura flour. I can’t use regular flour, but I made a batch of muffins the other day using ratios that Shauna and The Chef worked out at www.glutenfreegirl. I used some of that left-over flour – my mix had ground almonds and buckwheat and cornflour in it. Tempura flour would probably make a crisper finish to the batter, but we had no complaints)

Oil to deep-fry
Sweet chilli sauce – to serve.
Toast the seeds in a dry fry pan until fragrant (they didn’t do this in the original recipe, but it doesn’t take long at all, and it makes a huge difference to the flavour in other recipes – so I did it this way).
Grind the toasted spices in a coffee grinder that you use just for spices – or use a mortar and pestle.
(If you don’t want to do any of this – use half the quantity of each spice ground)
Put the spices into a bowl with the chopped prawn meat and the coarsely grated zucchini.
Add flour and mix well.
Make a well in the centre and mix in about 1/4 cup of iced water. You should have a thick batter – add a little more water if you need to.
Heat oil in a deep fryer to 190c (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 30 seconds – if you can get gluten-free bread to go golden – you are a better man than I am)
Carefully put heaped tablespoons of  the batter into the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until golden and cooked through.
Drain on a paper towel
We ate them splodged with the Chilli Jam I made the other day.
The recipe says it serves 4 as a starter, but I forgot to count them all… this is not them all 🙂

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>Teriyaki Chicken

>Black food doesn’t photograph as well as it tastes – or is that just me? I have so much to learn…
This recipe comes from Ruth Pretty. Ruth, and husband Paul, run a catering company at Te Horo – an hour north of Wellington (and an hour south of here). They also run cooking classes, which I sometimes am lucky enough to attend. They have the most gorgeous set-up, are hugely successful and are just really nice people. Check out http://www.ruthpretty.co.nz/ This recipe came from one of her classes – I don’t think she’ll mind if I share it…

Teriyaki Chicken

1 tbsp salad oil
600 – 800g (6) chicken thigh (skin on)
15 mls (1 tbsp) sake (rice wine)
60 mls (4 tbsp) soy sauce (I used gluten-free tamari)
60 mls (4 tbsp) mirin
20g (2 tbsp) sugar

Heat oil in a frying pan.
Place chicken in pan, skin side down and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until skin is crisp.
Turn chicken over, cover pan and cook for a further 5 minutes, shaking pan frequently.
Remove chicken from pan and discard the oil.
In the same frying pan, bring sake, soy sauce, mirin and sugar to the boil.
Return chicken to pan, skin side upwards and simmer in sauce with lid on for about 5 minutes, or until completely cooked through.

Remove chicken from sauce. Cut into slices about 1cm thick and pour sauce over meat.
Serve hot, warm or cold.

I licked the plate 🙂

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>Japanese Curry Rice

>I miss Japanese food. We used to have HUGE nights at Izakya Yatai (a sort of Japanese Tapas bar). I can’t eat Japanese food these days unless I make it myself. Back when we hosted International students while they studied English Language at the university near us, a favourite dinner for homesick Japanese students was curry rice, made with a roux mix you can get at the supermarket. Japanese curry is delicious – quite different from Indian or Thai flavours (which are also delicious), and I have missed it. THEN, I found this blog www.norecipes.com – the guy who owns this is called Marc Matsumoto – he is as cute as a button and he posts ingredients and a method to encourage you to wing it – to try something you might otherwise not even dream of. He has a post for Curry Rice. I tried it the other day – I changed his recipe a bit – used up some caramelized onion marmelade I had (so I left out the apple Marc suggests); I’d run out of cayenne – so I used a bit of curry powder… It worked just great – we both had seconds! Check him out – he’s not only into Japanese food…

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>Chocolate Cake

> – well it is Valentine’s Day…. not that we get into that kind of nonsense here – sadly…

Flourless Chocolate Cake

125g butter – chopped roughly
250g dark chocolate – chopped roughly
5 eggs – separated
230g caster sugar
250g ground almonds

Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a 22cm round cake tin with baking paper
Put butter and sugar into a heat-proof bowl over simmering water. Stir until combined, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Whisk yolks and sugar together until creamy.

Add ground almonds and chocolate to the egg mixture, stirring until combined.

Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Stir gently into chocolate mixture.
Pour batter into the cake tin. Bake about 1 1/2 hours until cooked through.
Leave cake in the pan for about 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack till cooled completely.

You can ice this cake if you want – I’m finding that my sweet tooth is changing – icing would be too much for me. This cake is light, moist and keeps really well.

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>Tomato Water

>Each year Rick asks me how many tomato seeds he should plant. Each year I say “Six or Seven”. This year we have 24.

This is what I picked today.
I munched them in the whizz
Then I put them in a colander, lined with clean tea towel, and I hung it over a bowl to drain.

It’ll drain overnight in the fridge. The clear liquid that comes out the bottom is tomato water – the concentrated essence of summer. I’ll freeze it in little cubes and use it over winter, when this heat and humidity are just a memory.
I’ve never done this before. I sure hope it works…
It DID work!!! These smell stunning.

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>We do it every now and then. Spend the day together, deciding what we would buy if money was no object… we have lunch and maybe a gelato later in the afternoon, and we spend our imaginary dollars (on boots and Merino sweaters).
Eating out can be quite an exercise with celiac disease – where to go to eat safely. The answer yesterday was Moxie’s Cafe. Moxie’s is on the corner of Main and George St, Palmerston North. The place was buzzing, a cabinet of lucious looking food clearly marked – green stickers for ordinary people, red for those of us who have special needs. They even have an entire menu (red of course) with gluten-free options – an.entire.menu. ! The staff are young, beautiful, friendly and aware. Moxie’s deserves a medal – and the Cajun Chicken Salad was delicious.
I didn’t need dinner last night – I made this pork the day before…


4 tbsp clear honey
4 tbsp gf soy sauce
juice of 1 large orange
zest of 1 orange
4 star anise
4 garlic cloves – chopped

Combine all the ingredients in a small pot, heat until melted together and pour over pork (chops or slices).

I forgot the garlic, but added it later

Cover and cook at 150c for about 1 1/2 hours.

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>When I was told I had celiac disease, I was so relieved that there was finally an answer to why I had been SO unwell for so long. I went gluten-free straight away, immediately. I sometimes wish I had had a ‘last meal’ (or several). It’s not that I really miss junk food – it’s more that I miss the ease of junk food. There are times when I just can’t be bothered cooking. It’s too hot, too whatever and I just want food without the bother of cooking it. Rice noodles are just the thing. I had a pile of coriander (cilantro), so I made this sauce…

1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
Mix together, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Then add
2 long red chillies – finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh coriander

Serve the sauce over rice noodles, top with chopped peanuts, snowpea sprouts, shredded chicken or thinly sliced steak. Cool, fresh, delicious.

I wish you could smell this!

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A few years ago we visited Vietnam, then a couple of years later we went back. To say we loved it is something of an understatement. Vietnam is a delight. The people are just lovely and the food  – WOW! Fresh, light and delicious. This coleslaw is a poor attempt at an imitation.

1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
6 tbsp sugar
Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour on top of 2 finely sliced onions. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Finely shred about 500g cabbage and grate 2 carrots.
Mix cabbage, carrots, onions and dressing together.
This coleslaw is best made a day ahead.
Serve piled into a bowl, topped with plenty of shredded mint (regular and vietnamese), chopped roasted peanuts and finely chopped red chilli.

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>Salsa Maro
2 cups broad beans – blanched in boiling water for 30 seconds, then peeled
1 clove garlic
2 anchovey fillets – you don’t have to add these, but they disappear into the sauce and add deliciousness
8 large, fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp pecorino or parmesan cheese – finely grated
1 tbsp lemon juice
up to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Puree beans, garlic, anchovy, mint and cheese in a food processor.
Add lemon juice, then slowly add the oil

Warn people that this is not guacamole. It is so good that even the fussiest will like it.

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