Archive for September, 2012

Still on a middle-eastern kick… I made this beetroot salad. I thought it was quite nice, but ate it again the next day, added some crumbled feta cheese and found it much improved…

250g (2 – 3) beetroot
1 small red onion – grated
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup evoo
1/4 cup walnut oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup lightly roasted walnuts
2 tbsp rosewater
Steam or boil beetroot until tender (this can take about an hour)
Rub skin gently to peel, then cut into small dice
Place in a large bowl and add onion and fresh herbs
In a separate bowl combine the oils and lemon juice. Season
Toss beetroot and walnuts in dressing
Sprinkle with rosewater just before serving

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I’ve been cooking a lot from my newest cookbook – Tagines & Couscous by Ghillie Basan, and I’m thrilled to say – we’ve been enjoying the results – I’ve made Creamy Shellfish Tagine with Fennel and Harissa, and it was delicious. I’ve never cooked with fennel before, but I’ve decided I really like it.

I also made Beef Tagine with Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Ginger and Ras-el-Hanout… which was described as ‘fairly firey’ and – given that we don’t really do firey in this house, was a bit daunting. But, it turned out to be very gentle. I suspect we may have a different blend of ras-el-hanout and that may be the difference. Though, it is difficult to imagine a spice blend that includes rose petals, as ever being firey 🙂 I perked this tagine up with a generous blob of yoghurt with lots of mint chopped in, and some finely sliced slivers of preserved lemon. And, in complete fairness to the author – she does suggest doing just that!

Anyway – I have been forgetting to tell you how this romance with middle-eastern flavours came about.

You may remember that, while we were on holiday in Auckland earlier this year, I got brave enough to contact a blogger friend and we all met for lunch… Hi Bev 🙂

That went so well, that I got brave all over again when we went to Wellington for a long-weekend. I asked Julie – who writes a lovely blog about her cat Poppy (yes – I DID steal my Poppy’s name from her Poppy!) http://poppyq.blogspot.co.nz/  You can meet Poppy and her Julie too. We met for a drink, then went to dinner – to a tapas place near our hotel. The food was lovely – as was the company – so you can blame Julie for this fascination with these flavours. 🙂 Meeting fellow bloggers comes highly recommended!

And, look what I found on my last trip to the supermarket

I know corn is not Paleo/primal (corn is a grain – great for birds and rodents, not so great for people) HOWEVER – sometimes I just want to pretend… ok? Don’t shout at me!

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New Toys

I bought myself some new baking pans… my old metal ones were a bit manky-looking, and I’d heard good things about these pans

… this is one of the new pans – don’t you just love the colour?… Kermit green… there is no way to overlook these. They are VERY bright!

They’re also very floppy, so you have to put them onto a tray to bake with them, but they work really well – no greasing required – my breakfast eggie things just pop right out…

I over-filled them… eggs (3 small free-range), finely chopped bacon, finely chopped onion, some grated cheese, milk, salt and pepper…but, they still came out of the pans easy as 🙂

These little quichey things make an easy and filling breakfast – a couple of these, and I don’t need anything for lunch. Great result all around. I love these new toys 🙂

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She’s growing…


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Dad’s friend had given them a huge bottle of fresh cream – mum gave it to me, and I decided to try again to make custard.

I’ve never made good custard – it usually refuses to set… or separates. But, I figured… free cream… why not?

Custard-based desserts are often the only option on a restaurant menu that are suitable for those of us with ‘gluten issues’. I don’t usually  make it to the dessert course, but I am partial to panna cotta – that lovely Italian ‘cooked cream’… and I love the English version – the posset (don’t you love that word? – sounds all medieval to me)


200g good quality dark chocolate – chopped
2 cups (500ml) cream
4 free-range egg yolks
1/3 cup caster sugar – plus extra to sprinkle
1 – 2 tbsp Cognac, Armagnac or Cointreau – optional (oh please!)
Pre-heat the oven to 120c
Put chocolate and cream in a large heat-proof bowl over simmering water
Stir occasionally until melted and combined, then remove from heat
Put egg yolks and sugar in a large clean bowl and beat until thick and pale
Slowly whisk in the warm chocolate mixture, a pinch of salt and the alcohol if using.
Strain the mixture into a jug, then divide among 6 200ml ramekins
Put the ramekins into a deep roasting pan, then pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins
Cook 25 – 30 minutes until the custards are just set with a slight wobble.
Carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath and allow to cool
Chill the ramekins in the fridge for at least 2 hours
When ready to serve, sprinkle with a thin layer of extra sugar and caramelise  with a blowtorch or place under a hot grill for 2 – 3 minutes.
Serve immediately

Well! They set beautifully – I was a little worried they were too set, but they were crunchy on top and silky smooth underneath, so I think I might have broken the custard hood00.

They were however, sweet enough to make my eyebrows hurt – I would make them in smaller dishes next time – and cook them for a shorter time…

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A wee rant

Performance…. NOT

pre-formance !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Pre-formance makes me want to smack someone HARD…

Consider yourself warned 🙂 (Rachel Hunter on New Zealand’s Got Talent)

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Fat Head

I want to share with you something my blogging friend Lynda blogged today. http://achangeoflife.blogspot.co.nz/

Lynda is following the same ‘diet’ I am, but she doesn’t cheat. I am not as disciplined… or rather I wasn’t as disciplined until I found her blog and started to become aware of her amazing results. I am much better these days – and as a result, my weight is finally starting to come off. I’m still having some wine, but the daily sweet potato and squares of dark chocolate are now real treats – once in a blue moon, not everyday. And, even though I’ve done all the reading and ‘know better’, I have only just started to add in some fat – butter is your friend my friends, as is coconut oil… and olive oil… all that delicious saturated fat….mmmmm 🙂

Because I care for you, please – put aside a little time, go visit Lynda’s blog  and watch the video

Fat Head… the movie

I hope it will change your life


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