Dec 19, 2010

Grilled halloumi and watermelon salad

Halloumi cheese is from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It is unique salty hard cheese made of goat and sheep's milk that comes to life when grilled or pan fried. Teamed with watermelon, it is a sweet-salty treat that works as an appetizer, side dish or light and beautiful summer salad.

1/2 large seedless watermelon
handful of fresh mint
handful of salad mix (optional)
250 gr. halloumi cheese, sliced into 1/2 inch tall strips
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a non-stick grill pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Pat Halloumi slices with paper towels to dry them, and brush each slice lightly with olive oil on one side.

Place cheese in grill pan, oil-side down, and heat for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Brush top side with oil, flip, and cook 1-2 minutes more.

Dice the watermelon into one-inch cubes or make a cute balls using a melon-baller. Toss cheese with watermelon, salad mix and mint. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Jun 21, 2010

Pumpkin and chicken cannelloni

Chicken & pumpkin cannelloni

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
700ml bottle Italian tomato pasta sauce
1/4 cup basil leaves, shredded
450g chicken mince
1 cup mashed pumpkin, cooled
250g ricotta cheese
4 slices pancetta, chopped
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
250g packet dried cannelloni tubes
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
salad leaves, to serve

Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in pasta sauce and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in basil.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 5cm deep, 25cm x 30cm (base) ovenproof baking dish. Or 4 ramekins for individual serving.

Place mince, pumpkin, ricotta, pancetta and 1/3 cup parmesan in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm round nozzle. Pipe mixture into cannelloni tubes. If using ramekins, precook cannelloni tubes in boiling water for 5 minutes, then cut them on half.

Spoon a third of tomato sauce into dish. Top with cannelloni. Spoon over remaining sauce. Combine mozzarella and remaining 1/3 cup parmesan. Sprinkle over top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until top is golden and pasta tender. Serve with salad leaves.

Chicken & pumpkin cannelloni


Jun 13, 2010

Cold Asparagus Soup

Cold asparagus soup

Soup can be served cold or hot, depending on your desires. Cold soup is good for quick lunch, or you can take it for a picnic, served straight in a pretty small jar. Do not forget to serve it with fresh baguette or crunchy toast.

2 cups chopped asparagus (reserve tops for serving)
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
3 tbsp basmati or other flavorful white rice
4 cups (1 liter) water,
150 ml cream.

Put the rice and onion in saucepan with water and boil for about 20 minutes until rice is almost cooked, then add asparagus and cook for another 5 minutes.
Puree soup in a blender and pass through a sieve.
Add cream and salt to taste. Reheat the hot. Chill the cold.
Decorate with the reserved asparagus tops and serve.


Jun 1, 2010

Eggplant and zucchini crumble with goats cheese cream - Crumble au fromage de chevre

Eggplant and zuccini crumble with goat cheese cream

1 eggplant (skin removed and cut into pieces)
2 zucchini (cut into pieces)
1 red bell pepper (cut into small pieces)
3 tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 onion medium size (finely chopped)
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
120 g goat cheese
100 ml cream (low fat)

For the crumble:
200 g flour
100 g butter
1 egg yolk
salt, black pepper

Rub butter with flour, salt, and egg yolk until form crumbles, transfer to a plate and put the fridge for 20 minutes.

Make small cross-shaped slits on tomatoes, put them in boiling water and immediately dipped in cold water.
Clear tomatoes from the skin and seeds, cut into pieces.

Sprinkle eggplant with sugar and allow to drain the liquid for 20 minutes.

Discard the excess moisture from eggplant. Heat oil in a heavy base saucepan, add thyme and rosemary.

Sauté onions and garlic until transparent, then add bell pepper and tomatoes. Cook until peppers are soft. Puree sauce in blender.

Separately sauté eggplant until soft, then add zucchini and tomato sauce. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes, add salt, pepper and spices to taste.

Put crumbles on lined with paper baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated to 200 C oven until golden brown (about 15 min)

Heat the cream and mix with goat cheese (I use blender). Add salt and pepper and mix until smooth consistency.

Put vegetables in a serving glasses, add cheese cream on top and sprinkle with crumbles.

Eggplant and zuccini crumble with goat cheese cream


Recipe adapted from Carina-forum

May 23, 2010

Feijoa, pear and white wine jam

Feijoa, pear and white wine jam

Ingredient (Make about two 300 ml jars):
2 cups Feijoa pulp (cut fruit in half and scoop out the contents with a spoon)
1 cups of sugar
2 firm pears (peeled and cut on small pieces)
100 ml sweet white wine

1. Scoop out the fruits from the feijoa.
2. Put fruits into a pot and add wine.
3. Boil on medium heat until the fruits are soft (about 15 minutes). Stir occasionally. Use a potato masher to gently mash the fruit.
4. Add sugar and stir until dissolve.
5. Bring to a rapid boil and continue to boil for about 20 minutes or until the mix reach setting point, giving it the occasional stir.
6.Pour into sterilized jars, seal and store in a cool place.

Feijoa, pear and white wine jam


May 20, 2010

Persimmon and orange jam

Persimon jam

Do you love persimmons as I do? They are best to eat raw straight from the tree, but this year we have quite a big harvest in our garden, so I decided to make a little bit of jam. And it's so tasty and beautiful - like a little sun in a jar. 

2 cups of ripe persimmon, skin removed and cut into small pieces
1-1,5 cup sugar (depends on the desired sweetness of jam)
juice of 1 orange
grated rind of half an orange
2 tbsp vodka

Put the persimmons, sugar, juice and zest in a heavy based pot and cook over medium heat, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Return to the heat, mash slightly with a potato masher and bring to boil. Pour the vodka and cook for 10 minutes on low heat.

Pour hot jam into sterilized jars, seal and store in cool place.

Persimon jam


May 19, 2010

Chocolate cakes with feijoa mousse

Last month of autumn and the end of feijoa season here in New Zealand now. I use to hate this fruit a couple years ago, but now I love them. It's such a wonderful fruit with interesting intense flavor. I think that feijoas is the most "kiwi fruit" then the kiwi fruit is. Every second Kiwi family has the own feijoa tree in the garden and I hope they like feijoas as I do :)

Chocolate Genoise (recipe from here)
6 whole eggs
180 grams sugar
80 grams cornstarch
80 grams flour
20 grams cocoa powder
20 grams butter, melted and cooled

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs and the sugar. Place this bowl over a double boiler and continue whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the eggs feel hot to the touch. Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer and whip in high speed until the eggs triple in volume and they form a thick ribbon.

Sift the cornstarch, flour and cocoa powder together into a bowl. Add the sifted mixture to the whipped eggs in three batches folding each time slowly to avoid deflating the batter too much. Finally add the melted butter and fold so that the butter doesn't all fall to the bottom of the bowl.

Divide this batter into two half sheet pans that have been sprayed and lined with parchment paper. Spread the batter evenly and bake in a 190C oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cake cool. The cake can be wrapped in plastic and frozen.

Feijoa mousse:
8 small feijoas (4 large)
3 tbsp sugar
100 ml of water,

100 g Cream Cheese at room temperature
100 ml cream
4-5 tbsp sugar
1 tsp gelatin
1 egg white

I put feijoas in hot sugar syrup for about 10 minutes because they became very dark in the air. You can also add a few drops of green coloring in the syrup. So scoop out feijoa pulp and put it in hot sugar syrup. Wait for 10 minutes, then remove them from syrup and blend in a food processor until smooth.
Soak gelatin in a 2 spoons of water.
Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of sugar until forming peaks.
Separately, whip the cream with a spoonful of sugar to the soft peaks.
Separately, whip feijoa with Cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth.

Melt the gelatin in the micro for 10 sec. and pour it into a bowl with feijoa mix. Stir, add the whipped egg whites, stir, then quickly add the whipped cream and stir until combined.

To Assemble
80 ml cream
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar
mint leaves,
1-2 tablespoons chopped pistachios

Line ring molds with acetate paper and place them on a sheetpan. Measure the circumference of the ring mold and cut a strip of cake accordingly. Place the strip of chocolate genoise around the ring mold and a disk on the bottom.  Pipe the feijoa mousse inside the ring mold almost to the top. Top with another disk of genoise.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Whip cream with cocoa and sugar until forming peaks. Decorate top of cake with cream, mint leaves and pistachios.


May 17, 2010

Lamb Rack with Orange, Mint & Dried Fig Salad

Lamb cutlets with orange, mint and fig salad

Orange, Mint & Dried Fig Salad
1⁄3 cup lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 oranges, peeled with sharp knife, removing the pith, and sliced
4 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced (on a mandoline if you have one)
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
6 Dried Figs, slised
1⁄3 cup pitted black olives
1⁄3 cup firmly packed mint leaves
120g marinated feta, crumbled

For the lamb and to serve
3 lamb racks (8 cutlets in each)
olive oil for rubbing
2 cups firmly packed baby spinach

Orange, Mint & Dried Fig Salad
Combine the lemon juice and oil and season to taste. Arrange the orange slices on each serving plate and top with radishes, onion, dates, olives and mint leaves. Sprinkle with feta and drizzle with the dressing.

For the lamb and to serve
Rub the lamb with oil, season and chargrill or barbecue over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes each side for rare. Rest, loosely covered, in a warm place for 5 minutes. Divide the watercress among the plates alongside the salad, top with sliced lamb and serve the couscous in a bowl on the side. Serves 6.

Lamb cutlets with orange, mint and fig salad

May 16, 2010

Feijoa and passion fruit jam

Feijoa jam

One of my favorite jams. It tastes just amazing :) 

Ingredient (Make about two 300 ml jars.):
2 cups Feijoa pulp (cut fruit in half and scoop out the contents with a spoon)
1.5 cups of sugar
2 large passion fruits (pulp scooped out and mashed to separate juice and seeds)
2 tbsp vodka
100 ml water

1. Scoop out the fruits from the feijoa.
2. Put fruits into a pot and add water.
3. Boil on medium heat until the fruits are soft (about 15 minutes). Stir occassionally. Use a potato masher to gently mash the fruit.
4. Add sugar, passion fruit pulp with seeds and stir until dissolve.
5. Bring to a rapid boil and continue to boil for about 20 minutes or until the mix reach setting point, giving it the occasional stir.
6. Add vodka and stir to mix.
7.Pour into sterilized jars, seal and store in a cool place.


May 8, 2010

Crème Brûlée With Kapiti Kikorangi, Figs and Port Wine Caramel

1 cup (250 ml) Port wine
3/4 cup (180 ml) granulated sugar
4 fresh figs, sliced
1/2 cup (125 ml) Kapiti Kikorangi (creamy blue cheese), crumbled
2 cups (500 ml) 35% cream
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar

Preheat oven to 250° F (120° C). In a saucepan, pour the Port wine and 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the granulated sugar. Let simmer 15 to 20 minutes until the consistency becomes syrupy and forms a caramel. Add figs, coating them with the Port wine caramel, and continue cooking for 2 minutes.

In another saucepan, heat the cheese with the cream, until melted and completely mixed, without bringing to a boil (approximately 5 minutes). Strain to ensure the mixture is completely smooth, and set aside in a bowl.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remainder of the granulated sugar. Set aside.

Using the whisk, gradually add the warm cream and cheese mixture to the egg yolk mixture.

Place 8 1/2-cup (125 ml) ramekins in a shallow baking dish. Pour enough boiling water in the dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins, for an effect similar to that of a double boiler. Divide the fig and Port wine caramel mixture between the ramekins. Pour the cream and cheese mixture on top of the fig mixture.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the edges are set and the centres are still slightly soft. Remove the ramekins from the water dish and place them on a rack to cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until cold.

Sprinkle each crème brûlée with a thin layer of sugar. Broil with a chefs torch or in a preheated oven, as close as possible to the heat source, until the sugar melts and forms a golden crust. Serve immediately.

May 4, 2010

Fillet Steak with Sautéed Oyster Mushrooms, Mulled Wine Jelly & Roasted Garlic Custard

Roasted Garlic Custard
250g cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup olive oil
1½ cups cream
¼ cup milk
½ cup roasted garlic, drained
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mulled Wine Jelly
¼ cup red wine
¼ cup port
2 tablespoons sugar
1 star anise
½ cinnamon stick
4 cloves
¼ teaspoon allspice
2 strips orange peel
2½ sheets gelatine leaves

To cook and serve
6 x 180g fillet steaks, trimmed of silver skin
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
canola oil for frying
1 cup jus or gravy
300g oyster mushrooms (separated)
butter for frying
2 bunches watercress
30 cloves roasted garlic

Roasted Garlic Custard
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the garlic in a small ovenproof dish, pour the olive oil over, cover with tinfoil and place in the oven. Check after 40 minutes. The cloves should be slightly golden and very soft to touch.

Remove from the oven and cool then store in a jar in the fridge. These last indefinitely in the oil.

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Place the cream and milk in a small saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer. Place the roasted garlic in a medium bowl along with the egg yolks and the whole egg. With a wand blender, process until smooth.

Once the cream and milk have reached a simmer, remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes then place in a jug. Slowly pour it into the egg mix while whisking continuously.

Season with salt and pepper then pass through a fine sieve. Pour the custard into 2 large ramekins, filling to 1cm from the top. Place the ramekins in an ovenproof dish and pour hot water into the dish so it comes at least halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Tightly cover with tinfoil and place carefully in the oven.

Check after 20 minutes then at 10-minute intervals. The custards are ready when they are mostly set but still slightly “nervous” in the centre when you give them a little shake. Remove and let cool, uncovered in the water bath, then refrigerate to fully set.

Mulled Wine Jelly
Place all the ingredients except the gelatine in a small saucepan over low heat. Simmer gently for 6 minutes so the sugar dissolves and the wine is infused with the spices. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Once soft and pliable, squeeze out excess water and add to the mulled wine mixture. Stir well to incorporate.

Carefully strain through a fine sieve, discarding the spices.

While still just warm, pour the mulled wine jelly over the top of the set custards and place back in the fridge to set.

To cook and serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C. For the steaks, take some natural string or butcher’s twine and tie around the outside of each one, making them tight and even.

Season the steaks liberally with sea salt and black pepper.

Place a skillet or sauté pan on high heat and add a little oil. Once hot, sear 3 steaks at a time until golden on each side then place in a roasting pan while you repeat with the remaining steaks. Once all seared, place in the oven for 5-10 minutes, depending on how well you like your steaks cooked. I always cook my steak medium (pink all the way through).

Once the steaks are cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the jus in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil then pour into a preheated jug or teapot. Keep in a warm place.

Place a large frying pan on medium heat. Add a liberal amount of butter followed by the mushrooms. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cook until soft and golden brown then add the watercress. Remove from the heat, toss the watercress lightly so it just wilts from the heat of the mushrooms. Keep warm.

For the roasted garlic, heat up a non-stick pan, add the garlic and cook for a minute or so until hot through.

Divvy up the oyster mushrooms and watercress among the serving plates and top each portion with a steak. Using a tablespoon heated in hot water, place a spoonful of the custard on top of each steak so it begins to melt. Scatter about a few roasted garlic cloves then finish each plate with a little jus.
Serves 6.

May 1, 2010

Roasted Lamb Rack with Mint & Cucumber Salsa & New Potato Salad

Mint & Cucumber Salsa
1 cup mint leaves, coarsely torn
2 small Lebanese cucumbers, diced (peeled if desired)
12 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons malt vinegar
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Potato Salad
500g baby potatoes, washed
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, finely sliced
150g cow’s milk feta
½ cup flat-leafed parsley leaves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

For the lamb
2 x 8-bone lamb racks, trimmed of any sinew
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme or oregano leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mint & Cucumber Salsa
Combine all the ingredients and season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Potato Salad
Boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water until cooked through. Drain, peel and slice the potatoes. Place in a serving bowl with the remaining ingredients and serve warm.

For the lamb
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Rub the lamb well with all the remaining ingredients. Brown the lamb racks in a heavy-based frying pan then transfer to an oven dish and roast for around 15 minutes, or a little longer if the racks are large.

Rest the lamb in a warm place for at least 7 minutes. Carve the lamb into cutlets and serve with the potato salad and salsa. Serves 4

Apr 28, 2010

Goat Cheese and Beetroot Soup

This is one of my favorite soups - a little bit sweet, creamy and rich. Delicious with pumpernickel bread.  

500 g beetroot, peeled and cut into small cubes
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 onion, peeled and cut on 2 pieces
1.5 l vegetable or chicken stock
150 g creamy goat cheese with herbs (if unavailable use cream cheese with herbs), at room temperature
4 tbsp chopped dill
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the stock into boil, add the vegetables and cook for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Put the soup in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Put soup on a heat and add a half of goat cheese. Simmer until cheese is disolved, then add salt and pepper to taste and pour a cream. Allow it to heat well, but do not bring it to boil.

Make 4 balls from remaining cheese and cover them with chopped dill. Put one ball in each bowl and serve.

Apr 25, 2010

Fresh Southern Clams with Pasta

32 pasta or small grade New Zealand Clams (I think you can use any small clams)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup white wine e.g Reisling or Chenin Blanc
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
250 g (8 oz) of pasta e.g Linguine, Pasta Shells,
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespooons flour
Reserved cooking liquor and water to make 1 1/4 cups
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of cream

Wash clams thoroughly.
Steam open shellfish in a heavy lidded saucepan with oil and wine and 1/2 chopped parsley.
Cook clams for 2-3 minutes.
Drain and reserve cooking liquor.
Cook pasta, according to packet instructions, at the same time as the clams are being prepared and cooked.
Drain and toss with a little olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.

Prepare sauce
Melt butter
Add flour and cook a few minutes
Gradually add strained reserved cooking liquor and stir continuously until thickened
Add black pepper
Gradually add cream and simmer do not boil
Pour over drained pasta
Toss through clams
Garnish with remaining parsley
Serve immediately

Serves 4
Southern Scallops can be substituted for the clams. Use 24 1/2 shell Southern Scallops and cook scallops for 4 seconds only.

Apr 21, 2010

Fig Marmalade - the best thing on your cheese board

I made this marmalade specifically for the accompaniment to cheese, it is perfectly cut into cubes, not particularly sticky and has a not too sweet taste. In general, to my taste is very delicious. I already tried it with blue cheese and Camembert. Don't even know which one is better. 

500 gr. dark figs, cut into 4 pieces
500 gr. sugar
1.5 tbsp agar-agar (attention! see the instructions on the package to your agar-agar, take the amount needed for 500 ml of water),
150 ml. water

Put figs in a sausepan with a thick bottom, cover them with sugar and leave for a day.
Put the saucepan on heat and cook for about 30-40 minutes on low heat.
Allow to cool slightly, then puree it in blender and rub it through a sieve.

In a saucepan heat the water with agar-agar to a boil, stir well to dissolve it, then pour the fig puree and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture into the mold and allow to set.

That's how my marmalade looks after setting

It is convenient to use a small containers with a lid, so you can serve marmalade to your cheese board in small portions.
Store in refrigerator.


P.S. If you know different recipe for same kind of marmalade, please, let me know or give me a link. I'm just crazy about figs :) 

Apr 20, 2010

Miso fried Salmon with green tea noodles & shiitaki broth

Recipe by Andrew Brown

Shiitake Mushroom Tea
1lt Chicken stock
250mls Dry white wine
2 cups Dried shiitaki (see chefs note)
2 sheets Kombu (see chefs note)
2 Garlic cloves - crushed
1 Shallot – finely diced
2 sprigs Fresh thyme
75mls Port
2 Tbsp Earl grey tea leaves
Salt & pepper
4 drops Truffle oil

Miso fried Salmon
400gms Fresh Salmon skin off and bones removed, portioned into 4
100mls Cooking Oil
1 tsp Japanese 7 spice
50gms Miso Paste
4 Nori Sheet
½ packet Green Tea Noodles
½ Spring Onions - sliced
6 Edamame – beans removed from the pod
8 Fresh Shiitaki Mushrooms - sliced

Shiitake Mushroom Tea
Combine the stock, wine dried mushrooms, kombu, garlic, shallot & thyme in a large saucepan – bring to the boil, reduce heat & reduce by half. In the last 5 minutes of cooking add port & tea reduce the heat & pass through a fine strainer & coffee filter. Season to taste & just before service finish with truffle oil.

Miso fried Salmon
Prepare the salmon by brushing the top of each portion with miso & sprinkling it with the 7 spice. Then wrap each portion in the nori sheets, trim the edges for any excess nori.

Cook & refresh the green tea noodles.

Brush the Salmon nori parcels with oil. Heat a medium non stick pan over a medium heat, place the salmon in the pan & cook approx 3 minutes each side or cooked until your liking (Salmon is best served medium rare to medium). Remove the Salmon from the pan (saving any juices that are left in the pan) & keep warm.

In the pan lightly sauté the shiitaki mushrooms, add to the pan (to warm through) the noodles, spring onions & edamame mixing together.

To Serve
In the centre of 4 large bowls place the hot noodles, mushrooms, spring onions & edamame. Place the Salmon on top & pour in the hot shiitaki mushroom tea. For effect the tea can be placed in a tea pot & served to your guest at the table.

Apr 7, 2010

Balsamic pork belly with caramelised figs

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Magazine

1kg pork belly, skin removed
1 cup (175g) brown sugar
1 cup (250ml) water
½ cup (125ml) balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
8 black figs, halved
¼ cup (45g) brown sugar, extra
balsamic vinegar, extra, to serve

Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F). Cut the pork into even-sized pieces, thread onto metal skewers and place in a baking dish.

Combine sugar, water, vinegar and garlic in a bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the pork and cover with aluminium foil. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, increase the heat to 200°C (390°F) and roast, turning occasionally, for a further 1 hour or until caramelised.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Press the figs, cut-side down, into the extra sugar and cook for 1 minute or until caramelised. Serve with the pork and drizzle with extra vinegar to serve. Serves 4.

Apr 6, 2010

Golden Crunch biscuits

Golden crunch cookies

Golden Crunch is my favorite biscuits. I love them this a glass of cold milk, it's just so good and cozy. Now I can make them at home! They're perfectly crunchy and surprisingly easy to make. This is original recipe from old New Zealand cookbook.

1 Cup plain flour
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup rolled oats
1 Cup fine coconut
4 oz (125g) butter or margarine
1 Tbsp golden syrup/treacle/honey
2 Tbsp boiling water
1 tsp baking soda

1. Melt butter, add syrup, water and soda.
2. Pour onto mixed dry ingredients and drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased tray, leaving room for spreading.
3. Bake in moderate oven for 20 minutes.

To my taste they're too sweet and oily, so I use less sugar and butter (about 3/4 cup sugar and 90g butter)

Golden crunch cookies


Mar 30, 2010

Skate wings with caper butter sauce

Skate wings with Caper sause

I never cook skate wings before. This recipe is from classic French cooking book. I love tender "fish" meat with reach caper sauce and simple boiled potato. Surprisingly, skate wing are very cheap in New Zealand, so I will cook them more often now.

Serves 4
4 small wings of skate (or 2 big)
300 ml (1/2 pt) water
15 ml (1 tbsp) vinegar
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
bay leaf
salt and freshly ground pepper

1 shallot, thinly chopped
30 g (1 oz) butter
15 g (1/2 oz) flour
1 tsp lemon juice,
30 g (3 tbsp) capers, chopped
15 g (2 tbsp) fresh parsley, chopped

Put the skate wings in a baking dish and pour over the water, vinegar, sliced onion and bay Leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, covered at 180°C (350°F) Gas 4 for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove skin from the wings and keep them warm until sauce is ready.

In a saucepan melt the butter, then add shallots and cook them for 2-3 minutes. Add flour stirring well and make up to a sauce with 300 ml (1/2 pt) of the fish liquor, strained from the skate.

Add the chopped capers, lemon juice and parsley.

Pour the sauce over the fish and serve with boiled potatoes and a crisp green vegetable.

Skate wings with Caper sause

Mar 27, 2010

Ricotta cheesecake with moscato figs

ricotta cheesecake and moscato figs

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Magazine 

350g ricotta
500g cream cheese
1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
6 green figs
½ cup (125ml) moscato

Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F).
Place the ricotta and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 5–6 minutes or until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for 3–4 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved.
Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
Add the vanilla and lemon rind and beat until well combined.

Pour mixture into a lightly greased 22cm-round tin lined on the base and sides with non-stick baking paper. Place into a deep baking dish and pour in enough hot water to come half way up the sides of the tin. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until firm to touch.

Remove cheesecake from dish and allow to cool in the tin. Place the figs and moscato in a bowl and toss to coat, refrigerate until needed. Remove cheesecake from tin and refrigerate for a least 2 hours.

Spoon over figs to serve. Serves 6–8.

ricotta cheesecake and moscato figs


Mar 25, 2010

Cake Pops Again: Pumpkin & White Chocolate Easter Chickens

I made them from leftovers of my favorite pumpkin cake. It's so easy to make them and also a lot of fun for kids to decorate them. Use ready pumpkin cake and instructions from this cake balls recipe.

Mar 21, 2010

Marinated figs with brie

marinated figs and brie

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay

6 figs, halved
1 cup mint leaves
1 tablespoon white balsamic or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and cracked pepper
200g brie or camembert at room temperature
honey and crispy flatbread, to serve

Place figs, mint, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to combine. Top the cheese with fig mixture, drizzel with honey and serve with flatbread.

marinated figs and brie

Mar 16, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Cake Balls

St. Patrick's Day Cake Balls

I made those cute cake balls for our St. Patrick's Day lunch, which we have every year in our company. 

Ingredients (make about 25-30 cake balls):
4 eggs,
1/2 cup cake flour,
1/2 cup starch,
4 tbsp vegetable oil,
1 cup sugar,
pinch of salt,
1 tbsp liquid green food coloring,
1 tsp coconut essence (or vanilla essence),
1 tsp baking powder.

Cream filling:
200 ml double cream,
4 tbsp condensed milk (or 4 tbsp sugar).

about 400 gr. white chocolate.

Preheat oven to 180C. Lay a baking sheet with a parchment paper.

Whip egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks. Separately, beat egg yolks with sugar until white, then add vegetable oil, food coloring and coconut essence, stir until smooth.

Mix starch, flour and baking powder and add to the yolks and stir well. Then add beaten egg whites and stir carefully.

Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool the cake for 10 minutes, then cool completely on the rack. Discard browned crust from the cake surface.

Cut the cake on pieces, then put them in food processor and make crumbles.

For assemble: 
Whip the cream with 4 tbsp of condensed milk  until soft peaks and mix thoroughly with cake crumbles.

Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 25-30)

Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)

Melt chocolate in microwave or on stove per directions on package.

Put each ball on a stick, then roll balls in chocolate.(I made double chocolate covering).

St. Patrick's Day Cake Balls

St. Patrick's Day Cake Balls

Mar 14, 2010

Butternut squash cakes with chocolate mousse

Butternut squash cakes with chocolate mousse

For the cakes:
1/2 cup Butternut squash puree (dry roasted in oven and pureed in blender) (u can use pumpkin puree),
1 cup brown sugar,
6 eggs,
2 tbsp melted butter,
1/2 cup cake flour,
1/2 cup starch,
1 tsp baking powder,
1/2 vanilla pod,
pinch of salt.

For the chocolate mousse:
400 ml double cream,
2 egg whites,
4 tbsp cocoa powder (dutch processed),
2 tbsp Irish cream liquor,
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of cream of tartar,
1 tbsp gelatin powder.

Preheat oven to 180C. Lay a baking sheet with parchment.

Beat egg yolks with sugar until white. Separately, whip whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks. Add butternut squash puree to the egg yolks and stir, when add a melted butter and seeds from vanilla pod, stir until smooth.

Mix starch, flour and baking powder and add to the yolks and stir well. Then add beaten egg white and stir carefully.

Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Cool the cake for 10 minutes, then cool completely on the rack.

Using mold rings cut 8 round bases, then cut each base in half with a very sharp bread knife. You should get 8 bases and 8 tops (or 10 depending on the diameter of your rings). Put mold rings on the parchment, then place one cake base in each ring.

Soak gelatin in 1 tablespoon of water.

Beat egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar and 2 tbsp of sugar until soft peaks, set aside. Melt the gelatin 10 seconds in the microwave and stir well until completely dissolved. Add to the beaten egg whites and stir thoroughly.

Whip cream with remaining sugar to hard peaks, add to the mixture and stir carefully but quickly.

Fill the prepared forms with mousse, leaving a bit of room for cake tops. Cover with the remaining cake tops and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Decorate your cakes with grated butternut squash and mint or with melted chocolate.


Mar 13, 2010

Whole fig jam

whole fig jam

Absolutely delicious jam, especially with good cheese and glass of wine!  

500 g ripe figs (without damage on the surface)
500 g fine sugar
100 ml Armagnac (brandy, rum)
50 ml lemon juice (1 / 3 tsp. Citric acid)

Wash and dry figs on a paper towels.
Make a needle punctures on the surface (about 1 cm distance between the punctures).

Put figs into a bowl (preferably in one layer) and cover with sugar.
Cover and leave for 3 days. Do not stir!

Put figs on the heat, add the brandy and lemon juice.
When the jam starts to boil, immediately reduce heat to a minimum, and cook for 40 minutes (jam must boil, but foam wouldn't formed on the surface).

Remove jam from heat, cover with a towel and leave until the next day. DO NOT STIR!

On the next day bring jam to boil and cook for another 30 minutes on a minimum heat. Cool and pour into clean jars.


Thanks Carina for this amazing recipe!

Mar 11, 2010

Spinach, pumpkin and feta salad

Simply, delicious and easy to made salad for pumpkin lovers. Light lunch just in 5 minutes.  It's really handy if your have some leftovers of roasted pumpkin. I don't have the exact proportions,  so just add pumpkin and feta to your taste.

For 1 serving:
Handful of fresh baby spinach,
100 gr. roasted butternut pumpkin,
100 gr. feta cheese (or  fresh mild goat cheese),
1/4 of small red onion,
1 tbsp olive oil,
1 tbsp orange juice.

Cut pumpkin and feta on cubes and put them over the spinach leaves, add onion rings and finish with olive oil and orange juice before serving.


Mar 9, 2010

Beetroot cheesecakes with goat cheese and salmon

I love combination of beetroot and smoked or salted salmon. In this recipe all components are perfectly balanced. An interesting light lunch or good accompaniment for boiled potatoes.

For 4 small cheesecakes:
4 slices of Pampernikel bread (any dense rye bread),
125 gr. cream cheese at room temperature,
60 gr. fresh goat cheese,
5 tablespoons sour cream,
1 tablespoon gelatin,
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tbsp chopped dill,
1 tsp grated orange zest,
125 gr. boiled beetroot pureed in blender,
150 ml. double cream
160 gr. salted salmon.

Soak gelatin in 2 tablespoons of water.

Cut out circles of bread using mold rings. Place mold rings on the tray laid with parchment paper and put bread circle in each mold ring.

Mix cream cheese and goat cheese and whip in a blender at low speed until smooth, add sour cream and beat again slightly. Add lemon and orange juice, zest and dill.

Heat the gelatin in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and stir until completely dissolved. Pour the gelatin in the beetroot puree. Mix beetroot with cheese mixture, add salt and pepper to taste.

Whip the cream until soft peaks and add to the beetroot mass. Fill prepared mold rings with cheese mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Remove cheesecakes from the molds, top with chopped salted salmon, garnish with dill or chives.


Mar 3, 2010

Aromatic Lamb-Stuffed Pasta with Apricots & Spinach

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
large pinch of hot chilli flakes
1 tablespoon toasted ground coriander seeds
finely grated zest and juice of ½ orange
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
650g minced lamb
salt and freshly ground black pepper
18 precooked cannelloni shells
6 dried apricots, thinly sliced
250ml water
500ml beef stock
2 large handfuls spinach leaves, wilted in boiling water, cooled in cold water and squeezed dry
250ml plain unsweetened yoghurt
½ cup toasted pine nuts
mint leaves for serving

Heat the oil in a frying pan over moderate heat. Add the onion, garlic, chilli flakes, coriander seeds and orange zest. Fry gently for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft and golden. Set aside to cool a little then put in a bowl, add the cinnamon and lamb, season and mix well. Stuff the cannelloni shells with this mixture, pushing it in from each end with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the stuffed cannelloni side by side in a shallow metal roasting dish. Sprinkle the apricots in between and pour the orange juice, water and stock over the top. Cover and place in the oven for 40 minutes until the cannelloni are tender. Remove from the oven and carefully lift the cannelloni on to a warm serving platter.

Place the roasting dish on the heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Add the spinach, teasing it out as it heats through. Taste and season. Pour the spinach mixture over the cannelloni. Drizzle some yoghurt on top and serve sprinkled with pine nuts and mint leaves. Serves 6

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