Foodie

Chocolate Caramel Slice Recipe

chocolate caramel slice recipe

Oh yes. My chocolate caramel slice recipe.

The Boy and I have been watching Zumbo’s Just Desserts on TV3 on Monday and Tuesday nights. Despite having an epic savoury tooth I can’t help but develop intense cravings whilst watching Zumbo’s for… SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR. Enough, I thought. Time to whip up something decadent to enhance our viewing pleasure.  Frankly, I don’t think you can go past chocolate caramel slice, for me this is the ultimate treat, the king of home-baking. 

Here’s my recipe, it’s a bit of a hodge-podge of various recipes I’ve tried over the years.  

Now, don’t tell anyone… Sometimes I make it with…. Double the caramel topping.  I know.  I’m such a porker.  But try it, don’t  just shake your head in disbelief at my porkiness. (more…)

Kick-Ass Kumara, Kransky and Spinach Salad

Kick Ass Kumara, Kransky and Spinach SaladThe inspiration for this kick-ass kumara, kransky and spinach salad didn’t arise from the creative depths of my foodie brain, I’d better fess up to that, right now!   Nope, inspo for this dish comes from Salute Cafe and Deli in Taupo.  We did a roadie down to Taupo from Rotorua recently and called in at Salute for lunch.  I ordered hock and eggs, which is Salute’s version of Eggs Bene. It was it good, the coffee was hot and decent, but I had total food envy as both my Mum and Marissa, my brother’s girlfriend ordered this (rather boring sounding) ‘Kumara Salad’. When it arrived, I begged them for a taste. It was so good I took a photo, made a note of the flavours and promptly legged it to the supermarket to get the ingredients for dinner!  Mum keeps asking if I’ve blogged this recipe yet. Marissa’s already emailed me from Boston (she’s now back home) for the recipe. Last night I got a photo of the end result after she dished it up for dinner for her and my brother.  Best I get sharing. It’s clearly a goodie!   (more…)

Roast Carrot Salad with Spiced Yoghurt Dip and Dukkah

roast carrot salad spiced yoghurt dip dukkahSince a mate dropped off a whole heap of carrots, and I mean a whole heap (we took half to the neighbours) we’ve been going crazy on carrot related dishes.

So far, apart from my tried and tested cafe-style carrot cake, this Roast Carrot Salad with Spiced Yoghurt Dip and Dukkah, is in firmly our No1 Best Dish.   My fussy monkey of a son would debate that… He’s a fan of the humble carrot stick.  This is, more often than I care to admit, constitutes the vegetable component on his plate. Oh, sometimes we give him a chopped up apple (he doesn’t eat fruit…).  We’ve been making a little progress though: Recently he’s progressed to eating broccoli. Stop the bus.
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Cafe Style Carrot Cake Recipe

cafe style carrot cake recipeMy mate Cam dropped off a box of carrots and kiwifruit the other day. I have no idea where he got them from and, frankly, I’m too nervous to ask:  I might get arrested. Suffice to say there were enough carrots in there that I’ve been whipping up enough carrot related dishes to the point I’m wondering if we’ll turn orange.  That happened to my little brother once when he was a toddler. Crack up. Anyway, top on the lists of carrot culinary delights was my tried and tested cafe style carrot cake recipe that I’ve made on and off over the years (more years than I care to admit, cough. Shit. I’m old).  

This is one of those recipes that’s been handed around and I love going to a mate’s house to find they’ve made it (unless it’s better than my version… Then I feel aggrieved).   So if you’ve been on the hunt for a top notch carrot cake recipe, look no further, I’ve got you sorted.

This cake is moist, packed full of flavour and texture and super-filling (I know we shouldn’t be getting full on carrot cake, but good luck with that after you’ve made this).  Yeah, it’s delicious.  It’s also super healthy because it contains vegetables. Snort. Oh, it’s also beautifully decorated, if I do say so myself. As you may know I detest decorating cakes with a passion, so this is cake decorating at its best: Get some stuff and sprinkle it on. Easy and effective. Who can resist a pretty looking cake,  especially when there is no art or skill to it?

Lastly, as with a lot of my recipes, this is definitely one where you can substitute ingredients. Don’t like walnuts? Use chopped almonds. Not a date lover? Use raisins or craisins or even diced apricots. Can’t be arsed with faffing around decorating the cake – just use shredded coconut. Or don’t decorate the cake. Let the icing shine. You get my drift.  

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Cheeseball recipe – Cheeseboard on a budget!

cheeseball recipe

This cheeseball recipe is another one of those recipes that I’ve made on and off over a decade. It’s a recipe I actually got off my Aunty Lois. She’s a great cook and one day I asked her what her best recipe was. She paused and then said ‘my cheeseball’ – naturally I begged for the recipe and lucky she obliged! I can’t help myself, I’ve put my own spin on it over time. It’s become a great ‘go to’ recipe, particularly if we have people call in unexpectedly or at short notice as it’s something you can whip up without too much difficulty for nibbles: I always have cream cheese in the fridge and some salami (that’s a staple in my son’s lunchbox).  Note, in these situations I freeze the ball instead of chilling it in the fridge to speed things up.

Well, we’ve been on a reduced income since I started my new job and subsequently now work part-time, so frankly, pulling out an extravagant cheeseboard groaning with a stinky Kikorangi blue, vintage cheddar, double cream brie, cumin gouda, stuffed baby peppers and a selection of gourmet deli meats is no longer in my budget. That’s a bit of a bugger because a cheeseboard, as odd as this probably sounds for someone who loves cooking, is one of my favourite things to make, as well as eat, noting it’s not particularly conducive to being Weight Watchers friendly at the moment!  Anyway, since we’ve been on a reduced income I’ve totes ditched the cheeseboard and, instead, pulled out this old school favourite cheeseball recipe a few times as a ‘nibbley dish’. It always lands well with the punters and you can serve it up with any cracker, or even a nice loaf of ciabatta, meats, anything goes. I love it on dried apricots tucked into a slice of salami, but I’m a bit random like that.    On that note, there’s a heap of ways you can variate this recipe, be sure to check out the notes at the bottom of the recipe below.

Lastly, as the recipe below makes two balls (snigger… I’m so smutty and immature) I often keep one in the fridge (not rolled in nuts) and then stuff it into chicken breasts a few days later. I wrap the breasts in streaky bacon, pan fry them till they are golden on both sides, then bake them until the chicken is cooked. This is next level stuffed chicken breast – I promise.

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Autumn Salad with Spicy Chicken, Lentil and Pumpkin

Autumn Salad with Spicy Chicken, Lentil and Pumpkin
Since joining Weight Watchers three weeks ago I’ve fallen into the trap of eating more or less the same thing every night (roast chicken with a green salad) and I’m BORED.  This is really silly: There’s an abundance of recipes available through Weight Watchers, I’m usually really creative in the kitchen AND I’m working part-time now and I have ample time to cook dinner.  There’s no excuse for boring, uninspired and repetitive meals.

I made this Autumn Salad with Spicy Chicken Lentil and Pumpkin recipe this week after a being struck by a bit of inspo following browsing on the Weight Watchers member’s only section.  Also, I’d bought a GI-NORMOUS pumpkin from Countdown for $2 and this pumpkin required some serious tucking in. Anyhoo, the result was a warm, hearty, nutritious salad that was packed full of flavour, colour and was ‘viable’ in relation to Weight Watchers SmartPoints.  My hubby isn’t on Weight Watchers (skinny, active, healthy bugger) so I’m trying to up the anti on meals that don’t blow the points budget for me and meals that hubby enjoys. Hubby and I both loved this dish, we had it as a main course and, as there was only two people eating it, there was enough the next night for a repeat dinner performance (needless to say the kid didn’t eat this dish. He had ham steaks with potatoes, carrot and pineapple. Sigh).

You can funk the salad up even further by adding fried haloumi, diced feta, also some olives would also be a delicious addition!   Or even, for those not on the ‘trying to shrink bandwagon’,  chorizo would be a scrummy addition!  This recipe, if I do say so myself, is ‘friends-over-for-dinner-worthy’. On that note, I’m taking it sans chicken to my next pot luck dinner as a side salad. (more…)

Stacked Eggplant with Roast Tomato Feta and Pesto

stacked eggplant with roast tomato feta and pesto

We headed down to Ohariu Valley in Wellington over Easter to have a long (and very overdue) with our extended family. The good news for me is that the majority of the whanau are foodies, and they have a dream kitchen, with views of the countryside that are to bloody die for. One of the first questions I’m usually  hit with when I arrive is “what shall we cook?” Oh yes: That’s one of my favourite questions…!  For Easter Sunday dinner I made these stacked eggplant with roast tomato, feta and pesto. They were supposed to be the accompaniment to a huge leg of roast lamb, but the positive feedback received would suggest that this eggplant concoction was the hero of the meal and the lamb should step aside!

I’ve made these stacked towers of goodness in the past for as a main course (with a side salad), suffice to say they always go down a treat and it’s a good dish to have up your sleeve if you are feeding vegetarians.  This is the first time time I’ve coated the eggplant with panko breadcrumbs and fried ’em, but it was a total winner and I’ll be doing it again – when I’m off Weight Watchers though! A lighter version, and how I usually do them is to simply brush the eggplant with olive oil and grill them on the BBQ. They are delicious done this lighter way, but the fried panko version was next level because of the nutty crunchy dimension!  Besides, everything tastes good fried in olive oil, eh?  Sigh…. No wonder the clothes in my wardrobe are pulling me the birdie!

Note, it looks like a long winded (read, labour intensive recipe) but I did this in stages throughout the day. Made the pesto the day before. Roasted the tomatoes – set these aside. Went for a quad bike ride. Cooked the eggplant, prettied my face up before visitors arrived. Assembled the eggplant stacks when the lamb came out of the oven and was quietly resting on the bench.  Seemed like no trouble at all…

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