Foodie

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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Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

cookies and cream cheesecake

Right.  This isn’t my recipe, let’s get that out of the way. Nope, this mega morsel of delicious-ness was the brainchild of my nine year old son (albeit with a little bit of help from his Mumma). He’s been on a cheesecake creation bender for the last month and he’s been churning out all sorts of cheesecake concoctions. This Cookies and Cream Cheesecake is the best cheesecake yet!  Being a child that was raised well (ha),  he’s happy to share his recipe.  Enjoy. 

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Muhammara Dip (Red Capsicum and Walnut Dip)

 

Muhammara Dip RecipeOriginally a Syrian recipe, this Muhammara Dip (red capsicum and walnut) is often found as part of a meze platter.  My friend Marie introduced me to this heavenly concoction and I instantly begged her for the recipe. I’ve played around with the recipe a bit (I can’t bloody help myself) and the result is this creamy red capsicum dip, with a hint of tartness and sweetness from the pomegranate molasses. If you like hummus, get cracking and make this, it is, if I do say so myself, phenomenal, and it’s wayyyyyy nicer than any hummus I’ve tried.  It’s so good, I’ve made three batches of this in just over a week (!) and we are having it with everything:   It goes beautifully with my morning poached eggs on toast, mixed in with yogurt as a creamy salad dressing, as a side sauce with roast veges, it’s also amazeballs with BBQ chicken. Oh, and it’s shit-hot in sandwiches in the place of mayo or sugar-laden relishes and chutneys.   

I’ve made my Muhammara dip in my Nutribullet, and it works perfectly. You can, of course, use a food processor (I try to avoid using mine as much as possible because I’m lazy: I detest washing it up and putting it away in the cupboard!).  Having looked at some other versions of the recipe online, I’ve noted the more traditional methods of making this dip is actually in a mortar and pestle, so the result is a dip that’s got a coarse, pesto-like, consistency. Yum, I’ll give this more authentic method a bash at some stage.

Note, If you don’t have pomegranate molasses – don’t fret, just leave it out, it’s not a deal breaker. In fact, I only just included pomegranate molasses in my latest batch as I only just made a trip to Vetro to get some more.  Up until then I’d added a couple of dates for sweetness and a half teaspoon of balsamic vinegar in an attempt to get the sweet/tart hit (it worked well and I high-fived myself on my Kiwi cooking ingenuity).  Similarly if you don’t have any smoked paprika, or cumin (etc), just leave it out.  Feel free to add in a handful of fresh mint (I tried that – thumbs up). If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ll know I’m a big fan of ‘making do’ in the kitchen, it’s such fun and some of my best recipes have come as a result of improvising. Get your creative on! (more…)

Best Ever Chunky Guacamole Recipe

guacamole recipeI’ve been hit up by a couple of friends over the summer holidays pointing out that my chunky guacamole recipe isn’t on my blog. Opps!  Best I fix that!  It seriously is the best ever guacamole I’ve ever tried. Yes, I know that’s a big claim!

This guacamole recipe is reasonably well known across several groups of my friends:  I’ve been making guacamole in my Napier circle of friends since sixth or seventh form (I’m old skool – I still think of school years in ‘form years’!).  As for my Rotorua buddies, they first had this in Ohope three or four years ago.  It made such an impact I dished out the recipe and the name got a rebrand: They call it ‘Holy Moly Ohope Guacamole’, LOL. It’s slightly more sexy than plain old ‘Guacamole’, I guess.  Anyway,  lots of my friends tell me they now make guacamole using this recipe which chuffs me to bits. However, it turns out I’ve been a bit lax by  not sharing the recipe on my blog. Suffice to say I’ve kicked myself up the bum!  So, here you go, embrace the rest of the avocado season here in the Southern Hemisphere! (more…)

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream – Nutribullet style

chocolate banana ice cream NutribulletI’m still head over heels in love with my Nutribullet, which is just as bloody well, as I dithered for ages trying to decide: a) Should I get one?  Then, b) Once I’d decided yes to a), which model should I get? Much research on this followed and in the end, I got so overwhelmed, when we were in Briscoes, and I was about to have a melt down, my nine year old said “Mum, for an extra $30 you might as well get the McDaddy powerful one”. He’s so wise. I listened.  Incidentally, do you ever find that, sometimes big decisions are easy – and the little ones see you scratching your head and pondering until the cows come home? My Mum will, at this point, recall that it took me 18 months to decide what dining room table I wanted to buy (after deciding to list mine on Trade Me, spontaneously, to “see if it would sell”. It did). 

Anyhoo, one of the tasty treats I’m really enjoying whipping up in my Nutribullet is ice cream.   I’ve always got a stash of frozen bananas in the freezer as my local greengrocer gives them away once they’ve started to “turn a bit manky” and I snap ’em up. What can I say? I’m an opportunist. Frozen bananas are amazeballs as these lend themselves superbly to be whipped to smithereens for smoothies and now, I’ve discovered, – ice cream.  I’ve played around with a few flavours and my favourite, hands down, is chocolate banana.  It’s such a simple dessert and that it’s guilt free on the account of no refined sugar (yeah, I’m still on my reduced sugar soap box). Dairy free peeps will be ALL OVER THIS too. Frankly, what’s not to love? (more…)

Zoodles with avo pesto cream and haloumi

 

I got home from exercising after work one night last week and the cheesy aroma of toasties hit me as I walked in the door.  “Hi”, hubby said. “Want toasties for dinner?” Whilst I was rapt he’d been proactive, thanks, but no thanks, I didn’t want toasties. I’m trying to avoid bread and starchy carbs at the moment. Why? Oh, you know…. I had a bloody good holiday and ate (and drank) with reckless abandon.  I refuse to weigh myself so I have no idea of the damage: I gauge my weight by the fit of my clothes.  Unfortunately my jeans and I to have momentarily parted being friends and, hell, a new skirt I got at the start of the December is saying “yeah nah, you can’t wear me!” Holy moly, it staggers me how quick I can do damage to my waistline.  Anyhow,  somewhat predictably, I’m on that post New Year’s health regime (and I’m motivated, so long may that continue) so no toasties weren’t really on my dinner cards.  With a rumbling tummy I rummaged in the fridge, fighting off cravings for bread or pasta. Then, out of nowhere, healthy, creative and delicious inspiration struck!  I love it when that happens.   This zoodle with avo pesto cream and haloumi dish was the result of that inspiration and cured me good and proper of my pasta and cheese cravings.   Conveniently I was aided by having a perfectly ripe avo on hand that needed devouring and I’d made a batch of basil pesto I’d made a few days previously.  FYI My stock standard pesto recipe is here by the way, noting the recipe is actually is for coriander pesto, but to make basil pesto just replace the calling for coriander with basil, easy as!

I posted a photo of this dish on my blog’s Facebook page and it got a bit of interest.  In fact, by the time I woke up the next morning, my UK foodie Aunty, Angie, had been to Tescos, made the recipe and eaten it and sent me a message of the finished dish with claims of “Delicious! We loved it and we’ll be making this again!”   Cool!  Since then two of my colleagues have made it for dinner and they’ve given me raving feedback.  Lastly, I’ve also made it again and this time I served it up to my vege-dodging husband.  He declared it “beautiful and delicious” (he’s not known for his compliments, so this is a revelation).

I know the recipe is on Facebook, but experience has taught me it’s not easy to re-find recipes I post there, so here it is, blogged, you know, all proper like. (more…)

Asparagus with dukkah and hollandaise sauce

asaparagus hollandaise and dukkah recipeI’ve been dithering about whether I should blog this recipe for asparagus with dukkah and Hollandaise sauce.  Why? Because it’s so easy: It’s one of those recipes that’s ‘not really a recipe’. But I decided to for two reasons:  Firstly, it was my favourite dish on our 2015 Christmas table (well, actually, we dish up on the kitchen bench, but let’s not split hairs) and, secondly: Recipes that are ‘too easy to be really be recipes” are my kind of, err, recipes.  This recipe is super low in prep faff factor, mainly as I always have a stash of dukkah in the pantry that’s ready to go at all times.  (more…)

Tomato Bruschetta – Make your taste buds flip flop

tomato bruschetta recipe nzWhat’s on my menu for Christmas Day? I am still pondering this, however, so far it’s got Damn Yummy Christmas Ham,  my Cable Bay inspired Beetroot and Quinoa salad and tomato bruschetta.  Speaking of tomato bruschetta, holy moly: This is one of my favourite summer recipes and I haven’t shared this recipe with you. Best I fix that and get sharing. I promise, it’s so good, it’ll make your taste buds flip flop.   (more…)