Our recent summer holiday saw us doing a huge roadie around parts of the North Island (i.e. Rotorua-Masterton-Wellington-Napier-Mahia-Cape Runaway-Rotorua-Napier-Rotorua. I lost track of how many kilometres we travelled. At last count it was over 2000km in 10 days. It’s been great from the perspective of the stunning scenery, tip top weather and catching up with friends, some of whom we haven’t seen in a long time. It’s ended up being a summer holiday I’ll remember for crayfish, gourmet salads, fantastic coffee, craft beer, lots of giggles and good books. I read for a large chunk of the roadie. I am extremely grateful to be able to read in the car: No travel sickness has ever been experienced by this wanderluster!
Anyway, last weekend, on our last few days of holiday we ended up in my hometown of Napier and we boosted it to the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market. Wow. So wow in fact, I took a heap of photos on my trusty Samsung S7 to share with you. Out of all of the things we saw and did on holiday, this was one of the best experiences. And I’ve been to this market plenty of times. (more…)
This carrot salad with toasted coconut and cashew was inspired by a recipe on the back of a carrot recipe! Needless to say the recipe got the “Lou Once-over” and this was the result. Yum, nailed it. My buddy Emma has road-tested it for me and declared it delicious.
I made this recipe in Wellington, on trip to Ohariu Valley to visit my hubby’s family. We had a good old-fashioned belated Christmas get-together and it was so much fun. This zingy carrot salad was served alongside Aunty Janet’s now famous roast turkey: Quite possibly the best turkey I’ve ever had (I want to say it was super moist, but so many people seem to have an allergic reaction to that ‘m’ word.. So I’ll put the word in brackets). Back to the salad, this would be a sensational addition to any BBQ. You could serve it hot – we had ours cold and it was perfection.
As you know, I like recipes that can be easily modified with different ingredients. This recipe is no exception. I reckon replacing the carrot with orange kumara would be delicious. Emma and I both agree that chopped dates or cranberries would also be tip-top.
Speaking of carrot salad recipes, have you tried this recipe for crunchy carrot, date and almond salad? This is another goodie!
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…)
The 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…)
Since 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.
My 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.
I’m already a die-hard fan of My Food Bag. So, when their new kid rolled off the block, Bargain Box, I was keen to give it a whirl. I’d already read a fair bit of hype and we were keen to see how it stacked up. What did we think? How does it compare to My Food Bag? Keep reading!
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.