17 April 2018

Ota ika round 3

I've blogged about ota ika before, not long after a trip to Tonga and again more recently.  It's a dish that would be somewhere in my top 5.  So fresh, so refreshing, full of flavours straight from the outdoors.  We had gurnard cerviche (another term for ota ika) at a local restaurant, Fahrenheit (amazing, by the way!), over the weekend, so determined to whip up a batch at home for our Monday-night meal.  

This time we used snapper, but have used gurnard, trevally and tarakihi in the past as well.  The key is to use more lemon or lime than you think you need, and more herbs.  We used a kaffir lime leaf too, finely chopped.  

2 fillets fish
3 lemons, juiced
1 tin coconut cream
heaps of fresh coriander
1 kaffir lime leaf
2 tomatoes, half a telegraph cucumber, 1 red onion, 1 capsicum - finely chopped into salsa

  1. Cut fish into small pieces.  Cover with lemon juice.  Cover bowl and place in fridge for several hours to cure. 
  2. About an hour or 2 before ready to eat mix through all other ingredients.  Return to fridge. 
  3. Serve with extra coriander and some chopped nuts or seeds.  

11 April 2018

Lemon herb butter (for outta this world fish!)

Fish, roast potatoes and steamed vegetables.  A pretty standard early-week dinner staple at our house.  Last night was that night, but I wanted to try something new.  I was thinking of swapping out the crispy roast tatties for some other form of potato dish (maybe rosti?), but in my recipe trawling stumbled upon this little beauty of a sauce from Chelsea Winter.  Lemon, herbs and garlic butter, drizzled all over our snapper.  It was tangy and divine!  I was supposed to fry up some capers too, alongside the fish, but I forgot - will have to make this again next week!!  

Makes enough for 4 people's fish 

50 g butter
1/2 cup finely chopped herbs (I used chives, parsley and basil - dill would be nice too)
1 clove garlic, crushed 
zest of one lemon
1.5 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup capers, to fry alongside the fish


  1. Melt butter and cook garlic on medium heat.  Cook for a few minutes, remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, zest and half the herbs.  
  2. Drizzle over cooked and plated fish.  Sprinkle with remaining herbs.  

Nek level banana choc chip muffanos

Who doesn't love a freshly-baked muffin?  Banana choc chip and blueberry would be my favs.  Oh, and apple cinnamon.  

These little beauties are a recipe from Chelsea Winter's latest cookbook, Eat, and I was curious to try a recipe which used brown sugar and curdled milk was used (buttermilk would work here in place of the milk + lemon juice).  I'd heard through the grapevine that they were "the best banana choc chip muffins ever!", and they have lived up to that praise!  

Now, what makes these nek level?  I didn't have any choc chips, so used mini M&Ms.  YUMMMMM!!  

1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
200 g butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence 
2 very ripe bananas
1 cup choc chips (or similar hee hee) 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan-bake (or 200 normal bake).  Grease muffin tins (I made 24 mini muffins and 6 normal ones).  Probably would make about 18 normal sized ones? 
  2. Add lemon juice to milk (in a mug, or something non-metallic) and set aside to curdle.  
  3. Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.  
  4. Beat eggs in another bowl until smooth.  Melt butter and brown sugar in saucepan until just melted.  Add butter, milk and vanilla to eggs and whisk to combine. 
  5. Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients and whisk to combine - don't overmix it, just enough to combine everything.  Once combined fold through the banana and chocolate.  
  6. Spoon into muffin trays (fill to top).  
  7. Bake for 10 minutes (mini muffins) or 20 minutes (normal muffins) - they'll be slightly golden on top but still nicely soft in centre. 
  8. Once removed from oven leave in trays for 10 minutes before turning onto cooling rack.  Enjoy!!   

21 March 2018

Curried sausages 2.0

It's been a crazy busy few months - hence the solo post so far in 2018.  But here we are - post numero deux!  No real excuses for the lack of meal inspiration, simply we've been away from home so much that I haven't really been cooking to far outside the box, trying new recipes.  

So, curried sausages - that's how you're going to shake things up?  Ha ha, yes and no.  I realise that curried sausages are something of a traditional staple of many a kiwi families weekly meal rotation (especially in winter!).  This is not just curried sausages however - this is curried sausages 2.0.  It's like the iPhoneX of the curried sausage world.  Thanks to Chelsea Winter, this is going to revolutionise your relationship with sausage casseroles and the like.  So tasty.  I think it's all the spices and the fresh ginger and lemon.  

(NB: I added a couple tsp of ras el hanout too, by mistake.  I'd totally make the same mistake next time too, 'cause it was awesome!)

6 sausages
dash olive oil
50 g butter
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 apple, finely chopped (leave skin on)
3 cloves garlic - crushed, grated or finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger - grated or finely chopped
2 tsp mild curry powder (if you want a spicy curry then use hot powder, and a little chili) 
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ras el hanout
1/2 tsp black pepper
400 ml coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp fruit chutney 
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup chopped zucchini (or frozen peas)
juice of 1 lemon
salt, to season to taste
chopped coriander or parsley, to serve
  1. Pour a little oil into large frying pan and brown the sausages.  They don't need to be cooked through, just browned.  Remove and set aside to cool a little.  Once they're cool enough to handle, slice 'em up.  
  2. Add butter to pan saussies were cooked in and cook onion and carrot over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until soft and golden.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger, cook for a few minutes.  Add in all spices and combine.  
  3. Add sausages back to the curry, coat with spices etc.  Add in coconutm stock, chutney and paste.  Simmer on low-medium heat for about 40 minutes. 
  4. Add zucchini and simmer for a few minutes more.  If there is too much liquid, ramp up the heat factor for this cooking.  
  5. Squeeze lemon all over and season to taste with salt. 
  6. Serve with mash or rice (I'm going kumara-potato mash) and sprinkled with fresh herbs.  Enjoy!!


17 January 2018

Tataki beef salad with ponzu

Salads, they're a staple of summer.  Hot days, light foods.  And BBQ, another summer staple.  So when the two get together we're talking serious summer chemistry.  Chicken caesar salad is definitely a popular go-to in the warm meat salad category.  But personally I prefer a warm beef salad.

Tataki is a type of cooking where the meat/fish is more or less just seared, then sliced up.  So essentially it's close to a sashimi salad - the meat is not cooked through (you can cook your meat more, if you prefer, but if you like rare meat, this will be right up your alley!).  

As a dish, it was sort of like eating deconstructed sushi, which I loved!  I'm not normally a fan of brown rice, but with some ponzu dressing (or just good ol' soy sauce), it was awesome.  

1 cup brown rice
1 tsp oil (I used sesame)
2 cups water

300 g beef rump steak
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar 
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp sweet chili sauce
1/2 tsp oil (I used sesame) 

10 cm cucumber, halved and sliced
1/2 capsicum, finely sliced
2 radishes, finely sliced
50 g mesclun lettuce (or chopped up cos)

ponzu dressing, to drizzle *

Serves 2-3

  1. Boil water in kettle.  Put rice and oil in saucepan (one with a lid) and stir to coat.  Once water boils add to rice and stir.  Keep stirring until water level has reduced almost to the level of the rice.  Turn element to low, cover saucepan with a paper towel and firmly put lid on.  Leave simmering for 20 minutes then turn off.  Keep covered until you're ready to eat (this will stay hot for another good 20 minutes.  
  2. Place beef into bowl with mariniade ingredients (I like to do this earlier in the day, so the flavours have plenty of time to meld - if you do this, cover and pop into the fridge).  
  3. Prepare salad.  
  4. Heat pan for beef (or BBQ plate).  Sear and cook for about 2 minutes on each side.  Remove and rest for 5 minutes.  Slice against the grain and serve alongside rice and atop salad.  Drizzle the whole with ponzu * (you can make this yourself, or you could just use a little soy mixed with a dash of lemon/lime and brown sugar).  

19 December 2017

Send your salad to the Med

I've recently been given a copy of Chelsea Winter's new cookbook 'Eat'.  It is full of great recipes - most of them easy to make, and easy to tweak (to suit more simple tastes, or tarted up for an occasion).  Adaptability, my cup of tea.  

It's the festive season which, in the Antipodes, means BBQs and pre-Christmas gatherings.  We were invited to a pre-Christmas dinner over the weekend, for which we were asked to bring a salad.  I have a couple of good go-to salads (this kumara one is a goodie!!), but felt like I needed to try something new.  This Mediterranean-inspired one was perfect - light, but filling, and extremely tasty (even more so the next day!).  I changed a few things, to suit what I had in the fridge, and that's the beauty of a salad.  

Happy summer, buon appetito!!  

400 g cherry tomatoes (just shy of two little punnets)
1 bulb garlic, not peeled or separated
2 tsp dry oregano 
olive oil
1/2 cup pinenuts, toasted 
1 cup bulghur wheat (or quinoa would work well)
1/2 red onion, finely chopped 
1 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (I used basil, mint, thyme and chives)
150 g feta, in small chunks (I used a basil reduced salt one, but up to you)
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthways and sliced
1 capsicum, chopped into 1 cm pieces 
NB: Chelsea used olives rather than zucchini and capsicum - up to your tastes

Dressing: 
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dry dill (I used tarragon) 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
  1. Heat oven to 180 fan-bake.  Put garlic bulb on roasting try and drizzle with oil and sprinkle with dried oregano.  I kept the cherry tomatoes raw, but you could roast them too, if you liked (drizzle and sprinkle them too, plus a little sugar).  Either way, slice them up (halves for roasting, quarters for raw).  Toast for about 30 minutes.   
  2. Toast pine nuts in a dry pan.  They take a while to get going, but keep them moving 'cause once they start to toast they will burn really quickly.  I like to do a large batch and keep the excess in a jar once they're cooled down (save having to do the toasting each time you want to use toasted pine nuts).  
  3. Put bulghur and zucchini into a large glass or ceramic bowl and cover with about 3 cups of water.  Stir then leave for a good ten-fifteen minutes to soak.  When it's ready the wheat should be a little soft but with a nice firm bite to it (not soggy).  Pour into a sieve to drain.  
  4. Put all dressing ingredients into a glass jug, or a medium bowl.  Cut base off the roasted garlic bulb and squeeze garlic cloves into the dressing mix (they'll be soft).  Mash up and stir to combine.  
  5. Combine everything together in a large serving bowl.  Drizzle with dressing and top with feta.  


23 November 2017

Lemongrass + ginger BBQ chicken

This tasty marinated chicken is (a slight adaptation) from Chelsea Winter's latest book, Eat.  Yum!!  Would work as kebabs, or chopped smaller for in tacos...  

500 g chicken breast (or thigh)
4 stalks lemongrass (hard end removed), bashed and finely chopped
good dash oil (I used sesame) 
2-3 tbsp finely grated ginger root
1 clove grated/minced garlic
1 tbsp fish sauce 
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup fresh coriander
zest + juice of 1 lime
1-2 makrut (kaffir) lime leaves (stem removed), finely chopped
ground black pepper
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce 

Serves 4

  1. Cut chicken into chunks (either bite-sized, or slightly larger).  Place in bowl with all other ingredients.  Marinate for a few hours (or overnight, if you're onto it enough to have your dinner planned the day before!).  
  2. Cook on hot BBQ or in hot pan (probably need to do this in batches).  
  3. Serve with salad (we had roast kumara/green salad, and asparagus).