September: Magazine Recipes

Absolutely love that asparagus announces spring’s arrival and we all know that means summer is sneaking up on us too. While the latest food magazines are bursting with spring fare, September’s recipe roundup is more 'any time of the year' fare – simple ideas packed full of flavour.

It’s not often I cook from a book purchased the same weekend but having sampled the delights of roast salmon with lemony crème fraiche from Unna Burch, The Forest Cantina’s new book My Garden Table, at a Cook the Books ‘meet the author’ event I couldn’t resist recreating the dish for friends on a Sunday night.

Roast salmon with beans and couscous

Roast salmon with beans and couscous

The original idea was a lazy Sunday dinner and to get everyone cooking.  When one friend arrived with a back injury and another texted to say she had lost track of time, it was easy enough to delegate the small tasks and get things underway.  

Baked feta and rosemary, drizzled with honey and a sprinkle of dukkah (someone forgot to buy walnuts) – served with oat biscuits and a Pinot Gris it was a match made in heaven. It’s my take on a recipe from Petite Kitchen. This time it was cooked slightly longer and served in the ramekin, keeping it nice and warm, just watch those fingers on the dish.

A drizzle of honey before serving takes this dish up a notch

A drizzle of honey before serving takes this dish up a notch

Followed by roast salmon topped with a lemon crème fraiche dressing on a bed of herb-infused Israeli couscous and a side of beans with toasted almonds. Simple and very satisfying; better still it was ready in less than 40 minutes.

Dusted with icing sugar and a dollop of softly whipped cream, these super easy and delicious rhubarb tarts were the perfect finish to the night. The recipe is up on Dish Magazine’s website: Simple Rhubarb Tarts.

Homegrown rhubarb, on store bought pastry

Homegrown rhubarb, on store bought pastry

It wouldn’t be a recipe round-up without some baking.  In this house bananas only get eaten if they are slightly on the green side; as soon as one spot appears they end up in the freezer.  Having made an extremely decadent banana cake with whiskey caramel and whipped crème, although not as photogenic as Donna Hay’s version in Canvas Magazine, the latest Dish Magazine #62’s Banoffee Loaf with Anzac Crumble was the perfect excuse to clear the freezer of bananas.

Moist banana loaf studded with crunchy toffee and topped with Anzac crumble

Moist banana loaf studded with crunchy toffee and topped with Anzac crumble

Fingers crossed October brings warmer days and longer evenings now daylight saving has arrived.  It’s time to spruce up the backyard, plant summer salad vegetables and get that BBQ cranked up, if you haven’t done so already.

Watch out for the October review, and don’t be surprised if asparagus makes an appearance or two!

Michelle



 

Bookchat: Wine, Food and Conversation

It was an intimate affair.  Enticed by wine, food and conversation – for many of us that’s what Friday nights are designed for – Cook the Books ‘meet the author’ event paired Unna Burch from The Forest Cantina with Turanga Creek organic wines. 

Enjoying a chat with Unna Burch

Enjoying a chat with Unna Burch

The chatter was lively.  The Pinot Gris, perfect with the roast salmon on herb couscous – recipes from Unna’s recently released book, ‘My Garden Kitchen: easy weekday and slow food weekends’. And who could resist the sweet indulgence of home baked biscuits, just like Mum used to make.

Roast salmon and herb couscous

Roast salmon and herb couscous

Fabulous organic wines from Turanga Creek

Fabulous organic wines from Turanga Creek

Surrounded by a small group of passionate foodies, Unna’s story was told from the heart. A self-taught cook, Unna declared her absolute obsession with food and photography – especially the use of natural light for capturing the perfect image. For six months she wrote up the recipes she shared with her family and friends, cooked and cooked some more, styled and photographed the book.  Her drive for perfection was such that when her Mum finally persuaded her to get a new camera part way through the cookbook process, she chose to reshoot many of the images.

Unna signing my copy of My Garden Table 

Unna signing my copy of My Garden Table 

Unna’s life is built of many layers – a sustainable family centred one.  Her first creative influences were her grandparents: her Grandma a brilliant home cook; her Grandad a keen gardener and photographer. Everyone in her family cooks except her husband Aaron and her Dad but then they probably don’t need to.  In “The Hilton” of chicken coops (built by Unna’s builder husband Aaron), it took 2 and ½ years to breed chickens from eggs laid under broody hens, to produce 10 different coloured eggshells – now that is obsessive! A life of sustainable living surrounded by trees and terraced vegetable gardens, with fresh honey from their own beehives – Aaron is a beekeeper and one day they hope to produce commercial honey too.

Unna’s advice to us all, Do what you love. Ensure a genuine feel to what you do!’

Michelle & Unna

Michelle & Unna

I look forward to participating in Unna’s food styling and photography workshop in Tauranga in mid-November; to hear how Unna has leveraged social media to share her story, her vision and turn her passion into a business. Spaces are limited for these workshops in Tauranga, Hawkes Bay and Wellington so check the website The Forest Cantina / SHOP for information.

Don’t forget to take a look at the behind the scenes video The Forest Cantina / my cookbook

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Michelle

Baking Ninjas

Everyone loves a surprise. This weekend I joined ‘Baking Ninjas’ nationwide baking for total strangers.  People, nominated by someone in their local community, who deserved to receive some home baking – a random act of kindness.

Parcels are wrapped in packaging that the recipient can keep.  Addressed with the recipient’s first name, a poem or note and a list of ingredients are enclosed with the baking too. 

Chocolate and cranberry cookies surround a lemon and blueberry bundt cake

Chocolate and cranberry cookies surround a lemon and blueberry bundt cake

On Sunday morning awoke to drizzle – a deceptively light rain, the sort that somehow manages to soak right through every layer. How the hell was I was going to deliver parcels of baking in 'stealth mode' without a brolly!

Early and wet, the neighbourhood was quiet.  The first house was at the end of a right of way.  I walked briskly down the drive, ducking under the eaves to keep the parcel dry and me out of sight.  Leaving the cake on the front door step, I retreated to the car, delighted I had not been caught.  Next time, I’ll remember dropping the bags of cookies in letterboxes was far easier, with less risk of getting spotted – and I didn’t get as wet either.

‘Baking ninjas’ nationwide made strangers smile this past weekend. Don’t wait to volunteer next year – a random act of kindness can be made at any time and in so many ways.

Have a great week.

Michelle

ps if someone you know mentions they received a sunflower cake, 'Ninjas' the word!

What’s happened to the Sunday Roast?

Slow cooked tender meat with hearty gravy made from pan juices and bits of meat stuck fast to the roasting dish. A crispy whole chicken stuffed with lemon, garlic and fresh herbs.  Crackling that snaps when you take your first mouthful.  Roast potatoes that are crunchy on the outside with soft and fluffy inners. Good things take time.

Lemon Roast Chicken

Lemon Roast Chicken

Time is what has happened to the Sunday roast.  It takes time to prepare and cook a roast.  People need time to relax and enjoy one another’s company without rushing off.  Sometimes people need a gentle nudge.  There’s no denying the commercialism of Selak’s NZ Roast Day (Sunday 2 August); recipes by celebrity chef, Simon Gault matched with Selak wines but the excuse to bring extended family and friends together and enjoy fabulous New Zealand food and wine is what really resonated.

Roast Pork Belly

Roast Pork Belly

When time is not on my side the ‘chicken brick’, a fortieth birthday present, is the perfect solution.  A whole stuffed chicken cooks slowly inside the brick as the oven warms up from cold to hot and is ready in less than 90 minutes.  Crunchy skin, moist flesh and enough juices for someone to make delicious gravy, while someone else carves.

The chicken brick in action

The chicken brick in action

So whether it’s roast pork belly, lemon chicken, sticky ribs or simply a roast vegetable salad with crumbly feta – let’s make time.

Five spice sticky ribs

Five spice sticky ribs

Simple roast vegetable salad

Simple roast vegetable salad

Enjoy your week.

Michelle

NOTE: All photos were taken by The Foodie Inc and include images taken during the photoshoot for Celebrate! Churchill Park 50th Jubilee Cookbook (2014)

July: Magazine Recipes

Sshhh... opportunities to utilise July’s post-it marked recipes while away on short breaks in the Bay of Plenty and Waiheke Island with friends were squandered. On the flip side, four new recipes were devoured and June’s Chicken Sausages with Lentils, Walnuts and Feta from Dish Issue 60 June / July 2015, a hit last month, was made again.

Lazy Sunday Night Fare

Wow!  Taste magazine’s stunning cover ‘Trio of sugars’ cake with caramel pears caught my eye but recreating that cover would need to wait for a special occasion.  One wintry afternoon snuggled on the couch with a coffee, Katie Quinn Davies’ article Italian love affair hooked me in – Spaghetti with tomato, bacon, capers and mint. A quick trip to the supermarket, bacon swapped for chicken bacon, this winter-warming dish will most definitely get made again.

Prep done...

Prep done...

The new look Taste magazine The July / August Issue 112 is on sale now or if you can’t wait, the recipe is on Katie’s website:

What Katie Ate » Spaghetti with tomato, bacon, mint and capers

Spaghetti with tomatoes bacon capers and mint

Spaghetti with tomatoes bacon capers and mint

Easy Mid-week Vegetarian Dinner

For an easy mid-week vegetarian dinner you can’t go past the Roasted Cauliflower and Sage Butter Chickpeas from Farro Fresh’s Winter Feast magazine (available in stores). The herbaceous buttery sauce transformed the cauliflower and chickpeas into a tasty wholesome dish – perfect on its own or served as a side dish with pan fried fish.  Simply scrumptious!

Simmering sage butter

Simmering sage butter

Roasted cauliflower with sage butter chickpeas

Roasted cauliflower with sage butter chickpeas

Family Dinner

Thick stalks of rhubarb from a friend’s Waiheke garden deserved something more than a crumble. Family for Sunday night dinner provided the perfect excuse for a two courses.  Chicken with Mushrooms and Tarragon Dish Issue 60 June / July 2015 worked a treat as our main, served on a bed of quinoa with brown and black rice. There was even enough for leftovers for lunch the next day.

Chicken with mushroom and tarragon

Chicken with mushroom and tarragon

Having never attempted a clafoutis before the texture of the Rhubarb and Apple Clafoutis from Cuisine Magazine July 2015 was unexpected – the pudding was punctured with fragrant vanilla bean and best served warm with runny cream. The dessert is free of refined sugar too!

Mascerating the rhubarb

Mascerating the rhubarb

Rhubarb and Apple Clafoutis

Rhubarb and Apple Clafoutis

While you get so many more recipes from the printed magazines, for some immediate inspiration or more online recipes:

Farro Fresh – Your Everyday Fresh Market

Taste - Recipes | Baking | How to cook

Dish: Good Enough to Eat

Cuisine News | Stuff.co.nz

Enjoy your Sunday. I’m making time to mark recipes in the latest pile of food magazines!

Michelle


 

Coffee and Ginger Gems

Arriving home from Waiheke Island an unremarkable brown cardboard box sat at the front door.   Inside, a preview tub of The Collective NZ's latest limited edition yoghurt with my name on it!

A tub of yoghurt with my name on it

A tub of yoghurt with my name on it

Perfect with cereal and fruit at breakfast, the coffee yoghurt was a hit.  But sometimes a little baking experimentation is called for.  Ginger gems are quick to throw together when unexpected people turn up.   

Here's a variation on a basic gem recipe - coffee and ginger gems:

  • 60 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 c caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 c flour
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c coffee yoghurt
  • 1/2 c strong coffee (double strength plunger coffee)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 20 g extra unsalted butter
  1. Heat gem iron in oven at 200 deg C.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. 
  3. Add egg and beat until combined, then fold in golden syrup.
  4. Sift flour, ginger and salt into mixture, then fold together using a large metal spoon (mixture might be quite thick at this point).
  5. Add yoghurt to the warm (not hot) coffee and mix together, then add baking soda and quickly whisk.  
  6. Fold into wet mixture until just combined - do not over mix (mixture will now be a batter).
  7. Remove gem iron from oven.  Divide extra butter between gem iron hollows then spoon batter into the sizzling butter. Fill to top with one large spoonful but don't overfill.  
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Serve warm with an extra dollop of yoghurt.
Coffee and ginger gems - hot out of the oven

Coffee and ginger gems - hot out of the oven

 The Collective NZ's  limited edition coffee yoghurt launches week commencing 27 July in stockists nationwide – if you love coffee, you'll love the taste.

Happy baking.

Michelle

June: Magazine Recipes

The month of June disappeared and today’s self-imposed deadline to feature My Food Magazine Resolution loomed large.  Recipes were marked weeks ago but too many choices and procrastination had set in.  It did seem rather short notice to ask friends over for dinner.  

Finally on Thursday, yes Thursday was technically in July but with the need to cook something for dinner, settled on Chicken Sausages with Lentils, Walnuts and Feta from Dish Issue 60 June / July 2015.  The winter salad promised hearty ingredients: delicious roasted beetroot, creamy feta and a gutsy mustard dressing. It sounded perfect for a cold Auckland day.

The original recipe and photo

The original recipe and photo

The pantry and fridge were checked for ingredients on hand.  The recipe stated Puy lentils but an open packet of quinoa and brown rice beckoned to be used.  A quick trip up the road was made to grab the missing items. Checking the ingredients list discovered the chicken sausages had beef casings so a plan B was put in place.  Rosemary, sage and parsley vegetarian sausages sounded rather tasty and unless mentioned would anyone really notice.

So here’s The Foodie Inc's take on the recipe, and by the way one more substitution – horseradish instead of Dijon mustard: Vegetarian Sausages, Quinoa, Walnuts and Feta.

Roast baby beets and red onions

Roast baby beets and red onions

Parsley, spring onions, feta and walnuts

Parsley, spring onions, feta and walnuts

The Foodie Inc version: Vegetarian Sausages, Quinoa, Walnuts and Feta

The Foodie Inc version: Vegetarian Sausages, Quinoa, Walnuts and Feta

The verdict: absolutely delicious if I do say so myself! To get your hands on the original recipe pick up a copy of Dish Magazine Issue 60 June / July, it’s still on sale.

Next month the plan is to be more organised, use more than one magazine, make more than one recipe and invite friends over for dinner too. Look out for July’s food magazine review on Friday 31 July.

Enjoy your weekend.

Michelle