Saturday, 29 June 2013

The food week that was

So what happened this week? Well my man learned how to make espresso and I created some pretty good meals from the tasty, fresh and local produce from the good people at Foodbox. Today Naomi and I converged on my deck (with left over pumpkin pie) to reflect on the food week that was: the trials (relationship-threatening ravioli making), the creative successes (fennel and apple salad, beetroot risotto) and the realisation that really we both need much better cameras!

The Foodbox Challenge: Cook with EVERYTHING in our FoodBox,  and be as creative as possible.

The ingredients:
Potato, celery, buttercup pumpkin, brussels sprouts (Naomi didn't get these), carrots, beetroot, broccoli, fennel, rhubarb, tamarillo, apples, oranges, kiwi fruit, lime, and bannanas.


Monday- Foodbox arrives and Naomi gets excited!

 Carrot and fennel slaw with masterstock chicken, egg noodles and lime and chili dressing.

Roast pumpkin, chicken and blue cheese ravioli. A classic but a goodie. Definitely roast the pumpkin if you have time rather than boiling it, it gives it a great deep caramelised flavour.

Potato, carrot, broccoli and tuna cornish pasties.
Definitely the highlight. I had been planning on using beef mince and going for a more traditional pastie, but on inspection, it turns out my mince was no longer edible... Its amazing how the potato, carrot and broccoli came together and were so delicious in the crispy soft pastry mmmm. Will definitely make this one again!

Green winter vegetable open lasagne (fennel, onion, celery, broccoli).

Roasted beetroot risotto with goats cheese and roasted walnuts. I also used the left overs to make arancini with panko crumbs, delicious...

Apple and rhubarb strudel with orange syrup.



 A little pre- yoga celery and green apple juice

Later on a juicy steak from my in-laws farm with potato and broccoli

 This, with some help from an Al Brown recipe, turned into....

... caramelized fennel, walnut, orange, and green apple salad with free range pork chop. I can't wait to make this again, good pork is so good and you can't go past putting apples with it. I've really only used fennel as a herb but its the perfect main event!

Gnocchi and beetroot with parsley. Had potatoes left over from last weeks Foodbox so used them for the gnocchi, roasted beetroot is so sweet and earthy.

I was invited to a Thursday taco night so made this buttercup pumpkin pie for dessert, everyone loved it. I think its quite American but it's really so good- nice way to sneak some extra veg in. I gave it to my man who 'has an aversion pumpkin'- he loved it! His six year old niece also loved it until, with one bite to go, I boldly declared "IT'S PUMPKIN!" then she stopped eating.

 Roasted brussels ravioli with parsley and broccoli sauce. Well this was quite the debacle due to me cutting corners, not being bothered to make pasta and buying wrappers that turned out to have an expiry date sometime back in early 2012. The ravioli disintegrated when i dropped it into boiling water. I had feelings that I imagine real chefs like Gordon Ramsay have ie: violent anger. It tasted amazing even if it looks like a green lump.

Finished my week with Rhubarb Cobbler. My man arrived home just in time for this and was amazed; A, that I was making dessert and B, that it was so amazingly delicious.

Indulging in a little more pumpkin pie- as you can see Naomi scoffed hers super fast.

The sunsets and we eat some more pie

I really enjoyed trying to use ingredients in different ways. I wouldn't normally make dessert but am so pleased I made the effort even if I will be eating Pumpkin Pie well into next week. While I had a slight disaster with the Roast Brussels Ravioli I would totally do this again as it tasted amazing and was full of green goodness. I can't wait to try doing Naomi's beetroot risotto, the colour looked amazing!

Our lovely friend Jane is getting a Foodbox next week and is known as a bit of a whizz in the kitchen; she's going all out and getting the Crowd Pleaser !

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Its Friday Yo!

Well well the week is nearly up and all I have left are some delicious little Brussels sprouts, which ill be whipping up into something so delightful that my lovely man will never even know what's hit him. Tomorrow afternoon over a nice cold something rather Naomi and I will compare, collate, collaborate etc and get some photos up. I've had a pretty good time trying to get creative and it certainly has made me think a bit differently about how I cook. I just had sneak peak at what will be in next weeks Foodbox and Im looking forward to Monday already (I know, right? Monday!).

In other unrelated news I was reading the latest Smith magazine that I bought for my man ( whose hands it has yet to reach) and read about the coolest new concept in milk dispensing in cafes. If youre a barista or have been one or have ever been into a cafe you've surely got a good idea of how many milk bottes they go through. Also how SUPER annoying it is that they have that little plasticy peel top that never peels properly and is a huge waste of time/materials/money etc/ . Anyway long story short these clever guys based in Sydney came up with The Juggler.

Click the link to find out more but its like a tap for milk! There is a bladder that can hold 10 Litres of milk underneath- no more bottles! no more time opening bottles! Seems like a win win to me.

Right, I can smell my little brussels roasting away ... Happy Friday everybody.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Foodbox Challenge

My friend Naomi recently got me onto the foodbox company. They deliver a box of fresh, local fruit and veg weekly to your door. I've done other things like this in the past but got sick of trying to get creative with potatoes and kale every week! I got my first box last week and had planned to do it fortnightly but it was so packed with variety and deliciousness that I had to order another for this week. To make life interesting I challenged Naomi to what I'm creatively calling "The Foodbox Challenge". The rules are fairly loose - cook with as much of the produce from the foodbox as possible throughout the week, be as creative as possible and take photos! 

At the end of the week I'll do a post of our weekly menus and you dear readers can decide and vote for which dishes you liked the best or who you thought got the most creative. There may even be a foodbox for one lucky reader ( Auckland, NZ area only sorry)

Happy eating...

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Because its Sunday and my outlook for the day has been stormy seas and grey skies I thought I would share some of the blogs Ive been perusing recently for inspiration - in the kitchen, things to wear, see, do , think etc!

Very good shots of European style, to me this site is actually 'street style' rather than ' on-the-street-outside-a-fashion-show style'.

Written by a South African girl, this blog contains a well put together mix of beautiful images, clothes, people and places. This blog really makes me wan to visit SA so i can go to all the wonderful places/shops she talks about, well worth checking out!

This is a food and photography blog that makes me want to become a photographer.  Based in Tasmania these two friends go out and source local food and turn it into delicious and stunning feasts. They document their adventures of meeting local producers, going fishing and discovering new ingredients- very inspiring!!

I used to love Thursday's listening to the amazing Charlotte Ryan on bfm talk to Simon Farrell-Green of Eat Here Now. Listeners could text or call in asking about good places to eat around Auckland. So Eat Here Now is his blog and showcases Aucklandland eateries. Quite good if you live in Auckland and maybe not so much if you dont sorry. On a side note I saw Simon at Queenstown airport recently and felt quite star struck but didn't say hi, a small regret in life thats comes a close second to not saying hi ( I love you and everything you do and say!!) to Rick Stein at Auckland airport. DAM IT.

I dont know if anyone else ( maybe the aforementioned Mr Stein) has made me laugh out loud or agree any more wholeheartedly than Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller. She inspired me to cut off  my hair, to layer like theres no tomorrow and to dress for yourself. She is incredibly witty and smart and  has amazing and original style. Ive been a fan for a long time and the love affair shall continue..

While on holiday over Christmas I walked around Paris day dreaming that I would bump into Garance, that we would have a little espresso together and she would hire me as her assistant on the spot to travel the world with her. This did not happen but very well could have as I loitered in the Tuileries until my nose nearly froze off. As with the man repeller I love Garances writing style - could be partly to do with French translation but she is very funny and also very to the point. While not a lot of what she writes about is super relevant to my life ( places to eat out in Corsica, the Celine latest resort Collection) it is very nice to dream and she takes cute little videos too.

The quest to know more, my lovely and multi-talented friend Emily recently started this blog. Heres her blub: There is so much to know in this world, so much to learn. It seems that in the life time of an average human they will only scratch the surface, a thought which is simultaneously exciting and sad. Rather than sit around contemplating how much there is to find out, and how little time I have to do it in, I thought it best to get cracking and start learning. Know More is the documentation of this process.

So go and explore and find out and know more.

good reads

Whenever possible I read a lot which is often to the detriment of my wallet as I do like to buy books although mainly second hand. As a child and teenager I would have 3 books on the go- I'm sure this must have been confusing for me and I really cant imagine myself following 3 different story lines now but who I am I to question my hormonal teenage brain. Come summertime, give me a beach and a (good) book and I'm set for hours; in winter the same but by a cosy fire. I don't get to read as much as I would like during term time but I more than make up for it during the holidays.

Last break I devoured  The kindness of your nature (Linda Olsson) in two days while camping but I hadn't taken anything else to read?!!  That led me in turn to buy my new favorite magazine, Yen, at the Coromandel Four Square. Anyway... apparently Linda Olsson is huge overseas (she is Swedish but now NZ based) and her stories often follow a similar theme but to me this story was quite magical and unique.

The start of this book reminded both me and my man of The Bone People (Kerri Hulme), very difficult to get into (I made 5 attempts at BP before loving it) but so so worth it once you're in. Olsson has a very restrained style that means the story unfolds slowly but perfectly in time. I will admit now to a tendency to skip large portions of books that I find boring. This did not happen in  The kindness of your nature, I hung on every word. I'm not going to totally review this book as Lisa Hill does it quite well here. But I recommend it. Part of the story is set in coastal Northland and Olsson really captures the beauty and the solitude of rural NZ. I don't want to give away any part of the story so I will only say that I was left thinking about it for a much longer time than any other book I have read. I made my man read it just so I could discuss at length what I was feeling (Men love talking about feelings). And yes, I cried.

Bonjour tristesse (Francoise Sagan) is a book I continue to go back to, partly to re-live the romantic sunny setting of the Mediterranean and partly because each time I notice something new or feel something different about one of the characters. I really enjoy French to English translations- it may just be the authors I have read but to me there is a real French style that is to the point and sort of nonchalant. Sagan has this attitude down, especially since she was around 18 when she wrote this book. The main character Cecile is lovable for her honesty and the unashamed way she embraces her life of privilege and her love of fine things. The whole tone of the book seems light, lovely and easy- very much like Cecile but with real menace just below the surface. 


Currently I am reading The Element (Ken Robinson). It has made me become very wary about telling children to sit still on the mat or to draw conclusions about a child's intelligence based on standardized testing. Ken Robinson is well known for his views on the public education system and I tend toward agreeing with many of them. We dont know what jobs will be around in the future so how do we (teachers) begin to prepare children for them? Who are we to tell children there is one way to learn and one test they must pass to be deemed intelligent? What Robinson is saying in this book is that we are all born with some level of creativity, of intelligence, but we express these in very different ways. He believes we just need to find the medium which through to explore and express our talents and make that our job. He interviews and uses for example many talented and creative individuals like Matt Groening,  Mick Fleetwood, Paul McCartney and many more. This would be an inspiring book for any young person who struggles in school or any adult unhappy in their job.

Happy reading.