The perfect way to enjoy a warm afternoon swinging in a hammock with a bowl of fresh fruit in the form of a blackberry daiquiri. The thought makes me a little sad, our summer is coming to a close knowing that there will be less days swinging in the hammock. It has been a great summer, one of the warmest on record with hot sunny days and humid nights, waking up to 13 degrees this morning was a bit of a shock after the temperatures suddenly plummeted. There is still some Daiquiri in the freezer and I am sure I can persuade people to enjoy it as a funky pre dinner cocktail or or even as a palate cleanser in between meals so it certainly wont go to waste.
- 400g (2 chips) fresh blackberries
- 4 shots white rum
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 shot Rose’s sweet lime juice
- 1 egg white, whipped
- In a bowl, whip the egg white to soft peak.
- Place all the ingredients other than the egg whites into a blender and blend to a smooth pulp.
- At this point you can strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds or you can leave them in if you don’t mind a seeded sorbet.
- Fold the egg white into the berry mixture and pour into the ice cream maker and continue as per the manufacturers instructions on your ice cream maker.
- If you don’t have a maker, pour the sorbet mix into a container and freeze. The egg white prevent it from solidifying and keeps it light.
After a trip to Japan two years ago I was very inspired to create desserts with green tea powder after sampling green tea Tiramisu and green tea ice cream. Upon my return I had been talking to a very good friend of mine about this and she kindly gave me a tin of the green tea powder. It has taken me a while to make anything and I wish my friend who gave me the powder lived a bit closer so she could sample what I have made. It’s quite an unusual flavour for the uninitiated and therefore I suggest going easy on the tea powder when first experimenting.
The original recipe was in a Woman’s Weekly book of Japanese recipes.
- 2.5 cup single cream (or milk for light variety)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp green powder
- 1 tsp agar agar powder
- seeds from 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 stalks of rhubarb
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Mix together the cream, vanilla and sugar and place in a heavy bottom pan over a low heat.
- Mix the green tea powder with a tablespoon of water to a smooth paste then add to the cream in the pan.
- Combine the agar powder with a 3 tablespoons of water to a smooth paste and add to the cream.
- Gently heat the mixture stirring constantly so the cream doesn’t stick on the bottom of the pan. Once the liquid is just below boiling, continue to simmer for 2 minutes while stirring so the agar dissolves completely.
- Remove from the heat and strain through ha colander then divide between 6 ramekin size dishes and place in the fridge to set.
- Wash and cut he rhubarb down to 1.5 inch pieces. Place the wet rhubarb in a wide pan so each piece touches the bottom of the pan (there should be enough water from washing the rhubarb to cook the fruit).
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the rhubarb and place pan over a very low heat with a lid on pan.
- The rhubarb should only take about 2 minutes to cook once the temperature in the pan has become hot. Keep checking, you don’t want it to boil and the rhubarb loose it’s shape.
- Allow rhubarb to cool then spoon onto the cool puddings and serve.
- Note: Quanties of agar agar I have specified to the brand I use. I recommend you go by the ratio liquid to agar that is stated on your packet and if is gives an estimate 1/2 – 1 tsp to a cup go with whatever the lower ration is. The pudding should set set but not as much a jelly.
I have been reading LondonEats Blog who talked about compulsive produce shopping and I knew I wasn’t alone! I do that and I am sure many of you do too. I see lovely produce in the shop, perhaps something not common to our market like kumquats or dragon fruit or maybe a perfectly formed piece of baby fennel and just have to purchase it without knowing what it will turn into. But isn’t that what food shopping is about? It is for me, I don’t have a weekly list of meals but rather am governed by what catches my eye….sometimes it sits in the fridge a while too though!
This time it was the new petite variety of pear which is green with a blush of red, I was so excited about them I didn’t even notice what they are called. I fell in love, and had to have them there and then. Let’s face my compulsive purchases are a lot cheaper than a pair of Jimmy Choos! I thought the pears would look fabulous photographed, of course I didn’t think about them turning brown once cooked…duh! But even a brown pear can look pretty don’t you think?
- 6 small ripe pears
- 50g pistachio nuts
- 2 tbsp Manuka honey
- 5 cardamom seeds
- 1 tsp orange blossom
- Greek yoghurt to serve
- Pre heat oven 180C
- Slice a small piece of the bottom of each pear so they stand up straight.
- Place upright on a non stick baking tray and baked for 15-20 minutes. You don’t want them too soft so they still hold their form.
- Place the honey, cardomom and orange blossom in pan and bring to the boil for one minute.
- Rough chop the pistachio nuts and place on another baking tray and place in the oven for 2 minutes, remove from the oven and add to the honey mixture.
- Cut the pears in half and arrange on a platter or individual plates and drizzle with the honey mixture.
- Serve with Greek yoghurt. The pears can be served warm or chilled.
I’m having a fennel month and not because I have a glut in my garden either. I did have some that grew into five foot high triffids and I didn’t do anything with it so for my penance for not looking after and harvesting my fennel I have to buy it at $2.50 a bulb. Note to self, pay more attention to what’s growing in the garden next hear as it is likely that the fennel seeds have blown everywhere.
This is an Ottolenghi inspired salad, a book gifted to myself that arrived last week which I just adore and can honestly say every other page makes me swoon. After my previous post on fennel salad I just knew this would be to my taste also. We ate it as a light main in larger quantities than shown in the photo but this was all that was left for my photo shoot and I did have to sneak this bit away before it was all consumed. I’ll take that as a compliment?
Ingredients – 4 entree, 2 main
2 fennel bulbs
1 telegraph cucumber, halved down middle & sliced
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
juice and zest of one lemon
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp dill, chopped
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 mild chili, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
8-12 prawns depending on size
300g baby squid, cleaned
1 tbsp sumac spice
salt & pepper
pomegranate seed to garnish
Trim base and tops of fennel then slice width ways as thinly as possible.
In a bowl mix the fennel, cucumber, chili, onion, lemon juice, garlic, dill, parsley and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Combine all the ingredients.
Place a heavy cast iron frying pan over a high heat and allow the pan to get pipping hot.
Mix the prawns and squid with the remaining oil and add to the pan in small batches. Cook them one minute on each side or until just cooked.
Transfer the squid to a chopping board and slice into rings. Add both prawns and squid to the salad and toss through.
Add the coriander and sumac, season with salt and pepper, toss through again and serve immediately.
You could also use the salad without the fish as a side dish to accompany ofncutsbof fish.
I’m not a lettuce, cucumber and tomato salad type of girl, I just can’t get excited about that combination, it’s like an out dated fashion item…it’s a little boring. I could convince myself of course to eat it if it had a few olives and a big hunk of feta cheese on top of it and I was sitting beach side on one of the Greek Islands, the only way to eat a Greek salad really! Location makes a big difference doesn’t it? Saying that I live beach side in New Zealand and it is every bit as beautiful as Greece but I’m not always on holiday and more likely to be in a cold air conditioned office and need salad with a little more substance and variety for lunch.
When I saw this recipe in the Australian Gourmet Traveller I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out but decided to give it a go. The original recipe is just watermelon salad but I have added paneer cheese to make it more of a complete meal and I added a few extra herbs & spices. P wouldn’t touch it, he does do fruit and savoury together so the girls and I enjoyed it for lunch at work two days in row! I have a few other watermelon salads up my sleeve too if you enjoy this one.
It’s a perfect refreshing salad for those hot humid days. It can bee served on it’s own or with rice or as a side dish for fish or chicken.
- 800g watermelon
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- Bunch or fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 150g paneer cheese
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- Olive Oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- Slice the paneer cheese into small blocks and dust with cornflour.
- Put a few tablespoons of olive oil into a frying pan on a medium heat and once hot put the cheese blocks in to fry. Fry till golden on both sides, about 1 minute each side.
- Once golden remove from the pan onto kitchen towel to soak up the oil, then put aside.
- Remove the skin from the water melon and chop into 1 inch cubes.
- Grind the coriander seeds with a mortar & pestle then add the garlic and turmeric and grind to a paste.
- Add approx 200g of water melon to the paste and grind to a pulp.
- In a large frying pan add the 2 tablespoons of oil, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and fry them on a low heat for 1 minute.
- Add the watermelon pulp and teaspoon of sugar to the frying pan and cook over a low heat for 5-8 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and add the rest of the melon cubes, paneer and coriander to the pan and toss them through the sauce.
- Serve immediately
The good thing about making New Years food resolutions in New Zealand is that they are easier to keep living in the southern hemisphere. I can’t even begin to imagine turning over a new (lettuce) leaf and eating salads and soup in a UK mid winter but here it has been so warm this year one craves fresh and light dishes.
I first tasted gazpacho in Spain when I was 17 and thought it was dreadful eating cold soup but that was before I developed a passion for food. Now it is probably one of my favourite, it is so fresh and light for those really hot days. I couldn’t resist adding my favourite goats cheese to it and a few walnuts for some crunch and of course some crusty bread for dipping!
This recipe is Really easy to make by whizzing everything together in a food processor, pushing it through a colander and chilling it down.
I have also been fiddling with my new photo software on my iPad……jury’s out on the new format I chose but it good to experiment.
2 cucumbers, sliced lengthways and de-seeded
1 green pepper/capsicum, halved & de-seeded
4 green tomatoes
2 spring onions
1 slice sour dough bread
2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
3tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper for seasoning
goats cheese & walnuts optional for garnish
Soak the bead with the vinegar and olive oil.
Rough chop the pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, garlic and spring onion and place in a food processor or blender.
Add the bread also to the food processor/blender and blend until smooth.
season with a little salt and pepper and the strain all the ingredients through a colander or course sift. You want texture to come through but to leave any bigger bits behind.
depending on how thick the soup is you can add some water or ice cubes if you want to chill it down quickly.
chill in fridge for several hours for the flavours to improve then serve with goats cheese and walnuts.
Sago and tapioca pudding used to be two of my horror desserts at school time lunches, we all used to call it frogs eggs but thought frogs eggs might have tasted better! I used to enjoy school meals unless of course it was something I didn’t like and in those days you were made to eat everything on your plate otherwise it would be off to the head mistress for a telling off and we were to scared to of that.
I had not touched sago since I was about 8 years old until a Chinese friend invited me over to their house for dinner while I was in Sydney. She cooked a great banquet of dishes but she knew I was a big dessert fan and said she had also made a special traditional dessert for me. When she brought out the chilled sago and mango pudding I think I broke out in a cold sweat, frogs eggs, how was I going to digest this? But I didn’t want to be impolite and bravely put a spoon in my mouth and was dearly glad I did, it wasn’t like the sago I remembered, this was silky with a creamy coconut and the tart fruit complimented it well. This is my version with apricot puree which are in season here in New Zealand. I have only passed the apricots through a sieve since they are so sweet and don’t really need much adding to them.
- ½ cup sago
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1½ – 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 6-8 ripe apricots
Half and de-stone the apricots.
Press the apricots through a sift and collect the puree in a bowl. Depending on how sweet your apricots are you may not need to add anything to them. If you prefer you can add a teaspoon of sugar or honey to the puree but I prefer the combination of a tart fruit against the sweet coconut sago.
Put the sugar, coconut cream and 1½ cups of water into a saucepan and place over a gentle heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then add the sago, stirring with a wooden spoon as you add it.
Don’t allow the mixture to boil as that will cause the coconut cream to split.
Keep stirring to ensure the sago doesn’t form clumps. The sago will swell and the mixture will become quite sticky. If it becomes too thick, just add a little more water.
The sago is cooked when it becomes translucent.
Pour the pudding into moulds or glasses and set in the fridge for a few hours.
Turn mould out onto the apricot puree base or if using glasses pour the fruit puree ontop on the pudding
A New Year, a new beginning and after two weeks of holiday and festivities with lots of food and liquid calories consumed, a chilled beer in the our mid summer evenings is off the menu….well mid week anyway! Instead we are cooling down with a nice tart plum, cinnamon and yoghurt ice pop, or should I say ice block or lolly depending on where you live.
We have tons of stone fruit at the moment so I stewed a few kilos with some cinnamon sticks and star anis but didn’t want to make jam again this year so instead froze them off into little blocks of trend ice pops. I almost feel quite righteous consuming these funky pop ice since they are mostly fruit and a token bit of sugar and yoghurt.
There is no specific recipe but more a quantity ratio depending on how many you want to make or how many shot glasses you have in my case, not possessing any actual ice pop containers I had to raid the glass cupboard.
20% sugar to plums
1 Cinnamon stick
2 Star anis
De-stone plums and place into a heavy bottom plan with the sugar, cinnamon and star anis.
Simmer over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the cook for a further 5 minutes.
Press through a sift if you want a smooth consistency or blend if you like all the fruit.
Pour into ice pop containers and place in freezer until almost frozen then insert the ice stick. If you forget and it freezes you can always use a hot knife to make an incision for the stick.
When completely frozen pour in yoghurt slightly sweetened with sugar and refreeze.
I’m not one for using gluten free flours, my experience of them in cakes, breads and cookies is not that great so I tend to substitute ground nuts for the flour when making anything gluten free. Since I’m not gluten intolerant I haven’t really experimented with theses different flours so when a gluten and dairy free friend came to visit last week I stuck to what I know best and made a plum and almond slice. I used a basic Victoria sandwich cake base but increased the almond content to compensate for the lack of gluten that binds the mixture. I also substituted the butter for an olive oil spread which is like a margarine to make it dairy free also.
The result is a dense cake slice which holds well in the fridge and we found it to taste even better the next day, although there wasn’t too much if it left. The sweet almond cake against the tart plum is a perfect combination and would work well with apricots too, other stone fruit tend to be too large for decorating the cake.
125g butter or Olivani (olive oil spread)
200g ground almonds ( or 150g ground an 50g course ground for texture)
30g sliced almonds
Corn flour to dust tin
Pre heat oven 180C.
Oil and corn flour a 22cm loose bottom tart tin.
Place butter & sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk or good old fashioned wooded spoon until light and fluffy.
Add one egg at a time and whisk in between both additions.
Fold in the grounds almonds with a metal spoon so not to loose all the air that has been beaten in.
Spoon mixture into prepared cake tin and evenly.
Cut plums in half and remove stones.
Press plums into the cake mix and sprinkle sliced almonds over the top. Dust plums with the cinnamon.
Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes until golden and firm like cake. The cake will rise but shrink slightly when cooled.
Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin.
Serve as is or with some yoghurt, ice cream or whipped cream
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas! Hope you all had a wonderful day.
I decided to make a gluten free version of panforte this year since we have a friend who is gluten intolerant visiting us and Christmas. I have substituted the flour for ground almonds which really hasn’t changed the finished product at all since there is only 100g flour to 600g of nuts and figs. You can make a whole tray and then cut it up or as I have done, make individual pieces as I like to give them as gifts to friends when we go visiting. Just be sure to wrap it up well in an air tight wrapping or greased wrapper rather than paper gift wrap so that it keeps fresh.
- 300g roasted hazelnuts
- 350g figs, roughly chopped
- 100g flour (or ground almonds can be substituted for gluten free)
- 1 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder
- ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp cardamon
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- 100g honey
- 150g brown sugar
- 150g dark chocolate, chopped
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Prepare a 28cm x 18cm baking tin or 6-8 individual tart rings by lining it with greaseproof paper and also greasing the paper.
- Roast hazelnuts in oven till golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa, almonds and spices.
- In a pan over a low heat, melt the honey and sugar till dissolved and gently boil for 2 minutes.
- Add figs to the cooked honey and sugar and gently boil for a further 2 minutes.
- In a microwave or over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the chocolate pieces, being careful not to overcook them.
- Add honey and fig mixture, melted chocolate to the nuts and and flour mixture.
- Stir the mixture well with a wooden spoon (working quickly, it is easier to do this while the mixture is still hot.
- With wet hand, press down to spread the mixture and make a smooth, flat surface.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Cool on a cake rack.
- Store in an airtight container or gift wrap. Panforte will keep for a few weeks stored this way.