It’s getting colder and wetter here in New Zealand as we stumble towards autumn. I say stumble because at this time of year we can still swing between glorious warm days or wet and blustery days, particularly on our wild West Coast. But that’s no reason to be sad, we have hearty winter fare to look forward to, roasts, stews and dishes with dumplings! Not only that I get to wear my new boots that have been in a box for several months waiting for colder days. I have a thing for UK shoes still even after 13 years here and buy online out of season, the benefits are two fold. Something different to what is selling on the high street and picking up the out of season sales price.
Enough shoe talk and onto the ham hock and cannellini bean stew. I used a pressure cooker to make this dish being short on time and just a tad impatient so if you don’t have one you will probably have to cook the ham at least an hour and a half or until it falls off the bone. Recipe below the pics from a misty Muriwai morning.
Ingredients – serves 4
1 small smoked ham hock (uncooked)
1 onion, peeled, halved & thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed,
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tins cannellini beans
small bunch parsley, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
Place the onion in the pan/pressure cooker with olive oil over a medium heat and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are soft.
Add the tinned tomatoes, garlic and ham hock.
Cook in pressure cooker per manufactures instructions for 35 minutes.
Once cooked pull the ham off the bone and remove the bone from the pan.
Add the cannellini beans, chopped parsley and lemon zest.
Season with black pepper, it won’t need salt as the ham hock should be salty enough.
Serve with crusty bread
Perhaps you all got a bit excited about the facelift part of the title and I am probably at the age where you start looking at yourself in the mirror and pulling the wrinkles back wondering whether gravity is getting stronger these days. So I have treated myself to a facelift, one less painful and cheaper in the form of a Blog site update that I have been promising myself for a year now. There’s till some work I need to do on it but I’m happy with the results so far, thanks to hubby’s patience trawling through all the templates with me.
Another soup recipe I know but I just can’t help myself in the winter, they are so warming and relatively quick to make from just about anything in the pantry. This is a simple soup made of broad beans, stock, milk, lemon zest and roasted garlic, nothing more apart from the garnish of paprika and olive oil. If you don’t have broad beans you can also use haricot beans.
600g tinned broad beans
20 cloves of roasted garlic
2 cups vegetable stock
1-2 cups milk
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Salt & pepper to season
Sweet Paprika & a good quality olive oil for serving
Place the broad beans, roasted garlic and vegetable stock in a large pan over medium heat.
Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
Blend the soup to a puree then add the milk and lemon zest.
Add the milk to thin down to your preferred texture and heat through.
Season with salt & pepper.
Serve with paprika and olive oil drizzles on top.
At the risk of sounding repetitive these days, here is another Pacific dish from Me’a Kai. I have always loved watercress soup, it’s a very popular ingredient in the UK with an annual festival in the town of Alresford being held in its honour. Attracting food lovers from far and wide tempting them with a massive food market, cooking demonstrations by TV Chefs, a street cavalcade and even the World Watercress Eating Competition!
This soup is a Samoan version with the addition of coconut milk of course, Taro and ginger. The original recipe uses pork bones cooked in an Umu oven which gives them a smoky flavour. I have replaced this with bacon stripes as I don’t think hubby would be impressed if I start digging up the garden to create my own Umu oven no matter how much delicious food I produce.
I love the peppery flavour of watercress which contrasts well with the creamy coconut and the ginger gives it an extra kick. Great served hot or cold depending on your weather at this time of year.
- Large bunch watercress, woody stalks removed
- 4 slices of smoked bacon
- 3 cups of water
- Sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 cup of Taro or potato
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- Salt & pepper
- Chop the bacon into strips and place them in a large heavy bottom pan with a tablespoon of oil.
- Fry over a medium heat until the bacon has browned.
- Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a further 3 minutes.
- Add 3 cups of water to the pan and the Taro or Potato and simmer until soft.
- Add the watercress and place a lid on the pan and simmer for a few minutes until the watercress has wilted.
- Blend the soup with a blending stick, food processor or blender until smooth.
- Return soup to the pan and add the coconut milk, season with pepper and salt if needed and heat through.