Entries Tagged 'Wannabe chef' ↓
July 14th, 2012 — Wannabe chef
Have tried a couple of new things in the kitchen with various visitors over the last 6 weeks – a drink, some fish, a riff on lasagne and a dessert.
Strawberry lemonade – delicious!! Had some at the Ferry Building Market one Saturday when Mother and Father were here which prompted the idea. Steph had made it on a visit to Blenheim so I got her recipe emailed to me, aptly titled ‘American Strawberry Lemonade’ – yum – water, sugar, lemons, strawberries. Went very nicely with pulled pork burgers.
We made a good old Edmond’s Cookbook fish pie while Mother and Father were here. Not that I haven’t made fish pie before, just not for years and years, but wandering around the Ferry Building Market that same Saturday we came across a guy with his own smoked fish. We got a lovely moist piece of cod and wow, the fish pie was delicious with veggies we got at the market – fresh peas (felt odd to be shelling them outside of Christmas time!) and roasted baby root vegetables of different colors – 3 colors of carrots (including purple ones) and little beets (including orange ones!)
Someone at work was sharing a recipe for pumpkin and spinach lasagne which I grabbed a copy of knowing we’d have a vegatarian in the house while Dean and Steph were staying. It was interesting to make with raw spinach, which skewed the layering process because it was very bulky at the spinach layer so I got a bit out of kilter with the roasted pumpkin slices and white sauce – nevermind – tasted great and the whole dish went in one sitting. It wasn’t until after we’d planned to make it that I had a doubt that we’d be able to get pumpkin – grown only for Halloween decorations here – however, you can get squash (butternut pumpkins) through out the year – phew!
And lastly delicious strawberry shortcakes when Dean and Steph were here – I made the shortcake dough by hand without losing my patience and added a little of my own flair to the berries – partially crushed with a little icing sugar and honey! I’d seen the recipe in a book while lining up at Wholefoods – the shortcake was a cross between scone and cake – really soft and kept well to have with butter like a scone the next day in my packed lunch for work – although The Mister put jam in his and reckoned it was better than just butter.
April 21st, 2012 — Orange, Wannabe chef
We’ve seen a mechanical juicer in action at Elite Audio Cafe and wondered about getting one. An appliance to just make toast seems acceptable to me but one to just do orange juice seemed a bit of an extravagance. However, when we saw them on sale at the Ferry Building today we decided to get one. And then a $10 bag of oranges which didn’t get me as many oranges as I’d hoped!
We had orange juice for afternoon tea today – fresh orange juice is just so good. We’re amazed how much juice it gets out of an orange, 2 oranges each got us a good glassful. A good buy!
April 9th, 2012 — Wannabe chef
Easter in the States comes and goes. There are no public holidays although some observe the Good Friday. We looked around for some Hot x Buns or equivalent. Nothing easy to come by. However we did find a plastic packet of buns labelled Hot Cross Buns in Wholefoods so thought we’d give them a try.
They were some kind of sweet brioche bread with raisins dotted with an iced cross.
They toasted up alright – a bit too sweet – not sure if they were supposed to be toasted because the icing melted off. Hmmmm. Might have to make our own next year.
You can get cinnamon buns here (and our colleague made a brought some into work after I asked about and described Hot x Buns) but they’re not the same either.
March 18th, 2012 — Wannabe chef
Key Lime Pie is quintessentially American to me. Along with the likes of apple pie, whipped cream in a can and pick-up trucks. Key Lime Pie is in diners on the telly and in Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta books. So when Kara made a recent trip to visit family in Florida we asked her if her mom knew how to make Key Lime Pie – she did! While we were in New York last weekend we got a couple of tweets from Kara reporting that she had a recipe and had procured some limes.
The limes and a lovingly written-out recipe were on my desk on Friday.
I grated a couple.
Squeezed a few million!
Baked the shell and filling until it ‘jiggled slightly’.
Piled whipped cream on top.
Cut a slice to take to Kara.
YUM! It was delicious, although not green as I was expecting. I thought it would be lime green! Thanks Mamma Kara!
January 19th, 2012 — Wannabe chef
Now then – what are we going to do with this bunch of leaves? Looks a bit like horse food.
Might be similar to silver beet but the leaves are much thicker. Wholefoods had a big pile of ‘healthy greens’ with this being listed at the top so we wanted to take a closer look – they had a recipe tied onto them so that made it easier, a rice, ham and collard greens concoction. We looked up collard greens on Wikipedia (thankfully we were cooking them on the day before Wikipedia went down to protest SOPA … hopefully by the time you’re reading this it will still be there) for some more info about them after I said they smelled a bit like cabbage when I started cutting them and apparently ‘cabbage plant’ is a common term and indeed the leaves are very healthy – vitamin C, fiber etc.
So we followed the recipe to chop them up and put them in a pot with rice, ham and chicken stock.
Simmered away for 25 mins and ta daaaa – a hearty, risotto-type dish, tasted quite meaty and the greens didn’t have an overwhelming flavor, hard to explain but cauliflowerish. Not bad, but not sure if we’d have it again. Plus our gas elements are incredibly frustrating and don’t quite go low enough that everything didn’t boil dry and stick to the bottom of the pot.
January 14th, 2012 — Wannabe chef
We didn’t eat fish n chips much in New Zealand but lately The Mister has been feeling like some so decided to make them himself. We had to get some non-olive oil, he chose canola, and then figure out what the fish is here. The nice man in the supermarket picked some firm fish but none of the names are familiar to us. Well, there was halibut but we couldn’t remember if that’s the fish we remember from our childhood’s as being used by bait the last time either of our father’s fished!
I was fixated on keeping the place aired – I left The Mister to do the cooking but wasn’t so keen on the ‘huge pot of boiling oil’ but the recipe he had only need 1cm of oil so there wasn’t much splattering and nothing caught fire! I hurried some creamed spinach together and it was a delicious meal!
January 1st, 2012 — Wannabe chef, What I've been doing
I asked my new friend the Bay Bridge on Twitter (yes, a tweeting bridge) if there were New Year fireworks in the harbor – he replied that they were right overhead!
We decided to stay awake this year so invited Kara over for dinner and a show, and dressed up a bit.
We had pulled pork and I made lemon meringue pie from scratch – hot on the heels of the successful non-tanty pastry for Xmas fruit mince pies I thought I would try a full-sized pastry based pie. It was touch and go with the pastry being a little crumbly and I had to patch the sides once I got the pastry into the dish but other than my lemon filling being runny and my meringue not being anywhere as fluffy and high as Mother’s it worked out fine!
After being worried earlier in the day that the 2 towering apartment buildings out our window were going to block the fireworks we were very exited to see that we could actually see most of them! They were good and noisy and went on for 15 minutes with lots of whooping in the streets below. It was freezing out on the balcony taking photos. Traffic on the bridge slowed down and everyone on the fireworks side slowed to a crawl and the cop cars with their loud speakers that came along to shout at them to keep moving didn’t have much luck!
We opened some orange and green fortune cookies to start out the year.
Happy New Year everyone!
December 31st, 2011 — Wannabe chef
With The Mister being a bit snuffly between Christmas and New Year it was the perfect opportunity to have some potato-based comfort food. These little treats were in the Cuisines Magazine years ago and are great to eat on the couch in front of the telly – not sure of their proper name but we call them Mash Toasts! (Garlic & parsley mash on grilled ciabatta, sprinkled with parmesan.)
December 18th, 2011 — Wannabe chef
I just can’t figure out where to get short pastry from here. Actually I see no evidence that it actually exists so I don’t even know if you can buy it or it’s just that I’m looking in the wrong places. Actually flaky pastry is a bit of a challenge too – it comes in ready shaped large pie shells for making fruit pies, sometimes you can buy frozen 2 sheets of flat round flaky pastry that you can push into your own pie dish and claim homemade, but no such thing as flaky or short crust pie sheets. I know I know, I should really make my own, if the Orange Niece can do it, then I should be able to. However, no kitchen whiz here so if I attempted it, it would be totally by hand. I had brought the one remaining jar of 2010 Xmas fruit mince with us and really wanted to do some Christmas baking. With The Mister not being a fan of shortbread (but he’ll eat fermented fruit? go figure!) that left me with really wanting to make Xmas fruit mince pies. (Which you also can’t buy over here so no mini pies from Aro Bake for us this year!)
So I attempted it the pastry. Bought a rolling pin ‘specially. Now we all know I’m not the most patient of cooks and this was probably my 3rd go at making pastry, totally by hand. I remained pretty calm actually and after wrapping it up in plastic to put in the fridge I took it into the lounge to show The Mister … as I was about to exclaim how proud I was of my efforts I realized I didn’t have any cookie cutters to make the little rounds! Had to scratch around the kitchen to find 2 things of slightly different sizes that would fit into the muffin tins … came up with the plastic lid off the cocoa and a wine glass – the first couple of attempts at rolling and cutting produced some raggedly thick rounds but I got better with practice! (Remembering Mother’s word to stop fiddling with the dough!)
I managed to squeeze out 18 rounds, with a fair amount of fiddling so expected the pastry to be quite hard and not very shortcake like at all.
Bit of faffing about and concern as to how long to cook them for in the gas oven but they turned out great! Didn’t last long after a few days of taking them to work for morning tea.
November 25th, 2011 — Urban family, Wannabe chef
This year’s dinner was a lot smaller than our previous 5, only having 3 people in attendance but this time it was so much more real being here in the States! Of course we missed our New Zealand urban family but it was very cool shopping in Wholefoods and seeing all the Thanksgiving stuff and the whole country having a long weekend off centered around women in the kitchen and men on the couch … yes The Mister turned on the football just to live the real experience! Plus it was cold outside so it was lovely family time inside.
We invited Kara over at this important family time when she was so far away from hers so I was a bit nervous about how genuine our feast would be! Instead of a whole turkey for 3 we got a breast and stuffed it like Bev did a few years ago at Christmas and it turned out OK although the stuffing was more under the skin than making a nice ripple pattern through the middle!
The usual menu – but it impressed Kara
Thanksgiving Dinner 2011
Roast turkey breast stuffed with cranberry wild rice
Homemade cranberry sauce
Kumara & orange gratin
Apple pie & cream