Friday, 30 August 2013

Folktree Indian Art and Crafts

As a change from food photography I so enjoyed photographing some of the beautiful crafts my daughter  Kate recently brought back from India. Many of them are Fair Trade.
You can read more about them at
Some of the Gond Artworks she has collected will be on show at the Depot Artspace in Devonport for the next three weeks, starting at 3 pm August 31st.



Sunday, 25 August 2013

Pumpkin and Misomite Soup

Here is a pumpkin soup with a surprising ingredient: Misomite  (Japanese marmite invented by Urban Hippie)
Misomite is a type of miso paste but contains less salt and more rice which gives a sweeter taste.
It is MSG free, GMO free and Gluten Free.


2 1/2 cups of mashed roasted pumpkin
2 pickling onions roasted and the flesh squeezed out
2 cups of vegetable/chicken stock
3-4 teaspoons of Misomite (adjust to your own taste)
3 teaspoons of peanut butter
juice of 1 mandarin
1/2-1 teaspoon of honey
grated ginger to taste


Stir the mashed roasted pumpkin and onion flesh into the vegetable stock.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Whisk in the other ingredients and bring almost to the boil.
Serve while piping hot garnished with toasted white sesame seeds.

To find out more about the misomite, the magic ingredient in this soup go to:





Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Caramelised Onion Miso Soup


I am taking baby steps in introducing miso to my partner. He's a good kiwi bloke who favours sausages and roast dinners

Today I made him a Japanese French version of caramelised onion soup. It was a twist on a recipe from The Chopsticks Diet by Kimiko Barber. Instead of dashi I used chicken stock and ordinary onions (the red ones she used would have made it taste sweeter)

She added burnt tofu  (a firm cotton tofu that is scorched on the surface). For my partner that would have been going too far. But he really enjoyed this soup without it.

Garlic bread would have gone well with it, although I rather liked it with some toast spread with a mixture of Misomite and olive oil.

Combining chicken stock with Urban  Hippie's Miso to make a soup base came from Sarah. I thought it was a superb idea. Her original recipe can be found at:

I used Urban Hippie's Miso paste which is locally made and tastes really good.

Here is my recipe for Caramelised Onion Miso Soup.


For two people

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
4 onions , finely sliced
4 tablespoons of black rice/red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of soya sauce
300 ml of chicken stock (I used Campbell's real salt reduced)
2 tablespoons of Urban Hippie Miso Paste


Fry the onions in the tablespoon of oil over  a low heat for 15 minutes stirring them frequently to prevent burning.
Add the vinegars, sugar and soya sauce. Keep frying until almost all the liquid has been absorbed.
Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
Squeeze the miso paste into a small bowl and add a little of the soup. Stir until the miso is dissolved.
Pour it back into the pan.  Heat the soup until it is almost boiling.
Serve at once.


Monday, 19 August 2013

Saucy Roast Pumpkin with Misomite and Sesame Seeds.

When Urban Hippie Misomite fell for Pic's Peanut butter he was inspired to create a super easy tasty dip  for the Nelson Japanese Film Festival.

I adapted it slightly by exchanging the honey for pure maple syrup to give a a caramel flavour and  added enough water to make it a pouring consistency.

Then I drizzled it over roasted pumpkin and sprinkled toasted sesame seeds over the top. It made a great side dish.

Pumpkin differs in sweetness, so you may need to adjust the amount of maple syrup to your taste.

Misomite Sauce for Roasted Pumpkin

  • 3 parts of Urban Hippie Misomite
  • 3 Parts of Pic’s Peanut Butter
  • 1 part of pure maple syrup
  • Some water for thinning

Just mix all together. Thin with water to the desired thickness.

To find the original dip recipe and to discover more about the amazing Urban Hippie himself go to:

Friday, 16 August 2013

Fig and Balsamic Dressing

With the last tablespoon from a bottle of Te Mata Just Fig sauce I made a little salad dressing . I'd like to have experimented further, perhaps by adding some oil, a little mustard, or a some crushed garlic but the bottle is empty now. Oh well, there's always the Food Show next year to replenish my supplies.
It's been fun experimenting with Te Mata Just Fig sauce as it's  versatile and can be used in sweet as well as savoury dishes.
Here's the basic dressing using only two ingredients. The fig sauce added fruit and sweetness. It would go well drizzled over a simple salad composed of mesclun, walnuts and sliced pears. Or simply poured onto some vine ripened sliced tomatoes.
Whisk together:
1 tablespoon of fig syrup ( I used Te Mata Just Fig Syrup)
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Tamarillos in Fig and Seville Orange Sauce

A bottle of Belberry royal selection Seville orange sauce imported from Belgium had been lingering in my pantry for a while, awaiting a luxury moment. The bright jewel colour and intense bittersweet fruit taste of this sauce was a perfect match for these crimson tamarillos. For good measure, and even more complexity, I added some Te Mata Fig Sauce.

It made an incredibly easy dessert for two of our special friends. Once peeled and sliced the tamarillos were just left to soak in this ambrosial liquid for a while before serving. 


500 grams golden tamarillos
4 tablespoons of Te Mata fig syrup.
4 tablespoons of brown sugar.
125 ml of Belberry royal selection Seville orange sauce .

Pour boiling water over the tamarillos and leave to stand for a minute or two.
Pierce each tamarillo with a knife. The skins should peel off easily now.
Slice the tamarillos and put them in  serving dish in a single layer.
Mix the Seville orange sauce with the Te Mata fig syrup and the brown sugar.
Pour over the tamarillos and allow them to absorb the flavours for an hour or so, stirring from time to time.

Can be served warm or cold with yoghurt or ice cream. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge and will taste even better the next day with cornflakes and thick Greek yoghurt.


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Friday, 9 August 2013

Pumpkin and Cumin Turkish Pide

This recipe makes three large or six small pide. It comes from a great new recipe book called Baked by global baker Dean Brettschneider .

Each time I bake them they turn out perfectly and everyone loves them. If you haven’t baked bread before don’t be scared to give a go. This recipe is not too difficult and kneading the bread is good exercise.

pumpkin & cumin turkish pide

makes three large or six small pide


Could this be the new panini or even ciabatta? Turkish pide (pronounced pee-day) is not

It's new to Australia and New zealand but it's fast becoming
new in Australia or New Zealand, but it is fast becoming the rising star of the global café culture, so move over focaccia, panini, ciabatta and baguette! Indeed, the pide, with its soft crust and open irregular texture, is the bread of choice for many cafés today. I add my own twist to this classic with pumpkin purée and cumin seeds

500g strong bread flour
10g salt

10g sugar

5g active dried yeast

150g puréed pumpkin

1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed using a pestle and mortar

2 tsp olive oil

260ml water

1 egg beaten with 50ml

water or milk, for egg wash

20g black sesame seeds or nigella seeds

Place all the ingredients, except egg wash and sesame or nigella seeds, into a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, combine the ingredients to form a dough mass.

Tip dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10–15 minutes, resting it for 30 seconds every 2–3 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. It will be sticky to the touch and soft, but don’t be tempted to add excessive amounts of flour during the kneading process. Place dough into a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 1. hours to allow it to double in size.

Tip dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into three small or six large pieces. The small pieces should weigh approximately 150g and the large pieces approximately 300g. Shape dough pieces very gently into oblong shapes, being careful not to knock too much air out of the dough. Place onto a floured work surface, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Once rested, place dough pieces onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper, leaving a 3–4cm gap between each piece. Brush with egg wash then press your fingers firmly into the dough five to six times down its length. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds or nigella seeds. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to prove for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 250°C.

Remove plastic wrap and place pide on baking tray in the preheated oven. Bake for 9–10 minutes or until pide are dotted with white and brown spots.

Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Copyright line

Reproduced with permission from Baked  by Dean Brettschneider. Published by Penguin Group NZ. RRP $45.00. Copyright © 2013 Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pte Ltd.


Stewed Apples in Hazelnut Oil

For this recipe simply heat 2-3 tablespoons of Uncle Joe's hazelnut oil in a frying pan, Add the apples and sprinkle them with cinnamon.
Keep stirring them from time to time over a gentle heat until they are tender , slightly caramelised and sticky. Don't rush this as it can take quite a while.
Serve with thick Greek yoghurt and some toasted and lightly crushed hazelnuts.


1 kg of sweet apples ( peeled and sliced)
2/3 tablespoons of hazelnut oil
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
a few drops of vanilla essence

The hazelnut flavour did not come through as strongly as I had hoped. I'll
try pears next time . They are not so strongly flavoured as the apples I used and I think this would allow the hazelnut flavour to shine more.


Beetroot Salad with Hazelnut Oil and Balsamic Drizzle

Here is a very easy ruby red beetroot salad which is dressed with a mixture of hazelnut oil and a sweet balsamic drizzle.


4 large beetroots
a few sprigs of mint


3 tablespoons of hazelnut oil (I used Uncle Joe's Cold Pressed Hazelnut Oil)
1 tablespoon of balsamic drizzle (I used Telegraph Hill Balsamic Drizzle)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
Trim the beetroot and rub with cooking oil
Wrap in tinfoil
Roast  until they are tender and can be pierced with a fork . This may take longer than you might think. Mine took over an hour.
Allow time to cool  and then slip off the skins.
Chop the beetroot into large chunks
Dress with the hazelnut oil and balsamic drizzle and season to taste.
Stir the mint through the beetroot salad.

If you have made this well beforehand you may like to drizzle this salad with a little more hazelnut oil just before serving.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Miso Soup with Spinach and Egg

Move over eggs benedict and make way for a bowl of healthy, slimming miso soup brimming with spinach and egg. I made a large bowl of it for breakfast this morning and already feel energised.

To make it I used Miso paste from Urban Hippie . This is handcrafted in sunny Nelson using Motueka soy beans and Blenheim sea salt.

The idea for this soup from They encourage you to be very adventurous with your miso soup.

I  added my own twist by throwing in some spring onions and  left out the fish stock powder too. There was no need to salt the egg when making the omelette. The miso is salty enough to season it,

Mmmmmmmm! Now what else can I think of, There are endless possibilities !

Cooking time 10mins Serves 2


1/2 Spring Onion
A handful of chopped spinach leaves
a one egg omelette cut into strips

1 cup of water

1/4tsp Fish stock powder (Buy from supermarket or Asian shop)

1 - 11/2 tbsp Miso paste

  1. Put water in a pot and bring to boil.
  2. Once  the water has boiled, turn heat off then add Miso paste. Mix well with a whisk.
  3. Stir in the spinach, egg and spring onions.
  4. Drink immediately while piping hot.



Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Couscous, Hazelnut, Cranberry and Apricot Salad


It's the distinctive flavour of hazelnut oil which makes this recipe special. I bought a bottle of Uncle Joe's Cold Pressed Marlborough Hazelnut oil at the Auckland Food Show last week and am enjoying creating some new recipes with it.


1 cup of couscous
1.25 cups of water
2-3 tablespoons of hazelnut oil ( I used Uncle Joe's Cold pressed Marlborough hazelnut oil)
8 chopped apricots
1/2 cup of toasted chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup  of dried cranberries
A handful of finely chopped parsley
Salt to taste


Boil the water and pour over the couscous.
Let it sit for five minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Stir in 2 tablespoons of hazelnut oil.
Add all the other ingrdients.
Season to your taste with salt.


Warm Spinach, Hazelnut and Garlic Salad

With the last of the spinach from our garden I made this winter salad. It should be served warm.
The hazelnut oil is mellow and nutty and , I think, really enhances this warm salad.
The spinach, reduced down so much that this recipe only served two.
Keep the heat down low for this recipe, it's not a stir fry!


A bunch of spinach
3 tablespoons of hazelnut oil
1 clove of garlic
A few drops of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soya sauce
2 dozen hazelnutss
2 tablespoons  of raisins
salt to taste.


Dry roast the hazelnuts in a fry pan ( watch carefully, don't let them burn)
Rub the skins off in tea towel and chop roughly.
Leave the raisins to swell in one tablespoon of the hazelnut oil for at least 5 mintes.
Fry the peeled and chopped garlic in the other two tablespoons of hazelnut oil gently for a couple of minutes.
Add the washed spinach and keep frying gently just until it wilts.
Stir through the sesame oil and soya sauce.
Add the raisins and the hazelnut oil they have been soaking in.
Mix in the chopped hazelnuts.
Serve while warm.


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Warm Potato and Rocket and Pesto Salad

At the Auckland Food Show I scored a freebie, a sample of  Chef Mark Harman's Seasons Pesto. It contains cashew nuts as well as pine nuts and on opening tasted lovely and fresh.
I used it in this warm potato salad which requires only 4 ingredients: potato, rocket, pesto and egg.
You do need to use a good quality pesto like Mark's for this.


Scrub a large potato (or two medium sized) very well. You don't want clods of earth in this salad.
Cut the potato into small chunks.
Microwave in a couple of tablespoons of water in a covered container (yes microwaves do have their uses sometimes!) until they are tender. Drain well.
Hard boil 2 eggs then shell and chop .
Stir the cooked potato, chopped eggs and 2 tablespoons of pesto together.
Add a handful of rocket. It will wilt a little.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve warm

After the Food Show: Miso Soup

After overindulging at the Auckland Food Show all I craved was a restorative bowl of Miso Soup.
I'd kindly been given some Miso paste from Urban Hippie to try. This is handcrafted in sunny Nelson using Motueka soy beans and Blenheim sea salt.
" Do try making your own miso soup," they said. "You don't even need to use the fish stock powder. Just our miso paste, tofu, spring onions and wakame is fine."
So I did and it I had it again the next morning for breakfast as it was so tasty, healthy and almost no calories. And just as quick as making a bowl of porridge.
Here is their recipe:

Cooking time 10mins Serves 2


50g Tofu

1/2 Spring Onion

5g Dried Wakame Seaweed (Soaked)

2 Cups Water

1/2tsp Fish stock powder (Buy from supermarket or Asian shop)

2~3tbsp Miso paste

  1. Put water in a pot and bring to boil.
  2. Cut Tofu into 1cm cube, finely slice spring onion.
  3. Once water has boiled, turn heat off then add fish stock powder and Miso paste. Mix well with whisk.
  4. Add Tofu, Spring onion and Wakame Seaweed to the pot.
  5. Turn heat on again until tofu warms up. (Never boil the soup that spoils the miso flavor.)

- See more at:


Monday, 5 August 2013

Frothy Figgy Latte

Here's a hot, frothy  bowl of figgy latte which I made this morning. I simply put 3/4 cup of trim milk into a mug and added a tablespoon of Te Mata Just Fig Syrup . Then heated it to boiling point in the microwave and frothed it with a little hand held frother. So comforting and delicious. 

No need to sweeten as the fig syrup is made from figs, sugar, water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Thankfully those little pips have been removed .

Next time I might sprinkle it with cinnamon as well.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Waffles at Bengusto in Brown's Bay

I have food envy....

We went there for a birthday treat for Rachel for Sunday brunch. Our granddaughters loved the large Belgian waffles with 2 scoops of ice cream and two scoops of cream.

The art work on the walls, being able to look out over the water and the relaxed and kid friendly atmosphere  made it a pleasure to be there. . .

The girls ordered hot chocolate which came with marshmallows.Our coffees were  a long time in coming as were the meals but we had been warned there would be a twenty minute delay as it was busy. Neither the drinks or the meals were served at the same time which made brunching a little haphazard.

Bengusto is not perfect but it has it charms, not the least of them is its close proximity to the beach where you can take a wander afterwards. We'll be back.


One Bowl Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

For an almost instant little after dinner treat I made these little chocolate truffles. No need to cook as you simply ladle a few tablespoons of Nutz Dark Chocolate Peanut spread out of the jar and into a bowl .

Toss in some dried cranberries and knead until the dark chocolate peanut  spread has softened a little and can be rolled into walnut sized balls. All that remains to be done then is to roll them in cocoa.

I made a second small batch adding both cranberries and dark chocolate chips. They were just as nice, maybe even better, especially if you are a chocaholic.

These truffles were a variation on the recipe which came with the jar. Here each was made individually by taking a teaspoon of the Nutz dark chocolate peanut spread , rolling it into a ball, placing it on a plate and rolling it through either desicated coconut or chopped nuts. So easy, and so good!


Mark Harman's Workshop at the Auckland Food Show


I watched Chef Mark Harman's workshop in the Kenwood Kitchen at the Auckland Food Show preview day. It was a real privilege to see such a talented chef at work and to learn some of the secrets of his restaurant cooking. 
Over the last 18 years he has had a meteoric career. He has worked at Sky City Dine Restaurant, Huka Lodge, Bellota and a luxury hotel in the Caribbean. He once cooked for the queen. At present he is the executive chef at Salt restaurant.
He created two dishes for us. The first was a tortellini of ricotta and spinach, While his "sous chef" busied himself making the pasta dough Mark quickly whizzed the spinach and ricotta filling in a Food Processor (Kenwood of course) 
I really enjoyed observing how he piped the filling onto the pasta circles and then shaped the tortellini by hand. They were prettily plated  up with a tomato sauce and a garnish of parmesan and micro herbs.
His second recipe was Roast Hapuka  with Basil, Parmesan and Panko crust , Buttered Spinach and a Riesling Beurre Blanc. This dish was somewhat more daunting but again he demonstrated and explained the process very clearly, step by step.
At the end of the session some of us were the lucky recipients of vouchers for one of his range of epicurean soups.The recipes were also handed out.  Now that I know how, I should be able to recreate them at home although I suspect that my tortellini would be a pale shadow of his.
The Kenwood Kitchen workshops are free with the entry ticket, and are great value. A highlight of the Food Show!