Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas Crackers

Christmas Crackers:

These crackers are so good to serve as a nibble with  Christmas drinks or a summery barbecue. I used Carwari Certified organic sesame flour which is made of ground sesame seeds.Light brown in color it has a high protein and calcium content and is gluten free.

I discovered it at IE produce when I dropped by for my Christmas veggies this morning.

To make a Gluten Free version I used Healtheries Gluten Free Baking Mix instead of plain flour and added a few drops of sesame oil to the dough.

I adapted it from an Annabel Langbein recipe:


1 cup of  plain flour
1/2 cup of sesame flour
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh origano / 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of water

Topping One:

grated parmesan
black pepper

Topping Two
sesame seeds
black pepper


Line a oven tray with baking paper or a silicone sheet.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C

Mix the plain flour, sesame flour, oregano and salt together.
Stir in the oil and water,
Divide dough into 4 balls.
Roll each out very thinly between two sheets of glad wrap/baking paper
Remove top sheet of glad wrap/baking paper

Sprinkle either grated parmesan or sesame seeds on top.
Grind black pepper over the top.

Put glad wrap/baking paper over the top again and roll out once more so that the topping sticks to the dough.

Cut into squares and rub each lightly with some olive oil before baking for  about 12 minutes or until just starting to become golden,


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas Baking: Tiny Lemon Curd Tarts

My two favourite Christmas baking recipes this year are shortbread with a little orange zest added for a citrussy flavour, and tiny lemon curd tarts.
Both the shortbread and tartlet cases can be made well beforehand and stored in an airtight tin.
The sweet pastry recipe for the tartlets comes from "Treats from Little and Friday" a great cookbook by Kim Evans. It's a pliable dough which is easy to roll out between sheets of glad wrap and bakes up nice and crisp. I do use ordinary rather than unsalted butter and leave out the pinch of salt.
The filling for the tartlets is simply a mixture of lemon curd, crème fraiche and yoghurt. Once made this can also be kept in the fridge for a few days. Then I fill the little tarts just before serving.
Kim Evan'sSweet Pastry: ( slightly adapted)
2 3/4 cups of flour
1 cup of icing sugar
250 grams of butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
vanilla essence or paste to taste.
In a food processor , combine flour, icing sugar and salt and pulse in 2 second bursts to aerate and combine.
Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles light breadcrumbs.
Add egg, lemon juice, zest and vanilla and pulse 10 times. The mixture should look dry and crumbly.
Turn out on clean work surface and gather mixture together.
Gently shape the mixture into a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for two hours before using.
I baked the little tarts in patty pans and for the first batch very lightly greased them, I didn't grease them for the subsequent batches but they released easily.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Baked Salmon with Sweet Chilli Relish

This salmon baked with a topping of crème fraiche and Anathoth's sweet chilli relish keeps beautifully moist. Great for a vegetarian option on Christmas day.

Per person:


1 tablespoon of crème fraiche
1 tablespoon of Anathoth's sweet chilli relish
1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped lemon grass (optional)

Mix together and spread over a piece of salmon

Lay fish on baking paper
Bake for about 20 minutes or until done at 180 C

Scatter chopped coriander over the top.

Serve with more sweet chilli relish on the side.
and a small salad of tomato, cucumber and avocado dressed with olive oil


Friday, 6 December 2013

Folktree at the St Heliers Bay Artisan Craft and Gourmet Food Market

Here's Kate at the St Heliers Bay Artisan Craft and Gourmet Food Market today. Looking Good!
With a whole new range of collaged and hand stitched cards.
And a new custom designed funky bag stand

Monsters both mini  and maxi as well as the Snuglets were on show in a basket

 The silk embroidered fabrics looked gorgeous on their wooden recycled stand


This wire  Christmas Tree discovered at an op shop was perfect to hang the copper bells from.

 I was her willing volunteer although I did get waylaid for some of the morning checking out all the other stalls. Folktree will be at this market again on December 21.

There's still time to stock up on Christmas presents from Folktree. To order go to .






St Heliers Bay Artisan Craft & Gourmet Food Market

This morning ( 7th of December)  Kate and I headed for the Saint Heliers Artisan Craft and Gourmet Food Market to set up her Folktree stall. I had the opportunity to have a chat with the other stall holders who were selling artisan products, and to take some photographs.
Many, including Folktree, will be back there again on December 21,a great opportunity to shop for last minute Christmas pressies.


The Stall holders included:

Sarah  Lear who makes beautiful Christmas Cakes
Sandy Grant whose decorated gingerbread houses are seriously cute.
Janet Mathewson from Saraban Tree who reconnects the arts with Social Justice ( included were her own ceramics and exquisite Afghani embroidery fragments made into silver framed brooches.)
Carol Turner  from Bone with Attitude who was selling a fascinating range of jewelry which she makes from wood, bone, greenstone and semi precious stones.
Kate Potter from Folktree (  with a great range of art, crafts, books and fabric from India.
Alejandro E Lozano from with a table full of Mexican sauces (of varying degrees of heat) , condiments and a great Chipotle Sauce.


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Simplest Starter: Tomato, Basil and Mozarella

This starter is so simple and classical and especially delicious drizzled with an artisan olive oil. I simply sliced some buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes and alternated them on a small plate. Then garnished them with slivers of basil and served a tiny jug of an artisan olive oil alongside.
I used some Taihoa Tides Olive Oil which I discovered last weekend at the Artisan Market in Whangarei. Taihoa olive oil is 100% pure Parua Bay NZ. The olives are pressed within moments of picking at the vineyard itself, so the oil is fresh and pure.
Find out more at:


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Strawberry Gazpacho

We love this Strawberry Gazpacho , a light and very refreshing cold strawberry soup with a hint of lime and elderflower. Perfect for the festive season and long summer days.

Serves 3-4


1 punnet of strawberries (stalks off) 250 gm
1/4 telegraph cucumber (150 gm) with the  skin on
1/2 cup of  cordial made with  Barker's Lime and Elderberry Fruit Syrup ( 1 part of syrup to 5 parts of water.
1/2 sweet banana shaped long red pepper (seeded and roughly chopped)

The night beforehand freeze the cordial in an ice block tray

Just before serving whizz all the ingredients together to a soupy consistency and serve icy cold in glasses, garnished with a mint leaf.


Beef, Red Onion Tamarind Salad

This summery salad with an Asian twist can be created in almost no time at all and tastes delicious. Perfect for casual entertaining!
The recipe comes from “A Taste of Home,” a new cookbook by New Zealand’s first MasterChef winner Brett McGregor. Full of tasty, fresh and easily achievable recipes, it is perfect for the home cook.

Beef, Red onion and Tamarind Salad

I was lucky enough to join some fellow adventurers in late 2012 for a foodies trip to Vietnam. This recipe is one we learned at a cooking school in Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon. It is a very tasty little salad; I’ve just added a couple of ingredients to beef it up a little. This is also great with watercress, which adds a delicious peppery note that goes brilliantly with the sour taste of the tamarind.
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 7 minutes
Serves 4
500g beef fillet or sirloin, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp tamarind pulp mixed with 2 tbsp water
squeeze of 1 lemon or lime
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 cups rocket
½ cup fresh coriander
2 tbsp crispy shallots to garnish
1 red chilli, finely sliced, to garnish
Place the beef in a bowl and season with salt, pepper and half the sugar. Leave for a minute while you heat a frying pan to high.
In another bowl, whisk together the tamarind mixture, lemon or lime juice and remaining sugar.
Throw the beef into the hot pan and cook quickly. Remove from the heat when seared nicely and add to the dressing. Add the onion, rocket and coriander, season and combine. Serve garnished with crispy shallots and sliced chilli.

Reproduced with permission from: A Taste of Home by Brett McGregor. Photograph by Aaron McLean. Imprint RHNZ. RRP $45.00

I reviewed this for The Breeze Radio Station Website