Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Asparagus in Black Bean Sauce

This recipe, which couldn't be simpler but is really tasty came from one of the staff at IE Produce in Takapuna . We often stop for a chat when I drop in for my regular vegetable shopping and as she knows I write a food blog and love cooking she generously shared her recipe with me.

To make it break the bottom parts off a bunch of  thin, young and fresh organic asparagus stalks. Discard these bits.

Heat a little oil in a wok ( or do as I did and use your cast iron fry pan) and quickly fry a clove of chopped garlic .Toss the asparagus into the wok . Stir fry it until it is hot but still crisp tender. And finally swirl in a small amount of black bean sauce. So good!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Asparagus and Mushrooms with Asian Dressing

Yesterday I marinated mushrooms in an Asian dressing. There were some left over so I boiled stalks of slender young asparagus for about 3 minutes until just tender (the equivalent of cooking pasta to the al dente stage). Once drained,  I stirred the mushrooms through  and served this dish warm. We had it for lunch but it would also make for effortless side at a barbecue.  Although, as it has hardly stopped raining over the last couple of days, that might have to wait for a while!

I'll post the marinated mushroom recipe again in case you missed it: 

To make it slice 250 gm of mushrooms and 1/4 of a finely chopped red onion.  Toss in this dressing and leave to marinate for an hour or so.

Asian Dressing:

1 garlic clove ( crushed)
1/4 red onion  (finely chopped)
1 chilli ( chopped) or a dash of Hot Samoan Boys chilli sauce
3 tsp fish sauce
1 tb of brown sugar
The juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbs of sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame oil

Monday, 27 October 2014

Mushrooms Marinated in Asian Dressing

Marinating mushrooms in an Asian dressing enhances their earthy flavour. I garnished them with lots of coriander.

To make it slice 250 gm of mushrooms and 1/4 of a finely chopped red onion.  Toss in this dressing and leave to marinate for an hour or so.

Asian Dressing:

1 garlic clove ( crushed)
1/4 red onion  (finely chopped)
1 chilli ( chopped) or a dash of Hot Samoan Boys chilli sauce
3 tsp fish sauce
1 tb of brown sugar
The juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbs of sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame oil

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Orange, Olive and Avocado salad

A lovely early summer salad to make use of the sweet oranges, avocados and young salad leaves which are in season right now.

To make it:
On a bed of torn mixed lettuce leaves informally arrange :
3 oranges, peeled, cut into slices and halved
1 large/2 small avocados peeled and sliced
12-15 kalamata olives

Drizzle over a dressing made from 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Pass the black pepper grinder separately.

add 1/2 teaspoon of honey
and/or a pinch of toasted cumin and paprika to the dressing.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Spicy Pepitas with Spinach and Feta Hummous

A bowlful of Tio Pablo Mexican Spicy Pepitas  flavoured with salt, chilli and lime goes particularly well with feta and spinach hummous  as we discovered the other night when we were after some pre dinner nibbles.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Whitebait: a Kiwi Lunch

When Margreet and Neil flew in from Dunedin carrying loads of whitebait, and Neil made us amazing flourless whitebait fritters using only eggs to bind, we sat down to a great kiwi lunch of whitebait fritters, papaya salsa, slaw and avocado cream. Truly delicious!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Art Adventures at the Lake House Arts Centre.

Art Adventures has just arrived at the Lake House Arts Centre in Takapuna.They were created by a talented group of students with diverse needs, including those with a physical or intellectual disability. The students attend art classes with the Art Adventure facilitators Maureen Beer and Claire Benson who work with them to maximize their creative talents and opportunities.

Pictured by one of the artworks hung above the old fireplace in this historic building is Claire Benson.  Come over, have a coffee in the caf and see it between 15 October 2014 - 02 November 2014.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Louise Keen: Still Life Series 2014 at the Lake House Arts Centre

On Wednesday Evening ( October 15) Louise Keen's Still Life exhibition opened in Takapuna at the Lake House Arts Centre Cafe Gallery. We enjoyed viewing the art, and some great food and wine.

There is an environmental message in her artworks. The plastic bottles pictured  are often carelessly discarded after they have been used in the kitchen and around the house  and their lack of biodegradability poses a threat to our environment. Does the meandering stitching that overlays them represent the circuitous journey of people searching for, but not always finding, a more sustainable pathway? The salvaged plastic which she has incorporated  into her artworks could be a part of the solution.

"Louise's works on canvas play with compositions of form by including real world objects onto the canvas and the use of colour as a significant motif of culture. By using the transparent and malleable properties of plastic , naive machine stitching an layering, Louise merges the two dimensionality of painting into sculpture."

The exhibition runs from October 15-November 2, 2014
at the Lake House Arts Centre, 37 Fred Thomas Drive Takapuna,

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Wood Pigeon in our Garden

Spotted feeding on the berries of our Nikau Palm this afternoon was this woodpigeon. We don't often see then in our garden but this one stayed around for quite some time and wasn't at all camera shy. Eventually it did fly away and hasn't been back since.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Pawpaw Salsa

We like this salsa as part of a taco filling with  some pulled chicken and sour cream. Do adjust the heat to suit your palate but beware that if  you overdo the hot sauce it will blow your socks off. In that case adding more cucumber could save the day as it has a cooling effect.I like it medium hot so here is my recipe.

Mix together:

1 pawpaw ( peeled, seeded and cubed)
1 red pepper (seeded and cubed)
1/4 telegraph cucumber (cubed)
2 teaspoon of Tio Pablo Tropical Salsa Picante de Pina ( a hot Mexican sauce made from pineapple, serrano chilli, coriander and lime)
1/4 red onion finely diced ( optional)
chopped mint

Red Rice Cakes

These little red rice cakes are so easy to make for a healthy snack or as part of a Mexican meal.

The Tio Pablo Arroz Rojo used in this recipe is an authentic Mexican Red Rice Mix of tomato, capsicum, split peas and spices. You just add rice and cook according to the instructions on the packet.

To make them:

Cook the rice according to the instruction on the package
For every 2 cups of rice stir in a few tablespoons of frozen peas (no need to defrost)
Leave the rice until it is lukewarm
Then add 1 egg , 3/4-1 cup of tasty cheddar cheese and 1 teaspoon of Tio Pablo Mexican Gold spice mix.
Spoon into medium sized  silicone muffin molds which have been lightly greased/sprayed with oil
Fill each to the top and pat down lightly to level the surface
Sprinkle some finely grated parmesan cheese on top

Bake for about 12-15 minutes in a moderate oven until they are set and the parmesan cheese is golden brown

Serve with a tomato salsa/tomato sauce

This is a very flexible recipe. Sometimes I add 2 eggs to make a softer rice cake. And you can  substitute the peas with some sweet corn.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Spicy Mexican Coleslaw

It's the Mexican Spicy Peanuts spiked with chipotle and orange which make this colourful coleslaw so appealing. Once the wind drops and the sun starts to shine we'll start firing up the barbecue and eat this salad all summer long. 

To make it  shred some green cabbage and put in a bowl. Add  cubed mango and  cubed red pepper  and moisten with  mayonnaise ( I used Heinz Seriously Good) and the juice of a lime.

Just before serving  add plenty of Tio  Pablo Mexican Spicy peanuts and some chopped mint.

( ps Cook's privilege. Pour yourself a drink and nibble some of these peanuts while you chop. They are very moorish)