Thursday, January 28, 2010

We have friends coming to dinner tomorrow night, a year ago I was MC at their wedding and their thank you was a copy of Twelve - A Tuscan cook book so I'm cooking a meal from the book for their visit.

The menu is;
Seppa sulla griglia - grilled squid with garlic, chilli and herbs

Tagliata con rucola ed aceto balsamico - grilled sirloin on rocket salad

Pomodoro gratinati - gratineed tomatoes with herbs, garlic and cheeses

Verdure miste arrosto - mixed roasted vegetables


Frutti col nocciolo arrostiti con il marscapone della vaniglia - roasted stonefruits with vanilla sugar marscapone

I'll post recipes after the fact and any photos I manage to take on the night.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Back at work

Well after 9 days back in the office it's much the same as last year. Busy and lot's of change.

The weather's got better so I've been able to get the BBQ fired up a couple of times and enjoy that.

One of the favourite meals we've enjoyed in the last year has been braised/roasted turkey nibbles, now chicken nibbles are those little wing portions that are great marinated and served up in varied forms, Buffalo Wings as they're often called.

Many years ago at a small place somewhere close to West Palm Beach (maybe called Rosies Crab Shack?) we enjoyed a hot and spicy version along with crab claws, crawdads and Key Lime pie for dessert.

Now turkey nibbles are the same 'but" just super sized, a little like Fred and Barney designed them and being larger need a longer cooking time. I tend to mix up a marinade with ginger, garlic, chilli sauce etc. and place all in a snaplock bag and let sit aside for an couple of hours if possible.

One simple option is as below;

Spicy Turkey Wings


1/2 cup hoisin sauce (there are GF versions around but read the ingredients lists on the bottle carefully)
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon gluten free
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (not seasoned)
8 chicken thighs with skin and bones (2 3/4 lb)


Preheat oven to 180c

Whisk together all the marinade ingredients together, and pour over the turkey nibbles (having placed these in a large snaplock bag) then massage the marinade in and set aside for at least a couple of hours or overnight in the fridge. Roll around in the marinade inside the bag as often as possible to ensure a full cover.

Then the two part cooking starts. Heat the oven to 180c and layer the nibbles in a deep casserole or dutch oven and either cover with the lid or a double layer of foil.

Depending on the size of the nibbles allow to cook for at least 30 - 45 minutes checking on a regular basis. Once the meat is beginning to come away from the bone, remove and place in a large oven tray pouring all the cooking juice, marinade etc. over the top, also add any left in the snaplock bag.

I have a three burner hooded BBQ and fire this up to full heat with the hood down, about 600c, then lift the hood place the oven tray on the grill top and turn the burners down to low for 10 minutes then off completely.

Turn the nibbles each time and check to make sure they are still coated with the marinade and this reduces and becomes nice and sticky. This takes 30 - 45 minutes for fully cooked, 45 minutes + for the slightly charred option.

Serve with either a green salad with red onion rings (soak in a mix of vinegar and cold water for 30 minutes to crisp and mildly pickle) and oven roasted potato wedges.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Christmas glamping 2009 - 2010

Every year for the past 7 or 8 Christmas holidays we've packed ourselves up with camping gear and taken the ferry north to south (New Zealand is two major islands named imaginatively North Island and South Island) with a fully laden station wagon and for the past several years a fully laden trailor hanging on the back.

After all a three room tent for us, the small tents for the kids, the cookers, gas bottles, gas fridge, pots, pans, utensils, chillibins, solar powered lights, airbeds, kitset wardrobes, tables, pantries and on and on.......all takes up room.

Camping (or as we put it glamping, glamourous camping) is a full on experience, a friend suggested we didn't camp as much - we moved house for a week or two. I mean really, just because we take a gas powered fridge, a two burner cooker, a three burner cooker, a food chillibin, a drinks chillibin, pots, pans, roasting trays, glasses and so on doesn't mean it's over the top.

The Jersey Bennes being sauteed

What may be ever so slightly excessive are the meals we have while at the campsite. Having loaded the chillibin with a frozen butterflied leg of lamb to act as the slicker pad (works really well) that's the option for night one. Here's where I reveal the 'must have' accessory for camping, ziplock bags.

The perfect tool to marinate, save and reuse everything. In this instance, the lamb went into a large bag with garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, various herbs and back into the chillibin for about 3 hours.

The blackboard menu

The two burner was fired up to parboil the jersey benne potatoes in the cast iron dutch oven, these are then cooled and sliced - two non-stick pans readied and the potatoes go in to saute and brown and then back into the dutch oven to keep warm (over a low flame) while the lamb finishes.

The lamb is now on the two burner with the grill plate across the two burners and the lamb is sitting under the lid of the oval roaster (keeping heat and moisture in) and then rests there with the burners off while the rest is being readied.

Then carve and serve with the potatoes and green beans, oh and of course some well chilled rose from a local vineyard in the Moutere valley to drink alongside. Perfect end to the day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm going to update this site with recipes I've used recently and those I've collected and adapted to GF use where not originally designed to be GF.

I got this recipe from the head chef at the Royal Treat restaurant - Jaipur on a trip there with Zoe in May 2009, Baingan Bharta is mashed eggplant cooked with spiced tomato and spices and is a very flavorful dish.

Traditionally bharta is made with charcoal roasted eggplant but it also can be adapted to a modern kitchen or made on a hooded barbeque

Recipe will serve 2 to 3 as a side dish or can be used as a dip, I ate it as a main with a chickpea flour paratha


1 Eggplant (should be big and fat with smooth tight skin)
2 medium size tomatoes
1/2 cup green chopped red bell pepper
1 green chili
1/4 inch piece of ginger
3 tablespoons oil
Pinch of asafetida (if you don't have don't panic but it is available at most speciality stores selling Indian spices etc.)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili
1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste, I use Maldon sea salt so less salty than other options)
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro to garnish


Cook the whole eggplant - options for this are to rub with oil and roast in an oven, barbeque or in the microwave for 8 to 10 minutes until it is tender. If in the oven or barbeque until the skin splits or is well charred, should take about 30 to 45 minutes at apprpx 400F

Let it cool and peel off the skin and chop the eggplant in small pieces and keep aside, last time I did this I found that scraping the flesh away from the skin worked best.

Blend the tomatoes, ginger and green chili, heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and stir fry the bell pepper for about a minute, remove and seta side. Using the same pan reheat and add one cumin seed to the oil; if it cracks right away it is ready, add asafetida if using and cumin seed stirring, after the cumin seeds crack, add tomato puree, coriander powder, turmeric, red chili, and salt and let it cook for a few minutes until tomato puree has started leaving the oil.

Add the cooked eggplant and cook on medium heat keep stirring the eggplant and mashing the eggplant as it cooks.

Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, then add the bell pepper, fresh cilantro, and garam masala to the eggplant and mix it gently. the Bharta is ready serve hot with rotis, parathas, or naan.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

5th of January 2010, and the last post was 14th Jan 2009!

so all in all avery poor response to something I thought I'd add to on at least a weekly basis but that was 2009 for me, way too preoccupied with work and 'gettting things done' without slowing down and taking time to do what worked for me, so this year 2010 will be different.

I will be changing my role at work into something that works for me, not me work for it, pays me well and gives me the time to spend doing a few new things and the option to revive a few old ones.

Photography -
Painting -
Travel -
and whatever else I want to do