Thursday, November 22, 2012

Deconstructed Breakfast - Muffin Tin

This weeks muffin tin was my take on cereal....... just because breakfast is my favourite meal of the day.  Imagine this with a glass of milk.

Diced peaches in juice, strawberries, mixed nuts with cranberries and baby-mellows.  And a couple of random koalas for good measure.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: The Last Supper

These were my graduating seniors on their last lesson, ever.... Why not re-make the last supper?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thankful ploughmen....

This week has been filled in the blogosphere with thanks, and it had me thinking.  What was I thankful for?  Well, I have a lot to be thankful for, but today especially, I have people to thank for who I am.  I worked at this amazing vineyard cafe at Muirlea Rise.  There I was the slave, I did dishes, cut foods, poured wine, and generally did whatever.  Lea and Will were amazing to work for, always positive and encouraging and they taught me a lot about life, love and food.

My favourite dish on the menu was the ploughman's lunch, with hunks of great cheese, various breads, and branston pickle, with pickled onions and grapes.  It was amazing.  Today, the day of "Toast Martinborough" the food, wine and music festival, I honour them with my thanks, and a bento-snack variation of the ploughmans lunch.

Here we have 3 slices of baguette, with Edam cheese flowers and lashings of Branston pickle.  I only wish I had picked onions as well.  And a nice glass of red wine.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lentil and Chickpea Patties

BBQ season is upon us, and as a vegetarian, this can be a daunting prospect.  These patties are terrific and tasty, can be BBQ'ed and used in burgers, or made smaller and eaten in a sandwich or wrap, or served as finger food with a yogurt dip.


1 cup red lentils
Vegetable stock cube
1 can chickpeas
2 cloves garlic
Handful of fresh parsley
Handful of fresh coriander
1 onion
Tablespoon curry power
Olive oil
1 egg
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs


1.  Put a large saucepan on to boil with the vegetable stock cube in it.  Rinse the lentils (I cheat and do this in a sieve), then throw them in the pot.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Stir relatively frequently at the start as lentils LOVE to burn themselves on the bottom of my pots!
My cheats way of rinsing lentils and chickpeas

2.  Wash the parsley and coriander.  Drain and rinse the chickpeas (I find until they stop being 'foamy' is good).  Throw these in a large bowl. 

3.  Peel garlic, throw in bowl.  Chop onion finely, throw in the bowl.

4.  Add salt, pepper, curry powder, lemon juice and a slosh of olive oil to the bowl. 

5.  Drain the lentils.  Add half to the bowl.  Using a hand-blender, blitz it all until it is smooth.  It will be rather liquidy.

6.  Add the other half of the lentils, and the breadcrumbs.  Stir.

7.  Sprinkle flour on the bench.  Roll mixture into balls, and then into nice pattie shapes, dusted in flour.  I find as long as they are about 1 1/2 cm's thick, they hold their shape well.  I tend to make burger sized ones, as well as mini-bagel sizes, and ones for wraps.

8.  Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days before frying or BBQing.  Cook on a griddle or fry in a little oil until golden brown.

9.  Serve as either a burger patty or with yogurt dipping sauce.

What's Growing?

With spring having sprung and summer just around the corner, the garden is finally looking half decent.  After a shocking last year, where very little actual care went into the garden, there were so many other things to do... this year is different.  I hope.

Our best crops last year were easily the chilies and strawberries, with a disappointing show from tomatoes and lettuce.  Honourable mention to cucumbers though, as they did okay.

What you can see in front is the strawberry/dog-relaxation-area patch.  This year I finally have pea-strawed the area, and I'll see how this goes.  Behind is the lettuce patch, with cucumbers and zucchini set to climb the obelisk.  This worked so well last year that I decided to do it again.  At the back is corn, a new crop for us, and tomatoes with basil.  What you can see at the back on the left is the boysenberries and raspberries, and a naughty beagle- who likes to sit on my strawberry patch!

In the 2 beds you cannot see we have the herbs, with parsley and mint doing well, silver beet, pumpkin and peas.  We also have the chilies and coriander in the 'curry' garden.

So far we have only been eating the herbs.  I hope to have lettuce shortly, and if I remember to get a new bird net, some strawberries.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

T-Bar Fruity-Nutty bars

May the record show that I love Tupperware..... but I hate Tupperware parties.... with a burning passion.  However, my sister loves them. >.<  This means I get dragged along to buy Tupperware.  I was excited with the T-Bar maker thingy that was released, so I raced away and spent WAY too much on the plastic device.  But it works really rather well.

Basically it is a muesli bar maker, that comes with little carry containers.  And a recipe booklet.... which I promptly lost >.< (but I found it again..... evenutally).  In the mean time I discovered how few internet recipes there were for the T-Bar maker.... and I started thinking I was the only person who bought one.  

But, this is my recipe for like a fruity, anti-oxidant rich muesli bar.  A whole one is like massively difficult to eat, so I recommend cutting them in half... part for morning tea, part for afternoon tea or sharing.

1 cup wholegrain rolled oats
1/3 cup dried banana chips (break them a bit)
1/3 cup dried blueberries and cranberries
1/3 cup dried apricots (cut up a lot)
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter (much better than smooth)
15g butter
1/2 cup honey

 Combine the oats and dried fruits in a bowl.  It will need to be a bowl that can withstand a bit of heat.  I usually use a pyrex jug, but I think the husband has 'put it away' and I can't find it in my kitchen.

In a saucepan, melt the butter, honey and peanut butter together.  I didn't have crunchy peanut butter- because I had eaten it all.... and used the smooth.  It works, but it is not as good.  Boil the mixture, don't be tempted to taste it.... I usually can't resist and then regret it.

Then pour all the runny mixture into the dry ingredients.  Mix it all in.  You will get a really solid mix.  Using a dessert spoon, spoon into the T-Bar thing.  You won't need to oil it or whatever because the butter kinda helps it all slide back out.  Keep packing it all in.  Use the plunger to force it solidly into place.

When it's all crammed in there, place on the lid and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, pop them out.  I use a plastic knife just to release them around the sides and I run hot water over the bottom of the container, but they come out easily enough.

Store in the fridge in the carry containers, and just throw in the bag/lunchbox.

My tip- if you are likely to lose the carry cases, just wrap in gladwrap... they are expensive cases.  I like the idea of knowing EXACTLY what is in these things, and not having any added salt.  They are rather messy to make, but easily sorted with a dishwasher.  They store and carry well, so that is a bonus.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Lunch with Friends

At the "Main Street Deli" in Greytown

I miss these graduates, so much.  They gave of their all for the last 5 years, and have changed my life.  I love them, and I will miss them greatly.  Go forth and make the world a better place.  E kore e mimiti te aroha mōu.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Breakfast Burritos

I adore breakfast burritos, and finally made them myself. 

It was a success beyond all measure.

First....  Ingredients
- Burrito wraps (2)
- 2 eggs
- Tablespoon milk
- Chili flakes
- Salt and Pepper
- Olive oil
- Grated carrot (to taste)
- 4 grape tomatoes
- BBQ or Chili sauce
- Refried beans
- Cheese
- Sour cream

1.  Heat the burrito wraps in the microwave.  They are easier to mold.

2.  Whisk the 2 eggs in a bowl with a splash of milk.  Add chili, salt and pepper.  Throw a little olive oil in a hot frying pan, then add the egg.  Cover the base of the frying pan, and let the uncooked egg under the edges of the cooked egg.... like making an omelet.

3.  Slice tomatoes and place on egg-omelet.  Sprinkle carrot and sauce as well. 

4.  When firm, cut in half and slide onto burritos.

5.  Heat beans.  Put on top of the burritos.  Add grated cheese at this point.

6.  Roll each burrito into a roll, and place in a sandwich press.  Heat for a minute or so.

7.  Serve with sour cream to taste.  Nom nom nom.

Takeaway Tacos

Lunch today in an Easy Lunchbox - I do love these things, but they are a bit of a pain.  Sometimes the lids don't sit right, but the carry case is great.  I throw in an icepack that keeps everything cool.  Just keep the bag flat.

Tacos- I heated them up and then put the sour cream on.  Warm sour cream.... ewww.  Tacos made with lettuce, carrot, cheese, refried beans, and of course, sour cream.  With a selection of strawberries and grapes, and a couple of Danish cookies.

Muffin Tin Monday: Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast burrito muffin tin with burritos, grated cheese and sour cream
I love breakfast burritos but I usually leave them to eating at fairs in the morning... letting someone else do all the hard work.  Today I made my own.  Yummo!

I'll link to the recipe on here.

Here we have a pair of breakfast burritos with grated cheese and sour cream.  It was a tasty, glorious mess in the end, but nothing was left behind.

Eggs Benedict

On my last trip overseas, I fell in love with eggs benedict.

Remember, I am a vegetarian, so this basically means that I decided I liked poached eggs.  My mother used to poach eggs growing up, but I never ate them.  I preferred scrambled.  And I am a fan of the movie, "Julie and Julia"... so watching the failed attempts at poaching just.... creeped me out.

Anyway, I gave it a lot of research.  A lot.  I read every cook book I owned with tips and scowered the internet.


Sort of.

Semi-successful eggs benedict
This is what I did....

Eggs Benedict (poached eggs)
  • Fill a deep frying pan with about 5cm of water and add a splash of vinegar and pinch of salt.
  • Bring the water to a simmer.
  • One at a time, break eggs into a cup - I used a 1 cup pyrex jug. Then slide the egg into the water.
  • As soon as the water starts simmering again, turn off the heat and cover saucepan with lid.
  • Stand for about 2 minutes, or until the white is firm.
  • Lift the eggs out of water with a slotted spoon. Drain well.
  • Serve on toasted English muffins with parsley, hollandaise sauce, and black pepper.
Obviously, meat eaters would add either smoked salmon or ham with the eggs, but I don't eat meat.


Sort of.  The picture is accurate, but the water.... it looked.... yuck.  However after discussion with my mother, she said that Grandma used to use an egg poacher.  I have since ordered one from Fly Buys, so I will try poaching eggs again when it arrives.  :D

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dahl Toasted Sandwiches

I know I have blogged of the wonders, and probably to the despair of foodies worldwide, but these are magnificent.

I love this recipe for a simple red lentil dahl, it's a vegetarian curry.  It's super simple to make (just keep the heat down low and stir, stir, stir).  And it has a taste beyond comparison.  It is also incredibly cheap- less than a dollar for the ingredients, which will easily serve 4.  It makes a meal served with rice for around 50 cents per person.  Crazy!

Red Lentil Dahl

I recommend trying it, even non-curry lovers like it.  Leave out the chilli for those of you who don't like hot.

As leftovers, lentils are great.  I personally love a nice dahl toasted sandwich on an honey grain toast as lunch the following day.  The flavours of all curry deepen over time, so they make the best leftovers.

Today's super simple toasted sandwich lunch

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Back on Track

It's been a long road to recovery back here, and a longer road to being able to write about food so much!  For so long food became the enemy.... something that I had to bribe my husband to try again, or convince him to eat or drink.  At least food has reached a happy medium again where he is eating happily and all the foods that were just bad chemo reminders have faded to the point he can eat them again.

At some point I'll blog about the food findings for chemo patients.... but I'll tell you this.... feeding a chemo patient requires a lot of patience!

But let this be a blog post marking a new beginning.  I have some recipes on the go, and I shall post the first of them shortly.

I also have another blog- on health and fitness over on tumblr.  Feel free to follow along:
Moving It - The Blog

Monday, February 27, 2012

All the Noms....

Tonight was a rush.... with costumes to sew for tomorrow, and basically not very interested in eating, this was all about rushing, and eating what was available.

Here we have some home grown lettuce with homemade yogurt, and home grown blackberries, a birds nest of spaghetti with sauce in the birdy, carrots, felafel patties and some kiwifruit flowers left over from lunch.

Not particularly interesting, but lots of noms, and it all went down well.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy Day Biscuits

Tomorrow is the staff baking competition at school.  The competition is fierce, and I may never live down the "Cake in a box" incident of 2003.  So, I have to go all out.  Last year when we did Cakes, I made a five layer rainbow cake with 2 layers of icing.

This year I was planning on making fortune cookies.   Actually, I did make fortune cookies, but they were misfortunes really, and I decided not to enter them.

This left me with the issue of an afternoon to get sorted, and no time to cool or ice anything.... so....

The gears went whirring, and this is what we came up with- Happy Face Biscuits. They were made from a basic refrigerator biscuit dough, with some split off and coloured with cocoa powder.

With the light dough, roll out flat onto cling film, to about 5mm think. 

Do the same with the dark section.  I found this one much harder to roll, because it was less moist, given the added cocoa powder.

Roll the light dough up from the narrow side.  After a few rotations, take a strip of the dark (rolled into a 5mm diametre tube) and place it on the dough, roll over the dough a small way and add another strip the same.  This creates the eyes.  Roll around the circle a little further.  Add a 2 cm wide strip of dark dough and roll for the smile.

It sounds WAY harder than it is.....

You will end up with a long tube of dough, which needs chilling for a few hours in the refrigerator.  Wrap tightly in cling fim.

Then cut the dough into 5mm discs, and pop in the oven.

Super cute. 

Award winning?  Perhaps not... but at least no one can say I didn't put my own mark on a classic biscuit!

Friday, February 17, 2012

On REALLY Fresh Fruit

I have been away- she says, somewhat apologetically....

Not really.

Those of you aware of my other interests, will know of my love of travel.  This time I managed to take the whole family to Tonga and Fiji.  The weather was amazing and the sights spectacular.  However, the highlight was totally the fresh food!

Everywhere we walked, it was there.  On tables, sidewalks, in the barber shop (really, not kidding), and for sale.  Cheap.  We ate so well, and so ridiculously cheaply. 

And the flavours!  Now, I have never traditionally been much of a tropical fruit fan... but I have discovered that this is merely because most fruit has to be picked when it is not ripe so that it can be transported, and then even worse to prevent it spoiling.

Not so in the islands....

The best part was the price..... Like watermelons.  Whole watermelons.... $1 (Tongan... so like .75 NZ or .50 US)  CRAZY.  And the peanuts..... so delicious and in their shells, they almost tasted roasted from the heat.

We shared mangos with some of the shop assistants in the tee shirt store, had pineapple on the beach, and watermelon everywhere.  For my sister, who worried about her kids, it was fine to say, "try the coconut, if you don't like it, you don't need to eat it" because it was so fresh, so tasty, and so cheap, that she didn't need to worry.  And the kids loved it. 

All I can say is, I have definitely learned that travelling with a pocket knife and antibacterial wipes is not as insane as some have told me.... slicing up a whole pineapple and cleaning up afterwards is much easier when you travel prepared!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Minestrone by Necessity

All year, my husband has been sick in one form or another.  First with chemotherapy, then the reaction to the chemo, and now the recovering from the solid destruction the treatment has taken on his stomach and intestines.  Less than ideal. 

However, 2 things have come out of it.  I have become a walking expert on cancer related medications, and foods to prepare.  I have an astounding array (okay, 3) books on cooking for cancer, or at least, cooking to avoid cancer and a growing notebook of ideas, guidance and foods that he likes, combined with anti-carcinogenic properties.  (I told you I was getting good with the terminology).

But now he is on the mend, it is time for a new regime.  He has never been a soup fan, sadly, as I ADORE the stuff.  However, as he has been recovering, his soups have been becoming more solid, and more interesting. 

Did I mention he tends to hate food the second time around?  Again, different from me.  I LOVE leftovers.  I know where I stand with leftovers.  I can see that there are so many meals, or parts of a meal remaining.  So I had been using those convenient cans-of-soup-for-one for him.  Until I ran out!  So disorganized in the chaos.

And now to the point of this entry, I needed a filling soup, high in cancer fighting ingredients, and fast.  Almost-instant minestrone came as a tasty flash.

The Almost-Instant recipe

From the pantry:
- 5 bean mix (canned)
- Spiral pasta
- Tomato pasta sauce with garlic

From the garden
- Zucchini
- Fresh basil
- Leek
- Onion

From the freezer/fridge
- Vegetable broth
- Frozen mixed vegies

Into a medium saucepan on a low heat, throw 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.  I had this leftover from a soup earlier in the week.  Also add a handful of pasta (I keep an airtight container of pasta remnants, you know, those last bits that don't get cooked).

Rinse about 3 tablespoon fulls of the bean mix under cold water.  The brine is just awful in soup.  Throw the beans into the soup.

Add a handful of frozen mixed vegetables.  This will drop the temperature, but shouldn't stop the boiling at this point.

Cut 2 slices of onion and 4 slices of leek into small pieces, and dice the small zucchini.  Throw this in with the soup.

Add 1/2 cup of pasta sauce and chopped basil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Allow soup to boil until the pasta is cooked. 

Spoon half the saucepans worth into a bowl.  Add boiling water and stir to a pleasing consistency.  Serve.

The remaining bit can be refrigerated or frozen for use later on. 

I meant to photograph the soup, but both meals were eaten so quickly.  However, I still have leftovers to make more from scratch if need be.