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CULVERDEN FETE 2010

I am already planning on my return to The Culverden Fete. What a glorious day out with the family. It was like stepping back in time, the sun was shinning, ladies dressed up and many beautiful hats were worn

The stalls were selling everything from hand crafted wooden toys for children, vintage fabrics, pretty xmas decorations, wooden and pottery vessels of many discriptions. There were of course many stalls proudly displaying their boutique products, whether it be bacon and ham, venison salamis or sheep milk cheese.


I am led to believe there were up to 250 stalls this year. They should all be very proud of their talents!


LIFE IS PRETTY BEAUTIFUL ……

Culverden Fete

Well it is not very often i get out of Dunedin. Simon (my husband) and the children are all coming with me to Culverden. I have been asked to do a demonstration at their Christmas Fete. Here i was thinking it was a quiet country affair, only to realise it has been going for a mere 20years!! I am now very anxious as i have no idea what to expect. My worst nightmare would be if no one came to watch, imagine that…! Apart from my crazy insecurities, it will be lovely to have a change of scenery for us all.
I won’t be taking my trustee computer or anything that resembles technology, as i really am having a few days out. When i come back i will be focusing on this blog and hanging out in my garden and kitchen. So i can get you all excited about the wicked produce that will be gracing our tables.
Have fun and look forward to catching up soon!

www.thefete.co.nz

Otago Farmers Market

WILD or SPRUE ASPARAGUS
First of the asparagus is now available at the Otago Farmers Market. I have been patiently waiting for the first taste of the season. I have withheld purchasing it from any place other than locally grown. Wild or Sprue Asparagus is ideal for salads as it seems to mingle well with the ingredients.

Fresh Asparagus will be available from Ardross Farm in Palmerston at the Farmers Market this week, hallelujah!

Grilled Wild Asparagus with Rocket, Parmesan and Balsamic Vinegar
Serves 4

2-3 bunches of fresh asparagus,
100g rocket or watercress
20g freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a griddle pan or barbecue up to very hot. Whilst the pan is heating up, prepare your asparagus. The easiest method is to simply hold the stem of asparagus in between your hands and snap off the end. It should break cleanly which is an indication of where to trim. Finish off the remaining asparagus and set aside. Pick over the rocket, discarding any tough or damaged looking leaves, wash gently and drain really well (or the dressing won’t stick to the leaves).
Cook the asparagus on the hot grill by layering it evenly. Wild asparagus tends to be thinner than other asparagus, so it will only take a matter of minutes to cook.
Once cooked put the asparagus into a bowl, add the rocket season with salt and pepper, add the Parmesan shavings and now drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the salad. Finish off with a drizzle of olive oil and toss lightly to coat evenly.
Serve immediately!

STEAMED ASPARAGUS, WITH HAM AND HOLLANDAISE
Serves 2

1 bunch asparagus (more if desired)
2-4 slices good quality ham
2 thickish slices good quality bread, toasted

Hollandaise Sauce
120g unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice plus 1 teaspoon
Good pinch salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of finely chopped chervil, parsley or chives

Heat the butter in a heavy based pot until foamy and hot, but not browned. Turn off the heat and let sit so the sediment that has formed can settle to the bottom of the pot.
Put a pot on the stove which will allow your bowl to sit on top. Add enough water to the pot, just check that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl as the eggs will scramble.
In a good stainless steel bowl, ideally with a rounded bottom, add the egg yolks, vinegar or lemon juice and whisk lightly. Put over the gently simmering water and whisk the yolks until they start to thicken and go pale in colour. Using a ladle, gradually drizzle in the clarified butter (only the golden butter not the sediment on the bottom of pot), whisking continuously. Keep adding the butter like this until you get a thick looking base to your sauce. You can add the butter in more confident amounts now, whisking all the time. When all the butter is added, check the taste, it will definitely need a little salt, add a pinch of cayenne pepper and the herbs. If the hollandaise is to thick (it should delicately coat the asparagus), add a drop or two of boiling water to the mix and whisk it will loosen the mix considerably. If you are not using the hollandaise straight away, you need to find a warm place where it will sit without melting or going cold.

Prepare the asparagus as for the recipe above. Place in a steamer and steam for 2-3 minutes depending on the size of the asparagus. Once cooked remove immediately and season lightly with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Either grill or toast the bread and lay on the plates, generously lay the ham slices on top. Bunch up 4-5 spears of asparagus and arrange on top. Spoon over the delicately, decadent hollandaise sauce.

CROQUE MONSIEUR WITH HAM
Serves 6

250g crustless white bread, preferably stale
100g butter
60g Gruyere cheese, grated
85g ham, sliced

Cut the bread into thin, evenly shaped slices. Spread all the slices with some of the butter and sprinkle with the cheese. Put a piece of ham on half the bread slices. Cover each one with a buttered slice, press down gently to adhere them together. Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan over moderate heat. Add the sandwich and brown for 4 minutes on each side. Enjoy this typically French sandwich!

RHUBARB AND CARDAMOM FOOL
Rhubarb and cardamom go together so well, this combination with the addition of yoghurt and a little cream is a refreshing dessert for Spring!

Serves 6
450g rhubarb, coarsely chopped
150g caster sugar
Juice and grated zest of 1 orange
3 cardamom pods
100ml cream
100ml Greek Yoghurt

Mix the rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and zest together and place in an ovenproof dish. Add the cardamom pods. Cover and bake in an oven preheated to 190`C for 30-45 minutes, until the rhubarb is completely soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Take out the cardamom pods and puree 2/3 of the fruit. Mix the puree fruit with the remainder and set aside.
Whip the cream with the yoghurt until it just holds its shape. Carefully fold the most of the puree through the cream so you have a ripple effect, then transfer the mixture to serving dishes/glasses, chill before serving. To finish off, drizzle over any of the deliciously pink rhubarb and syrup.

ALISON AND THE OTAGO FARMERS MARKET WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE VENDORS WHO HAVE GIVEN US THE PLEASURE TO COOK WITH THEIR BEAUTIFUL PRODUCE

WAITAKI BACON AND HAM
HARWARDEN GARDENS
MCARTHUR’S BERRY FARM
ARDROSS FARM
www.alisonmarketchef.blogspot.com

this is one of those desserts, that is so ridiculously easy to prepare and so versatile. Simply change the fruit with the seasons, try roasted or stewed apricots, plums or peaches instead of the rhubarb.

RHUBARB AND CARDAMOM FOOL
Rhubarb and cardamom go together so well, this combination with the addition of yoghurt and a little cream is a refreshing dessert for Spring!

Serves 6
450g rhubarb, coarsely chopped
150g caster sugar
Juice and grated zest of 1 orange
3 cardamom pods
100ml cream
100ml Greek Yoghurt

Mix the rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and zest together and place in an ovenproof dish. Add the cardamom pods. Cover and bake in an oven preheated to 190`C for 30-45 minutes, until the rhubarb is completely soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Take out the cardamom pods and puree 2/3 of the fruit. Mix the puree fruit with the remainder and set aside.
Whip the cream with the yoghurt until it just holds its shape. Carefully fold the most of the puree through the cream so you have a ripple effect, then transfer the mixture to serving dishes/glasses, chill before serving. To finish off, drizzle over any of the deliciously pink rhubarb and syrup.

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My Chocolate Brownie

Rich and seductive, yes I am talking about “The Chocolate Brownie”. Bite for bite this little number will melt in your mouth with pleasure as it is thick, chocolaty, and chewy. I have experimented with a large number of brownie recipes over the years and they sure do vary. Some are dry, some are thick some are sporadic with the chocolate (why) and some use poor quality chocolate and cocoa.
I am feeling quietly confidant that this one is pretty damn good! It’s not only good as a superb accompaniment with coffee it is also lovely slightly warmed and served with some crème fraiche as a pudding. Enjoy every fantastic mouthful….

ALI’S CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
Makes 9 brownies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut into pieces
125g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules or freshly ground coffee grinds
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup all purpose flour
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Method
Preheat oven 180`C

Melt unsweetened chocolate and butter in double boiler or microwave on medium power for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth, remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, instant coffee and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until light in colour and thick, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add chocolate mixture, and blend.
Stir in the flour. Pour batter into a greased 20 cm square baking dish and spread evenly.
Bake until centre feels firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Place dish on a rack and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips on brownies. When cool, cut into 9 even bars.

Store covered in an airtight container (not in the fridge as it goes hard). For up to 3 days.

ASPARAGUS IS HERE ….

I have been patiently waiting for the arrival of asparagus at the Farmers Market. Wild asparagus has appeared first, it tends to be thinner than its cousin. Only needs a few minutes cooking. I will be celebrating asparagus a lot as it only has a short season and one that i totally indulge in.

Grilled Wild Asparagus with Rocket, Parmesan and Balsamic Vinegar
Serves 4

2-3 bunches of fresh asparagus,
100g rocket or watercress
20g freshly shaved parmesan cheese
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a griddle pan or barbeque up to very hot. Whilst the pan is heating up, prepare your asparagus. The easiest method is to simply hold the stem of asparagus in between your hands and snap off the end. It should break cleanly which is an indication of where to trim. Finish off the remaining asparagus and set aside. Pick over the rocket, discarding any tough or damaged looking leaves, wash gently and drain really well (or the dressing won’t stick to the leaves).
Cook the asparagus on the hot grill by layering it evenly. Wild asparagus tends to be thinner than other asparagus, so it will only take a matter of minutes to cook.
Once cooked put the asparagus into a bowl, add the rocket season with salt and pepper, add the parmesan shavings and now drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the salad. Finish off with a drizzle of olive oil and toss lightly to coat evenly.
Serve immediately

This Spanish inspired recipe for rabbit, is light and perfectly in tune with Spring. It is finished off with sherry vinegar, pine nuts and golden raisin’s, which lifts the flavours in the dish. I suggest serving this dish with plenty of good quality bread, as there is a definite need to soak up all those delicious juices.


CONEJO AGRIDULCE – SWEET AND SOUR RABBIT
Serves 4-6

2 rabbits,
80ml olive oil
500g baby onions, peeled and left whole
500g French shallots, peeled and left whole
350ml white wine
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1cm rounds
4 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
Rind of 2 lemons, into large strips no pith
30g pine nuts
70g golden raisins
3 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Method
It is time to practise your knife skills here as you are needing to portion the rabbit. Firstly you will need a heavy knife or cleaver, cut off the hind and fore legs of each rabbit. Cut the back legs into three pieces (the lower leg, the thigh with the bone, and the thigh without the bone). The part of the body nearest the head makes very bony eating, so trim off the lest few centimetres, including the neck, and discard or reserve for stock. Cut the saddle (middle piece) into 4-5 equal pieces across the spine.
Heat the olive oil in a very large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Brown the rabbit in batches for 3-5 minutes on each side, seasoning to taste as you go. Remove from the pan and set aside, then reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the onions and shallots and cook, shaking the pan frequently, or 10 minutes or until deep golden.
Stir in the wine using a wooden spoon, scraping up any cooked-on bits from the bottom of the pan Simmer for 2 minutes, then add the herbs, carrot, potatoes, lemon rind and enough water to nearly cover the rabbit. Cover with a cartouche (piece of baking paper cut into round the same circumference as the pan), then reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for 1 hour.
Remove the cartouche, then sprinkle the pine nuts, sultanas, vinegar, sugar and paprika over the rabbit and shake them into the juices. Put the cartouche back on and simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve the rabbit with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the juices.

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ORIENTAL LIME TEA INFUSED POACHED PEARS
1 litre water
4 tablespoons Oriental lime tea leaves (The T Shop)
1 cup white wine
1 cup raw cane sugar
1 fresh lime, zest and squeeze of lime juice

Infuse the tea leaves in 2 cups boiled water, which has sat for a couple of minutes to cool. Let infuse for 10 minutes and strain, reserving the liquid. Discard the leaves.
In a deep pot which will hold 4 – 6 pears. Add the remaining water, tea, white wine, sugar and lime zest. Boil gently to dissolve sugar and for the flavours to mingle.
Peel the pears leaving the stems on, slice a thin piece of each pear so it will sit upright. And remove core (from bottom of the pear, upwards).
Place the pears in the poaching liquor and cover with a slightly smaller lid, which will help to keep the pears submerged, resulting in them cooking evenly. Poach gently for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the cooking liquor and set aside. Reduce the liquid until it gets to a syrup stage. Taste, add the squeeze of lime if necessary.
Spoon the syrup over the pears, serve with yoghurt panna cotta’s or good quality vanilla ice cream.

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This recipe partners well with so many delicious fruits. Roasted or stewed rhubarb, summer berries, roasted plums or even poached pears with a slightly tart syrup goes beautifully!

YOGURT PANNA COTTA
Serves 4

70 ml milk
1 vanilla pod, scored and seeds removed
190 ml cream
180 ml Greek yogurt
1 ½ leaves gelatin, soaked in water until soft
70g icing sugar

Put the milk, vanilla pod, vanilla seeds and cream into a small pot and slowly simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by a third. Remove from the heat and stir in the soaked gelatin leaves until dissolved. Allow to cool a little, then place in the fridge, stirring occasionally until the mixture coats the back of the spoon.
Remove the vanilla pod.
Mix the Greek yogurt with the icing sugar and add to the cream mixture. Mix gently to combine, divide into four serving moulds (small glasses, espresso cups etc). Cover and chill for at least an hour.
To serve dip the mould into a bowl with boiling water so it comes nearly to the rim of the panna cotta. Count to 5 and remove, loosen it gently with the blade of a knife and tip directly onto your serving plate. Serve with one of the Tea Infused Pears, a drizzle of syrup. Also divine with summer berries or roasted plums.

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Waiting patiently for new season produce….

Quite a challenge with produce at the moment, as we are in that transition period. Coming to the end of the winter crops and patiently waiting for the fresh new crops to appear. However there is still a million and one things we can cook and enjoy and this week at the market we played around a bit with Rabbit, Cauliflower, Tea, and Living Sprouts. All very delicious and very different!

CONEJO AGRIDULCE – SWEET AND SOUR RABBIT
Serves 4-6

2 rabbits,
80ml olive oil
500g baby onions, peeled and left whole
500g French shallots, peeled and left whole
350ml white wine
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1cm rounds
4 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
Rind of 2 lemons, into large strips no pith
30g pine nuts
70g golden raisins
3 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Method
It is time to practise your knife skills here as you are needing to portion the rabbit. Firstly you will need a heavy knife or cleaver, cut off the hind and fore legs of each rabbit. Cut the back legs into three pieces (the lower leg, the thigh with the bone, and the thigh without the bone). The part of the body nearest the head makes very bony eating, so trim off the lest few centimetres, including the neck, and discard or reserve for stock. Cut the saddle (middle piece) into 4-5 equal pieces across the spine.
Heat the olive oil in a very large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Brown the rabbit in batches for 3-5 minutes on each side, seasoning to taste as you go. Remove from the pan and set aside, then reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the onions and shallots and cook, shaking the pan frequently, or 10 minutes or until deep golden.
Stir in the wine using a wooden spoon, scraping up any cooked-on bits from the bottom of the pan Simmer for 2 minutes, then add the herbs, carrot, potatoes, lemon rind and enough water to nearly cover the rabbit. Cover with a cartouche (piece of baking paper cut into round the same circumference as the pan), then reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for 1 hour.
Remove the cartouche, then sprinkle the pine nuts, sultanas, vinegar, sugar and paprika over the rabbit and shake them into the juices. Put the cartouche back on and simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve the rabbit with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the juices.

SPANISH CRISP CAULIFLOWER
serves 4 as a starter or a side dish

1 medium size cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 Tablespoon gram flour (chickpea flour)
1 teaspoon paprika
sunflower oil for deep-frying
1 dessertspoon good quality red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon capers, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes, then squeezed dry and chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling salted water for a few minutes, until just tender. Drain the cauliflower well and, while it is still hot, put in a bowl with the flour, paprika and some salt and pepper. Mix it all together until the cauliflower is coated with flour.
Heat the sunflower oil to 190`C in a deep-fat fryer or a deep, heavy-based saucepan. Fry the cauliflower florets in batches until crisp and golden, then remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with the vinegar, chopped capers and parsley and serve.

ORIENTAL LIME TEA INFUSED POACHED PEARS
1 litre water
4 tablespoons Oriental lime tea leaves (The T Shop)
1 cup white wine
1 cup raw cane sugar
1 fresh lime, zest and squeeze of lime juice

Infuse the tea leaves in 2 cups boiled water, which has sat for a couple of minutes to cool. Let infuse for 10 minutes and strain, reserving the liquid. Discard the leaves.
In a deep pot which will hold 4 – 6 pears. Add the remaining water, tea, white wine, sugar and lime zest. Boil gently to dissolve sugar and for the flavours to mingle.
Peel the pears leaving the stems on, slice a thin piece of each pear so it will sit upright. And remove core (from bottom of the pear, upwards).
Place the pears in the poaching liquor and cover with a slightly smaller lid, which will help to keep the pears submerged, resulting in them cooking evenly. Poach gently for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the cooking liquor and set aside. Reduce the liquid until it gets to a syrup stage. Taste, add the squeeze of lime if necessary.
Spoon the syrup over the pears, serve with yogurt panna cotta’s or good quality vanilla ice cream.

YOGURT PANNA COTTAServes 4

70 ml milk
1 vanilla pod, scored and seeds removed
190 ml cream
180 ml Greek yogurt
1 ½ leaves gelatin, soaked in water until soft
70g icing sugar

Put the milk, vanilla pod, vanilla seeds and cream into a small pot and slowly simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by a third. Remove from the heat and stir in the soaked gelatin leaves until dissolved. Allow to cool a little, then place in the fridge, stirring occasionally until the mixture coats the back of the spoon.
Remove the vanilla pod.
Mix the Greek yogurt with the icing sugar and add to the cream mixture. Mix gently to combine, divide into four serving moulds (small glasses, espresso cups etc). Cover and chill for at least an hour.
To serve dip the mould into a bowl with boiling water so it comes nearly to the rim of the panna cotta. Count to 5 and remove, loosen it gently with the blade of a knife and tip directly onto your serving plate. Serve with one of the Tea Infused Pears, a drizzle of syrup. Also divine with summer berries or roasted plums.


KOAU LIVING SPROUTS
– have the most diverse array of sprouts I have ever come across. The varieties available range from the commonly known ones like Alfalfa, Broccoli to the more adventurous like Fenugreek, Red Clover, and Dinkle

Sprout suggestions:
– as a snack
– in a sandwich
– fabulous in stir fries
– added to salads
– great in juices
– soups
– savoury muffins & quiches

Be adventurous with the sprouts as they are a vegetable. And they are thought of as the True Super Food !