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HAPPY NEW YEAR
peace, love and happiness everyone
bring on 2011

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PEA AND HAM SOUP

Luckily it has been cold and wet down here over the past few days.  It gave me a great excuse to use the ham bone from our Christmas ham.  Now not only do i have pea and ham soup for my family, but also for my parents and brother in-law.  It feels very satisfying using up the last of the Christmas left overs, and very thrifty as well.

PEA AND HAM SOUP WITH SODA BREAD

2 cups green or yellow split peas, washed well
8 cups water
1 ham hock or ham bone
2 bay leaves
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 leek, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups frozen or fresh peas
Crème fraiche (optional)
Mint leaves

Place the, water, ham hock, 2 carrots and half the onion and half the leek, with the bay leaves into a large pot. Cook for 2 hours, or until the meat is almost falling off the bone.
Carefully strain the stock (liquid) into another large pot or bowl and then transfer into a large pot. Retrieve the ham hock and shred off the meat and remove any chewy bits. Keep aside for later.
Put the stock back onto the heat and add the remainder carrots, onion and leeks. Add the split peas and cook gently for about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Do not season until the peas are tender.
When the peas are tender add the fresh or frozen peas and cook for a couple of minutes as you want the freshness and vibrancy in your soup.
Either use a hand blender or carefully processor until the desired consistency. It is up to you whether you would like smooth or a little more texture!
Add the ham meat and check for seasoning and serve if desired with a dollop of crème fraiche and a couple of mint leaves.

SODA BREAD
450g Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
200-300ml buttermilk or sour milk

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, add 200ml of the buttermilk, using a bread and butter knife, cut and stir the wet liquid into the dry ingredients.  If it is looking too dry add some more.  You are looking for a slightly sticky dough.  It is vital that you don’t over work the dough, or you will end up with a tough, heavy bread.
As soon as the mixture has combined, turn it out onto a slightly floured surface and work the dough every so gently.  Roll or pat out into a 4cm thick disc, cut a cross into the dough’s surface (it will let the dough expand without cracking the surface).
 Put onto a lightly floured baking tray and bake in a preheated oven 200C. Bake for about 20 minutes and slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and wrap in a tea-towel.  Best served warm with lashing of butter!

soda bread and butter….

BLACK FOREST GATEAU

Wow i am going in back in time with this old classic.  My inspiration for this dessert, was simple really.  Here in Otago, New Zealand we have an abundance of big fat, juicy cherries – hence Black Forest Gateaux.

BLACK FOREST GATEAUX

150 gm dark chocolate (54% cocoa solids)
150 gm butter, softened
170 gm caster sugar
6 eggs, separated
150 gm self-raising flour, sifted
3 tsp cornflour
50 ml kirsch, plus extra to drizzle
250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream

To serve: chocolate curls (see note)

Cherry compote
330 gm (1½ cups) caster sugar
500 gm pitted cherries

Ganache
150 gm dark chocolate (54% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
140 ml pouring cream

1. For cherry compote, combine sugar and 500ml of water in a saucepan and cook, stirring over medium heat, until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, add cherries, bring to boil again, reduce heat and simmer until cherries are tender (5 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside. Makes 1 litre of cherries and juice.

2. Preheat oven to 175C. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cool slightly. Beat butter and 150gm caster sugar in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (4-8 minutes), then add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add melted chocolate and stir to combine, then fold in flour in batches. Whisk egg whites to soft peaks, then fold through chocolate mixture. Pour into a greased and baking paper-lined 23cm spring-form pan and bake until a skewer withdraws clean (30-40 minutes). Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

3. Meanwhile, drain juice from cherries (reserving 180ml and discarding remaining). Place cherries in a bowl. Mix cornflour with 20ml reserved cherry juice to make a paste. Combine remaining cherry juice, drained cherries and cornflour paste in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens (2-3 minutes). Add 30ml kirsch and set aside to cool.

4. For ganache, melt chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir until smooth and glossy.

5. Whisk cream and remaining sugar until stiff peaks form, add remaining kirsch and whisk briefly to combine. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

6. Halve cake horizontally, drizzle base generously with kirsch, spread with cream and spoon over cherry compote. Sandwich with top half of cake. Drizzle with more kirsch, then pour over ganache and scatter with chocolate curls.

Note: For chocolate curls, melt dark chocolate, spread thinly onto a marble slab or inverted heavy tray, set aside until firm. Scrape with a knife at a 45-degree angle (away from you) to create curls.





MERRY CHRISTMAS

Ollie, Freddy and Evy

Well Christmas has passed by here in New Zealand.  I am now turning my thoughts to my family and friends in the UK.  Merry Christmas! I do hope you all have a happy, safe and stress-free time. 
My large family have made Christmas rather relaxing.  The weather was fine and we were able to stick to the original plan of an outdoor affair.  We all bring a variety of dishes and put them together and we end up with quite a banquet.
 This year more than other’s i really do feel blessed to have my Mother and Father and all my family with us in good health.  My parents have spent many months in hospital and has caused endless amounts of concern for us all.  When situations like that arise you always find good.  And in our case i realised just how loving and special my family is.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas, try to stop and look around as sometimes we don’t see the small things. 

Merry Christmas and lots of love to you all..

CARAMELISED PORK BELLY

PREPARATION FOR CHRISTMAS……

As the years have passed so has our traditional Christmas feast.  Gone are the days of turkey and stuffing, and over full bellies, a lot of dishes and stress (on my mothers part).  Into a knew era where stress is kept to a minimum and as much time outside as possible.  Christmas day’s menu is divided between families and brought to one venue.  It actually works very well, as we all make a main dish with some form of protein, a salad or two and a  dessert. I am from a large family, who all love their food, so you could imagine the sheer quantity of food involved.  If you had to do the food alone, it would be like a catering job. My husband (Simon) and i share the preparation. 
This year our menu consists of (not at all traditional):
CARAMELISED PORK BELLy with Chinese coleslaw (Kylie Kwongs dish)

PRAWNS WITH MOJO VERDE
BLACK FOREST GATEAU
HOMEMADE ELDERFLOWER CHAMPAGNE

This is just our contribution, there is another five families to add on to this list…it will be delicious.

This Pork dish is absolutely amazing, the pork is soft and moist.  The flavour from the poaching stock, seeps through the meat and the fat and then the slightly citrus caramel finishes off the dish perfectly.  A satisfying and well balanced dish.  Great for any time of the year.

CARAMELISED PORK BELLY
serves 6


600g female pork belly, cut into 2.5 cm cubes or in a large piece
220g brown sugar

3 limes, juice only                                                    2 Tablespoon fish sauce

Red braising stock
625ml Shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)

375ml organic Tamari (naturally brewed wheat-free soy product)



pork in braising stock

220g brown sugar 6 garlic cloves, coasley crushed

90gm ginger, thinly sliced

4 spring onions, trimmed and halved length ways

5 star anise
2 cinnamon quills
3 pieces of orange rind, removed with peeler
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Sichuan pepper salt
1 Tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
30g sea salt flakes

Method:  Place pork in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to the simmer over medium heat and simmer to remove impurities (5 minutes)
Drain, rinse pork under cold running water and set aside.
For red braising stock:  combine ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low and simmer to infuse (40 minutes).  Add pork and simmer until tender (45 minutes-1 hour).  Set aside.

To make Sichuan pepper salt: combine ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
caramel
Remove pork from stock, pat dry on absorbent paper and set aside.  Combine sugar and 250ml water in a saucepan, cook over medium heat,stir to dissolve sugar, then simmer until caramelised (10-15 minutes).  Remove from heat and add lime juice and fish sauce. 
If using a large piece of belly pork, now is the time to cut it into the desired size.   Add pork belly, toss to combine and serve scattered with Sichuan pepper salt, with extra caramel drizzled over and serve with either steamed white rice or chinese coleslaw.
caramelised pork and rice

SWEET CHERRY BREAD – cherry schiacciata

Once upon a time you would always see me making Foccica bread, it was all the rage when i was training to become a chef.  I think it was my first taste of “Italian style bread”.  Like anything when you make a lot of one thing it loses it’s appeal.
However i have been making loaf after loaf of this soft, chewy, moist bread.  This time however i have pushed large, juicy cherries into the surface, sprinkled with my new best friend (rose petal) sugar and baked until golden brown. 

It is super easy and absolutely gorgeous to eat!  Now is the time to make this as cherries are big, ripe and juicy. If however you can’t get them grapes work equally as well.
SWEET CHERRY BREAD – CHERRY SCHIACCIATA

1 teaspoon dried yeast
1 Tablespoon Rose petal sugar
3 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
500g pitted cherries or grapes
2 Tablespoon Rose petal sugar, for dusting

To make the Rose petal sugar: Simply put the sugar and rose petals into a food processor and blitz until the petals have blended into the sugar. It should go a lovely speckled pink colour! Set aside. It will store well in a clean glass jar with a lid for a month or two.

To make the bread: In a bowl combine the yeast, sugar, flour and salt.Add the warm water and olive oil. If using an electric mixer use a dough hook and mix together and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough comes together and is smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, try to knead for a good five minutes or until the dough looks smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200C

Generously grease a baking tray or baking dish with olive oil. Tip the dough out and knead lightly, now press and stretch the dough out with your hands, so it roughly fits the tray.

Scatter cherries over the surface of the dough – leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the dough is golden. Scatter over a few more rose petals to finish off.

NB – variations for Xmas sprinkle a little icing sugar mixed with a generous pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg over the bread. Or over Xmas pies.

This dough would work well for breakfast, simply cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Take out in the morning and let come to room temperature.

OTAGO FARMERS MARKET – ALMOST CHRISTMAS

The market seemed to be bursting at the seams this Saturday.  Eager shoppers waiting patiently for the vendors to display their produce.  The market is now getting full of sweet summer produce, peaches and apricots were available which is exciting.  I could also smell the sweet perfume of berries wafting through the air.  I have been eating raspberries, cherries and strawberries all day and everyday, life is delicious.
There will one more Farmers Market before Christmas, it starts nice and early 8am.  I would advise to be early as it gets absolutely crazy down there.  The wonderful array of produce available is inspiring, it just makes you want to cook.  I will be at the market, although not to cook this week.  I will be available to answer any questions about Xmas dinner and hopefully give you some ideas.  I will also be selling the Farmers Market Cookbook! 
See you there on Wednesday 22nd at 8am…

BROAD BEAN DIP

This dip is a great way to use up the older tougher beans.

500g fresh broad beans, podded
1-2 cloves new season garlic
1 lemon
Fresh mint
Salt
Extra virgin olive oil

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the broad beans, cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and remove the tough outer shells from the beans. Set aside

In a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic, and mint with a sprinkle of salt until a paste has formed, add the beans, a little oil and pound again until a vibrant green paste has formed. Add a little lemon rind, and juice, check for seasoning, mix to combine, taste and adjust if necessary. Serve in a little bowl with some warm flat-bread.

BROAD BEAN, BACON AND MINT FETTUCCINE
Serves 3-4
500g fresh egg fettuccine
100g Parmesan Cheese, grated
150g bacon, cut into small slices
Broad bean dip

Heat a good size pot of well salted water to the boil.

In a good size fry-pan add a little oil and fry the bacon until crispy, add the broad bean mixture, warm through. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water, give a quick stir and cook according to the pack. Once the pasta is cooked, drain immediately, reserving a little of the cooking water. Add to the broad bean mixture and loosen with a spoon or two of the reserved water, toss together. Add Parmesan, sea salt and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese.

POTATOES, NEW SEASON GARLIC AND GREENS
Serves 6

1kg waxy potatoes, cut into wedges
200g bacon end, cut into lardons (small baton shape) optional
1 bulb new season garlic
1 lemon
¼ cup white wine
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Good quality olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Cavalo nero, kale, spinach or silver beet, washed well and roughly cut into large pieces
Olive oil and Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Method: Heat a heavy based deep sided fry pan with a generous amount of oil, add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes or until the bacon crisps. Add the potatoes so they get coated in the bacon fat, let cook over a high heat, so the potatoes form a slight crust. Trim the top of the garlic bulb, peel away the exterior shell and slice the whole bulb into thin rounds. When the garlic is so new you don’t necessarily need to separate the cloves. Add the garlic, thyme sprig, seasoning and a grate or two of lemon zest, mix to coat the potatoes. Add a glug of white wine and continue to cook the potatoes until 2/3 cooked. Add the greens and lightly season, toss through the potato mixture, cook 2-3 minutes longer. Squeeze over a little lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil great with char-grilled chicken, pork or simply fry an egg and place on top.

Fantastic Green Salad

A good salad only needs to contain very few ingredients! But it is essential that they are good products. It is vital that the lettuce you use is super fresh, try a variety of lettuce leaves. Different varieties have different flavour, texture and colour.

– Wash the leaves gently and remove as much water as possible. The dressing won’t coat the leaves if wet.

– Don’t dress the salad until just before serving, as the leaves will wilt, and discolour.

– Don’t over handle

Pick over the leaves of salad and remove any unwanted stalk, put the washed leaves into a good size bowl and make a simple fresh dressing – add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar, into a small bowl, drizzle in 3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, pinch of sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Lightly whisk together to mix, drizzle over enough oil to lightly coat the leaves. Toss the leaves gently with your fingertips so the dressing coats all the leaves. Serve immediately!

ROSE PETAL MERINGUES, CREAM AND RASPBERRIES
Makes 8
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
110g rose petal sugar
For the topping:

250g mascarpone cheese
200ml crème fraiche or whipped cream
1 Tablespoon icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To finish: Fresh raspberries and edible rose petals from Kanuka Organics

Preheat the oven to 150C

You will also need a large baking sheet measuring 16 x 12 in (40 x 30 cm), lined with baking parchment.

To make the Rose Petal Sugar: Put 1 ¼ cups caster sugar and 4 Tablespoons dried rose petals into a food processor and processor until a pretty pink sugar has formed. Store excess sugar in a jar – will last 1-2 months.

To make the meringues, place the egg whites in a large, grease-free bowl and, using an electric mixer whisk on a low speed, begin whisking. Continue whisking turning up the speed to high until the egg whites are foamy and stiff peaks have formed. Next, whisk the sugar in on fast speed, a little (about a dessertspoon) at a time, until you have a stiff and glossy mixture. Now all you do is spoon 8 heaped dessertspoons of the mixture on to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them evenly. Using the back of the spoon or a small palette knife, hollow out the centres. Don’t worry if they are not all the same shape – random and rocky is how I would describe them.

Next, pop them on the centre shelf of the oven, immediately reduce the heat to 140°C, and leave them for 30 minutes. After that, turn the oven off and leave the meringues to dry out in the warmth of the oven until it is completely cold (usually about 4 hours).

Mix the mascarpone, sugar and cream or crème fraiche together. Mix using either an electric hand mixer or by hand. Beat until the creams are combined and a smooth, silky mixture has formed.

To Assemble: spoon the cream mixture onto cold meringues, top with fresh raspberries or strawberries and sprinkle with the rose petals.

I  would like to thank all the vendors who have supported the mobile kitchen, and I would also like thank all the enthusiastic public who support good food. Have a safe and very merry Christmas. Thank you!

Kanuka Organics

Waitaki Bacon and Ham

Ettrick Growers

Brydone Organic Growers

Pasta doro

Rose Petal Meringues

ROSE PETAL MERINGUES, CREAM AND RASPBERRIES
Makes 8
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
110g rose petal sugar

For the topping:
250g mascarpone cheese
200ml crème fraiche or whipped cream
1 Tablespoon icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To finish: Fresh raspberries and edible rose petals from Kanuka Organics

Preheat the oven to 150C
You will also need a large baking sheet measuring 16 x 12 in (40 x 30 cm), lined with baking parchment.

To make the Rose Petal Sugar: Put 1 ¼ cups caster sugar and 4 Tablespoons dried rose petals into a food processor and processor until a pretty pink sugar has formed. Store excess sugar in a jar – will last 1-2 months.

To make the meringues, place the egg whites in a large, grease-free bowl and, using an electric mixer whisk on a low speed, begin whisking. Continue whisking turning up the speed to high until the egg whites are foamy and stiff peaks have formed. Next, whisk the sugar in on fast speed, a little (about a dessertspoon) at a time, until you have a stiff and glossy mixture. Now all you do is spoon 8 heaped dessertspoons of the mixture on to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them evenly. Using the back of the spoon or a small palette knife, hollow out the centres. Don’t worry if they are not all the same shape – random and rocky is how I would describe them.

Next, pop them on the centre shelf of the oven, immediately reduce the heat to 140°C, and leave them for 30 minutes. After that, turn the oven off and leave the meringues to dry out in the warmth of the oven until it is completely cold (usually about 4 hours).

Mix the mascarpone, sugar and cream or crème fraiche together. Mix using either an electric hand mixer or by hand. Beat until the creams are combined and a smooth, silky mixture has formed.

To Assemble: spoon the cream mixture onto cold meringues, top with fresh raspberries or strawberries and sprinkle with the rose petals.

BROAD BEAN DIP

I am at that stage in the garden where veggies seem to popping up everywhere.  The art now is to make the most of them and not to let them bolt or go to seed. 
I have always associated broad beans with my life at my parents.  Every year for as long a i can remember i have eaten them for Christmas dinner and evening meals through out summer.
When they are young, my mother would simply cut the bean across, pod and all,  boiled in lightly salted water and eaten just like that.  I am still a novice to growing them, i always seem too late to plant them.  I still to this day have never get my head round the fact that this dried shrivelled looking bean will sit in the cold ground through out winter, survive and grow into such a large, glorious plant.
Here is a wonderful way to use up the larger of the broad beans.  This dip is fresh, creamy and tasty.  Wonderful served simply, let the dip do the talking!

BROAD BEAN DIP

500g fresh broad beans, podded
1-2 cloves new season garlic
1 lemon
Fresh mint
Salt
Extra virgin olive oil

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the broad beans, cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and remove the tough outer shells from the beans. Set aside.

In a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic, and mint with a sprinkle of salt until a paste has formed, add the beans, a little oil and pound again until a vibrant green paste has formed. Add a little lemon rind, and juice, check for seasoning, mix to combine, taste and adjust if necessary. Serve in a little bowl with some warm flat-bread.

ROSE PETALS AND RASPBERRIES…

Rose petals and raspberries, yes i know they are ever so girly!
The soft floral perfume of the dried petals, partner perfectly with sun-sweetened raspberries. I blend the petals with sugar and store it in a jar for later use if needed.
I use it in place of sugar in meringues, whipped cream,  sprinkled over berries and so on. 
The combination is perfect for our Christmas in the sun, although i think i will be incorporating the rose petals into decadent chocolate products as well.

Rose Petal Pavlova with Raspberries

4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup caster sugar
4 Tablespoons edible dried rose petals (Kanuka Organics)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon malt vinegar
1 Tablespoon cornflour
300ml cream
Fresh raspberries
Rose petals

To make the rose petal sugar: Simply put the sugar and rose petals into a food processor and blitz until the petals have blended into the sugar. It should go a lovely speckled pink colour! Set aside.

To make the Pavlova: Ensure all your equipment for beating the egg whites is thoroughly clean. Preheat your oven to 180C, line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

Whisk the egg whites and rose petal sugar together until silky smooth and no trace of sugar is visible. Mix the cornflour with the vinegar and vanilla essence to form a paste. Add to the egg white mixture, and beat gently to combine.

Spoon the mixture into the middle of the paper to form a high round circle. Smooth the edges and top with a spatula. Turn the oven down to 100C and bake for 50-60 minutes, (if browning turn oven down a little more).

Once cooked remove from the oven and cool thoroughly. Whip up the cream to form soft peaks and generously pile onto the cold Pavlova, sprinkle over the raspberries and rose petals. Enjoy.

Merry Christmas!