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HOMEMADE CHIPS

To be honest i don’t make chips at home often, the smell, the effort and time factor (not too mention the calories) sometimes out-way the final product.  Although not in this case, i was experimenting with different varieties of potatoes from the Farmers Market and Brydone- Agria make the most sublime chip i have had for many years.
 I always remember my mother on a Friday blanching off basket after basket of chips and cooking fresh fish and bluff oysters too accompany them.  We even got them wrapped in individual newspaper parcels!  Wow so much effort always went into our meals when growing up and it made me feel a little guilty actually!  So i busted out the home-made chips for the children and boy they were good…..!

                                HOMEMADE CHIPS

ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE; TO MAKE A GREAT CHIP YOU NEED A GREAT POTATO!!!!

Serves 4

4 Large floury potatoes (agria, red rascal), peeled, cut into ½ – 1 cm thick chips
Vegetable oil for frying
sea salt flakes for serving

Topping options:
Homemade Aioli or Mayonnaise
Homemade Tomato Ketchup
Garlic and parsley – 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced and a handful of chopped parsley
Grated parmesan

Method

When frying safety comes first! Never leave the fryer unattended and keep children away from the oil.

Wash the potatoes to remove some of the starch. Drain well and pat dry. It is so important that there is no water on the chips as it can be very dangerous when mixed with hot oil.

To cook chips so they are light and crispy you need to cook them twice!

The first stage of cooking a great chip

– Put a deep large pot 2/3 full of vegetable oil on a medium heat (145 C) to check the oil, place one chip into the oil to test the temperature. It should bubble instantly and the chip should float. Remember that this stage is about pre-cooking the potato until they are just cooked and pale in colour(3-6 minutes). Carefully remove and drain the chips and place onto a tray layered with paper towels. Continue until all the chips are cooked.

The final stage of cooking your chips

– Turn the heat up on your stove and wait until the oil heats to 180 C. Once again to test the oil carefully put a chip in and if it fries and bubbles vigorously then it is ready to begin to fry off the chips.

– Cook the chips in batches so the pot doesn’t get overcrowded and the oil doesn’t cool down too much.

– Once the chips go golden and crisp, carefully remove from the oil. Drain well, sprinkle with good quality sea salt flakes and a little cracked pepper if desired. Toss to coat and serve immediately with your favourite dipping sauce.











FARFALLE WITH PORK AND FENNEL SAUSAGES

As i mentioned the other day i had the pleasure of cooking with http://www.waitakibaconham.co.nz/ – Pork and Fennel sausages.  Wow they were really good, the texture was moist, the flavour was evenly balanced and i was impressed with the fact that i used three of their sausages to make a delicious pasta (which by the way fed our family of five). 
I often make meals like this on days when the after school activities run very close too dinner time. It can be made in 30 minutes (i sound like Jamie, 30 minute meals), but it actually can!

FARFALLE WITH PORK AND FENNEL SAUSAGES
serves 4-6
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 large pork and fennel sausages (or any good quality sausages)
1 shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
3 fresh tomatoes (if in season), roughly diced
1 cup tomato puree (sieved tomatoes)
200g (1 bunch of cavalo nero, kale or silver beet), stalks removed and roughly chopped
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 packet 400g  Farfalle Pasta
Pangrata (optional but highly recommended)
METHOD
Your first job is get a large pot of heavily salted water 2/3 full on to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook as directed by the packet.
Meanwhile while that is cooking, heat a large heavy fry-pan up to medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil, and holding a sausage remove little meat-ball size of sausage meat from their skin and add directly to the pan, cook until crispy and golden in colour.  Add the shallot and garlic and cook until the onion and garlic soften and lightly colour.  Now add the tomatoes and tomato puree and cook until the tomatoes cook down and go mushy and the sauce goes thick and glossy. Add the cavalo nero and cook until just tender (3 minutes).  If looking a little too dry add a drop or two of water.
When your pasta is al dente (tender to the bite) drain, reserving 2-4 Tbsp cooking water.  Add the pasta to the sausage mixture along with 1-2 tablespoon of the cooking liquid, season with salt and pepper add a generous grating of fresh Parmesan cheese, toss gently to combine.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve immediately with plenty of Pangritta andfreshly grated Parmesan and a few extra grinds of black pepper.


Pangrata – ( poor man’s parmesan)

8 Tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed lightly

1 good handful of fresh  parsley, roughly chopped
200g fresh breadcrumbs



Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a fry-pan up to medium heat add the oil and garlic let the oil infuse lightly with garlic.  Add the breadcrumbs and fry until toasty and golden, add the herbs, season and mix to combine. Remove from the heat and put into a little serving ish.

SUMMER/AUTUMN COOKBOOK

Just thought i should mention that my second edition of the Farmers Market Cookbook is still for sale at the market.  I have written these little books to assist with the ever changing availability of produce.  I have found one of the most common problem people have is really understanding what is in season and when.  Thanks to the “supermarkets” with their consistent supply of produce, we are led to believe that most vegetables and fruits are available all year round, when obviously it couldn’t be further from the truth!  It may shock some of you but strawberries are not available all year round nor green beans or apples for that matter.  I have always been passionate about local and seasonal produce and now working so closely with the growers thanks to my work with the Farmers Market i have so much respect and desire to get everyday people like yourselves to realise just how good food can taste when freshly picked, pulled or dug. 

I am frantically trying to write the next edition ( i am a little behind thanks to the person who stole my computer some months back). The book is only $10.00 and available from the Otago Farmers Market.
Thanks!

CARROT, GINGER AND ORANGE JUICE

Simon and i have been into juicing for many years, not every day i must admit but weekly for sure.  I find the benefits and the whole feel-good factor is worth the little bit of preparation.  At the moment we are finding Carrot, Ginger and Orange is a particularly refreshing good juice.
Carrot is one of the most healing foods that provides the finest and highest quality in nutrients, especially from its juice. It is an excellent source of pro-vitamin A, vitamins C, D, E, K, B1 and B6.

Carotenes, the famous ingredient in carrots, is an anti-oxidant that has powerful healing virtues for many diseases. Drinking a glass of carrot juice daily will do much more for you than many bottles of supplement tablets.
Whew i told you it was good for you……

CARROT, GINGER AND ORANGE JUICE
Serves 2

3 carrots
1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger
1-2 oranges, peeled
Peel the carrots, orange and  ginger. Juice all  in a juicing machine, then pour into a jug. Mix and drink, it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

FARMERS MARKET

Saturday 20 May 2011

It was a glorious day at the market, still fantastic produce and products available.  Brussels sprouts are looking succulent at the moment and so are the brightly coloured fleshed pumpkins and squash.  I was serving up some wicked dishes yesterday in the mobile kitchen.  The shin of beef from Organicland was just how i had visualised it would be…meltingly tender, slightly sticky and aromatic with the hint of orange zest and cinnamon stick.  I served it with good-old mashed carrots and parsnips and worked out it would roughly cost $15.00 for a family or flat of six, pretty outstanding for such a fantastic dish.  And as i demonstrated (thanks to Pasta doro) if you have any left overs warm it through in a pan and toss through some freshly cooked pasta, toss together with a shaving or two of Parmesan and you have a hugely satisfying dish which has cost the price of a packet of pasta.  What a bargain!

Anyway i would just like to say a big thank you to the vendors who give so generously to the mobile kitchen.  Any as usual thank you all so much for all the positive feed back and it is great to see so many people going home to cook!

Organicland (thanks for the amazing shin of beef)

ORGANIC LAND SLOW COOKED SHIN OF BEEF

This is the perfect time of the year for cuts of meat like this which require longer and slower cooking methods.

Whether you are making a brown stew, casserole or braising larger cuts of meat the principals are all the same. You need a good heavy pot or casserole dish preferably with a lid. You need to have a selection of good quality vegetables such as celery, onion, carrots and leeks. A few sprigs of the more aromatic wintery herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage and a few fresh bay leaves and a good quality stock and patience! It is worth the wait.

SERVES 4

1 kg shin of beef
2 carrots, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
1 onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 fresh bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 bottle red wine
200g plum tomatoes
1 cinnamon quill
2 large strips of orange zest
1 Tbsp flour (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 150 C

Heat a heavy-based fry pan over high heat, add the oil and brown the meat on all sides. You may need to do this in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Remove from the pan, lower the heat and add the vegetables allowing them to colour slightly. Sprinkle over the flour if using and coat all the vegetables. Return the meat back to the pan along with any juices, add the wine and tomatoes, stir well to combine. Add the herbs, cinnamon, orange zest and seasoning. Cover and cook gently for 2 hours. Do check it regularly as it may need a stir from time to time. During this time the sauce will reduce and intensify and the meat will start to fall apart. If this has happened yet return it back to the oven and cook gently.

Check for seasoning and adjust if required. It goes well with mashed potato, mashed carrots and parsnips, wet polenta or traditionally with saffron risotto (risotto Milanese).

MASHED CARROTS AND PARSNIPS
Serves 4

4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

4 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp honey
Sea salt and pepper
1 fresh bay leaf (optional)
50g butter

Method

Put the carrots and parsnip together in a suitable sized pot. Cover with water, add the honey, bay leaf if using and a sprinkle of salt. Cook until the carrots and parsnips are tender. Drain 90% of the water out and discard. Leave the remaining 1-2 tsp of water in the pot add the butter and mash coarsely. Check for seasoning (pepper is good). Serve immediately.

NB; you can substitute parsnips for swede, carrots for pumpkin or squash.

KOAU FLOWERS (thanks for the wicked sprouts)

KOAU – LIVING SPROUTS

YEAR-ROUND VITAMINS – Sprouts are the super food of all super foods as they are living right until you eat them. They are one of the most complete nutritional foods available.

Sprouts are real ‘Life Vitamins, Minerals, Proteins, and Enzymes.

What may surprise you is the sheer variety available
• Lentil
• Blue pea and blue pea sprouts
• Red clover
• Fenugreek
• Broccoli
• Alfalfa

Great in salads, sandwiches, tossed through a quick stir fry, on their own as a nutritious snack. I particularly like paring them with quinoa, cracked wheat, or lentil, try them warm with roasted vegetables and sprouts tossed through at the end or scattered over your hot baked potato. Be experimental and enjoy the benefits!

SAM YOUNG
(thank you for the parsnips)

PARSNIP and TOASTED HAZELNUT CAKE

Parsnips add a delightful subtle twist to this wonderfully moist and nutty cake.

250g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
250g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp ground mixed spice
2 Tbsp milk
150g toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
250g peeled and finely grated parsnips (weight after preparation)

For the topping:

250g cream cheese or Ricotta
60g unsalted butter, softened
About 250g icing sugar, sifted
60g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C

Lightly grease and line using baking paper either a rectangular (28x18cm) or round tin (25cm diameter).

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each one. Fold in the remaining flour, plus the spice, nuts, parsnips and milk.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and place in the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the topping, place the cream cheese (or ricotta) and butter in a bowl and beat until soft. Now beat in enough icing sugar to give it a thick and glossy consistency. Spread it over the cake and scatter on the chopped hazelnuts.

Serve and enjoy.

ALISON WOULD LIKE TO SAY A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL THE VENDORS WHO HAVE GIVEN GENEROUSLY


SAM YOUNG LTD
ORGANIC LAND
KOAU
ISLAND STREAM HAZELNUTS



Pay me a visit on my blog http://www.alisonmarketchef.blogspot.com/ or follow on facebook –taste of my life

MASHED CARROTS AND PARSNIPS

Serves 4

4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp honey
Sea salt and pepper
1 fresh bay leaf (optional)
50g butter

Method

Put the carrots and parsnip together in a suitable sized pot. Cover with water, add the honey, bay leaf if using and a sprinkle of salt. Cook until the carrots and parsnips are tender. Drain 90% of the water out and discard. Leave the remaining 1-2 tsp of water in the pot add the butter and mash coarsely. Check for seasoning (pepper is good). Serve immediately.

NB; you can substitute parsnips for swede, carrots for pumpkin or squash.

Mashed Carrots and Parsnips

BRAISED SHIN OF BEEF

This is the perfect time of the year for cuts of meat like this which require longer and slower cooking methods.

Whether you are making a brown stew, casserole or braising larger cuts of meat the principals are all the same. You need a good heavy pot or casserole dish preferably with a lid. You need to have a selection of good quality vegetables such as celery, onion, carrots and leeks. A few sprigs of the more aromatic wintery herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage and a few fresh bay leaves and a good quality stock and patience! It is worth the wait.

SERVES 4

1 kg shin of beef

2 carrots, peeled and cut into bite size chunks

1 onion, diced small

4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

2 fresh bay leaves

1 sprig fresh rosemary

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

2/3 bottle red wine

200g plum tomatoes

1 cinnamon quill

2 large strips of orange zest

1 Tbsp flour (optional)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 150 C

Heat a heavy-based fry pan over high heat, add the oil and brown the meat on all sides. You may need to do this in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Remove from the pan, lower the heat and add the vegetables allowing them to colour slightly. Sprinkle over the flour if using and coat all the vegetables. Return the meat back to the pan along with any juices, add the wine and tomatoes, stir well to combine. Add the herbs, cinnamon, orange zest and seasoning. Cover and cook gently for 2 hours. Do check it regularly as it may need a stir from time to time. During this time the sauce will reduce and intensify and the meat will start to fall apart. If this has happened yet return it back to the oven and cook gently.

Check for seasoning and adjust if required. It goes well with mashed potato, mashed carrots and parsnips, wet polenta or traditionally with saffron risotto (risotto Milanese).

PARSNIP and TOASTED HAZELNUT CAKE

We all love a good cake especially one which is moist, nutty and smothered in lushious cream cheese icing.  As you know i work closely with the seasons thanks to the growers at the Farmers Market and my love for great tasting food. I am alwasy trying to find as many uses as possible for vegetables.  This cake is perfect for this time of year, with sweet delicious parsnips and locally grown hazelnuts it is a Autumnal celerbration! It may even take over from the good old Carrot Cake?

PARSNIP and TOASTED HAZELNUT CAKE 

250g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
250g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp ground mixed spice
175g toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
2 Tbsp milk
250g peeled and finely grated parsnips (weight after preparation)

For the topping:
250g cream cheese or Ricotta
60g unsalted butter, softened
About 250g icing sugar, sifted
60g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 180C

Lightly grease and line using baking paper either a rectangular (28x18cm) or round tin (25cm diameter).

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each one. Fold in the remaining flour, plus the spice, nuts, parsnips and milk.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and place in the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the topping, place the cream cheese (or ricotta) and butter in a bowl and beat until soft. Now beat in enough icing sugar to give it a thick and glossy consistency. Spread it over the cake and scatter on the chopped hazelnuts.

PARSNIP AND TOASTED HAZELNUT CAKE

SUPER-DUPER SNICKERDOODLES

Ever had a Snickerdoodle? that is the question!

I am constantly looking through recipes (especially baking recipes) to find one that i haven’t made or tasted before.  I also have to take in consideration my children likes and dislikes (very important as i end up eating too many otherwise). 
Snickerdoodles apparently come from the Armish community.  For me the sheer thought of any biscuit rolled/dredged in cinnamon and sugar has got to be good.  And they were delicous!!

SUPER-DUPER SNICKERDOODLES
makes 14-20 depending on the size

115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup raw cane sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 large egg
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon

NB the combination of cream of tartar and baking soda works as baking powder does.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar (not the 2 Tbsp) until light and creamy.  Add the egg, milk and vanilla and blend until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, cream of tartar and baking soda and salt.  Add to the creamed mixture.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until the dough is firm enough to handle.

Heat the oven to 180 C

On a plate, mix 2 tablespoons of sugar with cinnamon.  Scoop and roll the dough into 2-5cm size balls or to your desired size.  Roll in cinnamon and sugar to coat the balls of dough completely.  Arrange the balls on ungreased baking trays, spacing them well apart. 
Bake until the edges of the cookies are firm to the touch, about 12 minutes (do not overbake).  Remove from tray and cool on rack.

Snickerdoodles

Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.