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Ahh Summer holidays…..

I do realise it is early days but WOW what a fantastic start to summer! I have been spending quality time with my family, appreciating life and totally relaxing New Zealand style – at the crib/bach!
One of my brothers and his wife have a crib at a beautiful little village 20 minutes north of Dunedin in a place called Warrington.  It is a fantastic place with a long, peaceful, rugged beach to one side and tranquil Blueskin bay to the other.  One is for playing and one is for foraging, which is just what we did!

step 1 – preparing net



step 2 – boat is ready



step 3 – utensils at the ready!



step 4 – Kia Moana, thank you!

OTAGO FARMERS MARKET

Can you believe it? Christmas is finally upon us and what a year it has been for us as a nation and sadly for Christchurch it is still along road ahead! We are all thinking of you all and we wish you a Merry Christmas.

I have a funny feeling about todays market, the sun is shinning, it’s the day before Christmas and the market is full of fantastic summer produce.  The berries are full and plump, the first of our delicious stone fruit is now in – peaches! Broad beans, sunripened tomatoes, capsicum, sweet little carrots, jersey benne potatoes, new season garlic and don’t forget about all the wonderful herbs, meat,fish, cheese, olive oil and so on and so on…It sounds hard to resist, be prepared for the crowds and queues.  But remember it is Christmas and it is a time to be happy and “patient”.

Thank you and respect to all the hard working, passionate vendors who supply us with such fantastic produce week after week.  Our meals would not be the same without you! And i just want to say a BIG thank you to each and everyone of you that supports our fantastic farmers market and for all that spend time with me at the mobile kitchen! 

Have a very Merry Christmas and New Year.  I will be back at the market on the 14 January.

ROSE PETAL MERINGUES WITH SUMMER BERRIES AND CREAM

The sweet fragrance and pretty rose petals, speckled through these delectable meringues make for the perfect festive dessert. They can be made into large cloud shapes, perfectly piped nest or as I did for a little “thank you” gift, piped into petite drops!


Decadently served with summer berries and lashings of cream you really will have a stress free Christmas!

Makes 30-40 small meringues
6 large egg whites
140g raw cane sugar
250g caster sugar blended in a food processor with 2 Tbsp of dried organic rose petals until you get pink coloured sugar
1 Tbsp dried rose petals
1 tsp rose petal water
Few drops of red food colouring (optional)
Selection of summer berries
300 ml freshly whipped cream
1 vanilla pod (optional) or 2 drops of vanilla extract

Method
Preheat oven to 110C.

Place a medium saucepan of water over gentle heat and bring to a simmer. Place egg whites, cane sugar and rose petal sugar in a heatproof bowl over the saucepan, ensuring the bowl doesn’t come in contact with the water. Loosen up the egg whites and mix in sugar and heat for approximately five minutes, until a digital thermometer reaches 40C.

Place in a bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until the mixture has cooled (10 minutes approximately). When the mixture has cooled it will have taken on a deliciously light and silky appearance, add a few drops of food colouring and a scattering of rose petals. Fold through so that you get a marbled look.

Line two baking trays with greasproof paper. Using a dessert spoon place large upright dollops on to the tray allowing room in between for expanding! Bake for 1 ½ hours.

Or if you are wanting little ones

Using a small nozzle inserted into your piping bag pipe small 10cent piece size on lined baking trays, allowing room for the meringues to expand.

Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes. When they are ready, they will be dry underneath but still soft in the center. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Serve piled up on a beautiful platter with a large bowl of fresh berries and cream, sprinkle over more rose petals (you can never have to many) and have a great Christmas!
STRAWBERRY TRIFLE (cheats version)



Don’t get me wrong I love trifle but sometimes even I like to cut corners on the preparation. I am using leftover (bought) sponge and you can even use ready-made custard if desired. If you tart it up with sun-ripened locally grown strawberries, nobody will be any the wiser that you have cut a few corners here and there!


Makes 4 individual trifles

200g sponge cake (leftovers)
1 cup (150g) sliced strawberries
¼ cup dessert wine, sherry or fruit liqueur
1 Tbsp caster sugar
375ml custard
1 ½ Tbsp finely grated orange rind
⅓ cup cream
Finely grated orange rind, extra, to serve

Method

Divide the sponge pieces into the base of 4 x 1 cup-capacity (250ml) glasses. Place the strawberries, wine and sugar in a bowl and mix well to combine. Spoon the strawberry mixture over the brioche rounds. Combine custard and rind and spoon over strawberry mixture. Top with cream and sprinkle with extra rind to serve.

TOASTED PANETTONE WITH SUMMER BERRIES, YOGHURT AND ROSEPETALS


Panettone is traditional Italian fruit bread which is served at Christmas time. It is delicious anytime of the day but I have used it many times in puddings. It works wonderfully for bread and butter pudding, French toast or as I have done here added a few summer berries and yoghurt and it has turned into the perfect start to your Christmas day!


Serves 4

2 Tbsp rose petal sugar
1 cup strawberries, halved and hulled
1 cup cherries, stones removed
1 cup raspberries
1 cup (280g) Greek yoghurt
900g panettone or fruit bread, thickly sliced

Method

Combine the berries together in a bowl and sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of the rosepetal sugar and let the berries macerate to draw out their natural juices.

Combine the remaining sugar with the yoghurt.

Toast the panettone under a preheated hot grill for 1 minute each side or until golden. Place on serving plates, top with the yoghurt mixture and spoon over the berries and juices.

NEW SEASONS CARROTS and POTATOES BAKED IN PAPER

New seasons carrots are perfect for cooking in this way as are new potatoes!
Per person

4-6 small new season carrots, scrubbed and ends removed
4 small potatoes, washed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C

Place the carrots, potatoes garlic, thyme and oil in a bowl, season well and toss to coat.

Cut a square of baking paper large enough to hold the carrots comfortably (up to 4 servings per bag) and fold in half to make a crease. Unfold it and lay the carrots on one half along with the oil and herbs etc. Bring the other half of the paper over the carrots so both ends meet. Fold the edges tightly to form a pillow like shape. Make sure that the package is well sealed.

Place onto a tray and bake for 30-40 minutes. The package will puff up like a pillow. Serve immediately and open at the table.

NEW SEASON CARROTS

Serves 4

500g carrots
30g butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey
Sprig of fresh thyme
1 handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped roughly

MethodPeel and trim the carrots, if the odd carrot is larger than the rest cut into half-length ways to even the size. Put them in a fairly large pan. Add the butter, salt, honey, thyme and enough water to just cover them. Place a lid on the pot and bring to the boil then reduce the heat and cook gently until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Continue cooking, shaking the pan every few minutes, until the cooking liquor is completely reduced and the carrots are coated in a shiny glaze. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

ALISON WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU THE VENDORS FOR ALL THEIR SUPPORT AND WONDERFUL PRODUCE AND I WOULD LIKE TO WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY AND HEALTHY FESTIVE SEASON!


KANUKA ORGANICS
SUNRISE BAKERY
BYRDONE ORGANICS
ETTRICK GARDENS
JUDGE ROCK WINES
SCOTCHBROOK AND GOODFELLOWS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL


Merry Christmas everyone!

TOASTED PANETTONE WITH SUMMER BERRIES, YOGHURT AND ROSEPETALS


Panettone is traditional Italian fruit bread which is served at Christmas time. It is delicious anytime of the day but I have used it many times in puddings. It works wonderfully for bread and butter pudding, French toast or as I have done here added a few summer berries and yoghurt and it has turned into the perfect start to your Christmas day!


Serves 4


2 Tbsp rose petal sugar
1 cup strawberries, halved and hulled
1 cup cherries, stones removed
1 cup raspberries
1 cup (280g) Greek yoghurt
900g panettone or fruit bread, thickly sliced


Method
Combine the berries together in a bowl and sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of the rosepetal sugar and let the berries macerate to draw out their natural juices.


Combine the remaining sugar with the yoghurt.


Toast the panettone under a preheated hot grill for 1 minute each side or until golden. Place on serving plates, top with the yoghurt mixture and spoon over the berries and juices.

NEW SEASONS CARROTS and POTATOES BAKED IN PAPER

New seasons carrots are perfect for cooking in this way as are new potatoes!
Per person
4-6 small new season carrots, scrubbed and ends removed
4 small potatoes, washed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Method
Preheat the oven to 200C
Place the carrots, potatoes garlic, thyme and oil in a bowl, season well and toss to coat.
Cut a square of baking paper large enough to hold the carrots comfortably (up to 4 servings per bag) and fold in half to make a crease. Unfold it and lay the carrots on one half along with the oil and herbs etc. Bring the other half of the paper over the carrots so both ends meet. Fold the edges tightly to form a pillow like shape. Make sure that the package is well sealed.


Place onto a tray and bake for 30-40 minutes. The package will puff up like a pillow. Serve immediately and open at the table.

STRAWBERRY TRIFLE (cheats version)



Don’t get me wrong I love trifle but sometimes even I like to cut corners on the preparation. I am using leftover (bought) sponge and you can even use ready-made custard if desired. If you tart it up with sun-ripened locally grown strawberries, nobody will be any the wiser that you have cut a few corners here and there!


Makes 4 individual trifles


200g sponge cake (leftovers)
1 cup (150g) sliced strawberries
¼ cup dessert wine, sherry or fruit liqueur
1 Tbsp caster sugar
375ml custard
1 ½ Tbsp finely grated orange rind
⅓ cup cream
Finely grated orange rind, extra, to serve


Method


Divide the sponge pieces into the base of 4 x 1 cup-capacity (250ml) glasses. Place the strawberries, wine and sugar in a bowl and mix well to combine. Spoon the strawberry mixture over the brioche rounds. Combine custard and rind and spoon over strawberry mixture. Top with cream and sprinkle with extra rind to serve.

ROSE PETAL MERINGUES WITH SUMMER BERRIES AND CREAM

The sweet fragrance and pretty rose petals, speckled through these delectable meringues make for the perfect festive dessert. They can be made into large cloud shapes, perfectly piped nest or as I did for a little “thank you” gift, piped into petite drops!


Decadently served with summer berries and lashings of cream you really will have a stress free Christmas!


Makes 60-80 small meringues


6 large egg whites
140g raw cane sugar
250g caster sugar blended in a food processor with 2 Tbsp of dried organic rose petals until you get pink coloured sugar
1 Tbsp dried rose petals
1 tsp rose petal water
Few drops of red food colouring (optional)
Selection of summer berries
300 ml freshly whipped cream
1 vanilla pod (optional) or 2 drops of vanilla extract
Method
Preheat oven to 110C.


Place a medium saucepan of water over gentle heat and bring to a simmer. Place egg whites, cane sugar and rose petal sugar in a heatproof bowl over the saucepan, ensuring the bowl doesn’t come in contact with the water. Loosen up the egg whites and mix in sugar and heat for approximately five minutes, until a digital thermometer reaches 40C.


Place in a bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until the mixture has cooled (10 minutes approximately). When the mixture has cooled it will have taken on a deliciously light and silky appearance, add a few drops of food colouring and a scattering of rose petals. Fold through so that you get a marbled look.
Line two baking trays with greasproof paper. Using a dessert spoon place large upright dollops on to the tray allowing room in between for expanding! Bake for 1 ½ hours.


Or if you are wanting little ones


Using a small nozzle inserted into your piping bag pipe small 10cent piece size on lined baking trays, allowing room for the meringues to expand.
Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes. When they are ready, they will be dry underneath but still soft in the center. Remove from oven and allow to cool.


Serve piled up on a beautiful platter with a large bowl of fresh berries and cream, sprinkle over more rose petals (you can never have to many) and have a great Christmas!

BRUSHETTA WITH FRESH PEAS, ASPARAGUS TIPS AND MINTED CHEESE

Fresh peas, asparagus, mint and ricotta smothered over grilled bread, you have to admit it is sounding rather nice.  I do realise asparagus is coming close to finishing but this is when we improvise and add broad beans or young firm zucchinis. 
When ever making brushetta always try to use good quality bread as it should have texture, density and flavour, sour dough is my favourite.

Toasted garlicky bread smothered with flavours of summer is a perfect way to enjoy the magnificent produce.

Serves 4
250-300g fresh or frozen peas
12-15 asparagus spears, trimmed
A bunch of spring onions
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, cut in half
150g ricotta cheese
50g feta cheese
12 fresh mint leaves
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large slices sour dough or and good quality robust bread


Method
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil and add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Remove and refresh under cold water. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute if using frozen or 2 minutes if fresh. Drain and immediately refresh under cold water. Drain
In a small fry pan heat a little oil and lightly saute the spring onions for only about 1 minute or until they become a vibrant green.
Cut the asparagus into thirds and add to the pan along with the peas, season lightly and toss to combine. Set aside.
Grill your bread on both sides and rub with cut garlic and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil.
Put the ricotta in a bowl and crumble in the feta, tear the mint leaves and add to the mix. Season lightly and stir to combine. Add the asparagus and pea mixture and mix gently. Taste once again and adjust if necessary.
Spoon generously onto the grilled bread, one last drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and enjoy!

OTAGO FARMERS MARKET

Christmas is closing in and it is time to get your lists underway for planning your Christmas feast.  Thankfully we can pre-order for pick ups on 24 December as the farmers market will be open for business as usual!  Keep your menu simple, write lists and lots of them if needed and get as much preparation out of the way as possible the day or so before.  Don’t forget to enjoy Christmas it is a time to stop the madness and be with loved ones.
The Otago Farmers Market have collected my recipes and put them together to make a cute cook book.  It is on sale today $20.00 at the market!

PEA, POTATO AND BACON SOUP

this soup is the essence of summer it is light, refreshing and full of flavour!

Serves 4-6

1 Tbsp olive oil
200g good quality bacon (can be omitted if vegetarian)
300g new season potatoes (jersey benne), cut into quarters
Bunch spring onions, finely cut
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 litres chicken or vegetable stock (hot)
300g spring cabbage, thinly sliced
300g fresh or frozen peas
1-2 lovage leaves (optional)
Handful fresh basil
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve: crusty bread

Method
Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat, add the bacon and cook until golden (2-3 minutes). Add the potato, onion, lovage (if using) and garlic, cover and stir occasionally. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes become tender.
Add the stock hot stock and simmer until the potato is tender 10-15 minutes.
Add the cabbage and cook for a couple of minutes, add the peas and few torn leaves of basil. Simmer for 5 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning.
Mash up the basil in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt, add a drizzle of olive oil so you get a thick green paste.
Serve the soup warm in bowls with a spoonful of basil sauce on top and crusty fresh bread.

 

ASIAN INSPIRED COLESLAW

Serves 6-8
Handful sprouts
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and sliced
4 medium carrots, peeled into thin strips
1 new season cabbage

For the dressing
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp olive oil

To finish
Handful fresh coriander, roughly torn
Squeeze lemon or lime juice

Method
Remove the tough outer leaves from the cabbage, cut into quarters and slice as finely as possible.
Place the shredded cabbage, spring onions and carrot strips into a large bowl.
Mix all the ingredients together until well combined and the honey has dissolved.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss thoroughly. Leave for 10-20 minutes to soften and marinate.
Serve the coleslaw with coriander and a little sprinkle of citrus juice!

FRESH WALNUT PESTO
This is one of those sauces that can only be made with the freshest walnuts. It can be tossed through pasta, mixed through a potato salad, spread over flatbreads or used as a base for tarts and perfect for dipping asparagus spears into. It will last in the fridge if covered with oil for up to a month.

250g Fresh walnuts, shelled weight, grated
60g butter
100g tasty or smoked cheddar, grated
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
3 Tbsp chopped fresh marjoram, oregano or flat leaf parsley
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Method

Melt the butter in a fry pan add the walnuts and garlic and push around just to colour the garlic and soften the walnuts. Add the marjoram, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Put the cooled walnuts, garlic and herbs into a mortar and pestle or food processor and blend until you get a coarse paste. Add the cheese and a drizzle of good quality oil to loosen the mixture a little. Check for balance of flavours and adjust if necessary. Store with a layer of oil on top in clean container it will last up to a month.

BASECAMP WILD VENISON BACON WITH NEW SEASON CABBAGE
This product from Basecamp is truly luxurious; it can be heated through or eaten raw as I have done with this salad, it would be lovely wrapped round asparagus and grilled, added to pasta, cooked until crispy and tossed over roasted beetroot – I am sure you get the idea.

serves 6

½ -1 new season cabbage (about 1kg)
2-4 slices venison bacon per person
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
150g Danseys pass cheese from Whitestone or Parmesan

Method
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the firm pale hear of the cabbage in half. Shave the cabbage as finely as you can. Place in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Shake over the balsamic vinegar and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Lightly flatten the slices of venison with the palm of your hand and cut the venison into 1cm shreds and add to the cabbage. The proportion of venison bacon should almost be equal to the cabbage. Squeeze over the lemon juice, shave on the cheese and mix with the salad.

CHERRY FOCACCIA
I have made this very festive bread at the market before, it is so delicious and fun to make. I have sprinkled it with rose petal sugar (rose petals available from Kutash Organics), which adds a wonderful, subtle flavour to the bread and enhances the cherries.
Serves 10

1 kg cherries

1 tsp dried yeast
350 ml plain flour
Extra virgin olive oil
100g caster sugar blend with 2 Tbsp sugar
Sea salt

Method
In a bowl mix the yeast with the warm water, let it ferment for 5 minutes or until it goes frothy. Gently pour in and combine the flour; the dough should be very soft. Pour in 50ml olive oil along with half the sugar and pinch of salt. Knead on a floured work surface for about 5 minutes. Return to the bowl, cover with a cloth, and set aside to rise for an hour – this stage can be made the day ahead and stored in the fridge until needed. Just ensure you remove in plenty of time for it to get to room temperature.

Remove the stones from the cherries, and put the flesh in a bowl.

When the dough has risen, roll it out and place on a lightly oiled pizza pan or baking tray (about 30cm). Place the cherries over the dough and let it rise again for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C
Sprinkle the remaining rose sugar over the top of the cherries and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Place the bread in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes until brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

NB – To make rose petal sugar it is paramount that the rose petals are dried, spray-free and preferably organic. I about 2 Tbsp to a food processor along with 100g icing or caster sugar and blend until fragrant and pinkish in colour. Store in an airtight jar.

KOAU FLOWERS – 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 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!

Alison would like to thank the following vendors for their fantastic produce
BASECAMP VENISON SALAMI – wild venison bacon
KOAU SPROUTS – living sprouts
HARWARDEN ORGANICS – wild asparagus, fresh walnuts
BRYDONE ORGANICS – new season cabbage
KANUKA ORGANICS – dried rosepetals
FROGROCK CHERRIES – spray free cherries
THE FRUIT GARDEN – peas

CHERRY FOCACCIA

I have made this very festive bread at the market before, it is so delicious and fun to make. I have sprinkled it with rose petal sugar (rose petals available from Kutash Organics), which adds a wonderful, subtle flavour to the bread and enhances the cherries.
Serves 10

1 kg cherries, stoned
1 tsp dried yeast
350 ml plain flour
Extra virgin olive oil
100g caster sugar blend with 2 Tbsp sugar
Sea salt

Method
In a bowl mix the yeast with the warm water, let it ferment for 5 minutes or until it goes frothy. Gently pour in and combine the flour; the dough should be very soft. Pour in 50ml olive oil along with half the sugar and pinch of salt. Knead on a floured work surface for about 5 minutes. Return to the bowl, cover with a cloth, and set aside to rise for an hour – this stage can be made the day ahead and stored in the fridge until needed. Just ensure you remove in plenty of time for it to get to room temperature.

Remove the stones from the cherries, and put the flesh in a bowl.

When the dough has risen, roll it out and place on a lightly oiled pizza pan or baking tray (about 30cm). Place the cherries over the dough and let it rise again for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C

Sprinkle the remaining rose sugar over the top of the cherries and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Place the bread in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes until brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

NB – To make rose petal sugar it is paramount that the rose petals are dried, spray-free and preferably organic. I about 2 Tbsp to a food processor along with 100g icing or caster sugar and blend until fragrant and pinkish in colour. Store in an airtight jar.

BASECAMP WILD VENISON BACON WITH NEW SEASON CABBAGE

This product from Basecamp is truly luxurious; it can be heated through or eaten raw as I have done with this salad, it would be lovely wrapped round asparagus and grilled, added to pasta, cooked until crispy and tossed over roasted beetroot – I am sure you get the idea.


Serves 6

½ -1 new season cabbage (about 1kg)
2-4 slices venison bacon per person
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
150g Danseys pass cheese from Whitestone or Parmesan

Method
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the firm pale hear of the cabbage in half. Shave the cabbage as finely as you can. Place in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Shake over the balsamic vinegar and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Lightly flatten the slices of venison with the palm of your hand and cut the venison into 1cm shreds and add to the cabbage. The proportion of venison bacon should almost be equal to the cabbage. Squeeze over the lemon juice, shave on the cheese and mix with the salad.