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SWEET PLUM PASTRY SLICE

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I love to cook plums and this slice which could come under the category of pie, works a treat; crisp, buttery pastry filled with creamy yet sweet, tart plums is my idea of perfection.

serves 8-10

500g plums, halved and stones removed

50g sugar

1 Tbsp water

1 400g puff pastry

1 250g cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1/2 orange, zest only

4 Tbsp  raw cane sugar, divided

½ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

1 large egg, separated

1 Tbsp plain flour

Method

Add the halved plums in a heavy-based saucepan and add 50g sugar and 1 tablespoon water.  Cook gently until the plums just start to soften (5-7minutes).  Cool.

Roll the cold puff pastry out on a lightly floured bench so that it resembles a rectangle 30cm by 25cm and it should be about 3mm thick.

On a large baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, a silicone baking mat or foil, lay out the puff pastry which should be cold but pliable.

In a small mixing bowl add together the softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar, orange zest, vanilla, egg yolk and flour and beat well to combine until thick and smooth. Scrape this mixture out onto the centre third portion of the puff pastry down the middle and spread it evenly, leaving the two outer thirds bare.

Spoon over the cooled, cooked plums and carefully spread this over the cream cheese layer.

This next step sounds more complicated than it is. Fold one side of the pastry over the cream cheese, plum mixture so that it covers it completely. Then fold the other half of the pastry over the pastry encrusted plums so that it goes right over the pastry pulling slightly to tuck the layer under the entire pastry. Press down on the ends of the long rectangular pastry to seal in the cream cheese and jam.

Whisk the egg white together with 1 teaspoon water just a little to combine. Brush this over the entire pastry. Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar evenly and generously over the egg washed pastry. Use a thin, sharp knife to cut little vents along the dough.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 190C. Bake the pastry till puffed and golden for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 160C and continue cooking for a further 10-15minutes or until the pastry is cooked through.

Cut into slices and serve warm.

 

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WILTED SPINACH WITH GARLIC AND CHILLI

Remove the stalks and wash well.  Shake off as much excess moisture as possible.  Heat a good size fry pan up to medium-high heat, add 1 clove of garlic sliced thinly and toast in the oil until it starts to go light golden colour, add a pinch dried chilli flakes and spinach, season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper.  Toss to combine and allow the spinach to lightly wilt (about 1-2 minutes).

Serve immediately!

MOROCCAN SPICED CARROT AND BEETROOT SALAD

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Serves 4

2 cups of grated carrots (from about 3 carrots)

1 cup of grated fresh beetroots (from about 1 medium sized peeled beet)

½ cup raisins (optional but add good texture)

½ tsp paprika (sweet, not hot)

¼ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp cinnamon

Small pinch of salt

Small pinch of cayenne

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp honey

2 Tbsp sliced fresh mint leaves

Method

Place the grated carrots in a medium sized serving bowl. Place the grated beets into a sieve and briefly rinse with cold water. This will rinse away a little of the excess beet juice that may otherwise color the whole salad beet red. Pat dry with a paper towel. Then add to the bowl with the carrots. Add the raisins. Stir to gently combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne. Then add the lemon juice and honey and whisk until smooth.

Drizzle over the carrots and beets, then gently fold until the carrots and beets are lightly coated. Let sit for an hour before serving, either chilled or at room temperature, for the dressing to seep into the carrots and beets.

Right before serving, stir in a couple tablespoons of sliced fresh mint leaves. Garnish with fresh mint.

PASTA WITH GREEN BEANS, POTATOES AND PESTO

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This is a perfect pasta for this time of the year!

Serves 4-6

PESTO

Makes 1 Cup

3 Tbsp Pine Nuts

2 cups fresh Basil Leaves

1 clove Garlic, peeled

Pinch of Salt

½ cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

PASTA

6 New Potatoes or small Red Potatoes

1 cup trimmed young Green Beans or Haricots Verts

500 g Linguine or spaghetti

Sea salt flakes

Freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving

 

Method

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TO MAKE PESTO – Combine the pine nuts, basil, garlic, and salt in a large stone mortar and grind with the pestle until the mixture forms a paste. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, beating all the while with a wooden spoon. Add the Parmesan 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until the mixture forms a thick paste. The pesto can also be made in a food processor. The pesto can be stored in a jar, topped with a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil, for several weeks in the refrigerator.

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TO MAKE PASTA – Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to large bowl. Add green beans to same pot and cook until crisp and tender, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with potatoes. Cook pasta in same pot until tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Transfer pasta to bowl with potatoes and green beans.

Whisk reserved ¼ cup cooking liquid into pesto. Add pesto to pasta mixture and toss thoroughly to coat. If the sauce looks to dry on the pasta add remaining cooking liquid.  Toss to through and transfer pasta to large platter. Serve, passing additional cheese separately.

 

QUEEN SCALLOPS

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How long have i been promising this simple yet hugely satisfying recipe?  When Edmonds Fresh Fish give me that call that they have scallops i never have time to post the recipe, so even though we have no scallops today it is better to be prepared!

If the sun is shinning and the BBQ is alight then cook these little morsels directly on the grills.  Or the other alternative is to preheat the grill on your oven to very hot and place the oven rack as close as possible without catching the shells on fire!! Within minutes you will have succulent scallops to slurp straight from the shell!

GRILLED SCALLOPS WITH GARLIC BUTTER

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serves 4-8

1kg queen scallops or any variety of fresh scallop

150g butter, roughly diced

2 cloves garlic (or more if desired), sliced thinly

2 lemons,

1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill or parsley

1 fresh chilli, deseeded (if necessary) finely sliced – optional addition but delicious

sea salt flakes

freshly cracked pepper

Method

Preheat your BBQ or grill on the oven to very hot.

Place the butter into a small pot and melt over a medium heat, add the garlic and a squeeze of lemon.  Allow the butter to melt and bubble as it is good to let the garlic really cook almost going a light golden brown, this will deepen the flavour and colour of the butter.  Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper and add chilli if using. Add another squeeze of lemon, and chopped parsley.  Set aside.

Wash the scallops under cold running water, and shake dry.  Place on a baking tray in a single layer so that they cook fast and even.  If like me and your oven doesn’t have the capacity to cook them all at once directly under the grill you just have to cook them in batches. Which isn’t a hassle as it gives you time to slurp away on round one!

Place as close to the grill as safe and possible or place directly onto the BBQ.  They usually take about 4-6 minutes, i often turn them over to rotate them a little.  With scallops the shells usually pop open much like a mussel or clam but sometimes you will find that the shells of a scallop will not as the hinges on shells seem to be very fragile and break.  Just because they haven’t opened doesn’t mean that you can’t eat them.  Gently prize them open with some tongs! Please note however that this is pretty much the only shellfish whrere i would say this as general rule is if they don’t open then throw out!

Once they shells have caramelised a little and the juices are bubbling, place them directly onto a serving platter and either serve the garlic butter in a little dish or drizzle generously over the scallop meat! Serve plenty of lemon wedges and a bowl to wash hands and face!!

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OTAGO FARMERS MARKET MOBILE KITCHEN MENU (created my me)

otago farmers market

Apart from the fact that its market day and the sun is shinning we also have thousands of visitors in our magnificent little city!

The produce at the market is still going strong and the variety is forever changing.  Greengages are here and apart from simply eating them as they are, they cook up exceptionally well, i will be making a little jam too spread on our freshly baked Lievito bread.  Cardrona Merino Lamb have created a new variety of sausage – cracked pepper and merlot (now we’re talking)! Havoc bacon and ham have a special going on juicy ham steaks which are quick to cook and fit perfectly into this balmy weather as you can simply dress them up and eat with salad.  Carrots from Brydone organics are sweet and crunchy which makes them just right for teaming up with Ray Goddards broccoli.  Jane Field Hydroponics basil is massive at the moment and i suggest getting a few jars of pesto stored away.

Simon from Rosedale Orchards said they may have their first juicy cobs of corn and Te Mahanga have those sweet orange busfire pumpkins.

(And Simon my husband is on market duty – go and annoy him and ask him something really ridiculous! Make his day!)

cherry chilli

 

QUICK PICKLED RED ONIONS

Pickles are a fantastic way of adding a bit of zing to any dish and these onions will surely do that!

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Serves 4

3/4 cup (180ml) white or cider vinegar

3 Tbsp sugar

4 black peppercorns

pinch of salt

1 bay leaf

1 tsp freshly chopped dill

1 -2 fresh chillies

2 large red onions, peeled, and thinly sliced into rings

Method
In a small, non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt and seasonings and bring to the boil. Pierce the whole chilli a few times with a fork and add to the vinegar mixture.

Add the onion slices and lower the heat, then simmer gently for 30 seconds.
Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Transfer the onions and the liquid into a sterilised jar then refrigerate until ready to use.
Storage: The onions will keep for several months, but I find they’re best the week they’re made.

 

BUSHFIRE PUMPKINS

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These gorgeous little orange skinned pumpkins are one of my favourites. The skin is so tender that you can actually eat it.  The flesh is silky smooth and will adhere to most methods of cookery

BUSHFIRE PUMPKIN ROASTED WITH HERBS AND SPICES

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Cut pumpkin into wedges, toss with salt, pepper, ground cumin and olive oil and roast at 200c for about 20 minutes, until tender. Scatter with chopped chilli and garlic, return to the oven for 5 minutes, rip over some fresh basil or coriander leaves and serve with toasted pumpkin seeds

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CARDRONA MERINO LAMB – merlot and cracked pepper sausages

Well they have done it again and this time Cardrona Merino have created a sausage with not only their succulent lamb but with the addition of a little merlot and cracked pepper! This is taking sausages to a new level!

Try these sausages simply grilled on the BBQ with perhaps a fresh tomato, red onion and parsley salad.

Or take the flesh out of the skins and cook them like little meatballs and add some roughly chopped fresh tomatoes, a handful of spinach and some pasta.

How about a posh version of Toad-in-the-hole (yorkshire pudd mix with caramelised onions etc.

 

CARROT AND BROCCOLI SALAD

Two great natural partnerships; carrot and broccoli.  This is a great little salad and one that everyone can make!

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serves 4

300g broccoli, cut into small florets

4 carrots, peeled & very finely sliced lengthways into thin ribbons (use a veg peeler to do this)

2½ Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp mustard seeds

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground cumin

juice 1 lemon

handful fresh coriander, basil or parsley leaves, chopped

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

Steam or blanch the broccoli for 2 mins or until just tender. Remove from the heat, transfer to a large bowl and add the carrots. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, garam masala and cumin and fry gently until the mustard seeds start to pop. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and fresh coriander. Season to taste. Pour the dressing over the veg and serve while the broccoli is still warm, or cold.

 

JANE FIELDS FRESH BASIL IS IN ITS PRIME; the flavour of basil is rapidly destroyed by cooking, so it is commonly used raw in salads (most famously with tomatoes and mozzarella) and sauces (such as pesto or pistou), or added to dishes right at the end of cooking. Pistou is wonderful for lifting dull dishes and invigorating a jaded palate. A dollop transforms a bowl of minestrone and can be as good on pasta as its cousin, pesto.

 

GREENGAGE JAM

 

greengages

greengages

makes 4-6 jars

1.5 kg greengages

1.5 kg granulated or caster sugar

2 vanilla pods

Method

Check over the greengages as you wash them and eat any that are so ripe they are squishy (they may spoil the keeping qualities of the jam, so you might as well). Throw out any that are damaged or mouldy. Slightly underripe fruit are fine.

Put the whole greengages into a pan with 250ml water and the vanilla pods. Simmer quietly for around 30 minutes until the fruit is extremely soft. Draw off the heat and stir in the sugar. Keep on stirring until it has all dissolved, then return the pan to the heat and bring back to the boil.

Let it boil hard for about 10 minutes, by which time the stones should be rising to the surface. Lift them out with a slotted spoon. Keep on boiling the jam until setting point is reached. Skim off scum, fish out the vanilla pods (rinse, dry and bury in a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar), then ladle into hot sterilised jars, seal tightly and leave to cool.

 

HAM STEAK

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I remember having ham steaks either cooked under a hot grill or in a pan with a round of pineapple (very retro).  Havoc’s ham steaks are fat, juicy and could be cooked in many ways.  Simply heat a heavy-based pan to medium add a little oil and cook the steaks for a couple of minutes until golden, turn over and continue on this side.  The beauty is that they don’t require very much cooking at all.

Because of their ham flavour, they will go with spiced chutneys and relishes.  Creamy herb sauces will partner nicely along with some potatoes, roasted carrots and wilted greens.  Or go a little spicy on it and make a glaze with chilli, cumin, coriander, honey and a little oil, brush generously and grill till sticky and golden, serve with wok fried veges and a little sweet pumpkin or potato mash!

 

strawberries

Alison would like to thank the following vendors for their fantastic produce

RAY GODDARD – fresh broccoli

CARDRONA MERINO LAMB – merlot and cracked pepper sausages

JANE FIELD PAEONIES AND HYDROPONICS – fresh greens, especially basil

BRYDONE ORGANICS – carrots

GILBERTS FINE FOODS (LIEVITO BAKERY) – fresh baked goods

TE MANGHA – bushfire pumpkins

ETTRICK GARDENS – onions

BOUCHEE – preserves

HARWARDEN ORGANICS – greengages

JUDGE ROCK WINES – Central Otago wines

HAVOC BACON AND PORK – ham steaks

 

 

GREENGAGE JAM

 

greengages

GREENGAGES

makes 6 jam jars      

1.5 kg greengages

1.5 kg granulated or caster sugar

2 vanilla pods

Method

Check over the greengages as you wash them and eat any that are so ripe they are squishy (they may spoil the keeping qualities of the jam, so you might as well). Throw out any that are damaged or mouldy. Slightly underripe fruit are fine.

Put the whole greengages into a pan with 250ml water and the vanilla pods. Simmer quietly for around 30 minutes until the fruit is extremely soft. Draw off the heat and stir in the sugar. Keep on stirring until it has all dissolved, then return the pan to the heat and bring back to the boil.

Let it boil hard for about 10 minutes, by which time the stones should be rising to the surface. Lift them out with a slotted spoon. Keep on boiling the jam until setting point is reached. Skim off scum, fish out the vanilla pods (rinse, dry and bury in a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar), then ladle into hot sterilised jars, seal tightly and leave to cool.

CARROT AND BROCCOLI SALAD

 

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This salad combines two of my favourite everyday ingredients.  Give this a try you won’t be disappointed!

300g broccoli, cut into small florets

4 carrots, peeled & very finely sliced lengthways into thin ribbons (use a veg peeler to do this)

2½ Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp mustard seeds

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground cumin

juice 1 lemon

handful fresh coriander, basil or parsley leaves, chopped

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

Steam or blanch the broccoli for 2 mins or until just tender. Remove from the heat, transfer to  a large bowl and add the carrots. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, garam masala and cumin and fry gently until the mustard seeds start to pop. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and fresh coriander. Season to taste. Pour the dressing over the veg and serve while the broccoli is still warm, or cold.

BUSHFIRE PUMPKINS

bushfire pumpkins

bushfire pumpkins

These gorgeous little orange skinned pumpkins are one of my favourites. The skin is so tender that you can actually eat it.  The flesh is silky smooth and will adhere to most methods of cookery

BUSHFIRE PUMPKIN ROASTED WITH HERBS AND SPICES

Cut pumpkin into wedges, toss with salt, pepper, ground cumin and olive oil and roast at 200c for about 20 minutes, until tender. Scatter with chopped chilli and garlic, return to the oven for 5 minutes, rip over some fresh basil or coriander leaves and serve with toasted pumpkin seeds.

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QUICK PICKLED ONIONS

onions odt (640x427)

pickled onions

 Pickles are a fantastic way of adding a bit of zing to any dish and these onions will surely do that!

Serves 4

3/4 cup (180ml) white or cider vinegar

3 Tbsp sugar

4 black peppercorns

pinch of salt

1 bay leaf

1 tsp freshly chopped dill

1 -2 fresh chillies

2 large red onions, peeled, and thinly sliced into rings

Method
In a small, non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt and seasonings and bring to the boil. Pierce the whole chilli a few times with a fork and add to the vinegar mixture.

Add the onion slices and lower the heat, then simmer gently for 30 seconds.
Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Transfer the onions and the liquid into a sterilised jar then refrigerate until ready to use.
Storage: The onions will keep for several months, but I find they’re best the week they’re made.