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Well the temperatures have sure dropped (again) and winter has us snuggling down.  As always food is at the top of my list and having the hard working vendors at the market to keep me inspired and my belly full I had great fun working out my menu for the market.  Sue from Waitaki Bacon and Ham was commenting on how many people ask how to cook pork.  So we came up with a couple of different cuts to cook with and ones that not only we get to eat but I get to explain and share a few of my simple tips.

I also have some wonderful winter vegetables which I will be creating a tangy pickle, a crunchy salad and maybe even a quick soup.  I will also finish with a fragrant apple and honey cake which will be a sweet treat to say thanks for braving the cold.



chow chow

This recipe is one I adapted from the old fashioned pickle named chow chow. I have spiced it up with a combination of mustard, cumin and celery seeds to liven up a classic.

Makes 2-3 250ml jars

1 cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 leek, washed and cut into rounds

¼ cup salt

1 ½ cups white or cider vinegar

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup white sugar

30g flour

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp mustard powder

1 Tbsp celery seeds

1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds


Begin a day ahead by placing the cauliflower florets and leeks into a non-reactive bowl, sprinkle with all the salt and let sit in a cool place overnight. The salt helps to remove the excess moisture which is essential when making a pickle to preserve.

The next pour cold water over the salted vegetables and swirl around a little to dislodge the salt. Drain and rinse of excess salt if need be. Drain well.

Clean and sterilise your jars and lids if using.

In a large pot add the vinegar and sugars. Stir over high heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil.

Add the cauliflower and leeks, reduce the heat to low and cook the vegetables until tender (10 minutes).

Mix the mustard, turmeric, cumin and flour together with 125ml cold water and stir to form a paste. Stir into vegetables until mixture boils and thickens.

Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes. And finally add the celery and mustard seeds.

Pour into your sterilised jars and cool before sealing.






Apples are always a great staple for time of the year and this cake with the addition of aromatic honey adds a wonderful mystery note to this cake.

Serves 8-10

4 medium sized apples, peeled, halved and cored

1 tsp lemon zest, set aside

1 Tbsp lemon juice

125g butter, softened

¼ cup sugar

¼ good quality honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs

¾ cup flour

2 tsp baking powder


¼ cup honey

1 Tbsp lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 170C

Grease a 18-20 cm cake tin with butter and line with baking paper.

Prepare the apples first by peeling, halving and removing the core. I then scored the top of the apples for decorative purposes.

Toss the apples through the first measure of lemon juice and set aside.

To make the cake begin by creaming the butter, sugar and honey together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time ensuring that you beat well between each egg.

Fold through the sifted flour and baking powder until evenly mixed.

Pour into prepared baking tin and even the surface.

Place the apple halves, scored side up evenly over the cake surface.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in cake tin for 5 minutes and then remove from tin and cool on wire rack.



kale salad (1)

The combination of two super healthy ingredients with a punchy dressing is the perfect winter pick-me-up!

Serves 4

200g quinoa

500g kale, stalks removed, finely sliced

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed

50g shaved parmesan cheese (optional)

½ red onion, finely diced

¼ dried cranberries (optional)


Begin by cooking the quinoa, add 3 cups water to a suitable sized pot, add ½ tsp salt and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa and cook until just tender (10-20 minutes). Drain and cool spread evenly on a tray (this helps it dry out).

Meanwhile, mx the balsamic and oil together, season lightly with salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, kale, onion, cheese and cranberries, toss to combine.

Pour over the dressing, season lightly and toss well to combine.

Serve and enjoy the benefits of this tasty, nutritious salad.



organic lettuce (209)

When I was asked to talk ‘pork’ by Waitaki Bacon and Ham, I jumped at the chance. So many people have trouble with crackling, or with the pork being to dry. Firstly like any great dish you need great products and that is why I am using Waitaki Bacon and Ham for my pork. Secondly don’t overcook it, a little pink in the meat is fine.


2 Tbsp sage, rosemary, thyme or a few bayleaves

1 Tbsp sea salt

1 tsp black peppercorns

1.5kg rolled leg or loin of pork, scored

5 Tbsp oil

1 cup water


Set the oven at 220C

Finely chop the herbs or lightly crush the bayleaves and crush them with the sea salt and peppercorns using a pestle and mortar. When you have a sand-like mixture, pour in three tablespoons of the olive oil to make a paste.

Put the meat in a roasting tin and massage the herb paste into its skin and cut edges.

Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 170C and continue to roast for 25 minutes per 500g.

While the pork is roasting, this is when I prepare the remainder of the dinner such as potatoes, cabbage etc.

When the pork is ready, remove it from the oven and let it rest in a warm place, lightly covered with foil (a tight covering will make the crackling soften).

Put the roasting tin over a moderate heat, add another ½ to 1 cup water or stock and boil the juices until reduced to about 200ml or so. They won’t thicken, but you just want to concentrate the flavour a little. Adjust the seasoning. Serve the pork in thin slices, together with chunks of its crackling and the pan juices.



Pork steaks usually come from the thicker part of the pig such as the shoulder. I like them as they are juicy, tender and give you many options for cooking. At this time of the year they team up beautifully with apples and pears or with quickly cooked cabbage and potatoes.

Sauté – cooking quickly in a fry pan.

Rub pork steaks with salt and pepper and sauté them quickly on the stove top.

Heat a large heavy based fry pan over medium-high heat.

Rub the steaks lightly with oil and season well with salt and pepper. Sear the steaks in the hot pan, turning so they are browned on both sides.

Cook the steaks until they are golden (about 7 minutes) then turn over, allow to go golden on this side, then deglace the pan with ½ cup cider, white wine or water and allow to bubble away ensuring you stir through any bits from the bottom. When the sauce has reduced and thicken naturally remove the pork and finish the sauce with a couple of knobs of cold butter. Remove from the heat and allow the butter to swirl through the sauce. This will add a wonderful richness, gloss and slightly thicken the sauce.

Serve your pork along with your selection of vegetables and spoon over the sauce.

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Alison would like to thank the following vendors for their outstanding products

WAITAKI BACON AND HAM – pork roast and steaks


INDIGO BAKERY – fresh baked goods


WHITESTONE CHEESE – vintage five forks

BRYDONE ORGANICS – cauliflower and leeks




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