29 April 2010

thanks to the wonderful judges...

This from Simon:
Which other contestants stood out for you in the early run? Would you have liked to have seen more of anyone?
Simon - I would have liked to have seen more from Christine; I would have liked to have seen her show a little restraint on her first challenge; I think she could have gone further but she didn't and it's all about the day and the challenge.
and also from Ray
Which finalist do you wish we'd maybe seen a bit more of in the kitchen?
Ray - Christine
What an experience!
Thanks so much to Imagination Television and TVNZ for the opportunity

28 April 2010

MasterChef Winner Brett McGregor

and the winner is the one who won on the day. (Deep... really deep.)
Brett baby, I had to laugh at the wrap party when he said he was glad it's all over. Ha! I don't think so.....

So now life goes on for the rest of us, in its various new forms. And Imagination Television has already started fielding entries for the next series.
Why not have a go?
I'll start a little series of helpful hints and background to what to expect for all you wannabes...

27 April 2010

Guava Jelly

If nothing else it looks stunning... what better reason for making jelly?

1 kg guava fruit, varying degrees of ripeness
1/4 cup water

Boil fruit to soften.
Strain through a jelly bag for at least 24 hours.

For every cup of juice add 1 cup of sugar. Add juice of 2 small limes.

Boil vigorously until jelly gives setting test.
(Put a small amount on a cold plate and when it cools it makes ripples when you push the jelly from the side)

Watch carefully, this stage takes only about 10 minutes. Let it stand for a few minutes
Pour into hot jars and seal.

25 April 2010

Pumpkin Churros

This is a very different (and easy) dessert made with a choux pastry flavoured with pumpkin and spices then deep fried.

Combine 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar which will be used for rolling the churros in when cooked.

2 cups flour combined with 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves and 1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups water
4 ounces butter (Sorry - I still think imperial. Use 100gm)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
4 eggs

Oil for frying

Bring the water and butter slowly to a boil and when the butter is all meted tip in the flour and spice mix all at once. Be ready to stir quickly. The aim is to have all the liquids and the flour combine and cook together so they form a ball around the wooden spoon. When it leave the sides of the pot it's cooked. Let it cool slightly.
Now add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after each one. Stir in the pumpkin puree.

Get about 2 inches of oil hot in a small-ish pot. Let's say around 20cm diameter....). You want a good rolling boil. Once again, I use rice bran oil because it can stand the heat without burning.

Put the churros mix into a piping bag and extrude small sections into the pot. I use the kitchen scissors to cut the paste into sections about 4cm long as they come out of the bag.

This is one of those times I could really use a third arm. But it would look ridiculous.

Cook no more than about 6-8 at a time, or the temperature will lower. Lift them onto paper towels as they cook.

I took it for dessert at a bring-a-plate dinner at the end of rowing season. Serve with whipped cream or ricotta and maple syrup. Or just eat them with the sugar and cinnanmon.

This didn't lose too much by being kept hot. They stayed nice and crisp on the outside. One for making again...

Sunday Breakfast

the best way to entertain. Breakfast after a row or a bike ride, friends over for a casual breakfast, no-one expects anything sensational but it's friendly and relaxed - and the sun (unexpectedly for April) is shining bright.

what better gift from a breakfast attendee than home grown eggs... fabulous shapes and very very fresh

yum. When's lunch?

Urban Foraging - Guavas

never knew what to call it - but I love hunting down all this free food.
Last opportunity was when we went to Ohope in the Bay of Plenty and found guavas at the ready...
Stew lay in the last of the summer sun and then....
was much braver than me

23 April 2010

Cook books and "celebrities"

I loved finding out what the top 4 (Steve, Tracey, Kelly and Brett) had devised for their cook book ideas.

I read Richard Till's comment that 25% of Whitcoulls' Christmas delivery of books was cook books. There's obviously a great deal of people who love them. My mother buys them all - she loves them for the photography. I do wonder how many people buy them for no other reason than to have them on the shelf or the kitchen counter? Staging the kitchen perhaps? Well, I'm shallow like that - and I expect others are too.

Now I expect that Kelly will continue with her book too... her idea for a Feelings or Mood based book was quite inspired, given her belief in fitness and whole body well-being. Very interesting, especially choosing to use no meat or fish in her recipes from the cookbook challenge. She was able to take it from the concept stage through to plating wonderfully creative and visual dishes.

Guess who's coming for dinner...

hmmm.... movie titles as blog postings.... I'm reminded of The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie. Ross' nickname for me.
Meanwhile, Ross came to have a meal with us and brought preserves. Capsicum and Apple Jelly, Feijoa jam (correct me if I'm wrong - can't read the writing!) and  chillies in brine.
Love men in the kitchen, especially men who bottle.

19 April 2010

Indian Dinner Party

A combined effort, my favourite kind.
choko chutney - sour!
Stew's favourite fragrant cardamon chicken

an oldie but a goodie - watermelon curry...
coconut eggplant
spiced plantain slices, an adaptation of a recipe from Kerala region of India
Stew's chicken dish in foreground, cooked with coconut oil...
I discovered that this is too rich for me! Out goes the bottle of coconut oil.
chick-pea flour pancakes

Gary made a superb beef dish with onions 3 ways: caramelised, pureed to provide juice,
and a variety of baby onions

Ann's Flower Salad

(a floral arrangement DO NOT EAT)

Take a couple of bunches of fresh flowers…
Daisies are good. Freesias are my favourite.

Use any flowers that would look good in a salad.
Choose a nice old salad bowl - not too large....
Trim all flowers to an equal length, leaving heads at salad height in a crystal bowl.

Keep all foliage and cut to the same length as the flowers
Trim herbs such as ;
Sage, basil, Thyme, Italian Parsley, Lemon grass, rosemary, Coriander and mint to height of flowers.

Arrange in water in bowl.
Before guests come to the table roll random leaves of herbs in fingers to release scent.

you-know-who came for dinner

the worst thing was having to get up at 6.30am the following day for rowing.
After a diner party that ended at 4am.
Very glad the recycling rubbish goes this week too...

My sister Ann is the most talented photographer I know (sorry Rob) and she was on hand to take the pictures.

the boys far out-numbered the girls, but that's okay

there were some very serious moments

some very nice dishes

a little bit of practice at getting "plated" on time....

recipes old and new
help from my fabulous husband

more intensive discussions than you could shake a stick at...

the odd hand signal

and everyone's best jokes came out. Plus some that were most inappropriate for children...

07 April 2010

does this look like anyone you know?

I had a coffee with someone just like this today...  though not as suave. I'm quite sure suave is an act, the RB I met is such a hard case - by far the most interesting person I know. But then, I'm from Rotorua.
He, too, is a pomengranate molasses fan.

06 April 2010

Favourite thing #10 Pomegranate Molasses

I was introduced to this amazing product over the weekend in Taupo when Laura and I had a beer at Salute Delicatessen in Horomatangi Street after a hard day's shopping.
Pomegranate Molasses!
The woman who served us poured a little in the bottom of a dish and then topped it with good olive oil - we had a lovely small loaf to dip in it. Oh my, YUM! Intense, tarty, sweet and divine. I bought some on the spot and have also added it to poached berry fruit to have with whipped cream... my last meal on earth would include this stuff.
Look for other ideas here
Get your own! Sabato stock it apparently, and Nosh in Glen Innes certainly do...

01 April 2010

And another 3 bite the dust...

terdarn darn darn ... it's so annoying that they had to go. Great episode but juts keep remembering that it's about the show, not about the cooking so much!
What a shame to lose Karyn, always controversial but what I love is you stick to your guns always. Haven't spoken to a single person who would've stabbed it, by the way...

Mark's awesome, and look - he's a lot like John Travolta....
and ta ta to you Sue - what a star, I do admire your perseverence. You did so very well.
Go on, everyone, try that Chicken Fricassee!