Comfort Food

1 10 2010

With the school holidays upon me, I have been feeling in the baking mood. Googled “chocolate caramel slice nz” and found the Curious Kai blog – and the most decadent slice recipe I have ever seen, Had to make it. Have now tasted it and can attest that it is delish (I cut it into VERY small pieces). I also confess that I halved the caramel. The amount in the recipe looked to much even for me! Looks like there is a lot of other yummy stuff on his blog –gorse flower cordial anyone? Great to see a noxious weed being put to good use!


Duck with White Beans, Chorizo and Mushrooms

15 07 2010

It was our anniversary a while back and instead of going to to dinner as we normally do, we stayed in, watched a few DVDs, drank a little wine and ate this:

Duck with White Beans, Chorizo and Mushrooms

Serves 4 (we kind of halved the recipe to make it for 2)

3 tbs olive oil
4 duck legs (drumstick and thigh)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 red onions, sliced
1 cup button mushrooms
2 chorizo sausages, sliced (we used this one from Janssens which was pricey but excellent. Made the dish!)
1/2 pinot noir (we used a cheapy from the supermarket ($7!!) and saved the good one for drinking)
3 large tomatoes
10g morels (dried mushrooms) soaked in 1/2 cup warm water to soften2 cups chicken stock
2 tbs fresh oregano (we used dried – about a tsp)
1 bay leaf
1 cup white haricot or baby lima beans, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water (we cheated and used a can of white beans)
salt and pepper

  1. Heat a large ovenproof casserole, add oil and brown duck legs on both sides. Remove to one side. Add garlic, onions, mushrooms and chorizo sausage and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add pinot noir, tomatoes, morels and their soaking liquid, stock, oregano, drained beans, bay leaf and duck legs, bring to boil then cover and bake in oven preheated to 180C for one hour.
  3. Remove covering, season and return to cook uncovered for a further 20-30 mins to brown the duck skin (although I have to say ours didn’t brown because it was covered with all the other stuff!)

This was the first time I have ever cooked duck and it was delicious. A gorgeous meal for a cold winter night! Our feeling was that the quality of the chorizo we used was vital to the flavour of the final dish. My beloved and I are keen to try this with chicken (as a slightly more economical option.

Recipe by Julie Le Clerc from the Vineyards of New Zealand Cookbook.

Apple, Feijoa and Ginger Strudel

17 04 2010

I heard this recipe on Nine to Noon the other day and had to give it a try. I have always liked feijoas and apples together and the thought of adding ginger was intriguing. The filling was quite tart but I prefer that to a super sweet one. I probably put a touch too much ginger in but it still tasted really good. Very yummy with vanilla icecream.

The less said about the strudel aspect of the whole thing, the better. There seemed to be WAY too much filling for the pastry and it was all I could do to keep it from flowing out everywhere. The result was more like a kind of open filo pie. I am keen to make this again, but I will do it as a crumble next time. Probably not as “healthy” but who wants a healthy dessert anyway 🙂

Apple, Feijoa and Ginger Strudel

Chef: Niki Bezzant, editor, Healthy Food Guide magazine, as heard on Nine to Noon Monday, 12 April 2010

(Serves 4–6)


  • 6 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small cubes
  • 6 feijoas, flesh scooped out of the skins
  • 2 tablespoons castor sugar
  • ½ vanilla pod, split
  • 2 tablespoons golden sultanas (I left the sultanas out because I HATE them!!)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 sheets filo pastry
  • canola oil spray
  • milk


Combine the apple, feijoa, sugar, vanilla, sultanas, ginger and ¾  cup water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until the apples are tender, around 10 minutes. Add the lemon zest.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Lay out the filo sheets, one on top of the other, on a board, spraying a little oil between each one. Put the apple mixture at one end of the pastry, fold in the ends and roll up to form a strudel shape.

Place the strudel on a baking tray, seam side down.

Bake for about 15 minutes, brushing the top with milk about halfway through. Slice the strudel, and serve with vanilla ice cream or yoghurt.

Fresh Spring Rolls

26 12 2009

I was looking for ideas to use the turkey left over from Christmas dinner and remembered I had some rice paper languishing in the pantry. So I thought I would give fresh spring rolls a try. I rounded up some salad type ingredients (lettuce, mint, snow peas and basil from the garden; carrots, cucumber & capsicum from the fridge) and chopped up the turkey:
Fresh Spring Rolls

Fresh Spring Rolls

I dipped the rice paper in a bowl of water to soften it and added the ingredients in a small pile.
Fresh Spring Rolls
I found if I made it too wet, it stuck to the bench. I consulted YouTube on the proper folding and rolling technique. There seemed to be a variety of views. I found folding the end closest to me first, then the sides and then rolling to be the most successful.
After much folding and rolling (mostly without drama), I ended up with this:
Fresh Spring Rolls
A simple (if a little fiddly) meal. I made a dipping sauce with fish sauce, lime, ginger and sugar and also had soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce. The offspring were a little underwhelmed but my beloved liked them. I might try again some time with prawns (which the offspring should like much better)

Festive Spice Biscuits

23 12 2009

I found this recipe in the . So many Christmas baking recipes use eggs which we can’t have for allergy reasons so I was delighted to find a spice biscuit recipe in the December 2009 Taste magazine that was egg free. I substituted ginger for white pepper (mainly because I didn’t have any white pepper) so the recipe below is slightly different. I also used a food processor instead of my hands to mix the ingredients (because I am lazy).

Festive Spice Biscuits

Makes more than 50 smallish biscuits

2 2/3 cups self-raising flour

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

250g butter, cubed

1/3 cup milk

1/4 tsp baking soda

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Sift dry ingredients (except baking soda).
  3. Zap dry ingredients in a food processor with the cubed butter until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  4. Mix milk with baking soda and add to mix. Knead lightly.
  5. The original recipe says to split the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. I prefer to roll out the dough between two pieces of wrap (about 4mm thick) before I refrigerate it. It makes it easier to cut the biscuits. I have always had issues rolling hard dough.
  6. Christmas biscuits

  7. Cut into shapes.
  8. Christmas biscuits

  9. Put on two baking trays. They will spread a bit so give them a bit of room.
  10. Christmas biscuits

  11. Roll out and refrigerate any remaining dough and repeat the cutting and the cooking.
  12. Bake the biscuits for about 12-15 minutes. I find fan bake works well to get them golden.
  13. Christmas biscuits

  14. Cool on racks and store in an air tight jar.