Old-fashioned Bottled Cream of Tomato Soup

Posted by Tricia on 24 January 2014 | 2 Comments

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Bottled sunshine, that's what this is. I make and preserve this soup in late summer/early autumn when tomatoes are sweet, plentiful and cheap. Better still if you can grow your own. A perfect lunch on a cold winter day served with cheese toasties.

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Christmas Mince Pie Pastry

Posted by Tricia on 16 December 2013 | 2 Comments

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Yes I know, Christmas Mince pies aren't that modern and clever and all that but a good home-made one can be a stunning little treat. These ones have turned out to be exactly what I was hoping they'd be. I knew the fruit mince was delish but the pastry was better than I had hoped for. Flakey/buttery nicely light and not so sweet. I took some in to Cherry, my youngest daughter who lives in Auckland. Before we went Christmas shopping we heated them up and had them with a nice cup of tea. The next day my mum popped over and helped me decorate my Christmas tree. I popped the last two into the oven to heat up and again they were accompanied by a cuppa. I got out some of my Crown Lynn color wave cups and saucers and made a little occasion of it, just me and my mum. For the recipe read the full post.

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Christmas Fruit Mince

Posted by Tricia on 5 December 2013 | 2 Comments

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This year I've made my own Christmas fruit mince. The idea is to have it on hand to rustle up little pies when I get Christmas visitors. Christmas mince is best made 3-4 weeks before you intend to make the pies but I'm pretty sure it'll be suitably marinated with just 2 weeks under it's belt. I'll publish the recipe for the pastry in a few weeks time, so get cracking and make up your fruit mince now. And yes, here's another delicious opportunity to use your own mixed peel. That will up the ante in the flavour department of your home-made pies.

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Christmas Stollen

Posted by Tricia on 17 November 2013 | 4 Comments

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Christmas just wouldn't feel right without baking a Stollen. It's a traditional German bread with a deliciously moist centre of ground almonds. This year I'll make some as Christmas gifts. Yes they are a little bit fiddly and there are a few stages in the process but it's so worth the effort. Making festive breads always takes me back to when my now adult children were still at home. Then as now these breads were reserved for very special occasions. It was one of the signs that Christmas was nearly here. We are constantly bombarded with shallowness, comercialism and instant everything. Creating family traditions enriches. I enjoy the effort that I have to put into making the stollen just as much as I enjoy the pleasure that others will get when consuming it. When making festive breads if you can, use unbleached white bread flours.  It makes such a discernable difference in the quality of the finished product. For the recipe read the full post.

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Hearty Spring Salad

Posted by Tricia on 27 September 2013 | 2 Comments

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I'm so loving this flavoursome and dense garden salad these early spring days. In my somewhat challenging microclimate here in the puhoi valley I'm unable to grow tender salad greens just yet. In another month once the soil warms up and drys out a little I should have an abundance of mesclun, lettuces and rocket etc. In the meantime I'm using up the last of the winter greens still flourishing in my garden. This hearty salad feels just right to be eating on an evening where there is still a chill in the air.

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Mike O'Connell's Dahl

Posted by Tricia on 25 August 2013 | 3 Comments

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Whenever I make this dahl recipe it takes me back to over 30 years ago when I was living in Parnell. My husband and I lived in the back part of an old villa and a succession of friends lived in the back of the villa next door. My son was newborn and life was pretty simple. I was a strict vegetarian following a spiritual practise that discouraged meat eating. Eggs too were out of bounds. This was my initiation into the joy of eating. Cooking and baking became an art form. We ate the most delicious food. Clean and simple and full of flavour. Here is a favourite recipe that my friend and neighbour Mike who was studying naturopathy at the time shared with me. It's  quick to make, and accompanied with rice and a salad or coleslaw makes for a nutritious and satisfying meal. Just remembering how next day for breakfast I would have leftover dahl on toast with peanut butter and any leftover veges on top. Hmm I might try that tomorrow morning if there is any left :) For the recipe read the full post.

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KEFIR- The friendly bacteria

Posted by Cherry Curtis on 17 August 2013 | 2 Comments

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I remember being told as a four year old child to be careful to not eat the yogurt bug in our yogurt jar. With no further explanation of what this actually meant my imagination went wild. From then on I spent many hours staring at the Ag jar in the fridge hoping to catch a glimpse of the black beetle I had envisioned inhabited our yogurt. Sadly I never saw it and I developed a strong case of yogurt aversion.

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Roast vege salad for a shared meal

Posted by Tricia on 6 May 2013 | 1 Comments

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Every Tuesday evening I go to Maori language class. We start at 5pm and finish around 9.45. Everyone brings a contribution for a shared evening meal. There are vegetarians and meat-eaters and some of us are gluten free or lactose intolerant. A few peops won't eat meat/chicken unless it is free-farmed and organic so bringing a plate for a shared meal these days is not so straight forward! During the warmer months a huge garden salad, with a scrummy vinaigrette dressing made with my own apple cider vinegar is always appreciated by most of the whanau but now the weather's turning I'm going to start making a roast vege salad. It's fuss free and you'll find you pretty much always have a good enough selection of veges on hand to whip this up and it's simply yummy. Wash and cut the vegetables into large bite-size pieces, spread onto a shallow baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and turn veges to spread the oil, sprinkle with good salt and freshly ground pepper. For an extra bit of flavour nestle some sprigs of fresh thyme amongst the veges. Cook in a moderate preheated oven for about half an hour. Remove from the oven and drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the veges. Today I used 1 red bell pepper, 2 small purple kumara, 1 med carrot, 3 small purple onion, 1 large beetroot, 1 large potato and 1 piece of pumpkin. I also love to use eggplant, mushrooms, courgettes, yellow peppers, garlic cloves still in the skin and sweet cherry tomatoes. Ready to take to my class tonight. So simple and delish. Enjoy!

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Fresh fruit juice.

Posted by Tricia on 19 April 2013 | 4 Comments

Got a problem with too many apples? There's a few different things you can do to store them. You can preserve stewed apples in jars or you can freeze them. Try making your own apple cider vinegar or freeze freshly made apple juice. That's what I'm doing today. I'm making apple and feijoa juice and freezing it. Yup you guessed it. I've also got a problem (joke) with too many feijoas. Feijoas do make a really good chutney. I also freeze the pulp in little snaplock bags for winter puddings and winter smoothies. They sweeten up amazingly from freezing. I'm lucky enough to have a powerful juicer that will take a whole apple. All I have to do is give them a wash and put them through the juicer, no peeling and no coring. I've added a good cup of feijoa pulp to each load and this makes a really nice juice, fresh and not too sweet. I add a teaspoon of Vitamin C powder to each bottle too. It's a natural antioxidant and preservative and gives an extra vitamin C boost for winter when you most need it. I'll be bringing these bottles out during the winter months. I had a whole stash of Goji bottles which I've used as they are pharmaceutical grade and non leaching. You can use glass bottles as well but avoid using plastic as it will leach toxins into the juice. For more info read the full post.

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Poppy Seed Bread

Posted by Tricia on 29 March 2013 | 2 Comments

I made a poppy seed bread at Christmas to honour our Polish ancestory on my dad's side. It will now become a permanent addition to my special occasion bread making sessions. It's a sweet bread that tastes just as good fresh as it does a few days old. On day two or three (if there is any left) dress liberally with slices of cold butter. It's seriously yum. Almonds, poppy seeds, mixed peel, cinnamon and raisins make up the filling. Today Easter Sunday I made it for the second time and it was even better than my first attempt. For the recipe read the full post.

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