Monday, June 12, 2017

Teaching my son to cook - One Pan Fish

Hey Hamish, here's a dish that's easy for one person.  Made it myself last night.



Fish and veges in one pan...

You need a frying pan only, but make sure its one with a metal handle not plastic, as you are going to put it under the grill.

One whole Flounder (I got one for $4.82 on special, usually about $6-7)
Left over mashed potatoes
Frozen Peas
Salad
Some butter

Heat the butter in the pan till frothy, add the fresh fish, eye side up (here's looking at you, kid!).  Mix a couple of handfuls of mashed spud with a handful of frozen peas. Form into 2 patties.  Put them in beside the fish.
Assembling ingredients


Cook the fish about 10 minutes, the flesh goes white when it's cooked. Put a knife in the thickest part of the fish and check for white flesh. Check for brownness underneath by lifting carefully and looking.  Do not turn over.

Heat the grill up.

Turn the patties once or twice as required. 

When the fish is just about done, take out the patties and keep warm.  Put the frying pan under the grill. Grill about 5 mins till the fish is browned on top.

Slide the fish onto the serving plate,pour over the butter.  Add salt and pepper. Put the mashed spuds beside.  Arrange salad. Voila!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Teaching my son to cook - Risotto, Chicken and Mushroom

Hi Hamish, here's another lovely recipe from your wonderful, dedicated mother.

This time it's RISOTTO, unctuous (look that one up, it means fatty, greasy, full of unction), and cheesy.

Best of all it's cheap and easy to make!

Today we are making Chicken and Mushroom Risotto, this will serve 2 or 3 people

You will need
1 Chicken Breast (I got one for $1.72)
about 5 mushrooms, fresh or dried (I can post you some dried ones if you want?)
1c of Aborio Rice, this is the ingredient you may not have in your cupboard.  It's a variety of rice which is full, thick and sucks up the yummy flavours you are going to add to it
2c Chicken Stock (not the cubes which are salty, but the stock you buy in a carton if you have not made any yourself.)
1 Onion
1/4c Olive Oil
1c Grated Cheese, any type you fancy
2T sour cream if you want
Parsley for garnishing

Chop the onion up into small cubes, (dice it).  Put the olive oil in a saucepan, a high sided one is best, but anyone will do in a pinch.  It looks like a lot of oil, but do not be worry!  Bring to a heat and add the onion.  Saute gently, do not brown the onions, just soften and sweeten.  Chop the chicken piece into small bits and add to the pan, cook till they are just done.  Then add the mushrooms, sliced.  Cook about 2mins then add all the stock.  In the old days we would have added the stock bit by bit, but its a faff and not worth worrying about.  Put the lid on the pot.  Turn the heat down till it is just simmering, no more.  Let cook about 10 mins, till when you test a piece of rice it is done, and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Stir in the grated cheese, and the sour cream if you like. Garnish with chopped parsley and eat!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's mushroom and grape season

Autumn is always a rush. There's picking to be done everywhere you look. I madly pick berries, cut cabbages, dig up spuds and pull carrots.

The grapes have been patiently waiting for me.  After Himrod, our wonderful eating grape, all got eaten by the birds before I could get the nets on, I have been keeping a watchful eye on the other vines.

Finally I picked, and now I am making juice.  Last year we made wine, not particularly successfully.  Initial tastings of "Albie's Feet" were not pleasant.  Sharp and acrid. Not sure if a few years will help that along or not?

But I made some jars of juice which we have loved. So this year I decided, no wine, just juice.


I destalked the grapes, cooked them till the skins were soft and the juice ran, sweetened them a little with sugar before packing them into empty wine bottles.  Finally I processed them in a water bath for 10 minutes. Grapes are high in acidity and so the water barth doesn't need to be very long.

So far, I have done the Pinot Noir and the Pinot Gris.  Only Sauvignon Blanc to go.
Packed bottles after processing in the waterbath
You can do all sorts of fancy things to remove the cloudyness like putting the cooked juice in the fridge for 48hrs then straining off, etc, etc.  But this will be just nice enough for us, thanks!

My poor flat smells of mushrooms, which isn't as nice as smelling of wine. I have been drying my pickings in the oven and the dehydrator.
Mushrooms growing in our orchard

What will I do with all these?

And more from the roadside!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Teaching my son to cook - continued - Steak/garlic butter with Tabouleh Salad

Hamish, try this!  This is my favourite salad of all time - Tabouleh.

When I moved to Australia at 18yrs old a whole new world of food was opened up for me.  Having come from Dunedin where the extent of takeaways was Chinese or Burgers, and eating in a restaurant meant steak and chips, Sydney was a revelation.

This includes steak, but pairs it with the first salad I learnt to make in Australia.

Tabouleh- traditionally made with cracked or Bulgar wheat, it is just as nice with Cous Cous and way simpler to make.

- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Mint
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Parsley
- 1 chopped tomato (finely diced)
- 1 cup Couscous or Bulgar wheat, cooked
The couscous has to be made according to the packet, it takes about 5 mins, but then you have to let it cool.  So follow the very easy instructions an hour or two before making the salad.  If the couscous is hot the fresh mint will go black and revolting.

Mix everything together in a bowl, and then squeeze over the juice of a lemon.  You might like to add a little olive oil to soften the flavour, but I like it sharp!  so use your own judgement there.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and it's ready.

Steak: Use rump or my favourite, ribeye.   Heat the pan till very hot, add some butter (a small knob) then the steak, cooking hard till it browns well and blood rises to the upper side of the steak.  (about 5 mins) then turn over.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook another 5 mins or so.

While its cooking make Garlic Butter.  Chop one clove of garlic finely and mix with about 2T butter.  Roll in some tinfoil and leave to cool in the fridge.

There you have it, Steak and Tabouleh!

Shopping List
Garlic
Butter
Fresh Mint
Fresh Parsley
1 Tomato
Couscous
1 Lemon
Oil

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hope arrives in the Garden

It has rained! and rained, and rained.  We have a rain gauge attached to the fence, and it collected 20mm of wet water.

The 'grass' can hardly believe it and has put a few green shoots out overnight,, tinging our lawn with hope.

Because of our family situation I have not been here to look after the vege garden, or the rose garden for that matter.  Today I drove up to spend the night here and I have worked in the vege patch all afternoon weeding, collecting rubbish, and even harvesting a few things.

Measly onions, great blackberries a few veges, and the first of our grapes

Ah, life feels so much better after rain!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Our first ever Apple harvest


I am so proud of my apple harvest this year, meagre though it is.  This is the first time we have had apples that look like edible apples.  Large, juicy, almost like something you would find in the shop.

Few in number, but they fill my heart!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Roses

With such an extensive garden I'm always looking at planting, what I should put where, how big it will grow and how expensive it is.

Lately I've been trying to take cuttings and grow from layered pieces of existing plants.

I travelled up to Motueka last week to visit my parents and while I was there we visited Tasman Bay Roses.
What a display in their growing paddock
The sales area, this was the best kept bit
 So many varieties, and colours, and fragrances! it was a pity that the yards were not better kept, for if someone had whizzed round with a weedeater it would look better.

They have rows and rows of roses as a "garden", which was unfortunately neglected.  The roses needed a prune, deadhead and a weedeat.  There didn't seem to be any order to the rows, with roses of different colours and types just lumped together.  No labelling had been done either, or pricing, which was a great disappointment.

I could not resist though, and bought a "Jude the Obscure" and something else which I can't bring to mind right now.

We also visited the Memorial Rose Gardens in Motueka, which were looking lovely.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Year of the Berry

Last year was the "Year of the Strawberry".  We picked kilos and kilos of them, in fact our freezer still has a few bags waiting to be used.

This year is going to be the "Year of the Berry".  Boysenberries, Raspberries and Currants.
Just over 3kg of Raspberries

over 3kg of Boysenberries

Getting ready to cook jam

Jam in progress

33 jars of Berry Jam, Done!

Last week I picked 8.5kg of fruit and made it up into jam, yielding 33 jars of mixed berry jam.  Enough to have one every fortnight for a whole year.  I can think of lots of things to use it for, jam flan, Bakewell tart, jam donuts and more.  Hmm, must get my pinny on.