Category: Cook

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Mexican moments: Mexican Beans

Mexican Beans with a handful of green beans added for good measure I’ve been having more than a few Mexican moments lately with my chocolate and chilli experiments and I’ve also cooked several Mexican meals. The first was for a pot-luck dinner for eight in our house when some of the Boyfriend’s college friends and their wives were about. This was only arranged that morning and when the Boyfriend asked what we should cook, I figured that it was the perfect time to try Nigella’s recipe for Cornbread-Topped Chilli.

Focaccia – the lazy way: Rosemary Focaccia from your Breadmaker 2

Focaccia – the lazy way: Rosemary Focaccia from your Breadmaker

Rosemary foccacia Looking at Sunday’s entry about flatbreads and foccacia, I just realised what was missing – I forgot to write up my foccacia recipe! What I give here is just the basic recipe but there are countless variations. You can always add different herbs or some crushed garlic, top the dough with caramelised onions or roasted peppers or, indeed, stuff it with cheese and bacon for a ready-made sandwich.

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Flatbread from the Breadmaker: Homemade Naan-type Flatbread

Even though I haven’t been mentioning the Breadmaker very much recently, it does get a regular workout. Every so often we’re out of Brown Soda Bread and it’s just too much hard work to go down to the shop so I just throw ingredients into the Breadmaker bowl and it makes one of its little square loaves – which are, incidentally, the perfect size for the toaster.

A tale of camping food and missing sleeping bags: Sloppy Joes for Campsite Cooking 2

A tale of camping food and missing sleeping bags: Sloppy Joes for Campsite Cooking

Last weekend being a long weekend, the Boyfriend and I decided to abandon Christchurch and open our personal camping season with a trip to the small town of Geraldine. For me, camping is a challenge to see what I can cook with limited ingredients and resources and this, the first camping trip of the year, was an opportunity not to be passed up. The night before we took off, I dug out Nigel Slater‘s Real Fast Food – the perfect camping cookbook – and started studying the recipes. So intent was I on packing the bag of food and so concentrated was the Boyfriend on getting us out the door on Saturday morning that no one thought to pack those camping essentials – the sleeping bags.

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Kitchen projects: Simple Goat’s Cheese

Last year, while still in Ireland, the Boyfriend and I attended a cheese-making weekend workshop at Rossinver Organic Farm in County Leitrim. My knowledge of cheese-making had previously been limited to a school outing during primary school. A schoolmate’s father, Glenroe’s Matt O’Brien, used to make a wonderful farmhouse cheddar called Glenosheen in the eighties. Sadly, Glenosheen Cheddar no longer exists but that was my first taste of a real cheese and, even to a pre-teen palate, it was quality stuff. I was no less fascinated by the workings of Matt’s little cheese factory and, years later, all I had observed there made sense when I attended the cheese-making course at Rossinver.

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A self-sufficient lunch: Simple Goats’ Cheese

Last year, while still in Ireland, the Boyfriend and I attended a cheese-making weekend workshop at Rossinver Organic Farm in County Leitrim. My knowledge of cheese-making had previously been limited to a school outing during primary school. A schoolmate’s father, Glenroe’s Matt O’Brien, used to make a wonderful farmhouse cheddar called Glenosheen in the eighties. Sadly, Glenosheen Cheddar no longer exists but that was my first taste of a real cheese and, even to a pre-teen palate, it was quality stuff. I was no less fascinated by the workings of Matt’s little cheese factory and, years later, all I had observed there made sense when I attended the cheese-making course at Rossinver.

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A decadent solo supper: Roasted Asparagus

A decadent solo supper Asparagus is very much in season at the moment in New Zealand with signs hanging by the roadside offering freshly picked spears of this gloriously upright vegetable and quantities of it available in greengrocers. Despite the plenty, I must admit that the Boyfriend and I have been slow off the mark this year and have only had a couple of feeds of it – so far. We need to hurry up and feast before the season ends.

Pumpkin heaven: Spiced Pumpkin Soup 6

Pumpkin heaven: Spiced Pumpkin Soup

My only experience of pumpkins while in Ireland was at Halloween during my first year in Dublin. One of my then housemates bought a pumpkin and carved it into a grinning Jack O’Lantern to sit in the window. I had only ever made Jack O’Lanterns from turnips before and was amazed at how easy it is to hollow out a pumpkin rather than spending ages digging your difficult way through the tough flesh of a turnip! With touching (and undeserved!) faith in my cooking abilities, he set the pumpkin flesh aside and informed me that it was my job to turn it into something edible. I failed the challenge, I must admit. Every time I opened the fridge the watery yellow flesh rebuked me and it wasn’t too long before it made the trip to the dustbin. Since then I’ve seen pumpkins appearing in Irish supermarkets in time for Halloween each autumn but I’ve never even been remotely tempted.