The beloved mother of one of my dearest friends passed away yesterday evening. It was expected for the past week but so sad. What was amazing was that she left on the date of her cherished late husband’s birthday. Their deep love had sustained them and their families for a long long time and she never seemed the same after he passed. I’m thinking of them together again.

Here is a picture of her and my friend at the Joyous-Crocodile wedding in February 2012.

Tomorrow Joyous and I will travel to the city to spend some time with my friend, and her boys who are two of my god-sons and are 10 years and 3 months old.

In Maori culture it’s traditional to take food whenever you visit someone, at this time it’s particularly important as the whanau (family) will be hosting many many visitors as people come to pay their respects.

This dear friend of mine is loved very much not only by us two but also by Joyous’ brother. So to remind her of his love, (he is presently at home in the Caribbean), and our love for her, I have baked a batch of Caribbean themed cookies.

The recipe is actually adapted from an old kids recipe book that I had as a child, although I never remember baking these biscuits (aka cookies) back then. They are now a firm favourite with the wife, especially since I thought to add the lime.

Coconut Lime Cookies

Ingredients:

100g butter

1 C sugar (I use raw sugar)

1 egg

1 C flour

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

Approximately half a lime (zest and juice)

2 C coconut thread

Method:

Cream butter and sugar, then add the egg and beat together.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together then sift them into the wet mixture.

Add the lime zest and juice. I buy limes when they are in season then freeze them. To use, take the frozen lime and micro plane it all, ( skin, pith and flesh), into the mixture.

20130824-212824.jpg

Stir it together with a fork, try not to over mix. This will be quite a thick mixture already.

Add the coconut thread (yes two cups is the right amount!), then stir it all together gently. It will be very stiff.

Roll teaspoon sized amounts of dough between your palms to form small balls and place approximately 4cm apart on a baking tray, preferably lined with baking paper. Do not press flat.

(This photograph is of a tiny tray for our teeny oven, you should get a lot more on a tray and not need to make 3 batches!)

20130824-213018.jpg

Bake for approximately 8-12 minutes in an oven which has been preheated to 180 degrees celsius. (My oven has no temperature gauge, so it’s a matter of watching them until they are just turning golden brown.)

For chewy cookies remove when they first go golden coloured, for crisp ones leave them a minute or two longer. They are delicious either way.

Allow to cool on a rack then store in an airtight container. I have no idea how long they might last as they always go in the first 2 days in our household.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kitchenalia notes:

Small flour sieve purchased from the Matakana Op Shop in 2012. Flour tin (largest of 3 matching vegetable tins), purchased from a street market in K’Road in 1995 (yes I’ve been schlepping them from house to house to house to house since I was about 18 years old). Teeny speckled baking tray luckily came with our teeny oven that doesn’t fit hardly any other baking dishes. Perfect metal spatula bought from a Matakana ‘Top Market’ vintage stall in 2012 (purchase inspired by years of using a matching one of my mothers as a child).

Advertisements

The first time my beloved made me Lucian style cornmeal porridge was a night when I had a migraine coming on and felt too nauseous to eat. She decided to cook up a quick bowl of porridge for herself.

As I walked past the kitchen I smelt the spices and looked over her shoulder as she stirred the pot full of glossy yellow cornmeal. To both of our surprise I asked to try some and found it delicious.

I ended up eating a big bowl which completely fixed my nauseousness and poor hungry Joyous had half the portion she had anticipated. (Not an unknown event around here!)

I’ve loved it ever since and we often have it for breakfast.

You can make it dairy and sugar free and it is gluten free already, so it’s a great detox option.

Lucian style cornmeal porridge with stewed rhubarb and apple…& ginger tea.

20130817-195342.jpg

Ingredients:

2 C liquid (we usually do half water and half milk, soy milk, almond milk or coconut milk)
Cinnamon bark (or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon)
1-2 fresh bay leaves
Sultanas or raisins (optional)
1/2 C fine cornmeal (polenta)

Rhubarb and apple and a little water (or ginger tea) to stew it in.

Method:

20130817-193149.jpg

Half fill a cup with cornmeal and cover with milk. Leave to sit for a few minutes.

20130817-193259.jpg

Pour approx 1C water into a pot and add the raisins, bay leaves and cinnamon. Cover and simmer for approximately 5-10 mins (longer is better for the flavor).

20130817-193350.jpg

After 10 mins or after you can see some good colour in the water remove the cinnamon bark (and dry to reuse).

20130817-193435.jpg

Add the cornmeal, stirring or whisking all the time as you add it to avoid lumps forming.

20130817-193525.jpg

Bring it back up to boiling, then turn it down low to simmer for 5-7 minutes. Assess the consistency and add more milk to thin it if it needs. I prefer it more porridgy and thick, Joyous likes it thin enough to drink like a thick soup.

20130817-193619.jpg

Stir in a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of butter (or butter substitute).

20130817-193711.jpg

Serve with the stewed fruit and or brown sugar/coconut sugar/cream etc.

20130817-193800.jpg

Babies and small children love this too.

20130817-195254.jpg

For a real Lucian style breakfast serve it with ginger tea.

Make simple ginger tea by bashing a chunk of ginger root, bringing to the boil then simmering till the liquid changes colour. Stir in raw sugar (or don’t) and enjoy. (In this picture some of the ginger root was already used so we just added more, you’d usually use just one chunk.)

20130817-194133.jpg

NB: If you live in NZ then try Fruit World for the cheapest cornmeal around. Way better than buying it as ‘polenta’ from the supermarket or a gourmet food store.

Op-shopped vintage kitchenalia:

Pic 1- silver floral teaspoon & 1950’s era pastel striped linen tea towel. Both purchased from the Matakana church op shop in 2013.

One reason I’ve been so slack at posting is that Joyous and I did one of our detoxes from May to July.

I figured that not so many people would like to see those recipes, but lately I have reconsidered and think that the really yummy ones might be good to blog.

Now the detox involves cutting out the following foods: gluten, sugar, dairy, eggs (although we allowed some this time after the first important fortnight), alcohol, caffeine, red meat. However, although that may seem really restrictive, there’s lots you can eat still. Plus with some inventiveness, and lots of herbs and spices, it can still taste great. (Honestly.)

Some examples of what we cooked:

– Quinoa with dry roasted pumpkin, pan fried fish (in olive oil) & salsa verde.

– Fresh snapper burgers in gluten free baps (highly recommend Phoenix breads), with rocket salad, hummus, jalapenos, gherkins & Japanese sesame dressing.

– Burritos in corn wraps with chilli beans & felafel or fish or chicken

– Fish gently cooked in crushed tomatoes, capers, kalamata olives, garlic, herbs and a generous splash of white wine (just cook off the alcohol & leave the flavor)

– Cold quinoa salad with smoked fish, rocket & hummus

– Prawn GF pasta with a GF roux sauce, capers, red peppers, broccoli and lemon thyme

– Chocolate crackles made with rice bubbles, kremelta (solidified coconut oil), dessicated coconut, stevia & raisins

– Chocolate self saucing pudding with almond meal, GF flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg & loads of cocoa

– Chai banana ice cream made from spices, banana & coconut cream

(Lots of fish recipes as I’m pescetarian and we live by the sea.)

So I’ll blog some of the recipes for you to have a look at. The wife and I don’t do tasteless, so be reassured they will be worth trying out even if you are not on a detox.

Finally, a bit more on why I haven’t been blogging very much:

In order to help raise the profile of this blog I started following some phenomenal blogs like For The Love Of The South and Smitten Kitchen. As I started looking at them from a blogger’s perspective rather than just a baker’s one I became rather disillusioned. You see, I can be a real perfectionist. If I can’t do something really really well, then I often choose to do something else altogether.

Those other blogs are beautifully photographed, with consistently awesome recipes and fancy cookware. Whereas mine felt like the school homework project of someone living in a shack. Actually we are living in a tiny shack, with bad lighting, part of my gran’s 1950’s kitchen bench, op shopped (charity shop) kitchenalia and an oven with one fully working gas burner, one burner that leaves black burn marks on my pans and no temperature gauge!

But I have decided to try and do something different for me. Instead of deciding it will never meet my standards of ‘good enough’ and therefore giving up, I’m going to try and keep going with it even though it might not be the absolute best. I figure the large majority of my readers over there are are just regular people too (hi Mum). So most people probably read it for the recipes, (or just because they are curious about what I’m blogging), and aren’t judging the pictures anyway – so I shouldn’t be so fussy right?

I’m going to just to try and get the recipes up here even if I just have one slightly mediocre picture to accompany them.

Oh and as for the op-shopped kitchenalia… well I think I might just make that a feature and see if I can provide some background notes on when and where my quirky bits and pieces came from.

What say you?

…And all things nice…It’s a girl!

Joyous and I are very happy with our new arrival – an English Mastiff, Shar Pei x puppy.

She’s called Fidél (meaning ‘loyal’ in French / Patois), and is a sweet wee girl.

20130811-163638.jpg

So in celebration of two weeks of having her I decided to bake something that included sugar and spice and all things nice. (Actually that’s totally an excuse, I just felt like making something yummy for the wife and I.)

A long while ago I wrote about the delicious apple pie my wife made. (I freely admit it’s been a long while since I wrote any thing on here!)

Here’s an adaption of that pie, adding rhubarb fresh from our soggy winter garden and leaving out the usual raisins.

The original recipe was from the delicious cookbook- Momma Cherri’s Soul in a Bowl by Charita Jones.

Spiced Apple & Rhubarb Pie

20130811-173109.jpg

(Supposedly serves 6-8, or 2 people every night for a week!)

Ingredients:

6 stalks of rhubarb
Approximately 4-6 (preferably) green apples (enough to be about 2/3 apples to 1/3 rhubarb)
115g butter
75g soft brown sugar
75g sugar (I used raw but original recipe called for caster)
1 Tbsp cornflour
2-3 cinnamon sticks or 1-2 tsps cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
2 sheets of sweet short pastry (sometimes Joyous makes pastry but we think store brought pastry is just fine)

Method:

Cut the rhubarb into evenly sized pieces.

20130811-162432.jpg

Core the apples, leave skins on. I usually slice into thick slices but as I was using the rhubarb this time I cut them into similar sized pieces. (I’d probably leave the rhubarb a bit larger next time it doesn’t cook down quite so much.)

20130811-162653.jpg

Put them into a pot and add all of the other ingredients (except the pastry duh).

20130811-162857.jpg

The three key ingredients are the cinnamon sticks, freshly grated nutmeg and the vanilla extract, best quality makes a big difference. We use Doria’s special stash of St Lucian cinnamon bark and nutmegs.

20130811-163059.jpg

Put the pot on a low heat and let the butter slowly melt, stir it together to ensure the cornflour mixes in well. I cook it down till the consistency looks right for a pie…but overcooked this batch, (distracted by Miss 8 Weeks), so the rhubarb turned to mush. Never mind, it’s delicious mush. But next time I’d cook it for a shorter time.

20130811-163337.jpg

Line the pie tin with baking paper then lay in the first sheet of pastry, cutting the edges to line right up the sides.

Pour in the wet mixture and use the other sheet to cover the top of the pie.

20130811-163232.jpg

(As my mixture was quite dangerously near the top of the pie I cut some extra paper and tucked it down between the tin and the existing paper to prevent it from overflowing during cooking. Or you could simply put it on a tray.)

20130811-163453.jpg

Place in an oven preheated to 190 degrees Celsius, (so says the original recipe, my oven has no temperature gauge so I just watch it closely). Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Serve with fresh pouring cream, vanilla ice cream or au naturale.

20130811-181116.jpg

20130811-202935.jpg

Vintage kitchenalia notes:

Blue spotted ‘Grimwades of Stoke on Kent’ plate (1 of 2) purchased for $2 from a car boot sale in 2013.

Pie dish purchased from a garage sale (yard sale) circa 2010.

Pale green ‘Crown Lynn NZ’ desert bowl, one of a set of 12 pieces for $10 purchased at the Red Cross Glen Eden op shop in 2013. Silver desert fork (one of a boxed set of six) purchased at a Mt Albert church fair circa 2009.

Yeehaa, the New Zealand government just conscience voted 77 vs 44 in favour of Marriage Equality. This was the third and final reading so we’ll be able to marry legally by August.

We led the world in giving women the vote, so the majority of NZers are very happy to be catching up on with human rights on this as well.

Proud and relieved to live in Aotearoa (NZ) right now.

Now I can legally and officially make my wife my wife!

20130417-220453.jpg

My love and I went to the local farmers market this morning and purchased some fantastic locally grown, spray free / organic fruit & vegetables and free range eggs. On the way home we called in to some friends who gave us a giant cray. So we’ve pre cooked that and are ready to make either a gumbo (my pick), or crayfish mornay. Joyous’ brother made bread today, so that’s Sunday lunch sorted.

The market haul included:
Free range eggs (& a freakishly giant hen egg that lovely Judy popped in for free), kumara (sweet potatoes), peruperu Maori potatoes, coriander (cilantro), limes, pears, avocados, pumpkin (a Provence variety…I’m thinking risotto), kale & chillies. Plus a few roses from the people that we got our wedding ones from.

20130413-225623.jpg

Excitingly for me, we also visited the local Opportunity Shop (charity shop), where I bought this awesome vintage Swiss biscuit maker (forcer). It’s appropriately made in the town of Lessobo hehe.

I saw it there on Easter weekend but didn’t know what it was. Then perusing my trusty 50’s Edmonds cookbook last week, I saw one pictured. To my surprise it was still at the shop today.

The wife sweetly said I could buy it, (being well familiar with my love of vintage kitchenalia) and I got it for about $5, thinking it was likely to be missing lots of parts. (The ‘about’ $5 is because I picked up a few other bits and pieces as well!) But when I looked it up online I was stoked to see it’s only missing one small piping attachment for making teeny lines. So yay! An early birthday present for me.

20130413-225749.jpg

You can use them for making biscuits (cookies), piping icing and making cute meringues. Oh and piping mashed potato, but I don’t see myself doing that.

Tomorrow I’m thinking of making prettily piped Melting Moments, with a zesty lime filling. Yum yum.

Ohh and finally, the friends who gave us the crayfish let me take some cuttings of their gorgeous hibiscus. I’ve potted them up and put them in our glass house. Hope they grow as the flowers are stunning!

20130413-232653.jpg
(Hand included for scale.)

Here’s some pictures of the stalls we shopped at today in the farmers market & a couple we like to shop at, plus our fav local coffee haunt that’s conveniently located near the market. (I’ll make them into a proper slideshow tomorrow as I can’t do that from my phone.)

20130413-233326.jpg

20130413-233350.jpg

20130413-233415.jpg

20130413-233434.jpg

20130413-233449.jpg

20130413-233508.jpg

20130413-233527.jpg

20130413-233547.jpg

20130413-233607.jpg

20130413-233630.jpg

20130413-233648.jpg

20130413-233716.jpg

20130413-233740.jpg

20130413-233758.jpg

Last night’s dinner was perfect for the sudden autumn chill we’ve been experiencing. It has come as a shock after the longest and best summer I can remember since childhood.

With all this lovely weather, the wife and her bro have been out fishing quite a bit with my Dad and our god-daughter, so we’ve got plenty of fish in the fridge and freezer. Last night my darling decided it was time to cook up a giant batch of chowder. This has become one of my favourite warming soups as she flavours it so brilliantly with our home grown herbs & a good helping of spice and chilli. Not to be outdone, I thought a side of Polenta chips (fries) would go well. Although, to be honest, they are another of Joyous’ recipes.

Now before you freak out at the length of the recipe and amount of ingredients, a few words of advice…

Essentially you only need fresh & smoked fish, potatoes and hopefully some fresh herbs, lemon juice & something creamy. The rest of the ingredients are just made up of what you have on hand. The mild chilli flavours are not essential, so any wusses can leave them out if need be. It’s not supposed to be hot, just tasty.

Basically all you do is throw it together into a pot and simmer it, except the fish and the delicate vegies, which you add right at the end so they don’t disintegrate.

So here we (jointly) present:

Snapper and Smoked Kahawai Chowder with Parmesan Polenta Chips

20130409-174934.jpg

Chowder Recipe:

Serves 6-8 (or 2 people for a week!)

Ingredients:

4 Fillets of Dense White Fish – (we used snapper & monk fish is good too)

1/4 of a Smoked Fish – (we used Manuka Smoked Kahawai)

5-6 Potatoes – preferably firm fleshed eg Desiree (we usually use a mix of red potatoes and Kumara – sweet potato)

1 or 2 large cloves of Garlic (preferably smoked)

1-2 Spring Onions – to taste

Fresh Thyme – we used fresh organic Lemon Thyme (approx 1 Tbsp)

Fresh Coriander (approx 1/4 C)

Fresh Parsley (approx 1/4 C)

Chilli Pepper and/or 1 Tbsp Hot Chilli Sauce (approx) – to taste

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Vegie (or fish) Stock made up to approx 4 C of liquid

1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika

1 tsp of Adobo Sazon or 1/4 tsp Turmeric

Generous slug of Bitters (you know, the stuff you use in a cocktail)

Salt to taste

Ground Black Pepper

25 grams of butter

Juice of 1/2 a lemon (or more, adjust to taste)

Red Pepper / Capsicum

Kale or any other green vegetable

1 can of Sweet Corn Kernels

1/3 can of Evaporated Milk or a similar amount of fresh cream

We also added 1 tsp of smoked Jalapeno Peppers)

Method:

Chop the fish into pieces approximately 3cm square. Marinate, (while you prepare the rest of the ingredients or longer if you have the time), in crushed garlic, salt and a little of the lemon juice.

Dice potatoes into decent sized chunks, put in a large saucepan. If you are using kumara (sweet potatoes) as well, you will want to add them part way through cooking so they don’t turn to mush.

20130409-202227.jpg

Ready to add the liquid

Add the olive oil, roughly chopped herbs, more crushed garlic if you love it, fresh chilli (but ours wasn’t hot so we added extra chilli sauce later), butter, black pepper, salt, Adobo Sazon (or turmeric) and the smoked paprika. Put this on the heat and stir together, slightly caramelising the potatoes. When they look a little browned, mix up the stock and pour over. Bring to the boil then simmer until the potatoes are nearly cooked. (If you are adding sweet potatoes then put them in once the regular potatoes have just started to boil.)

When the regular potatoes are just about cooked through, stir in the evaporated milk, chilli sauce, bitters, lemon juice, kale stems and smoked fish. Check the taste, adjusting the amounts to get it just right for you. A minute or two later gently add the fresh fish pieces, the sweet corn, capsicum (diced into large pieces) and put the roughly cut kale leaves on top.

Turn the fish over to help it cook evenly if you need to, then once cooked stir the chowder together.

20130409-202450.jpg

Stirring it all together

It’s now ready to serve.

Polenta Chips Recipe:

Ingredients:

1/2 C Polenta / Fine Cormeal
1 C Milk
1 C Vegie Stock
Approx 1/4 C grated cheese (Parmesan is ideal)
1 tsp of Thyme (we use fresh organic Lemon Thyme)

Method:

Grate the parmesan and line a 20cm square tin with baking paper. Do this preparation first as once the polenta is setting you will want to be able to pour it in quickly.

Pour stock and milk into a pot, add the thyme leaves, bring nearly to the boil. When nice and hot, gradually pour the polenta into the liquid, whisking quickly as you pour. Keep whisking until it thickens. Do not stop or you will get lumps. This should only take a few minutes.

20130409-202604.jpg

Brisk whisk

Add the Parmesan in last. I swap to a spoon to stir it in so I don’t have Parmesan all congealed in my whisk.

Stir until it looks like it’s beginning to set. Usually about 5 mins from when you first added it. You should be able to scrape it to one side and have it not move around too much when you try and tip it back.

20130409-202759.jpg

Well thickened

Pour it into the dish and smooth it out flat. Put it in the fridge if you are in a hurry for it to set. It should take about 10 mins to be set enough to cut up.

20130409-202954.jpg

Ready to cool

Once set, cut it into slices and put it into the oven on approximately 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). They take about 20 mins to cook, they may need turning. It will all depend on your oven. Fan bake works well if you have that setting.

20130409-203047.jpg

Into the oven

These are also delicious with Joyous’s Mint Yoghurt Mayo, and little kids love them too! (If they manage to wrestle them off the adults.)

20130409-202034.jpg

Deliciousness

So there you have it, one of our staple winter meals.

PS: Yes our eyes were larger than our stomachs and no, we didn’t eat everything in the picture at the top!

Here in Aotearoa (New Zealand), it’s feijoa season. These little guava-ish delights are a staple autumnal crop and most kiwi backyard has a tree or two. They give abundant crops year after year and you can easily gather a supermarket bag full every day if you have a decent sized tree. I’ve heard that in the US, (California?), they are called Pineapple Guava’s. Anyone there know of them?

Here at our little organic rural utopia we have approximately 10-12 trees. So every year we have to scramble to come up with new ways to use them.

Last year Joyous & I made the following:
Feijoa Loaf
Feijoa & Date Ginger Loaf
Feijoa & Ginger Ice Cream
Feijoa & Date & Chilli Chutney
Indian Spice Feijoa Chutney
Preserved Feijoas & Apples
Feijoa Syrup
Dehydrated Feijoas

The following recipe is from a great local foodie site and I’ve just slightly adapted it to our tastes. The only time consuming thing is that you have to cool down the syrup after boiling before you add the egg. So you need to prepare it well before you want to cook it. I just realized today that if you are in a hurry, a good way to get round that would be to use something like Organ ‘No-Egg’ substitute. Or, you could try adding an egg sized amount of mashed banana instead of the egg. I just made the syrup yesterday then put it aside and finished it today.

Another option, if you can’t find feijoas is to use pears or kiwifruit instead.

Autumnal Feijoa Ginger Loaf

20130408-184110.jpg

Ingredients:

1 C Feijoa (peeled & diced)
1/3 C Sultanas
1/2 C Dates
50g Butter
150g Brown Sugar
250ml Boiling Water
1 inch knob of Fresh Ginger

2 C Flour (make the cups heaped as you want 270g)
1 Tbsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda

1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

20130408-184206.jpg

Method:

Peel and dice the feijoa (I left them in quite big chunks but dice them more finely if you prefer). Put them in a small pot with the chopped up dates, sultanas, butter and brown sugar. Zest in (or finely grate) a good amount of fresh ginger. Gently bring it to the boil then simmer on low for 5 mins.

20130408-185107.jpg

Then allow it cool right down.

Sift the flour, ground ginger, baking powder and soda together into a large mixing bowl. Stir well to mix in the soda & powder.

Add more zested ginger to the wet mixture if you want it to be quite spicy. Beat the egg and vanilla in a cup and add them to wet mixture as well, stir, then pour it into the dry ingredients.

Mix well to combine but do not over do it as you want it to be nice and light.

20130408-185220.jpg

Pour it into a loaf tin lined with baking paper, crumpling it up first makes it easier to get it sitting right in the tin (thanks for the hint ScarletRosita!).

20130408-185319.jpg

Bake for approximately 45 minutes at 180 celcius (350 Fahrenheit). If you have an unreliable oven like me and it cooks on the top first before the centre is done, cover it with foil after 15 mins. But leave the oven closed for the first 15 mins or it may not raise properly.

Test it with a skewer to see when it’s ready. Leave in the tin for at least 10mins to cool, covered with a clean tea towel.

20130408-185531.jpg

Serve just as it is, or hot with feijoa ice cream, or spread with some butter if you wish, although it’s very moist so you won’t need it.

Goes perfectly with a chaise lounge, your lover, a cup of Earl Grey tea, some autumn sunshine and a good book.

Yesterday I made my love one of her favourite sweet treats…a very old school Kiwi kids recipe. We call them Honey Rice Bubble Bickies. I wasn’t going to post it here as I figure the NZers amongst you are probably starting to get bored of me posting recipes that you already know. However I had the recipe requested by some US friends, so I will post it after all.

The wife and I have been having a hard week, and so to show her a little bit of love I decided to make her a batch as a surprise. The recipe only takes 3 mins of actual cooking, so it’s easy to prepare if she pops out for a wee while.

Yesterday afternoon she left me sitting on the couch in the sun reading blogs on my phone, and went off to do some writing, which I knew meant I had at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. When she returned from writing she found me in exactly the same position, in the sun, playing on my phone.

Little did she know that I’d been up, made a batch, done all the dishes, put them away again, aired the house (as the delicious honey caramel smell is obvious), put them in the tin I always use, cut love heart paper dividers, placed the full tin back up on the shelf, rechecked for any evidence, then planted self back on couch with one minute to spare before she arrived back.

So here’s my recipe for my go-to Sweets for my sweet, Sugar for my honey…

Honey Rice Bubble Bickies

20130409-160923.jpg

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons of honey
125g butter
125g brown sugar
4 Cups rice bubbles

 

Method:

Put honey, preferably Manuka, into a medium sized or smallish pot (you don’t want too much surface area). Add butter. I like salted butter for that slightly salt/sweet taste. Also add the brown sugar.

Melt gently over a low heat then bring to boil. Once boiling turn the heat down to simmer but high enough to keep the bubbles forming but not bursting. This bit is the important bit! As soon as the mixture begins to boil, press start on a timer set for 3 minutes. Boil it too high or any longer and it will make the biscuit too crunchy. Too short or not hot enough and the biscuit won’t set just right.

While it boils, quickly measure 4 Cups of rice bubbles into a bowl and get a spatula ready. Also get a flat dish, approximately 20cm across and line it with greaseproof paper. It might be a good idea to get this all ready before you start heating the mixture.

The second you hear the timer go, turn off heat and tip the hot mixture into the rice bubbles and stir it in immediately. Use the spatula to get the last of the honey goodness out of the pot, seriously, you don’t want to miss a smidgen of it!

Stir well then tip into the dish, press down firmly with the back of the spatula, then cut with a knife after about 5mins once it has set slightly. Don’t leave it too long.

Air out the house as the delicious smell will be a dead giveaway.

Then fill a tin and hide it in full view on the shelf so your sweetie doesn’t know anything different. That way you can bust it out to surprise them at an opportune moment.

Perfect with coffee or a spicy tea. Oh, and kids quite like it too!

 

20130407-130036.jpg

Hidden very carefully

 

Notes on storing: Keep it airtight and cool if you live somewhere hot, so the butter doesn’t go rancid. Put paper in between the layers to avoid it all sticking together.

20130407-125953.jpg

Love comes in layers

Last week was the local primary school’s annual fundraising carnival. As my god-daughter goes there I got involved and helped organise the silent auction. Which involved lots of cold calling local businesses to beg goods and services that we could auction off in an old-school version of TradeMe / eBay. Basically people write their name and bid on a piece of paper and the highest bid at the end of the auction wins. I’m happy to say we had the most successful one yet and the silent auction raised nearly double what it did last year. Which is a relief as it really was a labour of love…and about 3 weeks of full time labour at that!

However, that of course is unrelated to a cooking blog. So what did we cook?

Well for the bake sale, Nana Jenny made my mini banana muffins decorated with cornflowers. Whereas I contributed a super sized batch of Joyous’ Famous (round these parts) Mint Yoghurt Mayo.

The wifey originally whipped up this recipe for one of my birthday garden soirées, to dip little smoked fish fritters and vegie crudités in. It is so simple and delicious that it’s become a staple dip around here.

For the School Carnival we made it to go in the Lamb Baps, and it also went well with the incredible fresh Snapper burgers and on the prawn skewers. We are lucky that our school is located opposite one of NZ’s best fisheries so they donated loads of fresh fish to be auctioned and sold.

It’s a little similar to the mayo we used I the Smoked Fish Potato Salad, but with less ingredients so it’s quicker. Plus it has an altogether different taste. I’m including it here after one of the parents from the school requested the recipe.

Joyous’ Famous Mint Yoghurt Mayo

Pour into a mixing bowl about 1/2 C decent mayonnaise e.g. Best Foods or Heinz & add approximately 3/4 C of unsweetened yoghurt (thick & Greek is best).

Mix together with a few good squeezes of lemon or lime juice.

Add approximately 2 tablespoons of finely sliced fresh mint.

Plus a generous pinch or two of flaky sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Stir and add more lemon, salt or mint to taste. It should have a good tang from the yoghurt and citrus.

Chill and serve.

20130406-174601.jpg

Awesome recipe illustration courtesy of my gorgeous and talented 5 year old god-daughter. (Which was created for the small cost of $1.)