Archives for the month of: August, 2013

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.

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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!)

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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:

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

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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).

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

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

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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.

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

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

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Babies and small children love this too.

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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.)

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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.

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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

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(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.

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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.)

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(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.)

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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.

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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.