I find myself in awe of all the bloggers out there who continually post. I have been taking another break…not really sure why. Seems like my blogging mojo had gone and done a runner, but I am trying to get it to come back home.
Now I know this is not technically a wordless post but that is actually how it started off…so here is the picture I wanted to post before I got carried away with my thoughts.
My very clever friend Margaret made this for me and another friend for lunch one day. I LOVE invites to Margaret’s house for food. It is always amazing…thank goodness for friends who are great cooks I say !!!!
Salmon & Crab Mousse with Fresh Dill Dressing
220 gram red salmon, drained
220 gram crab, drained
2/3 cup thickened cream
1/2 cup thousand island dressing
1/4 cup chopped pickled onions
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon gelatine [one tablespoon of powdered agar agar can be used in place of one tablespoon of powdered gelatine for those us who have given up eating meat and meat products because we love our animal friends way too much to eat them]
2 tablespoons water
Dill Dressing: 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons French dressing, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill. Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Blend salmon, crab, cream, dressing, mustard and onions until smooth.
Sprinkle gelatine over water, dissolve over a pan of hot water, cool and stir into salmon mixture.
Pour mixture into 6 individual serving dishes (1/2 cup capacity).
So tonight I am making Basil, Lemon & Prawn Pasta.
Oh yes I am…
Now we all know that recipes are difficult…so have some patience with me please.
This one is just for one person.
A handful of pasta. I quite like the spinach fettuccine, but folks anything you fancy goes.
Prawns. De-veined. I like them with tails on, which I chuck off once cooked. Now really I am kinda crazy about prawns…so I like a lot. You may like less. Figure it out how many you feel like !!!
A handful of chopped basil.
A handful of drained capers.
A tablespoon lemon juice.
A tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
Salt & pepper to taste.
Enough baby spinach leaves to cover your plate.
And here we go…
Cook the pasta until almost al dente. Then throw in your prawns for about three minutes. While all this is cooking wash and lay out your spinach leaves on the plate. Chop the basil. Me personally…I have so many lemons I squeezed the lemons while I waited.
Once the pasta and prawns are cooked…throw them in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, capers, basil & olive oil. Toss your little old heart out.
Then place them on top of the baby spinach leaves.
Although we are heading in to winter here in New Zealand there is still loads of fruit around. Kiwifruit season has started.
At the moment I have a couple staying with me from China who are on a year long trip around New Zealand. Sophie & Bob are very sweet and I am really enjoying the cultural exchanges that happen when you have people from another country staying with you.
The fur babies are a hit. They are loving all the attention they are getting from two extra people. Which is good news as a few of them have had incidences in the recent past. Charlie in particular has been propping up the vet’s bank account though Jackie has done her fair share to keep up.
Recently she took to hiding under my bed. Warning signals flashed when she began to refuse to come out for two days. When we visited the vet it turned out three of her teeth were infected. I felt like the worst fur baby mama ever. The vet was a little shocked as only a few months ago she had her regular check up and though there was some tartar it was not enough to worry about. Apparently that can change quickly. We had to have the teeth taken out and for a week or more I had one very unhappy pussy cat. Sophie & Bob were sure I only had the one cat, as she was not at all social. Though under the bed still seems to be her ‘happy’ place, at least these days she is back to eating normal food and seems quite happy to venture out again. Now the baby of the family [Charlie] thinks he needs to make sure that other cats in the area know he is man. When the neighbours recently had family staying which also added three new cats to the mix, things got a little hairy. A trip to the vets was in order when he came home barely able to walk. The pads on his feet were in a terrible state and he had had a knock around his shoulder as well as scratches to his neck. We are still unsure what happened but either he tried to take on the whole neighbourhood’s cat population or possible a dog got hold of him. Seems that wasn’t enough of a deterrent. Last Friday evening he again came home in a sorry state. Does anyone else notice pets seem to get in to strife when the vets are closed ????? Great gouges out of his eyelid and nose, as well as one very sore left shoulder area. He was lucky though that the claw that did the damage missed his eyeball. I was lucky [financially] that the tear in his lid does not require surgery to stop it irritating the eye in future. Today is the first day he has been allowed outside since the incident. We have had to listen to a rather loud ongoing vocal disapproval of being confined indoors. I wondered if he was going to fly this morning when I opened the door for him, he took off so fast his feet seemed airborne.
As for Chevvy…luckily for me she is behaving at the moment. Though a wee while ago she also got in to a scrap which saw her eye and paws in a sorry state. I am thinking of arranging an extra mortgage just to keep up with the vets bills. We have managed to fix the fence problem. For a small dog she sure can scale things, but these days she no longer escapes the minute my back is turned. She does enjoy a good bone on the lawn as a reward.
I have taken to soothing my nerves with cooking. I recently raided a few friends’ gardens and came home with bags full of bounty. From one friend I came home with enough Red Cherry Guavas to make 13 jars of guava jelly.
This is the cookbook I got the recipe from…isn’t it beautiful ??
This was my second attempt at the jelly and I am thrilled with the results. This recipe makes it hard to go wrong…I did add a little extra pectin. I also had to look up how many cups a quart is. I have become a bit of an addict when it comes to guava jelly.
From another friend I scored two bags of feijoas and some Chilean Guavas.
By crikey, I think my love affair with guavas has become a permanent relationship. I might try my hand at feijoa jam next. I will keep you updated.
Although I have been advised that feijoa chutney is pretty good too. My next stop saw me bag a whole lot of apples. They reminded me of growing up. These days in the supermarket the only fruit you see is shiny and there is never a mark to be seen. Of course this all comes about because of pesticide use. Growing up, fruit was never perfect, but it was still delicious and pesticide free. Those apples took me back to a time when you either cut out the bad bits…or you just ate them anyway.
I picked what may well be the last of the chillies from my garden yesterday.
Later today I am attempting to make Chilli & Apple Jelly. This could be interesting. I have already a jar of chilli sauce fermenting in my pantry. Yes I did say fermenting. I am in to fermenting these days. Even made a batch of Zuurkool the other day.
That is the Dutch name for Sauerkraut. I haven’t made it in years and feel that perhaps I added too much salt. But we live and we learn, and after a good rinse it was very yummy. To finish off what was a rather long winding post I thought I would leave you with a video of Chevvy…doing what Chevvy does best…being cute. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2RJZYvlwmQ
On a completely different note…for all the amateur Kiwi photographers out there. Here is a great competition that is accepting entries until June 13th, 2014. Click on the link for the terms and conditions, prizes, and entry details.
There are seven categories and heaps of great prizes. Click on the links below to see some of the entries already submitted. I have and some of you guys should really enter. You stand an excellent chance of giving the entrants a run for their money.
This is my version of a recipe that was adapted from another version by a chef at the Auckland Heritage Hotel. It tasted amazing. I did not have a straight up muffin tin so they were not as high I think. Next time I might investigate using baking paper in the tins and making them higher. I also want to try making them with lemons, limes or grapefruit.
1 large orange
1/4 cup of castor sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
8 free range eggs
200-220g of ground almonds
185g of castor sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
First off you have to put the orange in a pot and cover it with cold water. This was interesting as the orange kept floating higher and higher in the pot. Eventually I gave up and just hoped for the best. Then stir in the 1/4 cup castor sugar and slowly bring it to the boil. Cover the pot and leave it to simmer gently for about 1 1/2 hours, turning the orange occasionally.
Then go and have a nice glass of wine with a friend while you chat and wait for the 1 1/2 hours to pass. Or you could watch a good movie together.
Now it is time to take the orange out and let it cool. Once cooled chop the orange in to segments and get rid of any pips.
Make sure you have an audience who will cheer you on as you continue to make this masterpiece.
Get a frypan, add water and bring it to a simmer. Add the apple cider vinegar. Now crack open three of the eggs and poach until they are just cooked. Don’t ask me what that means. I like mine a little runny still.
Then take the eggs out and allow them to cool down. If you like them a little runny like me…for God’s sake…don’t drop any. At least try not to. However, if you do stay calm. Do not let the BIG GREEN monster out. You will regret it.
Next step…have another glass of wine. Especially if you dropped one of the poached eggs.
Now we get to the serious part…preheat your oven. About 160%C. Lightly grease your muffin tin [a 12 muffin muffin tin]. Make sure the Muffin Man has left home first.
Put the ground almonds and sugar in a nice BIG bowl. Yes people, you need a BIG bowl. Take it from me who spent a lot of time wiping down benches and clothing from NOT using a BIG bowl.
Add the chopped orange segments, the remaining five eggs and the three [hopefully you still have three] poached eggs.
Turn on the beater and go for it. Do not worry if there is any heckling in the front rows.
I told you you need a BIG bowl. I am NOT kidding.
You have to beat the mixture until the mixture becomes smooth. Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin holes.
Bake for 40 minutes.
It is now time to have glass of wine number three. A bold full bodied one is recommended here.
Take a wooden skewer and test the muffins.
If it comes out clean you are done. Turn out on to a wire rack and cool. This is the time to take a rest.
This is great if you top it with one of the following.
Then grate either some orange peel or dark chocolate over.
Last step…pour another glass of wine and eat. And remember you are a super hero…
Now…just because this is funny…hamsters are insanely good at falling over ‘dead’, but OMG…the parrot at 50 seconds in, I nearly wet my pants laughing !!!!
Round is this week’s Travel Theme. What could be rounder than balls of delish ice-cream???
Maybe a round soft poached egg with hollandaise sauce on top of asparagus and a round of freshly baked bread ??
Not to be forgotten is the homemade pizza…all round oozing with melting goodies.
Now we are heading in to colder months here I am a big fan of a hot round bowl of soup…especially Bok Choy Soup with prawns and mushrooms.
I do love the feel of a ripe round peach in my hand, raising it to my nose to suck in the sweetness before taking that first bite.To finish I shall leave you with my favourite sweet treat…the delightfully round Neenish Tart. Add a ball of whipped cream and I’m yours for life.
Some thoughts around round:
“Do you mean to say,” asked Caspian, “that you three come from a round world (round like a ball) and you’ve never told me! It’s really too bad for you. Because we have fairy-tales in which there are round worlds and I have always loved them … Have you ever been to the parts where people walk about upside-down?”
Edmund shook his head. “And it isn’t like that,” he added. “There’s nothing particularly exciting about a round world when you’re there.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
“Money, you have lots of friends hanging round the door.
When it’s gone and the spending ends
They don’t come no more.” ― Billy Holiday
“Life’s just a merry-go-round. Come on up. You might get a brass ring.” ― Mae West
There is nothing that tempts me out of my comfortable bed more than knowing someone is cooking me breakfast. When The Daughter was home for a visit she made me her staple brekkie for Sunday brunch.
Mine consisted of fried eggs on toast, chilli beans, avocado and fried tomato !! To hers was added some crispy fried bacon.
All washed down with coffee.
A new treat she turned me on to is COLD COFFEE.
Made in the plunger and later left to drip through a coffee filter. Then it is left for 24 hours. When the 24 hours is up you add some sugar to boiling water, let cool a little, pour coffee and add the sugar mix.