Meat & Poultry

Smoked Paprika Chicken – a delicious nod to Spain

Apologies again to all my lovely followers for my absence the last few weeks. I’ve been working tirelessly on completing the edits for my new novel. I’ve self-published my previous two novels on Amazon (you can check them out here). This time around I’d like to pitch the book to an agent and I’m hoping to have it ready by the end of the year. Wish me luck!

But regardless of how busy I am there is always time to cook good food. Some standards can never be allowed to let slip.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that spring has arrived in New Zealand. Winter this year seemed interminable, not helped by the horrible cough I had for weeks on end. But you need to be a little wary of spring. Just when you think it’s time to whip out the spring/summer wardrobe, Mother Nature decides to remind you that it’s not summer. Not yet. And on those chilly spring evenings I still find myself seeking comfort from the evening meal.

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Spicy Lamb and Butternut Salad

When I was a child salads were a simple affair. That’s not to say they weren’t delicious. Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, cheese, a boiled egg, some nice cold cuts. But we are blessed in New Zealand with excellent produce and when everything is fresh and packed with flavour there is nothing wrong with simplicity.

Sometimes my mother would serve a deconstructed salad. Other times she would make a layered salad. But both were elevated by her excellent homemade dressing. Fast forward to today and my mother’s layered salad with homemade dressing is a recurring request at nearly every family gathering.

Being an adventurous cook I like to push the envelope a bit more when it comes to salads. Especially during the cooler months. Although we’ve now ticked over to September and spring is around the corner summer food feels far away. I’m still looking for comfort. And so I think a salad at this time of the year needs a warm or hot element to provide that comfort.

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Slow-cooked Chicken with Lemon and Honey – and a childhood memory

My mother remarked recently on how often she gets a mention in my posts. It’s a happy mention when I’m talking about food and my mother. That’s because writing about food often evokes the smells and tastes from my childhood. Memories of the food we ate as a child are powerful. And not necessarily always in a good way – a bad eating experience in our younger years can linger for decades.

But I like to think the scales tip towards good memories. And perhaps my fondest of them all is my mother’s roast chicken. It was my favourite meal as a child. And not something we had too often. In those days (oh dear!) chicken was not the cheapest of meats and roast chicken was a treat.

Does everyone grow up believing their mother cooks the best roast dinner in the world? It’s certainly how I felt as a child. As soon as the chicken came out of the oven I would lift myself into position on the bench and watch as Mum deftly handled and plated the fabulous bird. She would tell you that she was lucky to get any of it on the plate if I was in range. And her roast potatoes! It was such a beautiful thing.

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Italian Sausages with Tomato & Cannellini Stew

It seems appropriate that I’m currently snugly settled in a café with coffee and my laptop while the weather rages outside. Appropriate because my recipe today is another winter warmer.

Yesterday was the winter solstice in New Zealand and therefore the perfect time to share this recipe that I am extremely fond of. Not great timing for my fellow Northern Hemisphere bloggers (a heat wave has been sweeping Europe!) who won’t be putting winter warmers on their cooking agenda at the moment. But it’s great fun to store recipes away and then revisit them when the seasons change.

This dish has many things going for it – simple to make and packed with flavour being among them. And I’ve always loved a sausage. They are so comforting and versatile. But the key as with most things when it comes to food and cooking is quality. You really do need to start with a good quality sausage.

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Chicken, avocado & watercress wrap – a cold chicken hero

For centuries cooks have been coming up with creative ways to use leftover meat. A couple of months ago I posted a recipe for pulled pork burritos using leftover pulled pork. A fantastic example of how the meat’s second outing need not be inferior to its first.

But perhaps my ultimate favourite in the leftover meat department is chicken. A fabulous meal is never far away when cold chicken awaits me in the fridge. Do I want to keep it cold and make a salad? Perhaps reheat it in a spicy sauce and put together a Mexican feast? Toss it through pasta with garlic and mushrooms?

And it’s not only the evening meal where cold chicken comes into its own. It makes a fantastic lunch or light meal. Earlier this week I made a tray-bake with chicken legs and tomatoes (which incidentally is one of my favourite meals and you can get the recipe here).

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Thai Green Chicken Curry – treat your tastebuds

There is something about the exquisite flavours of Thai food that gets me every time I eat it. When I take that first mouthful and I can taste the heat, the sweet, the salty and the sour all working in perfect harmony my tastebuds ask why I don’t eat it more often.

Perhaps it’s because I adore curries – every type going – and so it’s a case of ‘so many curries, so little time’. But a Thai curry is my all-time favourite. It’s for this reason that I have spent some time experimenting and attempting to perfect the green curry paste I make at home.

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Pulled Pork Burritos – spice up those leftovers

I’ll begin by confessing that I’m not generally a big fan of leftovers. And by that I don’t mean food that I’ve cooked a double portion of and stashed in the freezer. I do that all the time. Many things like curry and bolognese sauces improve after a day in the fridge and are just as delicious when you defrost and reheat for another meal.

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Pulled pork – the slow cook hero (and a delicious pulled pork and mango salad)

I’ve always been a fan of slow cooking. There’s something very comforting about having a delicious meal simmering away in the oven while you potter about with whatever else you need to do. The incredible aromas that waft through your home aren’t too shabby either.

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The Brave Eater

When I was growing up I was one of four children. That meant every evening my mother cooked for six people. She didn’t cook three slightly different versions of the meal depending on who liked what. There was no room for fussiness or pushing food around the plate hoping to skip straight to dessert. No. Mum cooked a meal and we ate it. Simple.

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