Basil Pesto – and the “king of herbs”

I don’t know how I’d cook without herbs. Whether they are being used as a star ingredient, a last minute scattering for freshness or simply as a garnish, these colourful and fragrant wonders of the culinary world have the ability to bring food to life.

If asked which was my favourite herb I’d be pushed to choose one above all others. But at the top of my list are: basil, Italian parsley, thyme, rosemary, mint, tarragon.

I’ll leave it there otherwise I’ll add every herb to the list.

Basil is at the top of the list simply because for me it conjures memories of food I’ve eaten in Italy – scattered over tomatoes, tossed through hot pasta, stirred through a rich meat ragù or simply garnishing a crisp bruschetta.

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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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The Real Neat Blog Award

It’s been a rather exciting time for my family. My brother and sister-in-law’s new addition to the family arrived last week. My new nephew is gorgeous and a very special little boy.

So I felt this week was a perfect time to give back to our wonderful blogging community by writing up an award. I’ve been nominated for a couple of awards recently and today I’d like to thank the lovely Rini from Yes! All Roads Lead to Food (what a fantastic name for a blog, don’t you think?) for nominating me for the Real Neat Blog Award. Not only was I surprised and grateful but felt privileged to be named among her other nominees – a selection of fantastic blogs.

Rini’s blog is all about her gastronomic journey and is a joy to read so you definitely need to click on the link above and give her a follow. Her culinary adventures are such a great read. Every post is certain to put a smile on your face.

real-neat-blog-award

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The wonder of walking at first light

As a child I didn’t live close to the ocean, although growing up in New Zealand I was never far from it. It’s easy to take things for granted about your own country, but I’m happy to say that the ocean and its proximity is not something I’ve ever taken for granted. I know how lucky I am.

After all, there are many people in the world who have never even seen the ocean. That’s a hard one for me to comprehend.

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Welsh Rarebit – toasted cheese with a delicious twist

When I come across the name of a dish that is unusual, especially if the name bears little resemblance to the dish itself, I simply have to discover its origin.

I talked last week about my lifelong obsession with cheese. It’s of no surprise then that toasted cheese is one of my special standbys. It’s what I turn to when I need something delicious and comforting but can’t be bothered to cook.

But if I’m making toasted cheese and are prepared to offer a tad more effort it becomes Welsh rarebit. What, you may ask, does a name like that have to do with toasted cheese? There are a few theories floating around and no apparent definitive answer as to how it came to be in its present form.

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Homemade tomato relish – and my cheese obsession

My love affair with cheese goes back to my childhood. As early as I can remember it was my favourite thing to eat. In fact, my mother knew that when it came to her daughter’s school lunches a sandwich was not a sandwich unless there was a cheese component.

But my mother understood completely. After all, it was from her I inherited my obsession with cheese. And it is as strong today as it was when I was a child. But I find this is an obsession I can live with quite easily.

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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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Lemon Posset – three ingredients, one perfect dessert

Cream – a wonderful ingredient that is used in so many dishes. Especially desserts. Many desserts involve nothing more than flavouring the cream or using it as the base of a custard. The Italians have their panna cotta and the French their crème brûlée. Both of which are divinely luscious.

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