Month: February 2012

Muddy Creek Cutting

Muddy Creek Cutting is the home of my friends Kevin and Ross.  It is on the Central Otago Rail Trail about 1 km from Lauder and I heartily recommend it as a place to go and spend a quiet night or two soaking up the Central sun, biking on the rail trail or driving around the local sights at St Bathans, Oturehua, Ophir and the Maniototo.  Lauder is only about 25 minutes drive from Alexandra, which is my home town.

On the website for Muddy Creek you can find all the details about the fabulous homestay but what you won’t find is an indication of how peaceful, beautiful and calm this place is.  Among it’s charms are the food and the art.  The food is prepared by Kevin, and there is a photo of the menu board below, the meals are just fantastic.  Lots of flavour, hearty servings and with freshness being the big focus.  Kevin and Ross tend gardens all summer which produce almost all of the produce used in the food and also farm chickens, ducks and sheep.  Then there is the decor, Ross has beautified the old homestead so that it is lovely, colourful and full of interesting treasures.  His art decorates the rooms and it is all very homey.

If you are Central Otago bound then do stay at Muddy Creek Cutting.  You will get a comfortable bed, lovely service and one of the most picturesque places on the planet.  While you are there please go and have a sauna in their home sauna.  It is just so mind clearing and you will feel all sparkly clean afterwards.  They also have a brand new Facebook Page.

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Tomato Kasundi

This is magnificently hot.  Hotter than a January Central Otago day. Hotter than hot sauce?  Well about the same as hot sauce. It is an Annabel Langbein recipe and it was recommended to me by my friend Judith who thinks it the best thing ever.  Thought I’d make it as the glut of tomatoes is ever present at the moment.  After I’d made it and frightened my taste buds a bit by it’s hotness, I had to find ways to use it.  It has a great deeply curry spicy taste.  So far we have had it with corn fritters, in guacamole, and to spice up a pasta dish.  Lots of uses and very tasty.

The quantities of the spices are really large.  Check your supplies before you start!

225g green ginger – grated, 100g garlic cloves peeled and chopped finely, 50g green chillies – I used red – sliced in half, seeds removed, 2 1/2 cups malt vinegar, 1 cup canola oil – I always use ricebran – 2 tblsp turmeric, 5 tblsp ground cumin, 3 tblsp chilli powder, 5 tblsp mustard seeds ground to a powder, 2 kg tomatoes chopped, 2 1/4 cups sugar, 3 tblsp salt.

Puree the ginger, garlic and chillies with a little of the vinegar to make a paste.  Heat the oil in a very big pot or preserving pan.  Add all the ground spices and fry until they exude a fragrant aroma.  Add the pureed paste, tomatoes, the rest of the vinegar, sugar and half of the salt. (Check near the end of cooking to see if more is required.) Cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the oil floats on the top – about half an hour (I cooked it a lot longer).  Bottle in steralised jars while hot with a thin film of hot oil on the top of each jar to prevent the top from drying out.  cove with screw top seal lids.  Leave for a couple of weeks for the flavours to develop before using. Store in a cool place until you want to use it, it lasts indefinitely.  Makes about 2 litres.

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Cinnamon Oysters – go on just try them

A childhood favourite, I remember these as being very special occasion goodies. Recently we were going through the house of a very elderly lady recently on a house hunting expedition, and there they were in the garage sale going on outside, cinnamon oyster tins. The lovely lady selling them game them to us because they were about all that was left of the treasures and I was thrilled and delighted. Now that I have whipped up a batch of these and realised how incredibly quick they are to make, and how much people love eating them they are going to be made regularly.  Light, fluffy, a little air filled morsel with yummy cream filling.  Ooooohhhhhh.

2 eggs, 1/4 cup of sugar, 6 tblsp golden syrup, 6 tablespoons of plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, whipped cream to fill them sweetened with a little vanilla and icing sugar.

Beat eggs and sugar until thick. Add golden syrup and beat well, Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger together.  Fold dry ingredients into egg mixture.  Spoon small amounts of mixture into greased sponge oyster or finger tins.  Bake at 200 degrees C for 10 to 12 minutes or until the surface springs back when lightly touched.  When they are cold cut the oysters open with a sharp knife and fill up with whipped cream, dust with sieved icing sugar.

This is basically the Edmonds Cookbook recipe with more cinnamon in it.

 

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Superheroes – this is what they’re really like!

I’ve stopped giggling now – well enough to type.  Having watched this video at least twice I’ve decided that lots of people might like it.  “my mask has cat ears and covers my nose”  “doo doo”  “easy peasy”  LOLOLOLOL.  Made by Aardman Animations, of Wallace and Grommit, Chicken Run and assorted very good goodies.  Came to me from here.

Classy Ambrosia

Nectar of the gods, ambrosia is heaven on a spoon

Summer deserts are all about fresh fruit for me.  This is a made up recipe, well it is really just a method and you can play around with it as you wish, adjust to whatever fruit you have available, you could make it with apricots (and apricot yoghurt), rhubarb etc.

In a nice big bowl put in the bottom good thick berry yoghurt, over the top sprinkle some marshmallows, over these layers add a pile of berries, it doesn’t matter what type and I used frozen this time but fresh is best.

In another bowl mix together whipped cream and a small pottle of cream cheese with a couple of desert spoons of icing sugar and some vanilla, this is your next layer then repeat the layers in so far as you have room.  Ending up with a good layer of the cream cheese mixture on the top.  Decorate with some spare marshmallows.  I have a new microplane chocolate grater so everything I make has grated chocolate on it at the moment, therefore this desert has grated chocolate!

 

The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin

It’s been about 8 years since I read an Ian Rankin novel.  I loved his Inspector Rebus character who is now departed, I’ve now been prodded to read the latter ones of that series having read read The Impossible Dead. This is the second of his books featuring his new guy, Malcolm Fox, who works for The Complaints department of Internal Affairs, investigating police irregularities.  I’m a bit keen on Malcolm, he is a genuine, straight up, hard working nice guy.  Lots of stuff going on in his life, a Dad who is suffering from altzheimers, a sister who is bitter that  Malcolm is paying for his Dad’s care but who doesn’t have the time to spend with him (or her), the fighting between Malcolm and his sister feels really genuine.

Plenty of things to deal with in his personal life without the re-connection with a woman he had a brief fling with, and who is useful to him in his current case.  A case which harkens back to the past.  A past where Scottish politics were rife, where the lines had been drawn and where activists were involved in all kinds of illegal protests, guns, bombings and more.  The case the Complaints is investigating brings up lots of these tensions from the past and it seems that the hatchet may not have been buried.  Fox and his team from The Complaints are in unfriendly turf and dealing with a case which threatens the police team which are hosting them.

There is a lot going on but it is told in such a gentle way, this book just grabbed me and swept me along.  A really great crime novel and I’m now looking forward to reading the first Malcolm Fox book The Complaints, Foxy and I are going to be firm friends!  If you want to see a rather nice interview with Ian Rankin have a look at the video below.