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.
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.
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!
This is moist and yummy. Only for those who really like feijoas of course, but if you like them you really like them. The season is so incredibly short and they go off really quickly, so best get them inside you quickly!
Credit for the recipe goes to the lovely Michael. He is in Year 11 at school and this is his Mum Alison’s recipe. Michael gave me a piece of this cake one morning because he is a kind hearted young man and I have been dying to make it ever since. I can thoroughly recommend it. it certainly went down a treat at Bookclub last night. The recipe originally comes from somewhere called Top of the dome, but I don’t know where that is.
300g self-raising flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnnamon
Photo from teara.govt.nz
1/2 tsp salt
250g demerara (or brown) sugar
125g butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
250g feijoas, peeled and chopped
Heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line your cake tin with baking paper and grease lightly. Works in round or square but it is quite a big cake.
Sift the flour, cinnamon and salt into a bowl. Stir in the sugar and you can put in some raisins or cranberries at this point in you want (I don’t want)
In a separate bowl mix the butter, eggs, milk and feijoas and mix until smooth. Combine the two mixtures and pour into the cake tin.
Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until the cake is springy in the middle when you give it a little poke with your finger. Take out of the oven and let it stand in the tin for a good 5 minutes. Then, when coolish tip it out and put onto a wire rack to cool. Serve it warm as a desert with cream or yoghurt. Yum.
Autumn means pears! Lovely juicy and dripping with sweetness. I love pears. So I made up this muffin recipe, well I should probably say I adapted a muffin recipe lurking in my folder. I have always loved the combination of pears and ginger, I remember going to my grandmothers place when she had made pear ginger jam and thinking she was incredibly clever to have made something so lovely. Must find out if an aunty has the recipe actually. Here is a quick easy way to use up the pears which are getting overripe in the fruit bowl.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger (more if you like)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 small pears, peeled and chopped finely
1/2 cup yoghurt, plain (or use milk if you must)
1/2 cup butter (melted)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl
Mix together egg, yoghurt, vanilla and melted butter, add the chopped pear. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over-mix or your muffins will get all peaky and tough and holey! Put into greased muffin tin or in my case little loaves tin.
I think you could add walnuts if you wanted a little bit of extra crunch or crystallised ginger if you want a bit of extra bite.
This living alone business is tricky, well not so much the living but the cooking for one. Every time I make something I make far too much of it, then I end up having to eat it for days and days and get tired of it, then it goes in the bin. So I need to make quick, easy, healthyish food that fits in a bowl, with only a bit of leftover which can be taken to school for lunch the following day. This is that recipe at the moment, I’m a little fixated on it. Try it is is yummy.
This isn’t a recipe it is more of a method.
Cook some pasta – long pasta I think rather than spirals or other short types. Drain it when cooked.
When it is cooked tip a small can of tuna with lemon and pepper flavour over the top and add some spinach leaves, some chopped fresh parsley or chives and mix them through the pasta. Spring onions are good too!
Grab a lemon, grate a little bit of the zest finely and save it, squeeze the lemon over the pasta, sprinkle the zest over the top and add a grinding of black pepper and the zest. If you have some lime flavoured oil, such as the one in the photo I think you should add a dash of this as well, delicious.
The photos are coming, and the oven will work tomorrow. Then there will be cooking, baking, grilling and stirring going on. Happy days!
A month and a half without a kitchen means I have yearnings to be cooking. The builder and project manager have been awesome and photos will be posted – but not till it is finished so that everyone can have the full before and after experience.
Xmas has been and gone and New Year looms. At this time of the year I seem to spend most of my time cooking for other people – a lot. I get a bit stressed and end up making a lot of food to take to other people’s places, so I need to take things that travel easily and unmessily and which most people like. Potato salad is one of those things. I think that on that potato salad you should try this dressing.
It is the dressing of choice here for potato salad, but is equally good with crunchy carrot sticks or other little things which need a dip, you can make it thinner just thin with a little water, it is a very thick dressing. It is perfect on sandwiches with leftover turkey or ham or lamb. It is just grand! The original recipe comes from Susan who is the Mum of my friend Rebekah and it works every single time. I know that lots of people are a bit frightened of making mayonnaise but this one is trouble free and has never disappointed. Feel free to double it. Keeps ages in the fridge in a jar.
Use any herbs you have to hand, but I always have basil mint in my garden at this time of year, it is too cold to grow basil here and mint is patchy for me so I grow basil mint, and have mountains of it so it goes into everything salady.
You need: 2 eggs, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp mustard (whatever type you have), 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of herbs, about 2 cups of oil (I use rice bran)
Add the eggs, salt, mustard, garlic, vinegar and sugar to the food processor and press go. Beat for a bit then add the oil in a slow stream with the motor running. I do it a cup at a time and don’t get too panicky if it seems to be going too fast, this is a forgiving mixture. I add the herbs last and taste. Adjust taste to suit you. Stand for 30 minutes and use with reckless abandon.
The always elegant Emily Duncan recently posted this on her FB page. I believe it to be stupendous, and one of the vital things one must think about at this time of year. Plating – Christmas it is all about the look of the food isn’t it rather than the actual taste? Or not. Anyway here is the vastly superior Hon. Simon and Minty Marchmont offering helpful and not at all snarky advice on how to plate aesthetically.
Stars Richard E. Grant and Arabella Weir. Aired February 25, 2003
First rhubarb harvest of the season and I have a bumper early crop. You have to keep on harvesting to keep it cropping. The first stalks are always the best coloured and such a joy to use. Rhubarb is so Mumsy and Grandmumsy and while round here the ultimate cool evening treat is a Rhubarb Crumble this cake recipe is great to make because it is easy, requires no concentration and you can eat it on a sunny spring day not just cool wintery nights.
This recipe is a really easy and comes from a fantastic book which was put out last year by Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in Wellington. My friend Rosalba sent me a copy which has been used and used in my kitchen and is looking rather stained and well loved. That is really the ultimate compliment for a cookbook, you can judge my good cookbooks by the stains. I make the recipe slightly differently from the instructions in the book, using my food processor to mix the butter into the flour, but you don’t have to. It makes a moist cake – pudding style, and is totally delicious. The standing time is important to firm it up, don’t rush it even though the smell will be tempting you to hurry it along.
I think on a cooler night this would be fantastic with custard or yoghurt, but it is warm at the moment and so I served it just by itself in big generous slices. It was all gobbled up in about 10 minutes by the four of us. The ultimate sign of a great cake!
170g self-raising flour, 100g margarine (I always use butter), 120g caster sugar, 250g rhubarb (approx 6), 120g chopped dates, 1 large egg, about 4tblsp milk
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C and Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
Sift flour, add margarine (or butter) chopped into small pieces. Rub in until evenly distributed (or blitz in food processor), then stir in the sugar. Wipe and cut rhubarb into small cubes then add to flour, add the dates with milk together and stir into other ingredients. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden and gorgeous. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn onto a wire rack to cool. Freezes well.
Do you like Lebanese food? Want to try something new! Then I highly recommend heading along George Street, Dunedin to the gorgeous setting of Fusion. Not only is the food spectacularly yummy, filling and moreish, the decor is so styly, the staff so nice and friendly and best of all there are seats to be had on a Saturday night.
We ordered a mezze platter which was enormous – I mean enormous, and then we each ordered chicken kebabs which came with lovely flatbread, salad, tiny cubed roasted potatoes which tasted of cinnamon and spices, hummus with garlic sauce in the middle of it. There was so much food, and it was so delicious. We had to take doggy bags home with us which was enough for two people’s lunch. Best of all is the long cool drinks. I will be back very soon for a drink and a mezze platter to share, I highly recommend the minty lemonade, divine.
I feel I need to mention the decor more fully. The room is totally white, except for the lovely richly patterned wallpaper near the bar, there are transparent chairs and ruby red chairs with thick acrylic white tables. Along one wall is a wide bench with round bolster cushions in colours of turquoise, ruby red and gold. Seriously this is style central.
Arabic Coffee - yum!
We have one of those voucher books, they cost $50 and have vouchers for all manner of things from movies, to funparks in Australia. We think the trick is to get your money back quick so that then anything you get after that is a bonus. So we saved $25 on Friday night and are now officially half way there. Without the voucher book we would never have known about Fusion, or certainly not have gone for dinner there, and now we intend to try heaps of the other places.
So, all in all I have a new fave place to go. I recommend you try it out too if you are in Sunny Dunedin.
It is just opposite Knox Church on George Street, and you can phone them to make a booking on 03-477 7796