Need that little household hint, tips or timesavers or word of advice that will make life a little bit easier? Here are over 1,000 nuggets of gold that have been passed down the generations. Things your grandmother might’ve taught you…
Happy reading! To search, just put your query into the search box above right or press Ctrl F and put in your topic.
5 TIPS TO HELP YOU SLEEP
5 ways to help bring sleep:
1. Get your sleeping environment as comfy as possible. Make sure it is dark, quiet and not too hot or cold.
2. Shower or bath before going to bed. Your body temperature lowers during sleep you must be quite warm to slip away.
3. Get up at a regular time. Do not snooze, pick a time to get up and stick to it religiously.
4. Have a hot milky drink. When milk is warmed it releases a chemical which makes you feel sleepy.
5. Do not read, eat or do work in bed. Reserve your bed as a place for rest and your mind will, after a while, automatically switch off when you hit the sheets.
GREEN TEA BROTH
Green tea makes a great base for fresh Asian broths. Just simmer 4-6 green tea bags with 1.5 L of water, add 1/4 cup soy sauce and a packet of fresh Udon or Hokkien noodles. This makes a great base to which shredded chicken, cooked prawns, broccoli florets, ginger, coriander, snow peas etc can all be added. Warming fresh and zesty; and great as an entree or with fresh bread as a light and Asian-inspired meal.
A FACIAL AT HOME!
Green tea is a very powerful antioxidant that is great for your insides and out! Have a cup of green tea every day – green tea is very easy to buy and make these days with many varieties available in tea bags. Enjoy your cuppa but don’t throw out the used green teabag. Squeeze excess water and rub the warmed teabag as is, over your face and neck for a refreshing boost and a mini facial on the go.
STRAWBERRY GROWING ADVICE
Your strawberries not growing runners with your baby plants. Why? It is possible the plants were too old. For continued quantity and quality of strawberry fruit, plant the offspring from your strawberries every second year and throw the parent plants on the compost pile.
GUTSY GARLIC DRESSING RECIPE
Mash 2 anchovies with 2 cloves of garlic, add 1 teaspoon wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Shake and serve over shredded raw cabbage or with a Caesar Salad. Mmmm.
Eggs, as well as flour, are the structural ingredients in baking. Eggs provide leavening; add colour, texture, flavour and richness to the batter. They are very important in helping to bind all the other ingredients together. Beaten eggs are a leavening agent as they incorporate air into the batter, which will expand in the oven and cause the cake to rise. Some cakes use beaten eggs as their only source of leavening. Eggs are also used as a thickener in custards and creams, and to glaze pastries and breads. Egg whites are used to make meringues.
Click here for more on leavening
Use the Bar Bugs solution (designed to go in car window clean) to clean house windows without the streaks.
Try using a touch of dishwashing liquid to remove greasy stains off clothes.
For a healthier batter use 1 tbsp flour beat in 1 egg yolk, seasoning and a little milk (1 tbsp) then fold in 1 well beaten egg white. Stand for 10 minutes before use.
After cleaning your fridge, wipe all the shelves and trays with Vanilla Essence. The fridge smells wonderful for days after.
FLOORS AND LOOS
Floor cleaner also makes a great toilet cleaner
CLEAN YOUR WASHING MACHINE
1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup white vinegar. Put into washing machine to clean the inside of your washing machine and to clean the fluff that sticks to your dark clothes. Just do a normal wash with no clothes.
To help get you motivated, set a timer for 15 minutes and then go nuts! It’s surprising how much you can actually get done.
Bathroom Odours: Place an opened box of baking soda, or an open container of activated charcoal behind the toilet to absorb bathroom odours.
Leave ¼ cup bleach in toilet bowl overnight for a lovely clean toilet the next morning.
Always mop yourself out of a room… not into it.
TOAST TOPPING TIPS
Hawaiian Delight: Chop drained canned pineapple and combine with cream cheese. Spread onto a slice of toast along with thinly sliced ham.
Olive Surprise: Love olives? Try adding chopped olives to hummus to boost the flavour of salad sandwiches using healthy multigrain slices.
Honey Crunch: Sprinkle a layer of sunflower or pumpkin seeds over honey spread on a slice of bread, then top with thinly sliced cheese to add crunch and boost nutrition in this tasty sandwich.
A TIP FOR SHINY SHOES
Want a quick shine on your shoes? Take the inside of a banana skin and rub directly on the shoe… Polish with dry cloth. Voila! Shiny shoes.
EARTH SMART TIP
Plant flowers in your garden! Not only are they pretty, but they provide much-needed food for beautiful butterflies and bees.
No need for a separate cleaning product for every job, use liquid Handy Andy for everything to do with house cleaning.
TIP FOR PICKING UP BROKEN GLASS
Break something glass in the kitchen and have nothing to pick it up with? Use a piece of bread to pick up the fragments. Make sure you dispose of the bread straight away!
Avoid overcooking your vegetables. Overcooking will cause them to lose flavour texture and vitamins
To make mash fluffy and light just add 1 tsp of baking powder per kg of potato.
CRAYON VS WALL
Sugar soap is great for cleaning crayon marks of walls.
Put white vinegar and water into an empty spray bottle and use it to remove soap scum from the shower door cheap and easy!!!
Use rubber glove for removing pet (and wife) hair from upholstery.
Many veges can be grown out of season in a glasshouse. This needn`t be more than a hinged window frame and a panel bought from a demolition yard. box it in so that it is draught proof.
To remove Christmas lily pollen stains use cellotape to remove the pollen then place the garment in direct sunlight. Whatever you do don’t put water on or rub it.
Clean your microwave oven easily: just boil a cup of water in it and leave for 4 or 5 mins. The condensation will make wiping it clean so easy.
EVEN BETTER BACON AND EGG PIE
Add parmesan cheese to bacon and egg pie. Makes this kiwi classic taste even better.
Try using baking soda and white vinegar mixed together to clean your oven. It cleans the top straight away and if you leave the mixture for 30 mins in the inside, the gunk just wipes off.
TIP FOR BETTER IRONING
Aluminium foil under your ironing board cover gives good heat reflection and makes ironing easier.
BUGS ON THE BENCH
Lavender scented disinfectant will stop flies crawling on kitchen surfaces.
BUY VEGES IN SEASON
Buy veges in season. It’s cheaper, tastier and not stored for months in a cold-store room. In season in NZ in March for example: courgettes, capsicum, tomatoes, apples, pears.
POACHED EGG TIP
Place a cookie cutter in the pan and break your egg into it – this helps it to keep its shape while it’s poaching!
TIP FOR CLEANING YOUR DISH CLOTH
At least once a week soak your dish cloth and pot scrub in diluted Janola in your sink to kill any germs.
TIP FOR PERFECT ROAST CHICKEN
Put a lemon up a chicken for a perfect roast chicken
HOT CROSS BUN TIP
Add twice as much spice to your hot cross bun recipe to get that old fashioned flavour
BEST CLEANING TIP EVER
Lauren Henderson’s top cleaning tip: Get the husband out of bed and make him do it while you go shopping with his credit card
Keep an old toothbrush in with the cleaning stuff. It always gets into those places you never can get to.
TIP FOR REMOVING BALLPOINT PEN
Remove ballpoint pen marks on wood or painted surfaces with distilled white vinegar. Simply dab with a clean rag soaked in vinegar until mark comes off.
Get yourself a ‘cleaning bucket’ where you keep all your main items including Jif, window cleaner, polishing products, and rags. That way you are carrying everything between rooms and eliminating all that wasted time making trips back to the cupboard. When you have everything on hand cleaning is faster and easier and you’ll usually end up doing more than you planned and feeling great for it!
TIP FOR CLEAN TOILET
For a sparkling clean toilet Shake in 1/2 cup baking soda then add 1/4 cup vinegar. It really works.
Tamarillos are delicious with brown sugar; either dipped and slightly caramelised in a frying pan, or macerated in sugar (peel, cut and chop tamarillos and place in a bowl at room temperature with brown sugar until they’re syrupy).
Use canola oil in baking and add 1 tablespoon extra in flour to cakes etc.
REST IT BABY
Don’t forget to let your cooked meat rest for a few minutes, before cutting it. This lets the meat reabsorb its juices and helps to even out the temperature of the meat after it’s removed from the heat.
SWEEP BEFORE YOU MOP
Sweep the floor before you mop for a smooth job.
TIP FOR CLEAN FLOORS
Baking soda in with soapy water and your detergent to help stubborn floors that have food and mud etc on them!
Add pumpkin and feta to savoury muffins to make them sweet and moist.
Instead of throwing out old cotton t-shirts cut them up and use them for rags. Keep a couple in the car.
Recipe for a quick Carrot Salad: grated carrot, honey, and roasted sunflower seeds – Yum!
Make your own cleaners. Many environmentally friendly cleaners can be made for a fraction of the cost of store bought.
Give the kids their own microfibre cloth and water and let them help. Mine are especially good at skirting boards!
WEDDING ADVICE AND TIPS
Here at Fresh In The Kitchen, we completely understand how stressful wedding plans can be, especially when it comes to catering, costs, the menu, cake and serving drinks. We love this website which makes all things bridal an absolute breeze! http://www.weddingadvicesandtips.com/
Use red lentils to thicken curries.
CLEAN COFFEE STAINS
Use salt as an abrasive to clean tea stains off cups.
For easy dusting slip on an old sock over your hand and spray the pledge etc into your palm and wipe away!
MASH YOUR BRUSSELS SPROUTS!
Boil til tender 20 washed Brussels sprouts in water with a teaspoon of chicken stock added. In another saucepan make a cheese sauce consisting of 2 tablespoons butter, a small diced onion, 1 cup cooked diced bacon and 1 teaspoon curry powder. When all that is cooked (about 5 minutes) add 2 tablespoons flour, till all fat is absorbed, and cook for a minute. Add milk to a thick consistency while stirring with a whisk and grate some tasty or blue cheese in. Drain the chicken stock vege water into the sauce then mash the cooked brussel sprouts with a potato masher and combine with the sauce mix. Easy, ready in 10-15 minutes and so scrummy.
MAKE YOUR OWN INDIAN HOT CHUTNEY
I love eating this chutney with Indian foods, roti and plain yoghurt. You need 1 bulb garlic, 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder, a little salt to taste, 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon oil, and lemon juice (if required). Grind everything together in food processor. Enjoy as a spread on toast or roti. This chutney is very hot, so if you want it a bit more mild, use less red chilli powder.
Stuffing poultry is safe if you follow a few simple rules. The main point is to cook the stuffing until it reaches 75˚ C to kill any potentially harmful bacteria … To ensure the stuffing reaches this safe temperature always stuff a cold bird with warm stuffing.
Use a pillowcase turned inside out as a bag for washing your delicates.
Use a plastic resealable bag to store your toothbrush and toothpaste when travelling. It’s light and will protect the brush from clothes fluff and protect your clothes from damp toothbrushes.
BABY FOOD JARS
Keep baby food jars as they are great for screws and small nails or anything else you can think of.
Empty egg cartons make great containers for transporting mini size cupcakes in.
Save your toilet roll cardboard inners for starting runner bean seeds in and when established just plant the whole lot into garden
Brushing regularly, for two minutes or more, twice a day, is an important part of oral health care. Here are some tips for effective brushing:
Rough brushing and shaggy toothbrushes can damage tooth enamel.
A routine will help ensure you clean every corner of your mouth every time you brush. For example, start with the outer surfaces of your lower teeth, work from the back teeth to the front and then head to the inner surfaces. Then brush all the biting surfaces.
Pay special attention to the area where the teeth meet gums
Be especially careful to brush away plaque from the area around the gums and in the gaps between teeth. Combined with regular flossing, this will help you control plaque build-up.
Brush at an angle to the gums
Brush in a circular or elliptical fashion. Using a back and forth ‘sawing’ motion can risk making the root surface tender and wear down the gum line.
Use the correct toothbrush
When selecting a toothbrush to buy, look for one with a small-headed brush and a handle that’s comfortable to grip. Dentists recommend you should replace your brush every three months.
Find out more at www.sensodyne.co.nz
HALOUMI CHEESE COOKING TIPS
- Haloumi works best when grilled or fried on the bbq or cooked on a non-stick pan
- Make sure you serve it hot straight from the grill or out of the pan
- Using high heat settings will give you the best results with a great crust.
- Sprinkle a little salt on the grill before placing the cheese on; it helps to stop the cheese sticking. Not too much though as Haloumi is mildly salty already.
- Don’t try and turn Haloumi too soon – it needs time to crust so it doesn’t stick to the grill. So when you feel like flipping it just give it a little longer than you think.
- Haloumi is firm when uncooked but once it’s been on the BBQ it softens up to form a unique texture and will even squeak when you eat it.
SUMMER SALAD DRESSING
The most delicious Summer Salad Dressing is as easy as 1-2-3
2T Lemon Juice
2T Oilve Oil
2T Fish Sauce
Healthy, light and extremely tasty!
Spray the shower with cleaner after each shower and it’s much easier to clean.
RECIPE FOR GARLIC SOUP
You need 24 peeled garlic cloves, 8 fresh sage leaves, 5 cups water with 2 teaspoons salt added, a pinch of saffron, 4 slices day-old or toasted bread, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 cup Gruyere cheese. Place 22 of the garlic cloves and the sage leaves in a large saucepan with salted water. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove garlic and sage. Discard the sage and mash the garlic with a mortar and pestle or a fork. Return garlic to the cooking liquid, along with the saffron. Keep the soup at a gentle simmer, with the lid on, until ready to serve. Preheat your grill to high. Cut the remaining garlic cloves in half and rub each slice of bread with it. Then, sprinkle each slice with olive oil and grated cheese, reserving some. Grill bread until cheese topping bubbles. To serve, place a slice of bread in the bottom of each serving bowl. Pour over hot liquid and sprinkle on remaining cheese.
EASY CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Melt a king size block of Caramello Chocolate whip all but 2T of a 600ml bottle of cream. Add liquid cream to the melted chocolate and mix then fold in the whipped cream. Spoon into serving dishes and chill.
TOMATO PASTE TIP
Buy a can of tomato paste and divide it up into small amounts (I use ice cube trays) and freeze. So handy for adding to pasta sauces and to use on pizzas.
GOT HEAPS OF GARLIC CLOVES?
Mince fresh garlic and store it in a jar, topped with a little oil. Keep it in the fridge for adding to your meals.
Freeze excess fruit when in season and bottle it up when the weather is a bit cooler. Great for storing citrus fruit for marmalade – prep the citrus when in season and it’s ready to go when you are.
C Abraham suggests keeping your scouring pads in a jar of soapy water and they won’t rust.
TABASCO SAUCE RECIPES AND TIPS
Eggs Benedict: Instead of pepper, add a teaspoon of Tabasco Sauce when making the Hollandaise sauce; it’s super over poached eggs and ham on toasted English muffin halves.
Scrambled Eggs and Omelettes: Add one teaspoon per 2-3 eggs when beating with water or milk before cooking.
Fried Eggs: Shake on a few drops after cooking.
Bagels: Jazz up cream cheese with a generous dash of Tabasco Sauce – great on toasted bagels.
Cocktail Sauce for Seafood: Mix 1/2 cup tomato sauce with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tablespoon horseradish, drained.
Raw Veges Dip: In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup mayo, 1 tablespoon ketchup and 1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce.
Nachos: For a blast of fiery flavor, top Nachos with splashes of Tabasco Sauce.
Pizzas: Top any pizza with Tabasco Sauce. All kinds of pizza taste great with a few shakes.
Pasta Sauces: Tabasco Sauce perks up any pasta sauce. Stir 1/2 teaspoon or more into prepared sauce when heating.
Mexican Food: Made with peppers originally from Mexico, Tabasco Sauce is simpatico with all mexican dishes – sprinkle it on nachos, tacos, chili, tostadas, enchiladas and burritos.
Potatoes: Tabasco Sauce instantly brings hash browns and home chips/fries to life.
Sandwiches: A few drops of Tabasco Sauce on cheese, tuna, BLT, chicken, turkey or roast beef sandwiches give a welcome boost.
TIPS TO DRINK LESS ALCOHOL
- Start with water or a soft drink. You will drink much faster if you are thirsty, so have a non-alcoholic drink to quench your thirst before you start drinking alcohol.
- Use standard drinks. Monitor how much alcohol you drink. By converting what you drink into standard drinks, it is easier to keep track.
- Drink slowly. Take sips and not gulps. Put your glass down between sips.
- Eat before or while you are drinking. Eating slows your drinking pace and fills you up. If you have a full stomach, alcohol will be absorbed more slowly.
- Avoid salty snacks. Salty food like chips or nuts make you thirsty, so you drink more.
- Avoid ‘shouts’. Don’t get involved in shouts or rounds. Drink at your own pace — not someone else’s. If you do get stuck in a shout, buy a non-alcoholic drink when it’s your turn.
- Have one drink at a time. Don’t let people top up your drinks. It is hard to keep track of how much alcohol you have drunk.
- Pace yourself. Try having a ‘spacer’, a non-alcoholic drink, every second or third drink.
- Stay busy. If you have something to do, you tend to drink less. Play pool or dance — don’t just sit and drink.
- Try the low-alcohol alternative. A wide range of light beers are available. Low-alcohol or non-alcoholic wines are also becoming more available. Most places that serve cocktails also serve non-alcoholic versions.
- Have alcohol-free days. Have at least 2 days a week when you don’t drink at all.
- Keep a diary. Write down how much you drink each day. This can make you more aware of exactly how much you drink.
- Be assertive. Don’t be pressured into drinking more than you want or intend to. Tell your friends ‘thanks, but no thanks’.
Alcohol can be an enjoyable part of life. However, alcohol can cause problems when consumption is not controlled.
Rubbing a pencil along the teeth of a sticking zip will make it glide easier.
FRESH USE FOR OLD CURTAIN NETTING
Keep old curtain netting: you can use them as scrubbers for stubborn grease stains on counter tops.
KEEP APPLES FRESH
Keep apples fresh when cut with a bit of lemon juice.
KEEP EGGS FRESH
Store eggs with the pointed end down to keep them fresh longer.
STORE FRESH HERBS
I keep my herbs fresh by storing them in gladware containers or ziplock bags in the fridge. Kaffir Lime leaves keep well in ziplock bags for up to 6 months if you keep them in the freezer!
Standing broccoli in a glass of water will keep it fresher for longer.
STORE MESCULIN LETTUCE
Wash home grown Mesculin lettuce mix and place in mini grip pages in the fridge to keep fresh.
FINDING SMALL THINGS
Tape a small LED torch to your magnetic wand when trying to get nuts and bolts out from hard to reach places.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET TIPS
Over all, when you are choosing anti-inflammatory foods to help reduce your inflammation and pain, choose fresh foods instead of heavily processed foods. Here are some tips:
Breakfast could be oatmeal served with fresh berries and walnuts, with a cup of soy milk.
Snack on whole fruits, nuts, seeds, and fresh vegetables throughout the day instead of cookies and candy.
Eat more fish and less fatty red meat.
Stay away from deep fried foods and bake or stir fry your meals instead.
Choose green, orange, and yellow vegetables for your side dishes.
Drink plenty of water, fresh 100% fruit and vegetable juices, herbal teas and green tea.
Remember a healthy diet works well in conjunction with advice from your medial advisors and always consult your GP before a radical change in diet.
FIND THE POWER
Always read the small print when you working with power
A leavening agent is any one of a number of substances used in dough and batter that cause a foaming action which lightens and softens the finished product. The leavening agent incorporates gas bubbles into the dough. It is carbon dioxide produced by chemical agents reacting with moisture, heat, acidity, or other triggers.
Wrap your cheese in a tea towel to slow down mould growth or make a calico bag to store it in when placing in the fridge.
Use baby wipes for any cleaning jobs they are wonderful on paint work, for spider marks, even small spots on the carpet. They even are great to wipe down your luggage.
Sterilising jars: This is one of the most crucial steps to successful preserving and you should never cut corners with this one. If you don’t do this properly you might find your preserved goods become mouldy and ferments sooner than expected. Preheat the oven to 100C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water; do not dry them with a tea towel. Place the damp jars and lids on a clean baking tray; try not to touch the jars and lids on the insides. Place them in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Let the jars cool slightly before you scoop in the cooked product. Never pour cold liquid in to hot glass jars, you will end up with broken glass. Take extra care when sterilising the jars, if they are overheated they might explode.
GINGER BREAD MEN
The best part of making Gingerbread Men is definitely the decorating. You get to personalise your little baked creations, and if you have kids, you get to let them in on the act. So, bust out your pastry bags, M&Ms, nuts, Smarties, Jelly Beans and gumdrops. It’s time to give those gingerbread men some character!
You can decorate your cookies before putting them in the oven. Try one of these pre-baking decorating techniques:
Sprinkle raw sugar on your unbaked cookies.
Place the nuts, coloured sprinkles or lollies on your gingerbread cookie dough.
Mix a beaten egg yolk with a preferred food colouring, and paint over the lollies and your gingerbread men before they go in the oven.
For a fab FITK Gingerbread Man recipe, see here.
Always have softened butter or margarine and warmed (at least room temperature) syrup ready for your waffles. There’s nothing worse than sitting in front of a perfect waffle and trying to spread cold butter on it. Your picture perfect waffle will rip and tear like nobody’s business.
Use a plastic or rubber utensil to remove your waffles from the waffle maker. A fork or knife may be more handy, but over the long haul those seemingly harmless stabs at the waffle plates will cause havoc on your waffle maker.
NO PICTURE MARKS
When hanging a picture put corn plasters on the corners at the back and you`ll prevent it leaving any marks on the wall.
Don`t forget to run a vinegar mix through your filter dripper occasionally to stop it furring up.
To freshen up the smell of the toilet add a few drops of vanilla essence to the water when you wash the floor.
Before driving nails into wood dip them into melted paraffin or soap. This helps prevent the wood from splitting.
SULPHUR RICH FOODS
Dietary detox measures should include sulphur-rich foods; cabbage, garlic, beans and egg yolk; all contain sulphur in a form that locks on to metallic toxins. Not only does the sulphur compounds clear out toxins but there seems to be some antioxidant effect.
COOKING TO A BEAT
When in the kitchen put some music on and turn up the volume, it makes cooking so much more fun!
If you drop a fish in the hot water for 1 minute the scales become much easier to remove.
If you can’t afford or just don’t own a bra bag, put your bra in a pillow case this will protect it from getting damaged
TIP FOR REMOVING EGG YOLK FROM EGG WHITES
If you get a little egg yolk in your egg white, the whites will not whip properly. To remove the bits of yolk dampen a small piece of cloth in cold water then touch the cloth to the bits of yolk. The cloth will act like a magnet.
For flavoured sugar put a vanilla pod in some caster sugar and keep in an air-tight container. Use in fresh coffee or baking.
Instead of throwing away old toothbrushes use them to clean around plugholes and sink rings.
TIP FOR CHEESE
Make sure that your hands are clean and dry when you touch cheese. It helps prevent mould growth during storage.
Add finely sliced onion to your cheese sauce when making Maccoroni Cheese.
TIP FOR ALCOHOL
Add soda or Sprite Zero to your glass of wine to add a bit of fizz and to stop you from consuming too much alcohol!
TIP FOR BEER
To keep bottled beer fizzy after opening, put a metal spoon in the top.
TIP FOR STORING RECIPES
Have separate folders for recipes. One for baking, one for salads, one for desserts etc
Chew gum when cooking if you want to avoid eating all the ingredients when preparing.
FOOD SHOPPING TIP
Never go shopping when hungry
Never brush hair when wet – use a wide tooth comb to avoid breaks and splits.
RIPENING FRUIT QUICKLY
To ripen fruit, place in a bowl or a paper bag with a banana.
HANDY TIP FOR JUICING
If a recipe requires freshly squeezed juice from an orange or lemon you will get more juice out of the fruit if you heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds beforehand.
STUBBORN JAR LIDS
If jar lids are stuck run under hot water for a few minutes and they should ease up.
Smash up your favourite nuts and dried fruits. Mix into melted chocolate and leave to set in a mould or loaf tin.
TIP FOR BUTTER
Keep a frozen block of butter in the freezer grate straight into the mix when making pastry or scones. Saves the rubbing in.
NO MORE FISH SMELLS
After cooking with fish the sink can be a little smelly. Slice an onion in half wipe any metal surface with the onion and the smell will vanish!
NO MORE SNAILS
A plate of beer really does work to attract and drown snails
TIP FOR GARLIC
Microwave garlic cloves for 15 seconds and the skins slip right off.
Bored of having mashed potato every night? Add some herbs to give it a slightly different twist (fresh or dried – eg. a yummy favourite is Italian Herbs).
Beer makes a great addition to batter for fish
TIPS FOR HERB GROWING
Keep herbs on the kitchen window sill… it not only reminds you to water them but also to consume something green with most meals!
RE-USE OLD GARLIC OR GINGER JARS
Re-use crushed garlic or ginger jars. Give them a quick rinse and fill with your favourite dried herbs. The residue in the jar infuses your favourite herb with garlic and/or ginger.
KIDS AND TOOLS
Buy your child/children their own toy tool sets and set them up a safe area to fix things next to you. This allows you to get on to those much needed jobs while your child is occupied and learning things at the same time.
SOAP MONEY SAVING
Take a piece of muslin cloth and line an old cup or glass with it. Keep it in the bathroom and use it to store all those small pieces of soap. Stuff them down and tie the cloth.
TOO MUCH SALT
If you accidentally oversalt a dish – while it’s still cooking drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt
TOMATOES AND BASIL – A PERFECT AND DELICIOUS COMBINATION
Make your own muesli – it’s really easy and cheap!
Get a range of puffed wheat from your supermarket or health food store.
Add some honey and fruit juice then rost in your oven for 90 mins or so until the puffs are all toasted.
Add your choice of dried fruits and nuts eg. dried cranberries, coconut thread and macadamias
Store in a sealed container.
Allow a lettuce leaf to float on top of soup and the fat will cling to it.
WHEN TO USE TOBASCO SAUCE
Tobasco sauce goes great with so many things; salsa, pizza, tortillas, mince, spaghetti, scrambled eggs, meatballs, tomato sauce, cocktails… the list goes on and on so its best that you keep a small bottle in your kitchen as it will most definately come handy
Herbs are a great way to flavor your meals without using too much salt
GET RID OF THE ORANGE TAN
Use lemon juice to get fake tan off ankles/knees or places where it builds up too much
If a curry sauce is a bit too hot add a little yoghurt to soften the flavour
Slice kiwifruit and freeze – the best exfloiant ever for both face and hands. Leaves skin soft and smooth.
Place recipe book in plastic bag that way when following your favorite recipe your book wont get dirty.
TIP FOR SCONES
Grate butter with a cheese grater when making scones instead of cutting it up.
TIP TO PREVENT RUNNING DYE
Top Tip is if dye runs from new clothes, soak in salt to stop this.
Use Hummus instead of butter on toasted sandwiches – yummy
For crisper salads: Place a saucer upside down in the bottom of the salad bowl before filling with salad. Excess moisture will run underneath the saucer and this will help keep the salad crisp and fresh.
After you have use your non stick fry pan or sandwich press, wash and gently brush with olive oil so it keeps it non stick and rearing to go next time round.
SPRING CLEANING TIP
Baby wet wipes are awesome for cleaning the tracks on the ranch sliders that are always full of bugs, dust and dirt
Clean clogged drains with baking soda and vinegar solution followed with boiling water.
HANDY HOUSEHOLD TIP
Put a strainer in the sink when you have a dinner party and rinse your plates above it so that there is no nasty cloggy mess in your sink to clean up afterwards or smells coming from your sink drain.
If you don’t have disposable gloves for cutting your chillis in place plastic bags over your hand instead and then throw away afterwards.
STOP THE CLOGGING
Put some grains of rice in your salt shaker to keep the salt free-flowing.
When plants are starting to go to seed remove the flowers regularly to keep it going longer
EASY SCALLOPED POTATOES
Slice your desired amount of potatoes thinly and place on baking paper. Microwave until tender. Slide baking paper and potatoes onto an oven proof dish. Sprinkle with tasty cheese, cooked bacon or ham, finely chopped onion, garlic, or whatever takes your fancy. Grill in a medium oven until golden. Yum! Nice and easy and no milk or creamy sauces. Add a dash of trim milk for creamier layers.
CHRISTMAS CAKE TIP
Brush jam on top of Christmas cake before icing.
TIP FOR THE BEST CALAMARI RINGS
Pre heat BBQ to 150 Degrees Celsius and then BBQ calamari rings for 5 minutes in a lemon & butter sauce mix, mixing constantly.
TIP FOR DUSTING
Use old socks as dusters – put over your hands or feet and wipe as you go!
TIP FOR SWEET SMELLING FRIDGE
Put vanilla essence in a shot glass in the fridge to eliminate odours
TIP FOR CRISPY BACON
A little rock salt on bacon helps crisp it when cooking.
One at a time lay crepes light brown side up. Spoon 1 to 2 tsp seedless berry jam down the centre of each crepe then roll to enclose jam. Lay crepes side by side seams down in a greesed shallow 20 by 30 cm casserole dish.
Bake in a 175˚C oven till crepes are hot 5 to 7 min.
Dust crepes with powdered sugar and squeeze juice from 1 lemon over them.
If you like also moisten crepes with 2 to 3 Tbsp. orange-flavour liqueur.
Wendy Anderson say she makes pinwheel scones and in the filling always adds relish and cheese together for a really yummy filling. Children and grand children love them.
Use an old sock as a duster!
LOW FAT TIP
Use low fat sour cream or egg white liquids in place of oils and full eggs
TIP FOR WATERING PLANTS
Leave wooden skewers in pot plants and remove to see when they need watering!
Use baking paper instead of buttering cake tins
TIP FOR DUSTING ARTIFICIAL FLOWERS
Dusting artificial flowers – put into a large paper bag containing salt and give them a good shake.
TIP WHEN PREPARING POTATOES
If you want to be prepared by peeling potatoes ahead of time place them in a bowl and cover them completely with water with a dash of milk until ready to use. The milk stops them from going brown. When you are ready to use them drain and cook as you planned.
BAKING SODA TIP
Baking soda lemon juice and soda water mixed together are GREAT at removing stubborn stains from carpets clothes etc
REMOVE SCUFF MARKS
Get black scuff marks off your wooden floor by rubbing over with the heel of your shoes – it lifts the dirt immediately.
PIE GLAZING TIP
Mix 1 t custard powder with 1 t water and brush over pastry – pies etc – instead of wasting a whole egg for glazing
Always keep a packet of baking soda handy. Used in baking and also in the bath water when the children have itchy skin from itchy bites etc.
NO EXCUSE NOT TO EAT VEGES
Kiwi families can purchase a week’s worth of fruit and vegetables for as little as 28 cents a serve and can purchase a week’s worth of fresh produce for a mere $40. We know this because 5+ A Day have been out and done just that at their local shopping centre! There is no excuse not to eat healthy, fresh vegetables.
HOMEMADE CARPET CLEANER
If your carpet is looking rather sad or giving off an aroma that you would rather do without then Mrs D’Silva’s recipe to make your own dry carpet cleaner is for you. It will brighten up carpets and rugs and adds a fresh scent to the room.
To make enough for a small rug:
275g baking powder
5 dried bay leaves crumbled
1 tsp ground cloves or 6og potpourri
In a covered container mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Store in a safe place away from children. To use shake well and sprinkle generously on the carpet. Leave for several hours (overnight if possible) keeping children and pets off the carpet. Vacuum thoroughly to remove any residue.
Mix bread crumbs with your grated cheese to put on top of mac cheese cottage pie to make a crunchy yummy crust on top
Rather than serving pancakes or waffles with berries on top. Add them to the mixture instead!
TIP FOR FRESH SMELLING GARBAGE DISPOSAL
Freshen garbage disposals by running leftover lemon peels through the disposal and rinse with water.
TIP FOR MESSY JOBS
Use old plastic bags as glove’s for job’s like cleaning the oven if you find yourself stuck with out gloves.
THE ULTIMATE PAV
To make a tropical layered pavlova have 3 circular flattish disks of pavlova sandwiched together with whipped cream sliced kiwifruit and sliced mango cheeks between each layer. On the top layer pile high with cream mango and kiwifruit. Top with passionfruit pulp and passionfruit sauce.
HOW TO RIPPEN FRUIT QUICKLY
Leave avocados or fruit that isn’t quite ripe with a banana in a warm place for a couple of hours and they will soften right up!
DOUBLE THE BACON
Minimize bacon shrinkage by running bacon under water before frying. This reduces shrinkage by about 50%
TWO IN ONE
Small clear glass vases look GREAT with herbs in them on the kitchen window sill -ready to use!
NOT YOUR AVERAGE CHEESE TOPPING
When using a cheese topping add some breadcrumbs for a nice crunchy top.
FRIES WITH A TWIST
For fancy chips take Watties plain fries and sprinkle with Moroccan seasoning then just before they are ready sprinkle with parmesan.
RED WINE TIP
Make sure you let your red wine breathe before drinking – it is always tempting to get stuck straight into it but it will taste much better if you’ve left it awhile
Don’t over-chill white wine – it loses the flavour
EDIBLE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
Metallic pipe cleaners bent into little hooks and wrapped around your favourite chocolates/sweets and hang on the tree! They don’t last long!
PREVENT STICKY DOUGH
When rolling out dough if it sticks to the rolling pin place it in freezer for a few minutes.
TIP TO KEEP FLIES AT BAY
Fresh mint in the kitchens helps keep flies at bay
Rub half a lemon on your chopping boards to get rid of unpleasant smells.
Add mulled wine spices freshly squeezed orange and red wine to a beef casserole
TIPS FOR HEALTHY HAIR
Never brush hair when wet – use a wide tooth comb to avoid breaks and splits.
Get a trim regularly – every 6-8 weeks and you will really notice a difference. No more dry ends and your hair will grow faster!
TIP FOR A TASTY CRUMBLE TOPPING
Muesli type cereals make a nice base for a fruit crumble topping
BERRIES, BERRIES AND MORE BERRIES
Buy fresh berries while they are in season and freeze them so that they are available all year round for smoothies, ice cream sundaes or yogurt
THE BLIND FOLD GAME
When trying to get kids to try new food, play the blind fold game! Put a blindfold over their eyes and start with foods you know they like and then add one new food. At least they will get a chance to taste it before they say Yuck!
A TIP FOR CLEANING THE FRIDGE
Put vanilla essence on your cloth when wiping out the fridge. It gives it a nice smell.
COOKIES TOO HARD?
When you bake cookies and they come out too hard simply put the cookies in a bag with a piece of bread overnight. The cookies will absorb the moisture out of the bread and will be soft in the morning!
YUMMY PAVLOVA TOPPING
Mix a packet of chocolate instant pudding into the cream when you are beating it , it’s like having chocolate mousse on top of your pav
Use lemon juice to naturally highlight hair.
STOP THE CRYING
Put onions in the fridge to prevent them stinging your eyes
TIP FOR CONDENSED MILK
If you open a tin of condensed milk and don’t use it all just pour it into a suitable container and place in freezer. It won’t freeze and is ready to use.
HOMEMADE POT PLANTS
Use cardboard egg containers for planting seeds
Add strawberries to a glass of bubbly to get in the festive mood
A GREAT ROAST MEAL
The key to a brilliant roast is correct cooking times versus the weight of your selected cut. Don’t guess it as investing in a delectable cut of meat is worth having it cooked right and not ruined. I have found the most brilliant roasting timetable for all cuts of meat we eat in NZ. Check it out at http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/timetable.htm
Remember to spin your teapot three times clockwise and three times anti clockwise….of course it makes the tea taste even better.
GOLDEN SYRUP CURRY
Add a tablespoon of golden syrup to your curried sausages to take the dryness off the curry. Kids love it.
Try putting your used teabags around pot plants for extra nutrients.
Try using buttermilk for pancakes and scones. It has a similar fat content to low-fat milk and makes your baking extra light and soft.
A HEALTHIER GRAVY
To de-fat agravy or broth, pour it through a large funnel filled with ice cubes. The fat sticks to the coldness.
TEA & ROSES
Rinse your tea pot and feed your roses
A HEALTH TIP
Eat a healthy, balanced diet – make sure you have enough calcium and Vitamin D to keep bones strong. Get out in the fresh air and sun for 10 minutes a day at least and eat milk, cheese, yoghurt, oily fish (such as salmon and tuna) and meat which are all great sources of calcium – great for healthy bones.
Enjoy a steaming cup of tea? Advice given by throat specialists is to not drink your tea too hot to avoid damaging your throat.
TEA IN CHINA
Tea tastes better drunk from a china cup.
A TIP TO STAY FOCUSED
A messy desk equals a messy mind so think of your workplace as a place of action. At the end of each work day, put all live items into an action tray or folder for the next morning, file the rest and you will start each day with a clear desk and head. Keep the minimum of essential items such as pens and a few stationery supplies on your desk. And work hard on one project at a time to stay focused.
A TIP TO STORE EGGS
I am a firm beiiever in eggs being stored out of the fridge (ie. in the pantry) and eaten within a week, but if you need to store eggs longer, store them in their carton packaging, since it absorbs fridge odours. And remember, free range is always best! We love Glenpark Eggs here at FITK!
TIP FOR CHOPPING ONIONS
To stop eyes watering when chopping onions, run your knife under hot water beforehand.
Share your tea break with someone you love and it will be more enjoyable.
Thanks muchly to Kirsty Morton for this clever baking powder check up trick.
Always lightly shake your baking powder container before opening, as the rising agent in the baking powder can sink to the bottom.
Shaking your pottle helps balance all the components again.
Hansell’s is a wonderful baking powder and plastic container.
BEATING PLAYGROUND GERMS
Console yourself for spending so much time indoors… Just FYI, on the average New Zealand playground, the greatest number of bodily fluids (urine, saliva, mucus et al) can be found on the monkey bars, the swings, and the slide. Yuck! Keep clear of those in winter especially. even better, get your own swing-set for the kids at home – either 2nd-hand or new. Just keep it clean!
SQUEEZING TEA BAGS
A tea bag can be squeezed out quite well if you put it between two teaspoons.
BUYING FRESH OYSTERS
When buying fresh oysters, make sure they’re still alive. The shell should either be closed tight or should close readily after a tap. If you open it and the meat is dried out, throw it away. Don’t buy oysters with broken or damaged shells. Oyster meat should be plump and have a fresh, mild, saltwater odour. They’re usually tan and creamy but green and reddish pigmentation is harmless, the colours disappear during cooking. If the meat has a pink colour, it indicates the presence of yeast. Throw it away.Fresh shucked oysters be packed in their own juices which should be clear.
Pour strong tea into ice trays and freeze. This is great with spring water and sprig of fresh mint.
Make sure to add sugar to your tea last as it can clog the holes in the tea bags which will stop the flavour coming out at its fullest.
BUYING FRUIT & VEGETABLES
1. Slightly bruised fruit should not go to waste. Put your fruit into a blender or whizzer with some yoghurt or low-fat ice cream, trim milk, some crushed ice and a pinch of raw sugar. Bam! A healthy smoothie that you and the kids will love.
2. On smoothies – try this. Freeze bananas and use them in your baking or drop the frozen banana straight in to your smoothie instead of ice cubes. When bananas are on special, buy and freeze. Thanks to Ann Kidd of Motueka for this cool bananas tip!
3. Seedless grapes are always more expensive. To de-seed grapes with ease and keep them whole, just poke through a bobby pin!
4. Buying local & seasonal produce is made easy by using organic home delivery companies – they usually only provide what is in season but the best thing is that you will get a great variety of ingredients to experiment with. If you want to buy from the actual green grocer, make sure you tell him what you like! If you ask for it, a supplier will usually find it.
The plastic tags used to close sliced bread bags are perfect for clothes pegs on a camping or hiking trip where space is minimal. About 50 flat plastic bread tags stack into a 35mil film canister.
Cool, wet teabags will soothe beestings and insect bites.
20 or more guests? Call the catering service! Less stress, better party, happy people, beautiful food. Don’t run yourself ragged trying to impress, just call a caterer! Fresh In The Kitchen loves and recommends Corporate Bunny Diners or www.cbdcatering.co.nz – Anna J is amazing!
Instead of slathering butter or margarine on corn-on-the-cob, spray with Alfa One rice bran oil cooking spray and be generous with the freshly ground black pepper. Or squeeze fresh lime juice over the ears and sprinkle lightly with chili powder (or freshly ground black pepper).
COOKING FOR LARGE FAMILIES
Kathie Tanner of Tauranga writes: “With a large family I have learnt to double everything for baking and I always pop half of everything in the freezer. When I do have leftovers, I put them in a sealed container in the fridge and label and date it. I am constantly amazed at what is not left in the fridge!”
A favourite household tip is to line your crockpot with an oven bag prior to cooking – end product lifts out easily with no messy crockpot to clean!
CLEAN BREAD BOARDS
Put a tea towel or damp cloth under chopping boards to prevent slipping.
COOKING BEANS AND GRAINS
All the way from Invercargill this one! When cooking beans and grains (ie. lentils, kidney beans etc), add any acidic ingredients like tomatoes, vinegar, lemon juice wine at the end of cooking time as adding them to early will cause the beans or grains to toughen up.
COOKING PERFECT BEANS
When cooking beans, any additional ingredients, such as acidic substances, such as lemon juice, vinegar, tomatoes, ketchup or wine, should be added at the end of the cooking time, since acid makes the beans firm.
You should add seasoning after the beans are tender, as adding it too soon can inhibit the cooking process.
If clothes are creased after travelling and you have no access to an iron, hang your creased clothes up by the shower, jump in to refresh yourself after the trip and the steam will help remove creases.
DEALING WITH ICY MORNINGS
Keep a chux cloth in your car for de-misting the windscreen on icy winter mornings. Tip thanks to Rachel Jamieson of Arch Hill, Auckland,
You can clean out the innards of your dishwater by running it empty with a bowl of vinegar in it.
The same is true for your coffee pot – except not the bowl part.
Use laundry washing powder in those pots and pans that have hard to remove stains.
EASY CLEAN OVEN
Insert a protective oven sheet in the bottom of your oven from day one – this means that any accidental spills or spatters go onto the protective mat (which sits on the bottom of your oven) and you just put the mat in the dishwasher each time you use the oven. You do need to make sure that the oven element isn’t located in the base of your oven. This product is available from Lakeland Ltd. Mr Muscle oven spray is very effective but smells very toxic – open all the windows and doors before commencing. Works a treat though.
EASY CLEAN VASES
Once emptied, add a few drops of bleach and soak overnight. Rinse a few times and it will be sparkling like new! You can also add rice grains to the water, leave it settle for a few mins, shake vigourously and it should leave it clean and ready to use again
ECONOMICAL, ECO-FRIENDLY CLEANERS
Baking soda makes an excellent, cheap cleaner. Sprinkle on benches, cooker etc. then simply scrub and rub away with a damp cloth. And, keep that old exfoliating glove in the shower and use it to wipe down the walls and shower base a couple of times a week. This will keep the shower sparkly clean and avoids mucking around with too much ugly chemical cleaners.
GETTING RID OF FRIDGE SMELLS
Clean your fridge with bicarbonate of soda and water and it will stop it smelling.
GETTING RID OF SMELLY FEET
Soak feet in strong tea for 20 minutes every day until the smell disappears. To prepare your footbath, brew two tea bags in 2 1/2 cups of water for 15 minutes and pour the tea into a basin containing two litres of cool water.
HOW TO DE-STRESS
You can be the domestic goddess and always impress with your beauty and talent in the kitchen, but a cook needs to de-stress as well. Get thyself to a day spa for a massage, manicure or pedi for those tired feet. We love www.centreofattention.co.nz
HOW TO HANDLE A CIVIL EMERGENCY
Feeling somewhat foolish now that that little stockpile of food, water, toilet paper etc. for Y2K never was?
Don’t! You’ve got a good start ahead of everybody else on being prepared for emergencies or a natural disaster. Create a kit for your family’s safety – torch, batteries, matches, blankets, pet food, etc.
All the extras you might need when the unexpected hits. Rotate your food and water so it’s used at home if it’s close to expiry and of course replace, and you’ll be prepared for the unexpected, even this birdflu everyone’s talking about.
HOW TO LIVE LONGER
Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by following these 5 simple steps: Go to bed an hour early! Get at least 7 hours sleep a night; Eat fish at least once a week; Eat a high fibre brekkie 4 times a week; sprinkle ground flaxseed on your cereal each morning; and use rice bran oil in your cooking. Rice bran oil is chock full of omega 3s plus it lowers cholesterol.
HOW TO WHIP CREAM
Thanks to Margaret & Noel for this winning tip.
When whipping cream, sweeten it with honey not sugar!
Use 1 dessertspoon per 300 ml pottle/carton of cream. You can do it hours ahead which is handy when you are busy and it doesn’t go runny at the bottom as it does with sugar.
KEEP CALM, CARRY ON
Create your own sanity smell-o-vision by placing lavender, mint, fresh basil, and citrus rinds – or any other naturopathic herbs you have growing at home – into washed-out jars. Puncture a few holes in the lids for a scent-sational sniff for all. Have fun with your children guessing the smells of fresh herbs. And… if you’re a busy working parent – don’t forget to take that all important ‘me’ time to save your sanity!
MAKING VEGETABLE JUICE
After making vegetable juice in a juicer, use the pulpy vegetable residue to make a wonderful low-fat soup or broth.
RECIPE FOR A TASTY MEATLOAF
To enrich the flavour of meatloaves or meat pies, add a half a cup of grated parmesan cheese to the final cooking phase.
EASY SHOE SHINING
Want a quick shine on our shoes? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe…polish with dry cloth. Banana’s are an amazing fruit and can cure all sorts of ills including depression, PMS and a hangover! Read my Top 10 products and find out why you should go bananas!
An oldie but still a gold household tip: Freeze your candles before a perfect romantic dinner. Freezing stops the candles from dripping on your best table linen.
DETOX YOUR HOME
You can reduce your use of hazardous household products by choosing safer, less-toxic products. Mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with 250ml of warm water and put into a recycled spray bottle. Use this eco-friendly window cleaner wiped on and off with newspaper for all windows and mirrors at home.
Also, instead of using air freshener for example, place a small dish of vinegar and lemon juice or even a drop or two of essential oil in water and leave in a warm, tucked out of the way areafor a constant fresh home smell.
SENSITIVE SKIN ADVICE
For people with very sensitive skin, allergies or those who don’t want lots of chemicals around the house, mix a cup of white vinegar, 2 cups water and a couple of drops of your favourite essential or fragrant oil together and pop into a spray bottle. Great for spritzing the bench, where kids might make a sandwich. You don’t want a whole lot of unknown chemicals lurking. This also smells so good!
EASY KIDS LUNCHES
I do this probably once a month – butter a loaf of bread & then cut each piece into 4, Then press (butter side down each quarter into patty trays. Cook in oven at about 150 for about 10-15mins. Store in an airtight container. Then each morning before my son goes to preschool I put a little of Tomato sauce or relish yhen sprinkle either grated cheese (or if running late which is the normal case) on top then microwave until melted, normally about 10-15 seconds. You could put other topping on (some kids only eat cheese).
HOW TO REMOVE STAINS
An oldie but a goodie… pour a good half a cup of white, fine salt over red wine stains on your carpet or clothing. Wait for the red wine to be absorbed into the salt (the salt will turn pinky/red) and then vacuum up or brush off. Finish off with a very wet towel daubed in the final remnants of the stain.
EASY SCHOOL LUNCHES
Wrapping kids lunches ready for school ever day can become expensive, and kitchen roll is bad for the enviroment. We prefer to use sandwich bags as a more eco-friendly alternative, as they can be recycled and reused for the whole week.
THE BEST GRAVY
A little soy sauce added to gravy that looks too pale will not only improve the colour but the flavour of the gravy as well.
SEASONING YOUR RECIPES
I haven’t found a single one pot dish that can’t be improved by doing this. It’s what makes Asian dishes so tasty!. All you need to do is incorporate something sweet and sour (or salty). We all season our foods, but try adding a pinch or a teaspoon of something sweet (sugar, honey etc) and a teaspoon of something acid (lemon juice, vinegar, sour cream, dry wine) and you will find almost any dish is enhanced, whether it be salad, stirfry, casserole, curry or taco!
HOW TO CREAM BUTTER
Rock hard butter from the fridge or freezer will cream easily for recipes if you simply grate it first! Then there is no need to wait for it to reach room temperature.
HOW TO REMOVE CHEWING GUM FROM CLOTHES
When chewy has come into contact with clothing, simply place the item immediately into the freezer. Leave for 2 hours, return to freezer, remove garment and chip off chewing gum (which will be hard and easy to remove).
What’s good about economic downturn? People panic! And when you’re in panic mode, you ask yourself “what am I going to do?” It’s the best time to retreat, think, create change and prepare yourself for the boom ahead. You can’t change what is going on around you, but you can deal with it and take 100% control of your life!
HEALTH ADVICE THROUGH WINTER
Feeling the Winter Blues?
Here are some tips to kick start your immune system
1/ Take good doses of vitamin C
2/ Try echinacea &/or olive leaf
3/ Avoid dairy products & processed foods
4/ Eat lots of fresh veggies & fruit
5/ Get some rest & relaxation
6/ Get some sunlight!
7/ Visit a chiropractor & make sure your body is ‘aligned’ & ready to fight
8/ Always seek medical advice if in doubt…
SCHOOL HOLIDAY IDEA
Do some baking and if the kids get really into it you could stock up the freezer with some healthy lunch box treats! Or plant a garden – whether it is a herb garden or veggie patch – a garden is a great way to educate children about food & nature but is also loads of fun!
RECIPE FOR PLAY-DOUGH
Make your own play-dough (2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons oil, 4 teaspoons creme of tartar, food colouring – cook & stir for 3 – 5 minutes. Keep in a covered container. If you don’t have creme of tartar, it will still work, it will just go off eventually and should be kept in the fridge to help prevent that.)
RECYCLING IS THE WAY
Write a recycling plan with the children – talk about what goes in the new council bins & look at what is left over like food scraps – maybe create a worm farm or compost.
SAVE MONEY ON GREETING CARDS
Make your own greeting cards so that you have a supply for the next birthday or special occasion. And you’re saving cash as well as offering your own unique one of a kind piece of art!
If you’ve got to keeps kids busy, you could even get some Xmas cards made while if the weather keeps the kids inside.
THE LINK BETWEEN SOY AND PMS
Did know that soy contains phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), these resemble our own endogenous estrogens but have a much weaker effect in our body. Using soy (1 cup a day) in your favourite coffee or smoothie can reduce PMS symptoms if taken one week prior to menstruation and it can assist some of the nasty lurgies of menopause. How cool is that a soy latte every day keeps those crazy emotions away!!!
GETTING RID OF A COUGH
Don’t dismiss sniffs and sneezes as simply mid-winter wheezes. Damp, dirty or unsanitised carpets are breeding grounds for invisible carpet mould spores and other pathogens that can cause health problems including flu-like symptoms. Allergic reactions similar to hayfever are common. Some people mistake allergies to fungal/pathogens spores as asthma. Your winter/flu cough might just be carpet cough! Clean your carpets regularly and vaccuum 2x a week at least.
Try putting some vinegar into your washing load! Pardon me? Yes, vinegar. It gets rid of washing powder residue, which reduces any allergic reaction you may have to washing powder, and you can’t smell the vinegar!
“We currently have 4 children at 3 different schools. To stop us drowning in paper (school notices, mail etc), we have a folder for each school, and a notebook. All paper that comes into the house gets read once, then either filed for future reference (e.g. upcoming trips), actioned and binned immediately, or pertinent details written in the notebook then the paper binned. I used to spend hours each week looking for notices etc, but now we can find everything immediately.” Jane in ChCh
Also try this:
Stick a few of those plastic removable hooks, along the wall,
near the front door to put your hats, gloves, scarves and coats on them so there is never a rush (trying to find them) when you need them.
I keep the hooks up in summer-time and put sunhats, etc
on them so we never leave the house without our hats. When you don’t need the hooks anymore, they can be taken off without damaging your walls. I also use them in the bedrooms to hang up school bags, etc.
Stuff a mini marshmallow in the bottom of an icecream cone to prevent ice cream drips and mess!
To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.
BAKING A CAKE
When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won’t be any white mess on the outside of the cake.
SALT IN COOKING
If you accidentally oversalt a dish while it’s still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt for an instant “fix-me-up.”
Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.
CURE MY HEADACHE
An easy cure for headaches: take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.
OPEN A JAR EASILY
If you have a problem opening jars, try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
When you bring fresh flowers home, put them in fresh, clean water and add a silver coin to the water. The flowers will stay more upright longer!
GETTING RID OF MILDEW
Mildew comes from excess moisture and can be hazardous to your health and the state of your furniture. To rid mildew from wooden furniture items, simply sprinkle a little oil of cloves onto all wooden surfaces and rub the oil into the wood thoroughly.
To keep salad greens such as iceberg lettuce crisp, after purchase or picking, wrap your green leafy vegetables in aluminium foil and place in your fridge. This will make your salad greens last for an extra two weeks.
For fridge cleanliness:
Have a freshly cut lemon in the fridge – it stops odours in their tracks! A small dish of baking soda works a treat as well.
GROWING GREAT GRASS
One good, deep watering is much better than watering grass or lawn several times lightly. Great looking lawn needs 3 cm of water a week in cooler months or 3cm of water every 3 days in summer. To measure, put an empty tuna can on the lawn with your sprinkler. Turn off the water when the can is full. For best results, water your garden or lawn only in the early morning or late evening.
Leftover wine? Are you kidding? If you do happen to have some and you’re worried about it spoiling, don’t tip it out. Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.
No plastic containers in microwave. No water bottles in freezer.
No plastic wrap in microwave. A dioxin chemical from the plastic when frozen or microwaved causes cancer, especially breast cancer. Also, do not leave your water bottle in a hot car. Always take your water bottle with you as if a plastic bottle heats up, the same chemicals are then put into your water which you then drink!
HOUSEWORK DONE IN JUST 5 MINUTES
Have your cleaning supplies handy in a carry all container. Set your timer for 5 minutes. Clean each room in your house for just these 5 minutes. You will be surprised at how much you can get done in just 5 minutes! The house should take no longer than half an hour and if you do that very couple of days, you’ll be spick and span and looking in top order.
MORE BRAIN POWER!
Want brain power? Then take a top up of Omega 3 with some fresh salmon for dinner. Oily fish is well-known to be a good source of the wonderful fatty acid Omega-3, which can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, improve memory and reduce the symptoms of PMT and even depression.
MAKE PUMPKIN SOUP QUICK AND EASY
When preparing a pumpkin to make great winter Pumpkin Soup – place the whole pumpkin in the microwave for 8 – 10 minutes on high. Leave it to cool a little and then go ahead and cut and peel it. This will be
much easier (and safer) to do as the pumpkin is much softer.
Submitted by Adele of Howick
As well as a decent watering every few days, houseplants – especially yukkas and larger leafed plants – will look stunning with shiny leaves. Dampen a cloth with warm water and fabric softener and wipe dust from plant leaves. Your plant will shine for weeks and smell good!
HOW DO I GET MY KIDS TO EAT VEGETABLES?
Try offering raw vegetables. Little people love colour! Try red and yellow capsicum (very sweet and crunchy!), carrots, cauliflower, rocket lettuce, avocado, mushrooms. Try anything that is crisp, sweet, tasty, raw and fresh and put in front of them platter-style. Add cheese and crackers for variety. When they are trying them, talk about how yummy and crunchy they are, and have some yourself. And if it’s not successful the first five times, usually by the sixth (or so) they will try them. Persevere, it’s worth the effort and 5+ a day is so important for growing bubs.
REMOVE CANDLE WAX FROM CARPET
To remove candle wax from carpets, try this, using a cool iron, place paper towels over the affected area and iron the paper over the wax. Repeat until the paper no longer becomes opaque. Use fresh paper if necessary.
HOW TO BEAT JET LAG
The key to not getting jetlag is sleep so make that your number one priority on the plane, Invest in a good travel pillow with lavender oil dropped on it. If you just can’t sleep on planes, do lots of walking when you arrive at your destination, do not nap and stay up til at least 8.30pm of your new local time, aiming to sleep through til next morning. This resets your body clock, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to experience your holiday.
REMOVE PERMANENT MARKER
If your child is trying to be creative and draws all over your walls with a red permanent marker, you can easily remove the ink by using cheap hair spray (spray a heavy coating). The ink will run off the wall. To then remove the stickiness, use bathroom cleaner!
RECIPE FOR A SUPERB STIR FRY SAUCE
Here’s a great stir fry sauce combination we love here in the Fresh Kitchen. Thanks Millie for this secret concoction. Simply mix together: Hoisin sauce, Plum Sauce, grated fresh ginger and 1 cup chicken stock. You can alter the amounts according to your tastes and desired consistency.
MAKE MY OWN CROSTINI
To make yummy crostini to eat as a snack instead of instead of bad-for-you chippies etc, simply buy a day-old french loaf (cheaper!) and infuse rice bran or olive oil with your own crushed garlic and rosemary. Brush that on the bread and bake. Voila!
Thanks to Gail Ellison of New Lynn for this fab tip.
TIPS FOR MINT AND PARSLEY
I would imagine that every NZ house has mint growing! It’s so easy to grow and is oh-so-versatile. No doubt fresh mint leaves make a beautiful garnish for desserts or summer beverages. Yet mint’s sweet flavour is just as much at home in salads and savoury dishes ranging from pea soup to steak to crostini.
And for parsley, to keep bunches fresher for longer, place cut parsley bunches in a teacup full of water (just like a little bouquet). Thanks Vanya Taylor of Mt Wellington.
A favourite tip for those of us who love garlic but not the smelly fingers! Rub your fingers under running water on a stainless steel utensil and voila no smell from the garlic on your fingers. Crazy but true!
RECIPE FOR A LOW FAT VEGETABLE STOCK
After making vegetable juice in a juicer, use the pulpy vegetable residue to make a wonderful low-fat broth. Just add hot water.
EXTRA TASTY MINCE OR MEATLOAF
Oooh, it’s a secret ingredient but I have to share: soy sauce! Yes, simply add a couple of dashes of soy sauce to any of your mince recipes (especially great for pie mince) and you will have the perfect colour and taste! Vegemite is another great addition to darken mince and meatloaf.
HOW TO ENRICH SAUCES AND SOUPS
Use non-fat sour cream instead of milk or cream to enrich sauces and soups. Makes richer and more delicious but has less fat than cream.
ADVICE FOR MAKING A QUICHE
A few snippets of prosciutto or ham can substitute nicely for bacon in a quiche. Less fat!
HOW TO CLEAN CURTAINS
Regularly wash your windows with bleach to prevent mould growing on your curtains. A great tip from Renee Stewart of Mt Eden.
PASTA AND CARB-FREE ITALIAN DISHES
Try zucchini “pasta” for a low-calorie change. Cut zucchini into fettuccinelike strips and steam quickly until limp. Top with a tomato sauce and a light sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan.
Sprinkle balsamic vinegar on baked new potatoes in place of butter or sour cream, or drizzle over stir-fried vegetables.
And a tip for lower fat mashed spud:
Beat/mash hot potato cooking water into mashed potatoes to make them light and fluffy. No need for lashings of high-calorie hot milk and high-fat melted butter.
KILLING FLIES WITHOUT CHEMICALS OR FLYSPRAY
To get rid of flies in the kitchen, I boil an onion with lemon juice, and then I put the onion on the work surface. Very efficient!
Tip from: Marjolaine Morineau of Devonport
A TIP FOR LEFTOVERS
When you want to refrigerate a hot dish, first leave it for a bit in a cool spot with the lid ajar so that it can cool down before you put it in the refrigerator. If you put a hot dish in before it cools, it will warm up the fridge, endangering everything else in there. We don’t want tummy bugs!
KEEP CATS OFF YOUR GARDEN
Cats tend to soil in gardens, which spreads the disease toxioplasmosis – this is especially something to be wary of in vege gardens. Cats do not like citrus fruit peel, chilli pepper powder or eucalyptus oil so use these natural cat repellents on your garden beds.
KEEPING MY KITCHEN CLEAN
Use nappy rinse (ie. Napisan) to sanitise your kitchen bench and rubbish bin. At the same time as cleaning the bin, put in your scrubbing brush and dishcloth which means you use less water by not filling another bucket. Also, keep a mini-bin on the work surface or bench for kitchen scraps. Perfect for the compost. It also serves as a reminder about wasted food.And do freshen the dishcloth up every couple of days by putting it in the dishwasher! As well, mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water and use it to clean the kitchen cupboards.
When you are using a knife, don’t cut with the edge toward you or your fingers. If you slip, the blade keeps going toward you, and can easily get you. Pay a lot of attention to where the edge of your sharp blade is pointing, and make sure it can not get you if you slip a bit.
Don’t leave sharp knives loose in a drawer. Not only will banging around in a drawer ruin the good sharp edge you have on your knives, someone for sure will reach in the drawer and come out with a handful of knife, and it will probably be you.
LUNCHBOX AND SNACK IDEAS
Snack or lunch ideas needed? Try these winners: Slices of pepperoni, salami or ham; Cheese sticks or slices of cheese; Hard-boiled egg; Yoghurt tubes or pottles; Corn chips and dip; Triangles of pita and hummus dip; Apple slices and a small container of peanut butter for dipping; Raw veges and a small container of sour cream or dressing.
Also: Raw fruits, dried fruits, nuts, crackers, rice cakes, rice chips, cereal bars, pickles.
Put out some bread, peanut butter, grated carrots or cheese, raisins, sliced bananas, dried fruits, crushed pineapples. Let your child make his/her own sandwich. For a little more fun, have each child make-a-face sandwich. Cut bread into a circle, spread with peanut butter, and make “hair” and “eyes” with raisins, carrots, apple slices.
A HANGOVER CURE
Eat honey on crackers. The fructose in the honey will help to flush out the alcohol in your system. There are also some people who swear by taking a Voltaren tablet.
GETTING RID OF HICCUPS
I’ve only ever known 3 hiccup remedies to work. The first two make the most sense, since a hiccup is simply a spasm of the diaphragm (you need to disrupt this spasm). The 3rd offers no rhyme nor reason, but works nonetheless. The most success we’ve had is with remedy number 2 with the water and ears.
1. Breathe in as deeply as you can, then exhale as hard as you can; repeat 10 times; when exhaling the last time, keep the air pushed out, not taking another breath for as long as you can stand. This normally works the first try, but repeat if necessary. Be sure to sit down when doing this.
2. Take a large mouthful of water with out swallowing, plug both ears, and slowly begin to swallow the water. Unplug your ears and you’re hiccup free!
3. Or… random! Eat a heaping teaspoon of peanut butter all at once.
RED WINE STAINS
Did you know that you can remove red wine stains with soda water?
A friend had tried unsuccessfully to wash red wine out of her favourite pale blue cashmere jumper. Even a week later, I was still able to remove the red wine stain by gently squeezing it in (not rubbing!) just good amounts of soda water. It looked like new.
If making your own canneloni, use fresh lasagne sheets rather than the pre-packaged tubes. Just spread the filling down the middle and roll up. It’s heaps easier than trying to use the tubes.
CLEANING BURNT POTS AND PANS
Gina Peiffer emails the Fresh Kitchen: “An older Irish aunty taught me to use dirt on my pots and pans! Get a handful of dirt, add a little water just to moisten the mixture and away you go. It acts as a natural scourer and cleans roasting dishes and burnt pots really well. I always have a small tub of dirt on my window sill above the sink just for this job.”
Beautiful glassware and wine glasses always look stunning when shiny clean. Dishwashers do not tend to achieve this and the chance of breakages are high. Instead, fill your sink with hot, soapy dishwashing water and add a tablespoon of salt and proceed to clean with a dish-brush or cloth. Your glassware will sparkly and shiny.
Elizabeth Savage of Whangarei writes: “I hate using chemicals to clean so I use vinegar for windows and baking soda and lemon juice as an alternative to bleach in the kitchen.”
HERBS IN THE KITCHEN
Try to always buy whole spices and herbs rather than the pre-ground ones. That way they last longer and also add more flavour to your cooking. Always store them in a cool dark place in an airtight container.
TIPS TO CLEAN COPPER BOTTOM POTS
Use a paste of flour, salt and vinegar to clean the bottom of your copper pots. Leaves them shiny new.
Also, Seema Singh of West Harbour swears by using tomato sauce on the bottom of copper pots.
HOW TO CLEAN A THERMOS
To clean thermos flasks, pour boiling water and baking soda into flask and leave for half an hour. Wash as usual and it will be fresh to use again.
A QUICK DESSERT RECIPE
Marion Siverson offers this very quick, very easy dessert recipe which she calls Delmonico Pudding! Simply make a custard with three egg yolks, take off stove and add juice of tin of apricots. Put into an ovenware dish and when cool, place apricots on top. Put meringue made from your leftover egg whites on top and bake.
TEA AND COFFEE CUP STAINS
Salt on a damp cloth will clean coffee and tea stains from china and plastic cups.
STAINS ON WHITE CERAMIC CUPS AND PLATES
This tip is good, cheap and impressive! I love white cups and plates, but I also love strong tea which stains my cups, but just give the inside a quick rub down with baking soda and rinse and the cup is back to white.
FABRIC SOFTENER ALTERNATIVE
Use white vinegar for the rinse cycle of your machine instead of fabric softeners. It softens beautifully! It also gets all detergents out of your clothes and your washing machine will remain cleaner for longer.
PASSED ON WISDOM
My grandmother always preserved her fruit and used leftovers from the day before. She has passed those ideas onto me and I have passed that wisdom onto my children.
AN EASY BUILD FIRE
The Comfortable Fire:
1. Place a large-diameter log at the rear of the hearth.
This not only reflects the heat outward, but decreases the size of the opening, which brings the heat closer to the room.
2. Now simply build any kind of decent fire in front of this thicker log, using three smaller-diameter logs.
One good way is to use a top-most log with at least one split side. Straddle the split side between the side of the large log and the top of the smaller one that’s down in front of it, so that the split side faces back and slightly down.
SANITY IN THE KITCHEN
Wash your dishes as you wait for your food to cook so that you won’t have a huge pile of dishes at the end and you can relax and enjoy your meal.
TIPS FOR SPARKLING WINDOWS
If you want to keep your windows cleaner for longer, wipe them with over half an apple (and some water. It sounds outrageous and I thought so too which is why I had to try it and it actually works! And hey it make syour home smell apple-fresh too!
Or, mix of wet and dry newspaper does wonders for cleaning windows around the house including glass top tables. Better than handy towels or rags but yes, wear rubber gloves so you don’t get black hands. Also, vinegar is a fabulous window cleaner.
As soon as you get home with your strawberries, put them in a shallow container, cover them loosely with plastic wrap and store them in the coldest part of your refrigerator for two to three days at most. Do not wash the berries until you are ready to use them. To wash your strawberries, put them in a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Then, just remove the green caps with a paring knife or the tip of a vegetable peeler. Now, you’re ready to eat your strawberries or use them in your favourite recipe.
Trust your sense of smell when it comes to buying the tropical treat that is the humble pineapple. When it is perfectly ripe, the scent from the top stem should be fresh and fragant. To double-check, pull one of the leaves from the spikey top stem. If the leaf comes out easily, the pineapple is perfectly ripe. If you have to yank on it, it’s not ripe.
For budgeting brides to be: Don’t hold the wedding ceremony too early. You will end up having to provide for everyone twice if you do – for lunch and a dinner. It also means that you have to provide more alcohol and guests will be drinking for a much longer time – an extra expense plus unwanted booze-related problems! 4pm is usually the best time for a ceremony and to save money, choose a day other than Saturday.
HOW TO SAVE ON POWER AND WATER BILLS
And here’s a great tip to save money on water and power bills when times are tough: Install a low-flow shower head with a maximum flow rate of 8 litres per minute or less. You will cut your bathroom water use by 30 to 50 percent, and you’ll conserve the energy required to heat the “extra” water saving you on the monthly power bill.
WANT TO SLEEP BETTER
Rub lavender oil over your bedside cabinets after dusting as it gives off the scent for hours and it makes you have a better night’s sleep.
GETTING KIDS TO EAT WELL
Make food interesting for little people! Add colour and shapes. Make the kids’ dinner into a face shape, add colour via the way of veges (circle carrots) or make white rice pink (beetroot juice) green (add spirulina) or blue (colouring).
Or add grated vegetables (like carrot, zucchini, potato etc) to any cooked sauce-casserole-stew. It increases the goodness, and kids don’t know it’s there.
Buy blocks of cheese when on special and grate using the grater attachment in the food processor. Pack into ziplock bags and freeze until needed. It defrosts well and you use less than if you use slices. To get free-flow grated cheese, place onto and oven tray in the freezer until frozen and then pack into the ziplock bags.
CLEANING UP BROKEN GLASS
Jim Harris of Wellington shares his Gran’s wisdom…
A dry cottonwool ball to pick up all the little bits of broken glass, the fibres catch the ones you can’t even see but the kids feet/fingers always seem to find!
WANT MORE NATURAL CLEANING PRODUCTS
You can save a lot of money every year by cleaning with natural products – ie. lemon juice for counter tops, olive oil with lavender for polish on wood and leather and baking soda paste as a scrub.
GROWING YOUR OWN LETTUCE AND PARSLEY
Place sprigs of parsley or your homegrown lettuce in a bowl of water with plenty of salt in it. Swirl the parsley in the water, stand for 5 minutes and swirl again: the salt kills off all the little bugs. Rinse thoroughly under fresh water. No more bugs in your salad.
TIPS FOR CHOPPING ONIONS
1. When chopping onions to stop your eyes from watering, chop the top and tail off and then chop in half through the middle and then again! Doesn’t make you cry.
2. When cutting onions, ensure you’re cutting them beside the sink with the cold tap on. I don’t know why but for some reason I don’t cry so long as that tap is running.
3. A good way to get rid of the onion smell on your hands is to ‘wash’ your hands (and also the board and the knife) with a little milk.
WHY USE BAKING PAPER
Baking paper is invaluable in the kitchen. No sticking food and no need to use oil or butter to stop food sticking – so everything is much healthier.
REMOVE BALLPOINT PEN FROM WALLS
If your kids draw on the wall with a ball point pen or felt, simply spray with hairspray and just wipe away.
HANDY HINT FOR OLD T-SHIRTS
Always cut down old t-shirts to use as cleaning rags or cloths.
A HANDY, ANYTIME CLEANER
Always keep a spray bottle of dilute (1-100) vinegar handy for cleaning up all those spills and messes, much better for both the environment and the wallet and because it’s a natural antiseptic will keep bench tops clean and keep you healthy.
TOILET ROLL TIP
If you squash your toilet rolls slightly so that they are no longer completely circular, it’s slightly harder for little hands to pull the toilet paper off the roll. Therefore your toilet paper will last for longer as your kids won’t use as much.
GET RID OF ANTS
Ant Repellant: To keep ants out of the house, find where the ants are entering the house and sprinkle a “barrier” of cinnamon or any type of ground pepper to block their way. The spices are too hot for the ants to cross. Cucumber peels have the same effect.
GET RID OF BATHROOM ODOURS
Place an opened box of baking soda or an open container of activated charcoal behind the toilet to absorb bathroom odours.
GET RID OF PIMPLES
Tea tree oil (from Manuka trees here in New Zealand) is awesome on pimples! It’s a powerful antibacterial oil. So, dab a little on any pimples you may have and it works a treat.
GET RID OF HEADLICE
Tea tree oil is a great way to deter lice without chemicals. Just dilute tea tree oil in water and spray into affected hair, especially concentrating on the nape of the neck and above the ears.
FRESHEN YOUR GARBAGE DISPOSAL
Freshen a Garbage Disposal easily – sprinkle baking soda down the gurgler along with a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Scrub with a brush getting under the rubber gasket and all around the inside. Then, turn on water and let the disposal run to flush thoroughly. For a fresh citrus scent, throw in a few cut-up lemons or limes and run them through, too, using lots of water. Perfect idea to use up sad-looking citrus.
HINT FOR THE LAUNDRY BASKET
Place a fabric softener sheet in the bottom of your laundry basket (remember to change it weekly.) You can also simply sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of your basket and that will help absorb the odors as well.
FRESHEN YOUR LINEN CLOSET
In the linen closet – or wardrobe – place cotton balls that have been sprayed with your favourite scent. Once they are dry place them in corners and on the shelves.
EASY CLEAN WINDOWS
This is the perfect window cleaner! In a small bucket, mix half a bottle of rubbing alcohol (ie turps/meths) and 2 tablespoons of any shampoo and then fill jug to the top with water. The rubbing alcohol prevents streaks and the shampoo cuts the dirt. I swear by it. It will last a long time and is very inexpensive.
A GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL TIP
George Foreman Grills are amazing. Perfect for healthy cooking. Look after yours! After removing the cooked food from the grill, place a paper towel soaked in water on each of the 2 cooking surfaces. Unplug the appliance, allow it to sit for 5-30 minutes (while you eat), then use the paper towels to effortlessly wipe out the grease and food particles.
EASY CLEAN MICROWAVE
Food splatters all over the inside of your microwave actually cook themselves solid after time. To easily remove this mess, place a sponge soaked in water in the microwave. Cook on high heat for 2 minutes, then allow it to sit without opening the microwave door, for 5 minutes. The filth is now ready to be wiped right off – no scrubbing – and your sponge is right there to rinse and use again.
BEST ROAST LAMB
Pierce your cut of lamb prior to cooking and in the pierce holes, place cloves of fresh garlic and sprigs of fresh rosemary. Cook lamb (we prefer New Zealand leg) at 180 degrees celcius for about an hour and a half. Remember, always cover and rest your lamb for 15 minutes prior to serving. Always. Without fail. Best covering is foil over the baking dish or the actual lid for the baking dish.
USING GINGER IN RECIPES
If you have recipes that call for fresh grated ginger, buy a ginger root (around 60c) then use rate/use what you need, wrap it in gladwrap and freeze it.
Ginger will keep in the freezer for quite a while(at least a couple of months from memory). When you need some it can be grated frozen or a piece sliced off. As not many recipes call for
a whole root this saves you having to bake lots of ginger stuff at once and is cheaper than the jars you can buy (at around $4!).
Thanks Matt Smith of ChCh (and his mum!)
If you’ve decided to move from town to the country or from the North Island to the South, don’t decide to move just because the proposed location or countryside looked lovely on a February long weekend. Always make sure you’ve visited your proposed new location – with the family or kids in tow – in the depths of winter when it’s all bleak and wet so you know what you’re in for – August is especially good for this.
MAKE MY OWN BREAD
When I make bread I like to add instant potato flakes, because of the texture it gives the bread. And I have even been known to add some Polenta (cornmeal) as well.
Combined with the potato flakes it produces a nice, crunchy crust and added a golden yellow speckled effect to the bread which tasted great, especially hot straight out of the breadmaker or toasted later on.
MAKE YOUR OWN VEGE STOCK
Keep a ziplock bag in the fridge or freezer, and put all your stock-worthy vegetable trimmings in it. Onion ends, carrot ends, garlic ends, bits of pumpkin peel. When it’s full, dump the bag out into a pot of water, simmer for an hour or so and voila! Free vegetable stock. Then freeze it or make soup or risotto or anything!
JUST ONE PRODUCT TO CLEAN THE HOUSE
I love using vinegar around the home. It’s great to clean the bathroom and other surfaces. It’s totally non-toxic and cheap as chips!
HEALTHY SNACKS FOR KIDS
My children love dipping stuff. For an easy and nutritious lunch snack you can cut apple wedges and serve with a strawberry or peanut butter dip. Cut up veggies are brilliant served with a hummus or cream cheese dip. For a more substantial lunch add pieces of pita bread, breadsticks or crackers.
HINT FOR GLASS CLEANING
This works for absolutely any glass surface: Metholated spirits with a few drops of kerosene and whiting to suit. It’s great.
SUMMER AND ICECREAM
To stop ice cream leaking through the bottom of the cone, place a marshmallow in the bottom of cone!
SAVE MONEY ON LUNCH
Whenever you know you’re going to be out most of the morning, pack a few snacks for your kids and yourself into a lunchbox.
That way you save money because you won’t be going through the drive-thru at the silly golden arches and you know you’re eating for your health.
You’ll find it really helps if you have a fun lunchbox for yourself as well as the kids so buy something you love the look of – like a hot pink tupperware lunchbox!
1. If you love the taste of mayonnaise but not the calories they bring, mix the mayo you love half and half with non-fat greek yoghurt. Fresh in The Kitchen loves Yoplait Greek in the 1kg tub.
2. Yoghurt is the perfect substitute for buttermilk. Both are similar is consistency and taste.
RECIPE FOR PERFECT SCRAMBLED EGGS
This is a very obvious tip I bet everyone knows… but I’d never thought of it until recently: Use a non-stick frying pan to make scrambled eggs – so easy and no sticky pans to scrub… now why didn’t my mother ever tell me that!
For the perfect scrambled eggs, the key ingredient is butter in the pan – use a lot! Non stick or not. 6 eggs, a dash of milk, chives or parsley and lots of hot butter in the pan.
STUDENT BUDGET TIPS
Students living on a tight budget can’t afford to purchase nice meat for every meal. So add chickpeas, lentils and beans to get your protein and liven up the meal.
Also, use powdered milk in your cooking rather than milk itself to save money.
TIPS FOR KIDS LUNCHES
Let each child make their own pizza. Let them choose from English muffin halves, pita bread, bagel halves or bread. Let your child spread sauce on top of their choice and have them choose their favorite toppings such as mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, green peppers, olives, or mushrooms. Then bake the pizzas for about 10 – 15 minutes at 160 degrees. Kids LOVE cold pizza!
CLEANING BURNT POTS
It happens to all cooks at some time… you get busy doing something else when you should be stirring the pot and the porridge or custard sticks and your left with a pot with a burnt black bottom. My Gran showed me that a tablespoon of baking soda bought to the boil in the pot with a couple of centimetres of water then left to cool will lift most of the burnt crust and the rest will come away with a bit of a scrub.
THE HEALTHIEST ICEBLOCKS EVER
I love to get some ripe Kiwfruit, peel them, put an iceblock stick into the fruit and freeze them. It’s the healthiest way to satisfy the kids on a hot summer day and it’s good for them too with mega Vitamin C.
SAVE MONEY ON FOOD BILLS
Plan your meals when you do your food shopping, aim for specials and then write each night’s dinner and blue-tack inside your pantry door each week. No more wasting time and money deciding each morning or evening what to cook for dinner that night!
A POWER SAVING TIP
A power saving and healthy option in the kitchen, is to use a slow cooker or crock pot. It’s a low energy appliance and it’s hard to go wrong, even with those new to cooking. And yes, we have loads of crockpot recipes here on the site, so get creating, click above on Recipes.
LIVING BY YOURSELF
Always try to make double, so you can freeze a meal. But better than that, only use one serving of meat then double the other ingredients so it’s cheaper but with more vegetables, which are better for you.
AN ECO CLEANER
Try half vinegar, half water in a spray bottle and a few drops of tea tree oil for an all-purpose, make-you-own, eco cleaner. If you leave some in the toilet, and add some baking soda, it’s a great toilet cleaner too! Keep a small bottle of vinegar mixed with a teaspoon of salt and a few drops of lemon juice by your kitchen sink. Not only does it clean and shine the bottom of pots and pans but adding a few drops to the washing up water will take away the yukky smells after cooking with fish, cauliflower, cabbage etc.
HEALTHY KIDS SNACKS
Instead of boring ol’ sandwiches for the kids, try pinwheels. Cut the crust from two slices of bread, and flatten using a rolling pin. Spread thinly with cream cheese, and add a slice of ham. Roll each slice into a log shape. Wrap in cling film and place in freezer for about 30 minutes. Unwrap and cut into pinwheel rounds. My husband loves this.
Forget about your typical lettuce and tomato salad – no self-respecting child would get excited by that! Instead try a pasta salad or potato salad. Cook and drain the pasta or potatoes and mix with a little mayonnaise or rice bran or olive oil, then add some cut up vegetable such as corn kernels, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots.
Don’t forget this trick when you need to whiten items:
For napkins, linen, socks and underwear fill a large pot with water and drop in several slices of lemon. Bring to the boil and turn off the heat. Add the fabrics and let soak for an hour. Put through the wash as per normal after this process.
TIP FOR WASHING TOWELS
New towels are always a pain in the butt with the fluff when they are washed. To prevent this add half a cup of bicarbonate of soda with your normal laundry detergent. In the rinse stage, add half a cup of white vinegar.
AN ECO-FRIENDLY FABRIC SOFTENER
Rather than buying expensive fabric softener, which is just another chemical, get your cotton sheets super soft at home by soaking them, whether they are a new sheets or old, in a solution of warm water and Epsom salts. Use a half a cup of Epsom salts to one standard bucket of water. Soak, then just rinse and hang out to dry and enjoy hotel softness on your beds at home.
AN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN TIP
In these times of tighter economies, it is the finer quality things that you really appreciate. Forgoing wine for a few nights so you can enjoy a really good bottle over a couple of evenings, enjoying some vegetable meals followed by a quality cut of steak or duck, or anticipating then savouring your favourite coffee and/or brunch.
KIDS AND SALAD
Forget about your typical lettuce and tomato salad – no self-respecting child would get excited by that! Instead try a pasta salad or potato salad. Cook and drain the pasta or potatoes and mix with a little mayonnaise or olive oil, the add some cut up veggies such as corn kernels, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots.
CLEAN COPPER BOTTOM POTS
Make a paste of flour, salt and vinegar. This cleans the bottom of your copper pots in a flash.
ORGANISE AT HOME
I keep a clear file folder in my kitchen with takeaway menus, so when we feel like takeaways, they’re kept tidy and are easy-to-read in a clear file, which I then keep with my recipe books.
KEEP ROSES FRESH
To keep roses fresh, cut their bottoms (on an angle) with scissors every day, and add half an aspirin to their vase water.
RECIPE FOR THE BEST ROAST LAMB
A tip for the kitchen when your cooking roast, whether it be lamb, pork or beef. Place in your ovendish, add water and add a squirt of malt vinegar. The malt vinegar will dissolve the fat off the meat. Then cook at a high heat, 250 degrees for 20 minutes, to seal the moisture in. Then turn it down and slowcook at 120 degrees for a further 3 hours. It comes out fat-free, tender and so moist. There’s nothing worse than having a tough, dry roast!
CLEAN TOILETS AND DRAINS
Just before you go away on holiday, put a few drops of household bleach down all your plugholes. This will sit in the U-Bend and clean out all the ‘nasties’ while you are away. It doesn’t hurt to do the loo too!
HIDE GREY HAIR
Here’s a fab tip to get rid of grey hair naturally: “My classic tip that was passed down to me from my Grandmother (and probably hers) is to keep used tealeaves to use for a homemade hair dye! Keeps those greys at bay for a fraction of the cost.” Thanks to Hannah Goodburn of Laingholm.
CLEANING DIRTY SHIRT NECKS
Dirty neck rings around collars on shirts or blouses can be removed by putting shampoo on them. Rub the shampoo in like you were washing your hair. Shampoo is specifically made to remove body oils. A cheap bottle of shampoo kept by the washing machine is handy for all kinds of stains in clothing.
A LAUNDRY TIP
Grease or oil from cooking marks on clothes will easily come out if you rub a tablespoon of normal kitchen washing-up detergent immediately into the stain. Then just wash clothes in the usual way. Eucalyptus Oil is also superb for black grease marks. Thanks Nicki Smith of Ngatea.
And for those who tend to always spill food or drink on themselves – scotchguard your clothes. Spray lightly over the front of the clothes and leave to dry.
Lemon and vinegar are both superb laundry stain attackers. So keep both close!
LOVE THE GYM
Soak your gym clothing and/or shoes in baking soda to remove odours.
SHARP KNIFE CARE
Keep your knives sharp. When sharp, it will slide easily through what you are cutting, with little force involved. If the knife is dull, you have to force it to do the cutting, and if you slip a little, there is all that force that makes the knife glance off anything in its way, and often cut the heck out of it.
KIWIFRUIT BEATS CANCER
Check out this for a cancer/kiwifruit recommendation from Terry Reid of Kaiaipoi: “I am a long-term sufferer of cancer and even with all the new Anti-Nausea drugs they have out now, I still find that eating a Kiwifruit gives better results than any of the medicines they have given me to try. My nutritionist at the Hospital told me to give them a go and I can tell you, they are the best.”
To reduce salt intake before cooking bacon, blanch your strips in hot water. This reduces salt intake by 50% and also kills some of the fat.
A SPARKLING KITCHEN SINK
To keep sinks and drainingboards really clean and stainfree, I use half a lemon dipped in baking soda to wipe and softly scour after using, then rinse with a clean damp cloth. Sparkling and eco friendly too.
HOW TO CLEAN POTS
Burnt-on food in the bottom of pots and pans easily lifts off if soaked with a little washing powder added (dishwasher powder does the same).
PEELING GARLIC TIP
Do you hate peeling garlic? So does Lisa Chapman of Papamoa who worked out that you put your garlic cloves in warm water for 5 minutes before you want them and the pesky little skins will slip right off!
2 MINUTE NOODLE RECIPES
The quickest and tastiest meal to do with two minute noodles is to cook them without the seasoning packet, drain. Add the seasoning packet and a knob of butter and some shaved ham. Even a packet mix of gravy poured over the top of your 2 minute noodles works and the kids will lvoe it!
If you have a problem opening jars due to arthritis or injury, try using latex gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
Also for that new jar that just won’t budge, give it a short, sharp bang on the bench which will pop the suction seal top and you will easily open the jar.
REMOVING STAINS FROM BURNT POTS
To remove burnt food from your pots, simply put the affected pot in the freezer for a couple of hours. Remove and wash it out as you would normally. It will all fall off easily on frozen lumps.
HOW TO THICKEN A CASSEROLE OR STEW
1 tablespoon of good quality cornflour will thicken any casserole or stew.
A HEALTHY SMOOTHIE
Freeze bananas before they go off, then use them in smoothies instead of icecream.
KEEPING AHEAD IN THE KITCHEN
I find it easier to keep cleaning my dishes as I am cooking. This way I can avoid the big mess in the end and also save time. Kitchen sanity!
QUICK MEAL OR LUNCHBOX IDEA
Toast all your bread crusts. Grate 2 cups of cheese. Use up all the odd bits! Beat one egg and mix into cheese. Now go to your fridge freezer and see what bits and pieces you can find. It could be a lone mushroom or squishy tomato or little bits you stuffed in the freezer. Things that you or the family like such as pineapple, bacon, herbs, pickles, anything at all, as long as people like it. You can actually sneak in things they don’t like! Add about 1/2 cup of your leftover choices and mix well into the cheese. Spread on the toast and grill or bake until set and golden brown. Great for lunchboxes and quick meals.
THE QUICKEST MEAL ON THE PLANET
Take 2 eggs, salt & pepper mixed in a bowl. Cook for 1 min 40 in the microwave. Served on toast with a dash of tomato sauce. Yay, ready in a couple of mins and so yummy! Especially good recipe for busy people, those on a budget or a breastfeeding new mum. Super quick, super good.
A QUICK LUNCH ON THE RUN RECIPE
Take a cup of couscous (already soaked), a dash of Balsamic Vinegar, two big dollops of Cottage Cheese and any fruit you have about – Melon, banana, apple etc. Mix it altogether for a fast and yummy lunch!
EASY DINNER TIP
This is old, family favourite that’s sooo simple for an easy quick dinner. This recipe is dependent on how many you’re serving, but this amount does well for 2 hungry people! Mix together: 2 tbsp each of brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and tomato sauce. Add in the juice from a tin of pineapple, keeping actual pineapple aside. Cook 6 sausages in a pan, till they’re browned, remove and cut them into slices (easier to slice when they’re cooked, and they keep a nicer shape) and pour in your saucy mixture. After 10 mins, throw in the pineapple pieces, and a few handfuls of cashew nuts. Crispy, fresh and kind of zingy! It tastes great and is so easy and cheap to make!
A QUICK SALMON PATE DIP FOR PARTIES
A favourite quick salmon pate recipe when friends turn up unexpectedly with a bottle of wine! Grab a tin of salmon, a pottle of cream cheese, parsley, salt, pepper and a teaspoon of horseradish sauce. Throw the whole lot in a blender for less than a minute and done! It’s so yummy with crackers and so quick to make.
OPENED CHIP AND CRACKER PACKETS
Keep a few laundry pegs in the pantry to put on the top of opened chip packets, crackers, bread, biscuits, rice, pasta etc to keep them fresh!
AN EASY APRICOT BREAKFAST
This recipe is so simple, yet utterly divine – poached apricots for breakfast anyone? Just pour boiling water over a small bowl full of dried apricots. Let it cool and then store in the fridge. Then spoon them over dollops of thick Greek yoghurt or if you want something more substantial, just add a few spoonfuls of rolled oats or cereal. The apricots will last at least 2 weeks.
BANANA CAKE INTO BANANA MUFFINS!
When you make a banana cake recipe, instead of the usual cake, use a small-sized muffin tray instead. Once you pour in a generous amount to each wee muffin pan, push 3 or 4 large, white chocolate buttons or milky bar pieces into the middle of it and bake at 180 for 12 minutes. When partially melted and just cooked, these banana melting moment muffins are a very nice afternoon treat with a cuppa tea.
DO THE DISHES IN THE SHOWER!
Seriously, clean your bath and shower with dishwashing liquid, as it takes the greasy grime off with real ease. Not as chemically harmful as most bathroom cleaners and eliminates having to buy them. You’ll find that over time, most bathroom cleaners actually damage surfaces. Always read the fine print on the bottle.
HOW TO GET RID OF FLIES WITH MINT FROM THE GARDEN
Use fresh mint or basil to deter flies by having in a pot on the windowsill or boil in a pot of water on the stove.
SALAD TIPS WITH FRESH HERBS
“In a green salad, I always toss chopped parsley, chives, red onion and celery – each unique flavour seems to add PING to any salad!” Claire Walkinshaw, Invercargill.
And Leila Thomas of Ponsonby adds: “I love to use fresh basil in a salad as you can really taste the basil and it transforms the most boring salad.”
Fresh also recommends the combo of parsley and coriander roughly chopped through any green salad.
GARLIC BREAD WiTH A SALTY CHIVE TWIST
“I make a delicious garlic bread by adding freshly chopped chives to the garlic and butter mixture. Also make sure you add freshly ground rocksalt. The chives and the salt add a different dimension and my homemade garlic bread is divine.” Kerry Armstrong, Waterview.
CURE BAD BREATH
Simple, herbal home remedies to cure bad breath: Traditionally, parsley minimises odours associated with garlic and onion intake. Eat fresh however, as dried parsley is not effective. Sage is used for sore throat and gingivitis; it dries excess secretion such as mucus from sinus infection. And Thyme can be used as a mouth rinse to kill fungus, bacteria and viruses. It is a strong antiseptic and a good herb for colds and flu.
CHICKEN STUFFING IDEA
“I love stuffing my roast or BBQ chicken with sage, onion and garlic. And try sprinkling chunky, fresh herbs over your roast vegetables and make it more like a vege salad in summer.” Kathryn Maguire, Whakatane.
A QUICK AND EASY BRUNCH FRITTATA
Create a “hash” of cooked pasta or potato, a little onion and bacon bits. Toss it all in a pan, then pour over a beaten egg flavoured with salt and pepper. Cool until egg is firm. Flip then serve as you would a pancake. Top it with fresh chopped parsley and grated cheese. This can be breakfast, brunch or lunch. Delish!Thanks Claire Walkinshaw of Invercargill
HOW TO USE CORIANDER
Tonya Drabble of Wellington: “My favourite herb is coriander. I use it in everything! I make a really good potato salad with red onion, celery, Best-brand mayonnaise and heaps of chopped up coriander. I also put curry powder in for a change which is beautiful.”
GROWING YOUR OWN HERBS
“My partner built me a window box outside the kitchen window so I just have to reach out when I’m cooking for fresh rosemary, chives, parsley, Italian parsley and coriander. I also have thyme, mint and parsley growing in big pots on the deck.” Tonya Drabble, Wellington.
QUICK, EASY PARTY RECIPES
A favourite much-loved BBQ salad I make using mint is: 1 can sweetcorn kernels, a small diced cucumber, sliced red pepper, spring onions, tomato and chopped up mint with parsley sprinkled on top. I also add prawns or shrimps. I just put a teaspoon of olive oil and vinegar and mix it all together. It’s a really juicy, fresh salad and is great for BBQs! For nibbles, I love a fresh baguette or French stick sliced up into small pieces with cream cheese, smoked salmon and coriander on top. And you can’t go past fresh rosemary sprinkled on your roast or BBQ veges whilst cooking.” Tonya Drabble, Wellington.
LAVENDER AT BEDTIME
“I use lavender a lot at bedtime in my house. I’m a single mum of 3 kids under 5, so anything that helps them have a good night sleep is a winner with me! And lavender always works. I also use it myself every night and find I have a much better nights sleep with it than without it.” Nicki Smith, Ngatea.
ROSEMARY, BASIL AND MINT
Millie Thomas of Mt Wellington says: “I love to use fresh rosemary on homemade pizzas or on fresh fish. I also love to use fresh basil through pastas and salads especially in summer. At present I am loving picking mint from my garden and crushing it and adding it to Campari cocktails – so pretty and delicious!” All 3 are so easy to grow in your garden at home.
HERBS AND STEAK
I love to use mixed herbs to put on steak, just to add that perfect flavour. And the kids think it’s funny having ‘little pieces of wood and grass’ (in their words) on their meat! Got ot be good for you and so natural. Hope these ideas are useful. I really enjoy your website. Nicki Smith, Ngatea.
THE WONDERS OF PARSLEY
Seema Lal of West Harbour: “My daughter works with an Indian Doctor who uses herbs as medicine. Parsley is used to correct bad breath traditionally. It minimises odours associated with garlic and onion intake. You should eat fresh parsley as dried parsley is not as effective.
Parsley is also a great food neutraliser. Its leaves are rich in chlorophyll, which is nature’s own deodoriser. Chew those leaves for fresh breath!”
USING HERBS WITH ROAST MEALS
Using herbs with your roast vegetables is just divine. Whatever kind you like, cut up, toss with some olive oil and some of the herbs (sage, thyme and rosemary are perfect) and then roast until done. These herbs are best with roasted sweet kumara and baby onions. Also try this mix with roast chicken and vegetables. On the chicken, a little sprinkling of sage, thyme, cinnamon and a dash of garlic powder always works!
FAST MORNING SMOOTHIE
“For Breakfast, I make up a smoothie using Rice Dream rice milk, a banana, strawberries (when in season), runny honey, kiwifruit and carrots. Mega anti-oxidants and goodness. I drink this with Ceres Organics Muesli.” Melanie Honeycombe, Red Beach.
EVERYONE CAN GROW PARSLEY AT HOME!
Use parsley in everything possible. You’ll love the stuff and it’s so good for you. Put parsley in mashed potatoes, add garlic butter and parsley when frying up leftover potatoes, add parsley to your macaroni cheese recipe, put it in savoury muffins, on top of pizzas, on poached eggs, in quiches. It’s a wonder herb that refreshes the mouth and breath.
CREAMY SCRAMBLED EGGS
Make your scrambled eggs that bit richer and creamier by discarding the white (or albumen) of every second egg cracked. Then add in freshly chopped chives and some thin strips of raw green and red capsicum. Adds a lovely colour and a nice crunch. Add a dash of milk, beat lightly and saute your eggs in lots of butter – it’s the secret to creamy eggs. Finish with freshly ground salt and pepper. Serve on a freshly toasted ABEs Bagel.
ADD ZING TO YOUR COLESLAW
“Use fresh lemon balm in your homemade coleslaw. It gives the slaw a fab, fresh taste. Don’t overuse it though.” Jacky Stockwell, Whakatane.
“My favourite herb is rosemary, it grows in abundance in my garden and I love to use it whenever I can. At the moment I have been really enjoying using it along with slices of apple or pear when roasting veal.” Kath Thomas, Mt Wellington.
“I love to use basil in all my pasta dishes to give them a real Italian taste. It gives tomatoes their richest flavour too.” Sarah Edmonds, Tuakau.
HERBAL FLU REMEDY
“Our family has been struck down recently with coughs and flu. This herbal recipe has been a godsend over the last few months. I found it helped to combat sleeplessness and irritating coughs. Thyme Tea: 25 grams fresh thyme, 2 1/2 cups boiling water, honey. Take the fresh thyme and cover with boiling water, allow to infuse for at least 5-10 minutes. Add a little honey and drink while still piping hot.” Thank you to clever Fiona Perkinson of Massey, Auckland.
FISH PIE EXTRA!
“I love using a mixture of garlic chives, parsley and basil in Smoked fish pie. The herb blend just works so well with the fish.” Tash Earley, Palmerston North.
FRESH BASIL KEEPS THE FLIES AWAY
A pot or Herb Holder of Fresh Basil on your windowsill will keep flies away, especially great when you are cooking inside in summer.
BASIL AND TOMATOES
“I love basil and tomatoes. Try placing basil on top of Vogel’s toast, slice tomatoes thinly and place on top of your fresh basil leaves. Bite into firmly and savour the deliciousness.” Joanna Read, Taupo.
LITTLE DREAMY PILLOWS
Herb lover Keryn Morgan of Papatoetoe: “I call my little herb creations I make Dream Pillows. So easy to make and a real sense of achievement. A perfect homemade eco gift. Use them to help you sleep – or hang like little pockets around the house to keep you all cool, calm and collected. With pinking shears, cut out 2 rectangles 18cm x 12cm. You can also use flannel, kids prints or your favourite material. Combine together 1 cup of lavender , 1 cup of patchouli, 1 cup of lemon balm, 1 cup of hops and 1/2 cup of rosemary. Mix in another container 4 drops of sandalwood fragrance oil , 6 drops of lavender fragrance oil and 6 drops of orange fragrance oil. Allow these things to sit for a day and then combine together and let the mixture sit for another day in an air tight jar. Now glue your fabric together on three sides. Stuff the pouch with your herb and mixture and then glue your fourth side shut.”
A top tip for fresh herbs, when you have a lot in summer, is to pick more than you need, chop and freeze into wee plastic containers. Herbs freeze loosely so when your fresh herbs have died off it’s easy to take a pinch from the freezer and use in your cooking. Herbs don’t lose as many nutrients when frozen than if you dry them. Vicki Coats, Stewart Island.
SPICE UP YOUR SALSA
Use heaps of coriander and fresh Italian parsley to really bring out the best in your tomato dishes when cooking. I make homemade Salsa Verde to go with salmon. I love it! I can never have enough fresh herbs. I buy Living Herbs all the time and keep them on my bench in a Herb Holder to make them live weeks longer. Nic McConechy, Invercargill.
PERFECT POTATO SALAD AND EASY RICE SALAD
My two widely used fresh herbs that I always have on hand are mint and parsley. I love potato salad with a dressing made from condensed milk, vinegar and mustard and freshly chopped mint stirred through. Of course don’t forget mint with new potatoes is a must! With parsley, I love it added to rice salads. I make my rice salad with the rice cooked with a little turmeric, and then add canned tuna or salmon, salad dressing and finely chopped parsley. Delicious! And both these salads are great for BBQs. Teresa Bury, Taihape.
EASY, HEALTHY, FAST BREAKFAST
This is such a fast, easy and oh-so-good-for-you breakfast: Cottage Cheese, topped with and chopped fresh fruit of your liking and then sprinkled with toasted almonds.”Yum!” Angela Edgar, Christchurch.
A HEALTHY KICKSTART
“My fave breakfast is whole oats with fresh mixed berries, natural unsweetened yoghurt and a banana. And I throw a sprinkle of linseed and almonds on top for health and taste benefits!” Emma Daniel, Metropolis, Auckland.
A GOOD BREAKFAST
“My favourite breakfast recipe is very simple: a good size bowl of cereal, with lots of goodness in it, nuts and dried fruit, a dollop of greek yoghurt, a spoonful of runny honey, and fresh strawberries and blueberries… I could eat that every morning!” Stepanka Sabrsula, Remuera.
QUICK PANCAKE ALTERNATIVE
“I like to toast crumpets, pour on golden syrup and slice banana length ways, just like pancakes without the time spent cooking. Also I love to have porridge with yoghurt and berries (frozen but warmed in the microwave). This is a great brekkie even in summer.” Kim O’Brien, NZ.
SCRAMBLED EGGS AND STEAK – A BREKKIE TREAT!
My fave breakfast/brunch is toasted grain bread with a juicy medium minute-steak, some crispy bacon, buttery scrambled eggs, plum sauce, sour cream and a sprinkling of parsley and garlic chives. Only for a treat or wow factor though!” Tash Earley, Palmerston North.
THAI RECIPES AT HOME
Remember, a fresh sprinkling of coriander leaves will add authenticity and fresh deliciousness to your Thai recipes at home. Coriander is simply a must have herb for Thai cooking.
VEGETARIAN SCRAMBLED EGGS
“As a breakfast option for vegetarians, simply scramble your eggs with Flora Pro-Activ or Rice Bran Oil, then add sautéed courgette, cooked peppered cherry tomatoes and a pinch of fresh thyme leaves.” Deb McNabb, Christchurch.
BEST WEETBIX TIP EVER
“My favourite breakfast combo is a little strange. Basically get any cereal (from Weetbix to Muesli) and instead of adding milk, pour a cup of hot coffee over it, that way you kill two birds with one stone having your coffee and cereal together and it’s very yummy too!” Vince Warnock, Ngaio, Wellington.
FAST EASY HASHBROWNS
“Check out my fast-as, easy-as hashbrown lunch/brunch recipe for one. One grated potato, with a beaten egg and freshly ground salt and pepper lightly fried and flipped in rice bran oil. It’s an easy, fast and tasty way to enjoy a healthy hashbrown.” Tania Pacek, Meadowbank.
PERFECT BBQ IDEAS
“My favourite barbecue meal is grilled mushrooms and capsicums sliced from the hotplate, a perfectly cooked steak with a green leafy side salad. Simple! Then for dessert, a BBQ Banana! Simply slice your banana(s) in half, add chocolate bits between the two slices in the centre, wrap in tinfoil and BBQ 10 minutes as your barbie cools down from the steak and you enjoy dinner. Delicious!” Roxanne Trotter, Matakana.
ALL ABOUT WALNUTS
Walnuts are a health package in a shell, containing many nutrients essential to enhance your lifestyle, including Omega-3. Walnuts are the only nut that can reach your dietary reference intake for Omega-3 in just one ounce of kernels. Due to their high polyunsaturated fat content, walnuts are extremely perishable and care should be taken in their storage. Store shelled walnuts in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator where they will keep for 6 months.
ALL ABOUT WALNUT OIL
From the award-winning nutters at Uncle Joe’s: Walnut oil is for people that like the healthy options of walnuts and good flavour. The kernels are a mixture of wild seedling varieties and we think the variety of flavours have helped us to win “Best Walnut Oil” and “Best Oil in Show” at the Canterbury Royal Show in November, 2007 and again 2008. The walnuts are cold pressed without the intrusion of air and light. This retains all the exceptional health benefits of our walnuts and gives our oils a longer shelf life. Walnut Oilneeds to be stored away from heat and light.
ALL ABOUT HAZELNUTS
Hazelnuts, one of the smallest of nuts, are a nutritional giant, loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids and Vitamin E. They are a moorish snack, and when diced, add a delicious flavour to biscuits, cakes, bread or vegetables.
Hazelnut flavour is a divine companion to fish. Sprinkle fish dishes with chopped hazelnuts or use hazelnut oil when steaming fish or baked fish recipes.
Then there are the quick easy desserts, delicious with fruit, berries and of course combined with chocolate… mmmm.
NUTS ARE A SUPERFOOD
Raw, freshly cracked nuts are a superfood!
An excellent snack food, nutritionally they are packed with goodness and the vitamins and minerals our body needs to keep healthy. Studies show that eating 25-30gms of nuts a day protects heart and vascular systems and improves cholestrol levels.
Because they orginate from a plant source, walnuts and hazelnuts are cholesterol free.
Although it may sound contrary to popular perceptions, the fact is everyone needs to intake fat. It gives us energy and makes food taste good. However, its the type of fat that makes the difference.
Hazelnuts are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids with vitamin E, an important antioxidant.
Walnuts are an excellent source of protective fatty acids and vitamins. They contain Omega 3, an essential fatty acid that your body cannot manufacture and must come from your diet.
A DIY HERB FACEMASK
“I learnt a trick a long time ago using basil, lemon and avocados to create and instant natural face mask. Put a big handful of basil in a blender and run it on high. Once the basil has been pulverised, throw in a half of an avocado and a large teaspoon of lemon juice, mix until smooth. Wash your face, pat it dry and gently rub the avocado mixture on. Leave it on as long as you like, then use warm water to it wash off.” Keryn Morgan,Papatoetoe.
ALL ABOUT PARSLEY
Mild, bright-green parsley is a classic garnish that, when cooked, acts to bring out the flavour of other foods, especially in otherwise bland dishes. To increase its potency, use generous amounts and include the stems, which are more strongly flavoured than the leaves.
ALL ABOUT THYME
Like sage and rosemary, thyme aids in the digestion of fatty foods, and is often combined with meat, shellfish, poultry and game. Common thyme is used in bouquet garni with parsley and bay, while lemon thyme lends an exciting flavour to fish and poultry dishes.
HERBS IN THE CAR
I love to gather fresh lemon thyme and place it on the dashboard of my car. It gives off a lovely, fresh aroma and as it dries with the sun coming in the window, I can gather it in my hand to crush for a “burst” of summer or even take inside to use as a dried herb.
HOW TO MAKE PORRIDGE
“My favourite breakfast is porridge with brown sugar. And a cuppa coffee of course. I make my porridge by sprinkling the raw oats with brown sugar, then add cut-up dates and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Add your hot water and microwave in a microwave-proof bowl until you get the consistency you want. Add milk and a dash of cream.” Frances Sergent, Blenheim.
“My fave is a hot bowl of porridge, mixed with one mashed banana, a handful chopped walnuts and a big drizzle of Canadian maple syrup. It’s so good!” Julie Beaulieu, Christchurch.
QUICK PINEAPPLE DESSERT
Love pineapple? This makes a fast, delicious, healthy dessert. Get one small can pineapple in juice (any type, sliced or crushed). 1 banana, 2 cups milk, 1 cup yoghurt or ice cream. Put your ingredients into a blender and serve in a tall glass.
“Very delicious!” Julie Long, Waihi
HOW TO MAKE A TRADITIONAL SHEPHERDS PIE
A favourite, traditional meal that my Mum used to make is Shepherd Pie with leftover roast beef or lamb. Put your meat through the food processor or mincer. Mix the minced meat with your leftover gravy and some finely chopped bacon. Cream potato or kumara mash over the top,. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese and bake at 150 degrees for an hour. Divine kiwiana fare.
LEFTOVER BROWN RICE INTO A HEALTHY DESSERT
Put cold brown rice (leftover from dinner) into a bowl, add frozen blueberries, a sprinkle of brown sugar, lots of cinnamon and soya or rice milk. Heat up in the microwave. And just like that. A healthy, wholesome and delicious breakfast or dessert and much better than porridge!
Andrea Hepworth, Wellington
CAKE IN A CUP!
Make a quick cake in a mug or cup! You need: 4 tablespoons of flour, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of cocoa, 2 tabelsoons of oil, 3 tablespoons milk and 1 large mug or soup bowl. Mix everything into your bowl or mug. Microwave for 3mins high (1000w). Tip onto a plate, serve with jam, cream or yoghurt. Kylie Mills, Wattle Downs.
SHEPHERDS PIE RECIPE
Make a homely and delicious Shepherd’s Pie by using the leftover meat from a lamb roast. Cut off the remaining meat from the bone. Pop it in the food processor and chop it up finely. Add to that, some diced Onion, Parsley, and a bit of Tomato Sauce to mix. Warm the meat mixture through in the oven while boiling some potatoes for mashing. Mash with a bit of milk and some garlic butter. Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat, then sprinkle with tasty grated cheese and parmesan cheese for extra flavour. Serve with some sweet baby peas and honey baby carrots.
“Mmmmmmmmmm love it!” Karley Johns, Upper Hutt.
ASPARAGUS COOKED ON THE BBQ
“This is a tip that was passed onto me and it is brilliant! To cook asparagus on the bbq, use two skewers (soaked in water first of wooden). Slide the asparagus onto the skewers one for the tip one for the other end until you have a row. Then when you cook them and it comes to turning them over they are all turned at once and no run aways! No oil needed, maybe a little salt and pepper.” Megan Bardell, Havelock North.
PERFECT POTATO ON THE BBQ
Scrub 4 or 5 potatoes & slice them into chips or wedges. Pop into a microwave-proof dish and cook on high until the potatoes are almost fully cooked. Mix together 1/4 cup oil, a clove or two of fresh crushed garlic and plenty of pepper and salt. Add any other herbs or spices you like. Pour the oil mixture over your potatoes and leave to absorb the flavours for as long as possible. Pop your potatoes, oil and all straight onto a hot BBQ plate and cook until golden & crunchy, turning when needed.”My favourite BBQ recipe” : Tracy Aitcheson, Oamaru
POTATO SALAD TIP
“My favourite summer food is definitely Potato Salad. My Tip? The best mayonnaise to use for potato salad has got to be Bestfoods Mayonnaise in the glass jar with the blue label. There’s something about Bestfoods Mayo which makes a potato salad perfect. It tastes 10 times better! Also, fried eggs on the BBQ are really good!” Shantelle Beattie, Wellington.
SCALLOPS ON THE BARBECUE
Perfect scallops recipe for the BBQ is to take your freshly shelled scallops, throw on a piping hot barbie plate, a splash of white wine, a big dallop of garlic butter and finally add a splash of cream. Cook medium heat to reduce down slowly. Don’t over cook scallops, just when they start to go opaque/white, whip them off and enjoy! Yum NZ seafood.
THAI CURRY NEEDS CORIANDER
“All my family love Thai Chicken Curry, and many other Thai dishes I cook at home. But they just wouldn’t be the same without some fresh coriander added, it enhances any curry dish to a new level.”Bev Waring, via email.
EXTRA ADDITION TO HOMEMADE QUICHE OR BACON & EGG PIE
For that something special and healthy in your homemade quiche or bacon and egg pie, add mixed vege. Sounds all a bit naff, but you will be blown away how good it makes your quiche taste and everyone will be asking for seconds, including the kids.
DESSERT ON THE BBQ!
“My favourite summer BBQ recipe is quite simple, and oh so sweet! This is dessert on the barbie afteryou have finished the main meal! Halve any summer fruit – ie. peaches or nectarines. Sprinkle halves with soft brown sugar and then simply grill on your already heated BBQ. I also love to do the same thing with chunks of pineapple – mmmm! Millie Thomas, Mt Wellington
3 FAVOURITES FOR GRAVY BROWNING
My husband Mark is the gravy king in our household. His homemade-from-scratch recipe is from his Mum in the South Island. It’s to die for, he never stuffs it up and one day, I reckon he could bottle and sell it. But anyway, I digress!
We like three gravy brownings: Hansell’s (most supermarkets stock this). Kiwi Style Gravy Browning (more for caterers) and finally, good old fashioned Marmite is perfect for browning, darkening and salting up gravy. Use a big dollop in the gravy roastpan/flour/hot water phase and stir through to melt down.
CREATING COASTAL MEMORIES
For coastal memories, collect quirky shells or driftwood from your beach holiday and record your memories of bliss with a large sheet of card and manila luggage labels.
1. Attach your marine items to the luggage labels using craft glue, and name them using a pencil.
2. When luggage tags are ready, space them evenly on the large sheet of card and attach with spray glue.
3. Mount and frame the finished card for beach memories year round.
THE PERFECT CAMPFIRE TOASTED MARSHMALLOW
Create the perfect marshmallow:
1. Place a giant marshmallow (in your preferred colour), on a long thin stick or metal skewer with a sharpened end.
2. Turn it over a hot fire in a patch where there is no flame.
3. When perfectly brown and bubbly, eat it – carefully, not to burn your mouth. Finish the packet!
CREATING THE PERFECT CAMPFIRE
Build a working campfire:
1. Choose a permitted, sheltered, dry site that is removed of any flammable materials.
2. Build a hearth 30cm high to ensure it matches the width of your grills.
3. Lay green sticks as a foundation and cover with newspaper, twigs, grass or shredded bark in a pyramid shape and top with fine twigs and firewood.
4. Get your matches and go.
THE PERFECT PICNIC HAMPER
Hamper Essentials! It is often the simple things we forget despite the perfect picnic intentions. So don’t forget:
1. A picnic blanket (with waterproof backing).
2. Freeze cold packs to keep food fresh.
3. Antibacterial hand gel for all food handling.
5. Rubbish bags to help you to be a tidy kiwi.
6. Condiments to match your food choices.
7. Cutting board, serving utensils, can and bottle opener and a sharp knife to remove any difficulty from your day.
8. Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats. Insect repellent.
9. Most importantly the camera to capture the memories.
Thanks to NZ House & Garden: Beach, Bach & Beyond
SCENTED BATH ON A SHOESTRING
Buy some herb teabags at the supermarket. Poke a wire twisty-tie through the top corner of two teabags and attach them,with the tie, to the hot tap of your bath so the water runs over them. Buy a couple of smaller sample packets of herb tea, use up old ones from the pantry or even take the individual teabags from motel units!
ROAST CHICKEN BASTE
“Drizzle some Lemon Fresh lemon juice over your roast chicken before it goes in the oven, and put 2 Lemon Fresh preserved lemons stuffed inside the chicken. Towards the end of the cooking, you can baste with more lemon juice and even manuka honey if desired, but watch it doesn’t burn.”Rose Bolton, Torbay
DELICIOUS LEMON MARINADE
Lemon juice, honey, soy sauce, pepper and garlic make a terrific marinade and basting sauce for chicken kebabs grilled on skewers with your favourite vegetables – try chunks of colour! Red onion, green or yellow capsicum, tomatoes and mushrooms.
QUICK, DELISH HONEY & LEMON JUICE DRESSING
For a fast homemade honey and lemon juice dressing, you need: 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon good honey, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk everything together in a wee jug. This goes well with chicken, lamb, BBQ meats and chicken liver.
PARTY PUNCH RECIPE
We love Canterbury couple Bob & Pam’s Scottish Sparkle Punch recipe. Perfect punch for any gathering or party! Mix one bottle of dry white wine, 1/2 cup of Drambuie and the juice of 2 lemons in a bowl. Chill and just before the party, add a bottle of chilled bubbles (sparkling wine) and 2 cups of lemonade. Add plenty of ice, some lemon slices before serving in a big punch bowl.
“A delightful punch!” Bob & Pam Christensen, Christchurch
BEST WAY TO BBQ FISH
“I always love making simple but really tasty things for summer barbies. My favourite has got to be simply wrapping up fish in tin foil, (it can be any kind of fish, my favourite is gurnard) adding fresh lemon juice, fresh chilli, fresh coriander, whole garlic cloves and salt and pepper. It is surprising how easy and delicious this is (not to mention healthy!)Amy Cunningham Solicitor, Wellington.
SPEED UP YOUR METABOLISM WITH LEMONS
“I like to squeeze juice from half a lemon into a glass of water for a refreshing and healthy drink on a hot summer’s day.” Kay McAlpine, Taranaki Regional Council.
And yes, Kay’s onto it. Lemon is the perfect kickstart to the metabolism according to latest research. Even better is a full lemon squeezed into warm water every morning before breakfast or anything in your tummy. Want a quick metabolism? Do this everyday!
THE BEST MASHED POTATOES
1. The secret to creamy mashed potatoes is grated, tasty cheese! Forget the milk, or maybe just add a dash, and use 3/4 cup of grated cheese instead. A knob of butter, a firm mash with a sturdy masher and you will have the tastiest mashed potatoes on the block. Freshly ground black pepper and rock salt are a must. To wash your pot after mashing, use COLD water not warm. Warm water just bakes the potato to the pot. Cold water gets the mash off straight away.
2. A tip for lower fat mashed spud:
Beat/mash hot potato cooking water into mashed potatoes to make them light and fluffy. No need for lashings of high-calorie hot milk and high-fat melted butter.
MAKING LEMONS EASY-SQUEEZY
“If you’re wanting to squeeze lemons (especially if they feel a
bit hard) put them in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm them and juice them up! They will be so much easier to squeeze!”
Crystal Dodd, Christchurch City Council.
ALOE VERA – Mother Nature at her best
Most people seem to have aloe vera plants these days. Why go to the chemist and buy antiseptics, when nature is better and cheaper and at hand. Cut open a small piece of the leaf and rub over area. Teenagers, awesome for acne and great for the skin. Fantastic for burns, scratches, grazes.
“Mother Nature at her best.” Anne Scurfield, Upper Hutt
HERB FACTS – ROSEMARY
Herb profile: Rosemary
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a must-have perennial herb with aromatic foliage and blue flowers in summer. Shakespeare described rosemary as the remembrance herb and in medieval times, students wore sprigs of it in their hair while studying. Rosemary is a versatile herb for landscaping: upright varieties can be clipped into a formal hedge or grown as a topiary standard, while prostrate varieties are attractive trailing over retaining walls or in tall pots. Rosemary prefers a hot, sunny position and is ideal for waterwise gardens as it is very drought-tolerant once established. It is easy to grow from cuttings – just nab a branch of a friend’s plant to get started.
5 FAST USES FOR ROSEMARY
Five fast uses for rosemary:
1. Strip the leaves off 30cm stalks of rosemary to make your own kebab sticks for summer barbecues. The rosemary stalks infuse cubes of meat and vegetables with flavour.
2. Make rosemary and apple jelly as a condiment for barbecued lamb chops
3. Steep sprigs of rosemary in a cup of boiling water; leave to cool then use as a hair rinse to treat dandruff and add shine to dark hair.
4. Make your own furniture polish by mixing rosemary essential oil with distilled vinegar, liquid soap and olive oil.
5. Add chopped rosemary to focaccia bread or your favourite savoury scone recipe.
EASY ICED COFFEE
Love iced coffee for an instant pick-me-up on a hot summer’s day? Try this!
1 tsp instant coffee or freshly perked espresso, 2 Equal or sugar, 1/4 cup boiling water, crushed Ice, Trim milk. Into a tall drinking glass, add your coffee (use more for a stronger drink), add sweetener and add boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Add crushed ice to half fill the glass. Now fill the glass to the top with cold milk. Top with whipped cream if so desired. – Enjoy!
“My favourite Iced Coffee recipe!” Bob Christensen, Christchurch.
“My favourite is frozen berries. Any type, anytime! They are all fabulous and can be eaten straight from the freezer, blended with other fresh fruits to make instant frozen desserts (great for the little ones). Fabulous, fast and full of vitamins!” Marise Gold, Karori
THE PERFECT MACARONI CHEESE
Swiss Macaroni Cheese (also known as Xlplermagaronen!)
You need: 250g potatoes, salt, 250g straight macaroni or hollow noodles,200g grated cheese, 3/4 cup cream, 3tbsp butter, 2 large onions. How to: Peel and dice potatoes. Boil in salted water. Add noodles shortly before potatoes are cooked. Potatoes should be soft. Drain and arrange with cheese in alternate layers in deep dish. Pour in the cream and place in hot oven few minutes or until the cheese melts. Meanwhile melt butter, sliced onions and fry until light brown.
The Swiss serve macaroni with apple sauce! You may choose to add a nice crisp salad.
“Enjoy its soooooooo good!” Judy, firstname.lastname@example.org
“My kitchen tip is having a bag just inside the freezer door to put in any vege/fruit peelings for the compost – this way I don’t have to empty a smelly bin or have fruit flies buzzing round if I don’t make it to the compost bin!!! My kids love trotting off with the frozen offerings for the bin and there’s no smell.”Heidi Stone.
CHICKEN TENDERLOINS ON THE BBQ
“My most favourite BBQ recipe is Chicken tenderloins on the BBQ. Cut Chicken tenderloins in half. In a bowl, mix together a bit of flour, a bit of chicken stock or similar and a bit or parmesan cheese, S & P to taste. Mix the tenderloins in the mixture, so they are thoroughly covered. Put straight onto a hot, oiled BBQ and cook until golden and cooked through.
Great on a bed of mesculun salad, and a great change from red meat on the BBQ. (I’m sure we kiwis eat way too much red meat in summer on the barbie anyway!) Thanks and enjoy.” Kym Berry via email.
TWO PERFECT SALADS FOR THE BYO BBQ
I just love a giant big salad to go with anything on the barbecue. I throw in as many different types of lettuce as I can, toss through some cherry tomatoes, slices of celery, spring onion, zucchini, carrot sticks, snowpeas, cheese cubes, avocado slices and top it off with either slices of mangoes, strawberries, grapes or anything else that takes my fancy. If I’m off to my parents, it’s the traditional iceberg lettuce salad with condensed milk dessing – love that nostalgia mix! You must top your retro/parents salad with slices of tomatoes, sliced boiled eggs, grated carrot and cheese. Most men will not tolerate ‘modern’ salads with the ‘grass type’ lettuce leaves and fancy things!
When chopping garlic, to get the smell off your hands, run your hands under cold water while rubbing a stainless steel tea spoon. It removes the garlic smell completely!
EASY TO MAKE AND ALWAYS A CROWD-PLEASER
Banana pieces wrapped in Bacon: Make as few or as many as you wish – use firm bananas, cut into 4 pieces, wrap with a piece of bacon big enough to wrap all the way round, then secure with a toothpick. Then just put straight on the bbq. When the bacon is cooked, it’s ready. Tasty and delicious. If making ahead of time, soak the banana pieces in lemon juice to prevent them going brown.Graeme and Tracy Farmer,
Cavalier Homes, Marlborough.
FISH CAKES ON THE BBQ? YES!
“Fish cakes are superb on the barbie. They are simply delish served with a little relish and a small, simple salad and a nice loaf of crusty fresh bread. Cook as you would in a pan. We also like to finish the BBQ off with maybe a freshly made apple cake served with greek yoghurt or fresh cream. And a tip of mine is: Always keep on your bench or underneath the sink bench some handcream, and whenever you finish the dishes etc, use a little on your hands. Your hand stay nice and soft and don’t crack around cuticles.”Pat McKenzie, via email.
There’s no better way to end a meal than with a “Special Coffee”. Here’s the best Irish coffee recipe we’ve found: 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 jigger of Irish Whiskey, 2 thirds a cup of coffee or flavoured Irish Creme coffee, quarter cup of heavy cream, lightly whipped. Preheat the glass with hot water. Dump the water out and add the hot coffee with the teaspoon of sugar and stir. Add the jigger of whiskey, and top with the whipping cream.
“Wonderful.” Lisa Gordon, Papatoetoe
HOMEMADE BARBECUE SAUCE
Perfect for the BBQ season, the best barbecue sauce you’ll find! And you made it!
BBQ SAUCE: 1/2 Cup Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 Cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup HP Sauce, 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tsp instant coffee, 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar, 1 Onion. Finely chop onion, sweat in pan until transluscent, add all other ingredients, simmer. Can use as a marinade or sauce.
Ann Kidd, Motueka
THE AMAZING AVOCADO
A great kitchen foodie tip is to put your avocado on top of the microwave to ripen. They love warmth. And then, when ripe, keep them in the fridge. Never put unripe avocadoes in the fridge. To also make avocadoes ripen even quicker, put them with your bananas! This also works the other way around to ripen green bananas, believe it or not.
“The best avocado tip!” Sophie Monteath-Bell
POMEGRANATE SYRUP SLOW COOKER RECIPE
“I’m a Persian, who married a Kiwi and I love living in New Zealand. I love eating healthy, with lots of fresh vegtables. I live on salads with small amounts of meat. I want to tell you about pomegranate syrup. We use it in Iran in some of our foods. I have a favourite recipe which I make for my Kiwi mates and they all love it. We put it down to the different flavour of the pomegranate syrup which comes through as you eat it. You can cook this recipe with chicken pieces, meat balls or duck. All are delicious. The recipe has heaps of crushed walnuts, a bit of saffron, half a cup of pomegranate syrup, mixed spice with lemon juice and a bit of sugar. The secret of this Iranian recipe is to cook it in a crockpot over a really slow heat. So it’s easy! Just chuck everything in and put it in a slow cooker or cook it on a really slow heat for several hours. It’s really different than Kiwi meals and I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like this food.” Neda Byrne, Wanaka
WARMING PLATES FOR DINNER
This tip is amazing!
To heat dinner plates just run them under the tap to wet them and put in the microwave oven on high. About 1 minute for one plate. Two to three minutes for two plates. Makes a wonderful job very quickly just be careful removing them as they can get very hot if you give them extra time. Hot plates for tea in a jiffy! Thanks to Derrice Cox for the tip via email.
FISH ON THE BBQ
“I always love making simple but really tasty things for summer BBQs. My favourite has got to be simply wrapping up fish in tin foil (it can be any kind of fish but my favourite is gurnard). Add fresh lemon juice, fresh chilli, fresh coriander, whole garlic cloves and salt and pepper and throw it on your hotplate for 5-8 minutes. It is surprising how easy, quick and delicious this is (not to mention healthy!)” Amy Cunningham, Wellington.
“My Mum and my Nana used to make the best tomato soup ever! Now I do it every summer when tomatoes are coming out our ears. It’s just peeled tomatoes, onion, loads of garlic, some malt vinegar, brown sugar, butter, bay leaves – all simmered away together. Scrumptious! Nana used to put it through a mouli or kitchen whizz to get it extra smooth but chunky is good too.” Dana Hall, Hamilton.
POTATO AND KUMARA SALAD
“My favourite quick and easy BBQ recipe is potato and kumara salad with Best Foods mayonnaise, and finely diced red onion and capsicum, drizzled with avocado oil and a touch of paprika. Can’t go wrong. Mix it all together while warm and the dressing soaks in nicely.”
Jane Evans, Mt Roskill
EASY MINCE PATTIES FOR THE BARBECUE
As far as meats go you can’t beat homemade mince patties with diced onion, plenty of fresh herbs (whatever you have – coriander always goes down a treat), an egg, a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce, and a good splash of Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix it all together and roll straight onto the barbie.
WANT SHINY HAIR?
Away from home or just want to try natural products on your hair? Well check this out for a cheap, eco-friendly hair conditioner and treatment: Use mayonnaise to periodically condition your hair! It works. Apply mayo to dry hair, work through thoroughly. Cover with showercap, wrap in towel and leave for 20-30 mins. Wash as usual. Leaves hair shiny and conditions it too! Then give your hair body and extra shine by pouring beer over your hair in shampoo-off rinse stage, massage in well and give a final rinse. Tresses of gold and people will be strangely attracted to you!
A cheap, effective way to get clothes smelling nice is buy a packet of whole cloves from the spice section of your supermarket and sprinkle some in all your drawers. It will discourage moths and silverfish, so throw some on the floor of your wardrobe too.
Thanks Trish Isaac of Rotorua.
TUNA PASTA BAKE
“My traditional, family recipe we have all the time is Tuna Pasta Bake. It’s scrumptious. Cook your desired pasta, drain then rinse under cold water. Melt a big knob of butter in a saucepan then cook 2 chopped onions for 5 mins until soft. Add flour, stirring contantly for two minutes then gradually add milk off the heat. Return the pan to the heat to thicken then stir in the 2 chopped boiled eggs and a cup of grated cheese. Add cooked pasta, then some chopped parsely and a big can of tuna. Season as desired to give more flavour. Place in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle grated tasty cheese and bake at 180 deg for 20 minutes. Serves 4.” Roxanne Trotter, Matakana.
A favourite recipe is Mocha Cupcakes, served with whipped cream. Just use a basic cupcake recipe (which is here on the site) and tweak as follows. Put 2 tsp instant coffee powder, butter, sugar, honey and water in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Bring this to the boil reducing the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Pour into a large heatproof bowl and leave to cool. When the mixture’s cooled, sift the flour and cocoa powder, dissolve the baking soda in the milk then add to the cooled mixture with the eggs. Beat until smooth. Spoon the mixture into wee cupcake/muffin cases, and put into a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 15-20 mins. For the topping, whip cream and put a spoonful on top and dust slightly with cocoa or coffee.
CROCK POT BEEF ROAST
For an easy, slow-cooked roast beef, you need: 1 beef roast, 1 onion soup mix, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 can of lemonade or ginger ale. Place all ingredients in your crockpot and after 6 hours while you’re at work, come home to a divine slow roast beef. Serve with white rice, egg noodles or mashed potatoes to soak up the gravy!
VEGETARIAN IDEA FOR THE BBQ
A great vegetarian recipe for the BBQ is using the large flat mushrooms (portobello mushrooms) as bases and add pesto, garlic and a slice of cheese and some herbs on top. Wrap them in tinfoil and grill on the barbecue hotplate. The mushroom cooks itself in its own juices and it’s delectable. Perfect for non-meat eaters especially as the mushrooms are wrapped and can still be cooked with steak.
INDIAN SAMBAR RICE
“I love Indian Sambar Rice. Sambar means liquid which is the herby mixture used to cook the rice. I really like sambar rice because it gives me energy. It’s healthy too as sambar rice has lots of vegetables for extra vitamins. Everyone I know who has tried Sambar Rice loves it and it is very traditional in South Indian cooking and there is even a festival which celebrates Sambar in India. Sambar is easy to find in ethnic supermarkets here in New Zealand. You just cook the rice, add the liquid and all the vegetables you desire. Perfectly vegetarian.” Arnav Singh, Glen Eden.
MORE REASONS TO EAT SALMON
One of your favourite foods should be New Zealand salmon. It’s full of brainpower Omega oils and has even been shown to fight cancer. Cancer suffers are told not to eat red meat, so salmon and fish are the best choice. Salmon is tasty, versatile, healthy and so delicate and best of all it tastes delicious and smooth. Best eaten raw for maximum health benefits.
ICED COFFEE RECIPE
On a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing like an iced coffee for that instant pick me up. Here’s the best way to make a quick and delish iced coffee for 4. You need: 4 cups cold NZ milk,
1 cup boiling water, 6 tsp instant coffee powder, 4 tablespoons Cream, 3 tablespoons raw sugar, crushed Ice. Dissolve instant coffee and sugar in boiling water and allow to cool. Blend the coffee mixture and milk in a blender for few seconds. Add cream and crushed ice. Blend for another few seconds till it becomes frothy. Serve chilled.
A TIP FOR BISCOTTI RECIPES
“My favourite treat with my cup of coffee is my own homemade biscotti. I make it with a little dash of instant coffee to give it just a touch of extra flavour. it’s a hit with all my friends who always seem to drop in just as I’ve made a fresh pot of coffee and pulled a tray of biscotti out of the oven.” Rachel Clark, Mairehau.
WHY BUY ORGANIC FOOD?
Here at Fresh In The Kitchen, we love your letters and feedback. This letter from Brenda Courtney of Kaikohe got me thinking about buying organic vs non. You will be quite surprised with this information: “Buying organic just helps me. Eating organic food doesn’t make me feel stressed. Howver when I was eating non-organic which had the synthetic hormones in it, I felt stressed. That’s what non-organic food does. The Prednisone makes people feel stressed; it breaks down the fat so the body can’t use it; it unbalances the weight, so that people either go big or small; it distorts the shape and appearance of people; it changes male to female, and female to male. Prednisone gives people Type 2 diabetes. Now is the best time to go organic if you can.”
PERFECT PARTY DIP
A fail-safe and super quick nacho chip and dip recipe for parties is: 1 can of cream corn, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can of tomato puree, 1 onion, 1 capsicum, 1 tablespoon beef stock, 1 teaspoon crushed garlic. Saute chopped onion and capsicum, add all other ingredients and about quarter cup water, heat through. Serve with nacho chips and sour cream or grated cheese. Awesome for lunch or dinner and can be varied by adding chopped herbs like thyme, oregano and parsley. We’ve not met anyone yet who doesn’t love it!
SPECIAL COFFEE RECIPE
An easy after-dinner Special Coffee recipe. Make a fresh plunger coffee, add 2 nips of Baileys and 1 nip of Whiskey. No milk or sugar required. Yum and a perfect nightcap!
SAVE MONEY ON POWER
An eco-friendly, green household tip is to turn all the appliances off at the wall when they are not in use – leaving them on standby still wastes a lot more power than you would think!
ECO CLEANING PRODUCTS
Lemon juice smells great, and does a heck of a job of cleaning. The juice of lemon is great for removing grease from grimy dishes. Squeeze a lemon into the sink the next time you are doing the dishes and you’ll probably notice the grease comes off your dishes much easier.
Also, use salt as a cleaning product, especially for things that needs a really good scrub…..like stained cups or dishes.
Baking Soda is another great scrubbing product that is much finer, and less abrasive than salt. Great for cleaning porcelain sinks and tubs.
ONE MAN’S TRASH IS ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE
An eco friendly, green household tip is to recycle… one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! Try joining a recycling club like Auckland Freecycle where you can advertise any unwanted items (from toys to furniture) and you can swap it for something you DO want. It means one less item off ot the dump and polluting NZ!
GOOD OLD SPUDS
One of my favourite foods has always been good old spuds. Why? There is just so much you can do, so many variations on cooking and endless flavours to be added! They come from the Earth, potatoes are cheap, easy to grow and can sustain you with energy and vitamins. One potato contains half the daily requirement of Vitamin C we need. It’s natures gift to us. Enjoy them daily!
EASY FREEZER DEFROSTING
When defrosting your freezer, wipe over the interior of your freezer with vegetable oil on a cloth, and it will be much easier to defrost next time.
SECRET TO A GOOD CHICKEN CURRY
A chicken curry that is cooked with coconut milk is always superior. Here’s a quick Fijian chicken curry recipe that is always a winner: Heat your pan first, add oil, then put garlic, ginger and your Indian spices. Let it heat up a bit, add chicken, onion, potatoes, chilli, tomato paste, then stir. Finally add curry powder, salt, fish sauce. Later add the coconut milk (fresh if possible) until it covers the surface, then add half a cup of water. After twenty minutes simmering, it’s all done. This chicken curry tastes delicious; the chicken meat is tender, coconut milk combined with the golden curry powder is a superb colour to look at, and you’ll love how it transports you to Fiji!
QUICK VEGETARIAN CASSEROLE
Vegetable Casserole in a flash: Choose a selection of your favourite vegetables. Cook veges as desired. Make a white sauce with cheese and parsley in it, spread over your cooked veges and sprinkle with your favourite cheese and breadcrumbs. Grill to perfectly golden and enjoy!
QUICK ORZO SALAD
“I love making an orzo salad (or you can use risoni). Boil orzo/risoni, and at the same time make dressing 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 squeezed lemon juice combined with pinch of salt and pepper, and also baked pinenuts in oven until light brown. Once orzo/risoni cooked and drained, put in bowl and put pour over the top the dressing and baked pinenuts. Add to salad .. feta cheese, spring onions and tomatoes. You can then add anything you like if you want .. Be it sweetcorn pieces from the cob, red/green pepper, avocado … whatever takes your fancy if you desire more veges. This is great cold or warm and is the most delicious leftovers too!” Jenny Chatfield, Ellerslie.
MORE REASONS TO LOVE POTATOES
My favourite food is potatoes as you can use them anytime of the year and do so many things with them … be it boil, bake, mash, cook. You can spice them up and are a great match with herbs, especially when you have new baby potatoes with mint! Also you can add them to salads and vegies, make a quiche and even stuff them. It can be a quick and easy meal to whip up!
Your garden or a pot should always have coriander (or cilantro). It is a superb herb! You’ll use it a lot in curries and Indian cooking, it’s good for fresh tomato recipes like chutney or salsa and you can add it on top of cooked curries as garnish and added flavour. Also use coriander seeds to grind your own spices and use it for pickles.
THE PERFECT HERB FOR ROAST CHICKEN IS…
Sage! Without a doubt. Chicken just likes sage and you’ll love how it makes your roast taste. Especially delicious is your own homegrown sage (it’s so easy to grow in a pot) in your chicken stuffing.
ORGANIC WEED KILLER
Mix 50/50 vinegar and water. It makes an excellent organic, chemical-free weed killer.
USE UP TOMATOES
You’ll never need to buy tomato sauce or salsa anymore! Trying making your own. All you need is chopped fresh tomatoes (so easy to grow your own and it feels great), chopped onion and fresh flat leafed parsley (again grow yourself). Just put tomatoes and onions in a pot and cook on low heat until onion is almost clear, then add parsley. Just season with salt and pepper. Perfect for when you have lots of tomatoes over summer that you need to eat or use up. This stores beautifully in the fridge and is perfect on corn fritters!
A SUPERB HERB FACIAL
Use any garden herbs (thyme, mint, sage, coriander) in your facial for your skin as a herbal steam. Chop up your fresh herb or mixture of fresh herbs. Add about two handfuls of fresh herbs to a big bowl and add six to seven cups of boiling water. Stir slightly, place a towel over your head, and sit over the bowl.
Make sure your face is about a half a metre away from the fresh steam. Stay over the steam, with your eyes closed for around 15 minutes. Afterwards, splash your face with cool water.
You can also add herbs to your bath without messing up the tub by placing your herbs on a cheese cloth, tie it shut, and either hang it under the running water, or simply drop it into the tub. Bliss.
A SUPERB HERB SALAD
For a great herb salad try this or any variation there of. Use all of the ingredients listed: 1 handful of each: Basil, Dill, Coriander, Rosemary, Tarragon, Parsley, minced garlic to taste, chopped carrots, sugar snap peas, Chinese green peas, green onions, red onions, corn cut from cob, all colours capsicum chopped, sweet potatoes, purple cabbage, green cabbage, sliced radish, 1 tsp sugar sprinkled over salad, juice from 4-6 lemons, juice from 1 large orange. Basically, if you like it, add it. Needs no dressing but is still awesome with Balsamic Vinaigrette and a fresh French loaf. Every bite is an experience.
QUICK CARROT AND SAGE PASTA
Saute sliced carrots and fistfuls of fresh sage (whole leaves – don’t chop them up) in a huge knowb of butter, until the carrots are cooked tender and the sage becomes crispy. Serve tossed over bow-tie pasta. Delicious, impressive and colourful!
THYME AND GARLIC
I use lots of thyme with baked or roasted chicken and there is no such thing as too much garlic in anything! Linett Ram, via email.
HERB RUB FOR STEAK
You should try making a spice rub for steak. Fresh mint, oregano, onion, and rosemary. No specific amounts, just add the herbs to your own taste. This is ideal for red meats especially for steak which is then thrown on a hotplate on the BBQ.
SUPER FAST TRIFLE RECIPE
For a fast, easy summer trifle recipe that the kids will love: Buy a readymade sponge from the supermarket, chop it up into big bits and put in a clear glass bowl. Cover the sponge with sparkling duet, coloured fizz or fanta. Then make or buy a thick custard, put that on top, then whipped cream and tinned peaches. This is my Mum’s trifle recipe she has made since we were kids. We’re all in our 30s now and we still ask Mum for it! Aaron Wells, Waterview.
“My favourite thing for using herbs at home is on cold winter days putting herbs into to my favourite vegetable soup recipe for example parsley. And my all time favourite is homemade pizza with fresh basil sprinkled on top. Then for dessert, I like to garnish them with mint or lavender so they look presentable. Herbs are always good because they flavour the meals well and truly, making them tasty and giving your dishes colour.” Roxanne Trotter, Matakana
BEST MARINADE FOR CHICKEN PORK OR LAMB
Mix fresh rosemary, parsley, and minced garlic together along with a squeeze of lemon juice and you have a marinade for chicken, pork or lamb. Also add that fresh rosemary to the side of roasted potatoes or couscous.
THE POWER OF BICARBONATE OF SODA
“My family has started experimenting with bicarbonate of soda. Instead of using it just for removing smells in my fridge, I’ve put some in a bowl with a drop of essential oils to remove smells in the bathroom and toilet. Also it works well sprinkled onto grease in grill pan or burnt on stains. Just wipes clean! I am amazed. It soaks up all the grease. My toilet looks like new since I sprinkled some down there and gave it a quick brush. I love these natural solutions to things.” Hira Lal, via email
SPEEDY SPICY BREAD PUDDING DESSERT RECIPE
“My favourite dessert is one my mum used to make when we were hard up and money was tight – like our current economic state! It’s spicy bread pudding and it’s fast, cheap and easy. Soak stale bread in water and squeeze excess out. Put in bowl with dry spices (cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and whatever else you like) and an egg or 2 to combine and mix it all together. Put it in a baking dish and bake in a moderate oven for around 1/2 hour til cooked – serve with custard, whipped cream or icecream. Yum!” Mary Edgecombe, MAssey, Auckland.
BARBECUE CLEANING TIP
Here’s a fantastic tip, for summer when everyone loves those BBQs! Before cooking on your barbeque hot plate, clean them with a halved lemon. Heat the hotplate(s) first, slice a lemon in half and slide all over your barbeque plates.Great for sanitising it too!
A WHITEBAIT FRITTER RECIPE TO GO NAKED FOR
“I go weak at the knees and would nearly go naked for a fresh whitebait fritter. Here’s a recipe: Fresh whitebait, freerange eggs, quickly mixed and cooked in a hot pan with a touch rock salt and freshly ground black pepper. Don’t forget the lemon, and slap it between two slices of the very best wholemeal buttered bread you can find. This appeals to me so much that I think yes, I will go naked.” Rose Bolton, Torbay
COCKTAIL PARTY – LEMON FRUIT ICY
For a refreshing after dinner treat blend 1/2 a tin of Fruit Salad with equal part water and add a generous dash of Lemon Fresh Lemonade. Pour into ice block containers and freeze.
For an adult BBQ refreshments simply add Vodka to taste!
WHY DRINK LOTS OF WATER?
Why drink lots of water? Because your skin is the biggest organ in your clever wee machine that is your human body and it needs to be kept hydrated! Drinking 2 litres of water a day also flushes toxins out of your system like a wet broom! As well, it stoped your skin aging. You MUST drink 2 litres a day, no arguments. Even 3 litres is better. I try to drink a 1.5L bottle of cold water (kickstarts the metabolism!) each morning, just sipping away as often as I can and then 1.5L again in the afternoon. To make water less boring to drink. fill a big glass jug with filtered water, put a couple of slices of lemon in it, and keep in the fridge for on-the-hand chilled lemony water.
TIPS FROM A HERB LOVER
“My favourite herb would be sage, because I am addicted to roast meat stuffing, and I don’t think any stuffing is complete without sage! But I also grow thyme, tarragon, basil, chives and parsley. I am trying to get hold of an old bath so I can grow more herbs!” Jenny Buckley, Kaiapoi
QUICK AS CHRISTMAS PUDDING TRUFFLES (with a twist!)
“These go down really well with the young and old at Christmas and they are easy-peasy to make! Buy a couple of packets of mallowpuffs, dip them into melted white chocolate and let it run down the sides of each mallowpuff, while the white chocolate is still warm stick two mint leaf lollies and one jaffa (or glace cherry) and wham, wee mini Christmas puddings that everyone loves. I made these years ago and they have been requested every year since!” Jen Buckley, North Canterbury.
ECO-FRIENDLY TIPS x3!
“I use vinegar and baking soda in most cleaning. I learnt from a friend how to make your own effective toilet bowl cleaner: 1 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup baking soda. Put the vinegar into the toilet bowl. Leave it 30 minutes (you have time to do something else!) After 30 minutes dip the toilet brush into the toilet. Take it out and sprinkle some baking soda onto the brush. Scour the inside of the toilet with the brush repeating the sprinkle procedure until the baking soda is gone. Clean toilet! This works for me as I don’t have to smell any nasty chemicals as I am pregnant. I also grow my own salad greens – I really like my vege garden. Also reduce your junk mail with an “Addressed Mail Only” sign. This will greatly help the environment.” Seema Lal, Auckland.
ECO-FRIENDLY HOME IDEAS
Lemon Juice smells great, and does a heck of a job of cleaning. The juices of this citrus fruit is great for removing grease from grimy dishes. Squeeze a lemon into the sink the next time you are doing the dishes and you’ll probably notice the grease comes off of dishes much easier.
Also, use salt as a cleaning product, especially for things that needs a really good scrub…..like stained cups or dishes.
Baking Soda is another great scrubbing product that is much finer, and less abrasive than salt. Great for cleaning porcelain sinks and tubs and bathrooms.
ECO-FRIENDLY POWER TIP
A simple eco-friendly, green household tip is to turn all the appliances off at the wall when they are not in use. Even leaving them on standby still wastes a lot more power than you would think! A great fire hazard reducer as well. Just flick off at the wall – make it a rule.
OLD STRAWBERRY PUNNETS
Use empty plastic containers like strawberry punnets and yoghurt pottles, as seed propagators. Put some potting mix in the bottom, add your seeds, cover lightly with mix, close the lid and put container on the window sill, until seeds emerge then pot to a bigger vessel in the usual manner.
Try a handful of bergamot in your warm bath for a real pick-me-up.
LINGERIE DRAWER ECO-TIP
Try crushed rosemary or lavender between two tissues in your drawer to make your lingerie smell delightful.
MICE HATE MINT
Crush fresh mint leaves and sprinkle in your pantry and kitchen cupboards to discourage mice and cockroaches.
For your Christmas cherries this year, try big, black Damson Cherries from the South Island. They are so delicious and full of antioxidants to keep you young as well as being excellent for your immune system. Remember all naturally red foods are chock full of antioxidants and Vitamin A.
WHEN USING NON-STICK FRYPANS…
When using non stick frypans, instead of pouring oil in, coat with a light spray of cooking oil to incorporate less fat into your cooking. Fresh in the Kitchen loves Circulon Cookware.
A STAIN REMOVING TIP
If you have a bad stain on your clothing, make a paste out of laundry detergent and a small amount of water and rub it in whilst the stain is still fresh.
THE GOODNESS OF LEMONS
Lemons are a modern wonder-food. They provide ample vitamin C, have cleansing and diuretic qualities. As a cooking ingredient squeezed lemon juice enhances the natural flavours of your food which allows you to reduce the use of salt. If you love good taste and healthy food add a spritz of lemon and you’ll feel good for it.
CHRISTMAS TURKEY TIP
Although disposable, do not use an aluminum/throw away roast pan for roasting the Christmas Turkey. Use a heavy duty roasting pan with a minimum of 5cm sides big enough to hold a good size festive turkey.
a) A heavy duty roasting dish prevents the drippings from burning because of the heavier bottom.
b) A solid roasting dish is easier to handle when placing the bird in and out of the oven. The aluminum pans bend with the weight and nasty accidents can happen.
c) The traditional roasting dish is easier to deglaze and make gravy in. (have you tried whisking up a good Christmas Turkey gravy in an aluminium pan?)
SUMMER FRUIT TIP
Never let over-ripe stone fruit go to waste. Poach or stew them and serve them with thick greek yoghurt for breakfast or over icecream or meringues for dessert.
SAVE POWER IN THE KITCHEN
Save power by always thinking about when you will need the oven. Don’t have it preheating for longer than you need to and always remember to turn it off as soon as you are finished with it and leave the oven door open to spread the warmth through the house after it is switched off.
A HERB BEFORE BEDTIME
Chamomile is the herb of choice before bed time. Makes you sleepy and peaceful. Chamomile Tea is best and we recommend AAAH TEA in Auckland for the best quality herb teas.
KIDS IN THE KITCHEN
Start your children early! Welcome them into the kitchen to stand beside you and help. The are never too young to get the potatoes out, stir the batter or find the pot lid. Share your kitchen knowledge with your children and watch a young cook thrive from when they can stand on a stool! Simply teach your kids to cook. The kitchen and cooking then becomes a family thing they will then enjoy and pass on and it’s a lot more fun than cooking on your own! It’s half the work and twice the fun!
Haloumi (or Halloumi) Cheese is still quite unknown to many consumers and food lovers across New Zealand, so we are here to show you just how beautiful a cheese it is! Haloumi cheese must be heated to bring out its true flavours, and it’s a fun cheese to play around with in the kitchen. Eat it with your eggs in the morning, simply drizzle with lemon juice and capers, or toss in with your favourite salad. It is the perfect cheese for BBQ skewers or kebabs.
CURE A BUG NATURALLY
Got a tummy bug ot just feeling under the weather? Take a palm full of lavender oil and put in on as a pure rub all over your chest and neck. Drink lots of lemon and honey with hot water and lots and lots of fresh mint from the garden. The lavender really helps to relax and de-stress the body and allays coughing fits.
GET YOUR KIDS TO LOVE HERBS TOO
“My family has never been big on fresh herbs in their food, now we can’t live without them, it all started out with adding basil to tomato with a splash of balsamic vinegar, now we have to have Italian parsley in with our lettuce salad, and chop up some chives to blend in with the eggs. My 9yr old son loves picking them and cutting them up for the recipes, and the food tastes much nicer.” Julie Hollamby, Gisborne.
POACHED EGGS FOR DUMMIES
A simple and fool-proof method for making poached eggs is… Coat the inside of a cup with a large piece of glad wrap. Break the egg into the cup. Enclose your egg in the glad wrap with a tight twist. Lower the enclosed egg into boiling water and cook till desired firmness. Un-twist the gladwrap and flip the egg onto your plate and VOILA!
FEEL FULL LONGER
It’s simple to feel full longer if you are wanting to watch your calorie intake and lose a few kilos - just add more whole grains to your diet.
TIP TO GET RID OF ANTS – AND KEEP THEM OUT!
To keep ants out of the house, find where the ants are getting in and sprinkle cinnamon, any type of ground pepper or cucumber peel as a barrier. These substances are too hot for the ants to cross.
REMOVE INK STAINS
The best way to get rid of ink stains from fabric is to apply rubbing alcohol to the stain before washing – it actually works!
GET RID OF BAD FOOD ODOURS
The easiest way to get rid of spoiled food odours from a room is to leave an open bowl of white vinegar in the room for half a day.
If you find yourself with too many berries after a dinner party or the summer berry season, freeze them! But make sure you wash the berries and freeze them on a baking sheet before you pop them in a freezer bag together. This way they don’t stick together and they keep their shape.
SALT SHAKER TIP
Next time you re-fill your salt shaker, add a few grains of rice in with the salt. The rice absorbs any moisture in the container and keeps it from clogging.
Thank you so much Sue Jaye from Tauranga for your handy gravy tip:
If your gravy becomes lumpy, take a handful of ice cubes and whisk them into the gravy and VOILA – a deliciously smooth result!
ECO-FRIENDLY OIL SPRAY
Maria Grogan from Wellington writes:
“One of my favourite kitchen tips-an eco-friendly one-is to use a
pump spray bottle or a Misto (http://www.misto.com/) to spray olive
oil. You use less oil than pouring, and you’re not using disposable
spray bottles full of propellants.”
BAKING PAPER MAKES LIFE EASY
For those of you who have yet to discover the multiple uses and benefits of baking paper - start thinking outside the square. No more having to grease oven trays or dirty oven dishes soaking in the sink with tough baked on food. Just cover cooking or prep surfaces with baking paper and save your time and effort. And it’s surprisingly cheap too.
HERBS FOR TORTILLAS
“My favourite way to use fresh herbs is to blend coriander, spring onion, cheese and chilli in the food processor, than spread it over a tortilla, put another one on top and then grill them quickly so the cheese melts!”
PEELING GARLIC MADE EASY
Thanks to Megan Cannan for her golden tip:
Pop garlic cloves into the microwave for 15 seconds and the skins peel straight off. This method also stops your fingers and hands from getting smelly.
LEFT OVER CREAM
To make use of left over cream, pipe stars and swirls on a foil covered tray and freeze. When frozen store in a container and keep in freezer. Use for quick decorations for cakes and desserts allowing time to thaw.
READY TO GO!
Having a day out and about? Always have a bag packed with insect repellant, sunscreen, packaged snacks and a first aid kit ready to go. You never know where spontaneous adventures will lead you and you will always be prepared after grabbing your pre-packed bag.
Di Harwood from Christchurch recommends oregano for macaroni cheese, homemade pizzas and even baked with schnitzel layered in a baking dish topped with onion, mushroom, cheese and tomato. It could be a hit with the kids!
Buy fresh from the local green grocer 3 to 5 times a week and steer clear of the supermarket for not-so-fresh produce!
KEEP BROCCOLI FRESH
Keep Broccoli in water like you would flowers to keep fresh for longer.
FREEZE YOUR GARDEN HERBS AND VEGES
If you’re a keen gardener then you’ll know that when vegetables are in season you’re often left with more than you know what to do with. So if you don’t have a gardener neighbour you can play swaps with -freeze your precious produce while it’s fresh so you can make the most of your hard work. Make sure you lay it cut up on a tray and when it’s frozen transfer into air-tight bags. So much better than the pre-packed supermarket variety.
ECONOMIC TOMATO PASTE
Tomato paste can be quite expensive to buy and often comes in unsuitably sized proportions. Maimuna Lone of Auckland says to buy a large can and freeze it in ice cube trays. Once it has frozen, transfer to an air-tight plastic bag. This means you can pop in as many cubes as you like without any hassle or wastage.
It’s especially important during these hot summer months to keep your body hydrated. So keep your fridge well stocked with refilled plastic water bottles that you can grab on your way out the door. Popping bottles into the freezer over night allows you to have cool water long into the day and it’s perfect for the kids at school. And it’s always refreshing to have a large pitcher of water in the fridge to come home to, with either mint leaves or lemon slices.
A GOOD RULE OF THUMB
A good rule of thumb to go by in the endeavour to eat healthy is to eat foods that remember where it came from. The closer to the source of the original food the better. For examples: green beans that are fresh contain more of the good stuff than those in a can; bananas are better than fried banana chips or a banana split!
5-CUP, 5 MINUTE DESSERT
Here is a super, quick and easy 5-cup dessert salad. Voila, just like that. A gorgeous dessert using just 5 cups of ingredients: 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup miniature marshmallows, 1 cup crushed pineapple (drained), 1 cup mandarin segments, fresh or tinned drained) and 1 cup dessicated coconut. How to: 1. Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. You can throw this together in a couple of minutes. The perfect summer dessert side dish.
Using a plastic spatula is often a nifty way to maneuver around a non-stick frying pan without scratching the surface.
When frying schnitzel always line the bottom of the pan with baking paper to stop meat and crumbs sticking and make clean-up easier.
CORIANDER & CURRY
Coriander is a great summer herb. It goes so well in almost any salad and is a kitchen staple – especially for those of us who love a good curry. Incidentally curries with ingredients such as tumeric and ginger are extremely good for you – being big cancer fighters.
MAXIMIZE TASTE + VITAMIN ABSORPTION
Gaye Gardiner from Morrinsville recalls her mother saying all vegetables taste better with a small knob of butter stirred in after cooking. Now it’s said that adding butter to vegetablesafter cooking actually improves vitamin absorption!
REASONS FOR A VEGE GARDEN
It has been said many times but a vegetable garden really is a must. If you have staples (pasta, bread, rice, mince, etc) in your pantry and fridge, you can always easilly create a delicious fresh seasonal meal. Parsley is super easy to grow and you can create a nice neat border around a flower garden with it.
HERBS GO WITH EVERYTHING
Whatever your dish, there’s always a herb to match – Parsley for scrambled eggs, thyme or sage with roast meat and veges, tarragon in pasta dishes, mint in new potatoes and as a a garnish, and always feel free to experiment with herb flavours you enjoy.
“I love using rosemary with lamb – I prepare my roast lamb with salt, oil, flour, garlic and rosemary. I make tiny slits in the lamb and put the rosemary in, so the flavour goes throughout the whole lamb then I place it on the spit on the bbq with lots of rosemary scattered on a tray underneath the lamb and voila you have the most fragrant and tender lamb you have ever tasted!” Tash Gill, Ohakune
It seems that most of us have forgotten the humbler salad spinner. It’s a cheap and handy investment because there’s nothing more unappealing than soggy lettuce.
SMOOTH AND CONSISTENT GRAVY
Add a bit of cornflour to your gravy when it is simmering to get a nice and smooth consistency (It also helps thicken the gravy).
MELTING CHOCOLATE IN THE MICROWAVE
To melt chocolate in the microwave correctly get 1 packet of chocolate melts – tip into a glass bowl and put in the microwave on 50% or medium power – cook for 1 minute – stir – cook further 1 minute – take out of microwave and stir until any lumps have melted and chocolate is smooth – leave to cool for a while if dipping fruit or using as a topping on cookies.
SHAKE UP YOUR COOKING HABITS
Choose an ingredient you normally use a lot in your cooking, and decide that for a week you won’t use it at all in any meals. It’s amazing how much it shakes up your cooking and moves it out of boring and predictable ruts! Discover your way to whole new food groups through this challenging method.
1. Put on your favourite music and turn it up LOUD!
2. Pour yourself a glass (or two) of your favourite wine.
3. Sing along to your hearts content.
4. Embrace and enjoy your whole cooking experience!
CRUNCHY ROAST POTATOES
To make deliciously crunchy roast potatoes pre-heat the oven so that the baking tray and oil are piping hot, saLt the pototoes before putting them in the oven then leave the door open for the last ten minutes of cooking. Bon appetite!
EXTREME CREAM INDULGENCE
To add extra indulgence to cream filling for pav or trifle desserts stop whipping the cream before it gets fully thick and pour in a carton of ready-made custard and fold it in. You can also add some port to top it off..
A TABLE CENTREPIECE TO EAT!
Dinner parties are festive, so why not go all out and have something super decadent for the main meal. Blow up a balloon to any size that suits your needs. Melt a good cup or more of your favourite big bar of chocolate. Using the narrow handle end of a spoon, drip the melted chocolate in a net like design (or whatever design you like really). Place in the fridge until hardened. Carefully pop the balloon and voila! – a unique, edible, wow-factor centrepiece for the table or dessert dish! A superb tip from Kate Grinrod, Napier.
POSSIBLY OUR BEST, YET SNEAKIEST, TIP EVER!
Claire Beckett of Berhampore in Wellington offers this tip and it’s so clever, funny and sneaky. I laughed out loud when she submitted it:
MY TOP TIP:
If you were expected to bake a cake for an occasion and forgot, buy one and drop it from knee height and it looks perfectly homemade.
ROAST MARSHMALLOWS ON THE BBQ
Remember if you have an outdoor brazier or fireplace and you would like to experience the gorgeousness that is roasted marshmallows, put them in a metal skewer with a handle or a wooden one that has been wet so it doesn’t burn the stick. And never put the marshmallows over the flame, just over the embers for a perfect, golden brown, sticky treat.
Add balsamic vinegar and icing sugar to strawberries, marinate for 1 hour and serve with ice cream for a fresh easy dessert.
TWO MINUTE NOODLE MAKEOVER
Spruce up a two-minute noodle meal with half a cup of fresh chopped herbs. All you need to do is boil water, add noodles, as the noodles get soft add the flavour, ginger and chopped herbs. It’s especially nice served hot on a chilly night.
HERBS IN BREAD
Put fresh rosemary and garlic into bread maker breads. It makes the bread smell even more delicious as it cook, not to mention the lovely flavour it delivers.
WHEAT FREE AND GLUTEN FREE CAKES
As I am wheat and gluten free, it is hard to find a sweet treat without leaving you feeling like your teeth have crawled out of your head. I therefore use either one of these cake recipes to combat that craving as both can be partnered up with some marscopone cheese.
Boil 2 oranges skin and all in a sugar syrup until soft then throw into whizz and combine until pureed. Cream 6 eggs and 1 c sugar until creamy – add orange, 1c ground almonds and 1 tsp baking powder. Bake 1hr at 150 degrees. When cool drizzle with left over orange stock syrup.
Lemon and almond cake:
Beat 4 eggs until pale and frothy and then add 175g castor sugar and continue to beat until stiff. Gently fold in rind and juice of 1 lemon and then 400g ground almonds until well combined. Spoon into cake tin bake at 190 degrees for 35-40 minutes until browned and skewer comes out clean. Cool in tin before turning out and dust with icing sugar.
“These do the trick nicely and both are good after-dinner cake or desserts as they’re not too heavy and both go extremely well with a dessert wine!” Frances Wharry of Whakatane.
SAVOURY SCONES TIP
Add fresh herbs like parsley and chives to your savoury cheese scone recipe. It adds a lovely flavour and superb great colour!
AN EASY METHOD TO CUT MEAT STRIPS
When cutting beef or lamb (preferably rump steak) for strifires,
put it in the freezer to partially freeze it. This way the meat can
be cut easily and very thin.
BEGINNERS TIP FOR HERB USERS
If you’re a beginner with herbs, ease yourself into it with basil. Experiment with basil and tomato and a dash of balsamic vinegar. When you’ve acquired that – move onto using Italian Parsley with leafy salads. Then you’re ready chop up chives to blend in with egg recipes. It’s all about experimenting to enrich your food with flavour and discovering your tastes.
MAKE YOUR OWN HEALTHY CRACKERS
Make your own healthy crackers and add in various herbs to flavour - mixed herbs, chives, rosemary etc. It makes a nice healthy change for the kids to have with hummus or aioli dip.
WHIZZ UP YOUR OWN PESTO
A great herb tip is to make Pesto which can be used as an incredibly healthy and far tastier alternative to butter or margarine in a savoury sandwhich or on a cracker. You can use it in just about any savoury recipe to add a wonderful taste of herbs and can make it in a food processor, from any green herb that you fancy (or a mixture), You can also freeze it if you have an over-abundance of herbs you need to use up. Make your pesto from sunflower seeds, which are way cheaper than the traditional pine nuts and always use extra virgin olive oil for health.
2 cups fresh herbs;
4 tablespoons lemon juice;
4 cloves garlic;
2/3 cup sunflower seeds;
2/3 cup Olive oil;
sea salt to taste;
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
In a food processor, starting with sunflower seeds and garlic; blend/grind together ingredients; adding torn up handfuls of herbs then oil, salt and parmesan cheese. Adjust seasoning and oil to taste. When well blended, place in jars; refrigerate and use as required.
“Love this pesto.” Helen Combes, Wellington 6037
My kitchen tip (as it’s fresh in my mind from dinner time) is onions. My kids love caramelised onions but they don’t like the residual smell they leave if the skins and outer bits end up in the bin. I make sure that the onions don’t go in the vege bin (the smell always lingers after it’s been emptied). I’ve set up a worm farm close to the kitchen so I make sure that the peelings go straight to the worms and not via the vege bin. I also have an aromatic oil in a burner in the kitchen. I’ve found that some of the eucalyptus scented oils make a good job of neutralising rather than simply making kitchen odours. Andrew Davies, Khandallah
Crisp Batter recipe for fish fillets etc: 1/3 cup Cornflour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 thirds cup of Flour, half cup Milk, 2 teaspoons Baking Powder. How to make the batter: Sift dry ingredients, add Milk, mix until smooth.
Dip your fish and deep fry! Easy and delicious.
QUICK CHICKEN CASSEROLE
This is a fantastic chicken casserole that both the adults and kids love at our house and the leftovers are great on top of risotto the next day. Use a big heavy casserole on the stove and put in – chopped celery – 5 stalks, generous handful of chopped up rosemary, 40 unpeeled cloves of garlics, three sliced up red peppers, salt and 2 tbsps of oil. Saute but don’t colour. Add half a glass of white wine and a just over a cup of stock. Add the chook which has been rubbed in salt and oil and had a few herbs stuck up it (bay leaf, parsley, sage). Bring to a simmer, coat in juice and then place in oven at 180 for about an hour with a tight fitting lid. Turn oven up for last ten minutes and take the lid off so the chook gets golden on top. Serve on rice with sauce from casserole reduce the sauce if desired). Garlic won’t make your breath smell and the kids love sucking it out of the garlic blub husk! I think it’s a immune system boost!
“Yum.” Annie Marenghi, Wellington 6023
BAKING PAPER IS THE BEST!
A favourite cooking tip is simple….. baking paper, baking paper, baking paper! Use it daily in your household and save time scrubbing and cleaning up:
- use it in a pan for no-fat, non-stick frying.
- baking trays for cooking chips or baking biscuits and scones.
- Line your caketin all the way round instead of just the bottom.
- Lining quiche dishes.
- In the freezer between burger patties you’ve made. Makes them easy to pull out a one at a time without defrosting.
- Perfect for pavlovas.
PREVENT LIME BUILD-UP IN YOUR DEHUMIDIFIER
A copper scouring pad in your humidifier will prevent lime buildup.
SCRAMBLED EGG TIP
When making scrambled eggs do them in a bowl over a pot of boiling water – then it doesn’t all stick to the bottom of the pan. Plus you save on washing up time.
MAKE MARGARINE GO FURTHER
Whip margarine in a bowl with a little milk to make it go further when making sandwiches for a crowd or a family of hungry teenagers. This makes it go a lot further and is easier to spread.
A NICE SMELLING LOO
Put a few drops of essential oil inside the toilet roll to give the bathroom a subtle refreshing scent.
KEEP CHEESE SOFT
To prevent your cheese going hard in the fridge, brush the exposed parts with a little butter.
CURE ITCHY BITES
For annoying itchy bites, drip warm candlewax onto the bite, leave to set and then remove. And watch the itch be gone!
WORM FARM BENEFITS
Invest in a worm farm as it’s fabulous for providing liquid fertiliser for the garden and to get rid of kitchen scraps. It’s fun and educational for the kiddies too.
EASY PEASY PASTA BAKE
Easy peasy baked pasta: Cook your preferred pasta; Place it in an oven-proof dish; Pour your favourite supermarket-bought sauce over the pasta; Sprinkle with several types of cheese, add herbs and spices; Toss through mushrooms, garlic and butter and/or mince or chopped sausage; Bake at 180 for 40 minutes.
With the summer heat quickly turning mint and parsley patches to seed – pick, wash well, remove stalks, chop finely (or mince), add a little water and freeze in ice cube trays. Useful for when the season ends and you’ll always have your preciously grown herbs on hand.
WEIGHING MAKES A DIFFERENCE
When baking, WEIGH all the ingredients. With a good set of kitchen scales you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes. The balance of wet and dry ingredients is important in baking, and the results from “close enough” measurements really do show!
CHOC SAUCE TIP
Microwave equal quantities of cream and a good quality dark chocolate until the chocolate is melted (30 seconds at a time on a low power setting with plenty of stirring between each cooking period). This divine chocolate sauce tarts up anything, from ice cream to fruit to baking.
There’s plenty of lavender growing in gardens all over the country so make the most of it. Cut out a circle from scrap fabric (old pillowcases come in handy!), fill it with lavender heads and tie it with ribbon. Stash under kids pillows when they aren’t well or are having trouble sleeping. Also put a few heads into bathtubs -when the warm water hits them their aroma is released and it makes bathtime extra-relaxing.
ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS
Always wash your hands well before preparing food. It seems simple but will save you and your family a world of trouble.
“My best garden tip would be to simply give it a go, there’s really nothing to lose. I started with a couple of donated cherry tomato seedlings from a friend and a couple of 80c plastic buckets on my very small deck and was amazed at how easy (and yummy) it was. From there it has just grown and grown, a little at a time as I have learnt. Now I have room for a proper no-dig garden and the buckets have been passed on to friends to start the cycle over!” Diana Gloyn
GROW RHUBARB GROW
Collect the teabags from the office cups of tea each week and pop them around your rhubarb plants. They like tea leaves and it provides a mulch for the plant in the heat.
GROWING YOUR OWN APPLES
When you have apple trees and the apples start turning red, the birds start eating them, so try tying plastic shopping bags to the branches (not all branches though), we’ve heard it seems to keep the birds away.
Always plant basil beside each tomato plant as it keeps all the bugs away – and it actually works.
Never discuss an area that might be confrontational on an empty stomach.
Eat first, let the dinner settle, and then bring up your point for discussion and hour or so later.
You will find that you are more likely to have a reasonable discussion with food in your stomach.
A BBQ SALAD TIP
Make a simple yet delicious salad to compliment a summer Barbie by wacking some bacon and tomatoes on the grill while it’s on. Then mix it in with basil, your favourite cheese, spinach greens and some olive oil.
A BASIC BBQ TIP
Before you start your barbie always remember to check that you have a spare gas burner on hand as well as lots of ice!
A CAMPFIRE TREAT
For a delicious campfire treat:
Slice bananas lengthwise.
Stuff with marshmallows, chocolate chips, nuts, and basically anything that takes your fancy.
Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Wrap in tin foil and heat in the fire for about ten minutes.
Indulge in your gooey caramalised banana treat.
Have a never-fear attitude with a couple of tried and true recipes that you can whip up at a moments notice with the help of canned veges. So, try some out at your leisure and be prepared for anything.
A BEAN SALAD TIP
Make a big bean salad and eat it a few nights in a row – it gets even better after sitting overnight! Use a couple of cans of mixed beans, some blanched green beans, chopped onion and herbs and a dressing of equal parts oil, vinegar & sugar.
A COCONUT CREAM SUBSTITUTE
If you don’t like coconut cream when making raw fish, substitute it for ordinary cream. You can also use lime juice instead of lemon.
COOKING AT THE BACH TIP
When going away to the bach this summer pre-cook as much of the meat as possible and freeze to save cooking time which could be spent relaxing, having fun, and fishing.
SHARING COOKING DUTY ON HOLIDAY
When going away to the beach with another family, take turns doing meals rather than all helping with every dinner. This means you all get a complete night off, to stay down at the beach or relax. This is great for planning the groceries so that you don’t have too much food that will spoil, as well as feeling that you’re having a holiday. Plus you get to try someone else’s cooking for a nice change.
ROAST VEGE MIX
For a holiday dish which is easy to prepare, can use any quantity and mixture of vegetables, is good accompanied with cold meats and makes a delicious meal:
Chop up any vegetables you have- potatoes, kumara, carrots, yams, parsnips, onions, etc. Mix oil, your choice of fresh herbs, seasonings, etc into the mixture and roast at 180C until almost cooked (30 – 40 minutes). Then mix in any fast cooking ingredients such as mushrooms, peppers, feta cheese, etc and roast until vegetables are tender. Serve hot.
REGULATE YOUR ICE CUBE SUPPLY
Make a habit of refilling your ice-cube trays at breakfast time. So while you’re having your muesli and fruit for the day - you’re keeping the ice-cube supply on track!
USES FOR CAKE OFF-CUTS
After making a flop cake or having birthday cake shape cut-offs, bag up and freeze the leftover uniced cake. You can use the cake off-cuts for:
1) Making truffles – soak cake in rum, add dried apricots, nuts, lollies, anything you like then add melted chocolate. Roll into balls and dunk in chocolate.
2) Impromptu pudding/trifle – using nice desert glasses add layers of cake with custard, berries, crushed meringue, jelly, biscuit pieces, jam, anything – let your imagination go wild!
3) A simple dessert with chocolate sauce and ice-cream.
GETTING RED WINE OUT OF CARPETS
To get red wine out of carpet, use white wine!
CORDIAL FLAVOURED ICE PACK
Forget that block of ice in cool bags for summer picnics – freeze a bottle of fruit cordial instead and it keeps everything nice and cold and when it thaws out you have a cold refreshing drink too.
DRY HERBS OUT TO USE LATER
If you have too many fresh herbs from your garden or pots, dry them out in the microwave and store in air tight containers for use in recipes as you need them.
BBQ PORTABELLO MUSHROOMS
To take your BBQ up a classy notch – lay potabello mushrooms in tinfoil, slightly oiled, spread tamarillo chutney on, and top off with blue vein cheese. Fold up the tin foil and cook over medium heat till cooked, and the cheese has melted. You can also do this in a pan.
KEEP COTTAGE CHEESE LONGER
Cottage cheese will keep twice as long if stored upside down.
SPACE SOLUTION TO GARDENING
Vegetables are going up in price in the supermarket all the time and with the hard economic times it makes perfect sense in today’s world to plant and grow a vegetable garden. Even if you don’t have the space for a garden – containers are readily available and even plastic buckets will grow a few vegs. Its so rewarding to pick your own tomatoes, greens, herbs etc…the fresh taste and enjoyment you get from producing your own food will become something you will fast want to do more of.
CREAM CHEESE STORAGE TIP
When storing cheese, refrigerate it in it’s original package if possible. If not, cover it tightly in foil or plastic wrap to prevent drying or in a tight container.
GOOD VIBE FOOD
Remember to always cook with passion, love, a positive attitude and a smile on your face. All these positive energies are transferred to and manifest in the food you serve.
MUSHROOMS ON THE BARBIE
Take a portobello mushroom, lay it in tinfoil, oil slightly, spread tamarillo chutney on top and top off with blue vein cheese. Fold up the tin foil and cook over medium Barbie or pan heat till the mushroom is cooked and the cheese has melted.
A CHICKEN BREAST MEAL TIP
For a filling and satisfying chicken meal buy 2 plump fresh chicken breasts and slice through the thickest part to butterfly. Then slice into strips (2 breasts should give you between 20 and 25 strips) and coat with a variety of seasoned breadcrumbs ie. moroccan, lemon pepper, mixed herbs or mexican. Refrigerate until the coating has set then fry in canola oil until golden. Drain on a paper towel. Serve hot with a green salad or drizzle with a homemade tomato salsa or sauce and serve with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables.
WHITE VINEGAR CLEANER
Use white vinegar as a cleaner. It’ll make your kitchen, bathroom and floors shine. It’s certainly a cheaper and safer alternative to some of the cleaners you find on supermarket shelves today.
HELP BIRDS BUILD NESTS
Put shredded wheat out for birds – they use it to build their nests.
BEER TO CLEAN HOUSEPLANTS
Use beer to clean the leaves of house plants.
HELP PLANT HEALTH
To help house plants look healthier mix one teaspoon of Epsom Salt into a pint of their water. Also, soluble aspirin in the water promotes new growth.
If the tulips in your vase start to droop - prick the stem with a pin just below the flower. They will straighten up within a few hours.
MAKE CUT FLOWERS LAST LONGER
Put cut flowers into flat lemonade rather than water, they will last much longer.
TOMATO GROWING TIP
Plant marigolds near tomatoes because it attracts bees and other insects that eat naughty little mites that like your tomatoes.
When rolling out dough try rolling it between 2 pieces of wax lunch paper so that it easily peels off when you’re ready to use it. This method keeps the dough in one piece plus you use less flour- thus not spoiling the texture of your dough.
SELF RAISING FLOUR SUBSTITUTE
If you’ve run out of self raising flour, try this solution. Use 1 teaspoon of baking powder to 1 cup of plain flour in your baking. This plain flour-baking powder substitute works extremely well.
With the economy the way it is a veggie garden is a must. Easy to grow veggies are: corn (plant close together by a fence) dwarf beans in succession (support themselves), silverbeet (which is a good source of vitamins), tomatoes (which are low maintenance) and beetroot planted in succession (which grow easily and can be preserved). Remember to bag excess veges while they’re fresh and put them straight in the freezer for later. Also remember that regular picking promotes more growth for legume type veggies.
TAKE ALL THE GARDENING ADVICE YOU CAN GET
“Ask for help! Don’t be embarrassed to ask your friends, neighbours, whoever for advice – their gardens look healthier than yours because they know stuff. You will not become Eion Scarrow overnight, but it will happen if you put your pride to one side and seek help.” Yvonne Marie
A QUICK SUMMER SALAD TIP
For a quick summer salad put the following together in a salad bowl: shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, sliced red onion, diced smoked chicken, avocado, sliced fresh strawberries (you can substitute these for melon or nectarine but the strawberries blend deliciously with the smoked chicken), small pieces of fried bacon (optional). Drizzle Honey Mustard dressing on top and serve with some crispy noodles – yum!!
TOP OFF WITH CORIANDER
If you’re a fan of coriander you can chop it up and top off almost all your dishes. Remember to add it right at the end of the cooking process though, so as not to cook it, but just to give it a gentle quick heat through to release the gorgeous taste and aroma.
EDMONDS SCONE MIX TIP
Edmonds Scone mix is an easy and adaptable meal solution- you can even take it camping. It works well for weekend lunches – just add ham and grated cheese and parsley, or leftover corn kernels, chopped tomatoes and zucchinis to the basic mix. For a sweeter dessert option add chopped dates, a bit of grated orange or lemon zest. Just think – No more messy rubbing butter into flour!
A LAMINGTON TIP
Instead of using sponge cake when making lamingtons, use Edmonds Butter Cake mix (which doesn’t crumble like sponge) and cut it into your desired sizes. It’s better if you make the cake a couple of days before you’re creating the lamingtons as it’s far less crumbly by this stage and easier to dip in the coating – plus it makes a beautifully moist, rich lamington. Also, don’t get stuck on just using raspberry jelly when making the jelly coating – try using 2 different colours and making smaller sized lamingtons so they make a visual spectacular on your serving plate.
RECYCLED VEGE COMPOST
Save all your vege scraps and turn them into compost to keep your soil rich. This works well on gardens that are not too rich in nutrients.
CHEAP CARPET DEODORIZER
Save money on carpet deodoriser – just sprinkle baking soda on the floor instead. Leave for as long as you like then vacuum it up.
QUICK TOMATO SOUP RECIPE
Too many tomatoes ripening in your garden at the same time? Make a cheap, simple and delicious tomato soup to warm you up and give you a health boost! Ingredients in this homemade tomato soup recipe are approximate, so alter to suit your taste. Roughly cut ripe tomatoes to fill 3/4 of a large saucepan. Add 1 large onion chopped small, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. Add water to fill approx half the pan then simmer for 30 mins. Use a kitchen whizz to blend all ingredients and chop up the skins. 2/3 fill small containers and freeze immediately. This will make 4 big soup meals for 1 person for the cost of a just little power.
KEEP SLUGS AND SNAILS AWAY
To keep slugs and snails away and stay true to being organic – scatter crushed egg shells around freshly planted seedlings. It really works!
CHEAP AND NATURAL CLEANING ALTERNATIVE
For a cheap and effective cleaning alternative to Jiff and other store-bought cleaners – mix baking soda with vinegar or lemon juice and add water. You can use it all over the house from the kitchen to the bathroom. You’ll be surprised at how well it cleans. Plus it’s non-toxic!
SPACE SAVING TOMOTO GROWING
If you’re short on space for growing Tomatoes, cut a hole in bottom of an old bucket big enough for planting your tomato plant. Fill the bucket with potting mix or compost and plant the tomato through hole in bottom then hang bucket up with plant out the bottom hanging down. And remember to water. There’s no need for stakes either.
GET KIDS TO EAT GREENS
For children who refuse to eat, or fuss about eating vegetables or greens, put green veggies into the blender and use the resulting concoction in casseroles, pastas, quiches, stews – anything really. You’ll find the kids eating up quite happily and be prepared for suspicious questions about the green colour!
FISHING OUT EGG SHELL BITS
When breaking eggs into bowl for baking etc, the best way to retrieve any wayward egg shell chips from the raw egg is to use the halved egg shells as a spoon. This is much easier than trying to do so with a teaspoon.
KEEPER OF RECIPES
For recipes printed off the computer or cut out of magazines, keep them filed in a folder with plastic sleeves- each sleeve holds two recipes back to back. This not only keeps recipes tidy but you can just wipe plastic clean if any spillages happen while you’re cooking.
CLEAN CLAY POTS
To clean old clay pots soak them in vinegar to remove salt deposits. A few hours gets rid of most salt deposits. For heavily crusted pots- scrub with steel wool to remove residue.
WATERING SYSTEM FOR GARDENS
A self timed watering system is a good idea for successful gardening on a busy schedule. It just needs to be set up to go on for short periods in the morning and evening.
PROTECTING YOUR GARDEN
Protect your garden from cats using it as a litter box by sprinkling your coffee ground waste around your plants. Cats don’t like the smell and keep right away!
PREVENT SOGGY PIE BASES
Put tasty, grated cheese on the pastry bottom of your homebaked pie before adding other fillings. This prevents sogginess.
CLEAN UP AS YOU COOK
“My husband is a fanatical foodie, however somehow he manages to use every single pot, pan, bowl, utensil and chopping board we own, just to create one recipe… And muggins here ends up doing the dishes! It was the cause of many arguments in our house. So my cooking tip is to abolish the stupid ‘Who cooks doesn’t do the dishes’ rule. Make it instead: ‘If you cook, you do the dishes’. That’ll kickstart the ‘clean up as you cook’ message and quite possibly save your relationship. Yvonne Marie Lorkin, Hawkes Bay.
FRESHEN YOUR WASTE DISPOSAL UNIT
To freshen and clean your waste disposal unit: after juicing lemons, simply roughly cut up the skins, and feed down waste disposal unit. Run the water and let it process for a minute or so. Your waste disposal unit will not only be clean, but smell clean and lemony fresh too!
SALAD BOWL TIP
Rubbing a glass or ceramic bowl with bruised mint leaves before adding salad ingredients really makes a salad refreshing. Great for barbecues, for dinner parties or for just a little difference with a side salad!
A salad of mixed herbs gently torn and tossed with a drizzle of virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste is lovely to add to a sandwich or a delightful side dish for grilled fish or meat.
LEFTOVER HAM IDEAS
When you have leftover ham – instead of just endless meals of sliced ham and salad try thinking outside of the square. Try making little ham & egg pies, a pasta bake with ham and veggies in a cheesy sauce, thrown in with pasta salad or big ham steaks on the barbie. You wont hear anyone complaining.
VERSATILE WHITE WINE
Make sure you always have a nice bottle of white wine in the fridge – not only for when you feel the need for a little treat but also to have on hand for cooking up those yummy summer seafood treats such as mussels done in white wine.
CUT MEAL COOKING TIME
To save on cooking time cook double the amount of steak, chicken or even shrimps when grilling on the barbie. This allows you to stretch your meals out and not have meat as the main part of the meal. Divide the cooked goods into three and use the first lot as is for a main meal while it’s freshly cooked. Use the second lot to make a summer salad- green and red lettuce leaves, sliced steak and a blue cheese vinaigrette served with crusty bread and a dipping sauce. Use the third lot to make fajitas with lots of salad ingredients and cheese.
LISTERINE AS A MOSQUITO REPELLANT
Listerine works as a mosquito repellant so smear it here and there to keep them at bay.
BAKING SODA CLEANER FOR COOKING
Before preparing dinner make a little bowl of baking soda and water to keep next to the sink. As soon as dinner is prepared wash your hands with it to remove any odours. It’s also good for scrubbing the chopping board with.
A NICE IDEA FOR EASTER
Here’s a nice idea for Easter: Get together with friends and family and make your Easter goodies. Buns, sweets and biscuits replace store bought impersonal gifts. Its fun, you learn off others, only one kitchen gets messy and it’s all about time spent together and shared laughter. The homemade gifts you get at the end are so much more meaningful. Stock up on cellophane and ribbons so you can wrap them all up at the end.
PICKLE, RELISH AND JAM CLUB
Put together your excess tomatoes and fruit with your gardening friends and make relish, jam and pickles together. Doing it together makes it get done quicker plus you can enjoy a chat and a coffee while you produce something wonderful for the home or gifts.
PUMPKIN PEELING MADE EASY
To make peeling a pumpkin easier – stab a couple of holes in the skin and microwave it for 5-10 minutes depending on size.
EASY POTATO SALAD IDEA
For an easy potato salad all you need is 5-6 new potatoes, 380g tub of Lisa’s gloriously garlic hummus, bacon pieces, feta cheese and spring onion. Wash and peel the potatoes and chop into small bite size bits and boil until tender. Chop up bacon and fry until cooked. Drain potatoes and place in a bowl. Add tub of hummus and bacon and stir until potatoes are coated with the hummus. Chop up feta and spring onion and add to salad. This can be served warm or cold.
BRANDY SNAP ALTERNATIVE
Gingernut lovers will love this brandy snap alternative. All you need is a packet of gingernuts, 1 small tin of pineapple chunks and whipped cream. Place gingernuts in muffin tins and put in the oven at 150C for about 10 minutes until they’ve softened. Remove from the oven and press the softened biscuits deeper into the rounded muffin tins shapes. Leave to cool then fill depressions with whipped cream and place pineapple cubes on top. Refrigerate for 2- 3 hours before serving. Lip smacking good!
EASY VEGETABLE QUICHE
For a super easy vegetable quiche cook up any vegetables you love, place in a oven proof dish and drizzle over 2 cups of milk with tablespoon of butter, a bit of flour and 3-4 eggs. Sprinkle with cheese and cook until perfection or until golden.
OIL PAN WITH A PASTRY BRUSH
Use a pastry brush to lightly brush on oil before cooking in a pan to keep oil to a minimum but get the surface covered.
PAINTING PASTRY BRUSHES
Good quality soft paint brushes can double as pastry brushes and are cheaper. Just make sure you wash them well after use and don’t mix up the kitchen brushes with the painting ones!
USES FOR VITAMIN C
When baking your own bread using compressed yeast which is hard to obtain, but makesthe best bread (you can sometimes get it from bakers), add 1/8th teaspoon of Vitamin C powder or 1 x 50 mg Vitamin C tablet to the yeast liquid – this is the amount for 3-4 cups of flour. It helps the oxidising process by speeding up the maturing of the dough. It eliminates the long raising time, and gives a lighter loaf which does not go stale. Vitamin C can also be used for marinating meat, and home wine making.
FREEZER CLEANING TIP
After cleaning the deep freeze spray the inside walls lightly with oil and from then on the ice will come away very easily. Save yourself hours of time and all that struggle.
When you’re grating carrots by hand and get to the end bit which is hard to go on without grating your hand – stab a dinner fork into it! This way you’ll get to use the entire carrot and the kids can safely help out in the kitchen.
LAVENDER SCENTED SHEETS
When sheets are fresh and clean off the line, fold them up with the flower tips of lavender before you put them away in the cupboard or for storage. When you go to use them next time they’ll have a pleasant and relaxing scent.
EASY HOMEMADE PESTO
Make a delicious homemade pesto by blending basil, parmesan, olive oil and pine nuts.
BASIL IN SPAG-BOL
Use fresh basil in home made pasta dishes like Spaghetti Bolognese. It compliments beautifully.
Lemon mint makes an interesting addition to fresh summer spuds, pastas, salads and fish dishes. You can’t go wrong with it, so experiment away!
WEED KILLER TIP
To make your own organic weedkiller, you need 1 bottle white vinegar, 1 cup table salt, and 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid. To make the weedkiller, put 2 cups of the vinegar into a lidded container, pour in the salt and dishwashing liquid. Close the lid and shake well to mix. Add the remaining white vinegar, shake again, then transfer to a spray bottle. Spray away! It works better than chemicals, and is much cheaper and less harsh. Be careful, it will kill whatever you spray it on!
GENTLE HOMEMADE WEED KILLER
Here’s a homemade weed killer if you want to avoid harsh chemicals:
1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp of baby shampoo
1 Tbsp of Gin, or Listerine mouthwash
2 litres of warm water
Mix all ingredients in a bucket, and pour into a hand held sprayer. Drench each weed to the point of run-off, taking care not to get any spray on surrounding plants.
GET RID OF APHIDS
A good way to rid your garden of aphids is by attracting hoverflies, which lay their eggs amongst aphid colonies, as well as eating some of them. Hoverflies are attracted to yellow/orange flowers, such as sunflowers so brighten up your garden with these.
GET RID OF ANTS
To solve an ant problem start off by tempting them with a sprinkling of sugar. When they start taking the sugar back to the nest – mix in one part sugar with one part Borax crystals. The queen ant will be fed this fatal ingredient.
STOP CATS PEEING ON YOUR GARDEN
Stop cats using your flower beds as a toilet – spray tea bags (either new or used) with Deep Heat. Bury the teabags just below the surface of the soil. When the cat disturbs them they will give off the scent of the spray – which cats can not stand. Plus in time the tea bags will break down and nourish the soil.
SEEDS ARE CHEAP
Even beginner gardeners should buy seeds rather than plants. It’s so much cheaper and they actually very easy to grow. Plant them in old egg containers and when they are ready to go into the ground, just put the whole egg container into the ground. This will minimise any trauma to the plant.
HOW TO SOW FINE SEEDS
When sowing fine seeds bury them close to the surface, and mix with sand for easier sowing.
PROTECT SENSITIVE SEEDLINGS
To protect sensitive seedlings from late frosts cover with miniature greenhouses made from plastic drink bottles with the bottoms cut off and placed around each seedling. Large drinking water bottles are particularly good for larger plants.
You can get rid of weeds and grass growing in the cracks in your sidewalk, driveway, flower bed or lawn by pouring boiling water on them.
Cats can be scared out of the garden by sprinkling pepper around in the garden. Citrus fruit peel can be tried on some cats as well.
COFFEE AS A SLUG AND SNAIL CONTROL METHOD
Use coffee to rid your garden of slugs and snails. Use an instant coffee mixed approx 5 teaspoons to 400mL of water. Liberally spray the solution all over the plants and around the ground near the plants.
BOOST CLIMBING ROSES
To get increased and better blooms out of your climbing roses – bend and tie in the stems of new growth. This reduces the flow of sap and encourages the plant to put more energy into flower production.
Use banana skins as mulch around roses – they feed on the potassium released.
To feed tomatoes put a handful of vacuum bag fluff, damped down, around the plants.
EASY PEST SOLUTION
Tip your used washing up water over the problem areas in your garden and it gets rid of almost all bugs and pests for a while and also saves on watering. Try to consistently do it once a week but stop about ten days before you pick/dig the veggies. Satisfaction lies in the knowledge that you’re saving your plants, money and the environment.
SMALL GARDENS WORK WELL
You don’t need to have a large garden to enjoy nature`s benefits. Have a small garden by planting your veggies in a basket. Dwarf and Cherry Tomatoes are perfect for hanging baskets, all you need to do is remember to water regularly and you will enjoy an abundant crop.
TOMATO SANDWHICH FILLING IDEA
For a scrummy and filling sandwich – chop up one large onion, boil then fry in butter. Add two large skinned cut up tomatoes. When cooked, add a couple of beaten eggs and your choice of seasoning. Heat slowly, till thick. You’re now ready to create your sandwich – don’t forget to use wholegrain bread!
PROTECT SEEDLINGS WITH BIRD NETTING
Fling a roll of bird netting over bamboo stakes to protect newly planted cauliflowers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale and cabbages from lingering white cabbage butterflies.
WHITE VINEGAR REPLACES RINSE AID
Lets face it, buying rinse aid for the dish washer is one expense you can certainly do without. So use white vinegar in it’s place and it’s just as good.
PEEL SLIVERS OF CHEESE
Use a potato peeler to slice cheese slivers instead of a knife. This way you have more control over how much you use.
Yoghurt freezes very easily and lasts a long time. Plus you can mix in berries and ripe fruits before you freeze and eat it as a cheap and tasty dessert – it’s far healthier than ice-cream!
Revive broccoli by cutting off the end of the stem and sticking it in a vase of water for a day. It’ll absorb the water and be refreshed!
MAKE BREAD FRESH AGAIN
If you want to freshen up frozen/stale loaf or bread rolls - sprinkly with water and bake in the oven for about ten minutes - and hey presto! Fresh Bread!
Make plain white disposable or make-shift white napkins exciting by stamping them with monograms – AKA any stamp with a picture you like the look of.
MAKE EVERY DINNER A COLOURFUL AFFAIR
When you set the table for a family dinner, always remember to put some thought into appearances. Whether it’s a colourful bunch of flowers, some elegant candles, some scattered rose petals or even a new bright make-shift table cloth- it adds something special to the meal and the kids will find it exciting.
Store mushrooms in paper bags rather than plastic bags or straight in fridge trays. This prevents them from becoming slimy and keeps them fresh longer.
TIP FOR LEFTOVER WINE
Freeze left over wine in an ice cube tray. These can later be used in recipes asking for wine or to chill a glass of wine if you’ve forgotten to refrigerate it.
KEEP THE BUBBLES IN YOUR CHAMPAGNE
To keep the bubbles in your open bottle of champagne by placing the handle of a dessert spoon in the bottle neck.
SAVE OVER BEATEN CREAM
When beating cream, hold a little back to add at the last minute. This way, if you curdle the cream you can add the remaining liquid to return it to a perfect consistency, otherwise add it at the last stage of beating.
KEEP CHOC BISCUITS AT THEIR BEST
Keep biscuits from going stale and chocolate ones from melting by storing them in the freezer. They actually taste even more delicious when you eat them chilled.
KNIFE SHARPENING TIP
To restore the edge on a sharp knife take an ordinary glazed mug, turn it upside down and use the unglazed ring on the base to sharpen the knife. It won’t sharpen a dull knife but will touch up the edge on a sharp one if done properly.
HOW DO I MAKE MY OWN BANANA CHIPS?
Try making your very own banana chips. They’re easy to make! Peel bananas and slice thinly. Bake in hot oven on non-stick paper or deep fry until crisp. Serve hot or cold.
KEEP MOSQUITO NUMBERS DOWN
If you have open pockets of water in your yard, mosquitos will lay their larvae and use it as a breeding ground. To prevent this, sprinkle salt in the water.
A DIFFERENT WAY TO ROAST MEAT
It’s nice to discover different ways to cook your favourites. Try this for roasting meat: Peel two large onions, slice in half, arrange in non-stick oven dish and place the meat on top. Roasting this way ensures the meat doesn’t touch the bottom of the baking dish and most fat from the meat is drained, but it also flavours the onions, which can be served as a delicious garnish.
CHOPPING BOARD MYTH BUSTED
It’s still commonly believed that plastic chopping boards are safer to chop meat on and we want to bust that myth. In fact, wood was found to have a natural bacteria killing property that plastic does not. So, as long as you wash your boards properly, both types are fine to cut meat on.
If you find yourself out of herbs and spices that your recipe calls for, try substituting. Here’s a little list of interchangable herbs for you to try: Marjoram – Oregano, Savory – Thyme, Cilantro – Parsley, Anise – Fennel. Mixing it up a little is always good in the kitchen as cooking should be an art and is a way to discover new exciting seasonal flavours.
HOW TO STEAM WITHOUT A STEAMER
If you don’t have a steamer and want to steam your veggies, just use your colander or a large sieve above a pot of boiling water. It works just as well and is sometimes even faster. Another way to do it is to microwave or boil the veggies with a very small amount of water – a few pieces of broccoli needs a few tablespoons of water. Remember not to over-steam, the food should still be crunchy.
A CRUSHED GARLIC AND GINGER TIP
To take the hassle out of fiddling with garlic and ginger every time a recipe asks for it and avoid store-bought products that are often heavily watered down, try this: buy in bulk, peel and wash, use food processor to crush, freeze in ice-cube trays and transfer to air-tight freezer bags. Many Indian homes process garlic and ginger with fresh chillies also so it’s all ready to go.
DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE ROLL
Mix together condensed milk, cocoa powder, grated coconut, crushed nuts and crushed Vanilla Wines (or any other crisp biscuits) and make rolls out of this dough. Wrap these rolls into the cling film and refrigerate them for about an hour. Cut into slices and enjoy!
TIPS FOR IBS SUFFERERS
I received a lovely email from a Fresh In The Kitchen fan who was desperately trying to get more information on Irritable Bowel Syndrome and just wanted better eating habits and tips on IBS recipes. So after lots of digging, here are the 3 best IBS recipe websites for those that need them:
PUT SOME NUTRITION INTO EASTER
Instead of just having chocolate and lolly overload for Easter, try putting together some more nutritious treats and presenting them as prizes -grapes in a basket, toy bunny rabbits holding carrots, hard boiled eggs with smily faces, fruit kebabs with a few marsh mellows. Their success depends entirely on how you present them.
PERFECT EASTER TREATS
Drizzle white chocolate crosses on Mellow-puffs to create Easter Hot Cross Buns! You get plenty out of each packet, so it’s cheap as well as thrilling.
EASTER EGG HUNT
Wrap Easter Eggs (or hard boiled eggs with drawings on them) in cellophane and ribbons and hide them around the garden for an Easter Egg hunt. Announce (in mock shock) that the Easter Bunny has been, pass out baskets to all the kids and declare the start of the Easter Egg Hunt. It’s fun and excitement for children and a good giggle for adults. Oh and don’t forget to keep a map of where you’ve hidden them all!
TOASTING HOT CROSS BUNS AND CROISSANTS
Use your panini or sandwich press to toast hot cross buns and croissants. Spread a little butter before heating and toasts tasty – be careful not to squash them, you may need to keep the lid open. If you don’t have a press, you can rest the sliced hot cross bun or croissant on the toaster while it’s on – changing positions so it toasts evenly.
HOT CROSS BUN BREAD & BUTTER PUDDING
Create a delicious bread & butter Easter pudding with Bakers Delights choc-chip hot cross buns. Pour egg and milk mixed with cinemon over the hot cross bun base and bake.
KIDS IN THE EASTER KITCHEN
Keep the kids busy in the kitchen making easter treats – hot cross buns with easter eggs and chocolate chips (which they can later decorate with colourful crosses), rice bubble crackles with melted chocolate and rice bubbles, painting their very own hard boiled eggs (with non-toxic paints of course), or egg/bunny shaped cookies to ice. They can then be wrapped up in cellophane with ribbons to give as Easter presents.
FRESHEN YOUR HOT CROSS BUN
Freshen up your Hot Cross Buns by popping them in the microwave for a few seconds. They taste best warm and toasty.
AN EASTER SURPRISE
When making muffins, pop an Easter egg into the raw mixture in the tray so there’s a delicious chocolately/caramel surprise waiting in each baked muffin.
A BIRDS NEST CAKE
To make the best birds nest cake, use any sturdy cake recipe in a ring mold for a round shape. To get the right nest texture – use chocolate icing to coat the cake and decorate with broken up chocolate cadbury flake and chocolate flakes off a block created with a potato peeler. Use green food colouring on shredded coconut to look like grass. Colourful mini Easter eggs and fluffy yellow chicks can sit in the nest.
STORING & SERVING CHEESE
When storing cheese in the fridge always use waxy paper to wrap it up as it keeps it in good condition. When serving cheese, serve it at room temperature as that’s when it tastes best.
Make the most of cheese and cheese products by:
storing at or below 4ºC
do not expose to sunlight or strong odours
using slow low heat when cooking to prevent cheese going stringy or tough
adding cheese in the last five to ten minutes of cooking finishes
Spray the cheese grater with oil and it will stop the cheese from sticking to the grater and makes cleaning up easer.
WOW THE KIDS AT EASTER
Wow the kiddies at Easter with cute Easter Bunny Cupcakes. All you need to do is make standard cupcakes (flavour of your choice) and decorate with pink frosting in a round shape for the bunny head. Cut marshmallows into strips to make bunny ears and use licorice, candy decorations and sprinkles to make bunny face. The kids will surely appreciate the effort.
It’s a good idea to keep more than one type or brand of yeast on hand if you bake your own bread. When you measure out your yeast, you can use half from one jar, and half from the other brand of yeast at the same time. This is good insurance in case the yeast isn’t as active as you’d like it to be; if only half the yeast is good, your bread will still rise. It will just take longer.
MAKE YOUR OWN PEANUT BUTTER
Make your own Peanut Butter at home: Place 1 cup of freshly roasted and shelled peanuts into a blender/food processor. Turn on and while running, drizzle 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in through the opening. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and process until smooth. If you prefer a slightly sweet version, add a tablespoon of honey or Molasses is a healthy sweetener if you like the flavor. If your favorite sandwich spread is crunchy peanut butter, stir in some extra crushed peanuts. It wont last as long as store-bought stuff, but it’ll have the goodness and quality that only home-made food can.
KIDS PARTY ORANGEAID PUNCH
Mix equal volumes of pulpy orange juice with fizzy sprite in a cocktail shaker/blender and serve over sherbet ice cubes with orange slices to decorate. Add cocktail umbrellas and colourful straws to take it up a notch.
GETTING KIDS TO EAT HEALTHY
Getting kids to eat healthy can often be a chore but being creative with your techniques can often make it easier. Present fruit as treats and refer to them as ‘natures candy’, present greens as forests and refer to the child as a dinosaur – this works especially well with broccoli which looks like miniature trees. Treat healthy food as you’d treat candy and kids will too. And remember- the earlier you start to present food in a positive light, the easier your job.
CONVINCING KIDS TO EAT MEAT
Some kids find it a real struggle to eat meat and miss out on the nutrients we’d like them to be getting. So instead of forcing it – try serving meat in the form of salami, ham, pastrami, smoked beef and other tasty meats from the deli. You can mix it in with pasta, couscous or in sandwiches.
SMARTEN UP YOUR BUDGET
Gaining knowledge can also mean gaining some extra cash in your wallet. Work out that foods you need to provide important proteins and nutrients you need in your diet then decide what foods exactly will best provide that. Make sure you know the cheaper options – for example, eggs are a great protein substitute for red meat and buy cheaper meats such as mince – which you can mix with bean or lentils which are equally nutritious.
CLEANING THE FREEZER?
When you finally get around to giving your fridge a thorough clean, add a few drops of vanilla essence to your rinsing water – it leaves a pleasant odour.
BENEFICIAL FROZEN VEGETABLES
When fresh vegetables are expensive, use frozen vegetables in their place. They’re still really good for you and it’s infinitely better than leaving vegetables out all together.
THINK SMART FOR AFTERNOON SLUMP SNACK
If you suffer from ‘afternoon slump’ resist the urge to scoff chocolate or any other quick-fix by being prepared – keep on hand: mini tuna cans, rice crackers, nuts, fruit, chopped up veggie sticks. Don’t try and ignore the cravings, just feed it well. The key to healthy in-between eating is to make it easy for yourself.
DON’T FORGET THE CRANNY
Most of us tend to forget that we can consume cranberry in any other form but juice. Try eating cranberry fresh or add it to desserts or salads. It’s even better for you.
A GREEN TEA A DAY..
In this busy and stressful time we sometimes forget to drink our daily 8 glasses of water. Try and have either a filled bottle or water jug around you to remind you. The water in herbal teas count just as well. If you can – try and squeeze in a green tea every day. It contains great antioxidants and revs the metabolism.
WATER IS THE SOLUTION
Try drinking warm water during the day in winter, it may keep a little getting used to but it helps warm you up plus makes you get your required daily dosage. It’s sometimes just easier than making a hot tea and just as effective.
GROW YOUR OWN – IT’S BETTER!
Store bought veggies like broccoli and lettuce – which are mostly water- often end up sucking up so many chemicals from the water and soil they’re fed that they end up barely having any nutrients. If you grow your own they’ll be organic and ten times more nutritious. And you can taste the difference too!
APPLE OF MY EYE
While apples are cheap and plentiful, stew your own to add to cereals.
THE KITCHEN SPONGE
Out your kitchen sponge through the dish washer through the wash cycle occasionally to keep it clean.
If you eat something that you suspect may be dodgy, drink two tablespoons of cider vinegar – it kills the baddies.
Make a drink with boiling water, ginger, fresh lemon juice and honey to clear phlegm from throats.
TREE TOMATO TIP TIME
When using tree tomatoes in cooking, the skin must always be removed. The best way to do this is by pouring boiling water over the fruit and letting it stand for 4 minutes, then peel from the stem end. The peeled fruit can then be sliced and the slices added to stews or soups, or served with a sprinkling of sugar and perhaps with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Seasoned with salt and pepper, the slices can serve as sandwich-filling or may be used in salads. Chopped slices are blended with cream cheese and used as sandwich spread.
With busy schedules and short winter days, we sometimes forget or underestimate the importance of sleep to our well-being. So do yourself a favour and make sure you’re getting enough zees. And remember, taking a little time out from the madness with for a cup of tea and putting your feet up can do you a world of good.
FUDGE GONE SUGARY?
If fudge goes sugary, simply reheat with some extra butter, stirring constantly and breaking down the crystals with a fork. It’s a proven solution to fudge frustration.
It’s never a bad idea to use a meat thermometer to make sure meat has been cooked thoroughly. With all the problems undercooked and wrongly prepared meats can cause, it’s surely worth the hassle.
FAT FREE PERFECT EGGS
Cook eggs straight in a non-stick frying pan with a lid – you get fat-free perfect eggs every time.
ANSWERING THE PHONE CAN BE TRICKY
When you know your hands are gonna be covered in butter or meat or any other messy food in the kitchen, make sure you have a plastic bag handy in case the phone rings. Pop your hand into the plastic bag and use it as a make-shift glove. You’ll save your phone from messiness and wont miss your calls.
AVOID DOUGHY PASTRY
A small teaspoon of baking powder sprinkled on the baking tray prior to placing the food on it will prevent the pastry from going doughy.
MILK AND COFFEE
For instant coffee, put the cold milk in before the water and use hot milk when making lattes. These temperature react better to give a better tasting coffee. If you must have sugar, half a spoon of brown sugar gives the coffee a nice caramel favour.
A SIMPLE COFFEE DESSERT
For a simple coffee-lovers dessert pour fresh expresso coffee over ice cream with whipped cream and grated chocolate. Quick, easy and delicious – and you combine dessert with your after dinner coffee.
SWEETEN YOUR COFFEE OPTIONS
Try sweetening your coffee with some sweetened condensed milk. It acts as a milk when you don’t have any and has that fantastic comforting sweet flavour..hmmmm.
SPICE UP YOUR COFFEE
Cinnamon is a great addition to foods in flavour and goodness, so try sprinkling some in your coffee. It adds a hint of the exotic and brings a nostalgic sense of celebration.
QUICK COFFEE DESSERT
For a quick impressive dessert pour some expresso coffee and your favourite liqueur over some sponge and garnish with berries, mint, chocolate or whatever you have handy. It’s a recipe to impress.
NEVER FEAR, EGGS ARE HERE!
If the cupboards are looking bare and your tummy is grumbling, a few eggs are all you need to get going. Scrambled, boiled, omelets, fried with herbs and spices or in a frittata. Don’t overlook eggs, they’ve got all the potential for a healthy tasty meal, just tap into it!
WHERE DO SQUIRRELS STORE THEIR NUTS?
If you have lots of nuts store them in the freezer. This keeps them especially fresh and tasty. It’s even more important to store shelled walnuts and pine nuts this way.
GLUGGY NAIL POILSH?
Store nail polish in the fridge to stop it going gluggy.
COFFEE GROUNDS RECYCLED
Recycle your coffee grounds in your pot plants and garden – it’s great for the soil.
EASY MICROWAVE CLEANING TIP
We all know how annoying it is getting food splatters in the microwave. Well, here’s a chance to take advantage of the splattering: Put a big splash of detergent in a cup with some water and microwave for 3-4 minutes. The warm soapy water will splatter and make it easy to wipe down and clean the microwave insides.
Mayonnaise in the fridge is a great addition to so many things – throw it into a sauce to make it creamy, add it to a scone mixture to give it some oomph, spread on cheese toasties for tasty creaminess. If you like mayonnaise, it can basically be a great addition to any quick savoury snack.
ENHANCE CHOCOLATE CAKE TASTE
One tablespoon of ground coffee added to your favourite chocolate cake recipe enhances the flavour and leaves people guessing what that secret ingredient might be.
TEA AND COFFEE TIP
Tea and coffee wasn’t made to come into contact with direct boiling hot water, so soften the blow with some hot tap water or put the milk in first. Pouring boiling hot water directly burns the tea/coffee so it doesn’t release as much flavour. Small changes can make all the difference in taste.
COMFORT FOR A COLD
Here’s how to make the best drink for when you’re down and out with a cold: Put a little warm water into a mug with a heaped teaspoon of honey, juice from half a lemon and a tablespoon of grated ginger. Fill the mug up with boiling water. Not much makes you feel better when you’re sick, but this comforting drink has plenty of goodness you body can benefit from. Suck on the ginger for as long as you can bear to, it super good for you.
EAT TO THE SEASON
A great tip from Karen Henderson at Cadbury NZ. She reckons it’s important to eat to the season. We are fortunate in NZ that we have great produce – home grown, farmers markets, hunting and gathering and even bartering with neighbours. If you do this, your meal menus will always be changing and costs will be kept down as the product is in season. As an added bonus you are also reducing your food miles.
VANILLA PODS TIP
A superb tip for vanilla pods and jam making from Jocelyn Ray of Waiuku: My favourite tip for summer is to add 2-3 vanilla pods when making my berry fruit conserves, it adds so much to the flavour and goes especially well with blueberries and strawberries. For a simple yet elegant
dessert serve with vanilla ice cream, ideal for these very hot summer nights.
If dicing onions… unwrap, cut sideways in half (not split through ends) and then sideways on each piece. You won’t water your eyes!
Keep a small bin on your kitchen bench top for your scraps. When full, empty it into your Bokashi (www.bokashi.co.nz). This has wonderful compost benefits and also keeps flies down on the compost heap.
Autumn’s ideal for starting a new compost heap because there’s an abundance of ‘brown’ stuff (carbon-rich prunings, fallen leaves etc) available to counter the easily sourced ‘green’ stuff (vege scraps, lawn clippings, weeds etc). Layer equal quantities of green and brown to get your heap going, and add a handful of lime from time to time too. As it gets cooler, the decomposition going on inside your compost heap slows down. You can keep your compost ticking over during winter by covering it with a tarpaulin or a couple of layers of old carpet.
Covering your compost not only keeps it warmer, it also stops it getting waterlogged during wet spells.
REMOVE INK STAIN AND PEN MARKS
Whether you’ve got biro pen marks on your new, red sofa or ink on your sleeve, the best way to get rid of and remove ink stains is to first soften the ink line or mark with a small amount of milk. Leave to absorb for 10 minutes, then soak up milk with a thick cloth before a dab with mineral turpentine (turps) to remove final ink stain.
GRANDMA’S REFRIGERATOR SLICE
Grandma’s Refrigerator Slice: 2 pkts plain biscuits. 1 block butter chopped small dices, 4T milk, 4T cocoa, 4T milk powder, 1C sugar, 2tsp vanilla essence. Crush biscuits in a large bowl. In a saucepan, stir butter, sugar, milk and cocoa until butter is melted and combined in a runny consistency. Take off heat, stir in milk powder and vanilla. Pour over crushed biscuits and mix together well. Spread into a well-greased lamington tray. Ice with basic, traditional icing (see above) and refrigerate to enjoy.
COOKING TIPS FROM YOUTUBE
Whether you’re just wanting guidance from clever cooks or you’re really interested in an old Sicilian Grandma from Italy making food that they ate during the Depression, youtube is one super duper recipe bonanza. The fresh team made this You Tube italian recipe and it is scrumptious!
Try exchanging sugar for honey, yoghurt for milk, essences and dried fruits and nuts in cake and muffin recipes to suit your taste.
CLEANING POLISHED WOODEN FLOORS
Use a mixture of one part methylated spirits two parts water to clean polished wooden floors to get the best shiny clean results.
TASTY CUTE APPETIZERS
Thread juicy grapes alternatively with cheese on mini skewers to make a quick tasty appetizers. They’re especially good for the kiddies.
Put bread crumbs and flour into a bag, dip sticks of mozzarella into egg and shake them up in the bag then fry for about 30 seconds. Enjoy crispy cheesy golden sticks.
When using eggs, it’s important to make sure they’re fresh – to do this, place them in some water and if they float it means they’re stale or old. And bear in mind that another benefit of organic eggs is that they actually taste better!
To halve the cooking time of rice – rinse it gently but thoroughly three times to get the starch out and then soak it for 20-30 minutes.
THE BEST EGG SANDWICH
Mash together 4 hard boiled egg whites, 2 hard boiled yolks, 3 Tblspn Mayo, an avacado, a dash of dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Spread on bread with thinly sliced tomatoes. And voila – you’ve got lunch covered!
A CROSS BREED – NOODLE OMELETTE
After cooking noodles and draining the water out, crack an egg over the top and cook for another one minute. What you’ll create is like a chinese noodle omelette – healthy, creative and yum!
ZUCCHINI FETA FRITTERS
Grate together some zucchini and feta, dip in egg and coat in flour then fry in a shallow pan. Simple ingredients can so often create a taste sensation!
HUMPTY DUMPTY HAD A GREAT FALL
Put a teeny weeny pin prick at the end of your eggs or add a little vinegar to the water to prevent cracking when boiled. Also, add a little salt to the water to make peeling easier.
A GOOD BREAKFAST
For breakfast soak bircher muesli in a combination of apple juice and trim milk. This means less sugar and more filling which we like.
GREEN TEA TIP
Put a sprig of fresh mint in green tea for a fantastic flavour.
“I love using live herbs in home made beef and pork meat patties a little mint and rosemary – yum!” Lisa Larsen
Use coriander in homemade vegetable soup with a little coconut cream to top it off.
Use the tip of your knife to crack your egg open cleanly – avoid smashing shell bits.
LAVENDER FOR PETS
When combing your pet rub lavender or rosemary along their back then brush wel.It brings their fur up shiny and deters fleas plus of course makes them smell nicer.
A few drops or lavender in your bath will help you sleep and smile like a baby. Breath into it and relax..
RIPEN UP KIWI FRUIT QUICK
To speed up the ripening of your kiwi fruit, place them in a brown paper bag with a green apple. Somehow it just works!
Grind up fresh basil, olive oil, garlic and pine nuts for a quick and delicious home made pesto.
ADD FLAVOUR TO SAUSAGES
When cooking sausages in a pan, add some chopped up herbs to jazz up the flavour (we love rosemary).
Mix up chopped rosemary and sage leaves with olive oil. Rub it into the pork fat and season with salt and pepper. Makes great smelling and tasting pork crackle.
GROWING YOUR OWN RASPBERRIES
If you’re growing raspberries, as a general rule it’s a good idea to prune off any of the old canes that fruited last season, plus any canes that are looking weak, spindly or diseased. Raspberries sucker (produce new shoots from the base) like mad too, so you can carefully dig those up for a supply of free plants. My sister dug up all the suckers from my mum’s plants and replanted them a couple of years ago and last summer and autumn she was harvesting huge bowls of berries. If you’ve planted a row of raspberries, they’ll sucker so much that within a few years you’ll have an unruly block of them instead of a tidy row, so try to keep on top of them.
CHICK PEA POWER
Add a can of chick peas to all casseroles. You’ll get more flavour, protein and fibre and at least one more serving out of the dish.
Never attempt to make pav if the weather is hot or the room is too warm – the egg whites wont stiffen. Also, contrary to popular belief, using eggs straight from the fridge is totally fine – it’s warm temperatures you need to beware of.
KEEP CELERY FRESH
Keep celery fresh as long as possible by wrapping it up in tin foil and storing it in the fridge.
SMELLY HANDS SOLUTION
Another way to remove unpleasant onion and garlic odours from your hands is to rub sugar into them and rinse with warm water.
QUICK CHICKEN CASSEROLE
Mix 1 packet cream of chicken soup, 1 bottle cream and curry powder to your taste in a casserole dish then stir in as many chicken breasts as you like and bake on 180C till cooked through. Makes a deliciously creamy ‘sometimes’ meal.
SWEET SWEET CORN
To make sure sweet corn is sweet, add a few of pinches of sugar to the water while boiling.
NO FRESH MUSHROOMS?
If a recipe calls for fresh mushrooms and you don’t have any, sliced mushrooms in a can work just as well. It’s a versatile ingredient.
When cleaning the inside of your fridge, add a couple of drops of vanilla essence to the cleaning water to leave a sweet lingering smell.
SALT ‘N’ PEPPER
For picnics or other low maintenance events, mix salt and pepper in one shaker to make things easy and take up less space.
HOKI DOKEY! A PERFECT FISH PIE
Simply poach raw hoki fillets in enough milk to cover the fish for a 2 minutes in the microwave. Hoki makes for a great fish pie recipe. And you can use the milk from the poaching process with a bit of flour and butter to make the fish pie white sauce.
Microwave half a lemon for 30 seconds on high to remove stale odours from your microwave.
Place gingernut biscuits into a muffin tray and heat in the oven until soft. Then use a soup spoon and press and mold into the muffin grooves to make a little bases then fill with stewed fruit.
Grate up or finely chop veggies to add when making meatballs – to ensure the kids get their full requirement without the fussing and complaints.
BAKING POWDER DOES EXPIRE
Many things are fine to use past their use-by date but baking powder is not one of them. Keep a keen eye on when you’ve opened the packet and biff it out after a year. Old baking powder just doesn’t do the job!
Enhance bland dishes by adding 2-3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. It really does add a zing.
CAULIFLOWER CHEESE SAUCE
When making a white or cheese sauce for cauliflower, grate nutmeg over the top for a delicious taste.
SPICE UP PUMPKIN SOUP
Pumpkin soup can sometimes end up tasting like baby food – to avoid this, spice it up with a red capsicum. It really takes it up a few notches on the taste scale.
SHAKE IT UP
Always shake up your baking powder container before using to activate it.
MAINTAIN FRUIT INTAKE
Set your fruit quota out at the beginning of the day. Cut the fruit up into bite-sized pieces and when you’re really hungry add fresh yoghurt for a healthy filling snack.
Any time you have bananas that are over ripe and starting to blacken- put them in the freezer in their skins until you’re ready to make banana cake.
STALE DRY BREAD
If you have stale dry bread – whizz it up in the blender, add a large amount of grated tasty cheese and freeze. This makes a great topping for chops, fish pies and anything else that you’d like a cheesy taste with.
A FANCY BOILED EGG
For fancy boiled eggs: boil eggs till they’re hard boiled, halve lengthwise, remove all yolk into a bowl and add finely chopped herbs and salt and pepper, mix thoroughly, use frosting piping bag with a cheerful nozzle to fill yolk back into the white in circular strokes and garnish with mint or parsley. These are great as hors d’oeuvres for parties.
To make onions easier to peel, soak them for a bit in warm water as it loosens the skin.
EXCESS FRUIT ON YOUR TREES?
A great way to use excess fruit is by adding it to a banana loaf recipe. They’re usually very sturdy recipes which hold up well when adapted. It works really well with feijoas. And add macadamia or walnuts for flavour.
QUICK N EASY DESSERT
For a quick and easy dessert, open up a can of pineapple rings, sprinkle with brown sugar and caramelise by roasting in the oven or simmering in a non-stick pan. Simple yet delicious!
LEMON JUICE EXPERT
To get as much juice as you can out of a lemon, pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds before squeezing. You’ll be surprised at how easily you can get all the juice out.
Biscotti is great for teething babies.
BOILED EGG TO GO
You can boil eggs and keep them in the fridge in their shells for breakfast on the go. Just add food colouring to the boiling water to tell the cooked ones from the raw!
GETTING EGGS INTO KIDS
For kids who just wont eat eggs, just make recipes which require eggs and triple or quadruple the quantity of eggs added. Pancakes are a good one to do it with.
Peel a banana from the bottom and you wont have to pick the ‘stringy things’ off it. That’s how the primates do it.
BANANA RIPENING SPEED
Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.
Store your fresh chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mould.
READING A PEPPER
Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.
COOKING WITH MINCE
Add a teaspoon of water when frying mince or ground beef. This will help pull the grease away from the meat whilst cooking.
EXTRA CREAMY BREAKFAST EGGS
To really make scrambled eggs or omelettes rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream or heavy cream in and beat well.
COOL MINT BROWNIES
For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed, melt chocolate mint patties in a double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful mint frosting.
Add garlic early on in a recipe if you want a light garlic taste, and add it closer to the end if you want a stronger flavour.
THE TRICK TO REHEATING PIZZA
The trick to reheating pizza and avoiding having it go horribly soggy is to do it in a nonstick skillet on the stove on a medium low heat till it’s warm.
EASY DEVILED EGGS
Put cooked egg yolks into a zip lock bag, seal and mash till they are broken up. Add flavouring ingredients and continue mashing till it’s well combined. Cut the tip off the bag and squeeze mixture into egg whites. You can just throw away the baggy when you’re done.
HEATING REFRIGERATED BREAD
To warm biscuits, pancakes, muffins, cake or bread that has been refrigerated – place them in the microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it heat faster.
NEWSPAPER SCARES WEEDS
As you put new plants into the ground put layers of wet newspaper around the plants as you go and layer in top with mulch. Some weeds can get through plastic, but none can get through wet newspaper.
Use a wet cotton bud to pick up shards of glass that are hard to see.
EXTEND YOUR VACUUM NOZZLE
To clean a heat register or under the fridge, securely tape an empty paper towel role or to your vacuum pipe. It can be bent or flattened to get into narrow spaces.
REDUCE STATIC FROM YOUR SLIP
Attach a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you wont have a clingy skirt or dress. The same rule applies when you’re wearing slacks with hosiery underneath – attach the pin to the inner seam of the slacks.
To peel prawns, break or cut off the head first, then remove the shell with clean fingers. Tail shells can look fancy on grilled or bbq prawns. To devein them, slit the centre of the back from the head to the tail with a sharp, fine bladed knife then carefully pull out the thread-like black vein along the spine.
To keep crepes warm after making them, stack interleaved with greaseproof paper on an enamel plate over a pan of simmering pan of water and place the pan lid or foil on top.
Basting foods before cooking adds flavour and moisture. Invest in a basting brush with bristles that fit deeply into the handle and be sure they’re securely attached.
Sesame seeds will stay fresh if you store them in the fridge or even freezer. To bring out their full nutty flavour, toast them carefully in a dry frying pan before adding to your recipe.
NO WONDER POP-EYE ATE SPINACH!
Spinach is a rich source of vitamin A & C, iron, protein and potassium and it’s very low in calories. Fresh baby spinach is great for green salads, sandwhiches, egg-dishes, stir-fries and as stuffing for poultry and other meats. You can use frozen, thawed , chopped spinach in any recipe requiring cooked spinach. And remember- trim or break off tough stems after washing.
HOMEMADE POTATO CRISPS
Thinly slice 3 large red potatoes and toss with oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper and arrange in a single (slightly overlapping) layer on a baking tray and bake for about 45 minutes. Let cool then enjoy your homemade snack.
OH FOR ORANGES
When grating citrus peel, watch out for the bitter white pith which lies just beneath the peel. It’s great if you have a special zesting tool on hand as it’s made to avoid the pith. A good rule to remember is Naval oranges are good for salads and visual platters as they have no pips while Valencia have lots of pips and are super juicy for juicing.
DIY TORTILLA CHIPS
A wok is the pan of choice for stir frying, but a large frying pan can be substituted. The wok’s large cooking surface allows quick cooking, saves fuel and food can be tossed easily. A small wooden spoon is the ideal accessory to cooking with a wok. The rounded base allows cooking in minimum oil. To was your wok – use hot water with a nylon scrubber and dry well over a low heat before storing away.
COOK A WHOLE CHICKEN
Giblets are tasty but very high in fat and cholesterole. They’re great for flavouring a stock or sauce before straining and throwing away. Remember to only add the giblets in the last 30 minutes of cooking – because if they’re added too early they can turn the recipe bitter.
BEAN SPROUT LONG LIFE
Bean sprouts can be stored with a sheet of kitchen paper towel in an air tight zip lock bag for 7 days. Keep the paper towel moist but not wet.
OILS FOR STIR FRYING
Canola, Saflower, rice bran and sunflower oils are all great choices for stri-frying. They have less saturated fat than many other oils and do not burn at high temperatures.
GREEN GINGER WINE ADVICE
A favourite addition to my stir frys or any Asian dish is a splash of Green Ginger Wine near the end of cooking.
2 small quinces (750g), 3 large Granny Smith apples, 5 1/2 cups sugar (approx). Wash, peel and core quinces, tie peel and core into a muslin bag, chop quinces roughly and place in large pot with the muslin bag, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, till fruit is soft. Remove muslin bag and drain quinces and let cool slightly. Peel, core and chop apples then cook with 1/4 cup water on low heat till very soft. Drain and cool slightly then process apples and quinces until very smooth. Measure the fruit puree into a clean pot and add an equal amount of sugar. Cook over a low heat till sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring every 5 minutes until paste is very thick and a ruby red colour. A spoon scraped across the bottom of the pot should leave a trail. This can take 90 minutes. Spread into a lamington pan lined with baking paper (20 x 30cm). Allow to dry out at room temperature for 24 hours. Cut paste into squares and wrap each one in baking paper. This will keep for 2-3 months in the fridge.
HOW TO MAKE QUINCE SAUCE
2kg quinces, 1kg apples, 500g onions, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 3 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoon whole cloves, 2 tablespoons whole allspice, 1kg white sugar, 3 litres malt vinegar.
Finely chop the quinces and apples, discarding the cores. Finely chop the onions. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and mix well. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cook very gently for about 3 hours, until thick and very pulpy. Push as much through a sieve as possible, and pour into hot, clean bottles and seal. Makes about 5 litres.
SPICE UP YOUR LIFE
Adding spices to hot drinks will intensify flovours and reduce the amount of sugar needed. Mint, cinnamon sticks, cloves and vanilla essence are great in tea or coffee and you can gradually ween off sugar.
SWEET LIKE HONEY
Sugar alternatives such as honey, golden syrup and maple syrup have no nutritional benefits over sugar. However, honey is twice as sweet as sugar so less is needed. Artificial sweeteners are calorie-free but have no nutrients, so should be used in moderation.
ONION FOR STIR FRY
Cut onions into 12 wedges for stir frying so the layers fall apart into ‘petals’ while cooking and make all the vegetables cook evenly together.
HOW TO SHRED BASIL
To shred basil, stack several leaves tightly together and tightly roll the stack - then cut the cylinder crossways to make long, thin shreds.
Don’t underestimate the functions of pronged pasta forks. It allows you to toss pasta, lift pasta while draining and move it around all without breaking or mushing the strands.
Use worcester sauce to add pungent flavours to marinades. It’s especially suited to all meat marinades.
RACK OF LAMB
It’s important to trim excess fat from racks of lamb before marinating but make sure you leave a very thin layer of fat to stop the meat from drying out. Before cooking, interlace the racks of lamb in couples to form an arch and tie with kitchen string before cooking – this is known as a ‘Guard of Honour’.
Parsey is easy to de-stem, just gather the bunch in your had- as you would a bouquet and simply twist and pull off stems in one swift movement.
POACHED CHICKEN TEST
A good way to test if poached chicken is cooked enough is to prick the thickest part with a skewer.
If the juices run pink = not cooked enough
If the juices run clear = cooked and safe to eat
To keep asparagus crisp and green after cooking, plunge it into ice-cold water immediately after cooking and drain well before use.
As is the case with all types of legume, sugars in the peas start to turn to starch shortly after they’re picked, so they are best eaten just-picked. Frozen peas are put on ice very soon after being picked (within three hours) and the flavour can be superior to that of fresh peas harvested a couple of days previously. To cook peas – boil (2-3 minutes – use the minimum amount of water needed, and don’t add salt, as they’ll toughen up. A pinch of sugar will bring out their sweetness). Or steam (1-2 minutes).
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don’t dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.
Hate foggy windshields? Invest in a chalkboard duster to keep in the glove box of your car. It works better than a cloth and definitely better than your grubby mitts!
RE-OPENING A SEALED ENVELOPE
If you realise you’ve forgotten to add something to an envelope that you’ve already sealed, pop it into the freezer for a few hours and VOILA – it unseals itself.
SHAVING CREAM ALTERNATIVE
Use hair conditioner to shave your legs. It’s cheaper than shaving cream and works really well. It’s also a great way to use up that conditioner you bought which didn’t suit your hair.
As soon as you notice ants inside, place small piles of cornmeal in those areas. They can’t digest it and eat it and carry it back to their nests for their friends. It may take a week or so to work (especially in rainy weather) but it does work and you don’t have to worry about pets or small children being harmed.
Make sure you clean the lint filter with hot soapy water and a tooth brush. Because although you can’t see it, a lint film develops over it which could potentially cause the unit to burn out and burn your house down.
HELP FOR MOUTH ULCERS
To neutralise mouth ulcers and help to sooth and heal, place a damp used tea bag against it. Gargling with very salty water can also help.
BUSY BUT BALANCED
Leading a busy life can be stressful but planning ahead really makes life easier. Here’s a tip that can help in your meal planning. Each week, choose to have 1 Pasta, 1 Fish, 1 Salad (eg Roast Vege or Chicken Caesar), 1 Red Meat, 1 Chicken, 1 Soup and 1 Gourmet favourite and there you have 7 meals. For vegetarians, change the meat component to lentils, beans or cheese and add some nuts too and add some fresh bread or croutons to bulk out a lighter meal. Then just use the search field above for ideas and recipes and you’re away!
To remove dark stains from inside jugs, boil some water with plenty of fresh lemon juice and soak.
ONIONS FOR COUS COUS
Soak red onions in lemon juice before adding to cous cous for added flavour and improved texture.
INSPIRED KIDS IN THE KITCHEN
Getting kids in the kitchen involved in the cooking process works wonders in getting them to eat up at meal time.
Buy cheese when it’s on special – grate it, bag it and freeze it. Make things easy when recipes call for grated cheese. Plus it’s far more cost effective than buying pre-grated cheese.
To help sooth teething toddlers, freeze chunks of pineapple and banana with an ice cream stick shoved into them. It’s cooling and fun for wee little ones.
QUICK ‘N’ QUIRKY DINNER IDEA
Buy a few mussels, scallops or a small piece of fresh fish and add to one of those pouches of seafood chowder. Serve with crusty bread and hey presto!
Soak your dish cloth once a week in janola for a germ-free cloth and shinier surfaces.
KEEP CRISPS CRISPY
Potato and corn chippies will stay fresh and crispy once opened, if you seal tightly and place in the freezer. Who knew?
AN ECONOMICAL DIP
Mix equal parts of cream cheese and cottage cheese with pesto. Makes a large amount and makes the pesto go further. And if there’s any left over, it’s great to spread in sandwiches.
Add a chicken stock cube into the boiling water stage before you put the rice into the pot. This will add a great flavour to the finished rice.
EASY BLUE CHEESE SPREAD
“I put creamy blue cheese in the food processor and add a dash of olive oil or butter and refrigerate it. I then use it as a spread in almost everything – from sandwiches to pizza toppings. It’s amazing.” Sarah Abood
When making cheese toasties, add a little butter and vegemite to the bread for a delicious taste.
Next time you’re at the super market and you’re not in a mad dash, have a little browse in the herbs and spices isle. You’ll be surprised to see all the new choices on offer. There are many new exciting seasoning combinations specifically make for meal types. For example a garlic steak seasoning for steak and special mixes for fish. We admit, it does help make life easier sometimes.
To make the cheese topping on a pizza even more luxurious, add a thin layer of natural yoghurt over the toppings before you add the final layer of cheese. Plus achieve the added benefit of nutrition with yoghurt.
DON’T FORGET FROMAGE!
When considering dessert options, don’t forget that a nice plate of cheese and crackers serves very well. It’s how they do it in France!
ON YOUR CHEESE PLATTER
Decorate your cheese platter with flowing grapes, colourful blueberries and any other suitable gorgeous fruits for a visually stunning display.
GOAT CHEESE TREAT
Pulse goat cheese in the blender until smooth, Take small amounts of cheese and lightly press into small balls, coat in beaten egg, then coat in bread crumbs and roll with hands to keep ball shape. Put in the fridge for a few hours to chill, then fry in hot oil until golden brown. Serve with a green salad.
A FETA DRESSING
Feta can make a wonderful dressing – break it up to a soft consistency and add some white vinegar and brown sugar with a small bit of lime or lemon zest and blend thoroughly. It’s great on watercress and apple salad.
For a home-made hunger buster bake halved potatoes skin is hard. Make a hollow in the middle and add cheese and bacon, drizzle with oil, sprinkle salt n’ pepper and grill until golden and crispy. Beats store bought junk any day!
CHEESE & CAPSICUM CRACKEERS
A soft cheese such as Havarti on a plain cracker, topped with a piece of fire-roasted capsicum is very flavousome . You might even try coating the cracker with a little pesto under the Havarti. Yum!
A QUICK SNACK FOR GUESTS
For a super quick snack for guests: slice autumn or winter fruits such as pears, feijoas or figs, or use homemade fruit chutneys to go with a nice Kapiti blue or aged cheddar (or both), enjoy!
TASTY COURGETTE SNACKS
While we’re discussing healthy yet tasty options, here’s one we love – cut some courgettes lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then add some tomato pesto mixed with cheese and bake.
CLEAN YOUR ROASTING DISH WITH EASE
Always fill your roasting dish with water after cooking while its still hot then place back in oven – this will make it a lot easier to clean.
OPENING STUBBORN BOTTLES OR CONTAINERS
If you find it difficult to open a screw top bottle or container try using a pair of nutcrackers for extra leverage!
A WINNING WINE & APPETIZER COMBINATION
Try serving a nice NZ Riesling wine with a creamy blue cheese and some freshly sliced pear. The flavours match superbly.
FRIED BRIE WITH BANANA SAUCE
For a very special breakfast on french toast or beside pancakes try frying crumbed brie in a little hot oil. Puree some banana yogurt and add a pinch of spice to create a sauce and serve with bacon. It’s an indulgent treat.
SCHNITZEL CHEESE & MUSHROOMS
Try this… cook some mushrooms, roll in wiener schnitzel along with Philadelphia cream cheese and grill until cooked, delicious!
Always juice lemons at room temperature, or better yet, zap in the microwave – you’ll get a lot more juice this way.
LONGER LASTING CHEESE
If you buy a cotton bag for your cheese to sit in it will make the cheese last longer.
GRATE FETA CHEESE
When using feta cheese open the packet and allow it to dry off in the fridge. Once it has dried it is so easy to grate with a cheese grater. Then once grated if you require a wet consistency add a couple of drips of extra virgin olive oil. You can use the ones fused with chillis or olives too. This is great for avoiding a big sticky mess on the grater!
ROASTED VEGES, BLUE CHEESE & PINE NUTS
When you’ve roasted a selection of your favorite mixed veges add some cubes of blue cheese on top, along with a sprinkling of pinenuts, then place back in the oven until part-melted…yum!
MIX YOUR CHEESES AND SAVE
Nowadays cheese is quite expensive, so why not buy some of the one on special as well as keeping a supply of grated tasty cheese or parmesan in the freezer. Use the cheaper one in large recipes, with the stronger one on top as a sprinkle, or for when you want a stronger taste.
FETA IN QUICHE OR OMELETTE
Add feta to your favourite quiche or omelette recipe. It adds such a nice flavour and a different texture. Yum!
CHEESE VARIETY IN COOKING
When using grated cheese for any topping, e.g. a fish pie, lasagne or pizza, I always use a combination of grated cheese – mozzarella & parmesan for texture and flavour.
PASSIONFRUIT MERINGUE NESTS
All you need for an amazing dessert is 3 egg whites, a pinch of salt and 225g sugar. Start by beating the egg whites and salt till the mixture holds soft peaks. Continue beating while gradually adding half the sugar in. When the mixture holds stiff peaks add the rest of the sugar and beat for a further few minutes. Spoon the mixture onto a baking paper lined tray using a spoon to make hollows in the centre. Bake for 2 hours at 180C. Serve with passionfruit pulp in the cavity, a dollop of cream and ice cream.
BACON & EGG NOT-SO-MC MUFFIN
Make home-made Mc Muffins like this: split an english muffin and toast, add cheese while it’s hot, add bacon and a fried egg and VOILA! It’s great after Saturday morning sports
BREAKFAST IN NUMBERS
If you are doing a breakfast for a large crowd you can poach eggs ahead of time and place in ice water for up to 8 hours and then re-heat in hot water but dont boil. It works and people will wonder how you are so clever as to have been able to poach so many eggs and still have them runny.
Always rinse egg beaters in cold water after using. Hot water kinda cooks the egg and sets to the beater! Ick!
QUICK SNACK TODDLER MEAL
For a fast, easy dinner for the kids: beat 4-6 eggs, add a dash of milk, add in some left over veggies, pour into a small muffin tray, sprinkle with cheese and bake until cooked. They’re efficient plus they look cute! Happy children. Yay.
When needing half an onion for cooking, just chop up the entire onion and refrigerate what you don’t need. It’ll save time, hassle and tears! Also, keep your mouth open while chopping them up – it’s another theory for stopping eyes from watering.
A FUN EGG TIP WORTH A TRY
After boiling eggs, peel a hole off the top and the bottom then seal your lips to one side and blow. Hopefully it should plop out the other side – easy as!
SQUEAKY DOORS AT YOUR PLACE?
From my clever radio friend Dave Smart: “Today I learnt that if you don’t have any CRC, Homebrand cooking oil can also be used for squeaky doors. (insert MacGyver theme music here)”
BOILING CRACKED EGGS
If you have eggs that are a little cracked or just to be safe, add a few drops of vinegar to the boiling water. So if it does leak, it wont make a wild mess- the vinegar helps keep it together just like you use in poached eggs.
A TOAST FRENCH TOAST
Get a pan sizzling with vanilla infused oil. Take a piece of bread and rip a hole in the centre. Lightly fry it for a short time on both sides. Crack an egg in to the centre and fry til set. Serve with the classic french toast accompaniments.
If you find that your drinking glasses get stuck when you stack them, run them under cold water (heat expands particles) and roll under the palms of your hand like a rolling pin applying gentle pressure.
COOKING LAMB LEG
When cooking lamb, know that lamb leg cooks faster than other parts like shoulder or neck so beware when you set the timer.
The shape determines the best way to cut cheese. The aim is to make sure that every piece has some of the rind on it so that everyone gets to share! so round cheeses such as small camembert and small squares such as Feta should be cut into wedges, like cutting a cake. Logs can be sliced.
*Avoid cutting the point off the cheese which is usually the ripest and nicest bit.
*Try not to take just the centre of the cheese and leave the rind for everyone else!
*Rinds of soft cheeses are fine to eat, but often hard cheeses can be dry, so may be left.
*Use a different knife for each cheese to avoid mixing up the flavours of strong and milder cheeses
COOKING JAM OR RHUBARB?
If you are cooking up your own rhubarb for topping your cereal or making a pie or crumble, make sure you cover the rhubarb in a pot, bring to the boil then drain off the first boiled water then cover again and simmer for 20-25 minutes over a low heat. The first water should always be thrown out. To sweeten rhubarb without sugar, try lemons (always plentiful in Winter), golden syrup or apples. And if you’re cooking fruit jams for a diabetic or you want low-sugar, opt for diet lemonade, Sucaryl, Splenda, Certo (as a setting agent) or Stevia (a sweet herb available from Bin Inn). Recipe from my show on Radio Live.
EASY MARS BAR DESSERT EVERYONE WILL LOVE
This sounds naughty and it might be, just a little bit, but these will be the most popular party treat at your child’s birthday party. Simply buy 3 Mars Bars, chop into 2-3cm bits then wrap in puff pastry. Bake in a hot oven (220 degrees celcius) for 10 minutes and watch then disappear…
Recipe from my show on Radio Live.
It’s handy to know that chopped parsley will keep about a week if kept in a closed jar in the fridge. Make sure any water is shaken out before chopping.
GROWING GLASSHOUSE TOMATOES
Here’s a tip for all of you who like to grow glasshouse tomatoes. Tomato plants need to move and sway in the breeze to develop strong stems. You can provide a breeze by turning a fan on them for 5-10 minutes, twice a day.
GREAT WAY TO USE EXCESS CITRUS
If your cupboards are already filled with marmalade, try making your own citrus sorbet. It has less sugar than jam and is a great way to use up excess fruit.
GREASE MEASURING SPOONS
If you lightly grease measuring spoons before use, ingredients like golden syrup slip off easily.
REMEDY FOR CHAPPED HANDS
Soak chapped hands in a bowl using one tsp of baking soda per cup of water.
Mix ½ tsp baking soda in a glass of water and drink to relieve indigestion or heartburn.
CLEANING UP AFTER PUPPY
Did puppy have an accident on the carpet? Sponge the area with a solution of 1/2 cup of white vinegar in one litre of warm water. Repeat if necessary.
CIGARETTE BURNS ON CARPET
Clip the ends off the blackened tufts. Rub the spot with water and a soapless cleaner.
CLEANING BURNT POTS AND PANS 2
Do you have pans and pots with stubborn burnt-on food? Try sprinkling baking soda and add a little water. Let sit for about 1/2 hour. Now, wash with dishwashing liquid. It makes it much easier to clean!
HEALTHY BAKING SUBSTITUTIONS
The following baking tips are great for those of us who happen to be watching our waistlines. Healthy baking substitutions, without sacrificing taste.
1. Use evaporated milk in place of cream.
2. If cutting out some of the sugar, add extra spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger, to enhance the flavour.
3. Replace some of the whole eggs with egg whites; it is best to keep some of the whole eggs in the recipe to maintain texture.
4. Use fruit puree, such as unsweetened applesauce or prune puree, in place of some of the fat.
HOMEMADE FISH STOCK
When making fish stock be sure to take the heads off first, they tend to give the stock a bitter taste. Breaking the remaining bones beforehand will allow the fullness of the flavour to permeate the stock. Make sure you constantly skim the top to ensure a nice clear broth.
BEST WAY TO EAT BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Best way to eat Brussels sprouts? Grab a handful of Brussels sprouts, cut off the bottoms, quarter and break up into pieces (you can peel them all off into separate leaves, which is very pretty but time-consuming). Then in a frying pan you quickly fry a few rashers of bacon, cut into small pieces, and an equal quantity of onion. Cook these until lightly golden, then throw in the brussies and cook for a few minutes before popping a lid on and giving it a few minutes to steam. This is a gorgeous Brussels sprouts recipe everyone will like.
EASY PEEL SHALLOTS
Peeling shallots can be a fiddly process but soaking them in water overnight will make the skins come off a lot easier.
TIP FOR POACHED EGGS
Here’s a tip to try next time you’re poaching eggs, dry the poached eggs on paper towel before placing them on the toast. This will stop your toast from going soggy.
QUICK & EASY SPICY SAUCE
For a little extra kick to your fries, mix BBQ sauce with a little red curry paste. Great for dipping!
THICK BANANA SAUCE
Use your over ripe banana to make a deliciously thick banana sauce. The flavour of the banana is so strong and very fragrant you will love it.
SAVOURY MUFFIN TIP
For wonderfully moist savoury muffins with a bit of a kick, add a tblsp of sour cream and a dash of cayenne pepper to the mixture.
QUICK AND EASY WONTON SOUP
To make wonton soup: Pick up wontons from your local Asian food market. Cook up half a packet of beef instant noodles in double the amount of water and add the flavour sachet. While cooking the noodles, steam the wontons and ½ cup of mixed veges. Add the wontons and veges to your noodle soup. Flavour with soya sauce to taste and enjoy.
NOBODY LIKES DISCOLOURED BANANA
To prevent discolouration soak a banana in its skin in a bowl of cold tap water (not iced) for about 30/45 minutes – peel and use as normal.
GET MAXIMUM JUICE FROM LEMONS
To get the maximum juice from your lemons, roll them on the bench with your palms for a few seconds. This seems to free the juice from the pulp and works every time.
LIGHT AND FLUFFY MASHED POTATOES
To achieve really light and fluffy mashed potatoes, stand cooked potatoes to dry out properly before mashing.
MASH YOUR BISCUITS
Try using your potato masher to flatten biscuits before baking to create interesting patterns on you bikkies.
ARE YOUR EGGS FRESH?
One of the most valuable hints my mother taught me was how to tell is an egg is fresh. It has saved me from countless kitchen disasters.
To test to see if an egg is fresh immerse it in a pot of cool salted water. If it sinks it’s fresh. If it floats throw it away!!
FRESH TWIST ON SCRAMBLED EGGS
For a fresh twist on scrambled eggs add a finely chopped sprimng onion and 1 medium courgette grted. Serve on multi grain toast and top with grated cheese.
DELICIOUS FRIED BREAD
For delicious fried bread try using avocado oil.
Add chopped crystallized ginger to your favourite shortbread recipe.
CLEANING HAIR OFF CORN COBS
Use normal office elastic bands to clean the hair of corn. Handy!
MUSTARD SAUCE FOR CORNED BEEF
Mustard Sauce: In a microwave bowl or small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter, then stir in 3 tablespoons flour and heat til the flour bubbles and froths. Stir in half a cup of strained stock from around the meat, bring to the boil and stir well. Repeat with another half a cup of the cooking liquid. For the third addition of liquid, add either another half cup of cooking liquid or half a cup of milk for a creamier mustard sauce. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes so that the flous is thoroughly cooked. Stir or whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, taste and adjust the seasonings to suit you, adding a little sugar, vinegar and extra salt if needed. Serve warm with your crock pot creation of corned beef. Click on recipes above for Best Corned Beef.
TIP FOR NACHOS
Mixing blended chickpeas in with the nacho mince adds a delicious creamy texture. It also means you won’t need to use as much mince.
WHISKING EGG WHITES OR CREAM WITHOUT AN ELECTRIC MIXER?
If you need to whisk egg whites or cream and don’t have an electric mixer use the milkshake machine! You’ll find the machine will froth them up within seconds.
ZINGY FRUIT SALAD
To add a little something different to your fresh fruit salads, try dicing up some crystallised ginger. A lovely combo with icecream.
USE UP STALE BREAD
Use up stale bread by cutting into fingers spreading with butter and baking until lightly golden. It makes a great snack for hungry kids and adults. Try adding a little marmite for a more savoury taste.
MAKE YOUR OWN HERBS DE PROVENCE
Make your own “Herbs de Provence” by combining these herbs, dried form your garden: Lavender, Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram, Oregano, Basil, Savory and Fennel. Enjoy with poultry or vegetables.
HOW TO COOK SCALLOPS
Scallops can be prepared in different ways, including sauté-ing, grilling, broiling, baking and stir-frying. However, when cooking scallops, you should take care not to overcook them, in order to keep the delicate texture and moisture. Pay special attention when cooking bay scallops because they are smaller and can easily overcook becoming though. Cook scallops for about 4-5 minutes, they are done when they turn opaque (losing their translucence) and firm. When preparing a recipe with scallops, keep in mind that you can very well substitute bay scallops for sea scallops and the other way around as well fresh scallops for frozen scallops. If you have difficulties finding a specific type, just use the one you could find and enjoy your favourite scallop recipe.
MICROWAVE WHITE SAUCE
White sauce is easy to make in the microwave. Put 1 tbsp butter 2-3 tbsp flour in microwave safe bowl. Cook for about 30sec on high. Add about 1c milk mix with a fork then cook on high 1 min. Stir and keep cooking on high for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time till thick. The lumps should come out during cooking. Then mix in parsley for fish, leeks, or grated cheese for broccoli etc.
BBQ CLEANING TIPS
When BBQ season is upon us, you need to clean your barbie. It is as easy as 1-2-3. Try this!
1. Cover it all up! Close the lid of your barbecue. It will allow the temperature to rise to the maximum. It will avoid a loss of heat which is a crucial part of the cleaning process. Do not open it for 5 minutes, as the heat builds up.
2. Make it hot, hot, hot! Crank up the heat of both propane burners to the high position. Wait until the maximal temperature has reached the top of the thermometer. If you have no thermometer or other temperature readers, simply wait 5 minutes as it is the time that it takes to reach the maximal temperature. Then shut everything off and open the lid of the barbecue to proceed in cleaning up the grill of the barbecue.
3. Brush it all off! Use a wire brush to brush off the ashes of what was once sticky residue. This type of brush is better as its bristles can handle the heat and will not melt or catch fire. It is usually sold in the same department where you purchased your barbecue. Thoroughly brush off the residue; it is coming off as ashes, due to the extreme heat. It is now history!
A GREAT WAY WITH CELERIAC
We love our roast meals in our house, and celeriac makes a gorgeous gourmet addition to the obligatory roast kumara, carrots and spuds – even if the 11-year-old persists in calling it ‘celery-yuck’! Just chop it, drizzle with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and whack it in the oven. Easy and deliciously different.
Globe artichokes are in season in New Zealand’s Spring (October mostly) and we’re recommending steaming them. Tear off the globe artichokes leaves and dunk the leaves in a mustard vinaigrette – a perfect spring meal starter.
GOAT’S CHEESE COOKING TIPS
Chevre de Balley cheese is a classic soft French goat cheese with balanced creaminess and tangy characteristics which make it remarkably versatile. Here are some ideas and tips with goat’s cheese:
Try crumbling into pumpkin risotto;
Mix with olive tapenade for a Mediterranean dip;
Crumble into an omelette with fresh dill and toasted walnuts;
Or a Fresh favourite, cook thick slices of the cheese log quickly under a hot grill with cherry tomatoes, rosemary and plenty of fruity olive oil for a delicious meal with crusty bread.
PLANT A BLUEBERRY BUSH
Blueberries are considered a wonder food because they’re packed with antioxidants, and medical research has found that they improve memory, too. Plus they make delicious hotcakes for weekend brunch or muffins for morning tea. Blueberries are hardy to -4˚C, are thornless and can be grown in big pots or in the garden. They do best in acidic soil in full sun. Keep the plants well watered in summer when the fruit is developing. You can buy blueberries from garden centres in the Incredible Edibles range. Try ‘Blue Dawn’ blueberries or the compact ‘Blueberry Muffin’.
STRAW BALE GARDENING
If you’re short of space, or just hate to dig, try growing your vegetables on straw bales. Straw bale gardening is seriously simple and loads of fun. Keep the string tied around your bales to keep them intact, then prepare them for planting. Preparation needs to begin about 10 days before planting. First, apply a manure tea or liquid fertiliser high in nitrogen to the bale to initiate decomposition (as the bale slowly decomposes over the growing season, heat and carbon dioxide are generated, which promote plant growth by warming the roots), then keep the bale wet for the following two days. On the fourth day apply blood and bone (watered in), then keep the bale wet for another two days. On the seventh day, add more blood and bone, followed by another two days of watering. On the tenth day, apply an 8-8-8 (N-P-K) fertiliser and lightly water into the bale. If you want to go organic, use manure teas, liquid seaweed or fish fertilisers. On the eleventh day, apply a 10cm layer of potting mix to serve as a bed for your plants. You can either lay the potting mix over the entire bale, or plant in pockets. Then simply plant your veges and keep them watered. Tomatoes, capsicums, cucumbers and melons all grow well using this technique.
NATURAL BUG SPRAY
To combat caterpillars, aphids and other pests, make an all-purpose insecticide using simple ingredients from your garden. Place equal quantities of chopped mint, onion, garlic and lavender tops and stems into a bucket and just cover with water. Leave for 24 hours, then strain. Avoid spraying on a sunny day (especially during summer).
GET RID OF RUST ON VEGE PLANTS
Rust affects a wide range of veges, including silverbeet, rhubarb, mint, spinach, asparagus, beans and beetroot. It’s easily identified by the orange, brown or red pustules on leaves or stems, which break open and release spores. It’s worse in wet weather and it’s spread by splashing water or rain, so avoid overhead watering. Remove infected leaves to prevent its spread and trim plants. Check that there is enough air circulating. You can spray plants with a suitable fungicide (like Bravo) but you must then wait at least 7 days before harvesting again. You’ll also need to spray regularly, especially in humid or wet weather. Some organic gardeners use a seaweed spray to keep rust at bay.
EASY DEVILLED EGGS
Put desired amount of eggs in a pot. Cover with water and a dash of salt. Bring to the boil. Cook 7 minutes. Peel the eggshells off under cold running water. Once peeled, slice the eggs gently lengthways and pop out the yellow centres carefullly. You want to try and not damage the white part because it needs to hold the yellow devilled filling. Mash the yolks with a fork so it crumbles into tiny pieces. Add a couple of teaspoons of mustard and 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Just add a little of each at a time tasting from time to time because they key is to get it just the way you like it. Add a splash of white vinegar, mix. Then fill the eggs with a dollop for filling each and sprinkle with paprika if desired. Another great treat is to follow the devilled egg recipe and add a little salmon. Ah… pink devilled eggs! Or add a little curry powder for spicy devilled eggs. Or mix in tuna and dill pickles!
VAC PACK FOR LONG WEEKENDS
If you are travelling and you want to carry meat on long weekends away, it’s important to consider how you will transport it so that it keeps well. This is where vacuum packed (vac-pac) meat really come into its own. It doesn’t leak when packed with other foods in your chilly bin which is both hygienic and convenient. Better yet it will keep longer in your fridge and lasts better in your freezer and won’t suffer freezer burn like tray packed meat does.
Don’t be afraid of a dried legume! They can be easy to cook, with minimal fuss – much akin to sticking a roast in the oven and forgetting about it! The easiest and most convenient way to cook beans is to use a slow cooker. The beans hold their shape well, without disintegrating. You can also use the stove top, but it means you need to keep a close eye to make sure you don’t run out of water. Brown/green lentils tend to disintegrate when cooking on the stove. If you have a pressure cooker you minimize the cooking time substantially to about 8 to 15 minutes. When beans are well cooked they should melt in your mouth. It can be off-putting for consumers of beans, particularly non-vegetarians to eat woody legumes! If you want to introduce beans to anyone for the first time, ensure they are well cooked! It is important not to cook beans with salt as this toughens them and prevents them from softening. It is important to rapid boil kidney beans for 15 minutes after soaking to destroy toxins called lectins. These toxins can cause stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhea. A naturally occurring haemaglutin is responsible for the illness, but can be destroyed by high temperature cooking, making the beans completely safe to eat. Kidney beans should be soaked for at least 8 hours in enough cold water to keep them covered. After soaking, rapid boil for 15 minutes, discard the water proceed and cook as normal.
LABOUR WEEKEND HARVESTS
Labour weekend onwards is what’s known as Spring Delight. A time to plant lots in your home garden, like tomatoes. What’s hot food-wise? Strawberries come to market in volume, so price drop and you should be able to buy them for between $2.99 – $3.99 a punnet. But look out for quality as the cheaper prices are generally the poorer quality. Organic Blueberries are out Labour weekend, but they’re very pricey. If you can wait another two weeks a wider selection should be available at more reasonable prices. Jersey Bennes are approx two weeks away. Spring lamb should be plentiful around NZ food markets by the end of October. And if you’d like to try something a little different, give quail eggs and wild rabbit legs for a spring dish!
PERFECT ROAST CHICKEN HERBS
To accompany roast chicken, add fresh herbs: chives, tarragon and chervil work well.
Because of their versatility, pears can be incorporated into any meal of the day. Try pear halves with yogurt for breakfast; pack one with lunch; cut one up over a dinner salad; or top a dish of ice cream with fresh pears for dessert. Whether eating Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle, or Seckel, each pear variety has its own distinct colour, flavour and texture that packs a powerful punch of nutrition when incorporated into savoury snacks, main dishes, appetisers, salads and desserts. Search Pears in our recipe library above to get inspired!
BEST WAY TO COOK FISH
Aside from enjoying fish in a garlicky, tomato, olive & caper stew with lots of herbs, I also love it done pretty simply. Cooking fish, especially salmon, in Vanilla Infused Grapeseed Oil is the simplest yet and a surprisingly successful combination. If you want to channel Julia Child, just use butter. Lots of butter. Or for a little more flavour, sprinkle on some Zhatar which is a Middle Eastern style blend of seeds and herbs that also works well with creamy cheeses, yoghurt or barbecued vegetables.
EASY VEGETARIAN MEAL IDEA
Parboil some potato cubes (I like Agria but waxy ones are fine too). Fry off some pancetta, bacon or chorizo in olive oil, remove from pan and add the potatoes to the hot pan, turning them to crisp up all sides. Add sea salt and pepper, some sliced garlic, thinly sliced red onion, some chopped anchovies, capers, thyme and a squeeze of lemon juice or whatever you feel like using up. Meanwhile cook your spaghetti. Add some chopped mint and Italian parsley to the vegetables, drain the spaghetti (retaining about 2 TBSP of liquid) and toss everything together and serve.
FRESH AND FAST MEAL TIPS
6 Tips for preparing Fresh + Fast meals in the home:
1. Plan your meals ahead. Take a few minutes each week to plan your menus. This will allow you the time to schedule quick, easy and healthy meals.
2. Cruise the grocery store with a list. A grocery list will ensure that you bring home everything you need to prepare the tasty and nutritious meals you planned—and help you to avoid loading up on unneeded items.
3. Choose seasonal produce and pick the brightest colours that you can. Buying fruits and vegetables in season lets you enjoy peak flavour at modest cost. Buy asparagus in the spring, peaches in the late summer, and apples in autumn. When the price of fresh produce is high, frozen fruit and vegetables are usually an economical choice.
4. Equip your kitchen for low-fat food preparation. A steamer for vegetables helps retain their flavour and nutrients without added fat, while a pan with a rack allows the fat to drip away from meat to help you prepare low-fat, flavoursome food.
5. Use cooking methods that do not add extra fat to the dish. Let the BBQ be your best friend; it’s great for summer entertaining and marinated meat grilled is perfect with a healthy salad. Alternatively, baking is a healthy option when cooking meat.
6. Learn to use spices and herbs to kick up the flavour. Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme are classic herbs that will add flavour to your favourite dishes.
EASY MEAL TIP
Here’s an easy meal idea if you just want something light! A salad-based meal once or twice a week is good for us they say… Panfry some asparagus in a little olive oil for 1-2 minutes (no need to cook it first) then fry some bacon or pancetta. Plate up some mesclun & fresh herbs or some rocket or cos lettuce leaves, add the asparagus and bacon, the top with a soft poached egg or two and some toast fingers or home made croutons. If you have a little goat’s cheese or feta, toss that in too and you could sprinkle the egg with some dukkah, kelp pepper or any sort of low salt seasoning you might have. So tasty!
IDEAS FOR COOKING WITH QUARK
WHITE PESTO – Puree 200g of Quark with 75g of grated Parmesan, 30g of pine nuts and 3 tablespoons of minced garlic. use as a spread or dip.
QUARK CUSTARD – Mix Quark, milk, cream and honey together to make a deliciously simple and quick sauce to pour indulgently over your fresh or preserved fruit.
CHRISTMAS DELIGHT – Mix 250g of Quark with a quarter cup of fruit mince (or other dried fruit), a quarter cup of slivered almonds and 1-2 tablespoons of honey. Spread lavishly on toasted fruit bread, panforte or serve with french toast and stewed apple.
QUARK CHEESECAKE – Replace the requested ricotta in your cheesecake recipe for Quark. Much more delicious!
CHRISTMAS TREE – REAL OR FAKE?
Real or Fake? We’re not talking boobs, we’re talking bush! Yes, Christmas Trees! We reckon the best Christmas tree to have at your house is a potted one that can then go on living once you have gently removed your decorations. The best thing about real trees is that they have a job to do in terms of carbon emissions (a hot topic today). The bad thing about real trees is that when you buy it, it may have taken up to 10 years for the tree to get that big, but then replaced with new seedlings which eases the guilt a little. Fake Christmas trees can be cost-effective but eventually create mega waste at local landfills. Most come from synthetic materials produced in processes that aren’t great for our environment. Fresh suggests buying a Macrocarpa, Maple or Cedar Christmas tree as they are truly magnificent trees with that great real tree aroma but are very low allergen – no hayfever! Merry Christmas.
ALL ABOUT EGGPLANT (OR AUBERGINE!)
Eggplant (or aubergine) is the surely the Versace of vegetables… subtle curves, radiant shine, intense brooding colour. Plus they’re versatile and accessible, once we dispel the salting myth. The theory is that salting and draining and washing and drying draws out excess moisture which (a) can be bitter and (b) causes excess oil to be absorbed. We say this palaver just spoils the texture. Recently developed varieties are not bitter; choose glossy, firm fruit (yes a fruit, technically speaking) heavy in relation to size. If you are concerned with the oil uptake, simply brush slices with the ration of oil and grill or bake. That said, there is a delicious unctuousness that dishes like ratatouille and moussaka have when the eggplant has been well fried in loads of good olive oil.
THE DOWNHILL SLIDE TO CHRISTMAS PREP
From here on the year does seem to gather momentum alarmingly: exams and parties and shopping and planning. So we thought a few timely reminders were in order:
- Be Prepared! Write comprehensive lists to ensure that nothing gets overlooked.
- Start now – why not have your gifts shopped and wrapped by the time everyone else hits the stores?
- Ditto wine: get your celebratory and holiday cases stacked away now and spread the cost.
- Pre-order festive fare: hams, turkeys, a wheel of stilton… however you celebrate, it’s not too soon to give us a heads up on what you’ll need.
- Ask! Here at FITK, we love to help with fresh, innovative recipe ideas to save you time and add some pleasure to your entertaining. Just email me Trudi Nelson at email@example.com or call me free on 0800 37 37 48
CHRISTMAS PAVLOVA TIPS
Christmas Pavlova Tips:
- Fold a little vinegar and cornflour into the stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar.
- When making any meringue it’s important that the egg whites reach maximum volume: ensure mixing bowl and whisk are absolutely clean and free of grease.
- It’s easier to separate eggs when cold, but allow them to come to room temperature before using.
- Cook in a slow oven and then turn off and let it cool slowly. If syrupy droplets form on the surface, it’s overcooked; liquid oozing a sign of undercooking.
- Pav’s can be made several days in advance and stored in a cool dry place. Top just before serving to retain the crisp exterior – and don’t refrigerate.
- Experiment with variations: make the base caramely with brown sugar, textured with ground nuts. On top, crème fraiche or thick yoghurt in the cream can work as a delicious foil to sweet fruit sauces.
VITAMIN B12 IN FOODS
Vitamin B12 is only found in a few foods, but beef and lamb are two of them. This exclusive vitamin keeps our blood pumping and nerves twitching.
To those Kiwi bloggers who live in Auckland, Zarbo Cafe & Delicatessan will require no introduction whatsoever. I was first introduced to Zarbo by one of my dearest friends, Julia. Julia and I saw each other through many trials and tribulations, from the wild and mis-spent days of our twenties, to more "grown-up" times in our forties, including marriage and children (in her case) and marriage and divorce (in mine). Sadly I lost Julia to her long battle with cancer about four years ago, and it saddens me greatly that now in my fifties (which I happen to think is the best time of my life so far) I cannot share this time with her. But while she was still alive, Zarbo was "our place" - it was the place we used to frequently meet at and hang out together whenever I was visiting Auckland, and when they published their first cookbook, "Zarbo, Recipes from a New Zealand Deli", Julia was quick to gift me a copy.
I miss Julia's friendship a lot, and think often about those long afternoons sitting in Zarbo, nattering over a cup of coffee (or two) and a piece of cake or slice. So today when I was looking for a contribution to this month's Sweet New Zealand blogging event (more about that in a minute), I knew that I would find the perfect little something in my trusty Zarbo book. The "Hello Rosie" Slice on page 95, was exactly reminiscent of the kind of thing Julia and I would have shared, though I have made a few changes. The first change was more by accident than intent - because I am an idiot, and didn't read the recipe correctly, my chopped nuts ended up in the base instead of the topping - an accident I didn't discover until the slice was actually in the oven!! I was worried that the end result would be something altogether too crumbly, but the slice has held together just fine and doesn't appear to have suffered in anyway from my mistake. Accordingly, that is exactly how I have instructed you here, but if you feel like putting the nuts back into the topping, then go right ahead. I also made a few substitutions - I have used cashew nuts instead of walnuts, dried apricots instead of sultanas, and white chocolate instead of dark. I think you could easily experiment with all sorts of different fruit, nut and chocolate combinations in this recipe. I hope you will feel inspired to have a go and come up with one of your own special combinations to share with someone close to your heart.
The Sweet New Zealand monthly blog event was created by the very sweet Alessandra Zecchini, and is hosted this month by the equally sweet Alli at Pease Pudding. This is an opportunity for all Kiwi bloggers (whether you are living in New Zealand or overseas), as well as for non-Kiwi bloggers living in New Zealand, to connect and share some of those sweet treats from your kitchen. You can find a round-up of last month's special treats on this page of Alessandra's blog, or go and visit this page of Alli's blog to find out how you can join in this month. Alli will be posting a round-up of entries at the end of the month. I think I'm only just going to manage to slip in under the wire with this post, but if you feel like joining in and you don't have time to conjure up something new, you are welcome to link up an older post.
Now on with the recipe ...
Apricot, White Chocolate & Cashew Nut Slice Recipe
"Zarbo, Recipes from a New Zealand Deli"
Makes 18 bars
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
For the base:
100g butter, melted
250g malt biscuits, crushed
2 cups raw cashew nuts, roughly chopped
For the topping:
1-1/2 cups white chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped dried apricots
3 cups long strand coconut
500g sweetened condensed milk
Grease a 20cm x 30cm (8 inch x 12 inch) slice tin, line with baking paper, and set aside.
Mix the crushed biscuits, chopped nuts, and melted butter together, and press into the tin.
Mix the chocolate, apricots, coconut and condensed milk together and press over the base.
Bake at 160 degrees C (320 degrees F) for approximately 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Take care not to overcook as the finished slice should be sticky, chewy and slightly moist. If you find that the slice is browning too quickly, cover with a piece of baking paper until finished cooking.
Leave until cold before slicing.
Every kiwi kid grew up with chocolate crackles at their birthday parties! This is a Christmas twist on the old favourite and we l-l-love this pretty and delicious slice called White Christmas.
White Christmas recipe:
3 cups rice bubbles
1/2 cup coconut
¾ cup icing sugar
3/4 cup mixed dried fruit
1/2 cup green or red glace cherries
1 cup skim milk powder
250g Kremelta (white vegetable shortening or copha)
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add fruit and coconut
Add melted Kremelta.
Press into a foil-lined swiss roll tin. Refrigerate and cut into Christmas Tree triangles when set.
This White Christmas is simple, delicious and looks pretty especially as triangles.
Even decorate with Christmas red and green as desired: silver sugar balls, red ball jaffas, mint leaves, lollies etc. Box up in tissue and Christmas wrap for a special home-made festive gift.
Today we celebrated mine and Nana Pinkys Birthday. She turned 90 today with is such a great achievement, She is such an amazing lady who has taught me so much over the years, I love sharing my birthday with her every year. I made my favourite White Chocolate Mud cake for our Birthday, which is such a yummy rich dense cake, you must try. I iced the cake with white chocolate Ganche then decorated it with Coconut, chocolate almonds and Chocolate balls then drizzled a little bit of the ganache over the top.
White Chocolate Mud Cake
Recipe sourceWomens Weekly
180g white eating chocolate, chopped
350g unsalted butter, chopped
2 2⁄3 cups (590g) caster sugar
1½ cups (375ml) milk
2 cups (300g) plain flour
2⁄3 cup (100g) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
fresh roses, for decorating
white chocolate ganache
¾ cup (180ml) cream
540g white eating chocolate, chopped finely
Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Grease a deep 22cm-round cake pan; line base and side with baking paper.
Combine chocolate, butter, sugar and milk in a large saucepan; stir over low
heat until smooth. Pour mixture into a large bowl; cool for 15 minutes.
Whisk in sifted flours, extract and eggs. Pour mixture into pan; bake for about
1 hour 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan.
White chocolate ganache
Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a medium saucepan; remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until thick and spreadable.
Turn cake, top-side up, onto cake stand. Spread White Chocolate Ganache over top and side of cold cake. Decorate with Chocolate Almond and coconut, if desired.
Me with Nana Pinky
Click here to see another White Chocolate Cake I made for a friends farewell.
Ahh the Edmonds cookbook. Hands up who has one?
I was gifted one when Owen and I got engaged. It's a right of passage for anyone going flatting, or getting married to receive the bible of all New Zealand cookbooks. I've given a fair number as a housewarming gift or especially to a new family who have emigrated to New Zealand. The good old Edmonds Cookbook. Everyone needs one.
A few years ago I used to read a blog about a woman that attempted to bake her way through the book, with some pretty funny and some great and some terrible results. I'm not going to try that but I thought I might share a few favourites over the next few months. It sure is a recipe book with a mostly fail safe simple way to find out how to make scones, pastry, hokey pokey, preserving, converting oven temperatures...and some rather less popular recipes such as sardine savoury.
My copy is a rather well worn one after 14 years but not as worn as my mothers.
I regularly use the cookie recipes as a base and add my own touches but this one here is a great recipe, which has been used so many times. I add dried fruit and sometimes peanut butter, but this week our pantry is a little sparse and I chucked in some sesame seeds with the chocolate. Just because.
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
a few drops vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I like the large chunky ones)
Cream butter and sugar and condensed milk and vanilla until light and fluffy. Sift the flour and baking powder and add with the chocolate chips until well combined. Spoon onto lined baking tray and bake for 20 minutes at 180 deg C.
The sweetened condensed milk gives a really lovely flavour.
Recently we were invited to a housewarming and asked to bring a plate. I have a few go-to recipes for such occasions and if you have known me long enough you will have had each of them at some point either by having it bought to your house or after attending a party at mine.
One such go-to recipe for me, that I find everyone loves, is eclairs. And really whats not to love about a sweet pastry, filled with lashings of cream and decadent chocolate on top.
Of course you can veer away from the traditional cream filling and chocolate topping if you want. You can fill them with a custard filling, similar to a Boston Creme donut, or just add a little jam for an extra sweet hit. Using jam is a great way to match the topping if you do a raspberry icing rather then chocolate.
Now when I make these I always just make them in a puff shape, rather then the traditional long finger shape, no real reason I've just always done it that way. Plus it means I don't have to muck around with piping, I just spoon the mix onto the tray and they are ready to go.
Now a little tip to avoid those nasty sticky-up bits which can over cook or worse burn, is to use a spoon, dip it in a little water, then smooth those sticky-up bits down into your puffs. Easy peasy problem solved! You can also use the spoon to adjust the shape if you want a more conforming shape. Personally I like it when they come out a little off center because it makes it easier to decide where to make the cut for filling!
Anther tip to help them not go soggy once baked is before filling and icing poke a small hole, using a skewer, into the puffs to help the steam release during the cooling period
So the basic recipe I use for eclairs is as follows, but there are others out there with different amounts of sugar, and also that use part milk and part water. I like to keep them as basic as possible, and they always turn out yummy.
Basic Eclairs Dough
1 cup water
75 grams (3 oz) butter
150 grams (5 oz) four
1 dessertspoon white sugar
1/2 - 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 small eggs
Boil water and butter in a small pot. Add the flour and mix until it leaves the sides of the pot. Remove from the heat.
Add the sugar and vanilla and mix in. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well. The mix will be thick but should be a consistency suitable for piping if you wanted to make long finger shapes. Place spoon fulls of mix onto a baking tray, pre-greased or covered with grease proof baking paper.
Bake for 30 minutes at 200°C. Once cooked allow to cool before filling and icing. I have seen people ice and then cut and fill eclairs, however I have always filled then iced as I find this easier and less messy then trying to handle them with the icing on top.
Serve and enjoy. If you were wanting to store them it would be best to do so un-iced and un-creamed.
Until next time ... Happy Home Baking!!!
This is a lovely recipe to use up left over jam and it is a good recipe to use at Easter using small caramel eggs instead of the jam.
It is taken from Alison Holst's More Marvellous Muffin book.
1 ¾ cups of flour
4 tsp baking powder
¼ cup coca
½ cup sugar
½ cup (100g) chocolate chips
2 large eggs
¾ cup milk
Extra chocolate chips
Stir the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Add the chocolate chips and toss with a fork.
Melt the butter in a separate container, until just liquid.
Add the eggs and milk and beat with a fork until smooth
Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and fold in about 14 times.
Do not over mix (some bits of flour may still be showing).
Put about a tablespoon of mixture into the base of 12 medium muffin tins that have been well greased. (I use margarine on a kitchen paper towel to grease them)
Place about a teaspoon of jam in a blob, in the middle of each muffin.
Carefully cover this with the rest of the muffin mix trying not to over mix the mixture in the bowl as you do so.
Make sure the jam is covered – that is why it’s good to use a blob of jam rather than a ‘spread’.
Sprinkle with a few extra chocolate chips if you like.
Bake at 200ºC for about 10 minutes until the muffins spring back when pressed.
Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes before removing.
I guess you had seen a lot of this before where chocolate wafers like KitKat are used to adorn cakes but most of them uses chocolate button candies like M&M or Smarties, well this post we will change it a bit by using marshmallows instead of chocolates. Using marshmallows effectively makes it less sweeter but also makes it less expensive which helps if your are on a budget but want the same effect as its popular counterpart, it will also be good with pink themed parties like your daughter’s birthday.
Apart from its looks there’s nothing much going on with this cake, it is not really that hard to make but the visual effect it imparts to your visitors more specifically kids is priceless.
For our base we will be using some mud cake hence my wife and daughter named it Mud Mallows, it is a good base as the thick ganache holds the chocolate wafers together which is very helpful when you are building those wafer sides having said that nothing is stopping you to use any base you want.
Mud Mallows Save Print Prep time 30 mins Cook time 1 hour 30 mins Total time 2 hours Serves: 8 Ingredients Mud Cake 2½ cup all-purpose flour 1½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt ¼ cup cocoa powder 250g butter, cubed 200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped 2 cups sugar 1 cup cold water 2 eggs, lightly beaten Chocolate ganache 200g dark chocolate, chopped ⅔ cup thickened cream Others Chocolate wafers Mini marshmallows Instructions Method In a large saucepan melt butter in medium heat, once melted add chocolate, sugar and water. Cook in low heat while constantly mixing for 5 minutes or until smooth. Set it aside and let it cool. Once chocolate mixture is cooled down add eggs then stir to combine. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder then add into the chocolate mixture. Place in a baking paper lined 9 in round pan then bake in a 180C oven for 1½ hrs or until a cake tester inserted in the centre has moist crumbs sticking to it. Remove from oven then let it cool. Prepare your chocolate ganache. Combine chocolate ganache ingredients together in a saucepan then cook in low heat while constantly stirring for 5-6 minutes or until smooth. Place in a refrigerator for 30 minutes or until mixture is thick and ready for spreading. Remove cake form pan then place into a cake stand. Spread the chocolate ganache on top and sides of mud cake then carefully place chocolate wafers on the side. Once all sides are covered with chocolate wafers, using a ribbon or a thick yarn tie it around to prevent it from falling down. Place in the refrigerator and let it cool. Pour marshmallows on top before serving. 3.2.2807
Share this:FacebookTwitterPinterestGooglePocketTumblrStumbleUponRedditMoreEmailPrintLinkedInLike this:Like Loading...
This Nutella Mud Cake is incredibly sinful but heavenly yummy! This recipe was adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly cookbook but I've changed the chocolate to Nutella. This cake is very easy to make without the need of an electric mixer. Just simply melt the Nutella spread, butter and sugar together, then add in the flour and egg. One thing you should not miss out is the liqueur, rum. This cake is full of aromatic rum flavour, dense, moist, rich and fudgy. If you're a Nutella fan you must try this!
Nutella Mud Cake
350g Nutella spread
165g Brown sugar (I used 100g)
110g Plain flour
35g Self raising flour
50g Ground hazelnuts
2 Eggs ( whole egg -70g each)
1 tbsp Water
75g Brown sugar
160g Icing sugar (I used 50g)
2 tbsp Cocoa powder （I used Valrhona)
2 tbsp Rum
Preheat oven to 150C. Grease deep 20cm round cake pan; line base with baking paper.
Stir Nutella spread, butter, sugar and the water in medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool 15 minutes. Stir in sifted flours, ground hazelnut, eggs and rum.
Pour mixture into pan; bake for about 1 hour 30 minutes. Stand cake in pan 5 minutes, turn, top-side up, onto a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, make fudge frosting. Spread cake with frosting and chill it for 2 hours before consuming.
Stir butter, the water and brown sugar in small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, stir in rum.
Sift icing sugar and cocoa powder into small bowl; gradually stir in hot butter mixture until smooth. Cover; refrigerator about 10 minutes or until frosting thickens. Beat frosting with a rubber spatula until spreadable.
165克 赤糖 （我用100克）
2个 全蛋 （约70克一个）
160克 糖粉 （我用50克）
This Nutella Mud Cake is incredibly sinful but heavenly yummy! This recipe was adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly cookbook but I've changed the chocolate to Nutella. This cake is very easy to make without the need of an electric mixer. Just simply melt the Nutella spread, butter and sugar together, then add in the flour and egg. One thing you should not miss out is the liqueur, rum. This cake is full of aromatic rum flavour, dense, moist, rich and fudgy. If you're a Nutella fan you must try this!
Nutella Mud Cake
350g Nutella spread
165g Brown sugar (I used 100g)
110g Plain flour
35g Self raising flour
50g Ground hazelnuts
2 Eggs ( whole egg -70g each)
1 tbsp Water
75g Brown sugar
160g Icing sugar (I used 50g)
2 tbsp Cocoa powder （I used Valrhona)
2 tbsp Rum
Preheat oven to 150C. Grease deep 20cm round cake pan; line base with baking paper.
Stir Nutella spread, butter, sugar and the water in medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool 15 minutes. Stir in sifted flours, ground hazelnut, eggs and rum.
Pour mixture into pan; bake for about 1 hour 30 minutes. Stand cake in pan 5 minutes, turn, top-side up, onto a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, make fudge frosting. Spread cake with frosting and chill it for 2 hours before consuming.
Stir butter, the water and brown sugar in small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, stir in rum.
Sift icing sugar and cocoa powder into small bowl; gradually stir in hot butter mixture until smooth. Cover; refrigerator about 10 minutes or until frosting thickens. Beat frosting with a rubber spatula until spreadable.
165克 赤糖 （我用100克）
2个 全蛋 （约70克一个）
160克 糖粉 （我用50克）
I have never made this before but Jennifer requested Mumma Burgers and Banoffee pie for her birthday tea the other day.
Hmm I thought this may need a bit of prep, so I searched my cookbooks and couldn’t find a recipe. It must be a recent invention, so I sought the internet for instructions and the best way to make it.
The first finds were so straight forward I couldn’t believe it. How come I had never made this before.
Then I discovered different flavour combinations.
I stuck to something I could easily make using a combination of a couple plus my own addition.
So this is my recipe.
I x 200g packet of chocolate wheaten biscuits.
1 tbsp instant coffee
1 x 395 g tin of condensed milk
Place the can of condensed milk in a pot of water making sure it is COMPLETELY covered with water. Bring it to the boil and let it simmer for three hours with the lid on the pot and checking it to make sure it is always covered in water.
Be warned - if it is not covered with water it will explode.
Crush the biscuits finely. I used the kitchen whizz but you could pop them in a sealed zip bag and crush with a rolling pin or put them in a deep bowl and use a glass base to crush them. My mum used to do it this way using a small cream bottle back in the days when milk and cream came in glass bottles.
Add the coffee and mix.
Melt the butter and mix into the biscuits and then press into a lined tin.
Cool in the fridge.
I used a spring base tin so that I could remove the pie easily. I lined the sides with baking paper so it was folded out to the outside of the tin. I then inverted the tin the right way up and put the base in making sure the base didn’t ‘catch the paper. (I had the spring catch open then closed it once the base was in place.)
The pics on the right show the tin upside down and then looking in from the top so you can see how the paper comes out the bottom.
This means when you are removing the pie from the tin to serve there is as little mess as possible.
I greased the base then pressed the mixture in letting it come up at the sides slightly.
Open the COOLED can of condensed milk VERY CAREFULLY and spread over the base. Warm the opened can slightly to spread if is it is too thick.
Cool in the fridge.
This can all be done sometime before the meal.
Peel and slice the bananas. I cut them in half then sliced them lengthways in to thirds and placed them close together over the caramel.
Beat the cream until soft peaks are formed but not too stiff.
Spread carefully over the bananas so they don’t move.
Grate chocolate over the top.
Remove the spring tin and paper and slide off onto a plate to serve.
Now the reason why I have typed in capitals in the making of the caramel is because I had a nasty burn.
I opened the can of condensed milk after I had boiled it, too soon after taking it from the pot.
Now I was concerned it might explode so I made sure the tear tab on this can was facing away from me. I used a towel to hold it as I carefully used the handle of a spoon to leaver the lid open.
Just as the first bit opened up shoot a spout of caramel like a fountain.
And plop it landed on my hand and my head and shoulder.
Silly me quickly wiped the caramel off my knuckle only to take the skin with it.
I held it under the tap for a while but the removing of the skin had done the damage.
Needless to say it is going to take a while to heal and will probably scar.
So be warned don’t open the can while it is hot.
The funny bit was that there seemed to be quite a stream of caramel come out of the tin and there didn’t seem to be all that much on me. However later that evening I looked up and discovered where the rest of it was!! Just shows you the force it came out at.
The ceiling above the sink!!
A favourite Samoan treat on special occasions is Pineapple pie (Pai Fala). It’s a delicious sweet half moon shaped pastry.
One of my Samoan students, Sandra Ivala , gave me a few tips on how to make a Pai Fala. At her home, as in lots of Samoan families, there is a special extended family gathering after church every Sunday where traditional Samoan foods are enjoyed.
Sandra’s advice was:
“First make the filling and let it cool before rolling out the pastry on a floured surface.
Lift the pastry onto a plate and then trim the edges so you have a round shape. Then spoon the pineapple filling on one half of it before flipping the pastry over to make a half moon shape.
The last thing you want to happen is for the filling to escape and ooze out during the baking. So make sure to carefully pinch the pastry edges together all the way along,
It looks nice to decorate the pastry by using the prong of a fork to make a pattern along the edge. It’s also important to pierce the top of the pastry several times with a fork so steam can escape.
Then carefully lift the pastry onto the oven tray (no need to grease it) and bake it at about 175 degrees C for 15-20 minutes. You can tell it is done when the crust is a light golden brown. Let it cool slightly before serving.”
All the traditional recipes for Pai Fala which I looked at on the net are very rich in fat and sugar. As healthy eating is a focus of Samoan Language week this year I decided to give the Pai Fala a healthy make-over by reducing the sugar in the filling and using coconut milk instead of coconut cream in the pastry.
I have also made the recipe smaller. It still makes a sizeable dessert, but for an extended family gathering it can be easily doubled or tripled.
Pai Fala (Pineapple Pie)
This recipe will make 2 large pastries.
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
50 grams of soft butter
About 300 gm of coconut milk
1 440gm tin of crushed pineapple in natural juice
1 heaped tablespoon of custard powder
2-3 tablespoons of sugar
For the Filling
Pour the crushed pineapple into a sieve that is placed over a bowl.
Gently press onto it with the back of a spoon to extract the juice.
Mix the custard powder and the sugar into the juice.
Microwave 1 minute in a microwave safe bowl/jug. Then stir.
Microwave 1 further minute. It should have thickened. If not, microwave for a few more seconds.
Add the crushed pineapple, then leave the filling to cool
For the pie crust:
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl
Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips.
Add enough coconut milk (about 300gm) to make a scone like dough
Mix only enough until it holds together (do not over mix as it will become tough)
Divide into two halves.
Roll each out on a floured surface, lift over a dinner plate and trim the surface.
Spoon pineapple filling onto half of it, and flip over.
Carefully pinch the two edges together and then make a pattern with the prongs of a fork.
Prick a few holes into the top.
Lift the Pai Fala onto an oven tray and bake 15-20 minutes at 170 degrees C until golden brown.
Sieve icing sugar over the top, or sprinkle with a mixture of brown sugar and icing sugar. Let it cool a little before serving.
The Pai Fala can then be cut into slices/quarters. A small scoop of coconut ice cream and/or a fresh tropical fruit salad would be delicious alongside!
Pecan Pie Slice
I first tasted Pecan Pie when I was in the USA years ago and I just loved the nutty-rich taste. Serve this luscious dessert in small wedges with a dollop of whipped cream to balance the flavours.
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup sweet sorghum flour
½ cup almond meal
½ tsp xanthan gum
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp cold butter, diced
1 ½ tbsp shortening, diced
2 tbsp water
¼ cup butter
3 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp water
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cups pecans
To make the base, combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add vanilla, butter and shortening and fold together, adding water towards the end. Shape dough into a ball and press into a 23-cm (9-10 inch) square pie pan. Chill for at least 1 hour to allow the dough to set.
Preheat oven to 160 °C (350°F).
To make the filling, slowly melt butter in a saucepan. In a small bowl, mix together cornflour and water. Add brown sugar to the melted butter and stir well. Add cornflour (Corn starch) mixture then stir in golden syrup, vanilla and salt. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool for just 1 minute.
Whisk eggs together in a bowl then slowly pour the eggs into the saucepan with the rest of the melted filling. Mix in the pecans. Pour the filling into the chilled base and cover the exposed edges with aluminium foil.
Bake for 45 minutes. Remove pie from oven and carefully take off the aluminium foil. Return pie to oven for 10–15 minutes, or until lightly browned on edges. Allow the pie to cool for 10 minutes so that it sets. Cut into 12–16 squares and serve.
"What would you like for your birthday?" my partner asked me a couple of months ago. After a little bit of thought, "a kitchen blackboard" was my reply. As I have always dreamed of having a kitchen blackboard, and since making blackboards is one of the many things that my partner does, I don't know why it had never occurred to me to ask for one before. In actual fact the blackboard of my dreams is about 3 metres long and takes up one whole wall of my kitchen - but then I would also need the kitchen of my dreams to fit it into. Our present kitchen is tiny, and just about every square inch of space is maximised, but "I would like one to fit there", I said, pointing to the last vestige of empty wall space behind the door and beside the fridge. So I was overjoyed when my birthday came around and this is what I got ...
It fits perfectly in the space, and now I use it so much I don't know how I ever got by without it. Because I teach in the evenings, I have to be quite organised with meals - planning things that can be partly prepared during the day in between classes, and then quickly completed after I finish classes in the evening. The board has turned out to be absolutely indispensable in my planning process, which goes something like this ...
I usually think of Friday as one of my leisure kind of days - no classes until the evening and all the chores done earlier in the week. So Friday is the day I like to get several cookbooks down off the shelves and think about a "draft" menu plan for the week ahead - in that planning I think about what is likely to be seasonally available and also what commitments (classes, private lessons, other appointments, etc) I have during the week, and what I can fit in and prep around those commitments. Saturday mornings I then head off to the market to pick up my vegetables, and then Saturday afternoon the menu plan gets a bit of a "tweek" depending on what I was able to get at the market. Sometimes the plan gets a major transformation if I've come home with some totally unexpected finds at the market, or couldn't get a lot of what I had in mind.
So then the menu plan goes up on the board, and then .... I know this is going to sound really scary to some of you .... using a very clever little application that I have on my iPhone called "Mise en Place", I schedule in what I can prepare ahead and when. I know that might seem almost nauseatingly well organised (and those who know me will be surprised by this, because being organised is not really my strong suit - my motto has always been "why do today what you can put off till tomorrow?"), but for me there is nothing worse than getting home at 8pm with no idea what's for dinner. I pretty much never have anything in the way of ready-made food in the house - if you want something to eat in my house, you have to make it. And I'm afraid I'm not one of those cooks who can dive into the fridge, come out with several ingredients, and half an hour later something stunning and delicious is on the table - oh, how I envy those people. I, on the other hand, need to have a plan. I wouldn't survive the first round on Master Chef!
As the week goes along, and I run out of anything in the pantry, I jot that up on the board so that then goes on the shopping list for the next week. Also if I find things in the cupboard or fridge that need to get used up - for example some yoghurt to be used up, or dressing or sauce leftover from something I made earlier in the week - then I also note that on the board, so then when I'm planning the next week's menu I think of things that could use those leftovers. Or maybe someone will bring me some goodies from their garden, so then those treats will be the springboard for the forthcoming plan.
So it was last week - a very kind student brought me the biggest, most beautiful bunch of mixed fresh herbs from her garden. In the bunch there was rosemary, bay, Vietnamese mint, dill, tarragon, and sage, so I had great fun planning this week's menu to make the most of these gorgeous herbs, and I thought I would share with you what's coming out of my kitchen this week:
Saturday night I made an adaptation of this Fried Fish with Noodles & Asian Herbs recipe by Ray McVinnie. I used fresh chillies in my dressing instead of dried, and in the absence of limes I used lemon juice. I also substituted monkfish for the John Dory. I used a mixture of basil, dill, mint and Vietnamese mint leaves, and lime-pepper macadamia nuts instead of peanuts.
Last night I made Pork Schnitzels, from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros. The schnitzels are marinated for a while in a mix of egg yolks, garlic, chopped rosemary and garlic, before crumbing and frying. I made a lemon tarragon mayonnaise to go with them (which incidentally was so good, it has now become my favourite new thing), along with some crunchy potatoes roasted with rosemary and bay leaves. The meat lover in the house declared these to be delicious, and told me that I could make them again!
Yesterday afternoon I also made Spinach Gnocchi (preparation for dinner tonight, as well as some to go in the freezer for another night) from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. This is also a Cooking Italy assignment, and we are supposed to serve it with a tomato cream sauce, but I'm going to use up some of that sage in a Sage Butter Sauce.
Tuesday night will be one of my regular favourites - pasta with aubergine, currants, capers and pine nuts from Epicurious. I love this - the sauce can easily be made in advance, in fact I usually make a big batch and then freeze it in portions big enough for just me. Then on a night when I need to appease my meat lover with a piece of ... well, meat ... I can boil some pasta and reheat some of this sauce for myself in less time than it takes to say "pork chop", well almost! Mmmm, just thinking that some of those beautiful Purple Cherokee tomatoes I got at the market on Saturday could also find their way into this batch of the sauce.
Wednesday I'm making Soy Chicken from the new Donna Hay book - "Seasons". This involves marinating the chicken in advance and then partly cooking the chicken by poaching in the marinade, which I can do earlier in the day. The final part of the cooking process is 20 minutes in a hot oven to finish cooking and crisp up the skin, which can easily be done after work, and during which time I can cook some rice and steam some green vegetables.
Thursday I'm planning Grilled Mackerel with green olive, celery and raisin salsa from Ottolenghi, The Cookbook. I have been itching to try this recipe ever since I got this book, and as we have two huge bunches of celery to use up (long story), this seems like the perfect time to put this one on the menu.
Friday is going to be Hot-Smoked Salmon Cakes with Green Salad. I always have a few packets of hot-smoked salmon from Holy Smoke in the fridge, so these are a great stand-by. They have been a favourite since I saw Julie Biuso make them at the Savour New Zealand Master Class back in 2001. I've adapted the recipe a little - leaving out the onion, and coating the formed cakes in polenta before frying - but the real secret to these delicately light fishcakes is in the way that Julie recommends treating the potatoes. These would also be beautiful eaten cold the next day if you had any leftovers, but I can pretty much guarantee there won't be any.
Hot-Smoked Salmon Cakes Recipe
Adapted from a recipe by Julie Biuso
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
300-350g hot-smoked salmon
350g waxy potatoes, whole, skins on
salt & pepper
olive oil for frying
Flake the salmon into pieces.
Keep the potatoes whole, and leave the skins on. Boil in well salted water until just barely fork tender. Now this is what makes these light as air, so don't try to take any shortcuts here - drain the potatoes and leave until completely cold, even better if you can put them in the fridge for a couple of hours. Then peel the skins off (they will come off very easily), and grate the potatoes using the cheese shredding side of a box grater. If you try to do this while the potatoes are still warm they go all "gluey" and horrible, instead of light and fluffy.
In a bowl mix the flaked salmon, grated potato, the egg, salt and pepper together well. Shape into "cakes", coat lightly all over with polenta, place on a plate lined with non-stick baking paper, and set aside until ready to cook. They are very soft and tender, so I find that chilling them for a couple of hours at this stage makes them easier to handle.
Heat a pan with a bit of olive oil and fry the cakes until browned all over - remember that you are not really trying to cook anything, but you want them to warm through to the centre (which will be enough to cook the little bit of egg), and to be golden and crispy on the outside.
I like to serve these with a green salad - the thing about green salad, is that it can contain any combination of ingredients that you like, but they must be green. The only exception is perhaps some croutons or nuts or cheese - which I think of as being colour "neutral", but no red, yellow, orange, purple - you get the picture - no tomato, peppers, carrots, corn, etc. There is a time for all that, but this is not it. Try to restrain yourself. Just greens and a lemony vinaigrette. You can see that in this one I used broccoli, green beans, broad beans, avocado and hazelnuts, but just use your imagination and whatever is in season.
This is one of those dishes that is so easy and such a part of my everyday life that it never even occurs to me to photograph and post it...Not the prettiest thing ever, but still pretty damn tasty!I call it "Kitchen Sink Quiche" but it could just as well be "Fridge Scraping Quiche"... Kitchen Sink just sounds... nicer ... to me, y'know? And Kitchen Sink or Fridge Scraping it's a great way to use up any left over bits and pieces you don't know what else to do with!The recipe it technically "self-crusting" which means you don't need to worry about a pastry case and the batter is made with both wholemeal flour and bran flakes (although you can leave out the bran flakes or substitute for plain, all-purpose flour if that's more your jam...) so it's full of fibre!I'll attach the recipe (almost) as I found it in the (old) Edmond's Junior Cookbook... but this is just the humble beginnings of what could be a great dish! The original is vegetarian, but the photographed one here had bacon in it as well...Or; sub out the cheddar cheese and mushrooms and chuck in smoked chicken, brie and apricot for a rather more up-scale quiche!The only things limiting you are your imagination and the contents of your fridge!Younger Brother was hungry and couldn't wait for me to snap a posed photograph...So what are you waiting for?! Dig in!!(set the oven to 160 degrees C)You'll need (to feed 4):3/4 cup whole meal flour1/2 cup bran flakes40g butter, grated or chopped into squares4 eggs, beaten2 cups (500ml) milksalt/pepper/paprika (to taste)Flavours:1 cup grated cheese1 small onion, finely dices1/4 cup sliced mushrooms (4-5, usually)Rub together the flour, bran and butter until the butter is well incorporated and the mix looks crumbly.Stir in the eggs, milk and seasonings. Mix until well combined.Chuck in your chosen flavourings and mix well.(I like to save some cheese back for sprinkling on the top...)Pour into a greased quiche dish and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden.Serve with chutney and a salad. Or on it's own, out of the baking dish. Depending on the relative proximity of parents.
Working towards this new book is consuming my life! I either forget to take photos of whatever I've concocted, or I have no time to deal to this blog as I'm too busy writing up and moving on. . .
No time to moan though, so I'll just post photos of some of the things I've been experimenting with over the last 3 months, then if any one wants a recipe or to know more, leave a message. . .
First, one of my blokey foodie friends provided the inspiration for these fantastic home smoked mussels. I am so into our wonderful farmed green lip mussels - readily available, sustainable, delicious, nutritious (not only low in fat but contain as much iron as red meats) and a great source of protein that is cheap! I bought quite a few kilos last week at our local supermarket when they were $1.99 kg; for mussel soup, mussel pie and these little beauties
All you need is home smoker (a must for any home, I say. . .)The mussels were marinated overnight in sweet chilli sauce and kecap manis, and they were fabulous - as were the smoked tomatoes, too. You can't over-smoke tomatoes, as more is less with them, but I think I've got the timing right now. I was so pleased I took about 15 of the mussels to a friend's place mid afternoon and she seriously ate almost all of them - well, they all disappeared and I only got two, so there's no other explanation.
Next up is artichoke heart salad, made for lovely friend Faith's 60th birthday this last weekend - I sauteed garlic and a few mashed anchovies in virgin olive oil, then added lemon juice and zest, plus seasonings of course for the dressing. The salad had marinated, well drained artichoke hearts (no, I didn't cook them myself, my garden has been a wasteland this year!), cannelini beans, flat leaf parsley, chives, black olives, diced celery and sliced bocconcini - you could use ricotta or even creamy feta for a different take on this. I eavesdropped on a few comments at the party, and it seems that everyone thought it was pretty impressive -and delicious - so a wee pat on the back there, as well as a sigh of relief.
I've also been working on a roasted cauliflower salad with chickpeas & dukkah (home made of course!) and am happy to say it's been a success too
Roasted cauliflower salad with chickpeas & dukkah- unlike my anchovy dip. I'm going to have to put that aside for a while, let ideas percolate and maybe come back to it.
Fried curry leaves for Indian-inspired soup garnishes
and a cauliflower soup with corn, basil and blue cheese - it's weird how these flavours work so harmoniously in this soup, I love it when that happens!
Cauliflower soup with corn, basil and blue cheese
And I'm going to bore you all if I add any more to this post, so I'll have to leave the pitas and rice paper roll banquet til next post. Meanwhile I'm heading to the kitchen to create the best squid ink spaghetti I've made yet (hopefully) and a Thai vegetarian noodle salad.
What makes a seafood meal GREAT? When eating seafood, the most important thing is that the seafood must be fresh. Last week, we were at Gastro Sentral yet again to sample their Seafood Rules platter.. and man, was it delicious! Look at the variety of seafood we had, is your mouth watering yet?
Seafood Rules, Platter for 2
I think it's really nice here during the day when there's lots of natural lighting
The Seafood Rules promotion is available every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. The platter for two (RM220 nett) comes with 6 live oysters, 6 boiled tiger prawns, 2 halved boiled Sabah spiny lobster, 4 pacific jumbo clams and 2 whole flower crabs as well as a bowl of mussels in lemongrass and Thai basil broth and Italian fristo misto di mare. And not forgetting, a jug of Carlsberg draught and free flow shoestring fries. What a feast we had!
Warm rosemary bread.. really good!
An impressive platter... brimming with fresh seafood
The seafood (except the oysters) have either been simply poached or boiled, to retain its natural sweetness and freshness. The live oysters comes from Sabah tasted of the sea. My favorite from the platter has to be the Sabah spiny lobster, especially the HUGE lobster claw. Oh yes, they remove everything from the shell so it makes eating easy for you. That's what I call first class service. No struggling with a hammer to get the crab meat out of the legs.
Four dips are provided with the platter, pimiento aioli, salsa verde, shallot vinaigrette and sweet Thai coriander chilli. Personally, I like the shallot vinaigrette best, it goes well with the flower crab. The pimiento aioli is good with the tiger prawns and the sweet Thai coriander chilli goes best with the shoestring fries. The fries were good, crisp but do eat them before they get cold and soft. And there are two shots of spicy Bloody Mary too.
Oysters, crabs, clams and prawns
The presentation is really nice, don't you think?
We enjoyed the mussels in lemongrass and Thai basil broth... the broth had a nice spicy kick to it.
Italian fristo misto di mare - deep fried battered squid rings and prawns
Lobster tail... so fresh, good on its own!
Thick chunky lobster claw
Hello, nice to meet you. Where are you from, Mr Lobster?
Chill, it's Sunday! ;)
Flower crab, pretty meaty
And if all that is not enough, you can add on more spiny lobsters (RM120 for 500g), live oyster (RM6 each), sea scallop thermidor (RM12) and many more. Or you could also order from the tapas menu.
The homemade nachos with classic tzatziki dip (RM12) was surprisingly very good. The nachos are made in-house, very crisp and goes superbly with the dip. I love the cute paper bag that it is served in too.
Crispy Fried Szechuan Salt & Pepper Squid (RM12)
Asian Spiced Lamb Meatballs (RM15) - juicy and flavorful
To end our meal on a sweet note, we tried the Sticky Toffee Pudding (RM22) which Hubby wanted to try during our last visit. It was served with butterscotch sauce, a berry coulis and a chocolate mousse. The chocolate mousse was really good.. so smooth that it outshone the pudding.
The Seafood Rules promotion is available every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Platter for two (RM220 nett), platter for 4 (RM440nett) and platter for 6 (RM660 nett).
Read about our previous visit to Gastro Sentral here.
Opening times: Sun to Thur: 11am to 12am. Fri + Sat: 11am to 1am.
Price: RM220 nett for platter for two.
Location: Gastro Sentral, Lobby Level, Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur, 2 Jalan Stesen Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 03- 2263 7555
Parking: RM8 for the first 2 hours, RM5 for every subsequent hour.
GPS Coordinates: 3.135685, 101.686524
Friday night was a success! Plenty of food, laughs and sangria!Here was our menu for the night:Entrees/TapasStuffed OlivesChicharonesCrostini w/ Parsley Pesto & SalamiMainChicken & King Prawn PaellaDessertFlan de leche (creme caramel)To DrinkSangriaWe are currently getting all the recipes up, so keep checking back :)Jake & Kim
This recipe is killer. I made this after the patties on Friday night and knew it would be amazing. This is probably the best food I have cooked and is easily my favourite recipe on this blog.
I need to reiterate that this is farmed Paua. Its not undersized paua thieved from the ocean.
Was served with the Astrolabe Chardonnay
200-300 grams of Paua sliced very finely.
3/4 of a can of coconut cream.
150 grams of bacon diced
1 heaped teaspoon of garlic
tablespoon of oil.
Heat the fry pan to medium.
Add the oil and bacon and fry till cooked.
Add the garlic and fry till fragrant. Add the Paua and fry for a minuet.
Once the Paua is cooked it should bend a wee it. Add the coconut cream and keep on medium heat till it reduces.