Changing Tastes

I never used to like sushi, but yesterday I was sitting at work scoffing my prawn and avocado rolls and reflecting on how my tastes have changed over the years. (If anyone feels an urge to tell me that I’m using the term sushi incorrectly because blah, blah, blah – please don’t.)

I started making a list of foods I’ve learnt to like, and then I realised that the learning came in two clear phases. The first I started liking as a teen, the second happened after I reach adulthood.

The Teenage Years

* Mushrooms

* Asparagus

* Avocado

* Fish

* Mussels

* Chocolate mousse

I note that my parents thought it was a sad day when I started liking mushrooms and asparagus – it meant there was less for them!

The Gourmet Adult

* Sushi

* Prawns

* Olives

* Feta cheese

* Coffee

And then there’s the foods that other people love but I still just don’t get.

Ick! Still!

* Oysters

* Blue cheese (although I’m getting there)

* Coriander

I’m sure there’s a bunch I’ve missed. Anyone else finally seen the light on something?

~Thomas

Tuna and Cream Cheese Dip

This is a lovely and easy starter. Even Thomas who is normally the anti-tuna thinks it’s delicious. Thanks to Clarissa for the recipe.

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Tuna and Cream Cheese Dip
1 x medium tin plain tuna (in spring water)
1 x pot of cream cheese (250gms)
Good bunch of fresh mint
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of half a lemon.

Loosen the cream cheese in a bowl (until smooth and easy to stir), flake the tuna into it and stir through, add the mint and stir, then salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Serve with carrot sticks.

Tuna Dip with Carrots

Tip: If the cream cheese is at room temperature it makes it easier to deal with :)

Chocolate Walnut Fudge

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Chocolate Walnut Fudge

  • 250g (1 cup) sugar
  • 400g can of condensed milk
  • 50g of butter
  • 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla
  • 115g plain chocolate, grated
  • 75g (3/4 cup) walnuts
  • Non Stick Baking Paper

Grease an 18cm square cake tin and line with baking paper.

Mix the sugar, condensed milk and butter in a heavy-based saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved completely.

Bring the mixture to the boil (stir continuously) and cook until it reaches 119 degrees Celsius*. Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the vanilla essence, grated chocolate and nuts. Beat until mixture is smooth and creamy.

Pour mixture into the cake tin, spread evenly. Leave to set in the fridge (a few hours).

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*Or perform the famous fudge soft ball test (drop a few drops of the boiling fudge mixture into cold water. If it forms a ball it is ready).

Pumpkin and Ginger Felafels

Here is another lovely recipe I was emailed by Marie (from Traits).

I really enjoyed them as burger patties even though I’m a little uncomfortable with the taste of ginger. It won’t replace my standard comfort burger but it will be a nice change when I feel like going a little more gourmet.

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I’ve included Marie’s email text below as I love the way she writes. If you have recipes for me to try email them to me at Kim@WhatKimAte.co.nz.

Pumpkin and Ginger Felafels

“Here is a recipe from Allyson Grofton (food in a minute lady).

We had them just as described but I think would be magic as burger patties! (and can be a change from the regular tofu patty.)

– 250gms firm pumpkin
– 425 gm can cannellini (butter) beans. Drained
– 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
– 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
– 1 tbsp chopped fresh chilli
– 3 cups fresh bread crumbs
– oil for frying
– 200 gm tub hummus
– 1/2 cup yoghurt
mango salsa ingredients

Mix the hummus and yoghurt together – cover and back to fridge

In a bowl combine all the mango salsa ingredients – cover and back to fridge

Peel & cook pumpkin in a little boiling water, drain and then put back into pan to dry it out – a couple of minutes, just to its not too wet. In a processor (I don’t have one so I used a potato masher) cannellini beans, garlic, ginger, chilli and 1/2 breadcrumbs.

Season with salt and pepper.

Mould into 12 patties (or burger sized patties) and roll in remaining breadcrumbs.

Fry with a little oil until golden and heated through, keep warm while others are being cooked.

Serve as it or with a plain salad or make mega burgers!

Andrew loves this and I’m looking forward to getting out the barbie and making these bad boys in summer. Keep up the great blog!

Marie xx”

When Things Go Wrong

Accidentally made your dish too salty? too spicy? You haven’t burnt it have you?

Today as I was salting my Red Wine and Garlic Lentil soup the lid came off the salt container and way too much salt poured in.

How do you reduce the saltiness?

  • Add Milk?
  • Add Potato?

I only had vague ideas but I knew the internet would save me. I found a wonderful article by Peter Martin called When Things Go Wrong: A Guide to Fixing Kitchen Disasters. Bookmark it and remove the guesswork from fixing cooking disasters.

I love the internet.

The Living Room, Auckland.

The other night we went to Living Room on Ponsonby Road for dinner and it was really very nice. Kim’s salmon fillet served on bruschetta was interestingly flavoured with wood smoke. While the components of the dish didn’t integrate that well, working more as a piece of grilled salmon with a bruschetta chaser, it was still generally delicious. I ordered the seafood chowder which was generously laden with mussels, whitefish, squid and cockles.

Both of these dishes were from the cheaper ‘light meals’ menu but were more than sufficient to ensure that eating the sides we ordered was more of an indulgence than a necessity. I hate to think how large the mains were.

~Thomas

The Joy of Travel: Treasure 2 – Orchards.

I love going into the road side fruit and veggie places. I remember the first time I had an apricot from an orchard, it was so warm, fresh and tasty. Prior to that experience I actually thought I didn’t like apricots.

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The other bonus in going to orchards is that there is often something different to try. On our visit to the Opoutere Valley Orchard we found an excellent Lime Honey homemade by Elizabeth.

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It’s a little more zingy than a traditional lemon honey, it certainly makes my taste buds wake up and take notice. Glorious.

$4.50 per jar, warning a jar doesn’t last very long ;-)

Experimental Baking

Edit: It turned out well, although not well enough to bother with again when there are so many wonderful cake recipes out there. What was really nice was the ginger and lemon icing!

Thomas and I are now living in Auckland. We have a new kitchen which is small but well set up.

I’m not sure why I decided to experiment with the first cake I’ve made in the new oven, especially as it’s Thomas’s birthday cake.

Here’s what I’ve done:

I took the standard banana cake recipe, removed bananas and added mashed canned pears, ginger, mixed spice and golden syrup. Well, there is a chance it will work right? : – )

Failure or success, place your bets ladies and gentlemen. I’ll report back later either way.

The good news is that I’m home all day today so I can make a back up cake as well.

The Joy of Travel: Treasure 1 – The Chilli Patch.

One of the things I really like about travel is trying new food, taking the best that a cuisine has to offer and integrating it into my own cooking repertoire. While travelling overseas it’s easy to find and try new foods, new and different is everywhere.

While travelling in NZ it’s a little harder, the familiar is everywhere but I have found a few little treasures. The first I want to share is Green Jalapeno Chilli Sauce from the Chilli Patch/Penray Gardens (South of Otaki on State Highway One).

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This is a medium intensity chilli with a sharp bite with a delicious and complex flavour. At the moment I’m a bit obsessed with it and I’m trying it with everything (well, everything savoury at least!). My recommendation: Try it on the side with a frittata, the sharpness really livens it up.

The best thing about finding food in your own country is that it’s easier to go back and get more. Next time I’m buying at least four bottles (they’re only $4.50 each). Nice.