Friday, 21 December 2012

My Orange-infused Christmas.

The culinary festivities of Christmas make for one indulgent month and thus far have appeared to keep me rather busy! I think its the amalgamation of tradition, seasonality and sheer enjoyment that mean food at this time of year is even more delightful.

Trees & Kitchens. Essential ingredients for the tastiest Christmas.
Decoration c/o AG & LL.

Living up to the name my two and a half year old nephew gave me, ‘Aunty Cake’ has been busy this Christmas. Almost six years ago I found myself spending my summers where I feel most at home- in the kitchen. With one legendary recipe in tow and a desire to bake til my heart was content. I started with an oh-so-original business name: Kate’s Christmas Cakes.

Moist, jewelled and delicious. 
Being young and much preferring chocolate over a fruit cake, I made sure I choose a recipe that I actually liked. So I discovered a delectable orange-infused Christmas Cake recipe. It was moist, packed full of flavour and most importantly delicious. It was a joint venture to start, as my father provided the clientele and I provided the goods. His honorary clients were treated with a hand-made orange-infused specialty cake for Christmas.

The Orange-infused goddess herself.
I continued this trend for my summers throughout school – utilising the free power (the perks of being a youth at home) and collecting my pennies as every cake waltzed out the door. Each was hand-wrapped and ribboned with a personalised message in tow. Getting crafty with the timing at my prime I managed to churn out ten a day.

A work in progress.

With such fond memories and engraved memorisation of this recipe - every year I look forward to the wonderful warming scent as the orange, mixed fruit, brown sugar and pure butter mix bubble away on the stove. I used to replace the glace cherries with dried apricots and prunes, but now I simply roll with the reindeer and keep the reds and greens in their rightful place. That way the recipient can consume or remove as they so wish. Reflecting the state of the current economy this year I opted for the smaller-mini cakes, which meant I could gift them to a few more lucky souls.

Hand-made & wrapped with joy.
My second culinary Christmas gift was the classic Italian Biscotti. These twice-baked treats originated from the city of Prato, Italy and my version were studded with cranberries, almonds, cashews and orange zest. Perfect as a tea dunker or coffee companion and better on your waistline than other sugary treats. But its Christmas after all so I dipped a few odds and ends in a variety of white, milk and dark chocolate and shared the joy accordingly.

Twice-baked treats.

Another orange-chocolate delight that screams Christmas are the conspicuous and almost secretive Terry's Chocolate Oranges. These bright blue boxes complete with a perfect sphere of orange-chocolate segments are well worth the hunt at your supermarket. The combination of chocolate and orange is one I have definitely learned to appreciate since devouring this cheeky number.

Seek & you shall find me.
Finally to wash it all down my bevvy of choice this summer season contains that signature orange scent. A sophisticated mix of Pimms, ginger ale, lemonade, fresh mint leaves, cucumber ice and topped with a wedge or three of fresh orange. Devoured at another highlight of this years social calendar, this combination is certain to lead to a day/night of great antics. So as we count down the days I say go forth and enjoy the festive foodie feasting.  x

Note: The silly season got the better of me and I managed to leave my camera charger out of reach. Hence photos being c/o an i-phone.

Friday, 30 November 2012

A Testament to Tofu.

Tofu is a tough one. Despite not being at all tough in texture. Getting it right is the tough part. Good tofu can be exceptional. And bad tofu, can be very, very average. Most people are either all FOR or all AGAINST this intricate food. Along with copious vegans, vegetarians and adventure foodies out there, with my recent tofu experiences I would happily consider myself a tofu groupie.

Some seriously GOOD gingered Tofu @ the Godparents.

Packed with protein, iron and reasonably low in fat this bean curd is a staple food in the majority of Asian cuisine. Despite never eating much of it as a child (due to my fathers disapproval of the stuff). My first vivid memory is the Teriyaki Tofu sushi served at Yoku in Tauranga. A huge slab of the sticky coated goods perched atop its horizontal column of white rice. Delish. Many a study period or lunchtime was spent here, being the best in town it was no surprise to see your school rivals queuing up behind you.

It's Teriyaki time @ Renkon.

Keeping with the Teriyaki tone, another amazing dish can be found at the ever-popular Renkon. With five locations throughout Auckland, it’s a go-to in our house. Ideal for those mid-week ‘I can’t be bothered cooking moments’. Their selection of Donburi with either udon noodles or rice are topped with stir-fry veges and a protein/sauce combo of your choice. The Teriyaki Tofu Donburi is a winner. With its thin crispy teriyaki crust complementing the delicate fresh tofu inside. And unlike most takeaways you don’t feel a) guilty b) sick or c) like your adding to NZ’s growing obesity statistics.

Harissa and hummus playing Husband to Tofu.
From my years in Dud-city two tofu highlights included this delightfully marinated tofu roll eaten with top-notch company and coffee at Fluid espresso. The other can be found at Jizo. For any Dunedin student/inhabitant that is yet to experience their ‘original sushi’ you should probably put on your puffer jacket and take the walk down George to Princes St. I promise you will not be disappointed. But it’s their Kushiage Tofu - that I believe could convert any tofu-hater (even my Dad). At a mere $2.50 the silken tofu inside is a textural heaven. While it’s sweet, salty, sticky, hot, crispy crust is phenomenal. A flavour combo so good that I have been known to lick every morsel off the small dish. From dining next to the All Blacks, to almost missing my flight, ensuring I get my kushiage tofu fix is a high priority. And anywhere that serves complementary rice tea is more than ok by me.

The Jizo spread - Kushiage Tofu  + Salmon & Chicken Original Sushi.

Back up the country, another flat favourite is KK Malaysian found on Manukau Rd, Epsom. The deep-fried tofu here is infamous throughout the city. Their in house, handmade tofu is served freshly fried with a beautifully golden casing and a lusciously smooth centre. Served with julienne onion, cucumber, sweet chilli sauce and crushed peanuts – this small yet substantial $5 dish is one I’m more than happy to trade for my daily coffee. For the vego in my flat, and me – I am certain we will be eating this for years to come. The Mince Tofu is another crowd pleaser, flavoured with chicken, mushrooms and shrimp it’s a gigantic, satisfying feast for only $20.  

Golden cubes of greatness @ KK.

Experimenting with tofu at home has been quite the adventure in the last few months. A fresh tofu, pan-fried with tamari soy, ginger & sesame dressing was quite the success at my godparents. Another was a supermarket bought version also pan fried with a hoisin, garlic soy mix served with a broccoli, asparagus medley finished with crispy shallots. Inspired by a Riverstone salad and crafted by a very welcome house guest.

A Chef for a guest. Hoisin Tofu Salad w. Crispy Shallots.

My most recent tofu taster was the silken tofu variety, baked with honey, soy and ginger in an oven dish. A whole tub for only $2 from the Asian supermarket was satisfyingly sweet. If you are short on cash and feeling adventurous I would recommend hitting up an Asian supermarket ASAP. Their cheap produce, chilli sauce and tofu will satisfy any budgetary or time constraints.

The key to great tofu is FLAVOUR. That way texture and taste can be enjoyed simultaneously. Next time the opportunity arises I plan to create or order a sweet tofu dish, and for all those skeptical disbelievers out there, its time to challenge those tastebuds and tuck in to some Tofu!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Rhubarb has it.

There is no denying it. Summer is well and truly on it’s way. Thankfully for the humble Rhubarb seasonal consumption has no boundaries, as it is available all year round. While having a mild laxative effect, this mighty root blends beautifully with apples, strawberries, ginger and citrus flavours. Which makes it a great companion for baking or breakfast dishes.

Bircher # 1 c/o The Good Oil, Dunedin.

Perfecting stewed rhubarb is something of an art, and a cooking process that has always intrigued me. My experience stewing rhubarb often ends in a slimy sloth-like goo. That tastes heavenly but looks a little worse for wear. A friend and I established that the water : sugar ratio is the issue. And my latest purchase ‘Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery’ suggests using only a small amount of water as rhubarb releases water and shrinks when it cooks. But in the mean time I will continue to strive for rhubarb perfection.

Bircher # 2 c/o Atomic Coffee Roasters, Kingsland
Bircher Muesli seems to have become a staple on many a breakfast/café menu around about town and rhubarb has played a starring role in both of my recent bircher experiences. Something about the match of delicately stewed tart and sweetened rhubarb seems to match the hearty earthy-ness of oats perfectly. Atomic Coffee Roasters in Kingsland, Auckland has my heart sold on their version of Bircher Muesli (and their exceptional coffee!). Packed with chunky oats, cinnamon, coconut and natural yoghurt and studded with delightful plump chunks of rhubarb peeping through the glass. Topped off with a poached, slightly tangy tamarillo its pretty jolly great.

Rhubarb perfection.

After conquering Mt Eden; Ray Charles and I had worked up an appetite and could not go passed their sumptuous Banana Bread. Served w. poached rhubarb, berry compote and lemon ricotta it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. And of all the things on the wooden board the rhubarb disappeared first. Bircher + Banana Bread = Best Birthday Breakfast.

Speaking of birthdays, breakfast on another occasion earlier this year involved a mighty batch of soy cinnamon porridge topped with stewed rhubarb, fresh raspberry coulis and sprinkled with brown sugar. With her impressive vege garden this birthday ‘Belle’ provided the luscious homegrown fruit which made it all the more enjoyable.

Happily homegrown.
Another homegrown rhubarb treat was a rhubarb crumble pie served by the sweetest family. The Joyful Vegan Cafe Caravan is notoriously known at the Otago Farmers Market for its Veggie Burger and Five Grain Loaf (which I am confident can take on vogels). All packed full of goodness, flavour and animal free they craft savoury wraps, burritos, enchiladas, dahl, and an uber healthy tempeh broccoli kale salad. At the humble price of $2 their slice of rhubarb joy exceeded expectations. A pink filling packed full of pleasantness, tasted even sweeter shared among friends.

Rhubarb Crumble & its' Pumpkin spice companion.

So it’s not a rumour. Truth be told. If it’s an intricate bittersweet breakfast treat or distinctive tart flavour to enjoy then Rhubarb has it.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Yes peas, more PEAS.

P + E + A. It astounds me how these three single letters can be used to describe these vivacious circular balls that have the ability to bring a world of joy, sweetness and excitement to our palates.

Green pearls of joy floating in Gazpacho. 

One of my favourite pea memories included eating peas by the handful in a family friends garage. When they first dove into the bag I thought they were crazy. But after overcoming the initial brain/tooth freeze, these icy little morsels fresh from the freezer bag presented me with a taste that like their friendship (you know who you are!) I would savour and treasure forever.

Pea pesto/dip/spread/hummus. 

The humble pea would have to be one of the most underrated vegetables on the market. A bag of frozen peas will put you back around $4, but its enjoyment will last far longer than the caffeine hit of your trim flat white. With my new residence, whipping up a storm in the kitchen has been a real pleasure. A house of four working girls each with hungry appreciative mouths means that I get to frolic about in the kitchen as often as I like.

PPP, complete w. peanuts.

My latest creation was Pea pesto pasta inspired by the popular Smitten KitchenThe pesto itself made a mighty batch so I served it up with thinly sliced kumara chips for a pre-dinner nibble. I tweaked the recipe slightly to match what the pantry did and didn’t have on hand. Which included substituting pinenuts for almonds and parmesean for a touch of tahini to add a creamy note. I also opted for a slightly thicker fettuccine that carried the pea puree perfectly. The addition of coriander and lemon juice helped bring the dish to life and one would hope that the cleaned out bowl reflected the state of enjoyment. 

Tickled pink by peas.

Another pea dish that is engraved in my memory is one consumed on the infamous Waiheke Island. Two words. Casita Miro. You will probably hear me talk more about this idyllic restaurant but for today it’s all about the peas. Served straight to the table in the frying pan these peas were some of the best I’ve ever had. Plump, sweet and zestfully green each individual pea increased my already ecstatic mood to a whole new level. Fused with a delightfully cured lamb pancetta, the freshest of sage leaves, pungent garlic cloves finished with a glossy, creamy hint of butter. It was incredible and gob-smackingly edible. I will be back again very soon.

Close your eyes and picture the perfectly poached egg.

When the budget is tight and ingredients are minimal, one of my favourite dishes is to whip up a simple Pea soup. Frozen peas, garlic, chicken or vegetable stock, salt, pepper and water. Fresh mint is a personal fav. But in my world pea soup is not complete unless an ooey, gooey poached egg is placed delicately on top. (if meat is a must for you - crispy bacon works beautifully too!) There is something about this thick, creamy, sweet, salty puree that seems to satisfy my soul. I am yet to conclude whether it’s the satisfaction of simplicity, speed, health and flavour. But whatever it is you can bet I will be enjoying this dish for years to come.

Pea, lemon & feta salad. Don't beware. Get here.

Just to tease your palate a little more here is a another plate of gold served up by our beautiful friends at Kiki Beware. This delightful boutique cafe has moved to a more accessible George St location and is a must while in Dunedin. Yet another eatery that I intend to boast about later. Til next time. Peas out. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

Chocolate + Raspberry = Combined Romance.

The amalgamation of these two extraordinary foods somehow manages to combine both sensuality and purity into one exquisite love affair. With my busy schedule recently, I have had limited opportunity to create my own edible treats. So I thought I would share with you a few clever people that have fused these ingredients together to create their own culinary treasures.

Introducing...White Raspberry

In following from the tart event…the combination of White Chocolate and Raspberry landed in my letterbox in large bar form wrapped in gold foil by our beloved friends Brian and Andrew. In collaboration with a bunch of talented entrepreneurial school girls the Whittaker brothers skillfully crafted a block of White Raspberry goodness for the best possible cause. Comparable to the role of a bra, to show their support for the breasts of kiwi women they are gifting 20 cents from every bar sold to The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.

All for a good cause.

The blend of tangy freeze-dried raspberry pieces, tiny flecks of raspberry powder encased in a bed of smooth ivory create a truly wonderful sense of pleasure! After some vigorous taste-testing and collaboration my bosom buddy’s and I determined the chocolate a touch salty, and hugely addictive. To add to their accolade of ‘greatness’ Whittakers have also managed to capture a few moments of the culinary queen Nigella Lawson on their latest infomercial. (If you haven't seen it yet, you will no doubt spot it soon) An admirable achievement and exceptional marketing triumph. Although I must admit their newly popular Peanut Butter Chocolate could do with a switch from smooth to crunchy. Just saying.

Worth the drive north.

On a recent adventure north of the big city, the Matakana Village Farmers Market tempted us with these luxurious and extravagant Raspberry Swiss Style Mellowpuffs. Homemade marshmallow is something of a delight and if you have never attempted it I recommend that you do. This giant handcrafted treat was light, fluffy and mourish and the Espresso & Cinnamon version is first on my list to sample upon my return.  

Pure pink treats.

I suppose we have established that while Chocolate adds the sensuality and romance; Raspberry has the purity and freshness covered. Its radiant pink hue and tiny nobbly segments morph into one delightful and slightly seedy berry. They scream lip-smacking summer and quite frankly they scream it from the rooftops. A belated search to provide my brother with a sweet birthday treat, lead me to purchasing these rich chocolate raspberry baby morsels from the artisanal works of The Caker.

Baby Cakes.

The most recent birthday celebration called for a special cake, for a very special girl. After experiencing great things, I knew exactly the lady to call to create something worthy of the occasion. Despite usually requiring at least 3 days notice, this talented and passionate baker whipped us up a wholesome, specialty masterpiece in a matter of hours. The Caker aka. Jordan Rondel crafts her treats in the kitchen behind ‘eightthirty’ a quaint wee café at the start of K’ Rd.

Devilishy great.

After seeking advice from the expert herself, the Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake w. Silky Ganache and the addition of raspberries was a truly delectable and sinfully fabulous option. The 70% dark chocolate lead to 200% pleasure. Sprinkled with fuschia pink raspberry powder and finished with toffee crisps, it was a taste sensation that you MUST experience. Jordan whips up other flavours such as Chai Latte Cake w. Condensed Milk Icing, Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake w. Coconut Vanilla Bean Icing and wait for it…Nutella Banana Cake w. More Nutella and Crunchy Banana Crumbs. Time to wipe the saliva from your chin and check out her website. Or better yet, head down to eightthirty treat yourself to a coffee and sample a slice of heaven.

Whatever your motive or rationale to indulge in these treats, with a marriage of flavours like this, you would be crazy to refrain from doing so.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Vanishing Morsels...

Almost one month on, the few scraps of ‘White Chocolate Shrewsburys’ remaining in the freezer remind me of the night that came and one could say - vanished.

c/o Cam Neate

Apparently my passion/interest for food is in no way sub rosa, which I am totally ok with. If there’s good food to be shared/experienced/celebrated then you’ll be sure to hear about it from me. But this time a little birdy managed to present me with an offer, like most culinary adventures, that I just couldn’t refuse.

A sophisticated and successful fashion PR company by the name of          P U B L I C  L I B R A R Y exists in the depths of a certain Black Box. Housing brands such as Ksubi, Nathan Smith and Vanishing Elephant. Three enchanting ladies are hard at work behind white slat doors providing the New Zealand fashion scene with highly acclaimed international pieces.

To top the crostini...
The opportunity to feed a room full of well-dressed fashionistas set off an emulsion of nerves, anxiety and delight in my cuisine-consumed brain.  The menu was to be inspired by the upcoming collection of Vanishing Elephant Womenswear. Full of red and white polka dot blouses, mustard yellows, maroons, forest greens and a pair of floral chinos that you would only dream about.

Being true to my over-indulging self I opted for five items instead of the planned three. My conscience informed me that filling 80 mouths would be an amicable task. So as a catering novice I decided to call upon a combination of holistic and authentic motherly reinforcement.

Complete with sock trees and a very impressive box of fluorescent light, the evening was the perfect combination of drinking, nibbling, chatting, examining and most of all acknowledging the handiwork of three very talented male designers. The food slotted into the puzzle quite nicely. But was not without drama. An i-phone taking a joy-ride on the car roof, the open or closed sandwich debate and how many loaded platters can two girls squeeze into one automobile?

c/o Cam Neate

Ok enough chit-chat onto the good stuff. Mini pigs in blanket: cheerios + pastry, dunked in mustard and tomato sauce. Un-surprisingly these babies were wolfed down by the hungry hoards. Crostini were rather a hit too, the air-cured beef providing the perfect maroon hue alongside a dash of forest green pesto and snowy white goats cheese.

Case closed

To keep the vego’s fed I went for petite curried egg sandwiches combined with garlic aioli and fresh parsley. Next were mini pumpkin fritters finished with goats feta and a dollop of basil pesto. Both were tastefully devoured! To finish I opted for a tart and a pretty cute tart at that. Mini triangle white chocolate pastry cases, filled with an explosion of raspberry and topped with striped and spotted white-chocolate accents. In the words of Colin Mathura Jeffree “they’re like white chocolate shrewsburys!” One would assume that his latter post via social media suggested these little guys made quite an impression on the man. "damnit.....I want MORE."


A huge thanks to a certain gem and her team at P U B L I C  L I B R A R Y, for the opportunity to create and share my passion to fill plates, tingle tastebuds and satisfy stomachs. Such fun! x 

Check more of the action here. Or simply watch this.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

I've BEAN busy...

Hello friends. 

Excuse my absence. It is true that I have indeed been rather busy. But I do have a few things to get your taste-buds tingling....Not only have I BEAN eating, but I have also BEAN cooking, creating and even catering. 

I promise to have more foodie treasures, tips, teasers and tales to share with you shortly.

Bean there, will do again!

But in the mean time while you feast your eyes on these luxuriously large beads of buttery goodness aka. Giant Butter Beans...decide on the appropriate companion and make a trip to Kokako. I assure you the meat will not be missed. 

Keep calm and eat. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Beetroot = Bestroot

Whether you prefer ‘table beet’, ‘garden beet’, ‘red beet’ or just plain old beet. One thing is for sure this vibrant, finger-staining vegetable is a classic kiwi favourite. If we ignore the fact that the majority of New Zealanders consume the tinned variety, a fresh home-grown beetroot is something to be cherished and devoured in its many forms.

I'm pretty grate.

Beetroot salad is a recent craze that seems to be hitting a bunch of trendy cafes about town. That’s not for any other reason than the fact that they really are great. I have attempted a few variations of the beetroot salad recently, both of which have provided a marvellous addition to their main course counterparts.

4 classy ingredients.

The first was a combination of four ingredients. Although I must emphasise that it did not come from a certain cookbook series. Beetroot, peeled and roasted + Rocket leaves + Goats cheese + Roasted Almonds. A killer combo. The hardest part was choosing a dressing- although not essential it definitly helped all parties to become noble friends. The culinary genius in my household suggested a mandarin infused olive oil. The hint of citrus combined faultlessy to match a meal of freshly caught snapper and some seriously great POTATOES. Did I mention potatoes are seriously great. 

Raw beetroot salad.

Verjuice was the star of my next salad, which consisted of beetroot in the grated variety. Other ingredients included carrot (also grated), garlic, salt, mustard, olive oil and finished with a sprinkle of toasted sunflower seeds. Somehow the fusion of flavours works particularly well if you let it sit for a while before serving. A salad so good that you will forget the risk you run of looking like the latest member of the blood sucking Cullen family, post consumption.

Mad Mash.

Another culinary mastermind in my life suggested I give this vibrant mash a go. And go it did. Despite using the tinned variety for both products my ‘Beetroot and Cannelini mash’ was a raging success. As well as looking like a supermodel on the dinner plate, it had a smooth texture and was packed with flavour. A slightly jazzed up addition to your mash repertoire, I suggest serving it with the freshest fillet of fish you can get your hands on.

Best juice.

Just as the classic kiwi burger is not complete without a slice of the pinky/purple discs. As of recently I feel strongly that my life would also not be complete without this radiant root. I think my dreams will be all the sweeter knowing I can wake up to my morning medley of beetroot, carrot, ginger and various fruits to revive me for the day ahead. The best of roots…I concur. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Rolls-Royce of Brownie.

Despite my literary absence, over the last month my taste buds have been treated to some seriously wonderful escapades. For a while now I have been accumulating the goods in the world of 'Chocolate Brownie' and after my recent journey to the nippy south I was able to add the final pieces to my batch of brownie to downie. 

All and more than they are cracked up to be.

Just recently I had one very strange brownie epiphany, where I likened the brownie to a notorious collection of footwear. Unless you are currently living under a bus, your intellect should tell you that The Chuck Taylor/Converse is a staple in any wardrobe. If you don't own a pair, you probably should. With it's endless array of colours and styles this is a shoe suited for every occasion. The same applies for the Brownie. In its endless forms it's presence brings that extra element of joy to any and every occasion. When you consider the matter of personal opinion awarding the 'Best Chocolate Brownie' is a near impossible task. And as my recent discoveries reflect you should always be flexible for change. 

Best eaten and shared with two.

I'll start with my most recent recipe, featured above and served on a momentous occasion earlier this year. One from the infamous Julie Le Clerc. I have to admit the title for this recipe does say... "Best Chocolate Brownie". Surprise, surprise. But time and time again this simple, rich, gooey crunchy combination never ceases to amaze me. She (both Julie and the brownie) have won over even the harshest brownie critics- apparently having 'just the right amount of goo'. Her cracked appearance provides a canvas for that precious sprinkling of white sugary dust, perfect at any celebration. Bliss.

Eureka: Opting for yoghurt is a must, or you may die.

Dunedin holds a good chunk of my top spots to devour the brownie. One word. Eureka. This definitely wins for richness, value for money and chocolate content. In exchange for a five dollar bill, you can receive a dense cube of chocolately goodness. If you are desperate for that sweet cocoa hit and short on coin, this will do you. In fact it has been known to defeat even the most avid chocolate lovers. I suggest splitting it with a friend as you share blurred drunken memories, moan about the cold, and generally attempt to understand the world (or opposite sex). 

Already attacked...the beauty lies beneath. c/o Nova.

Another exceptional brownie can be located at the infamous Nova Cafe. Despite an extensive dessert menu, it is hard to go past the Warmed Chocolate Brownie. Call me biased, but this little beauty is a staple that has and will always be devoured by it's loyal patrons both young and old. Served with it's signature banana and ice cream- it definitely deserves a place on your 'To eat' list. Many a brownie has been consumed by yours truly during a hard nights shift- made all the more sweeter by the champion set of kitchen hands whom prepare it. 

The slut herself.

Slutty Brownies. Named after being considered 'easy' and 'filthy'. A deathly delicious combination of chocolate chip cookie dough, Oreo cookies, chocolate brownie batter and ganache baked into one sinful slice of heaven. These babies speak for themselves. You don't even need to consider yourself a baker to attempt such treats- as you can opt for the 3 x packet variety, and simply assemble the ingredients. Like right here. But thanks to a certain gifted Mr. Stanley, a homemade variety was created and devoured on several occasions during my trip down under and will not be forgotten. 

And so my brownie journey continues with the hope to add a few vegan versions and some more unfamiliar ingredients (aka black beans) along the way. Tuck in.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

RIBS: One meaty tale.

Today of all days, it would probably be more appropriate to write about the flavour of the long weekend. But if you are anything like me, I imagine by the time you read this you will appreciate a break from the sweet, brown confectionary we all know and love. Hence my decision to save this topic for a later date. Instead this Easter, I thought I’d go with something that requires the use of your hands and a serious appetite. Mostly because I love them, and secondly because they featured on my Easter menu last night. Vegetarians continue with caution. 
The one and only.

The all-mighty Ribs. The MBP dictionary defines the rib as: “a rib of an animal with a joint of meat adhering to it used as food.” Pretty straight forward really. There is something rather fascinating about the act of chewing a tasty morsel of muscle straight from a bone. Whether it’s the fact that you can use your hands, you have an excuse to get food all over your face, or that they are usually covered in a sweet, sticky and delicious sauce. Either way their ability to provide finger-licking goodness means they win, every time! 

If among your culinary adventures you haven’t experienced the infamous Lone Star Ribs. Do it now. It is here and Cobb ’N’ Co that my childhood memories will always associate with spare ribs. With the plates piled high, none have ever gone spare on our family outings. In fact the fight to get the biggest, juiciest and meatiest is often a highlight of the evening and has been known to cause a few tears. Needless to say many a birthday celebration has been spent devouring a stack of mouth-watering ribs. 
350g of goodness.

Surprisingly, one of the greatest ribs I have tasted was on my Balinese adventure. It was an Australian-inspired restaurant situated mere minutes from our resort in Kuta Beach. After devouring all the seafood and vegetarian dishes they had to offer, being keen carnivores we searched for something to really sink our teeth into. At ‘The Grill Corner’ we found our calling. Their signature dishes included Prime Ribs and Imported Steaks. Used to being charged around $30 for a good steak in kiwi-land, when we realised they were charging a mere $14.15 for their “Australian Prime Beef Ribs – 350g” and “Baby Back Pork Ribs – 350g” we were sold. You could choose two from a list of tasty side dishes to suit any palate- with everything from fries to a Balinese green bean salad of which we feel in love. Needless to say we went back, at least 3 times during our travels. And every time our tastebuds were treated to the meat-fix they deserved.
Soaking in their flavoursome broth

Over the summer I also dabbled in a few of my own rib creations. An Asian-inspired sticky sauce, where I crushed the beautiful aromas of star anise, cumin seeds, chilli and mixed it with a soy and honey to produce a flavourful concoction. Letting ribs marinate for at least 30 minutes means they are juicy, moist and the flavoursome liquid penetrates right to the bone. I like to eat ribs with something light and refreshing like a sesame coleslaw and plenty of serviettes. Last night I opted for a smokey BBQ style sauce enhanced with a hint of chilli. The ribs were sweet, sticky and succulent and definitely an Easter meat-feast to remember. 
An Easter entree fit for a King.

Maybe its my subconscious being vain but it always seems that the people I choose to eat ribs with are close to my heart and thankfully more than happy to get a little bit messy. So I can freely lick every last drop from my fingers and avoid being judged by the mess on my face. 
Happy Easter everyone.