Category Archives: What I’m Reading

Spicy Foods Linked to Longevity

Spicy Korean Pork

Spicy Korean Pork

If like me, you love spicy foods you have no doubt read various
reports linking the eating of spicy foods to longevity.

This was a proper study undertaken in China and involved nearly half a million people aged between the ages of 30 and 79 years who consumed spicy food frequently.

A little further research and I found the actual paper which for me makes really interesting reading and reaffirms my love of spicy food can only be a good thing. If you too would like to read the results of this research, click here.

So having read this I will continue adding spice to my meals from a chilli or two in stews and curries to drizzling hot sauce over
scrambled eggs for breakfast and anything that takes my fancy.

Some recipes using chilli you might like to try:

Would you like to receive more great recipes and news from Rachel’s Kitchen NZ?

Subscribe to Rachel’s Kitchen NZ for daily updates via email. Just enter your email address and press ‘Sign Up’.

How to Save an Over-spiced Dish

Spicy Korean Pork

Spicy Korean Pork

Even a causal reader of this blog knows I am not adverse to a bit spice in my cooking and I don’t often over spice, but occasionally for whatever reason – maybe I picked up the wrong container or using a new brand of chilli powder or spice blend – the dish can ended up a bit more fiery than planned and in those cases it is good to know how to ‘tone the dish down’.

This article 6 Ways to Tone Down a Dish That’s Too Spicy over at The Kitchn has some useful tips for what to do if you have added a bit too much spice to your dish.

In the Spice & Herb Bible Third Edition by Ian Hemphill with recipes by Kate Hemphill Robert Rose 2014, Ian calls coriander seed ‘the peacemaker’ and says if you have made a spice mix and find that ‘…you have been too heavy-handed with a pungent spice such as cloves or cardamom an easy way fix the mixture is to add twice the amount of ground coriander (compared to the quantity of the
dominant spice)…’

Some dishes using spices you might like to try:

Roast Pumpkin & Chickpea Curry

Roast Pumpkin & Chickpea Curry

Aromatic Beef Curry

Aromatic Beef Curry

Mexican-spiced Brown Rice with Sausages

Mexican-spiced Brown Rice with Sausages

Madras Beef Curry

Madras Beef Curry

 

The World’s First Recipe Website Turns 20!

Left to right: Jeff Jarvis, Joan Feeney, and Rochelle Udell, circa December 1995 - they were there at the beginning!

Left to right: Jeff Jarvis, Joan Feeney, and Rochelle Udell, circa December 1995 – they were there at the beginning!

Many food lovers will be familiar to the Condé Nast website
Epicurious and but can you believe that it turned 20 a few days ago – I can remember when it turned 4! – okay no comments about that!

Back in 1999/2000 I moved from working in print publishing to online – it was exciting, if uncertain, times!

The lifestyle publishing company that I had been working for, for more than 10 years was sold to an internet company who had the dream of building a suite of lifestyle websites. The publishing
company I worked for published mass market cook and craft books and owned (particularly for the cook/food titles) most of the content – the recipes.

So, the first (and only) website off the rank was a food website, that we called Great Food – so what does this have to do with Epicurious, well, I was the content manager (in traditional publishing I had been the food editor) and I saw Epicurious as the benchmark and this is the site we looked to for our website’s functionality (that’s the
terminology for how a site works).

Back in those days individual content management systems had to be build – there was no Word Press, Mail Chimp, Easy Recipe, Ziplist (no longer) and you had to build your own website backend. Oh, how things have changed in 16 years.

The other day I received my daily Conde Nast newsletter and it
included this – The Oral History of the Launch of Epicurious – which for me was really interesting and reflects what was happening back then and how one of the world’s major publishers was thinking. And, most interestingly of all how the internet operated and how people were thinking about it.

So, this post is for those who have an interest in the history of the
internet and how it has influenced and created our online food world. And, of course, it is a bit of memory lane for me!

Would you like to receive more great recipes and news from Rachel’s Kitchen NZ?

Subscribe to Rachel’s Kitchen NZ for daily updates via email. Just enter your email address and press ‘Sign Up’.

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

I have longed enjoyed the writings of Ruth Reichl with Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise being one of my all-time favourite books.

With a long career in writing about food – it started in 1972 – Ruth’s professional food career includes being Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine; the restaurant critic of both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times; and as co-owner of The Swallow Restaurant in the 1970’s she played a part in the culinary revolution that took place in Berkeley, California.

Published in 2014, Delicious! is Ruth’s first novel and like her other writings, a delight. This is not a book to be taken seriously and some reviews I have read are rather harsh, but for me, a lover of ‘food lit’, it ticked the boxes. I must say that I did not read the reviews until
after I had read the book and am pleased I hadn’t as they would
have rather spoilt it for me – I had, of course, read the press releases, which tell you about the book.

If like me you enjoy ‘food lit’ and are looking for something to
tickle the tastebuds, I would suggest that this might be a book that you would enjoy.

So tell me do you enjoy ‘food lit and have you read Delicious!?

Happy cooking and eating.

Comment by Rachel Blackmore

Would you like to receive more great recipes and news from Rachel’s Kitchen NZ?

Subscribe to Rachel’s Kitchen NZ for daily updates via email. Just enter your email address and press ‘Subscribe’.

 

[email-subscribers namefield=”YES” desc=”” group=”Public”]

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Slow-cooked Zucchini

Slow-cooked ZucchiniThis is a great way to cook zucchini if they are a little larger than you would like – you will know what I mean if you have a plant in the
garden!

I first saw this way of cooking zucchini in Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion, Penguin, 2004, but have also seen similar recipes in any number of Italian cookbooks.

Slow-cooked Zucchini

I love the vibrant green colour of this dish and the aromas as it is cooking makes you want to eat it straight from the pot!

Serves 4-6

olive oil
4 medium to large zucchini, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon juice

1              Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat, add a good splash of oil and swirl to coat base of pan. Add zucchini and
coriander seeds to pan and season with salt and black pepper.
Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes or until zucchini are very soft – if there are excessive juices in the pan, remove lid and simmer for 5-10 minutes longer to
evaporate.

2              Remove pan from heat and season with lemon juice and salt and black pepper.

Serving suggestions: Great served hot with grilled or pan-cooked fish. Serve at room temperature on as part of a buffet. Team
leftovers with crumbled feta cheese and put between slices of grainy bread or in a roll – delicious!

Where did the ingredients for this dish come from:
Zucchini: The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean – Hastings; Garlic, lemon: Krismaw Gardens – Hastings; Olive oil: The Village Press
Hastings; Store Cupboard Ingredients: coriander seeds, salt, black pepper.

Note: Many of these producers can be found at the Napier Urban Food Market each Saturday morning and/or at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’
Market each Sunday morning.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe slightly adapted by Rachel Blackmore

Would you like to receive more great recipes and news from Rachel’s Kitchen NZ?

Subscribe to Rachel’s Kitchen NZ for daily updates via email. Just enter your email address and press ‘Subscribe’.

[email-subscribers namefield=”YES” desc=”” group=”Public”]

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

Spaghetti Squash with Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Heirloom Tomato SauceAre you familiar with spaghetti squash? Or maybe you have seen at the markets and wondered what it is and why it is called spaghetti squash?

Firstly it is a winter squash and is part of the general squash
(cucurbita) family. The oval yellow fruit weighs anywhere from 1.5kg upwards and when cooked the flesh can be pulled with a fork to make spaghetti-like strands.

Spaghetti SquashUnfortunately, my picture of this dish does not really show the uniqueness of this vegetable! For photos taken by a better
photographer than me, head over to The Kitchn where you will find some great images and more ideas for using this vegetable.

Serve it as side dish, simply tossed with butter and freshly ground sea salt and black pepper or top with your favourite pasta sauce.

This dish came about because I had a good quantity of lovely
heirloom tomatoes and this handsome spaghetti squash, both of which Clyde Potter from The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean had
given me – they sat together on the bench for a day or so and when I looked at them one morning I thought ‘You are going to be dinner tonight!’ and this dish was the result.

Just a note about our vegetable consumption – Nagi from RecipeTin Eats commented the other day that she was “mighty impressed with how much veggies you get through” – yes we eat a heap of
vegetables and there are a couple of reasons for this. First and
foremost we are very lucky here in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand to have some wonderful growers who make the effort to grow some amazing produce – we also have a great climate. Secondly,
whenever I see something new or it is the season for something
special or unusual I feel compelled to buy it so that the grower will continue to grow it! And, thirdly, I am very lucky to have some
special relationships with many of these growers and they make sure that I (or JR) are aware of new produce they growing or
produce which has come into season. So the upshot of this is that
after a market trip our fridge is overflowing with fabulous produce that needs to be eaten!

Spaghetti Squash with Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti squash can be boiled, microwaved or roasted as I have done in this recipe.

Serves 4-6

1 medium-large spaghetti squash
grated hard cheese such as Parmesan – I used a local hard sheep cheese
CHUNKY HEIRLOOM TOMATO SAUCE
1 medium onion, chopped
olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
white wine
about 1kg heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
a good handful of basil leaves shredded
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1              Preheat oven to 200°C.

2              Cut squash in half, lengthwise and using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and stringy flesh in the centre. Discard seeds or roast to make a tasty snack – see tip at end of recipe.

3              Place squash, cut side down, in roasting dish and bake for 30-45 minutes or until squash is very tender.

4              When cooked, remove squash from baking dish, turn cut side up and using a fork pull the flesh away from the skin, the flesh should easily separate into spaghetti-like strands

5              While the squash is cooking, make the tomato sauce. Place onion and a good drizzle of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute
longer. Increase heat, add a good splash of wine, bring to
simmering and simmer to reduce.

6              Add tomatoes and tomato paste, cover bring to simmering and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes or until
tomatoes have collapsed and formed a rough sauce. Remove lid and simmer for a few minutes longer to evaporate any excess liquid. Add basil and a good grind of salt and black pepper.

To serve: Spoon sauce over squash and scatter with grated hard cheese.

To Roast Squash Seeds: Preheat oven to 150°C. Remove as much flesh as possible from the seeds, then place in a colander under cold running to remove any remaining flesh. Tip seeds on a couple of sheets of paper towel and pat dry with another sheet. Place dry seeds in a plastic bag, add a drizzle of olive oil and a good grind of sea salt and shake to coat seeds. Spread seeds, in a single layer, on a
baking tray and roast for 30-40 minutes or until seeds just start to brown.

Where did the ingredients for this dish come from:
Spaghetti squash, heirloom tomatoes, basil: The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean – Hastings; Garlic: Krismaw Gardens – Hastings; Olive oil: The Village Press – Hastings; Cheese: Origin Earth – Havelock North; Store Cupboard Ingredients: tomato paste, salt, pepper.

Note: Many of these producers can be found at the Napier Urban Food Market each Saturday morning and/or at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’
Market each Sunday morning.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

Would you like to receive more great recipes and news from Rachel’s Kitchen NZ?

Subscribe to Rachel’s Kitchen NZ for daily updates via email. Just enter your email address and press ‘Subscribe’.

[email-subscribers namefield=”YES” desc=”” group=”Public”]

Garlic Green Beans

Garlic Green Beans

Don’t you just love recipes that have next-to-no ingredients and are quick and easy? Well here is one that is sure to become a favourite.

I saw this way for cooking green beans over on Food 52 and could
almost taste the beans and garlic as I read the recipe, they say it has been adapted from The Foods and Wines of Spain, Knopf, 1982 by
Penelope Casas, so this is my take on their recipe. In Spanish it has the rather lovely name of Judias Verdes con Ajo.

Garlic Green Beans

Not really a recipe, more a way of cooking.

Serves 4

500g fresh green beans
knob of butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt

1              Top and tail (trim ends of) beans.

2              Melt butter in a frying pan with a lid. Add beans and cook over a medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until beans start to brown.

3              Reduce heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until beans are tender. Add garlic and good grind of salt and toss to combine.

Where did the ingredients for this dish come from:
Garlic, beans: Krismaw Gardens – Hastings; Store cupboard Ingredients: butter, salt.

Note: Many of these producers can be found at the Napier Urban Food Market each Saturday morning and/or at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’
Market each Sunday morning.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe adapted by Rachel Blackmore

Would you like to receive more great recipes and news from Rachel’s Kitchen NZ?

Subscribe to Rachel’s Kitchen NZ for daily updates via email. Just enter your email address and press ‘Subscribe’.

[email-subscribers namefield=”YES” desc=”” group=”Public”]

What you should know about getting involved with a food lover!

Photo from The Kitchn

Photo from The Kitchn

It’s Valentine’s Day and whether you choose to celebrate or not it is Saturday, so have a wonderful day.

This list, 10 Things You Should Know Before Getting Into a
Relationship with Someone Who Loves Food
, appeared over at The Kitchn a few days ago and it seems appropriate for today, especially if you are trying to explain to someone your love of (obsession for) food!

I must say, I feel lucky, that my husband of over 27 years has pretty much got everyone of these points except maybe the last and
thankfully he has never suggested reducing my cookbook collection and nor does he comment negatively when a new one makes an
appearance.

Happy cooking and eating.

Would you like to receive more great recipes and news from Rachel’s Kitchen NZ?

Subscribe to Rachel’s Kitchen NZ for daily updates via email. Just enter your email address and press ‘Subscribe’.

[email-subscribers namefield=”YES” desc=”” group=”Public”]

Potatoes with Red Onions, Tomatoes & Red Capsicum

Potatoes with Red Onions, Tomatoes & Red CapsicumThis is the sort of meal that is great when you know you need to feed the family, but don’t want a big, heavy, meat-based meal. We had been out for a substantial lunch so really did not need anything too much!

At this time of year it is also another recipe that uses the great in-season produce – don’t be too concerned about quantities.

Potatoes with Red Onions, Tomatoes & Red Capsicum

The inspiration for this dish comes from one of my favourite cookbooks The Essentials of Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.

Serves 4-6

1 large red onion, sliced
olive oil
2 large red capsicums, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 jalapeno chilli, sliced and seeded (optional)
500g tomatoes, roughly chopped
500g new potatoes, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
shredded basil

1              Place onion and a good splash of oil in a large frying pan with a lid. Place over a medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until onion softens.

2              Add capsicums, garlic and chilli, cover and cook, stirring
occasionally, for 5 minutes.

3              Add tomatoes and mix well to combine, cover, bring to
simmering and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until a rich sauce forms.

4              Add potatoes, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-35 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve scattered with basil.

Where did the ingredients for this dish come from:
Red onion, basil: Epicurean Supplies – Hastings; Potatoes: JJ
Organics
– Napier; Tomatoes, garlic: Krismaw Gardens – Hastings; Capsicums, chilli: Orcona Chillis n’ Peppers – Hastings; Olive oil: The Village Press – Hastings; Store Cupboard Ingredients: sea salt, black pepper.

Note: Many of these producers can be found at the Napier Urban Food Market each Saturday morning and/or at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’
Market each Sunday morning.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe slightly adapted by Rachel Blackmore

Would you like to receive more great recipes and news from Rachel’s Kitchen NZ?

Subscribe to Rachel’s Kitchen NZ for daily updates via email. Just enter your email address and press ‘Subscribe’.

[email-subscribers namefield=”YES” desc=”” group=”Public”]

What Your Favourite Wine Says About You?

what-your-wine-says-about-you

Just a little bit of February fun – this was posted over on Wine Folly last week and I thought it was something you might enjoy. I found it amusing, but strangely correct – I love the bottle labels!

So tell me what is your favourite tipple and does the description match?

BTW – mine’s rosé at the moment – take from that what you may!

Happy cooking, eating and wine drinking!

Would you like to receive more great recipes and news from Rachel’s Kitchen NZ?

Subscribe to Rachel’s Kitchen NZ for daily updates via email. Just enter your email address and press ‘Subscribe’.

[email-subscribers namefield=”YES” desc=”” group=”Public”]