Tag Archives: gluten-free

Fragrant Eggplant Curry

Eggplant CurryaHere in the Bay the eggplant season is under way with most fruit at the moment being of medium sized (about 400g). As the summer progresses the fruit (which is used and usually referred to as a vegetable) will get larger and you may only need one for this recipe.

Eggplants or aubergines are a favourite ingredient in many cuisines – if looking for ways to cook and serve it look to the cuisines of Italy, Indian and the Middle East.

The eggplant is native to India where it is called binjal and in Italy where it is also much loved it is called melanzana.

This curry is more fragrant than hot however you can ramp up the heat by using more chilli, but as the curry is packed with plenty of other spices – fennel and cumin seeds, ground coriander and turmeric as well as fresh garlic and ginger – the chilli can be omitted if you wish. As with most curries this one is ever better the next day, so look forward to any leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Fragrant Eggplant Curry

Keep ginger and chillies in the freezer to have on hand when you need them. Both freeze well and can be used directly from the freezer. Place the whole ginger root in a resealable plastic bag and grated from frozen on a microplane. Take frozen chillies out of the freezer when ready to use and let stand for 1-2 minutes by which time you will be able to easily slice or chop them.

Serves 4

¼ cup vegetable oil such as rice bran oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fresh long red chilli, sliced (seeded, if desired), or to taste (optional)
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
2 medium (about 800g) eggplants, cut into 2cm cubes
400g can chopped tomatoes
fresh coriander to garnish

1              Place oil and onion in heavy-based saucepan over a medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes or until onions are a golden brown – take care not to burn and take your time doing this, it adds a rich flavour and depth to the curry.

2              Add garlic, chilli, ginger and fennel and cumin seeds and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in coriander and turmeric and cook for 1 minute longer.

3              Add eggplant and stir well to coat with spices. Stir in tomatoes and 1 can water, cover, bring to simmering and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens and eggplant is tender. Season to taste with salt. Serve scattered with coriander leaves.

Serving suggestions:

  • Serve as with other vegetable curries and steamed rice as part of a vegetarian meal.
  • Delicious served with yogurt marinated lamb, steamed brown rice and steamed spinach.

Lemony Yogurt Marinated Lamb

This simple marinated lamb is an easy accompaniment to the eggplant curry.

Serves  4

1 cup Greek-style natural yogurt
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
8 lamb loin chops or lamb steaks

1              Place yogurt, lemon zest and juice, garlic and cumin in a bowl and mix to combine.

2              Add lamb and turn to coat well. Cover and marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Meat can be marinated longer but if so put in refrigerator and take out ½ hour before cooking.

3              Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat until very hot. Drain meat and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until cooked to your liking.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipes by Rachel Blackmore

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Easiest Braised Artichokes


Belonging to the same family as thistles, global artichokes are considered by many to be a delicacy and like asparagus is a true spring vegetable. However, for those unfamiliar with this vegetable it can be somewhat challenging, but once mastered converts look forward to spring so they can feast on this unique vegetable.

Now in season you will find artichokes at Farmers’ Markets and specialty vegetable shops.

Easiest Braised Artichokes Ever

Serves 6

6 small to medium, globe artichokes, prepared and quartered (see below for preparation instructions)
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup dry white wine or water
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 onion, sliced
1 large clove garlic, crushed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary

1              For the cooking broth, combine stock, wine or water, lemon juice, onion, garlic, thyme and rosemary in a saucepan. Bring to the boil.
2              Add artichokes. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl of iced water. Drain well before using.

Some Serving Ideas for Braised Artichokes

  • Serve on a platter with garlic aioli for dipping.
  • Combine ¼ cup lemon juice, ½ cup olive oil, 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 2 sprigs fresh thyme in a bowl. Add warm, cooked artichokes. Cover, marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve as part of an antipasto platter.
  • Pan-fry in a little butter and oil and serve as a side dish – especially good with fish, lamb and chicken.
  • Make an artichoke pate – strain the cooking broth and reserve. Place artichokes, 1 tbsp olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste in a food processor. Add a little of the cooking broth and process until smooth – continue adding cooking broth until you have pate of desired consistency. Add lemon juice to taste.
  • Don’t throw away the cooking broth – it’s too delicious. Add to soup or use instead of milk when mashing potatoes.

To Prepare Globe Artichokes
Allow one to two small to medium globe artichokes per person. Combine 2L water and
¼ cup lemon juice in a bowl and set aside. Working with one artichoke at a time, bend back out leaves until they snap off close to the base. Continue removing leaves until
exposed leaves are pale green at the top and pale yellow at the base. Depending on the size of the artichokes and to avoid losing too many leaves you trim the top of the artichoke to remove the tough tips of the leaves. Trim base of stem, leaving as much steam intact as possible then using a vegetable peeler, peel stem to remove rough outer layer. Cut
artichoke lengthwise into quarters and remove any fuzzy centre (the choke). Place in bowl of lemon water to prevent discolouration while preparing remaining artichokes. The artichokes are now ready to cook.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore



Smoked Trout, Pea & Preserved Lemon Risotto

RisottobI picked up some fresh peas at the market last weekend and with the hot smoked trout leftover from Sunday’s lunch thought a risotto would be just the thing for last night’s dinner.

My Australian readers will be able to buy hot smoked trout,
however if you live in New Zealand you need to know a fisherperson who will catch the trout for you, then they or you need to smoke it. Trout cannot be sold in New Zealand and it is not farmed for the
purposes of eating. So we were feeling extremely lucky that there was some left from Sunday’s lunch and that the fisherman asked us if we would like it! If you cannot get your hands on hot smoked trout, use hot smoked salmon instead.

Preserved lemons are available from speciality food stores which sell Moroccan and Middle Eastern foods. They are lemons that have been pickled in salt and their own juices. Only the skin is used,
however both the flesh and skin are preserved. To use, rinse under cold water, remove the flesh and discard, then chop or thinly shred the rind.

Smoked Trout, Pea & Preserved Lemon Risotto

Serves 4

50g butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1½ cups arborio rice
½ cup white wine
5 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas, blanched, refreshed
300g hot-smoked trout fillets, flaked
2 tbs finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped preserved lemon

1              Place butter, oil and onion in large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent. Stir in garlic and cook for 1
minute longer.
2              Stir in rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute to coat grains. Add wine and cook for 2-3 minutes or until wine is absorbed.
3              Stir in 1 cup of hot stock and cook, stirring frequently, until stock is absorbed. Continue adding 1 cup of stock at a time, stirring frequently and allowing stock to be completely absorbed before adding more.
4              With the last cup of stock, add peas and continue cooking until rice and peas are cooked. Fold through three-quarters of the trout, half the parsley and half the preserved lemon.
5              To serve, spoon into serving bowls, scatter with remaining trout, parsley and preserved lemon. Accompany with a salad of mixed leaves dressed with a white wine vinegar and olive oil

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

Beetroot & Walnut Dip

Beetroot Dip 002aThis bright red dip has a festive appearance so is perfect when entertaining at this time of year – it’s also inexpensive, simple to make and can be made in advance.

Roasting the beetroot does take some time, but once it is in the oven no attention is required, so it can be left to cook while you are doing other things. The beetroot could be cooked in the microwave which is much quicker but roasting gives a more intense flavour to the finished dip, so I think it is worth cooking them this way.

Beetroot are low in kilojoules, a good source of fibre, folate and vitamin B. Their red colour comes from betanin, a phytochemical which is believed to boost immunity. They are however, messy to prepare with their red colour tending to colour anything they come in contact with. To avoid ending up with beetroot coloured stained hands wear disposable gloves and to protect your clothing wear an apron (even if you don’t usually wear an apron this is the one time it is worth getting it out of the drawer and putting it to use!)

Beetroot & Walnut Dip

With its bright red colour this dip fits in perfectly at any festive occasion and will take you right through summer, but best of all it is also healthy. Wrapping the beetroot in foil helps shorten the cooking time as it steams as it roasts.

Makes a medium-sized bowl

2 medium (300-400g each) beetroot
½ cup walnuts
1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp ground cumin
juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
3-4 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
crackers, to serve

1              Loosely wrap beetroot in foil, place in a baking dish and bake at 180°C for 1½ to 2 hours or until tender – you should be able to easily pierce the beetroot with a skewer.
Remove beetroot from foil and set aside until cool enough to handle.
2              Place walnuts on a baking tray and place in the oven for 5 minutes or until lightly toasted – this can be done while the beetroot are cooking.
3              Once beetroot have cooled a little, remove skin, if they are properly cooked the skin should easily slip off. Cut cooked beetroot into chunks and place in the bowl of a food
4              Add walnuts, garlic, tahini, cumin, lemon juice and 3 tbsp oil to the food processor bowl and process to make a smooth dip. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper – add a little more lemon juice and remaining oil, if necessary. Transfer dip to a serving bowl and accompany with crackers.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

Pan-fried Gurnard with Garlic & Chilli Dressing

gurnard 30 Nov 2013bThis is my (very slight) adaption of a very simple, but delicious recipe from Claudia Roden’s excellent book The Food of Spain, A Celebration (Penguin/Michael Joseph 2012). This book is packed with straight forward achievable recipes for the home cook.

Gurnard fillets with skin on are often available from Tangaroa Seafoods (Tangaroa St, Ahuriri, Napier), but other fish fillets with skin on such as snapper or groper can also be used. Leaving the skin on fish fillets and cooking in this way results in fish with moist flesh and a wonderful crisp skin – the skin can be eaten and is delicious.

If you have a fisherman (or woman) in the family ask them to leave the skin on the filleted fish – just make sure that the fish is well cleaned (scaled) before filleting. Usually fillets with skin on also have bones, so warn those that you are feeding. The bones can easily be removed using tweezers – special fish tweezers are available, are inexpensive and worth investing in if you do a lot of fish preparation.

In New Zealand much of our fish tends to be sold filleted with skin removed, however, this is not the case in many other countries. In many cultures filleted, skinless fish is seen as a way to disguise fish that is past its best – this is not the case here, but I do find it
disappointing that it seems to be what many New Zealanders expect. Having lived in Sydney for 20 years where we shopped regularly at the Sydney Fish Markets it took me a while to readjust to only been occasionally able to buy un-skinned fish fillets and to not having the range of whole fish available that I was used to.

Pan-fried Gurnard with Garlic & Chilli Dressing

While this recipe is for two, it is so simple that it can easily be scaled up to serve whatever number are at your dinner table.

Serves 2

2 gurnard fillets, skin on
sea salt
olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 fresh red chilli, seeded (optional), thinly sliced or pinch dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

1          Season fish on both sides with freshly ground salt. Heat a cast-iron frying pan over a high heat, until very hot. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, then add fish skin side down and cook for 2-3 minutes or until skin is brown and crisp. Turn fish over, cover pan with lid slightly askew and cook for 2-3 minutes longer or until fish just starts to flake. Remove fish from pan and place on a warm plate, cover and let rest for 3-4 minutes.
2          Meanwhile, place 3 tbsp olive oil, garlic and chilli in a small saucepan, place over a low heat and heat until garlic is lightly golden – take care not to let the garlic brown or it will be bitter. Remove pan from heat and stir in vinegar and parsley.
3          Pour dressing over hot fish and serve immediately.

The Food of Spain is still in print and should you wish to find out how to get a copy of it contact Beattie & Forbes Booksellers at 70 Tennyson St, Napier or phone (06) 835 8968.

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Origin Earth Factory Shop

logoFor those who didn’t get to the Farmers’ Market on Sunday to get their Origin Earth yoghurt or cheese there is now another option – the recently opened Origin Earth Factory Shop at 393 Te Mata Rd.

The shop has the full range of Origin Earth products including their milk – this however is now readily available at supermarkets around Hawke’s Bay – look for it in New World and Pak ‘n’ Sav
supermarkets and at selected retailers.

To find the Origin Earth Factory and Shop head out of Havelock North as if going to Waimarama – the Origin Earth Factory and Shop is housed in the old Te Mata Cheese Factory, you will see signs
directing you to the shop which is down the drive at the back of the factory. The shop is light and airy with easy parking right at the door and while it is early days I am told there are interesting plans a foot – so I think I will visit again in a few months, but at least for now I know where to get my OE yoghurt and cheese during the week.

Origin Earth Cheesy Potatoes

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
2 large potatoes, scrubbed and diced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
½ round Origin Earth Camembert Cheese, diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1              Preheat oven to 220C.
2              Heat olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add potatoes and sauté for 5 minutes or until starting to soften.
3              Add rosemary, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender and golden.
4              Transfer potato mixture to an ovenproof dish. Scatter with camembert cheese and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
5              Serve immediately scattered with parsley.

Warm Pumpkin & Feta Salad

Serves 2 as a vegetarian main course or 4 as a side dish

1kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 bunch spinach, roughly shredded
¼ cup chopped parsley
160g tub Origin Earth Feta Cheese in Brine, drained and chopped into cubes

1              Preheat oven to 220C.
2              Toss pumpkin in a little olive oil and roast for 20-25 minutes or until pumpkin is soft and golden.
3              Meanwhile, combine red onion, garlic and balsamic vinegar and set aside to macerate while pumpkin is cooking.
4              Turn off oven. Add spinach to pumpkin and toss to combine, return to oven for 5 minutes to wilt spinach.
5              Remove pan from oven, add onion mixture, parsley and half the feta cheese and toss to combine.
6              Serve warm or at room temperature scattered with remaining feta cheese.

Origin Earth Factory Shop
393 Te Mata Rd, Havelock North
Open: Monday to Saturday 11am to 4pm
Visit the Origin Earth website.

Recipes by Rachel Blackmore

Spring Salad of Hot Smoked Salmon & Asparagus

hotsmokedsalmonThere are two methods of smoking, hot and cold. Hot smoking is basically cooking food over smoke and is the method used by most home smokers. Cold smoking is a specialised process.

Salmon is available hot or cold smoked, as the title of this recipe indicates hot smoked salmon is used here. Look for hot smoked salmon at Tangaroa Seafoods (Tangaroa St, Ahuriri, Napier); Hawke’s Bay Seafoods (Corner Pandora Rd & Ahuriri Quay, Ahuriri, Napier, Heretaunga St West, Hastings and Hastings Farmers’ Market every Sunday); The Smoke Hut (Napier Urban Food Market every Saturday and Hastings Farmers’ Market every
Sunday); and from supermarkets.

Five Easy Ways to Use Smoked Salmon

  • Scrambled Eggs and Smoked Salmon: My favourite Christmas Day breakfast, I usually use cold smoked salmon but have also used hot smoked salmon – both are delicious, the presentation is just a little different. When using cold smoked salmon drape the slices across the top of the scrambled eggs and when using hot smoked salmon, remove skin and bones, then flake and scatter across the top of the eggs.
  • Creamy Smoked Salmon and Herb Pasta: Toss flaked hot smoked salmon, herbs of your choice – a combination of dill, parsley and chives works well – and cooking cream through hot cooked pasta of your choice.
  • Smoked Salmon Pate: Skin, bone and flake hot smoked salmon, place in a food processor with cream cheese, lemon juice and dill and blend. Transfer to a serving bowl and accompany with crackers.
  • Smoked Salmon Kedgree: Use hot smoked salmon in your favourite kedgree recipe.
  • Smoked Salmon Crostini: Thinly slice a baguette and toast. Spread toasts with a little cream cheese, then top with slices of cold smoked salmon, thin slices of red onion and capers. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Spring Salad of Hot Smoked Salmon & Asparagus

Substantial enough as a meal in its own right this pretty salad looks and tastes like spring.  

Serves 4

2 medium potatoes, scrubbed
1 bunch asparagus, tough ends broken off
1 bag mixed salad leaves
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ cup mint leaves, coarsely shredded
2-3 large radishes, thinly sliced
300g hot smoked salmon, skin and bones removed
4 green onions, chopped
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
½ cup olive oil
juice 1 lemon

1              To make dressing, place mustard, olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

2              Place potatoes in a saucepan of cold water, cover and bring to the boil. Remove lid from saucepan, add salt to taste and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are just cooked – take care not to overcook. Drain potatoes and set aside to cool.

3              Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add asparagus and cook for 3-4 minutes or until just tender. Drain, refresh under cold running water to stop cooking, drain again and set aside to cool completely.

4              Cut cooled potatoes into large chunks. Place potatoes, salad leaves, parsley leaves, mint and radish slices in a bowl, drizzle with about half the dressing and toss to combine. Place salad mixture on a serving platter and top with asparagus.

5              Break salmon into chunks and scatter over top of salad, then top with spring onions and finally drizzle with remaining dressing. Serve immediately.

For more information about asparagus refer to previous post Asparagus – A Spring Treat.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

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Aromatic Indian-style Scrambled Eggs

basketofeggsIt’s our wedding anniversary today (hard to believe it’s 26 years) and special days always call for special food so to start the day (and to use up some of the four dozen beautiful free-range eggs I received from Farmers’ Market stallholders at the weekend) it was
scrambled eggs for breakfast – but scrambled eggs with a difference – Aromatic Indian-style Scrambled Eggs.

Sometime ago I came across a recipe for Indian-style scrambled eggs and since then I have found similar recipes in the cuisines of Pakistan, Afghanistan and neighbouring countries – all seem to use onion, tomato, fresh coriander and chilli but vary as to whether garlic and/or ginger is used and which spices are preferred – my recipe uses cumin, but sometimes I use turmeric or a combination of turmeric and cumin.

My interpretation of Indian-style Scrambled Eggs is an easy go-to dish for when you want something a little exotic without a lot of effort and with its layered nutty, chilli and herby flavours makes an excellent brunch dish or a delicious Sunday night tea. Serve with a steamed green vegetable such as spinach or a salad of mixed leaves for a complete meal. If left to cool they also make a delicious filling for sandwiches or rolls.

Aromatic Indian-style Scrambled Eggs

Serves 2-4 as a light meal or brunch

4-5 free-range eggs, depending on size
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 small red chilli, thinly sliced – seeds removed (optional)
Sourdough, ciabatta or bread of your choice, toasted, to serve

1             Break eggs into a bowl, add salt and pepper and whisk lightly to combine. Set aside.
2             Heat oil in a non-stick 18-20cm frying pan over a medium heat, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Add cumin and cook for 1-2 minutes longer or until mixture is aromatic.
3             Add tomato and cook stirring, until warmed through and soft. Reduce heat to low.
4             Stir coriander and chilli into egg mixture. Pour egg mixture into pan and cook, stirring gently, for 5-7 minutes or until eggs are creamy and scrambled. Serve immediately with toast.

So with breakfast out of the way it’s time to think about lunch and after that hearty breakfast I think it will be a salad – I’m just working on a kumara and rocket salad with feta and walnuts and will let you know how it turns out on another day.  And dinner tonight a beautiful wild venison fillet from The Organic Farm – haven’t decided how I am going to cook that yet – but have got all day to think about that.

Happy cooking and eating

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore