Tag Archives: vegetarian

BBQ Corn with Feta & Herb Butter

BBQ Corn on Cob 007aCorn on the cob makes a great addition to any barbecue and is loved by children and adults alike. This Feta & Herb Butter gives already delicious corn an extra punch.

While corn is available year round in a number of forms including canned, frozen and even frozen on the cob there is nothing like the taste of fresh summer corn eaten straight off the cob boiled or barbecued, with or without butter it is true summer treat.

Look for the freshest corn at road side stalls around the Bay or the Farmers’ Markets. I used Hohepa feta for the butter which is creamy and blends well with the butter. Hohepa cheeses are available from the Hohepa Farm Shop which is situated just north of Clive or at both Farmers’ Markets.

BBQ Corn with Feta Herb Butter

Soaking the corn before barbecuing adds extra moisture which steams the corn as it cooks in the husks. Alternatively, the husks can be removed then the corn cobs wrapped in foil and barbecued, but personally I rather like the more dramatic presentation of the corn cooked and served in the husks. Corn can also be cooked this way in the microwave one cob will take about 3 minutes.

Serves 6

6 ears fresh corn
olive oil
¼ cup crumbled feta
¼ cup butter, at room temperature
grated zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1              To make butter, place feta, butter, lemon zest, mint and thyme in a food processor and process to combine. Spoon butter into a small ramekin, smooth top, cover and refrigerate until required.

2              Preheat barbecue to medium heat.

3              To prepare corn for barbecue, remove first couple of layers of husk, then place in a large bowl of cold water and set aside to soak for at least 15 minutes.  Carefully peel back corn husks, but do not remove completely, then remove the silk from top of cob. Brush corn kernels with a little olive oil and pull husks back around corn to wrap.

4              Place on barbecue and cook, turning, for 5-7 minutes, then move corn to side of barbecue away from direct heat and cook for 15 minutes longer or until kernels are cooked and tender.

5              To serve, pile onto a serving platter, let stand for at least 5 minutes – the cobs are very hot – then accompany with Feta & Herb Butter for smearing over hot cobs.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

Avocado Caesar Salad

Caesar Avocado Salad 027aThe inspiration for this dish came from a good looking cos lettuce in the garden which needed harvesting, a couple of avos in the fridge and a day old baguette.

The recipe gives instructions for serving family style in a bowl, but for a more elegant presentation do as I have done serve as individual salads – see serving suggestions at end of recipe.

The Avocado Dressing is also great served as a vegetarian dip or on other salads which would normally use a creamy dressing.

Avocado Caesar Salad

To shave parmesan cheese, use a vegetable peeler. If, when ready to serve the dressing seems a bit thick whisk in a little water until desired
consistency is reached. Use any bread of your choice for the croutons – they are great way to use up stale bread.

Serves 4 as a light meal or lunch or 6 as a side dish

1 day-old baguette, cut into 2.5cm cubes
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cos lettuce, leaves torn into bite size pieces
½ cup finely grated Parmesan
2 medium avocadoes, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
shaved parmesan for serving
1 medium avocado, flesh roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp Dijon mustard
juice of ½  lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup prepared mayonnaise either homemade or a good quality bought mayo

1              Preheat oven to 180°C Place bread cubes in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Place bread cubes in single layer on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes until croutons are brown and crisp.

2              To make the dressing, place avocado, garlic, parsley, Dijon mustard and lemon juice in a food processor and process to make a smooth puree. With machine running slowly add olive oil and
mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic food wrap, pressed onto the surface of the dressing and refrigerate until ready to serve.

3              Place lettuce leaves in large serving bowl, add parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Scatter with croutons and diced
avocadoes and tomatoes and toss gently. Drizzle with dressing and scatter with shaved parmesan. Serve remaining dressing on the side.

Serving suggestions

  • Build your own Salad: When ready to serve, place each
    ingredient in a separate bowl layout with individual serving plates and allow each person to assemble their own salad.
  • Individual Avocado Caesar Salads: This is a great presentation for the first course of a dinner party and when your cos lettuce has really handsome leaves, as mine did. Of course, it would be the perfect first course for a vegetarian dinner party. Choose the best looking lettuce leaves (if leaves are big you will only need one otherwise use two or three), place on serving plates, then top with diced avocadoes, tomatoes and croutons. Drizzle with dressing and scatter over shaved parmesan.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

Scarborough Fair Bean Dip

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme;
Remember me to one who lives there,
For once she was a true lover of mine.

Dip 014aThis dip using store cupboard ingredients and fresh herbs from the garden, takes its name from the well-known British ballad,
Scarborough Fair.

It is easy and tasty and is great if you are feeding those with special dietary requirements – it is gluten-, egg-, nut- and dairy-free as well as vegetarian.

For those who plan ahead this already economic dip becomes even cheaper if you cook dried beans rather than using canned. Any canned or dried white beans can be used – cannellini, haricot, lima or even chickpeas.

You will need about ¾ cup dried beans, soaked overnight, then cooked. To cook beans, drain soaked beans, place in a saucepan and cover with clean cold water by about 2.5cm. Place over a medium-high heat, bring to the boil, boil for 10 minutes then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until beans are tender – cooking time will depend on bean variety and age of beans. Older beans take
longer to cook, as do chickpeas.

Scarborough Fair Bean Dip

This dip is great for last-minute entertaining or if you need to take something to party.

Makes about 3 cups

¼ cup olive oil plus extra for drizzling
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
2 x 400g cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley salt

1              Place olive oil, garlic, sage, rosemary and thyme In a
saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until fragrant and garlic just starts to brown.

2              Remove pan from heat, add beans and toss to combine.

3              Place bean mixture and parsley into a food processor and process to make a smooth puree – add a little water if necessary. Season to taste with salt.

4              Spoon dip in a serving bowl and drizzle with a little more
olive oil, if desired.

Serving suggestion: Accompany with any of the following for
dipping – vegetable crudities, crackers, chips, pita crisps or crostini.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

White Peaches in Sparkling Wine

Peaches 008aThis recipe owes much to one of my favourite cooks Marcella Hazan. Some readers may recall I wrote about her excellent book The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking in an earlier post. A recipe very similar to this one can be found in another one of her books Marcella Cucina HaperCollins 1997.

This very simple presentation works perfectly with beautiful Hawke’s Bay peaches and while I have used white peaches here it also works well with yellow-fleshed peaches or a mixture of the two and as Marcella says in her introduction to the recipe ‘…you can
transform even less than perfect ripe peaches into a bowl of luscious, refreshing fragrant fruit.’ Not that we have less than perfect peaches in the Bay at this time of year!

White Peaches in Sparkling Wine

These peaches look wonderful served in a crystal or glass bowl.

To peel peaches, make a small cross in the base of the fruit and place in a bowl. Pour over boiling water and leave for 30-40 seconds, then transfer to a bowl of iced water – if peaches are a bit under ripe leave in the boiling water for a bit longer. Use a small sharp knife to peel off the skin.

Serves 6-8

1kg white peaches
½ cup caster sugar
1½ cups dry fruity sparkling wine
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
fresh mint leaves

1              Peel peaches and cut flesh into 5mm thick slices.
2              Place peaches and sugar in a serving bowl, pour over wine and mix gently to
combine. Add lemon zest and mint. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving – this can be done up to 8 hours in advance.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe very slightly adapted by Rachel from Marcella Cucina

Coriander – The Divisive Herb

Coriander 003aIt seems that you either love or hate fresh coriander (not to be
confused with the spice which comes from the same plant, but is the seeds) also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley in some parts of the world.

As a member of the parsley family it teams well with other members of this family such as parsnips, carrots and celery. Coriander is used extensively in Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, Indian and Moroccan
cuisines where it is often teamed with seafood, lamb or chicken or used to perk up rice, lentil or bean dishes.

Selection: Choose bunches of that are bright green and avoid those with wilted, yellow or bruised leaves. Select bunches that have the roots intact – the roots are edible too and used extensively in Asian cuisine – bunches with roots keep longer and remain fresh for
Storage: Place bunches in a glass of water, cover with a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.
Preparation: Wash to remove any dirt by dipping in a large bowl of water, shake to dry or pat with a clean tea towel.

See my recent post for Chimichurri Sauce.

Coriander Lime Dressing: Use this dressing on mixed leaves or toss through corn kernels to make a simple salad. Place 2 bunches fresh coriander, 4 cloves garlic and juice of 1 lime in a food processor and process for 30 seconds, with machine running slowly add about 1/3 cup olive oil and process to combine. Season to taste with sea salt. Makes about ½ cup.

Fresh Coriander Pesto: Toss this pesto through cooked pasta, or mix with ricotta cheese to make a refreshing dip. Place 2 bunches fresh coriander, ½ cup blanched almonds, 1 chopped small red onion and 1 fresh red chilli, or quantity to taste, in a food processor and process to combine. With machine running slowly pour in 1/4–1/3 cup olive oil and process to make a chunky pesto dip. Makes about 1 cup.

Coriander Lime Butter: Fresh coriander and lime juice appear
together in many cuisines and are natural partners. Try this herb butter on barbecued corn-on-the-cob, steamed baby carrots, steamed broccoli or cauliflower, grilled chicken or fish or anything else that takes your fancy. Place 125g room temperature butter in a bowl, add ¼ cup chopped fresh coriander and a good squeeze of fresh lime juice and mix well to combine. Place butter on a piece of plastic food wrap and roll to form a log, twist ends and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about ½ cup.

Recipes and information compiled by Rachel Blackmore

Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce

Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce 018aFor a variety of reasons I found myself eating by myself the other night – I love to cook for someone so it is always challenging for me when it is just me. To encourage myself I usually try to cook something I may not cook when cooking for John and pasta is always a good choice as it is something he is not so keen on.

On looking in the pantry I found I had some lovely Pasta Love fusilli pepper pasta and this just seemed to scream tomatoes and big flavours. Further investigation found lovely ripe tomatoes, olives, anchovies and garlic. A raw tomato sauce tossed through hot cooked pasta is a great summer dish – lovely summer flavours and minimal cooking.

Pasta Love artisan pasta is made right here in the Bay and you can purchase it at the Hastings Farmers’ Market or online at their website.

Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce

This dish relies on the quality of the ingredients so make sure the tomatoes are really ripe and olive oil is good. While this recipe serves one it can easily be multiplied to serve as many as are at your table.

Serves 1

1 large ripe tomato, chopped
3-4 black olives, chopped
1 anchovy fillet in oil, drained and finely sliced
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 small clove garlic, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
100 g pasta of your choice
shaved Parmesan cheese

1              Place tomato, olives, anchovy fillet, parsley and garlic in a serving bowl and toss to
combine. Add a couple of good splashes of olive oil and a splash or two of red wine
vinegar, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss gently.
2              Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook according to packet directions (as Pasta Love pasta is freshly made the cooking time is a bit less than for
commercial pasta) or until tender. Drain. Add hot pasta to tomato mixture and toss.
Scatter with Parmesan and serve immediately.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

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



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

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