Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Springing Into Spring.

Up here in 'the rapa', it's been spring for sometime. My daffodils are well past their best now and the local lambs are...well to put it bluntly, probably almost ready for 'the works!'

And of course now that spring has officially sprung...we get one, and it won't be the last, of our southerly blasts going through the whole country; snow closing roads, torrential rains causing flooding and freezing temperatures sending me spend quality time wrapped around my fire or heater. Yesterday when I drove home it was 19 degrees C (66.2F), today, I'd be lucky if it was 9 degrees C (48.2F).

BUT in less than 2 weeks, I'll be in Africa and I believe the temperatures in Botswana will be up in the 30's (C), during the day. I'm packing a jacket for the night time, but better not have to wear it while the sun shines! My wee white sparrow legs will be poking out from my shorts...and I will be loving every minute of being warm again!

And we will cook most nights over an open fire, with food wrapped in foil! Wonderful childhood memories involve bonfires at our house or the neighbours, where we tossed potatoes into the embers and came back some time later armed with butter and ate the gorgeous roasted white flesh inside, smothered in butter and seasonings....bliss. Not sure what we will cook, but I'm sure that after a day of negotiating rural roads...anything will be welcome! (accompanied by a glass of wine or two).

No foil in my childhood days, but now, some of my favourite meals are 'parcels'; fish done in foil, with veg inside...a one pack meal. I usually use something like terakihi or gurnard.

Method: Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Decide which vegetables you want to use. I include some root veg; potato, kumara, celeriac, pumpkin etc, green veg like spinach or kale, and carrots, red onion...whatever you like. If it's a root veg, then you need to mostly cook it first.

Rip off a piece of foil large enough to wrap the meal. Spray with canola oil...or brush with a lightly flavoured oil.

Layer the root veg, then top with fish. season, then add more veg. Don't over do it. Wrap your parcel, not too tightly, you want the steam to be able to form and bake for about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish fillet. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes.

Open the parcel and either serve straight out of the foil, or carefully slide it onto the plate.
Ok, Ok, I didn't actually make this one, but I would've if I could've!


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Dinner For One.

Inspired by my lovely niece Kerry and her wonderful foodie blog, I've decided to resurrect my blog...and hope to share my limited culinary thoughts and snippets of life here in 'the rapa' with you.

Time has certainly moved on since my last post. America came and went and I'm back in the 'Town of G'. Often, I'm exploring delicious food with Mr H...but at times I still find myself cooking for one...and sometimes struggling to find the motivation to actually eat well. The good intentions are there...I start thinking about dinner from the moment I wake up, but arriving home to:
Throw kitty litter Gus and Stan aged 6 months.

  • light the fire
  • feed the cats
  • clean up the kitty litter thrown around the floor
  • sweep up bird feathers
  • phone, then stay 'on hold' for ages to sort out odd things that have happened on various accounts
  • put the laundry into the drier
  • empty the dishwasher
  • ...Well you get the idea...!
...makes cooking seem like more of a chore than an enjoyable activity.

So, when I find a simple and tasty recipe like I did tonight, it makes me happy and want to share. It's from Annabel Langbein's book 'The Best of Annabel Langbein' and as usual, she turns simple ingredients into mouthfuls of deliciousness.

Of course, cooking for one involves a little creativity with quantities. The original recipe serves I sort of cross my fingers and hope for the best.

So here goes:
Soy and Ginger Glazed Salmon.

2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons rice wine/sake
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger (mine came out of a jar)
Almost a level teaspoon sugar
1 salmon fillet (I bought it bone in...nightmare...if you can get it boned, just makes life easier and quicker). A pair of tweezers or a strawberry huller will do the trick when faced with boney salmon.

Heat oven to 250 degrees C. Place soy sauce and rice wine/sake, ginger and sugar in a pot and boil 5 minutes (I put it in a microwaveable jug and nuked it for 90 seconds), until slightly thickened. Cool. So now I lined a baking dish with baking paper (makes cleaning up super simple). Place salmon on the baking paper and pour sauce over fish, turn so it's completely covered. If possible, let sit for 10 minutes.  
Bake for 5-8 minutes until cooked...check after 5...if it's a fatty, it might take longer. 
Micro greens - rambo radish, coral mizuna and red cabbage.
Salmon shouldn't be over cooked! I let it sit, covered over with the baking paper with an oven mitt on top to hold in the heat while I dished up the rest. It literally fell apart!

I served my salmon on a root veg mash - potato, kumara and white carrots (originally from Slovenia I believe)...I couldn't find my celeriac darn it; with some simply cooked leeks on the side. I've just started growing micro-greens, so had the last few sprinkled over top. Delicious!

Start to eating...20 minutes max!

Do you have a tried and true meal for one? I'd love to read about it!