Thursday, 28 March 2013

Tuesday's Calamari Pasta (prepared by Robin Murray)

It has been a while since I have blogged and fortunately I have three good excuses: the festive season, my parents visited from South Africa and I got married! While my parents were visiting, my Dad cooked his speciality dish – Calamari Pasta. It is really easy to make with simple ingredients that combine into a delicious and comforting dish.

500g calamari (you can add 250g Marinara mix if you wish - not frozen, from the fish deli counter)
1 tin of whole tomatoes
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs garlic or 2-3 fresh garlic cloves crushes
1 peeled onion
500g Tagliatellu

Fry onion and garlic in the oil.until onion goes opaque. Add the calamari and sea food and cook until calamari turns opaque.
Add the tins of tomatoes add plenty of salt and ground pepper and simmer for about 20- 25 minutes in a closed pan.
Remove lid and reduce liquid till it is fairly thick .
Cook the pasta until it is al dente Serve in a warm bowl and spoon the calamari sauce over it.
Serve with a green salad and your favourites wine.

(Note: I call my Dad Tuesday - hence the name "Tuesday's Calamari Pasta"!)


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Baked New Zealand Salmon with Herb Crust (made with Rangihoua Estate's Herb Spread)

Our visiting family from South Africa and Singapore turned into a festival of food!

During a trip to Waiheke Island we went to the beautiful Rangihoua Estate for some olive oil tasting. We also sampled some of their herb spread and promptly bought a jar to take home. Later that week, we used the herb spread on fresh New Zealand salmon and what a treat it was!

4 salmon fillets (approx 250g each) preferably with skin on
1 cup of breadcrumbs
3/4 jar of Rangihoua Estate's herb spread 
Lemon wedges to serve

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
Mix the breadcrumbs and the herb spread together
Lay the salmon skin down on a lightly greased baking tray
Spread the breadcrumb mixture over the salmon
Place in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes (until cooked through)

Thank you to my cooking partner, Bonny Ritchie - we had such fun in the kitchen, you are sorely missed!

You can order the herb spread on line from

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Asparagus with Egg Mimosa, Butter and Breadcrumbs

I have just had the most glorious two weeks shared with family visiting from South Africa and Singapore. One of the many gifts I received was a cook book by South African journalist, editor and cook Jane-Anne Hobbs titled Scrumptious. It is filled with some beautiful recipes including an exciting version of the very South African bunny chow (keep an eye out for the recipe which I will trial in the coming weeks). 

The first recipe I tried was a variation on what Jane-Anne refers to as a time-tested classic “Asparagus with Egg Mimosa, Butter and Breadcrumbs”.  

3 large free-range eggs
2 slices white bread, a day or two old (I only has fresh white bread so I popped this in the toaster for a minute or so)
48 spears fresh asparagus
250g butter
A big pinch of white pepper (I used black pepper)
1/3 cup fresh parsley - finely chopped 
Juice of 1 lemon

Hard boil the eggs, peel and set aside.
Crumb the bread in a blender and set aside.
Cut the woody bases off the asparagus spears and steam for 3–5 minutes until tender (but still firm). 
In a frying pan melt the butter, add the breadcrumbs and fry until crunchy.
Put the eggs into a blender and whizz them for a few seconds.
Add the eggs, parsley and salt.
Lay the asparagus spears on a plate and tip the breadcrumb and egg mixture over the top, across the middle. Squeeze over the lemon juice and serve. 

Note this is a variation of Jane-Anne Hobbs’ recipe. The full recipe can be found here:

Thank you to Bonny Ritchie and Tammy Holohan for travelling from the other side of the world to spend time with us. Thank you so much to Bonny for giving me the beautiful cook book.

In the picture - Tammy, Bonny, John and our daughter Caitlyn-Jane at Auckland International Airport

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Celebrate summer with Annabel’s Pear, Walnut and Haloumi Salad

A perfect way to welcome in summer is with Annabel Langbein’s recipe for Pear, Walnut and Haloumi salad. The unique flavours in this salad come from the lemon-soaked sweet pears and the salty haloumi cheese – luxury on a plate!

4 tablespoons of neutral oil (I used Canola)
1 cup walnuts
2 ripe pears (I used Taylors Gold pears)
Juice of ½ lemon
250g haloumi, thinly sliced
6 handfuls of salad leaves (the recipe calls for watercress but I used standard mesculin)
Salt and ground black pepper to serve

Heat three of the four tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry the walnuts for 2 – 3 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside on some kitchen towel. Keep the oil to dress the salad.  

Core and cut the pears into 6-8 wedges. Place in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the lemon juice and place into the fridge until you are ready to plate up.  

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the haloumi slices until they are golden brown on both sides. Set aside on some kitchen towel. Now you are ready to plate up!  

Place salad leaves in a large mixing bowl and toss with the walnut oil. Add the pears and the juice and put onto plates. Then place the haloumi onto each plate and sprinkle with the walnuts. I put the salt and black pepper on the table for people to serve themselves.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels in a White Wine and Garlic Sauce

Live Green-Lipped Mussels are available year round in New Zealand supermarkets – they are both delicious and really affordable. A great starter for any occasion is Green-Lipped mussels smothered in a delicious garlic white wine sauce.

12 Green-Lipped Mussels
6 cloves of garlic
475ml white wine
1 small onion
1 tablespoon butter
200ml cream
Salt and black pepper (to season)

Scrub mussels well under running cold water and remove ‘beards’ by pulling firmly towards the mussel’s hinge. If any of the mussels have opened, tap them and if they close, they are alright, if not - discard immediately.

In a large saucepan that can hold the mussels, fry onion and garlic in butter then add the salt and white wine and bring to the boil. Drop in mussels, place the lid on the pot and steam the mussels until they open. Discard any of the mussels that do not open.

Remove the pot from the heat, add the cream, black pepper and serve immediately. This dish needs a spoon and lots of fresh, crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Oh-so-easy Scallop and Chorizo Fettuccini

This tasty dish is so easy to make as it has very few ingredients; relying on the chorizo, garlic and scallops to give it a distinctive Spanish flavour. This is a variation on a Nigella Lawson recipe which uses even fewer ingredients (just scallops, chorizo, lemon and parsley). You need to eat this dish immediately so get your pasta cooked before you start.
500g scallops
3 spicy chorizo sausages (approx 15cm each)
½ cup white wine
Cayenne pepper (if you want extra heat!)
Sprinkle of salt
½ cup cream

Heat a little oil over high heat and cook chopped chorizo sausage for 2-minutes. Set aside the sausage and toss in the scallops. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook and stir about 3 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.

Add the garlic and the wine to the pan and bring to the boil. Return the chorizo and scallops to the pan and add a little salt and the cream. Remove from heat and serve immediately over the cooked Fettuccini.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Chicken livers peri peri

This gorgeous starter takes me back to hot, humid evenings in Richards Bay, South Africa where we used to eat at this dish at a quaint little portuguese restaurant called Maritinos. For this recipe which smacks of Portugal and Mozambique I used:

1 tsp butter
500g chicken livers (fat trimmed off and cut into 1cm pieces)
1 onion
1 tsp garlic
2 finely chopped red chilli
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Splash of worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh crusty bread to serve.

Fry onion, chilli and garlic in butter. Add cumin and coriander and cook for a minute or so before adding chicken livers. Once livers are cooked add a splash of worcestershire sauce, tin of tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for a good 15 - 20 minutes before adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with fresh bread.