Thursday, 18 June 2015

The trip of a lifetime.........

100% inspired by the beautiful Annabel Langbein, myself and 3 gorgeous friends, embarked on the journey of a lifetime!  Having never spent any time in New Zealand at all, I had no idea what to expect and now having been there, no idea what I was missing! 

The incredible scenery took my breath away.  Every corner our little hire car turned, there was yet another magnificent view!  We were blessed with the most incredible weather and took in the sights of just a small part of the
South Island in only 4 short days.  4 days that are now etched in all our memories of an experience that is hard to put into words.

We ate some of the most magnificent food I have ever tasted, were spoilt with beautiful wines to match the food.  From wild hare, goat curry, paua served in it's shell and  magnificent Akaroa Salmon, and we were blown away with the quality of every meal we had.
We toured the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch, visited the most quaint little chapel on the banks of Lake Tekapo, went dolphin watching from Arkaroa, jet boat riding from Wild Earth Winery (a absolute must visit winery!), visited Cromwell Farmers Market and of course stayed, and took in the sights of the magnificent Lake Wanaka.

How blessed I am that I experienced this incredible journey with 3 of the most important people in the world to me, and how wonderful that now we can reminisce about it with such fond memories.

Seeing pictures in Annabel's books of this incredible part of the world, just doesn't do it justice.  I was constantly mesmerized by the Lake's beauty and exquisite surrounding mountains.  Annabel much pinch herself every day living in such a charming place.

 New Zealand has captivated me, She has taken me in her arms, given me a huge warm embrace and told me to come back and visit again, that is an absolute given, until next time Lovely Lady.....

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Chipotle Grilled Chicken

Before making this dish I hadn't ever used Chipotle Peppers in adobo sauce and now I always have a tin in my pantry!  They have quite a bite so if you're not too keen on anything with a kick, then you might want to maybe add some natural yoghurt to the marinade to soften the strong smoky chilli flavour.

A really easy marinade of the peppers, oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper coats the chicken and then it's left for at least 30 minutes.

The chicken is then grilled and served with spring onion, coriander leaves and some lemon wedges.  Doesn't get much easier than that!  A great dish to have served with yummy corn & quinoa salad - delicious!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Ultimate Banana Cake

This is a delicious cake!  I am sitting with a cuppa and a piece right now!  Easy as pie to make and the addition of the honey makes it really moist with a yummy caramel flavour.  My only tip with this recipe?  Annabel asks you to dissolve the baking soda in the milk after heating it, I worked out the hard way not to heat the milk with the the baking soda already in the pan - big mess!

The passionfruit honey frosting finishes off the cake beautifully and the family have all loved it.  Another winner!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Chicken Prosciutto Parcels

Yum, yum, yum!  These little parcels are a gem!  I love prosciutto on an antipasti platter or in a pasta sauce and using it like this, wrapped around a chicken thigh fillet is delicious.
The fillets have only some lemon zest and a basil leave inside them before they are wrapped and secured with a toothpick.  
Making a sauce of just the pan juices, some wine and good quality Passata couldn't be easier and the result is a really flavoursome dish.  Adding some fresh basil at the end and serving the chicken with some crunchy roast potatoes and a nice green salad - this is a real winner.  
Thanks again Annabel!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Pork Rillettes with Prune Topping

These little rillettes were beautiful!  I haven't cooked much with pork belly but this recipe is brilliant.  Quite a few steps involved making it a bit time consuming but it's definitely worth it!  The prune topping was a simple combination of prunes, red wine, sugar and cloves and made the rillettes sweet, sticky and so delicious!  This is a winner, will make it again and again.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Mexican Pulled Pork

Yum!  This was amazing!  Great mix of spices in the Mexican rub although the flavour wasn't overly strong.  I think next time I'll make more of the rub and coat the pork a bit thicker.  The tip of rubbing vinegar over the skin before cooking created a beautiful dry crunchy crackling - delicious!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Chocolate Orange Creams with Choc-Dipped Oranges

The fist recipe I've done from Annabel's new book "Through the Seasons".  What a way to start!  Orange and chocolate are two of my favourite combinations and when I saw this recipe I had to make it first off.  Making the Choc-Dipped Oranges was an easier process than I imagined and they turned out beautifully.  A gorgeous accompaniment to the Chocolate Orange Creams I did for a dinner party dessert.  As they were quite rich, I made little ones in small disposable square containers, added a little silver plastic spoon before they set and they were ready to eat straight from the fridge.  I made them the morning of my dinner party and thought that would give them plenty of time to set, but I was surprised they were quite soft, not runny, but not as firm as other chocolate moose's I've made.  There were some left over and I think after another night in the fridge they had set much better, so my advice would be to make them at least 24 hours in advance.  Enjoy, they are truly decadent!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Through the Seasons

Oh my goodness!  What a thrill....again!  My beautiful "Village" friends and I were so lucky to again meet Annabel at Readings in Hawthorn at the book signing of her latest masterpiece...."Through the Seasons".  This is such a beautiful book and one that I am thoroughly enjoying looking through and cooking from!  Already I have made the Chicken Prosciutto Parcels, Chocolate Orange Creams with Chocolate-dipped Orange Peel and the beautiful Brandy Snap Baskets from this book!
We chatted freely with Annabel as she asked us about our friendship and our cooking.  She is truly such a natural and generous person, she made us feel so special for just being her admirers.

When we told Annabel that one of our "bucket list" places to visit was her beautiful part of the world at Lake Wanaka, she was so lovely to say that she'd love to catch up for coffee or a wander through her garden if she was there!  How special.

So, thank you Annabel for making us all feel so comfortable in your company, you are such a delight and we were all so elated to meet you again!  Now I've got some serious blogging to do!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Hazelnut Butter

This Hazelnut Butter was easy to make and although I really like the taste of hazelnuts on their own, I wasn't too sure about this recipe.  It certainly worked well as part of a dressing for chicken salad when combined with orange juice that Annabel suggests, but as a paste on bread or in a tart I think it was a little over-powering.  It kept in the fridge for a long time and eventually got used, but I have to admit, this wasn't one of my favourites!