Tuesday 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

Make peanut butter caramel fudge - tick
Bake shortbread - tick
Bake sweet potato pie - tick
Make salad and grab meat for the barbie - tick
Wrap presents - tick
Go to Midnight Mass - tick 
Crank up the Christmas carols on the stereo - tick
Make sure tummy is ready for the eatathon ahead - tick tick tick

Now all there's left to do is to wish you all the merriest of Christmases!!

Wishing you and your whanau love, joy, and deliciousness this festive season. 
Hope you get to spend it in the company of friends, family, and loved ones.

Whatever is beautiful and meaningful for you, and whatever brings you happiness, may it be yours this Christmas.

Wishing you a togethery and remembery Christmas filled with love.

Meri Kirihimete.

Monday 23 December 2013

Christmas noms: Cinnamon shortbread

Leaving your Christmas baking till last minute too?
We've just come back from an epic five day tramping trip down in Nelson Lakes which meant we had to be really organised early on for Christmas this year or we'd have to do everything last minute.

Three guesses for which option ended up happening. 

Luckily, I had an inkling we might not get our act together and tried out this recipe for Cinnamon Shortbread the Baking for Hospice Christmas round beforehand just so I had some last minute Christmas baking ideas up my sleeve.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Christmas noms: Peanut butter caramel fudge

Not to get all Nigella on you or anything but this stuff is like crack.  (Too soon??)

It’s creamy, salty-sweet, peanutty perfection. And so gosh darn addictive it really should be illegal. Oh, and did I mention it only takes like 10 minutes to make? Stop it!

I made it for the Baking for Hospice Christmas round just been and found myself “tasting” a substantial amount of it. Just to quality check it of course.

I don't even usually like fudge.  Usually it's too sweet and crumbly and just like eating a sugar cube, but these puppies are chewy and creamy and the peanut butter gives it a salty sweet edge making them ridiculously easy to eat.

To be honest I just could not stop shovelling this stuff into my face.  Yes, I went a bit nuts over it.

Peanut Butter Caramel Fudge, why you so good?

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Christmas noms: Pan de higo brandy balls

This great little stocking filler is a veritable journey around the world.

The recipe is a bit of a mash up: part Pan de higo or Spanish fig cake, part Chinese New Year date and walnut candy and part English brandy balls.

You could call these UN balls.

Saturday 14 December 2013

Christmas noms: Eggnog macarons

Eggnog eggnog eggnog. Creamy spiced bozziness. What's not to love about eggnogg?

I have raved about my love of eggnog before, and what better way to celebrate Christmas eggy-nogginess than to make Eggnog Macarons!

Now, while I do try and post really easy recipes up on my blog, every now and then I like to make a use-every-bowl-in-the-kitchen kinda recipe just as a challenge and just because it's so much fun.

Only when there is a dishwasher nearby, of course.

This is one such recipe.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Christmas noms: White Christmas Rocky Road

This is the rocky road to end all rocky roads.

Truth is, actually, I'm in love with this rocky road.

To me this rocky road is perfect.

{love actually: only the greatest christmas movie of all time}

All those amazing colours make it look like a like a stained glass window.  It's almost too pretty to eat.  Almost, coz once you have one piece you forget all bout how pretty it looks and just want to scoff the lot.

What usually happens at Christmas is that I make a batch and it gets eaten as quickly as I make it and people are begging for the recipe.

It's so good you might want to sing a song about it stark naked on TV on Christmas Eve.

{via tumblr}

Saturday 7 December 2013

Friday 8 November 2013

Homemade Big Mac

Vincent: And you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?
Jules: They don't call it Quarter Pounder with Cheese?
Vincent: No man, they got the metric system. They wouldn't know what the f*** a Quarter Pounder is.
Jules: Then what do they call it?
Vincent: They call it a Royale with Cheese.
Jules: A Royale with Cheese. 
Vincent: That's right.
Jules: What do they call a Big Mac?
Vincent: Well a Big Mac's a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big-Mac.
Jules: Le Big-Mac. *laughs* What do they call a Whopper?
Vincent: I dunno, I didn't go into Burger King.
~ Pulp Fiction

Oh yes my friends, that is two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions – on a sesame seed bun.  A Homemade Big Mac.

I don't know bout you but after a gruelling week of exams/work/life what this girl wants, what this girl needs, is some good honest trash food.  Greasy salty junky awesomeness. Get in my belly.

I'd been meaning to make burgers for dinner for a while now.  And if you're going to make burgers why not tackle THE burger right?

{le big mac}

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Oh YAY! Baking = love on Huffington Post!!

Huffington Post's HuffPost Taste section did a wrap up of their fav butterscotch recipes yesterday and my Sticky Date Cake with Butterscotch Swiss Meringue Buttercream with Butterscotch Sauce made it to #6.


Check out all the gooey butterscotchy recipes here.

Gotta love butterscotch.

{via here}

Wednesday 23 October 2013

1 more to go...

{my mantra}
{poster by emma bergqvist}

Coming to the end of a mareish set of exams.

Will be back on the blogging bandwagon after this.  Got loads of procrasta-cooking to share with you.

Bring. On. Friday.

Saturday 12 October 2013

Steak Frites for Dad: Scotch Fillet, Sweet Potato Fries, Roasted Tomatoes and Everything Dressing

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. ~Jim Valvano

Dads as a species are notoriously difficult to buy presents for.  My dad was no exception.  But I'd like to think gifts don't always have to be things you buy per se but could also be things you do.

So along with obligatory socks and ties, my gifts to dad were small things done with great love.

As a kid, for my dad, I would crawl out of bed in the early hours to watch a rugby game, a tennis grand slam final, or FIFA world cup.  Just for dad, I would relinquish the remote so he could watch the racing even though there was something really good on E!.  And only for my dad, I would sit with him and listen through entire BeeGees, Celine Dion and Albert Hammond albums.   

My dad was my hero.  His gift to me was that he believed I could do anything I put my mind to.  So what's a little BeeGees now and then in comparison huh?

Yesterday was dad's birthday.  He would've been 57 had it not been for the big bad cancer that took him 8 years ago.   

So every year now, my gift to him is still to cook something he loved.  To remember him. To celebrate him. To show how much I love him and miss him.

{rocking it bruce lee style since way back}

One of the things dad loved the most was a good steak.  So this year for dad's bday meal I made steak frites with Scotch fillet, Homemade sweet potato fries, Roasted tomatoes and Everything Dressing.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Chocolate Raspberry Brownies aka Heisenbrownies

O-Mg how good is Breaking Bad??

Water cooler banter has been dominated by Walt, Jesse, and the terrible and wonderful world of our favourite P cooks.

For the three of you out there who haven't heard of Breaking Bad, the formula is pretty basic: geeky chemistry teacher turns to cooking meth to make money for his family when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer.  The whole, however, is much greater than the sum of its parts.  It's not always easy to watch: it's brutal,  it's gritty, but keeps a quirky element of humour.

I confess, I can't actually handle all the violent bits so I make C watch them and report back to me but I just can't seem to turn away.  We and it seems the rest of the world are totally addicted.

We've been making our way through season 3 but will definitely keep our ion the SERIES FINALE next week.  Eeeeeeeeeeee!!

Ok ok sorry for boron you with chemistry puns. Would come up with better ones but it seems the good ones argon.

I'll stop now.  

How do I have friends??

{via here}

Anyhoo, these Chocolate Raspberry Brownies are a little like Walter White: they're a simple run-of-the-mill chocolate brownie transformed into something all dark, complex, sinful, and totally out of control.  The ultimate brownie. Pretty much, Heisenbrownies.

Monday 9 September 2013

Foux de Petite French Lemon Cream Tarts

Jermaine: Je voudrais une croissant
Jermaine: Je suis enchante
Jermaine: Ou est le bibliotheque?
Jermaine: Voila mon passport
Jermaine: Ah, Gerard Depardieu
Brett + Jermaine: Un baguette, ah ha ha, oh oh oh oh

~ Flight of the Conchords, Foux de Fafa

Have I raved to you about how much of a francophile I am yet?

It might have started when I first read Madeline as a kid and I've been obsessed ever since. I took French all the way through school. Went on language exchange there when I was 15.  I've watched Le Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain 14 times.

It's gotten to the point that when I hear strangers speaking French on the street I have to fight the urge to creepily follow just to hear them talk.  Not weird at all right?

{via weheartit}
But let's be franc, what's not to love about the land of romance, cheese, wine, and glorious buttery pastries?  And those accents... As Brett and Jermaine so cleverly illustrate, anything sounds good when you say it in French.

So I was chatting to someone yesterday who had just come back from a trip to France and it got me a) jealous and b) reminiscing about France and the amazing food and irresistible pastries those clever French have invented.  I gained 8 kgs in just 5 weeks living over there.  All happy weight.  All thanks to gloriously sweet and butterific French pastries just like these Petite French Lemon Cream Tarts.

Monday 26 August 2013

Broccoli & Feta Harissa Salad with Spicy Roasted Pepita for Lucy

Every intern wants to perform their first surgery. That's not your job. Do you know what your job is? To make your resident happy. Do I look happy? No! Why? Because my interns are whiney. You know what will make me look happy? Having the code team staffed, having the trauma pages answered, having the weekend labs delivered and having someone down in the pit doing the sutures. No-one holds a scalpel until I'm so happy I'm Mary Freaking Poppins. ~ Dr Miranda Bailey, Greys Anatomy.

Before we started our surgical rotation, I thought I had a pretty good idea as to what it was going to be like.

I've watched Grey's Anatomy.  I knew how it was going to go down.

But I'm no Meredith.  I never ever thought I'd want to be a surgeon.  High stress, long hours, super competitive people and lots of yucky stuff.  Did not sound like my cup of tea.

AND I was bracing myself to be that girl. 

Boy, was I ever wrong.  I have absolutely loved it.  Surgery is amazing.  Sure, I probably won't get to even look at a scalpel for about a million years but it's enough just to be there and get to watch it up close. Gah so much awesomeness.

One of the downsides of watching surgeries though is that you're on your feet for hours on end, so if you haven't eaten a big enough meal beforehand your face-plant risk is pretty high. 

My friend Lucy and I pondered this very dilemma: what would be a good pre-surgery lunch that's filling enough to keep you on your feet but refreshing enough to not give you a food coma?  My answer: Broccoli & Feta Harissa Salad with Spicy Roasted Pepita.

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Maple Sweet Potato Pie / Maple Kumara Pie

"I feel like a pie" has a completely different meaning in New Zealand than it does in the States.

When a Kiwi talks about pies, we're most likely thinking about savoury meat pies: the kind with delicious mince and gravy wrapped in flakey short pastry.  All buttery and greasey and just what you feel like on a Sunday morning after the Med Ball a late night out.

But from what I understand, in the USA, "pies" are generally sweet, like pecan pies, pumpkin pie, peanut butter pie.  Drool.  I've only recently been introduced to this magical world of American sweet pies thanks to Sweet Mothers KitchenErmahgerd how good is that place??!?  Totally obsessed.

So to further fuel my obsession and because it was becoming embarrassing how often I go to walk past the place and find myself walking out with a slice of pie, I decided to create a Kiwi-ized version of the southern Sweet Potato Pie - a Maple Kumara Pie.

Just as a side note, in New Zealand we tend to call sweet pies "tarts".  But I guess "I feel like a tart" has a double meaning also...

Saturday 13 July 2013

Review: Crab Shack, Baby, Crab Shack

If you see a faded sign by the side of the road, that says 15 miles to the Crab Shack! Crab Shack yeah! ~ modified from the B52's

My review posting needs a bit of a review.  I haven't posted any reviews in ages.  Over a whole year, would you believe?

Think it might be a combo of things: being a poor student again and not going out much, it being really tricky taking photos in a dim restaurant so fusspot me not being happy with the photos, and my long suffering husband getting all embarrassed at me taking too many pictures of meals.  What you would call first world problems.

So despite having lived in the Capital City for a fair six months, this is my very first Wellington review.  Outrageous.

But what better place to break my review dry-spell, than with the recently opened, Simon Gault owned, eating establishment: The Crab Shack.


Thursday 4 July 2013

Friday 21 June 2013

Chocolate Dairy Food a.k.a. Chocolate Pudding

Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery:  He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life.  ~ G.K. Chesterton

There are some foods from childhood that are best appreciated only as a kid: Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum, Fruit for Yonks and Roll Ups a.k.a. plastic fruit leather, lolly pops that make your mouth go blue, fake cheese slices. 

And then there are childhood favs that I'm pretty sure I will still love when I'm 80: fairy bread, marmite and chip sandwiches, and Chocolate Dairy Food.

Now those not in New Zealand, what we know as "chocolate dairy food", you know as "chocolate pudding", a creamy cold treat made of milk, cocoa and cornflour.  They were the quintessential lunch time snack for the average kiwi kid, sold in little plastic pottles in packs of six, so you can hang them conveniently on the edge of the supermarket trolley when Mum and Dad did the grocery shopping (I still do that...).  Nowadays, it's marketed as a kiddie snack that's a source of calcium but every now and I buy a pack as a treat for myself...of course since calcium is good for adults too and all.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Shameless Plug: Let Them Bake Cake - A Fisher & Paykel Bake Off

Ok ok this is a total shameless plug, but the lovely folk at Fisher & Paykel Appliances sent me a super awesome goodie box and I loved it so much I wanted to share with you all in case you were keen to win one too!!

Fisher & Paykel Appliances are sponsoring NZ Hottest Home Baker and are running an online Bake Off!  All you have to do is upload a photo of something you've made on the Let Them Bake Cake gallery and let people vote on your baking creation. There is a grand prize worth $10,000 and also bonus prizes each week of these super cool goodie boxes.  They give away 20 goodie boxes a week so there's a pretty good chance of winning one! 

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Mint and Coriander Zucchini Ribbon Salad for one

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink. ~ Epicurus

I love cooking. 

Before this weekend, I thought I knew why I loved cooking.  Turns out, I had no idea.

I thought I loved cooking because of the process of turning raw ingredients into something delicious. A love for the magical alchemy of spices, heat, and seasoning.   See when I lived on my own in Dunedin, the reason I lived off eggs on toast and frozen meals and didn't cook myself proper dinners, I told myself, was because I didn't have a proper kitchen and all my gadgets.

However, when my husband went away on a boys trip this long weekend and I found myself cooking for one again. And despite having a perfectly equipped, well-stocked kitchen, I reverted to the old eggs on toast for dinner.  Sacre bleu

Talk about a revelation.  Cooking for one is no fun.  Looks like, my love cooking isn't for any poetic enjoyment of the art itself, but simply a love of sharing good food with people I love.   Food and kisses are made to be shared no? 

Monday 20 May 2013

The Quintessential Quince 2: Quince Paste, Jelly, and Pickle

The jelly- the Jam and the marmalade,
And the cherry and quince "preserves'' she made!
And the sweet-sour pickles of peach and pear,
With cinnamon in 'em, and all things rare--!
And the more we ate was the more to spare,
Out to Old Aunt Mary's!
~ James Whitcomb Riley, Old Aunt Mary's. 

I read an hilarious article the other day that analysed why Gwyneth Paltrow seems to be the celebrity that people love to hate at the moment.  In a nutshell, it's pretty much because she's drop dead beautiful, filthy rich, talented at acting, writes cookbooks, has gorgeous children, famous friends, and a hugely successful business.  It's just so thoroughly unlikable that there is nothing this woman is not good at.    Dreadfully tall poppy I know but there it is.  Us mere mortals have to contend with having lots of things we are not good at.

Of the many things I suck at, singing in particular has never been a strong suit.

As a kid, when I was into tap dancing competitions, there was one routine where I had to sing and dance at the same time.  What I lacked in on tune-ness, I made up for in loudness.  I remember axe-murdering those high notes so loudly and so badly, my dancing teacher had to stifle belly laughs.  Yes, I would've been one of those auditions on the X Factor.

Another thing I've never been good at is jam making. When I got given these gorgeous quinces from Catherine at work, I had imagined spending a sunny afternoon channeling domestic goddesses of old like Old Aunt Mary, lovingly stirring pots of gorgeous ruby red quince paste and jewel-like crystal clear quince jelly.  How it ended up was with me standing over an angry spitting pot of liquid hot quince magma at 2am in the morning that refused to set.  Delicious tasting mind you, but less paste or jelly like and more what you would imagine hot molten lava to look like: a cloudy, lumpy, muddy red gloop. 

{The good quince jelly, the bad quince jelly}


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