I have been getting a little spoilt with my photography lately as i have Sarah Cowhey with me at the market.  Not only is she great company but boy her photos are fantastic.  She like so many have turned to the rugby (Ireland), so we have temporarily put a few things on hold until we all get back to normality. Sarah is even jet-setting with her passion to Rotorua to see her beloved team - that has got to be love! So you may have to over look some of my photos (especially from the market) as i will be taking them on a simple camera. Thankfully i have Simon to take my food photos at home - whew!!

Daffadols from Butlers berry

Menu for Saturday 17 September 2011

Leeks are still in abundance and i am using Brydone's firm, sweet organic ones today.  Cauliflower are still full and firm which should be great in the croquettes. If you haven't sampled Limousin Beef then their minute steak is a fantastic way to get introduced into their meltingly tender and very lean beef. I added a few a red onions (which by the way has changed a young ladies life) which i pickled very quickly with  "Peter Gordon's" tip of squeezing a little fresh lemon juice combined with a sprinkle of sugar and a pinch of salt.  Let them sit for a few minutes and before you know it you have some very moreish little pickled onions which work great in a sandwich or sprinkled throughout a salad. Give them a try, it is a great trick to have up your sleeve.
Finally i made a wickedly purple pie which was supposed to be redcurrant's but miraculously turned into a blackcurrant pie. I am going to make it again next week but this time i will have redcurrants from Donald at Butlers Berries.


Leek Pilaff anyone? It seems we have forgotten this great dish to its Italian counterpart the Risotto. Unlike risotto you don’t have to stir it continuously which is a great time saver and it will absorb any flavours you throw at it. I say bring back the Pilaff it is a wonderful and versatile dish.

serves 4

100ml olive oil
1kg leeks, washed well and finely chopped
55g tomato passata or tomatoes whizzed and passed through a sieve
2 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
250g long grain rice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, finely sliced
100g butter


Heat the olive oil in a wide base saucepan or fry pan, add the leeks and soften them over a low heat, stirring often.

Add the rice and stir to combine so every grain is coated in the oil and leek mixture. Let it cook for 2 minutes to allow the grains to slightly toast which will give your rice more depth in flavour and colour.

Add the tomato passata and stir well, then add the herbs. Cover with enough water to half cover the rice (250ml). Season lightly and arrange with the lemon slices on top. Cover with a lid and adjust the temperature to a gentle simmer.

Simmer for 25 minutes or until the liquid has absorbed into the rice and the rice is tender.

Remove the lemon slices and discard. Slice the butter thinly and arrange the slices over the surface, put the lid back on, and let the rice rest for 10 minutes without stirring.

Serve alongside fish, meat or simply on its own!


These moreish, light and crispy fritters are a fantastic way to utilise the humble cauliflower. I have simply sprinkled over some homemade cumin salt and they are ready to enjoy.
They are a great pre-dinner snack (ideal for the world cup).

500 g cauliflower
30g butter
50g flour
300 ml milk
60g Gruyere or any good melting cheese with a slight nutty flavour, grated
1 egg
1 egg, separated
Salt and pepper
Panko crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
Toasted cumin salt
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp sea salt flakes


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Prepare the cauliflower by removing the stalk and cutting it into florets. Carefully plunge all the cauliflower into the boiling water and cook until tender (5-8 minutes), drain and cool.

Cut the cauliflower florets smaller and set aside.

To make the béchamel (white sauce) melt the butter in a medium size pot. Add the flour and cook out for 2-4 minutes, stirring all the time until it becomes sandy in texture and gives off a slightly nutty aroma. Gradually add the milk, stirring continuously. If by any chance you get some lumps then simply set too with a whisk until no lumps are visible. Add the cheese and egg yolk along with the whole egg stir to combine. Add the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Cool.

Meanwhile make the cumin salt by gently heating the cumin seeds in a dry pan until they give off a lovely, smoky aroma. Put them into a mortar and pestle along with the salt, grind until you get a fine, brown looking salt. Put it into a small dish.

Whisk up the egg white to stiff peaks.

Shape the cauliflower mixture by using two dessertspoons so you form an egg shape (quenelle). Coat in the egg white and then toss through the panko crumbs. Continue until finished.

Heat enough oil (1/2 full) in a deep side, heavy-based pot until 180C. If unsure cook a cube of bread, if in 30 seconds it is brown then it is ready. If not then heat the oil for a further couple of minutes.

Cook the croquettes in batches until golden brown and crispy. Drain well and sprinkle with the cumin salt. Serve immediately.
They will work well with leeks, broccoli or romanesco for a seasonal change!

Makes 20- 25 cm cake tin

1 ½ cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 ½ tsp grated lemon zest
2 egg whites
½ cup white sugar
2 Tbsp cornflour
2 ¼ cup red currants


To make dough – in a medium bowl sift together flour and baking powder.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy add the egg yolks and lemon zest, beat until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Turn out onto work surface and bring together to form a ball. Wrap in glad wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Pre heat oven to 165C

Roll out the dough to fit the base of a round springform cake tin. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

To make filling – in a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, gradually incorporate the sugar whilst beating, add the cornflour and fold through. Finally fold through the redcurrants. Pour into pie crust and bake for 10- 15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and firm to touch.

Cool slightly before serving.


The world cup is upon us whether we like it or not which could mean some of us could be entertaining more than usual or even needing that quick snack to fill the gap before the rugby.
Limousin’s Beef is fantastically tender, easy to prepare, low in cholesterol and yet high in flavour. I am going to show you many ways to spice them up and use their fast cooking minute steaks.

Serves 4

4 - 8 minute steaks
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
Pinch chilli flakes (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 loaf good quality bread
Good quality lettuce
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 lemon

Prepare your steaks – Limousin prepared minute steaks need little or no preparation. I do however like to push out (with the palm of my hand ) the steak a little to ensure they are even in thickness. Place them in a dish and scatter over the garlic, thyme leaves, chilli flakes and ground pepper. Drizzle over enough oil to moisten the steaks. Set aside.

Heat a griddle pan or fry pan up to very hot.

Slice the bread in half horizontally. If using mayonnaise spread on one half. Place the lettuce leaves over the mayonnaise.

Place the steaks into your very hot frypan. Season with salt cook for 30 seconds or so and turn over. Cook for a further 30 seconds. Remove from the pan and place directly onto the lettuce, scatter over the onion, squeeze over a little lemon juice. Place the other half of bread on top and press down firmly. Cut into desired thickness.

Great served as is or try mixing it up a little by adding wilted spinach instead of lettuce combined with a few garlicky field mushrooms. I also really like a little beetroot relish or bottled beetroot.

Thank you Aquarius Gardens for your crunchy and varied
lettces, they were delicious

A huge thankyou to Paul from Judge Rock Wines
he is always so forthcoming with his outstanding wines