Pro chef – Kitchen tips

cropped-p1130373-2.jpgOne Day Children you might thank me!!

I quite often do things in the kitchen without thought, because it was part of my training, so am often surprised when someone watching comments, ‘that’s a good idea’ or asks ‘why do you do that?’  I thought I might jot these things down, bring them home and leave them here. You never know, one day children you might need to know how to julienne a mango or make a choux pastry swan.  These impromptu tips will appear as I fill a page in my notebook.

how to clean mushrooms

Do not wash button mushrooms,  wipe them with a damp kitchen towel.  Continue reading “Pro chef – Kitchen tips”

The green folder

cropped-sweet-corn-png-transparent-image.pngSweetcorn – super cob

I grew sweetcorn in the garden when the children were young.  There is something inspiring about planting a tiny kernel and watching it grow so tall.  Sweetcorn requires little care and you are rewarded with the main cobs and tiny offshoots of baby corn. Apart from the messy husks and the furious flossing after eating, I still love eating sweetcorn like a beaver, as I did back then.  I smile when I pull open those husks to find the glass beads of yellow and remember.

INTERESTING FACT
When you cook corn antioxidant activity, which helps protect the body from cancer and heart disease, is actually increased.  Don’t write off the tinned or frozen  stuff either, evidence suggests this is just as good, so eat it out of season, its just as nutritious.

corn.jpgBecause sweetcorn is so delicious on its own, I fear it is left naked on the plate, apart from a thin negligee of butter, most of the time.  Give this sweet starchy vegetable another look, let the little gold nuggets shine in other ways.  Oh and do not be afraid of the starch,  an ear of corn has about the same number of calories as an apple and less than one-fourth the sugar, makes you think. Continue reading “The green folder”

The Green Folder

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A Healthy, Tasty, Veggie Bowl that delivers

This bowl of colour flew out last week, my Bibimbap hybrid.  The classic Korean dish is new to me, I have never really been a big fan of Korean cuisine I had a very bad experience with a bowl of broth made from Ox blood punctuated with shots of soju once, I can not talk about it! Bibimbap literally means mixed rice in Korean. When I first looked at a traditional home-style recipe I have to say I was a little overwhelmed by the list of ingredients a couple of which I vaguely knew and the various methods of cooking which spanned three pages. It just all looked like too much effort for some meat and veg on rice.

A colleague generously bought me a bowl from her local source so I had a reference.  She makes it at home as a go to dinner and is the one who pointed me in the right direction. I first tasted all the components separately, the version I had contained beef so that was out for me if I am honest I was underwhelmed but mixed together with a little spice, topped with a warm fried egg everything changed and I could see the potential.

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Continue reading “The Green Folder”

The Green Folder

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Asparagus how to store, cook and eat it

Fresh asparagus should have crisp, not bendy or soft stalks, the tips should be firm and held tightly together, walk away from anything less.  I would also urge, only eat asparagus when it is in season, for New Zealand, September – December.   Personally, lightly steamed and dripping in butter is the way to eat this stunning shoot.  It is rumored that Julius Caesar loved it this way, who knows,  it was certainly cultivated by the Romans more than 2000 years ago.

  Top tip, store your purchase standing up in a container of water, like a bunch of flowers, covered with damp kitchen towel, they start to die as soon as they are cut.  This will keep them fresher for longer

Asparagus provides vitamins A, B2, and C.  It is also a good source of potassium, iron and….calcium – surprised? Now if only I could find a way of making my children eat asparagus, all would be good in my green world.  For the rest of us here’s some asparagusy stuff.shoot (2) Continue reading “The Green Folder”

The Green Folder

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The most misunderstood purple fruit.

4 great aubergine recipes that are quick, easy and healthy

There is just so something utterly seductive about a  glossy purple aubergine.  I just have to buy the egg shaped fruit whenever it is in season.  Not everybody feels the same way, in fact the earlier varieties, which were more bitter than the ones we use today, were thought to be able to cause insanity, leprosy and cancer.  Funny because we now know that the skin is an antioxidant.

You say Eggplant, I say Aubergine – it’s a fruit

The ancient ancestors of eggplant grew wild in India and were first cultivated in China in the 5th century B.C. Eggplant was introduced to Africa before the Middle Ages and then into Italy, Europe was last in the chain, where it was used more as a decorative plant for some time.  Not until the 18th century did it throw off it’s bitter reputation and wear the royal purple with pride.  Anyway, here are 4 great ways to eat them. Continue reading “The Green Folder”

The Green Folder

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What’s a mung bean? It is three things

A quick and simple guide to cooking and eating mung beans – 4 fabulous dishes

P1130043 (2).JPGHigh in vitamins and minerals, especially iron, calcium, vitamin A, B1, B2 and C, these small green dried beans have a pale yellow inside.  You might not have seen them in this form, but I bet you have seen and probably eaten them as bean sprouts. That’s how they are most commonly used.  Buy them non heat treated and watch them grow!!  Once sprouted, mung beans punch above their weight increasing the amount of Vitamin A by 300% and a staggering increase of up to 600% for their vitamin C value.  Because their starches are converted to simple sugars during the sprouting process, they are easy to digest.  When mung beans are hulled and split they are called mung dal.  Get to know them, in all their forms.mung beans

Continue reading “The Green Folder”

The Red Folder

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Quick and easy slices, most requested recipes

Lemon – Chocolate – Caramel – Lemon – Chocolate – Caramel – Lemon – Chocolate 

After the  raspberry chocolate cheesecake brownie these are the next three most requested slice recipes.  I have finally found time to leave them in this space.  The names are what they have become in our family for various reasons.  Call them what you want but you must make them.  My favorite is the lemon so that is where I will start.

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Lemon Hearts
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Orange Hob Knob
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Fred cake

Continue reading “The Red Folder”