My book comes out next month. Remember that book I worked like a lunatic on last year? Yeah that one…
Posts from the ‘Recipes’ Category
One of the reasons I’ve put so much weight on in the past nine months – I’ve put on at least 5 kilos or 12 pounds – is because I’m forever baking. And then eating the whole lot.
When I lived in New York, I never baked. No one ever came over, so there was no need. I saw loads of my friends, but we always met in cafes or restaurants. I kept the cupboards completely bare because I ate out almost every night and didn’t want to over-eat every day. So there was never anything to snack on.
Here, you have to have things in the cupboard, otherwise someone pops in unannounced and you have nothing to feed them, and because you’re 15 minutes’ drive from a shop you have no back-up and you look like a complete and utter domestic failure. So you buy or make a surplus of soups and snacky bits (even if they are made from scratch) and you make sure you always have milk and bread and enough for another helping of whatever you are planning to serve.
And, if someone lets you know they’re dropping in, you make something. I love that. It’s a way of saying, on a plate, “I’m glad to see you. You mean something to me.” But because I’m such an enthusiastic eater, it’s got me into a bit of trouble and I’m heading back to NYC more ample than ever before.
Anyway, who cares about that. What I meant to write about is scones. I made a batch of scones today for my cousin and my mum, who came for morning tea. They came out brilliant (the scones, not my family members), which sounds like a skite, but I don’t think I’d made scones since I was at school, so it was by no means certain that they were going to be good. I served them with Te Horo jam, really strong coffee, and fresh cream I bought in a shop with the last of my egg money.
Then I ate three. (I told you I was an enthusiastic eater). Here’s the recipe:
Edmond’s Cookery Book Plain Scones
- 3 cups of flour
- 6 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 75 grams of butter
- 1 cup of milk
- Sift the three dry ingredients into a bowl.
- Cut in the butter until the mix resembles bread crumbs.
- Add the milk, give it a quick mix and tip the dough out onto a floured baking tray. Chop the dough into 12 evenly-sized pieces and chuck them into a 220 degrees celsius oven for 10 minutes.
- Serve with jam and whipped cream.
I went up the line yesterday, to my cousins, to have lunch and say goodbye before jetting off out of here. I offered to bring a pavlova, as it’s about the only dessert I could make with the ingredients I have left – i.e. lots of eggs – and it’s something I haven’t made in the whole time I’ve been here.
There is loads of pumpkin to be dealt with at the moment. I’ve made lots of soup, but that’s getting a bit boring, so today I made a pumpkin curry. I used a Jamie Olive recipe and I didn’t have all the ingredients – no ginger, no curry leaves – but as luck would have it I had a can of chopped tomatoes (the last one in the pantry) and some coconut milk (the lucky last of that too). And a s*&tload of pumpkin.
I finally got around to making some bread this week.
I’ve never made bread before, and I’m not known for my precision when it comes to cooking, so I was a bit trepidatious about the whole thing, but my friend Kathy sent me a Jim Lahey recipe for no-knead bread, and it’s depressing eating eggs without bread, so I gave it a go.
I had a good rifle through the freezer the other day, to see what I had left in there (loads, as it happens – at least eight containers of soup, lots of frozen veggies and even some fish), and I came across a bag of blackberries from a foraging trip back in February.
It was kismet, because I’d just seen a beautiful boysenberry Bakewell cake over on my virtual friend Ali’s blog Pease Pudding. I swapped the boysenberries for blackberries, rummaged around in the pantry for the other ingredients, and made it tout suite.
It was so cold the other morning that I could not drag myself out of bed. For ages. Eventually I decided the only way I was getting up was with a bribe. So I promised myself that if I got up, I’d make myself some pikelets. (I have to bribe myself; I live alone.)
I don’t know if people have pikelets in other parts of the world. I’ve never seen them in the US, where pancakes, which are similar but bigger and stodgier, reign supreme. I’ve had something similar in Scotland, but they were thicker and called flapjacks. In New Zealand pikelets are small and light and a classic morning or afternoon tea dish, served with butter and jam, or if you are very greedy (and don’t live in a self-sufficient way), with cream.
Anyway, a pile of pikelets is a really naughty thing to eat for breakfast, but a great way to coerce yourself or anyone else from the boudoir to the kitchen. Even the cat got up to have a look at them. I ate them warm, with butter and some of my friend Fiona’s crabapple jelly on top.
Here’s how to make them:
Edmond’s Cookery Book Pikelets
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 good pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 3/4 cup of milk
- Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl; the egg and sugar in another. Combine the two and add the milk, but don’t overmix.
- Heat a nonstick pan and dot tablespoonfuls of the mix into the pan. Turn over once bubbles appear on the surface of the pikelet. Once cooked on both sides, slather with butter and jam and eat while wearing socks, a merino singlet, two jerseys and a knee rug.
I pulled out a crumble the other night, as the finish to an almost self-sufficient meal. It was only almost because Emma had brought a beautiful lamb shoulder with her, and cooked that up with rosemary and other things. I supplied a salad from the garden and a Jerusalem artichoke risotto… and this:
I did a bit of research on Jerusalem artichoke recipes after that big box of them arrived, and soon realised they all had one thing in common: cream. I don’t produce cream, obviously, as I don’t have any cows, so if I wanted to make the most of those sunchokes, I needed to get my hands on some. So, on Sunday I traded half a dozen Mitford eggs for a bottle of cream. And then I made Jamie Oliver’s baked Jerusalem artichokes.
It was super yummy and umami-ish, which was just as well as the peeling of the knobbly chokes took forever and wasn’t helped by the ten burnt fingertips I was sporting (self-inflicted from stupidly picking up a hot baking dish). I served it with the first leaves of kale I’ve harvested from the garden and the bitter greens (sauteed in the pan and finished with a splash of raspberry vinegar) were the perfect foil for the rich gratin.
By the way, I haven’t had any meat for about 10 days and I haven’t missed it or craved it at all. That’s not to say that should someone walk past me with a bloody piece of sirloin I wouldn’t wrestle them to the death for it. But, it’s not bad going I reckon. In other news, I’ve also put on weight since going self-sufficient. It’s annoying, but it’s no surprise: I was also the only Westerner I know to backpack around India for three months and actually put on weight while doing it.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Here’s how to make the chokes:
Jamie Oliver’s Baked Jerusalem Artichokes, Breadcrumbs, Thyme and Lemon
- 285 ml of double cream
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped
- 3 handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese (I had some in the fridge)
- salt and pepper
- 1 kg Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and sliced
- 2 handfuls of breadcrumbs (I had some a friend had given me and just ripped up a few slices because I couldn’t be buggered getting out the food processor. I know, lazy.)
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius/425 fahrenheit.
- In a bowl, mix cream, lemon juice, garlic, half the thyme, and most of the Parmesan. Add salt and pepper.
- Throw in the chokes, mix well, and tip the whole lot into a baking dish.
- Mix the breadcrumbs with the thyme and Parmesan and some more salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the chokes and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Week one of self-sufficiency is going suprisingly seamlessly. It helps that friends have dropped off soup, salad, and a container of coconut fudge (that’s not cheating, right?). And it means I’ve barely had to reach into the freezer.
I even survived a trip to the Food Show in Wellington without spending a cent, although I did nibble on several taste-test bites of guacamole, pita crisps, venison, and a tiny cup of hot choocolate (that’s not cheating, right?).
It also helps that I’ve been able to make dishes like this:
This was a simple potato and green pepper frittata, served with salad greens out of the garden. There was nothing complicated or high falutin’ about it, but as I ate it I did marvel that it tasted lovely despite every single ingredient having been created entirely by me. Well, not entirely: I topped the frittata with a few anchovies (I had a can of those in the pantry), but sans anchovies it would have been just as delicious. And completely homegrown. Not bad considering seven or eight months ago I’d never had a veggie garden or made a meal that I’d grown. Here’s how to make it with your own handmade or store-bought ingredients.
Disco Farm Frittata
- a handful of potatoes, cubed
- 1/2 a green pepper, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 eggs
- olive oil
- a handful of anchovies
- salt and pepper
- Heat some olive oil in the pan and add the potato cubes. Cook them until they are a bit brown, but not crispy. Tip them out of the pan and into a bowl and set them aside.
- Put the pan back on the heat and add the pepper and onions (there should still be a slick of oil in the pan). Cook for a few minutes until they soften. Tip them out of the pan and into the bowl with the potatoes.
- Break eggs into another bowl, add salt and pepper (bearing in mind that the anchovies will add plenty of salt), and beat the eggs with a fork. Add beaten eggs to the veggies and mix up.
- Add mix to the pan and cook until nice and brown on the bottom. Cook the top side by flipping the frittata, or by sticking the pan (which will need to be ovenproof) into the oven, under the grill for a few minutes.
- Serve with salad greens.