Marvellous Mudbrick Vineyard #waiheke #aukland #nz

Had a delicious lunch at Mudbrick Vineyard on Boxing Day after catching the ferry from Auckland on a beautiful day. Scenery and views from Mudbrick Vineyard across the harbour to Auckland are divine as are the vegetable and herb gardens and landscaping in general.

All makes for a stunning setting for lunch.

The menu has a really interesting selection of food with a focus on fresh, local ingredients and the NZ wine is lovely. Servings are very generous ..we tried the charcuterie board, shared antipasto, beef shin, steak, whole flounder and roasted octupus…but there were ten of us! Take a group so you can try more. See photos below.

Loved our visit and highly recommend you try it if in NZ anytime soon.

Kingfish with orange chilli and sesame seeds

Shared antipasto plate – enough for 3 people

Charcuterie board with fillets and terrines
Whole flounder
Delicious roasted octupus

Annie’s Festive #Duck Roll Recipe

My friend Annie has made this beautiful duck roll for a number of years as part of our family Christmas feast and this year I noted down the recipe and took photos as we went.

It is stunning addition to the table and can of course be enjoyed at anytime of the year. The combination of duck, chicken mince, pistachios, cranberries and sour cherries is delicious and looks festive and is quite delicious.

Ingredients

1 duck skin-on deboned by your butcher

450g chicken mince

250g unsalted peeled pistachio nuts

100g cranberries chopped

1 can (400g) sour cherries drained

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Skewers and kitchen twine

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius

Lay duck flat on a board skin-side down, season skin with slat and pepper

Mix chicken mince with oregano, pistachios, chopped cranberries, season with salt and pepper

Spread chicken over inside (middle part) of duck in an even layer

Stud chicken with sour cherries, about four across, laying evenly in rows “down” the duck.

Roll the duck and secure pulling “skin” across the duck and through the wing holes on the other side

Tie the duck together with kitchen string.

Rub duck sparingly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a dusting of dried oregano.

Put duck roll in roasting tin, along with wings and leftover chicken mixture formed into a patty.

Roast for an hour (about 40 minutes a kilogram) and until duck is golden brown.

Allow to rest for 20 minutes then slice into thin slices and place on a serving tray.

Serve with glazed carrots and a green salad for a lovely summer meal.

The best Turkey is a brined Turkey

Our Xmas turkey will enjoy a brining tonight before stuffing and cooking in the bbq tomorrow.

Here’s a link to Nigella Lawson’s Turkey brine recipe….use what spices you have on hand, anything is better than nothing!

https://www.nigella.com/recipes/spiced-and-superjuicy-roast-turkey

Eggplant, anchovy and capsicum #pizza with #basil #veggies

Haven’t made pizza for ages but was inspired by my visit to the Entertainment Quarter markets in Centennial Park in Sydney this morning.

Brought home a beautiful haul of fresh, organic vegetables and thought an (almost) vegetarian pizza as a unique take for football finals food would be a nice addition to the usual sausage rolls and meat pies served at this time of the year at parties around the country. Still pizza though so figure it fits into the genre!

My basket of goodies from the markets this morning.

I started with the pizza dough for the base so it could “prove” for an hour while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

Pizza is fun to make and is so good when you make it all from scratch.

Prep time: 1 hour cooking time: 15 minutes

Pizza base

Ingredients:

2 and 2/3 cups of plain flour

1 cup lukewarm water

7g (1 sachet) dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1.5 tsps salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

Whisk yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes until yeast begins to froth.

Mix flour and salt and place in a mixing bowl.

Make a well in the centre of the flour, add frothy yeast mixture, and oil and mix using a cutting motion using a round edge knife or metal spatula.

When mixture starts to come together, quickly knead on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes. Should be a lovely smooth blob with a slight elasticity to it.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place dough in it, cover with glad wrap/cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour to “prove” and double in size.

Sauce for base

ingredients

2 small ripe tomatoes finely diced

1/2 onion diced finely

3 cloves of garlic crushed

1 tsp mixed herbs

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

2 tablespoons tomato sauce (I used an equal mix of tomato and sriracha sauce)

1 cup water

1/4 cup white wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add garlic and sauté until just fragrant, add onions and cook gently until transparent, then add mixed herbs, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, chilli flakes and white wine and simmer about 5 minutes until wine evaporates, then add water and simmer about 20 minutes until sauce is thickened and tomatoes have softened and created a nice sauce, add more water if necessary to cook more for tomatoes to break up. set aside to cool.

Topping

Ingredients

1 medium eggplant

1 whole red capsicum

4 anchovy fillets

1/2 onion sliced very thinly

8-10 small marinated green olives

Grated mozzarella

Cherry size bocconcini balls

Preparation

Capsicum

Turn on your grill/oven to 250 degrees Celsius on the grill setting. Line a small baking tray with baking paper, prick the capsicum with a fork in a few spots to allow air to escape, place on baking tray and roast in oven until skin is totally blackened…about 25 minutes or so. Remove from oven and immediately place in a plastic bag and knot the top. Set aside to cool, the skin will easily peel off when you are ready. Peel off skin, remove core and seeds, slice into thin strips and set aside.

Eggplant

Slice eggplant thinly and cover with salt and rest for 30 minutes or so, this will remove he moisture and stop the eggplant form discolouring. After minutes, drain away liquid, pat dry and pan fry with olive oil until golden brown, place on kitchen paper towel to drain off excess oil and set aside.

Olives

Slice into smaller pieces, removing pits if necessary.

Onion

Slice thinly and set aside.

Bocconcini

Slice 6 cherry bocconcini balls into 4 rounds and set aside

TURN ON OVEN TO PRE-HEAT GRILL to 250 degrees Celsius

ASSEMBLY:

Roll out half the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to your desired size and thickness. Remember the dough will rise a bit in the oven. Lightly flour your pizza pan or baking tray and place your pizza base on that. (You can freeze the other half to use another time)

Spread your cooled tomato sauce over the base.

Sprinkle a layer of grated mozzarella sparsely or not so sparsely (up to you) over the tomato sauce, then place eggplant slices evenly around the base, add s shreds of the anchovy fillets, capsicum, raw sliced onion, olives and bocconcini over the base. Add another very light sprinkle of mozzarella.

Cook under 250 degree grill, lowering heat slightly if top looks like burning, lightly cover with foil if necessary to low base to cook and crisp up.

Remove from oven after 15 minutes, scatter with fresh basil leaves and allow to sit for a few minutes. Ready for devouring!

Check out Cichetti #sancarlocichetti #picadilly

We checked into Cichetti one of our favourite restaurants in London as our first stop for a quick light lunch.

Winner of many food and wine awards, Cichetti is the perfect Pre- or post theatre venues but also ideal to fuel up between shopping in nearby Picadilly and Regent Sts. Filled with a fashionable crowd at anytime of the day, the atmosphere makes you feel you are at the centre of the action and the menu is a wide and varied list of Italian delights ranging from Cichetti (appetisers), antipasto, pizza, pasta, small and large plates.

With a fab wine list and great speedy service, Cichetti is an excellent and reliable pit stop for breakfast, lunch, a snack, dinner or supper!

We had buratta with Parma ham and truffles, a delicious duck salad with a balsamic glaze, apple and rocket and Italian meatballs in sauce wiped up with fresh bread.

#Spring #Soup with chicken #meatballs, leek and #Parmesan

A spring soup that combines tasty chicken meatballs with the sweetness of carrots, peas and leeks with the sharp saltiness of Parmesan. I used some quartered Brussel sprouts and spinach as well for a great result. It’s a great way to use up vegetables.

Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Meatballs
300g chicken mince
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic pounded to a paste
Pinch of salt
Black pepper
1/2 small onion very finely diced
1 red chilli finely diced (optional)

Soup:
1 litre chicken stock + 2-3 cups water
1 leek white and pale green part finely sliced
1/2 onion finely diced
1 carrot grated
2 cloves garlic pounded to a paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup of peas
8 Brussel sprouts quartered
Handful or two of baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and black pepper to season
Basil or parsley leaves for garnish

Method:

1. Combine ingredients for meatballs using and form into small meatballs.

2. Fry meatballs in a non stick fry pan until golden on all sides, for about 3 minutes and set aside.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy based soup,or casserole pot, add onions and leeks and sweat over low heat until tender, add garlic paste and stir through.

4. Add stock and 2 cups water to leek mixture and bring to a boil.

5. Add meatballs, grated carrots, Brussel sprouts and simmer gently for 5-8 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

6. Add peas and simmer for 1-2 minutes until peas are just tender.

7 turn off heat, add baby spinach and allow to sit for a few minutes.

8 serve in bowls, sprinkled with Parmesan, chopped basil/parsley, adding salt and pepper to taste. (serves 2-4)