27 January 2014

Summer Salads

Summer is here & it is shaping up to be a long hot one; so the BBQ is on over time & on the side lots of salads. These 2 are from Ripe, A Fresh Batch which is full of the tasty, flavourful bright salads that we have come to expect. In their own words, which sums it up perfectly...

“Ripe Deli is a vibrant food-lovers haven conveniently located on Richmond Road, the famous strip that connects Grey Lynn & Ponsonby in Auckland. Ripe Deli focuses on innovative take-out food using the best of local ingredients. It is a one-stop shop where you can always find something to tickle anyone's taste buds!”

I’ll often head to Ripe if I have no idea what I want for lunch as it is indeed a haven for food lovers, they’ll always have a multitude of salads & tasty delights to choose from. There will always be an array of tempting colorful salads beckoning from the cabinet.  And maybe some tender chicken coated in herbs or baked salmon or frittatas or quiches or rice cakes or potato hash cakes..  Then there might be a soup or a spicy taco or a tasty tart or turkish pizza saying take me, take me.  You'll want to take them all.  And that's before we get to an abundance of sweet treats.  You’ll never leave empty handed that’s for sure!

So a BBQ the other weekend & the need for a couple of salads & these 2 were the perfect match for BBQ lamb.

Moroccan Street Salad, from Ripe A Fresh Batch

Serves 6-8


For the dressing
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp olive oil

For the salad
1 red onion, peeled & finely diced
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cucumber, deseeded & diced
1 red capsicum, deseeded & diced
1 yellow capsicum, deseeded & diced
1 green capsicum, deseeded & diced
2 cups Italian parsley, roughly chopped
8 large green olives, stoned & quartered
8 radishes, roughly chopped
1/2 preserved lemon, pulp removed, peel finely diced
Salt & pepper


To prepare the dressing place all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid & shake well.

For the salad place all the ingredients in a large bowl & gently mix together. our over the dressing & mix well to combine. Season with salt & pepper, toss again & taste & adjust seasoning if need be.

New Potatoes with Crispy Capers, adapted only slightly from Ripe A Fresh Batch

*The original also calls for 4 hard boiled eggs, quartered. I switched olive oil for vegetable oil & upped the vinegar & the Dijon, as that’s what I like.

Serves 6-8


For the salad
1.5kg baby new potatoes, cut the larger ones on half
2 sprigs fresh mint
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup capers

For the dressing
2 cups fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled & finely chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp whole grain mustard
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil


Place the potatoes & mint in a large saucepan & cover with water & add a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat up to high & bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat & simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.  Drain well, discard the mint & set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking heat a small frying pan over a  high heat & add the olive oil. When hot add the capers & cook for 5-10 minutes until the capers are puffed & crispy.  Remove from the heat & drain on paper towels.

For the dressing; place a 1/4 cup of the capers, the herbs, garlic, vinegar, mustard, salt & pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until just combined.  With the motor running drizzle in the olive oil & blitz until the dressing is thick & well combined.

Place the potatoes in a large bowl along with the dressing &  mix through to coat all the potatoes. Try to do this when the potatoes are warm & just before serving so that dressing stays a beautiful vibrant green & the warm potatoes absorb the flavours of the dressing.  Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with the rest of the crispy capers & serve immediately.

The Moroccan salad was bright & cool & fresh & the perfect companion for BBQ on a hot summer evening, the baby potatoes wonderfully herb & of course those crispy capers...how can you not love those?

So if you’re lucky enough to be in Auckland check out Ripe Deli & if not then I really recommend the cook books!

Ripe Deli

172 – 174 Richmond Rd
Grey Lynn
Phone: 09 360 6159
Fax: 09 360 4159
Website: www.ripedeli.co.nz
Monday - Friday 7am - 4.30pm
Saturday - 7am - 4pm
Sunday - 8am - 4pm

If you like this you might like this Romaine Pineapple & Gorgonzola Salad
Two years ago Plum & Lemon Cake


19 January 2014

Lemon, Caper & Parsley Crusted Fish with Summer Quinoa

A new cookbook purchase late last year was Nadia Lim’s Good Food Cook Book.  It is packed full of delicious recipes that are also healthy & good for you.  So really the perfect cook book for this time of year to get me back on track post all the holiday over indulgences. Healthy food is all well & good but even more importantly it’s got be tasty & satisfying.  Feeling unsatisfied & deprived is never good!

The first dish that caught my eye was this lemon, caper & parsley crusted fish ticking  all the boxes.

Lemon, Caper & Parsley Crusted Fish with Summer Quinoa, barely adapted only slightly from Nadia Lim’s Good Food Cook Book

The tweaks; one gluten free person so gluten free bread crumbs used. I used Phoenix Gluten Free bread crumbs; a mix of rice flour, tapioca flour, ground linseed, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, oregano, thyme, onion, olives, tomato & paprika...I think actually better than plain old regular bread crumbs.  Lovely & crispy & full of flavour.

The couscous was switch for quinoa & a good handful of mint added.

Serves 4


For the fish

1/2 cup bread crumbs
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers, finely chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
4 white fish fillets, I used terakihi
Salt & pepper
Olive oil to drizzle

For the quinoa

2 medium zucchini, peeled in to ribbons
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
2 cups cooked quinoa*
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
Salt & pepper
Lemon wedges to serve


Preheat oven to 200C / 400F

Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.  In a medium bowl mix together the bread crumbs, lemon zest, parsley, capers & Parmesan. Season with a little salt & pepper.

Arrange the fish fillets on one of the baking trays.  Mix together the Dijon mustard & olive oil & spread it equally over each of the fish fillets. Liberally sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top to coat well & to deliver a wonderfully golden crisp coating.

Place the zucchini ribbons & cherry tomatoes on the other tray, drizzle with olive oil & season with salt & pepper.  Place both trays in the oven, the fish above the vegetables. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the fish is just cooked through.

Fluff up the quinoa & toss together with the zucchini, cherry tomatoes, feta, basil & mint.  Season with salt & pepper.

Serve the salad alongside the fish with some lemon wedges to squeeze over the top.

*For 2 cups cooked quinoa add1 cup of uncooked quinoa add to cups of water & bring to boil.  Simmer for 12 minutes & then all the water should be absorbed.  Fluff with a fork.

This is bright & fresh & one that will most definitely be making a few encore appearances. The herby crust is golden, crisp & full of flavour with the combination of capers, parsley & Dijon.

If you like this you might like this Herb Crusted Fish with Crisp Rosemary Potatoes
Three years ago Multi Vegetable Paella


12 January 2014

A Ham & Very Cheesy Frittata

Frittatas, possibly the perfect food...so versatile; perfectly at home for breakfast, lunch or dinner, even as a snack, & you can eat them cold, warm or room temperature...however you like.  And right about now I love them as they help me make a little dent in the cheese & ham mountains still lurking in the fridge from Christmas time.  

As Christmas day rolled round we had the traditional ham & 5 kilos worth , no matter how delicious in its rum & pineapple glaze, really was a little too much for 8 people! Ham was eaten on Boxing Day & some was taken over to Great Barrier Island for New Year & still we have quite a hunk of ham!

And as for the cheese...well we just ended up with enough cheese to feed a small village...for a week! However as I do love ham & cheese it is not too much of a problem.  And having had a day or break from ham I was ready for some more again & that’s where this frittata comes in. Really a miss mash of all that was in the fridge that became a very ham & cheese & just a little more cheese fritatta.  But you can’t really have too much cheese in a frittata I don’t think. The spinach was an after thought but this time of year I think we could all use a little greens.

A Ham & Very Cheesy Frittata

Serves 6


1 red pepper, cut in to bite sized pieces
1 green pepper, cut in to bite sized pieces
1 zucchini, cut in to bit sized pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
8 eggs
1/2 cup cream (you could use milk)
1 cup Kikorangi or other blue cheese, roughly diced
1/2 cup cheddar grated
1/2 cup smoked cheese, grated
2 cups ham of the bone, roughly chopped
1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1 cup baby spinach, washed & roughly chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper


Pre heat the oven to 190C / 375F

Arrange the peppers & zucchini in a roasting dish & drizzle with the olive oil.  Season with salt & pepper & place in the oven.  Roast for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden & roasted.  Remove from the oven & set aside.

Place the cheeses, ham, parsley & spinach in a bowl & gently mix together. In another bowl whisk the eggs & cream together & season with salt & pepper.  Add the roast vegetables to the ham, cheese & greens & pour over the egg mixture.  Gently stir with a large spoon to mix everything together.  

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat & then pour in the egg & vegetable mixture.  Move the vegetables & ham around the frying pan so that each portion will have plenty of vegetables.  Scatter over the Parmesan & cook for 5 minutes stove top before popping in to the oven for 10-12 minutes until just cooked through.  Remove from the oven & allow to cool for just a few minutes before slicing & serving.  The frittata can also be served at room temperature.

If you like this you might like this Green Frittata


05 January 2014

The first dinner of 2014

Happy New Year!

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” 
Brad Paisley

Well I certainly hope to get back in to writing some blog posts! I spent New Year over here

It was idyllic, relaxing, rejuvenating; the perfect way to head in to a new year.  Over here was Great Barrier Island, out in the Hauraki Gulf. Not so far away but really away from it all, almost off the grid...limited cell phone coverage, no supermarkets, no 24 hour dairies or convenience stores, no ATMs, no public transport.  There are single lane very windy roads with no road markings, many unsealed with no streetlights* & no footpaths..but that is all OK life is at a slower pace, there is no rush hour & cars, people, & bicycles are all happy to share.  Now that couldn’t be more different to Auckland!!

*Take a torch!

For the first dinner of 2014 it was butterfly leg of lamb, garlic roast potatoes, roast peppers & zucchini & greens...asparagus, broad beans & some local green beans picked up at the General Store*

*They may not have supermarkets but the Stonewall General Store at Tryphena is stocked with everything you could possibly need.  A huge range of organics, gluten free, wine, spirits; you name it they had it.

There’s no real recipe as such, it was what we had & what we picked up at the local store. But here’s a rough guide.

Butterflied Leg of Lamb, Garlic Roasted Potatoes, Roast Veg & Greens

Pre heat oven to 180C/350F

For the potatoes & roasted veg
Toss the potatoes in olive oil & some roughly chopped garlic, season with salt & pepper & place in the oven. After 30 minutes add some roughly sliced peppers & zucchini & cook for a further 15-20 minutes until all the veg are roasted.  

For the lamb
Sear the lamb stove top & then place in the oven to roast at 180C/350F. Timing will all depend on the size of the leg of lamb & how you like your lamb cooked. This one was a little organic free range Harmony one so it was about 12 minutes in the oven & then rested for another 10 minutes.

For the greens
While the lamb is resting gently boil the beans, asparagus & broad beans in some salted water for just a few minutes.  Drain, pod the beans & serve.

And that my friends it it.

I’ll leave you with this quote that I found...I like it.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. 

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” 

Neil Gaiman

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