Saturday, 25 February 2012


Ok so I just came up with that name, but I thought it was an appropriate title to introduce the story of hosting my first Tupperwear party. What it entailed:
·         Meeting with the demonstrator to plan when and what recipe to demonstrate using the products
·         Inviting friends
·         Buying the ingredients
·         Setting up

My main motivator for hosting was to catch up with friends and, of course, the food! Off I went to the Christchurch Farmers Market to pick up some goodies for all to share. Because let’s be honest- food is a social thing.

On the menu were pre-dinner drinks and nibbles. The recipes used were fast and simple (with the ones that used the products detailed below). 


The drinks were:
Elderflower Cordial with some goodies (i.e. mint, strawberries, lemons)
Sparkling Wine Cocktail

The nibbles featured:
Zingy Salsa
Sliced baguette and rice crackers, to serve with dips
A selection of olives and feta

Sparkling Wine Cocktail

Serves 4

4 ripe medium strawberries
4 teaspoons brown sugar
750ml sparkling white wine
100ml peach Smirnoff

Shake together sugar, bitters and vodka. Divide between glasses and fill to top with sparkling wine.

This drink was simple, yet effective- great for a late summer’s evening.

Zingy Salsa

Serves 8ish

2 cloves garlic
1 small red onion
1 small red chillies
Handful coriander
Handful mint
1 punnet ripe cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 lemons
425g can unsweetened crushed pineapple, lightly drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper

Blend all ingredients together and serve.

Given I’m not really a fan of raw onions; I felt this taste came through a tad strongly. Although there were comments from some about how the liked the sweet and the tang. That’s a great thing about having people over- they may like what you don’t and consequently you won’t have to worry about throwing away food at the end of the night!


Serves 4ish

1 clove garlic
1 small red onion
1 small red chilli
1 large ripe avocado
1 medium lemon
Salt & pepper

You can’t go wrong with this easy guacamole. Very tasty- it went down quickly. Plus the Tupperware hand powered blender (aka the Quick Chef II) was helpful!

If you haven’t experienced Tupperware before and are looking for an easy entertaining option- why not host a party!

Saturday, 18 February 2012


ginger (gin¦ger).Pronunciation: /ˈdʒɪndʒə/. Noun [mass noun]. 1a hot, fragrant spice made from the rhizome of a plant, which may be chopped or powdered for cooking, preserved in syrup, or candied.

Ginger- some of us love it, and some of us hate it. I personally think its hotness and tanginess makes it stand out from the rest and is a wonderful addition to any pantry. You can crush it, preserve it and ground it- I dare you to name another food that can produce such a range of tastes and textures. It is even this blog’s name stake. So naturally I thought it appropriate to do a profile on this magnificent spice.

For the first dish I went for a savoury choice to showcase ginger’s versatility. You regularly see Asian recipes with the trio of garlic, chilli and ginger- you really can’t go wrong. This easy dish can be thrown together with some cupboard essentials.

Ginger Prawn Broth

Serves 2

100g noodles (I used Udon)
400ml can light coconut milk
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
Couple of pinches chilli flakes
12 prawn cutlets (or as many as you want)
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Soy sauce, to taste
1 lime, to serve

Cook noodles according to packet instructions.
Place coconut milk, garlic, ginger and chilli flakes in a saucepan and bring just to the boil.
Add prawns and spring onion, then simmer for until prawns are cooked.
Add noodles and stir to combine. Season with soy sauce and serve with lime to squeeze over.

Once eaten, I found the recipe a bit bulky (I lied- actually used a 200g packet of noodles). It’s a fragrant and hearty meal if you’re in a hurry. Maybe a bit more ginger though?

Now for something a bit sweeter. I can never go past a good ginger crunch, the sweet and spicy tastes draw me in every time. But let’s be honest, too much and you feel it shortly after. This recipe appealed because it just sounds healthy... well, healthier. The very easy recipe has been taken from Jo Seagar’s The Cook School Recipes.

Wholemeal Ginger Crunch

Makes 24 pieces

For the base:
150g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
¾ cup soft brown sugar
¾ cup long thread coconut
1 ½ cups rolled oats (I used wholegrain oats)
¾ cup wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 cup chopped crystallised ginger (one packet of Tasti Crystallised Ginger)

For the icing:
100g butter
6 tablespoons golden syrup
2 ¼ cups icing sugar
3 teaspoons ground ginger

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a baking tin/dish.
For the base, melt the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a large saucepan. Take off the heat; mix in the rest of the ingredients for the base. Add to prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
To make the icing, melt the butter and gold syrup. Then whisk in the icing sugar and ginger.
Once cooked (will have slightly risen and be brown on top), remove base from the oven and top with icing. Chill before cutting into 24 pieces.

The result was addictive. Although it could do with less butter and I would recommend putting it in the fridge to set. Definitely one that will go down well if you’re making morning tea for the office!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Macaroons: Round One

I was never expecting this experience to be easy.  I’ve heard a number of times that it takes years and years for the top French chefs to produce a crisp coat, yet soft centred macaroon; but I brushed that thought aside and powered forth with optimism. The recipe was read and read again, with eager anticipation that somehow this would help. But I must say the critics were right- they didn’t look the part. However, combined with the cream butter filling they were amazing! The moral of this story- do not judge a book by its cover! And not to give up... but then again there are so many other culinary conquests...

Pink Vanilla Macaroons

Makes 18 whole macaroons

75g ground almonds
115g icing sugar
2 large egg whites
50g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
A few drops of pink food colouring

55g butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
115g icing sugar, sifted

Place ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor and process for 15 seconds. Sift the mixture into a bowl.
Line two baking trays with baking paper. In order to make it easier and to get nearly symmetrical circles I traced around a 3.5cm circular cookie cutter on the underside of the baking paper.

Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, to make a firm glossy meringue. Whisk in the vanilla extract and food colouring.

Using a spatula, fold the almond mixture into the meringue mixture one third at a time. When all the almond mixture is incorporated, continue to cut and fold the mixture until it forms a shiny batter with a thick, ribbon-like consistency.

Pour mixture into a piping apparatus and pipe 36 small rounds onto prepared baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets onto the work surface to remove air bubbles. Leave a room temperature for around 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 160°C. 

Bake macaroons for 10-15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes. This is the result after ten minutes:

Lesson 1: Lower the temperature to 140°C. The result after ten minutes:
You might not be able to tell- they were pink but uncooked in the centre.

Once cooked, leave to cool for ten minutes then carefully peel off baking paper. Leave to cool completely.
To make the filling, beat the butter and vanilla extract in a bowl. Gradually beat in the icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Use to sandwich pairs of macaroons together.

There are probably a number of factors that influenced the success of this recipe- maybe it was that I didn’t use fresh eggs whites (there’s always a supply of them in the freezer from when making recipes using the yolks), or that I over mixed the meringue-almond mixture? If anyone out there can recommend something please let me know! Or maybe I’ll just use another recipe...