Nans tomato chutney

5 Feb

Our garden is absolutely overflowing with fresh tomatoes this month, it’s amazing. Using them up in time is quite a challenge however, last week I skinned and pulped a batch to put in the freezer (great replacement for the tinned variety), today I brewed a batch of tomato chutney – recipe courtesy of my 90 year old Nan…it is so good!

tomato chutney
approx 8 medium jars

24 medium ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
12 brown onions sliced
900g caster sugar
900ml white vinegar
1 Tbsp mustard seed crushed
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp salt (I used fine ground sea salt)
6 Tbsp flour mixed with 12 Tbsp water – to thicken

Put all ingredients (except the flour mix) into a large stockpot and simmer together for one hour

After the hour stir in the flour and water to thicken while stirring, simmer for a further 10 minutes, should you need to add a little more thickener do so now

Pour hot chutney into sterilised jars and cover with lids immediately. This should keep in the cupboard for a good 12 months

how to sterilise your jars

I have always been nervous to preserve my own food mainly because I am scared of sterilising properly…But it is really easy!
Simply wash your jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse then place jars only upside down on a rack in your cold oven and turn on heat to 160degC, once oven is up to temp turn it off
For the lids, boil in a pot for 10 mins
Pour HOT preserves into HOT jars and put the lid on immediately to form a seal



Midweek meal inspiration

16 Jan

Dinner in our house this evening…

A beautifully simple salad full of goodies from the garden.
Spinach and mint leaves tossed with a little olive oil, roasted kumara, beetroot and onion, adding in some blanched green beans, zucchini and feta then finished off with some panfried salmon pieces
Delicious, quick and gorgeous to look at too!


A summer feast

29 Dec

We have been blessed with a stunning day here on Great Barrier Island.  The summer holiday is now in full swing and the diving was fruitful this morning…Thanks Chris and Nick!
Tonight we dine on fresh crayfish grilled with garlic, butter and fresh chilli and prawns wrapped in bacon with chorizo. 


My idea of a summer feast





Christmas pudding truffles…

14 Dec

Apologies as I have to admit I have been suffering from a case of bloggers block, leading to rather a lack of posts over the past few weeks…but Christmas treats have given me inspiration!
Tonight I indulged in a little truffle making. I say indulged purely because it is not something I do regularly and it is generally only a special occasion that beckons me to chocolate.
Nigellas Christmas pudding bonbons caught my eye last year, but I had my hands full with so many other handmade bits and a new baby that this one I had to pass on. Tonight though I had a few spare minutes and whipped these babies up in no time (well the first bit anyway!).
Nigella was the inspiration but this is not her recipe, it has been tinkered with (as I do)
Not to be funny…but disposable rubber gloves will help with this recipe!

christmas pudding truffles yeild approx 42

truffle mix
600g leftover cooked/cooled christmas pudding (I don’t see why you couldn’t use Christmas cake)
400g milk or dark chocolate – good quality gives the best result
2 Tablespoons golden syrup
60ml brandy (you could use rum, sherry or any other dark spirit that you like really)

Choose one or all…
50g chocolate melted -white, dark or white whichever takes your fancy
Coconut thread
Cocoa powder
Sliced or chopped nuts

Melt chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, or in the microwave very carefully. Chocolate needs to be looked after and stirred constantly if melting in the microwave. If you are doing it on the stovetop, ensure not to get any water into the chocolate by accident as it will harden it.
Crumble your pudding into a bowl, stir in golden syrup and brandy
Stir in melted chocolate until well combined
Put on your gloves if you have them…
Roll the mix into truffle sized balls and rest on a baking tray lined with baking paper or clingfilm.
Chill them in the fridge for 2-3 hrs or overnight

When ready to decorate, melt your chocolate then dip the balls in using a toothpick to turn them about and coat well.
Once coated return to the lined baking tray to set.
Similarly coat in the coconut, nuts or cocoa depending on what you like
These will last in a cool airtight container for up to 2 weeks and make a great little homemade gift too. Its not too late given I only started mine today… Get truffling!

Simple Christmas decorations

25 Nov

I was inspired to make a ribbon Christmas tree on our wall that I had seen similar in a magazine.  The main reason being our busy (and frighteningly strong) little boy Finn is very likely to pull down any real Christmas tree at this point in time…Also we are heading on holiday the week prior to Christmas so the tree would have to come down anyhow.  Nothing worse than coming back from holiday to a dead tree in the living room;  I find it quite sad!

I also made the star on the top with iceblock sticks glued together; I like the natural look hence have not painted it

I have made some simple little wooden stars out of the same iceblock sticks (available from the craft store, you don’t have to eat a freezer full of ices!)

I simply glued the sticks in place, then wrapped a ribbon around the centre of the star

I then fixed them to the wall, so easy!  They would look fabulous hanging from the ceiling in a cluster or from the christmas tree

To market, to market….

17 Nov

Saturday morning usually means a visit to the local markets; difficult to say whether they are growers, farmers or junk markets…I do think they could be classified as all of the above.  There is even a lady selling AMAZING chinese pork dumplings which Chris (my husband) rewards his hard vegetable shopping with!  (at 9.30am)

We buy our weeks vegetables here; they are amazingly fresh and cheap and it is perfect to suppliment the produce we harvest from the vege garden which is now starting to flourish…(garden post coming soon)

Yay! strawberry season is upon us!!  We neglected to plant strawberries this year which I am a little sad about but these ones we bought were absolutely divine; not to mention huge

I really love buying direct from the growers, everything is so fresh and lasts for ages and its such a nice way to shop

A good way to start the weekend!

A brides breakfast

13 Nov

I was so excited when a girlfriend asked whether I would like to cater for her a brides ‘breakfast on the go’
By this I mean the ladies had to be at the hairdresser at 6.30am for a midday wedding; so sustenance was required to get them through the morning until the reception lunch.
Healthy (mostly!), light and pretty was where I was headed with the food and It turned out wonderfully, all were happy including the all important bride
I love the vanilla cupcakes with pink frosting and a velvety red rose petal