The Perfect Beef Wellington

Winter makes me want to cook what I call retro food and what could fit the bill better than beef Wellington.  The combination of succulent pink meat and the golden crispy crunch of the pastry is perfect.  The only thing I don’t like is when the juices leak through to the bottom of the pastry … Continue reading

Canard a l’Albigeoise

Don’t you just love spring.  There’s nothing nicer than spending the day in the garden in brilliant Martinborough sunshine followed by a goregous dinner.  PLUS watching Japan almost beat English in the World Cup.  I am so pleased with my new Elizabeth David cookbook.  It combines her classics: Mediterranean Food, French Country Cooking and Summer … Continue reading

Steak and Kidney Pie

In the middle of winter, nothing hits the spot better than a meat pie….a crispy homemade pastry encasing a thick rich saucy casserole. This is simplest pastry recipe I know.  Rub 100gm of butter into 200 gm flour.  Add in enough iced water to make a dough (about 3-4 tablespoons). I used steak and kidney … Continue reading

Maranui Organic Pork

Eating only locally produced seasonal food (local as in your ‘neighbourhood’) would be a serious challenge.  I would miss: Hawkes Bay apples, Whittakers Coconut Rough chocolate, roquefort cheese, ricotta, stilton (in fact, all and any cheeses), Bakeworks gluten free bread, blue cod, Divella’s 00 pizza flour, strong black coffee and the list goes on. One of the many great things about pretending … Continue reading

Ferry Road Olive Oil

What a treat.  It’s not often you visit friends and be the first to sample freshly pressed Martinborough produced olive oil.  Nothing matches produce that’s grown, harvested and this case, processed locally.  No middle man, no fancy marketing or packaging, just pure fruit of the earth stored in a large plastic container in a dark corner out the back of the … Continue reading

Cabbage will never be the same

Cabbage is one of those veges that has bad childhood memories for me.  Cooked too long – disgusting.  Not sliced thinly enough – equally disgusting.  And lets face it – bland bland bland.  So when I saw that Madame Vy (Trinh Diem Vy) had put Cabbage leaf parcels with shrimp mousse in broth on the … Continue reading

Serving whole fish

I had seafood for nearly every evening meal during my two weeks in Vietnam.  It’s plentiful and varied.  The delightfully fragrant herbs go beautifully with the delicate fish flavours. I love preparing and serving whole fish but it’s often messy once the first side is devoured.  The Vietnamese have the answer.  Serve the fish ‘standing up’ … Continue reading

Ben Thanh Markets

Like many Asian cities, if you want a good idea about the choice and style of food, the markets are the place to go.  Because of the extreme heat (30 +) we went early in the morning. It’s hard to imagine a fish market that doesn’t smell.  Normally you know your heading for the seafood several … Continue reading

Vietnam – Saigon

Our first meal in Saigon was a sensation.  We went to nha hang ngan, a very large busy restaurant a short walk from the May Hotel.  We had green papaya salad with shrimp and pork (Goi Du Du Tai Heo) which was crisp and fresh with a sweet sour sauce, and Vietnanmese Rice Pancakes stuffed with vegetables … Continue reading