My names Baba… BabaGanush

When I was 19 I had the amazing experience of living in Israel for 9 months. Travelling the whole country from the Golan heights to Eilat , I have hundreds of stories and a million memories.

I spent alot of time in Jerusalem, staying in the Old City for most of it, trying all the traditional food on offer and some of the not so traditional, one place I remember was Bonkers Bagels, freshly made bagels smothered with lox and cream cheese or smeared in Chatzilim typically known as Babaganush or Eggplant dip.

Coming back to New Zealand trying store bought Babaganush after Babaganush I lost all hope of ever finding the smokey slightly tangy creamy dip… until I made my own.

The memories of coming home at 1am after nights of drinking sweet kosher wine or some sort of alcohol that could quite possibly have been petrol, stopping off to get a tub of Babaganush and some slightly stale bagels to help soak up some of the 100%proof … ah to be 19 again.

You don’t have to be an eggplant lover to like this dip, like I said, it is smokey, garlicky, lemony and creamy and oh do delicious!

Babaganush

4 Eggplants

1-4 Cloves Garlic

2-3 Lemons juiced

3-5Tbs Tahini

Prick the Eggplants all over and place on open flame till they start to blacken- the longer you leave them the more smokey the end dip will be. Place on a rack over a tray in the oven till the Eggplants are deflated and soft, remove from the oven and cover the tray with tinfoil or cling film for 10min. Once the Eggplants have cooled a bit remove the flesh from the chard skin and place in a food processor.

Depending on your tastes add remaining ingredients till you have reached a lovely balance and a creamy consistancy, at this stage the dip is Vegan.

You can leave the dip as is or add in some optional: Natural yoghurt, Mayonaise, Sour cream.

These give a more mellow flavour and make the dip go futher.

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Bits and Pieces

I hate it when you have people over for a BBQ and there isn’t any room in the fridge for a big salad, yet you don’t want to make it and leave it out at room temp on a stinking hot day, and you also don’t want to miss out on having a cold drink with your guests because you are stuck in the kitchen making the salad.
What to do!? What to do?!

Or coming home from a long day at work and having to pull everything out of the fridge to make that salad you crave?
Yet a pre made salad never lasts more than a day- wilted lettuce, soggy tomato.. What to do?! What to do?!

Make a bag of bits.
Easy!

I like to cut all the goodies that go in my favourite green salad, keep them in a plastic bag in the fridge, all ready to be layered with the greenery of choice to make a fresh, crisp, delish salad…

Ideas for bits:
Radish
Cucumber
Courgette
Capsicum
Spring onion or red onion
Tasty cheese (feta is a bit too soft for this- but easy to add after)
Mung beans
Whole cherry tomatoes (cut tomatoes are too messy- best to add later)
Carrot
Raw broccoli or cauliflower
Just to name a few!!Cut everything into salad size pieces, put in a plastic bag, mix around and keep in the fridge till you want to make your salad. All you need to do is layer the bits with your favorite greens- or not- after all the bits are the well best bits ­čÖé

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Short & Savoury

Summer is totally about quick, easy, fresh and tasty.

So over the next wee while that’s what I’m gonna give you.

There may or may not be a lot of reading involved on your behalf- which means there may or may not be a lot of writing on my behalf- it also means more time for you to spend out on the deck in the sun eating a yummy salad and drinking a crisp Pinot Gris…

I love raw broccoli- slightly spicy, great texture and such a beautiful colour.

Raw Broccoli and Cranberry Salad

Raw Broccoli – cut into small pieces- kinda like couscous

Toasted Almonds

Dried Cranberries

Your favorite vinagrette (balsamic, oil, seeded mustard, honey)

Mix everything together and enjoy- seriously it is that easy!

This is also great if you add some chilli flakes for a bit of heat, or avocado, feta, wild rice even red rice for texture.

Happy Wife, Happy Life…

Over the weekend my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary!

Every time I think about it, I have to pinch myself, 40 years… thats a life time.. thats longer than my life time… Mr Lid and I just celebrated 8 months of marriage- my parents have been married 50 times longer than us!

So for such a special occasion we had a family picnic on the beach, not just any beach, it was the beach where we as kids spent most of our summers as it was where my Grandma and Granddad used to live, on the hill over looking the water, it is a place that has such strong memories for me, family, summer, food… Which really made it a lovely afternoon, the kids running in the water and playing in the sand (well crushed up shell), the adults drinking bubbles, catching up and eating way too much food.

For such a relaxed Summers day I thought what better sweet treat for dessert than a Hazelnut meringue.

Light and slightly chewy, smothered with a layer of dark chocolate to give a bit of bite, soft juicy slightly tart Strawberries and lashings of vanilla whipped cream- layer it all together and you have a wonderful dessert to share with friends and family.

Hazelnut Meringue

5 Large Egg Whites at room temperature (I like Free range egg whites)

275g Caster Sugar

2tsp Cornflour

160g Toasted Hazelnuts- (shells removed, cooled, chopped)

Heat oven 120-130c fan forced

Prepare the trays for the meringue before starting- I drew two large rectangles on baking paper to fit my trays, lightly grease trays and place baking paper drawing side down (you will still be able to see the outline- you just wont get pen/pencil in your meringue)

Whisk whites in a large clean dry bowl till firm/stiff peak (when the whisk is removed the whites should stand to a peak without falling over).

One Tablespoon at a time whisk in the sugar, till glossy, when rubbed between two fingers you should no longer feel any graininess of the sugar.

Fold in cornflour and Chopped Hazelnuts till well combined.

Once the meringue is ready divide onto the two paper lined trays and gently push mix to the edges of your drawn outline.

Make sure the meringue is even.

Bake 40 minutes then swap the trays over so that they cook evenly, bake for another 40 min, turn the oven off, leave the door slightly open and leave to cool. I keep my meringues in the oven till I need them- just make sure the kids don’t play with the knobs, or your husband doesn’t try to make you dinner and ruin your meringues!

To finish off my meringues I melted some dark chocolate and covered the two flat sides of the meringue (carefully turn the meringues over, peel off the paper)

Next layer vanilla whipped cream and sliced strawberries (or any berries) carefully place the second meringue chocolate side down on top of the other meringue. Cover the top with more cream and berries and chocolate if you like.

This is great for a crowd or if you are feeling fancy you can make individual meringues and layer them for a amazing dinner party dessert (if making small meringues the cooking time will vary).

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Everything Slaw

Sometimes you just crave flavours and textures, on a warm afternoon as it starts to cool down with the setting sun I crave something fresh, crunchy and light yet creamy and amazingly tasty.

At this time of year salad vegetables are a plenty so you can add in or leave out what ever you like- and the dressing… well i could eat it on anything… it would go wonderful on a cold japaneese noodle salad with toasted sesame seeds and even some grilled chicken…

Everything slaw with Creamy Asian Avocado dressing

Carrot

Red Cabbage

Radish

Cucumber

Red Onion

Bean sprouts

Capsicum

Coriander (mint would also be lovely)

I like to cut the vegetables in long thin pieces like a traditional coleslaw.

Toast in a dry pan a selection of nuts and seeds, I used:

Cashews

Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

Sesame Seeds

Creamy Asian Avocado Dressing

Avocado

1 small clove Garlic- finely grated

1/4tsp Ginger- finely grated

Small handful Roquette or Spinach

1Tbs Tahini

Tamari/ Soy sauce to taste

Sesame Oil

Juice 1 Lime

Salt

Optional- Chilli

Blend everything till creamy- Adjust flavours to desired taste

Add a little water to thin if you want to use as a salad dressing.

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Summer salad time

Every afternoon I come home home sit on the couch, laptop at the ready to write something witty, tantalising and interesting about a new experiment I’ve had in the kitchen, my head buzzing full of ideazzzzzzzzz and I promptly fall asleep for what I like to call nap time.

I am not 4, I should not need a nap, but I do.

I start work at 5:25am Monday to Friday- I am not making excuses but well, yes I am.

I have a strict system in the mornings… Alarm goes off at 5:05- I hit snooze and the race is on- the snooze is not a luxury it is a timer… Clothes on, hair up, teeth brushed, lunch packed, kiss Mr Lid goodbye and out the door before the snooze goes off, that’s 10 min to get ready- I’m quite proud of that!

As I mentioned on my Facebook page (here is the link┬áhttps://www.facebook.com/Mrspotandmrlid?fref=ts┬ájust in case you weren’t following me on that form of social media- which would be awesome if you liked and shared with your friends) The last couple of weeks have been hectic hence the lack of posts- so I have taken a day off work to spend in the kitchen creating yummy things I can share with you.

I will start with the salad I had for Lunch- it was light, super quick, easy and delicious..

Roasted Asparagus and Strawberry Salad

Asparagus

Strawberries

Baby Spinach leaves- or any salad greens

Balsamic vinegar

Honey

Seeded Mustard

Oil (anything with a mild flavour)

Bend the asparagus and where it breaks naturally is where  the woody end separates from the tender goodness of the rest of the spares. Cut into bite size pieces- put in a bowl and add strawberries (cut in halves if big and remove the green) add in some oil and salt and pepper toss to coat- put on a baking tray and bake 180c for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus.

You want it just tender as it will continue cooking after removed from the oven.

Make a dressing from the balsamic, honey, mustard and oil and sprinkle some over the warm roasted asparagus.

Layer the salad greens (I like baby spinach) and roasted mix adding more dressing if needed.

This salad is yum as it is or for a real treat crumble in some zesty goats feta and crunchy toasted almonds or hazelnuts..mmmmm

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Did you say Avocado?!?

So the Girls are coming for dinner and seeing as it is spring and summer is just around the corner a decadent chocolate dessert may be just what we feel like but not what we need if you catch my drift… so vegan and almost raw it is, and it doesn’t get much better than this. There are a million recipes on the web, this is my version, serve it with some cointreau macerated orange segments for a real doozy of a boozy dessert.

Vegan Orange and Chocolate Mousse

2 Ripe Avocados

3-4Tbs Agave Nectar

2Tbs Homemade Marmalade

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

Blend all ingredients together- if the mousse is too thick add some liquid (rice milk, almond milk or any liquid you like)
Taste- adding more of individual ingredients till you think its the best tasting thing ever.

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