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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Aint no party like a Chicken Nibble party

What I love about Family, is over the years without trying they develop traditions that get passed down from generation to generation. You can choose to embrace these traditions or not. No pressure.

You can make slight changes as the years go on and make the tradition your own in its own special way.

If you have ever been to a special occasion at my Parents house you will know ‘chicken nibbles’ make a party, and over the years special occasions at my sisters house or even my own the star of the show is and all ways will be ‘chicken nibbles’.

Cards night with the boys= chicken nibbles.

Girls night on the town= chicken nibbles

Birthday party whether it be a 1st or 60th= chicken nibbles

House warming, dress-up party, engagement, anniversary, watching the rugby or just a Sunday night.

These small yet perfectly formed morsels of chicken are tasty moist flavour explosions that in our family is one tradition I think will go on forever.

I do not have precise measurements, I never have, what I like about these is you can add what you like quantity wise to suit your taste.

Worlds yummest Chicken nibbles

Garlic
Ginger
Worcestershire sauce- dash
Honey (1/4)
Tomato sauce(1/2)
Soy sauce (1/8-1/4)
These are just a guide it really is to taste- I like to add different hot sauces for a bit of zing- mix marinade and toss through chicken nibbles and leave to macerate for an hour or even over night, spread on a tray (lined with paper makes cleaning up easy) and bake 180c for about 40-60min turning once during cooking. if there is marinade left over you can either baste the nibbles while cooking or boil in a pan and pour over once cooked. You can sprinkel toasted sesame seeds to finish.
It is a must to eat these with fingers, and a big saucy grin to finish.

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Farro Out Dude

I love walking round supermarkets, ever since I was little and Dad and I would go grocery shopping every Sunday. We had a system and I loved that as I got older I could influence what went into the trolley.

Mr Lid and I hardly ever go shopping together, I pop to the shops every couple of days- once I have thought of what I want to cook.

I do love walking round and spotting a bargain which changes the whole meal in my mind, I also love spotting a new ingredient that I wouldn’t usually use.

Today’s inspiration was Farro.

Farro is ancient grain full of fibre and nutrients. Because Farro is a centuries-old grain, and has therefore not been subject to genetic modification, some gluten sensitive people have found that they are able to introduce Farro into their diet.

Baked Farro and Chicken Risotto

A glug of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for the baking pan & drizzling

1 Onion

1 Clove Garlic

1 1/2 cups Semi-pearled Farro

400G Jar Tomato Pasta Sauce- I used Arrabbiata

The above jar filled with water

1cup Freshly grated Parmesan

Mozzarella for oozy goodness

Chicken- I used breast

Heat the oven to 200c.

Dice onion and cook till translucent in some of the Olive oil in a saucepan, add crushed Garlic and Farro cook for two minutes.

Add Jar of Tomato Pasta sauce, fill empty Jar with water and also add to the pot, stir.

Lightly oil a 8x8inch baking dish.

Once the Farro mix has come to the boil, add 3/4 of the Parmesan, and the sliced chicken, season. Tip the mix carefully into the baking dish.

Cut a piece of grease-proof paper to fit the baking dish and then cover well with tinfoil, make a couple of slits with a knife and bake for 60min.

Remove the tinfoil and paper, stir the Farro mix- taste and check seasoning, dot some mozzarella on top and some more Parmesan- return to the oven to get nice and golden- about 15min.

Serve with a sprinkle of more Olive oil and fresh herbs if you like.

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Stuff me, roll me, tie me up

I love my Mum- we are very similar people and I have been told as I get older I am more and more like her- poor Mr Lid, but in saying that she is my best friend. Well that may be a touch strong, she is a very close friend… ok maybe just a nice friend- kidding- after all she is my Mum.

But my Dad… I am such a Daddy’s girl!

And while Mum is away in Australia I feel I have to look after Dad- even if he is a nearly 63 year old man.

When I say look after, I mean ring often to make sure he is..ummm… I am not sure why I ring- he would probably love it more if I didnt ring, that way no women would be bothering him and it would be like he is on his own mini holiday.

But I did ring with a purpose this time- to invite him to dinner. I know he is perfectly capable if making his own meat and three veg but a nice wine some good company and something a little different than what you would usually cook just for one is always a nice change.

I had a Beef rolled rib Roast and I was inspired.

Stuffed Rolled Rib Roast
Rolled Rib Roast
Anchovies
Lemon zest
Fresh herbs- parsley, rosemary, thyme
Pepper
Butter
Garlic
Remove the string from the beef and unroll- grate the garlic and zest, chop the herbs and anchovies and combine.
Spread over the unrolled beef, season with pepper and dollop a bit of butter over the stuffing.
Re-roll and tie leave to warm up to room temperature before cooking (allows the meat to cook more evenly)
I browned my beef in a fry pan that I could put in the oven- brown on all sides and cook at 160c about 45min per 500g- Rib Roasts are best cooked long and slow- all the way through, or they get tough.

Pull Roast out and wrap in tinfoil to rest.

Put the pan on the stove top and make the sauce… I melted a couple of anchovies into the pan juices (which were all yummy and caramelised meaty bits and left over butter and fat from the meat- leave this in as it adds a richness to the sauce), add red wine and reduce, taste the sauce- mine needed a bit of sweet to balance it so I added some agave nectar. Once the meat has rested for around 20min- put a small hole into the foil and add the meaty juices to the sauce.

Mixed Roast Root Veg

Swede

Potato

Beetroot

Carrot

Fresh herbs- rosemary and thyme

Garlic

Oil

Peel and cut all the vegetables the smae size- toss in some oil seasoning and the herbs.

Roast 180-200c till cooked- serve with the roasted Beef.

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Just use what you’ve got.

Takeaways…. Make dinner?  Takeaways…. Make dinner!

Life is full of decisions.

It would be so easy to just pop down the road to our favorite Japanese restaurant, but we are meant to be saving for house renovations and our Honeymoon next year, so as much as I would love to get takeaways… I had to make dinner.

Something quick, easy and made with stuff we have in the house.

I had some amazing Cavolo nero that I wanted to use up- this stuff is beautiful not only does it taste yum, but it looks fantastic- so much so that if I was to put it in a vase you would think I’m a wanna be florist.

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 Cavolo nero and Cannellini bean Soup

Onion

Celery

Garlic

Stock (chicken or vegetable) or water

Fennel seeds

Chilli flakes

Tinned tomato

Can rinsed Cannellini beans

Potato

Cavolo nero/Kale

Fry the firmer veg (onion, potato, celery) and seasonings (fennel seeds, chilli flakes etc) in a little olive oil till soft and translucent. Add water or stock and tomato and simmer to cook veg. I like to grate in the fresh garlic at this stage- I find the clean taste of the raw garlic is lovely- if you want to cook it with the veges to begin with, be my guest.

About 15min before ready to serve add the Cannellini beans and the kale (remove the tough central rib and cut into strips)

Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve in a big bowl with fresh grated parmesan over the top and a splash of olive oil.

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The great thing about soup is that you can add or subtract what ever you like. Try making with out tomato- I just used what I had left over in the fridge.

Spicy wee number

I need a quick dinner STAT!

There is nothing worse than coming home after a long day and having to slave over a hot stove to make dinner for a loved one.

Tonight I am calling on a go to favourite of mine- it is quick, great for summer or winter, lovely hot or cold.

It can be changed to suit what ever you have in the house, but it is based on things that are usually buried in cupboards and drawers.

Chorizo, potato and smoked paprika salad

Chorizo (or bacon, spicy sausage- anything you like- even chicken)

Potato

Red onion

Smoked paprika

Cayene pepper

Oil

Garlic

Lemon

Parsley (or dried herbs)

Dice the potato, sausage, wedge the red onion and toss with oil, paprika, cayene and garlic- roast in the oven.

If using dried herbs throw them in at this stage.

Once cooked you can zest and squeeze a lemon and throw in some fresh parsley and eat.

I am going to roast some beans as well and serve with spinach.

As I said- anything goes with this- capsicum would be great roasted or fresh for some crunch, even pasta instead of potato.

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Second date guarantee

When Mr Lid and I were first dating I remember him making me breakfast on a Sunday, we would sit on his (now our) deck in the early morning sunshine reading the paper, doing the sudoku together and listing to his wonderful music collection- he would make his famous creamy mushrooms and poached eggs it was heaven- it was days like that, that made me realise he was the man for me.

These mushrooms are seriously delicious, so much so that my Dad has made them a frequent weekend breakfast feature for himself and mum, along with the perfect Bloody Mary. Makes you wish weekends lasted longer.

 

Mr Lids Creamy Mushrooms

Flat brown Mushrooms

Fresh garlic

Mixed herbs (dried is fine if you don’t have fresh)

Butter

Cream

Crush the garlic and caramelise in the pan with a knob of butter, add the sliced mushrooms. Stir to mix the garlic well in with the Mushrooms, add the herbs (not too many- just a pinch)

At this stage I add a little water- it helps to soften the Mushrooms and turns into a bit of a stock to help deepen the flavour.

Reduce the liquid down till it is almost gone- add cream- don’t add all the cream as you can always add more.

You want the star to be Mushrooms in a cream sauce, not a cream sauce with some Mushrooms in it.

Reduce the cream down- if you reduce it too far add more.

Season with a good amount of Fresh Black pepper and some salt.

We like to serve this with a wholemeal toast and runny poached eggs.

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