Tuesday, January 29

Dont you want me Baby.....?

Well friends it would seem my hopes of TV superstardom are to be dashed once again. Despite a cracking audition vid (courtesy of Mr PK’s very clever cousin, who kindly brought his filming expertise, amazing kit and extreme amounts of patience to my kitchen for the price of a sponge cake) and potential writers cramp filling out an extensive application form I am not to be the next NZ Hottest Home Baker……..sigh.
I am must say I thought I might at least warrant an audition, but perhaps there was a surplus of competent baking woman my age (“cough cough”) with a taste for floral aprons & nary a tattoo to be seen clamouring to appear on screen?

I shall not however waste a perfectly good film, if you would like step by step instructions in the Art of the Sponge, please ignore the references to auditions and sugar companies & enjoy….

At least I got to feel like Nigella for five minutes………..

Ellerslie’s Slightly Lukewarm but still Enthusiastic Baker xx

Thursday, January 3

A new salad for a new year.....

So its 2013 already.I am resisting the temptation to bang on about all my New Years resolutions, I am quite sure you don't really give a toss if I lose 10kg by my birthday or finally get around to learning Spanish this year.
See, you don't, I knew it. I will tell you I have resolved to create a new recipe every week for the year. By new I mean original to me. Perhaps not recreating the wheel (not every week anyway), but created in my own little kitchen all fresh & new and lovely. Actually the kitchen is going to be ripped apart at some stage this year, so we shall see how we go (that could be smoothie/microwave/raw food week....)
Right, new recipe we have. Inspired by the delicious Nigel Slater & his fabulous Kitchen Diaries Two, which I was very happy to see in my Christmas Stocking this year, this is a fresh fast salad using Bulgur wheat. It has a pleasant nutty flavour, only requires soaking (no boiling pans in my kitchen, given its about 97% humidity at the moment this is a Good Thing) and makes me feel like I am being much nicer to my body than several weeks of rampant vino consumption should allow. Nigel's version is a bit simpler, more a side salad than the main event, but the addition of the halloumi in particular means this is plenty substantial enough for lunch or a light supper.
Bulgur wheat salad with melon, mint & halloumi
Serves 2 with leftovers
1/2 cup Bulgur wheat (also known as Cracked wheat or Burghul wheat) I use the Ceres brand
Boiling water to cover
1/2 small rockmelon
2 spring onion, sliced
1/2 small red or green chilli, sliced thinly
2 radish, sliced thinly
3-4 asparagus spears, chopped
Tbsp pinenuts
1/4 block of halloumi ( I used a chilli version, but plain would be perfect to)
Splash of olive oil
juice of a lime
Handful of parsley
Handful of mint
Put your bulgur wheat into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to sit for 10 minutes or so while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Peel and chop your rockmelon into small chunks and put into your salad bowl. Add the spring onion, chilli and radish. Bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the asparagus. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain & cover in icy cold water (this stops it cooking any further). Drain again & add to your bowl.
Toast your pinenuts in a small non stick pan until just colouring, then add to your salad. In the same pan over medium heat put your helloumi slices and cook for a minute or two each side until golden and melting hot . While this is happening drain your bulgur wheat and add to the salad bowl with the oil, lime juice, herbs & some salt and pepper. Top with your cooked halloumi & devour, yum!

This is a very flexible recipe, so just add, remove or substitute as needed.
A ripe juice peach would be great in place of the melon, if you had the grill/BBQ going you could grill it, the asparagus and the heloumi all at once for a different flavor. Any nuts could be used in place of pinenuts, and feel free to substitute lemon or other citrus for the lime. If you don't want to use helloumi try feta, or leave it out all together and serve as a side to some grilled chicken or fish....
Now, to celebrate the New Year, and just because I can, some gratuitous cat shots. Tuppence does have a weight loss goal this year, I keep saying she is big boned but the vet suggested she is turning into a chubby so a little less food should be coming her way.........she isn't best pleased

Tommy is going to attempt to grow a brain this year. This is so he knows to not sit in the rain getting wet , or under the car when it is running, or on top of Tuppences head when she is clearly getting cheesed off............he has relied on his looks for too long.

Happy 2013 everyone, I hope you are looking forward to lots of good times this year, starting with a good meal!