Coming to you FREE! from a stream near you…

It may be grey and stormy enough to have whipped the waves into galloping white horses, but in Auckland in January, it’s still hot and muggy enough to have the sweat dripping off you if you so much as look at a flight of stairs.

Still Salad weather then.

I found a gorgeous recipe for a Peach and Goats curd salad in my Xmas gifted Taste Magazine. It suggests rocket and watercress salad, with yellow and white peaches, parma ham, goats curd and pine nuts. I priced the watercress in the supermarket and it was $3.79 for a bag. Hmm I thought. I know where there’s a little stream…..

So I found proscuitto and goats cheese on special, picked three varieties of lettuce from my garden, along with chives, mint and lemon balm, and then went on the hunt for watercress. I usually have rocket in my garden, but haven’t planted it this year, so I thought my own salad leaves would be perfectly adequate for this, and I wasn’t wrong.

Watercress grows in shallow running water. It grows wild. I thought I knew a stream where there might be some, and sure enough there was! Neither of us had foraged for watercress before, but I’d taken a good look at what it looked like in the supermarket bag, and had a feeling I’d seen it growing before. We had a taste, and voila!

So, these ingredients don’t look exactly cheap do they! The secret is firstly buying on special. Secondly, don’t use it all, unless you’re feeding a lot of course. We just used half the packet of proscuitto, and half the goat’s cheese, so I can feel yet another salad dinner coming on. At the Bin Inn, you can buy tiny amounts of pine nuts. I think my two tablespoons was NZ$1.26 or something ridiculous like that. One tablespoon would actually have been enough. If fresh peaches aren’t in season or cheap for you, you could probably use a sale priced tin of peaches in juice. So by being smart, you can make a meal that would probably cost you NZ$35.00 each in a restaurant and be happy that it cost you NZ$5.00 each.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a go.

Peach and Goat's Curd Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tbsp cider vinegar

1 tsp Dijon Mustard

1 tsp honey

2 bunches rocket (or other salad and herb leaves)

1 cup watercress sprigs

1 white peach, pitted and cut into wedges

1 yellow peach, pitted and cut into wedges (I couldn’t find one, so I used a nectarine. It was perfectly fine for the task.)

8 slices Parma ham (or proscuitto) coarsely torn

2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts (buy raw and toast yourself – watch every second as they burn in a flash!)

100g goat’s curd (or goat’s cheese)

Method

  1. Combine oil, vinegar, mustard and honey in a screw-top jar and shake until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Arrange salad leaves, watercress, peaches and Parma Ham on a platter. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with pine nuts and dollop with curd.

Enjoy!!

 

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Don’t buy Pastry!

I had a look at the packaged Pastry price and was shocked to see a packet of frozen sheets was over NZ$6.00. Wow.

I have a recipe that I use a lot, and it’s quicker to make than it is to thaw out the frozen sheets, and costs a fraction of the price.

I used it tonight to make a Potato, Cheese and Thyme pie and it was delicious. The original recipe is on bite.co.nz but this one here is with my adaptations to make it more economical. We ate one of the pies, (me 1/4, him the rest!) so we have another one left for lunch tomorrow. Cost – tiny- pastry – about NZ$2.00. Filling – potatoes 50c, cheese 79c, thyme – free, evaporated milk – 70c. Total –  NZ $3.99 for 2 meals $2.00 for 1! Then the veges…Can’t do much better than that can you!

Potato, Cheese and Thyme Pie

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

1 quantity home made Flakey Pastry Recipe (see below)

400 gms Desiree (or other) potatoes scrubbed and sliced

100 gms cheese – needs to melt easily and have a bit of flavour – not mozzarella. I used Colby, but the original recipe used Taleggio. Gruyere would be good – needs to match your purse!

4 Sprigs fresh Lemon thyme stripped from the stalks

100 ml evaporated milk

Use a little left over soured milk from the pastry recipe to brush the top with.

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C
  2. Roll out the pastry and cut 4 circles – 2 X 23 cm, 2 X 20 cm I didn’t worry about the exact size – just cut around a larger and smaller plate.
  3. Put the sliced potatoes into a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil, and simmer gently for 6 or 7 minutes until tender but not falling apart. Let them cool a bit before using.
  4. On the baking tray (greased or baking paper) place the SMALLER circles. Layer the cooled potatoes on top slightly over-lapping. Put cheese, thyme, s & p between the layers.
  5. Cut a 4 cm hole out of the middle of the larger circles. Dampen the edges and seal the edges.
  6. To glaze, use a little left over soured milk to brush the top with.
  7. Bake for 10 min then take out, and pour 50 ml Evaporated Milk into each pie. You may need to carefully lift the edges of the pastry so that it goes INTO the pie.

This pastry while called “Flakey” is more like a rough puff pastry  I think. However,it’s crisp and tasty, and always successful.

Flakey Pastry

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Ingredients:

1 cup standard flour

1 tsp baking powder

125 grams butter

1/2 cup milk soured with 2 tsp of lemon juice or 1 tsp of wine vinegar.

Method:

  1. Put the flour and baking powder into the blender bowl. Pulse to mix.
  2. Cut the butter and add. Blitz until it is like breadcrumbs – not long.
  3. Sour the milk, and add gradually. You want to keep a bit to glaze the pie with if you can.
  4. Mix until the dough forms a ball.
  5. Remove, and place on floured board ready to roll.

I used a few bits of left – over pastry to make a couple of little jam tarts. They got gobbled up before I could photograph the cooked version!

Jam Tarts
Jam Tarts
Flakey Pastry
Don’t buy it! Make it from scratch!

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Changing Recipes

I used to think that you should follow a recipe religiously to get the flavours the chef intended. Now that I’m living the Cheapskate way, that’s changed, and it’s a matter of trying to honour the intended flavours, but doing it the way I can without forking out for it.

Tonight, I used a recipe of Nadia Lim’s, and changed a few things, but it was still delish. The only reason there was any left over was because there was just too much for the two of us!

You can find Nadia’s recipes on her My Foodbag page. She packages up the ingredients for 5 days of dinners, and delivers with the recipe. This one was published in The Herald newspaper. This recipe has my alterations in it! The volumes are different too, because I made it just for the two of us. Her recipe is quite a lot spicier than mine, so if you like spices double what I’ve put in, and then use the same mix and squash onto the halloumi before you cook it.

 Halloumi with Spiced Warm Roast Vegetable and Egg Salad (Cara’s Version)

Halloumi and Spiced Roast Vegetable Salad
Ready to Serve

Halloumi and Spiced Roast Vege Salad
Close up

Ingredients

200g Halloumi (only buy on sale) ( I really want to try making it, and will do when I find a source for unpasturised milk.)

1 golden kumara, cut into wedges

2 beetroot (free – given to my husband Gavin Asher when he was busking at the Howick Market last week.)

1 onion (red or whatever – I just used a regular one I had in the cupboard.)

1 tsp each of cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and celery seeds. (I altered to celery seeds because the recipe called for mustard seeds and I didn’t have any.)

1 tbsp oil

1/2 doz vine ripened small tomatoes (or cherry)

A few red chard leaves (free from garden – you can use baby spinach, or silverbeet)

2 or 3 eggs (I did 3 because I have a hungry husband, but 2 would have been enough.)

Mint leaves (free from garden)

Flat-leafed parsley (free from garden)

Lemon balm (free from garden)

Method

Heat oven to 220C

Toss chopped kumara, beetroot, and onion with oil and seeds, in roasting pan.

Roast for 20 minutes, then add tomatoes and cook for 6 minutes longer.

Fry Halloumi in olive oil or butter (I prefer butter, but I know oo is more traditional for Halloumi.)

Hardboil or softboil eggs according to preference. Cut lengthways.

Chop chard leaves, and put in sieve – pour the egg water over to wilt them – you don’t have to do this, but I find my chard leaves are quite hard raw and prefer them softened just a bit. Mix in with the roast veges. Serve with halloumi and eggs.

Dressing – I added chopped mint to a dressing I’d used the day before which had oo and cider vinegar. Nadia’s recipe uses yoghurt, so if you prefer a creamier dressing you could do that. I do make my own yoghurt but just didn’t happen to have any at present, and did have my other dressing to use up. However, you can just use whatever dressing you prefer. The mint flavouring was very good with the salad though.