Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MAKE MINE A RASPBERRY - Frozen raspberry and nut crumb pudding

I simply adore this time of year and the berries that come with it – sometimes I’m surprised to end a summer intact instead of a mixed berry version of Violet Beauregarde being hauled off by the Ooompa Loompas after berry overload. I am a serious raspberry girl, plop me down in front of a movie with a punnet of raspberries and I am one happy camper. (The luxury of a house kind of happy camper, not in a tent).

We’re especially lucky here in Christchurch with some sensational berry farms. The great thing of course is the simplicity of dessert, a bowl of mixed berries and a good dousing of icing sugar is the sublime end to a shared dinner.

However my children lead me to believe that you can have too much of the simple berry dessert and encourage me to incorporate them in other ways. Summer pudding is an obvious one for starters and is a popular wedding dessert in this season at White Tie. We often make a Summer pud in a terrine then pour over a champagne jelly to set it. It looks beautiful when sliced and the champagne jelly just helps round off the intensity of the berries.

Eton Mess is still a fantastic dessert, we used some leftovers to make it as a quick treat at family dinner on Sunday night – berries, whipped cream and broken meringues mixed together and served in a glass. Or you could soften a tub (homemade if you prefer) of vanilla ice cream and stir through raspberries before freezing it through a little to make an easy semi freddo – add praline or nuts for another layer of texture.

But there is one supreme category winner in our house – a frozen raspberry dessert introduced to the family by my sister in law Adele Ryan. Dellie’s Raspberry and Nut Crumb pudding is so delicious it was our Christmas dinner dessert this year. The recipe also makes two, so you serve one and then have another stashed away in the freezer, utter brilliance.

It’s also wonderfully versatile, it makes two large pudding bowls or you can make little individual puddings, or a terrine tin. I’ve made individual puds using small cups lined with cling film, turned them out and covered them in Italian meringue and browned them with a blow torch for a great version of a Baked Alaska. Or you could even stir the crumb through the raspberry mixture half way through freezing for a softer spooned dessert.

Anyway, I’m sure Dellie won’t mind if I share this with you. Cook it & Love it.



150g plain flour

50g each walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds

75g brown sugar

100g melted butter

Preheat oven to 180°C. Sift flour into a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix well to thoroughly combine and spread evenly over the base of a baking paper lined sponge roll tin. Bake 20 minutes, remove from oven and cool. Break into crumbs with fingers.


2 egg whites

2 tablespoons lemon juice

450g fresh raspberries (or frozen, thaw but don’t drain, use juice and all)

225g caster sugar

300ml cream

Combine egg whites, juice and most of the raspberries in mixer bowl. Begin whisking and gradually whisk in sugar. Beat at high speed for 10 minutes until mixture forms stiff peaks. Beat cream until stiff and fold into raspberry meringue with remaining raspberries. Beginning and ending with raspberry mixture, layer in a pudding bowl with the biscuit crumbs. Freeze.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A SHARED MEAL - Classic roast chicken, preserved lemon butter, smokey bacon coleslaw

I love food and love to talk about food so it would seem inevitable in this age of immediacy that I would end up with a blog. The idea behind this is simply to use a different platform for me (and you) to talk food. I'm not tech savvy and I don't confess to any great ability to write but I do know great food. I want to share with you my personal experiences, recipe finds, developments from our kitchen and hear about yours.

I am the Creative Director of White Tie Catering in Christchurch, New Zealand. I've spent much of my life cooking, from serving up a roast to my family of eight when I was a little girl to nourishing my own four girls with home cooked meals, working with some of New Zealand's great chefs and foodies and now for the past 10 years, running my own catering company with my husband.

As well as fulfilling my need to feed people, White Tie is my reason to experiment and develop. To stay contemporary and relevant for our clients, we are constantly introducing new dishes to our menus.

That's a little bit about my story and my life with food. But the decision to join this interweb thingee has given me cause to ruminate (not the chewing cud kind of ruminating however that's also oddly appropriate), I've been thinking about what I love most about food. What is it about eating that gets me so excited? Why is it that I can sit and talk about food, restaurants and ideas for hours while others simply glaze over at the mention of a cookbook? I need to nourish. Nourish the body and soul. It's the whole meal process that I love so much; deciding who to share it with and inviting them, deciding what to cook, preparing the ingredients, choosing wine, setting the table, bringing family and friends into my home and expressing my love and appreciation for them through a wonderful shared meal.

My daughters' friends while they were at school would love to eat at our home because we all sat around the table. I was floored to learn many of them didn't, it was such an important part of the fabric of family life in my childhood. Sharing the day around a shared meal, learning to communicate, debate, have opinions and tolerate others' opinions - all over a meal (without the television!).

It's not wrong that things have changed, that there are easy meal options and that families don't always have the time to sit around the table together. But I certainly believe it's important to find the time to fit that into your lives occasionally, the experience is wonderful to share and in my family, the culture continues.

So, to kick us off, I wanted to start by sharing a meal with you all. I've talked to my own family about what they love to share around the table and it seems Sunday comfort food is a favourite. None of my girls live at home anymore but you'd think otherwise given how often they're sitting at our table - now with their partners and in one case, babies.

Sunday's are special in our home because working in hospitality means Fridays and Saturdays are always busy. Sunday night is when we come together exhausted and in need of a little nourishment.

Let me share with you ‘classic roast chicken with preserved lemon butter and smokey bacon coleslaw’. A roast is such a great shared meal, served traditionally or jointed into large pieces for your guests. Our smokey bacon coleslaw is buttery, salty and sweet, just delicious under the moist lemony chicken. Cook it & love it.


Serves 6

1 whole chicken (size 18 – 20)

4 garlic cloves, lightly bashed with the knife

50 gms butter, softened butter

Rind of ¼ of a preserved lemon (or as lemony as you like), finely chopped

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 200°C fan bake. Clean and dry the chicken inside and out, removing any gizzards. Season the inside of the chicken and pop in garlic cloves.

Mix together the butter and the lemon rind. With the chicken legs towards you, gently slide your hand between the breast and skin to loosen. Spread the majority of the preserved lemon butter under the skin as evenly as possible. This will baste the chicken while it cooks. Truss the chicken with kitchen string and rub the remaining butter over the outside skin, season well.

Pour 1 cup of cold water into a roasting pan and place chicken on top. Put in oven for 30 minutes then reduce temperature to 180°C for a further hour or until juices run clear. Rest the chicken on a warmed plate for 15 - 20 minutes before carving. Slice the chicken or joint it, pour over pan juices and serve with smokey bacon coleslaw.


2 tablespoons olive oil

25g butter

4 rashers streaky smokey bacon, chopped finely

1 cabbage, preferably Savoy, very finely sliced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cups baby peas, frozen or fresh

Bunch of parsley, finely chopped

In a pan, fry the bacon in olive oil and butter and once the bacon is beautifully crispy, add the cabbage, onion and peas and season well. Toss until the cabbage just starts to wilt. Stir through parsley and serve.