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.
CLASSIC ROAST CHICKEN WITH PRESERVED LEMON BUTTER
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.
SMOKEY BACON COLESLAW
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 rashers streaky smokey bacon, chopped finely
1 cabbage, preferably
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.