Monday, October 31, 2011

Summer is approaching - and so is Christmas!

I hate to remind you that we are in the lead up to Christmas, but in Christchurch the week after the Melbourne Cup is always our New Zealand Trotting Cup and Show Week, and once that’s over - its Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!

I had my Christmas cooking class last weekend so I have been working on the recipes over the past few weeks. A really good thing to do as soon as you have read this, is to make your Fruit Mince and jar it up for use later. This allows the flavours to develop really well. You can use store bought but this is so much better and really easy to make, so why would you? Just keep a cup aside and try this slice recipe as well, because it’s absolutely delicious! It came from the grandmother (Neddy) of one of our chefs.

Christmas Fruit Mince
Yield 1.5kg
4 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and chopped
2 cup raisins
1 cup currants
150g butter
2 teaspoons mace
2 teaspoons nutmeg
3 teaspoons spice
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 cups brown sugar
100ml brandy
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
100ml lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer partly covered with lid for 30-40 minutes or until thick. Pour into clean, sterilised jars. Cover when cold.

Neddy’s Christmas Mince Slice

100g chilled butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
Process butter, flour and sugar until breadcrumb consistency and press into lined slice tin. Bake at 160ºC for 10 minutes.
1 cup brown sugar (not packed)
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup fruit mince
Mix dry ingredients well and add wet ingredients. Place over base and cook for a further 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting
Dust with icing sugar to serve.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Ok - I'm fronting up - I have to eat humble pie apparently ... some of you have been wondering where on earth I've been ...if I have to eat pie I may as well share the recipe as well!!!

This is a fabulous LAMB AND YOGHURT PIE discovered on my travels in the Mediterranean.

A gorgeous flavour filled delight for you and your loved ones ...

Lamb and Yoghurt Pie
Serves 8
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic crushed
1 kg lamb mince
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
70g toasted pine nuts
12 sheets filo pastry
100g clarified butter
500g natural yoghurt
1 shallow tin approximately 30 x 22 x 3 cms

Heat oil in a large frying pan, add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
Add lamb and brown thoroughly, breaking up clumps as it cooks, with a wooden spoon.
Add cinnamon, tomato paste, lemon, salt and pepper, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add parsley, breadcrumbs and pine nuts and set aside to cool.
Remove filo pastry from packet and count out 12 sheets.
Place pastry on bench and cover with a damp tea towel.
Brush one sheet of filo pastry lightly with melted butter..
Place another layer of pastry on top, brushing with butter as you go, and repeat until you have six sheets.
Butter pie tin and line with the first six sheets of pastry.
Fill with half the lamb mixture, spread with yoghurt and top with remaining lamb.
Brush remaining sheets with butter and scrunch individually and place on top of the pie to completely cover.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180º C for 40 minutes.
Cook it – love it!