Tuesday, April 30, 2013

new opening: the food truck garage

Denizen checks out an inner-city dining destination committed to a healthy fast food experience.

Our city’s newest gastronomic offering was born, quite literally in the back of a truck. A product of the popular Food Truck TV series that followed Chef Michael Van de Elzen’s quest to reinvent fast food, the Food Truck Garage showcases Van de Elzen’s favourite dishes, as he deconstructs and reinvents fast food, making it healthy, fresh and affordable. No doubt this notion will lure in health conscious foodies from around Auckland, who struggle to keep their indulgences in check.

Nestled among the concrete jungle that is City Works, The Food Truck Garage is largely industrial in décor, boasting a airy and bright main dining area thanks to an impressive glass and steel retractable garage door, which opens up the space into the City Works central courtyard. A collection of high bar tables, larger tables for more boisterous company and intimate corner tables comprise the space, while outside next to the iconic 1970s Bedford Food Truck sit shared picnic tables and a few brightly painted steel drums where feijoa, passionfruit, chilli, blueberries and an array of herbs are on hand for use in the eateries dishes.


Kiwi chef leads restaurant to top 50 glory

By Morgan Tait - New Zealand Herald -  Wednesday May 1, 2013

Ben Shewry says growing up in rural Taranaki helped him develop his eclectic flavour combinations. Photo / APNZ

Ben Shewry says growing up in rural Taranaki helped him develop his eclectic flavour combinations. Photo / APNZ

An Australian restaurant headed by New Zealand chef Ben Shewry has been ranked 21st on the World's 50 Top Restaurants list.

Shewry is head chef at Melbourne's Attica restaurant that was yesterday named Australia's best eatery on Restaurant magazine's annual register, compiled from the opinions of more than 900 international industry experts. The ranking was the latest accolade for Taranaki-born Shewry, who was the Age Good Food Guide chef of the year in 2010 and named Best New Talent in 2008 by Gourmet Traveller.
"It's completely surreal. I never saw it coming and I never expected it," he told goodfood.com.au.
"We've been through many, many ups and downs with the restaurant over the years and some incredible highs and some lows. I always just stay centred through all of that."

Shewry is known for his trailblazing and eclectic flavour combinations that he credits to growing up in rural, coastal Awakino where his family cultivated and caught their own food.
He apprenticed at Wellington's Roxborough Bistro under Mark Limacher, then Michael Lambie and Andrew McConnell in Melbourne and David Thompson at Nahm in London, before taking over Attica's kitchen in 2005.


Top restaurants
1. El Celler de Can Roca - Girona, Spain
2. Noma - Copenhagen, Denmark
3. Osteria Francescana - Modena, Italy
4. Mugaritz - San Sebastian, Spain
5. Eleven Madison Park - New York, US
6. D.O.M. - Sao Paulo, Brazil
7. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal - London
8. Arzak - San Sebastian, Spain
9. Steirereck - Vienna, Austria
10. Vendome - Bergisch Gladbach, Germany

Australian restaurants in the 50 Best Restaurants 2013 list:
21. Attica - Melbourne
48. Quay - Sydney

Cakes, cakes and more cakes...............

Is it my imagination or is home baking on a roll? I presently have five books specialising in baking cakes that have all been published in the last few weeks and I must say they make your mouth water just looking through them.

Kiwiana Cupcakes, Cake Pops and Whoopie Pies
By Kirsten Day

We all have memories of heartland New Zealand – no matter where we grew up.  There will forever be nostalgic recollections associated with fish and chips, gumboots, and a paddock filled with sheep.

Expert cupcake maker and decorator Kirsten Day offers recipes and strategies for creating gorgeous cupcakes that bring all these Kiwiana memories to life. Such fun, I was smiling all the while as I read the book.

Kiwiana Cupcakes offers more than 30 recipes for cupcakes, cake pops and whoopie pies, which includes everything from a chocolate Kiwifruit cupcake to a sheep in the paddock cake pops.

Alongside these fabulous never-fail recipes are Kirsten’s expert tips and hints, advice on Kiwiana styling and variations on design.

Kirsten Day manages Milly’s Kitchen (voted Best Homeware Store 2011 by Metro magazine), and runs cake and cupcake decorating classes all over the country.

Published by HarperCollins in May 2013
RRP $39.99

The Caker
50 New and Unusual Cake Recipes by Jordan Rondel

“It’s important to eat something sweet every day”

Twenty-four-year-old Jordan Rondel has been involved in the New Zealand fashion industry for as long as she can remember and, if her luscious cakes, cookies and puddings could strut down the cat walk, they would. With panache.

Gathering together her 50 favourite recipes, Jordan believes that The Caker will appeal to any keen baker, who likes to experiment, but whose top priority is always to create simple, nutritious and appealing cakes. The fashion element is expressed in Jordan’s preference for pastel colours, soft cloud-like frostings and edgy cake decorations.

Using top quality ingredients and those that are in season are all part of Jordan’s aesthetic and her repertoire of recipes extends from the dainty – Earl Grey Friands with Rose Water Glaze and Orange Sablé Cookies – to the robust – Dark Chocolate, Pear and Pistachio Cake with Ganache and Double-Layer Raspberry White Chocolate Cake.

Including Jordan’s top baking tips and 15 recipes for icings, glazes, toppings, syrups and fillings, the style aesthetic behind The Caker makes it  a useful addition to the  baking book market.

Jordan Rondel was born in Auckland in 1989, and has French and Irish ancestry. She was educated at the University of Auckland, where she completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and International Business. After looking for work in the advertising industry, Jordan decided to set up her own business and, in 2010 her cake making and delivery business, ‘The Caker’, was born, and became an overnight success.

The Caker
Jordan Rondel
RRP: $36.99
Random House NZ

Natalie Oldfield's love affair with food began with baking.........

Natalie Oldfield opened her food store, Dulcie May Kitchen, in Mt Eden in 2009 as a tribute to her grandmother, Dulcie May Booker.  In the year of its opening, Dulcie May Kitchen won Best Cake Shop in Metro magazine and in 2010 was voted one of the Top 50 Cafés.

Gran’s Sweet Pantry is a collection of the best recipes from Dulcie May, beautifully reproduced and laden with gorgeous images. It is split into practical sections: scones and muffins, biscuits and sweet treats, cakes and loaves, slices, desserts and preserves.

Natalie’s debut cookbook, Gran’s Kitchen, sold more than 15,000 copies in New Zealand alone, won the Gourmand Book Award in Europe for best local cuisine in New Zealand and is published in Australia and Great Britain.  Her follow-up title, Gran’s Family Table, also won a Gourmand Cookbook Award in 2011

Gran's Sweet Pantry
Natalie Oldfield
Harper Collins - Hardback - $44.99

Love Bake Nourish by London-based NZ'er Amber Rose is an inspiring collection of tempting cakes, tarts, pies, meringues,small bakes, compotes and herbal teas.

Kyle Books - Hardback - $45
Distributed in NZ by New Holland Publishers

The Hummingbird Bakery CAKE DAYS
Collins - Hardcover - $54.99

Coincidentally I was in the Primrose Hill branch of this bakery in London three weeks ago buying caramelised fruit and nut tarts which are featured in the book, and I might add they were gorgeous. 
They are rated as Britain's favourite bakery and that doesn't surprise me at all having been in the shop and now having browsed through this beautiful book which contains over 100 inspirational recipes from cupcakes and layer cakes, to muffins and cookies, whoopie pies and cheese cakes.
Every day could be a cake day with this book!

And here is a delicious recipe for you to try from The Caker:

Moist Honey and Earl Grey Tea Cake

This cake has a divine flavour and is incredibly moist. I like to scatter a few dried lavender petals on top to bring out the floral notes of the tea.

200g plain flour
120g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground allspice
150g butter, melted
1 cup honey
150g brown sugar
2 large organic eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
 ²/³ cup warm strong Earl Grey tea

To top with
200ml thickened cream for in between the layers and on top
liquid honey
dried lavender petals for garnish

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-bake. Grease and line two 22cm diameter cake tins.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice.
Add the butter, honey, sugar, eggs, vanilla and tea. Stop your electric mixer once all the ingredients are combined; do not over-mix.
Evenly divide the batter between the tins.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden in colour, springy to the touch, and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Once fully cooled, spread a layer of cream onto one cake and then place the other, flipped upside down, on top to form a sandwich. Then spread another layer of cream on the top.
Drizzle the cake with the liquid honey and sprinkle on some dried lavender petals.
Because there is fresh cream on this cake, it is best to store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days

Monday, April 29, 2013

MEET LAURAINE JACOBS: THURSDAY, 9 MAY from 6:00-7:30PM upstairs at Time Out Bookstore in Auckland's Mt.Eden

Food legend and well-known cookbook author, Lauraine Jacobs will be instore to talk about her latest book: Everlasting Feast: A treasury of recipes and culinary adventures. 

Join us on what promises to be a great night of talk about food and memories...rsvp essential to 630 3331 or books@timeout.co.nz

How humans eat their food

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Marti Friedlander's Carrot Soup with Fennel.

Carrot Soup with Fennel.

1 large onion chopped

1  large bulb Fennel

2 sticks Celery

6 large carrots

teaspoon Salt

dab butter for base

To make

Braise onions in butter until soft,

Add all ingredients and cook until soft,

And then mash until smooth.

Bon Appetit!

Marti Friedlander Photographer 

Michael Pollan’s latest book Cooked: A Natural History Of Transformation

If US food writer Michael Pollan’s latest book Cooked: A Natural History Of Transformation (Penguin) were a meal it would be a lengthy one made up of delicious morsels and bigger chunks harder to chew through but probably very good for you all the same.

Cooked is not a recipe book – although there are a few at the back. Rather it is part dissertation, part culinary journey of discovery, part paean to the virtues of food preparation.
Pollan begins with the premise that cooking is the thing that separates us from other animal species. He quotes anthropologist Richard Wrangham’s theory that when humans learnt to control fire it freed us up from the effort of chewing and digesting raw food, providing faster, better nourishment; and so we were able to get on with the business of developing a culture.
Enthused by this idea, Pollan resolves to embark on an education in cooking. He approaches it by dividing the whole business into its four transformative elements: fire, water, air and earth.

Fire takes him to North Carolina where he is introduced to the tradition of southern barbecue – not a gas grill in the backyard Kiwi-style but fire pits where whole hogs are roasted slowly over wood. This is the most entertaining section of Cooked partly because of the personalities Pollan encounters as he learns to make the perfect barbecue sandwich, in particular legendary pitmaster Ed Mitchell.
Water takes him to the kitchen where he learns the art of one-pot slow cooking. For home cooks this is the most practical part of the book as the chapters are constructed round a basic recipe and littered with tips to extract maximum flavor from cheap cuts of meat.

Air is all about baking the perfect sourdough but it also takes Pollan to a Wonder Bread factory where he sees how manufacturers carefully remove all the good stuff from grains of wheat before mass-producing their soft white loaves.
Earth leads us into the realm of fermented foods, with Pollan steeping himself in sauerkraut, kimchi and healthy bacteria.

The core message in Cooked is much the same as in Pollan’s previous books. He is concerned about the industrialisation of food, the insidious creep of the processed and the packaged onto our dining tables, our love affair with fast and convenient, and what it has stolen from the rhythm of our lives as well as done to our health.
He manages to be opinionated without preaching. What he says makes such sense he almost shouldn’t have to say it, except you only have to walk down the aisles of your closest supermarket to see how much we need to hear it.

Pollan is a realist. He understands all the elements of modern life that have contributed to the decline of culinary skills. Time in the kitchen, chopping and frying, neither hurried nor distracted is, he says, one of the great luxuries of life at this point.
Cooked is writing to inspire and inform, to help turn the drudgery of getting family weeknight dinners on the table into something more vital for our health and our humanity. It’s a big feed of a book, complex and difficult to digest at times, but nourishing to the soul as well as the brain. 

About the reviewer.
 Nicky Pellegrino, an Auckland-based author of popular fiction, is also the Books Editor of the Herald on Sunday where the above review was first published on Sunday 28 April 2013.

Her latest novel When In Rome is set in 1950's Italy and was published in September 2012. Her next novel, The Food Of Love Cooking School, will be published later this year

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Healthy, Meet Delicious

Serge Bloch
There was a time when few of us thought about what we ate, but that’s been turned upside down since the reigning wisdom first decried salt, then cholesterol, then saturated fat, then almost all fat, then red meat, then carbohydrates and so on. Recent culprits include so many foods and foodlike substances that at least twice a week someone asks me: “What’s left to eat? I feel like nothing is safe.”

Evan Sung for The New York Times - Pasta with clams.
Evan Sung for The New York Times Chopped salad.
Evan Sung for The New York Times - Vanilla-fruit smoothie.
Before the end of innocence, when hyperprocessed food dominated the diet, we might eat a breakfast of Pop-Tarts or another sugary pastry, followed by a lunch of burgers, fries and a shake, and a dinner of meat-laden pizza, and feel not even a twinge of guilt. Now, almost nothing can be eaten without thinking twice.

And so a spectrum informs the contemporary diet: on one end is thoughtlessness; on the other, neurosis. One extreme is Morgan Spurlock’s orgy of fast food; the other is something like an ascetic diet of raw vegetables.

The first of these is not recommended. The second is almost equally extreme, almost impossible to achieve and of questionable value.

All of us live along this spectrum. The moderate, conscious eater — the flexitarian — knows where the goal lies: a diet that’s higher in plants and lower in both animal products and hyperprocessed foods, the stuff that makes up something like three-quarters of what’s sold in supermarkets. That’s the kind of cooking and eating I’ll be exploring in this monthly column. (It’s also the topic of my new book, “VB6” — for vegan before 6 p.m.)

This is not a diet column, unless you accept that “diet” means something closer to “way of life” than “weird quick fix.” Rather, it’s an eating column, one that will remain — in the tradition of the Dining section — more about great food than anything else.

One might reasonably wonder whether we truly need the label “flexitarian” or whether, indeed, it is so different from “omnivore.” Both, after all, describe someone who eats more or less everything.
But the word flexitarian contains a couple of helpful implications. It was originally applied to those who ate mostly vegetables but also incorporated meat or fish: people who were moving their meat-heavy diets in a more vegetarian direction, as well as vegetarians who were adding meat or fish back into their meals. The word also suggests a regimen that includes more whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables than the Standard American Diet, or SAD, as some have taken to calling it.

And at least the word flexitarian hasn’t been perverted, as has vegetarian. After all, there is a name for a vegetarian who eats fish — pescetarian — even though that’s entirely contrarian. There are even self-described vegetarians who eat chicken. (You might call them confused, hypocritical or simply flexitarian.) “Vegan” is more consistently understood, but few of us want to become real vegans.

Eat Your Books - from their monthly newsletter

Wicked Good BurgersEverlasting feastThis month's Cookbook roundup introduces 23 new books that have just been published in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. Plus Susie opines on the hot trends for the month - cutesy baking and food truck cookbooks among them. Check out all the new arrivals.
We love lists of favorites - and we're betting our members do, too. Here are some items that have excited our members:

Thai chicken salad
Top 5 Facebook Recipes:
Quinoa Peanut Soup

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A year of cooking at the bach

  • New Zealand Herald - Jan 28, 2013
Deborah Hide-Bayne is a rat-race refugee who now lives an idyllic life on the Coromandel. Below is a recipe from her new book

Szechuan Snapper from Coromandel Flavour: a year of cooking at the bach by Deborah Hide-Bayne. Photo /Deborah Hide-BayneSzechuan Snapper from Coromandel Flavour: a year of cooking at the bach by Deborah Hide-Bayne. Photo- author

It often takes foreign eyes to remind us what we can celebrate in New Zealand. When British artist Deborah Hide-Bayne "escaped" (as she puts it) her hectic life in London, she landed in Coromandel to a lifestyle she says "stopped me in my tracks". Nearly 10 years later, with a home, husband and son, and an orchard at her door, she created her book, Coromandel Flavours: A year of cooking at the bach. In it, she sketches, photographs and keeps a charming diary of the seasons and her food.

To get fish for this summer snapper recipe, Deborah's lucky enough to have a friend with a boat, or she fishes off the rocks.
She says you need local knowledge from fishing mates, who will all have their own favourite fishing spots, baits and techniques.

"Find someone who's in the know to increase your chance of catching a lovely fish for your dinner. Remember to put plenty of ice in your chilly bin, to keep whatever you catch as fresh as possible."
If luck evades you, buy a whole gutted snapper (the smaller the sweeter) from the fish shop.
Deborah's friend Yaning (wife of David, the neighbour with the boat), is a a recent immigrant from China.

The pair share a great friendship and a love of food. This is one of Yaning's recipes. Deborah says Yaning never measures the ingredients, just tastes the dish regularly to see how it is going, and she can tell when the fish is cooked just by looking at it.

Use this recipe as a starting point, as the cooking time will vary depending on the size of the fish and the heat of the burner. Check it by using a sharp knife to gently lift the skin and poke at the inside. You want it just starting to flake and looking opaque.

Szechuan snapper
• oil
• 1 whole gutted snapper
• small bunch spring onions
• thumb of fresh ginger
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 red chilli
• 3 Tbsp soy sauce
• 1 Tbsp sugar
• 2 Tbsp vinegar
• whole szechuan or black peppercorns
• parsley

1. Heat the oil in a wok. Put the fish in the oil to sear it on both sides and place to one side.
2. Add the spring onion, ginger, garlic and chilli, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
3. Put the seared fish on top of the spices, add the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, peppercorns and enough water to cover the fish. Cover and cook for approximately 10 minutes.
4. Garnish with parsley and serve with rice or vegetables.
To serve, take the meat off the bone and pour a little of the broth or cooking liquor over the top. Recently, I cooked a 1.25kg fish, which took 12 minutes, starting in cold water. We ate it in soup bowls with noodles cooking in the broth.
Just put dried noodles in once you have taken the fish out, and by the time you have flaked the fish, the noodles will be ready.

Coromandel Flavour: A year of cooking at the Bach, by Deborah Hide-Bayne, $45, published by Coromandel Flavour. Buy from the website coromandelflavour.co.nz

Food Revolution Day with Jamie Oliver

Get involved in our annual Food Revolution Day, a global day of action for people everywhere to celebrate real food, where it comes from and how to cook it. It’s a day to come together to keep these cooking skills alive, improve our food knowledge and share it with others. Whatever you decide to do on Food Revolution Day, be sure to register your activity on the official website, where you’ll find lots of inspiration and free downloads.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cookbook publishing in NZ in rude good health

Presently sitting on my kitchen table are no fewer than nine recently  published NZ cookbooks:

Everlasting Feast - a treasury of recipes and culinary adventures

Lauraine Jacobs - Random House $55

At My Table - Masterchef NZ Winner
Chelsea Winter - Random HOuse - $55

Good Food Made Simple
Allyson Gofton - Penguin - $50

Gran's Sweet Pantry
Natalie Oldfield - Harper Collins - $44.99

Simon Gault - Homemade
Simon Gault - Penguin Books - $60

Cook Eat Enjoy - Tasty dishes from my travels to your kitchen

Nici Wickes - Harper Collins - $44.99

Ripe Recipes - A Fresh Batch

Angela Redfern - Beatnik - $59.99

Coromandel Flavour - a year of cooking at the bach
Deborah Hide-Bayne - Published by the author - www.coromandelflavour.co.nz - $45.00

one pot Cooking
Richard Till - Harper Collins - $39.99 (publication 3 May)

I am like a bee in clover with all these wonderful new books to read and to make meals from. Reviews will be posted as I read them and try recipes from each. Watch this space.

I have of course already featured Simon Gault - Homemade, and have written about Lauraine Jacob's title - Everlasting Feast - but just a reminder that Lauraine is appearing at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival next month - 4.00 pm Friday, May 17.

It’s the End of the World Unless We All Start Cooking

April 23, 2013- The Book Beast

Why re-imagining the way we cook is the only way we’ll survive, says Michael Pollan. He talks to Rachel Khong about our unsustainable diets and how food went wrong. An excerpt from Lucky Peach magazine’s “Apocalypse” issue.

The way we eat now is having a profound effect on climate change, which certainly threatens to bring about the end of the world as we’ve known it.
Michael Pollan at Toronto's Live Organic Food Bar in February 2008. (Keith Beaty)
For better and worse, the industrial food system has made food very cheap. The poor can eat a better diet than they once could. It used to be that only the rich could eat meat every day of the week. Now just about everyone can, three meals a day. Fast-food chains make it easy. It’s not very good meat, and most of it is brutally produced, but it is within reach.

But meat has a tremendous carbon footprint: beef in particular because it takes so much grain to get a pound of beef. It takes about 15 pounds of grain to get 1 one pound of beef, and that grain takes tremendous amounts of fossil fuel—in the form of fertilizer, pesticide, farm equipment, processing, and transportation. All told, it takes 55 calories of fossil-fuel energy to get one calorie of beef. The average for processed foods is 10 calories of fossil fuel per calorie of food.

Before World War II every calorie of fossil-fuel energy put into a farm—in the form of diesel energy for tractors, and in fertilizer—yielded 2.3 calories of food. That’s nature’s free lunch—the difference between that 1 calorie in and the 2.3 out, which is the result of solar energy. Now, it takes 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce a single calorie of food. It’s absurd that we’re now running an energy deficit with food, the production of which is theoretically based on photosynthesis. It should be the one area in our lives that is carbon neutral or even better, because plants are really the only way to take energy from the sun.
Our goal should be to eat from the solar food chain to the extent we can and not from the fossil-fuel chain, which is what we’re mainly doing now. The question becomes: how do you do that? We have some powerful models. Grass-fed beef is basically a system where the sun feeds the grass, the grass feeds the ruminants, and the ruminants feed us. You’re eating sunlight when you eat from that food chain. Re-solarizing the food chain should be our goal in every way—taking advantage of the everyday miracle that is photosynthesis.

We’re not doing that, because fossil fuel has been so cheap. Over time, farms have been substituting fossil fuel for human labor as well as the energy of the sun. Fertilizer made with natural gas or diesel was a huge step away from using the sun. It is only in the last few years that people are starting to realize the role food can play in fixing environmental problems, and the fact that we’re not going to tackle global warming without reforming the food system.
‘Cooked’ by Michael Pollan. 480 pages. The Penguin Press. $27.95.