Hidey-hi, the sun is shining, we’re all feeling good and we forgive the weather gods – well that’s how we are feeing on Waiheke. The weather is brilliant, crystal clear, crisp mornings and warm days, the white butterflies have gone, the cicadas hushed and just the beautiful birds chirping away. Waiheke is back to being the paradise it is.
Food! Yes, something tasty and easy is the order of the day. I’d forgotten how gorgeous sizzled haloumi tastes, and I love roasted grapes, so the two came to mind. I thought about adding prosciutto only because I saw some beautifully thin slices when I went shopping, so home I came and got cooking. But the prosciutto didn’t work – wrong texture, and it robbed these little appetizers of their beauty making them look clumsy – so I gobbled it up in a flash (well, it was only 4 slices and no one saw me anyway!) and stuck to my original idea. These are brilliant. Impressive. Sweet and tart, buttery and crunchy. Just get your wine match right (nothing too acidic, even a medium pinot gris would work, but nothing too big to drown the sweet buttery-ness). My neighbour is having drainage pipes dug in next door and there’s a couple of Argies (Argentinians) out their digging away, stripped to the waist, tanned and lean, and, well I went bearing gifts, as you do. They scoffed them up appreciatively. They’re there again today, but I’ve got no cooking to do … though maybe I can think of something to make. HaHa! Sizzled Haloumi & Roasted Grapes I’ve also got a lovely fresh bruschetta with roasted fennel recipe (and I’ve included one from last summer). Some people have an issue with raw fennel, but roasted, it’s another thing. If I tell you that it tastes like artichokes stewed in extra virgin olive oil, sort of rich and nutty and totally moreish, would you give it a go? You’d be mad not to. Get some decent bread, make a quick bean purée from a can of cannellini beans, roast off some fennel and top with preserved lemon. Oh, and invite some friends around for a drink and a munch. Great times can be had so easily. Bruschetta with Roasted Fennel & Preserved Lemon Mid-week cooking a problem for you? Here’s one of the Biuso family’s favourite pasta dishes, a tomato sauce with ‘extras’ if you like. Start off with good bacon, mind, not cheap stuff pumped full of water (you’ll see water in the packet if it has been pumped with water), and some baby frozen peas. Got a problem with frozen peas? Read the recipe and be convinced that they are good for you. Vegetarian? Leave out the bacon but add a teaspoon of smoked paprika to give a nice little oomph of smoky flavour. Farfalle with Tomato & Green Pea Sauce Yes, I’ve got the gabbles today … good weather lifts the spirits and I hope it has yours wherever you are. Cheerio Julie PS there are just a few places left on my cooking class 30th April. Check it out here