Monday, April 30, 2007

Things Green-NZ

Sometimes it's not the food and recipes that get my juices flowing, but just nature is a terrific color, wouldn't you agree?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Leek and Parsnip Mash

One meal that comes to mind quickly when I visit NZ are lamb shanks. The second day in town, I was shopping at the local butcher shop......tons of lamb shanks, fresh and unpackaged so I could pick out the exact ones I wanted. With shanks in tow, off to the grocery. Carrots looked beautiful and also a perfect match, however, there in the bounteous buffet of veggies, I found fresh, crisp parsnips-huge ones! This was just the perfect veggie to team up with the shanks.
A little off track here, for the moment...........driving around the North Island, I didn't notice as many sheep as in previous years of visiting NZ. When you come around a curve, and there are just a few zillion on the drive towards Mangonui, you just can't believe the contrast of the sheep against the brilliant green, soft hilly takes your breath away! The sheep are being replaced by more cattle, more vineyards and now, the olive groves. Seems like a sensible thing to do now as the pasture land is truly fertile!
Parsnip and Leek Mash
5 large parsnips
1 Tsp.salt -or to your liking
3 Tbsp. butter
4 -5 Tbsp. of thick, fresh cream
1 Cup of thinly sliced leeks
Freshly ground pepper, to your liking
Begin by peeling the parsnips just as you would carrots. Trim the ends and chop into large pieces. Trim the leeks and slice into round pieces-use just the white part. Wash the leeks carefully....
Cook the leeks and parsnips in boiling water together until tender. Drain and transfer veggies into a processor and puree.Add the butter and the cream. You may add more cream if the mixture seems too thick. Add the salt and pepper.
Place in sauce pan and reheat then serve. The mashed parsnips are a lovely contrast against the shanks and any other fresh vegetable you might want to serve.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ginger Dates

Sometimes special things happen for a reason-I'm not one for trying to figure out why they do occur, but they do. Hence, my meeting up with a fabulous innovative New Zealand couple and proud owners of the Hihi Olive Estate.
The first night of our arrival in NZ we were invited for "snackies" and drinks at their estate. It was a" foodie love affair" right from the start........I thought I would share one of the delicious hors d'oeuvres that we were offered on this very special evening. For all my French readers, please excuse the method of serving finger foods-I know you love to serve the fork foods instead of anything eaten by hand, however, this little tid-bit is just perfect for a party: not too exotic, somewhat sophisticated and easy to prepare! This is what I love about traveling, trying new pre-dinner offerings and meeting new friends..........

Stuffed Dates

2 dozen fresh, moist dates, split lengthwise and pressed open.
1 cup of softened cream cheese.
24 thick slivers of soft crytalized ginger pieces-found in the dried fruit section of your grocery store.

Stuff the dates with the cream cheese. Gently place a piece of the ginger inside the middle of the cream filled date. That is it.........enjoy!