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The Pounamu Prophecy - birth of a book Two women, two cultures and an ancient Maori prophecy that will change their lives. That's the tag line for The Pounamu Prophecy - my first novel. It has been a slow process, interrupted by moving...

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Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol?Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol? The short answer is yes - you can eat mussels if you have high cholesterol. Mussels are low in kilojoules, cholesterol and fat. The little fat they do have is mostly healthy unsaturated fat with plenty...

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Bran MuffinsBran Muffins These bran muffins (adapted from a recipe by Alison Holst) are super filling - a great snack when you are trying to control your weight. Enjoy these muffins with a cup of tea but don't expect to absorb...

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Beat the flu with Chicken Noodle Soup It’s Queen’s Birthday holiday today in New Zealand and thank goodness, the sun is shining. I’m sitting in a sunny room writing this post, sheltered from the icy wind blasting up from Antarctica....

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My nanna's recipe for homemade Rewena (Maori) bread Rewena Bread Step 1 1 c flour 1 tsp sugar 1 potato Peel and cut potato into small pieces. Place in pot with 1 cup water, lid on, and simmer to mashing consistency. Mash, cool and when luke...

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Shakshuka – the perfect weekend lunch

Posted on : 01-08-2016 | By : Cindy | In : Colourful taste, History of Food, My idiot-proof recipes, Spices, Uncategorized

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Each time I sit down to write a few thousand words of my next novel I am transported to the Middle East and a world of exotic flavours – pyramids of fiery saffron and cumin, bunches of fragrant herbs, dusky green figs, succulent grapes and golden olive oil. Admittedly shakshuka would not have been around in first century Samaria – tomatoes did not find their way there until centuries later – but it is certainly a popular dish of the region nowadays.

It’s easy to make and is a gourmet alternative to eggs on toast. The thick, harissa laced tomato sauce adds a healthy boost of antioxidants and flavour. I love the fun of cracking eggs straight into their little nests in the sauce and the amazing colours once you sprinkle a little feta and parsley on at the end. Truly delicious!

 

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 red capsicum, finely chopped

1-2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 x 440g can tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon sugar (enhances the tomato flavour but you can leave it out)

2 teaspoons ras al hanout (from Herbie’s Spices)

1/2 teaspoon harissa paste (or more if you like more heat)

1 teaspoon paprika (for the colour)

5 – 6 eggs

Feta cheese

Parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil in large pan on moderate heat. Add onion, garlic, capsicum and celery. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring, until onion is clear. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Cook gently for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. make slight dents in sauce and break an egg into each one. Cover pan with lid and cook for a few minutes until eggs are done to your liking. Remove from heat. Sprinkle over feta cheese and parsley.

Exquisite Thai food on a balmy night at the beach – Ko Samed, Thailand

Posted on : 11-07-2010 | By : Cindy | In : Colourful taste, Travelling

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“Hello, you want sit here for nice dinner?” Two young Thai men beckon us towards large low tables where holiday-makers recline on triangular cushions as they eat dinner. We had already eaten there, under the stars with the waves lapping literally at our feet. Amazing setting, OK food.

Tonight we are flip-flopping in our jandals down Koh Samed beach, around the rocks, through to the next beach to Jeps Bungalows. The food here is fantastic. The menu offers every cuisine but we turn straight to the Thai dishes. What shall we eat tonight?

Keep your eyes healthy with sweet corn

Posted on : 06-02-2010 | By : Cindy | In : Colourful taste, Eyes, Super-healthy...er...stuff, Vegetables

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It’s great to buy fruit and vegetables in season. Right now we’re eating heaps of sweet corn. It’s so easy to cook: three minutes per cob (husk on) in the microwave. My son and I munch ours straight off the cob but my husband loves his smeared with butter and salt. He’s succumbed to skinny milk, cup-cake sized steak, couscous and lentils so I figure he’s allowed the odd indulgence!

Corn gets its rich yellow colour from the family of phytochemicals (natural plant chemicals) called carotenoids. Yellow, orange, red and dark green vegetables such as spinach, carrots, tomatoes and pumpkin get their colour from carotenoids. Corn is especially high in two carotenoids – lutein and zeazanthin. The macular region of the eye has a high concentration of these substances which implies that they play an important role in keeping our eyes healthy. It’s thought that they protect against light-induced damage to the eye and help prevent macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye problems.

Blenheim Farmer’s Market – jam, nuts, olive oil and rabbit!

Posted on : 26-01-2010 | By : Cindy | In : Colourful taste, New Zealand, Organic, Travelling

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We were on our way to Picton to catch the ferry to Wellington but I couldn’t leave without popping into the Blenheim farmers market. As we walked past fresh vegetables, apricots, cherries and nectarines a friendly lady offered me a plate of pikelets topped with chunky apricot and rhubarb & ginger jam. “Would you like to try one? It will go well with your bottle of Riesling.” I was momentarily flummoxed. How did she know I’d bought Riesling? Then I recognised her. It was Chris from the Vavasour winery. I’d staggered in there yesterday on my brief afternoon cycle around the local wineries. “This is my other job,” she explained. “I make my jam without water – just fruit and sugar, cooked slowly over a low heat. You get a much more intense flavour – no watering down.”

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