Type of onions

In New Zealand we have brown skinned onions that are strong and most people would not eat raw. They are used mainly for cooking. Then we have the red skinned onions that are milder and often used raw thinly sliced in salads or could replace spring onions in cooking.

S& P = Salt and Pepper

Moroccan Chicken

Baked Moroccan Chicken with rice and Pumpkin

I love using turmeric. Of all the spices this is the one that makes me feel as though I should be wearing a turban in the kitchen. It just has that exotic look and smell to it. This type of dish is very flexible in that you can put any vegetable or meat in it. I've used kumara instead of pumpkin and put three meats, chicken, spicy sausage and bacon in all at once. I noted a recipe in one of our local magazines that was very similar to this but used lamb for the meat and mixed vegetables and called it "Lamb Biryani". So this is a good recipe to have in your portfolio. It freezes and reheats very well so you could double the recipe and freeze half if you wanted to.

Pre heat your oven to 180°C / 360°F


680g boneless chicken (I like skin on for flavour, but skin off is better for you)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 brown onion finely chopped
1 carrot diced
1 clove crushed and chopped or 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon each of: ground ginger, turmeric, smoked paprika and cinnamon
Zest of a lemon
250g pumpkin or squash peeled and diced
1 ½ cups chicken stock
½ cup basmati rice washed and drained
S&P to taste


Heat the oil in a pan. Brown both sides of the chicken. It does not have to be cooked. Remove and set aside.

Add onions, carrots and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes. Add all the spices and zest. Cook another 2 minutes. Add a splash of stock if the pan dries out.

Stir in the pumpkin and stock. Bring to the boil to absorb all the flavours. Transfer to the baking dish. Add the uncooked rice, mix in. Place the chicken on top along with any juices. Put a lid on and bake for 55 minutes.

If you are serving at the table, rest for a bit, remove the lid and fluff up the rice. We serve it with a green salad on the side.

Serves 3 - 4
Source: Dish Mag. Issue 25, Aug - Sept 2009

Lite Thai Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry (Mild) Lite Thai

This is a low-fat recipe for those watching their weight or cholesterol.
This curry is so mild that I add chilli flakes to it to heat it up a bit. I am not sure whether all red curry paste is so mild or just the brand I have been using. I have found green curry paste to be a lot hotter.
A warning: Using fish sauce is a smelly business. I cook this on a gas ring outside on my BBQ or in the summer inside when all the doors and windows are wide open. I am not sure I would recommend cooking it inside in the winter with all your doors and windows shut.


400g skinless and boneless chicken
Zest and juice of a lemon
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ red onion peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons red curry paste
400ml tin of lite coconut cream
150g diced mushrooms (optional but good to include)
Taste before adding any salt.
Fish sauce, Soy and curry paste are all salty.
If you want the curry to be a bit hotter add chilli flacks to taste.


Cut the chicken into cubes and marinate in the lemon zest and juice for about 15minutes.

Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté garlic, onion and ginger for a couple of minutes. Then add the fish sauce, curry paste and soy. Let the flavour develop on a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Don't rush this process. Stir occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom.

Add the marinated chicken, mushrooms and the tin of coconut cream and continue cooking on a moderate heat for 20 minutes also. Test the chicken to ensure it is thoroughly cooked. I generally keep cooking until the liquid has been reduced sufficiently that it is a lightly thickened sauce.

Serve on bed of rice garnished with chopped fresh basil and/or coriander with a salad on the side.

Serve 4.
Source: essentially food, June/July 2006

Courgettes (Zucchini)

Courgette can be easy to grow and two plants will produce a lot of courgettes at the peak of the growing season. This is why I have gathered a number of recipes to use them.

Growing Courgettes


Courgettes - as a vegetable

Whip this up to go with the rest of your dinner.


Red Onion
Sweet chilli sauce (optional)
S & P
Slice all the vegetables and chop the basil.
Add a little oil to a pan add the vegetables when hot and stir fry on a medium heat tossing regularly.
The tomatoes tend to cook before the courgettes. If this worries you delay adding them for a bit.
Drizzle with the sweet chilli sauce near the end.
The courgettes should still be a bit crunchy so do not overcook. This only takes a couple of minutes to cook.

Courgette Salad

Courgette, Green Bean & sundried Tomato Salad

When I make this I make it into a complete meal by adding spicy cooked sausage or some other spicy cooked meat from our local deli then serve it on a base of rice or couscous. I serve this as a warm salad. If you wanted to use it as a side salad then leave these additions out. If you wish to have it as a cold salad chill the ingredients in the fridge.


Dressing: Make up and put aside.
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
S & P

Put all the ingredients in a dressing bottle and shake vigorously. Do not store in the fridge as the olive oil will thicken.

6 (about) courgette cut into slices length ways
½ lemon cut into 5mm thick slices
300g green beans
Red onion thinly sliced (optional)
½ cup thinly sliced sun dried tomatoes (from supermarket deli)
¼ cup of roasted cashew nuts. More if you like.
150g spicy cooked meat diced (Shaved pastrami or chorizo sausage is good)
Cooked rice or couscous


Cook the beans in salted water until just tender. Rinse in cold water to cool them down. They can still be warm when used in the salad.

Cook enough rice or couscous for the number of servings.

I cook the slices of courgettes on the grill of my BBQ. But you can use your grill in the oven or a pan. The BBQ flame gives it that extra flavour. Brush the courgettes with the dressing while cooking. Ensure the courgettes are left with some 'crunch'. If the courgettes are overcooked the salad will be soggy. Cut the lengths into chunky pieces.

Brush the lemon with oil and grill both sides until golden. Cut into small pieces.

To serve combine everything (except the rice or couscous) in a large bowl add the dressing and toss. Put the rice or couscous in the bottom of your eating bowls or plate and place the salad on top.

Serves 4.
Source: Modified from a recipe in Dish Mag. Issue 28, Feb - Mar 2010

Courgette Bake

Courgette and Tomato Bake

The cheese in this dish gives it a little bit of richness that you don't normally get with a salad-type dish.
Once baked, there is quite a bit of liquid in the base of the cooking dish which should not be wasted. You can either serve it on a bed of couscous to soak it up or have a bread roll on the side for this purpose.
With any leftover I make a risotto type dish for dinner the next evening by cooking rice then combining the left over and rice in a pan to heat it through. The rice will absorb all the juices.

Pre heat your oven to 220°C / 430°F


5 or 6 courgette
5 or 6 tomatoes
½ red onion finely chopped
2 cloves squashed and chopped or a heaped teaspoon of minced garlic (out of a jar)
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup olive oil
Sprig of fresh mint
S & P
Balsamic vinegar
¼ cup crumbled feta


Top and tail the courgettes and cut into length way slices. Then cut the lengths into chunky pieces.
Cut the tomatoes into chunks.
In a large bowl add all the ingredients except the Feta and Balsamic vinegar.
Toss gently until all the ingredients are well oiled.
Transfer to the baking dish. Top with the feta cheese.
Bake, uncovered, for approximately 20 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. It is best not to overcook the vegetables.
Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar before serving.

Serves 4.
Source: Waikato Times supplement "Your Weekend" Feb 2010, Fiona Sneyd.

Italian Spaghetti

Spaghetti Italian with homemade tomato sauce

This has been a family favourite for many years. We would have it almost weekly certainly 3 out of 4 weeks. It is best to make so that it has at least an hour to fully develop all the flavours before serving.


1 Tablespoon of canola oil
1 brown onion peeled and finely chopped
70g Smokey bacon, diced
1 heaped teaspoon minced garlic or a couple of cloves crushed and chopped.
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes in juice
1 Heaped dessert spoon of tomato paste
Chilli flakes to taste (optional)
Basil - About 12 large leaves chopped, if you have fresh otherwise I use two frozen basil ice blocks that we prepare each summer to use in winter otherwise 2 teaspoons of dried basil.
Cook enough spaghetti for the number of servings. (I cook 100g of dry spaghetti per person)


In a pan heat the oil. On a medium heat cook the onion and bacon until the onion is clear.
Add the garlic cook a little to extract the flavour.
Add the tomato, tomato paste, chilli flakes, and the basil.
Turn the ring down as low as it will go and simmer for an hour. You will need to add water from time to time.
Serve on a bed of cooked spaghetti. Garnish with grated parmesan and have a fresh bread roll on the side.
This dish goes well with a glass of dry red wine.

Serves 2 - 3


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