chilli flakes

Chilli Flakes: Preparing and Using

Warning: It is advisable not to get hot chillies on your hands. If you rub your eyes or any tender part of your body then an unpleasant burning sensation will occur. Use gloves or push the chilli round your chopping board with your knife.

Don't be scared of using chilli. I am not one of those people who like things really hot and challenging when eating a meal. Chilli can be used, like salt, as a flavour enhancer and I would encourage all cooks to try using chilli to get more flavour from your dishes.

It is the amount to use that is important and this only comes with trial and error for your personal taste. I use chilli flakes that I have grown to put in many of my dishes.

I got so many chillies off two bushes that I grew seven years ago that I am just coming to the end of my supply. I am not sure of the variety but they are a hot one.

Once the chilli pods start to shrivel, but before they dry too crisp, top them, cut them length ways and de-seed them. I then pack them into plastic screw top jars and stored them in the freezer. When I need to use some I flick the required amount of chilli flakes out with my knife, still frozen, and finely chop them before adding them to my dish.

crystallised lemon peel

Lemon Peel Crystallised

This is easy to do and I find the crystallised lemon peel is great to nibble on as you would lollies. Orange peel has a bitter after taste so I would only use this to add to mixed fruit for Christmas or fruit cakes.
crystallised lemon peel

Select three lemons from your tree that have clean yellow skin. Cut the lemons into quarters length ways. With a small sharp knife run the blade in the pith (white flesh) down the length one side then turn it around and then down the other to separate the peel from the flesh. The pith thickness varies. It is best not to get too much pith left on the peel.

crystallised lemon peel Put the peel into a pot and add water to cover. Bring this to the boil. Drain and repeat six times. After the final boil drain well. By doing this the peel is softened and the bitter after taste reduced.

Select a pot large enough so that the peel is not over crowded. Add half water to sugar by volume. Check that ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup of water is sufficient for your pot size. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil for about 5 minutes then add the peel. Simmer on the lowest heat that still simmers until the syrup is absorbed or you feel the peel is super saturated. This could be 30 minutes. I gently turn the peel over from time to time. crystallised lemon peel

Select a plate or tray large enough to place all your peel on without stacking the peel on top of each other. Sprinkle the plate with a layer of sugar. Take the peel from the pot and place on the sugar. Sprinkle more sugar on top. Leave to dry for several days turning occasionally and spoon sugar over the peel while drying. I cut the pieces of peel in half again length ways then store in a jar.

Source: pg188 - NZ Woman's Weekly Cook Book By Tui Flower 1971.

muesli muesli


A plate of muesli with unsweetened yogurt and stewed rhubarb along with two slices of toast and a mug of percolated coffee is my breakfast every morning.

This is how I make my muesli.

Put the dry ingredients in a large baking tray or roasting dish

2 cups jumbo oats (oats are a good cheap filler so you can increase this if you are on a budget)
1 cups almond slices
½ cup walnuts - chopped a little
½ cup coconut
¼ cup pumpkin seed
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup bran

Combine wet ingredients:

50ml honey (heat a little in the microwave if it is set)
50ml canola oil
25ml water

I use a measuring cup and add honey to 50ml mark, then the oil to the 100ml mark and lastly the water to the 125ml mark. I heat this to warm in the microwave. This helps to combine it when stirred.

Then pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir to combine. Give it a good stir to get a good even cover.

Bake with fan on, if you have one, at a 175°C / 350°F, stirring frequently until golden brown. I check and stir every 5 minutes (use a timer) then reduce the time to 3 minute check and stirs near the end.

When done let it cool in the pan stirring occasionally. It may stick together a bit.

muesli When cold add dried fruits. These can be anything you like. I use the following:

½ cup dried berry mix from the supermarket bulk bins
½ cup diced dried apricots
½ cup sultanas

Store in a sealed jar.

This muesli is not cheap. It has some good high quality ingredients in it. You will notice the mueslis you buy tend to be full of the cheaper ingredients like oats. If price is of concern look for the cheaper products and adjust the recipe to you budget.



note: use the stems only. The leaves are poisonous
A plate of muesli with unsweetened yogurt and stewed rhubarb along with two slices of toast and a mug of percolated coffee is my breakfast every morning.
250g Rhubarb stems
50g sugar
125ml water

Chop the rhubarb stems to approx 25mm / 1 inch pieces. Put the rhubarb into a pot. Add sugar and water. Bring to the boil, give a light stir and turn the ring off leaving the pot on the ring for a few more minutes. When cool store in a covered container in the fridge.

Preserving for the winter

Spring is the time when the rhubarb grows well with good thick stems. This is when there is a surplus so I do several pickings, cut it up as if I was going to cook it then portion into 250g lots and freeze it in plastic bags uncooked. To cook treat the same as fresh.

In summer the stems get a lot thinner and growth seems to slow but with the size of my plant I can pick right up to about April. In the winter growth slows to a stop.

Growing Rhubarb

spiced nuts

Spiced Nuts

WARNING: These nuts are so good they are addictive.
First mix together dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside:

1 ½ tsp flaky sea salt
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli flakes (vary this amount depending on how hot you like the nuts)
1 Tbsp sugar

In a heavy based frying pan add:

50ml peanut oil
125g sugar
400g/14oz of mixed nuts. I get half mixed nuts & half peanuts (cheaper)from the bulk bins at the supermarket.

Heat the oil then add the nuts and sugar. Have the ring on ¾ heat until it starts to sizzle then turn it down to half heat. They need to be regularly tossed or stir to keep the nuts moving and an even roast.

They are done when the sugar is nicely caramelised and the nut evenly golden. Take the pan off the ring. Sprinkle the dry spice ingredients over the nuts and stir in well to ensure an even coating.

Spread the nuts on to baking paper in a single layer. I put them in a roasting pan because of the oil. Once cool, break up and store in a sealed jar.

Source: Tempo, Waikato Times, Angelique Van Camp.

sports drink

Sports drink: Lemon & barley

I developed this drink for my cycle training. I found a lot of the sports drinks on the market were too sweet for me. This drink has not been scientifically analysed however the amount of glucose is what is recommended on the packet for sports activity.
Add the lemon juice for vitamin C. The pearl barley for fibre and several vitamins and minerals including niacin (Vitamin B3), thiamine ( Vitamin B1), selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and copper. How much would be in this sports drink I would have no idea. The glucose is the only, and probably most important, known quantity.

½ cup pearl barley
125g powdered glucose
Lemon juice to taste
2Lt /½ gallon water

In a large pot simmer the pearl barley in water for 1½ hours. Set aside to cool down. Pour though a sieve into a 2Lt / ½ gallon storage container. Mix in 125g of glucose and lemon juice to taste. Add water to bring it up to 2Lts. Store in the fridge.

Winter Training Time Because of the weather, time out training in winter can be considerably less. The sports drink has a limited life in the fridge so decant it off into your sport drink bottles and store them in the freezer. Remember to take one out to thaw 12 hours before it is required.


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