Sunday, June 30, 2013

Watermelon Mojitos

Posted: 30 Jun 2013 - bookcooker

Nothing screams summer like watermelon. Watermelon has never been a real love of mine, I tolerate it, but the big cutting job and the dripping miss never did it for me.  This year, for some reason, I keep finding myself adding watermelon to my grocery cart.  Something just clicked, and I want to eat it all the time now.  Maybe its because the genetic modifying farmers have really found the right formula to make sweet, juicy seedless watermelons?  Who knows.  
As we head into July, watermelon serves as the perfect starting ingredient for summer cocktails.  I could have gone a lot of ways mixing this into drinks - margarita, daiquiri, sangria, but decided to go with the mojito, with a healthy dose of mint adding an herbaceous balance to the sweetness of the watermelon and rum.   While this isn't red, white and blue, it will still be a great addition to any Fourth of July soiree, and pink and green is cuter anyway, right?

Watermelon Mojito, adapted from The Barefoot Contessa "How Easy is That?"

Ingredients (for 2 drinks)
10-15 mint leaves, torn in pieces, plus more for garnish
2 cups watermelon
6 ounces light rum
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar

1.       In each glass, muddle half the mint leaves with 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Let sit.
2.       Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the watermelon - either leave it pulpy or strain.
3.       Add a few ice cubes to each glass.
4.       Pour 2 tablespoons of lime juice in each glass, then top with the rum and the watermelon juice mixture.
Stir and sip

Want to go on a food adventure? Nicky Pellegrino on some of Auckland's best from yesterday's Herald On Sunday

Friday, June 28, 2013

Cookbook roundup

From Eat Your Books

Vintage Recipestaste of honeyThis month's Cookbook roundup introduces 21 new books that have just been published in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. 
Plus Susie opines on the hot trends for the month - canning & pickling, raw food and detox, and superfoods among others.

YES, CHEF by Marcus Samuelsson

From WE Love This Book:

This brilliant autobiography deftly explores the various challenges brought about by Ethiopian-born and Swedish-raised Samuelsson's obsessive passion for food. 
From learning to cook with his grandmother Helga and failing to make it as a professional football player, to seeking bigger challenges than the training kitchens of Sweden allowed and fighting to make a name for himself as a young black chef in a predominantly white, middle-class industry, this autobiography is equal parts love, hard work and honesty and is an inspiring read.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

goop mag #5

I recently discovered Kitchit, an awesome service in NY, LA, Chicago and the Bay Area that hooks you up with one of any number of their chefs who specialize in almost any kind of cuisine. You choose the price, type of food, etc., and someone shows up at your door to make a special meal. Could be a dinner for two, or a party. 

I vetted them when I was in Los Angeles and had a full day with both the super cool Chef Ariane Resnick, who was put to the test with a million dietary restrictions (she is one of their special dietary needs masters) and awesomely affable Chef Joey Santos. Recipes for both days below.

Our culture/design editor Eliza went to Berlin for a long weekend to bring us the best of art and design. The galleries, collections, studios are difficult to know about as they can be private or hidden, requiring reservations or a guide. She's done all the work for us. And a few other bits.


This goop issue is abbreviated. Click here to read the full issue »

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Easy Weekends: Food by Neil Perry

 Hardback. RRP$59.99. Published by Murdoch Books.

As arguably Australia's best known chef, Neil Perry is often associated with the food served at his successful restaurants around Australia, from the flagship contemporary Australian fine diner Rockpool, to his popular Rockpool Bar & Grill steakhouses and the Asian flavours of Spice Temple. 
However this book is a celebration of cooking at home, with more than 100 recipes that focus on flavoursome food for any weekend occasion. Whether you're looking for an easy and delicious family stir-fry on a Friday night, clever ideas for Saturday dinner party menus, or preparing a slow-cooked Sunday feast for friends,you will find it in this book.

I liked Perry's introduction too - here is a sample:

I believe the healthy way to a healthy life is through a well-balanced diet comprising fresh food and variety. Noting is really bad for you in moderation. I love pork fat, but do I eat it everyday? No, of course not. Do I enjoy it as a treat in my bacon for breakfast or in an Asian stir-fry or braise? Yes, most definitely. Moderation is  the key to good eating; balance your diet with fruit, vegetable, grains,nuts, dairy and a good amount of fish. Then the big juicy steak, the chicken skin, the butter and a bit of pork fat will not hurt you. And boy oh boy is 
there flavour in those amazing ingredients.

About the author

Neil Perry is one of Australia's leading and most influential chefs. He has managed several award-winning restaurants in Australia, and today concentrates on his flagship brand, the Rockpool Group, which includes Rockpool Sydney; Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney, Melbourne and Perth; Spice Temple Sydney and Melbourne; and The Waiting Room, Melbourne. Neil has been creating menus for Qantas since 1997, redefining in-flight dining and service, and is the author of six cookbooks: Rockpool, Good Food, The Food I Love, Simply Asian, Balance & Harmony, and Rockpool Bar & Grill. Neil has been a television presenter on the LifeStyle Channel, and appeared as an Iron Chef on Iron Chef Australia.

The publishers have kindly allowed me to reproduce two recipes from the book.

King prawn and white bean salad with lemon anchovy dressing
This salad is also fantastic with lobster, crab or scallops. Instead of the beans, try chickpeas, lentils or any other pulse. Serves 8.

32 cooked king prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined
2 radicchio hearts, leaves separated and torn
2 x 400 g tins white beans, drained and rinsed

Lemon anchovy dressing
6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
200 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 handfuls basil leaves, torn
2 handfuls mint leaves, finely chopped
1 large handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, roughly chopped

To make the dressing, mash the anchovies, garlic and a little white pepper in a mortar with a pestle. Slowly pound in the olive oil, lemon juice and then, finally, the herbs until you have a thick green slush. Check the seasoning.
In a bowl, gently toss the radicchio with one-third of the dressing then arrange the leaves in the centre of a large platter or eight plates.
Place the beans, prawns and remaining dressing in the bowl and toss gently. Pile onto the platter or divide among the plates and sprinkle with sea salt and a grind of white pepper.
I also add blanched green beans, peas or asparagus, or braised artichokes when they’re in season.
This salad would go nicely with a wonderful aromatic wine – a very dry riesling would be my pick.
Extracted from Easy Weekends: Food by Neil Perry. RRP$59.99. Published by Murdoch Books.

Spaghetti with toasted breadcrumbs
This breadcrumb recipes is also good with a wide pasta such as fettuccine. Chilli adds great weight to the flavour of a dish. Dial it up or down depending on your love of heat. Serves 4.

400 g spaghetti
175 g fresh breadcrumbs
250 ml extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
2-3 jalapeno chillies, halved lengthways and seeded
1 small bunch tarragon, leaves picked
2 handfuls flat-leaf (Italian) parsley  leaves
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons salted baby capers, well rinsed and drained
3 anchovy fillets
60 ml red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Place the breadcrumbs on a baking tray and toss with 60 ml olive oil and a little sea salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden.
Place the chilli, herbs, garlic, capers, anchovies, vinegar and remaining olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth. Check the seasoning.
Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for about 8 minutes or until al dente, then drain.
Place the pasta, herb mixture and three-quarters of the breadcrumbs in a large bowl and toss well. Divide among four pasta bowls and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs. Give a good grind of white pepper and serve immediately.

Extracted from Easy Weekends: Food by Neil Perry. RRP$59.99. Published by Murdoch Books.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Michael Hooper reports on Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards

  • Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards
    Last night culminated for many of us in the excellent hospitality of The Grove restaurant (now an official 2-hat hot spot). Thanks to Michael P Dearth, Chef Ben Bayly and staff for their generosity and attentive, good-humoured hosting. Congratulations to Restaurant of the Year The French Cafe, and also to Des Harris, Kazuya, Hippopotamus, Al Brown, Amisfield Bistro. Special congrats to newcomer to the high profile world of "hats" - Victoria Street Bistro in Hamilton, the Best Regional Restaurant. 
     For all the accolades see

Nigella Lawson Leaves Home as Charles Saatchi Calls Choking a ‘Playful Tiff’

Following the shocking pics showing art multimillionaire Charles Saatchi apparently choking his celebrity-chef wife, the gallerist now claims it was just a ‘playful tiff.’ Tom Sykes on the rumors that Saatchi has finally flipped.

Charles Saatchi, the multimillionaire art collector who was photographed repeatedly squeezing his wife Nigella Lawson’s throat outside a London restaurant, today described the incident as “a playful tiff.”

His remarks prompted an immediate outraged reaction in a U.K. already shocked and disgusted by the images, which are plastered all over today’s newspaper front pages.
The novelist Tony Parsons tweeted, “Men who are violent towards women always have some excuse—‘playful tiff’—and there is never an excuse if you are anything resembling a man,” and the M.P. Diane Abbot commented, “Wondering what I would do if a man tried to strangle me as part of a ‘playful tiff’ #getthehellout.”
Saatchi made his comments to the Evening Standard’s crime reporter, Justin Davenport. Saatchi is a columnist for the paper.

The Standard is reporting that Saatchi said: “About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point.
“There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella’s tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt.
“We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled.”
However, friends of the couple have told The Daily Beast that Lawson has been left distraught and terrified due to Saatchi’s constant violent bullying, and that Saatchi is jealous of Nigella’s continuing success and fame—a success that has come just as as his own star has dimmed.
Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of national domestic-violence charity Refuge, told The Daily Beast: “Perpetrators of domestic violence frequently try to minimize or deny their behavior. Domestic violence is all about power and control. It is a pattern of behavior that often involves extreme jealously and possessiveness, humiliation and intimidation.”
Nigella’s spokesperson said today that there would be no comment on Saatchi’s remarks and would only say that Nigella was not at the family home, which she was pictured leaving yesterday with her son, Bruno.
Nigella Lawson is somewhat of a national treasure in the U.K. and is frequently seen out at events with her husband, Charles Saatchi. (Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
The photographs have had a massive impact in the U.K., where Nigella is regarded not simply as a great writer and broadcaster but as a national treasure prized as much for her forthright common sense as her flirtatious on-screen persona. It is inconceivable to many that that Nigella could be a victim of domestic violence.

Michael Romano's 3 Essential Cookbooks

The James Beard Award winner and co-owner of Union Square Cafe shares his top books from his kitchen shelf.

Bradley Scaggs

Michael Romano, culinary director for the Union Square Hospitality Group and co-owner of Union Square Cafe, is the author of Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home. Here, the chef shares his influential cookbooks.

Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art,by Shizuo and Yoshiki Tsuji. I often return to this wonderful book for basic information on Japanese cooking. I love the section on Japanese knives and their functions, which taught me so much very early on in my exploration of this amazing cuisine.
Le Ricette Regionali Italiane by Anna Gosetti della Salda published by Solores--an Italian book I purchased in Italy many years ago and which served me so well during my years as Chef at Union Square Cafe. I treasure it!

Number three is a toss-up among the Joy of Cooking (yes--I treasure my 1972 edition! So nostalgic), Paul Bocuse's La Cuisine du Marche by Flammarion and my old and tattered 1973 edition of the Escoffier Cook Book:

The Joy of Cooking was among the books I purchased when I first decided I might want to pursue cooking as a career.The Escoffier was the first book I obtained when I began cooking school—it was my bible and seemed to be the key to a whole world of cuisine I was so eager to understand.The Bocuse book was given to me by the then chef at Michel Guerard’s Eugenie-les-Bains restaurant, and I’ve cooked from it many times when I was in my “French period.”

Saturday, June 15, 2013

We're flying in winter treats

By Lynley Bilby - Herald on Sunday June 16, 2013

Cooking shows cause foodies' demand for expensive produce that can't be grown here
Pierre Poitier wonders why he can't grow more veges in greenhouses, rather than import them from halfway across the world. Photo / Doug Sherring
Pierre Poitier wonders why he can't grow more veges in greenhouses, rather than import them from halfway across the world. Photo / Doug Sherring

Much of the "fresh" fruit and veges in our supermarkets and greengrocers is being freighted from around the world this winter - and TV cooking shows such as MasterChef are copping the blame.
Fresh produce is increasingly winging its way to our shelves from as far away as Zambia, Holland and the United States.
A woman behind the country-of-origin labelling for fresh produce says cooking shows have given shoppers an appetite for fancy produce that will not grow in the New Zealand winter.

Most imported fresh food supplements out-of-season fruit and vegetables but in a few instances imported produce sits alongside similar locally-grown items.
Turners and Growers import manager Patrick Corson insisted the produce was still fresh: he said it was arriving just days after being picked and packed in fields and greenhouses halfway across the world.

Zambian snowpeas travelled in small quantities in commercial flights out of Lusaka to Johannesburg then on to Auckland with a stopover in Australia.
Horticulture NZ communications manager Leigh Catley said people were caught up in a "MasterChef syndrome" where they expected to be able to buy out-of-season produce.
"People see a cooking show on TV that's probably British or American preparing something, say courgettes, and want to make it. They go to the supermarket the next day to get a courgette and then find to their dismay it's out of season in New Zealand."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

From Gather & Hunt

Barbecued Pork Buns

These are new favourite thing; pork belly, pickled cucumber and coriander in a sweet pork bun. It's magically moreish.
The Blue Breeze Inn

WIN! Lunch at Best Ugly Bagels

We go on and on and on and on about these bagels, because they just taste so good. Want to try them for yourself? Click below.
Best Ugly Bagels

We're a little website still, but today we reached a milestone: 3000 facebook likes. That may seem relatively insignificant, but I've been watching those numbers day in day out for 18 months now, and it certainly seems worthy of celebration.

Alice was so happy about it that she actually wrote a poem for our 3000th liker. His name is Marcus Powell and he made us dance and grin simply by pressing a button.

It's the little things that matter, when it comes down to it, because they all combine to make something big. At the moment this website is just a little engine filled with possiblity, but with all of your help we'll help it to grow. Then we'll use it to take us to JUPITER. All of us. In a big g&h branded spaceship.

Discover Auckland!
with our directory
Find the new and the just plain good, profiled and searcheable!

Enthusiastic cook has turned his hobby into a business venture

Success: Venture adds spice to retirement

By Helen Twose - New Zealand Herald -  Friday June 14, 2013

Ralph Jaeger's business reflects his passion for the delights of Cajun cooking. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Ralph Jaeger's business reflects his passion for the delights of Cajun cooking. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Retirement after more than three decades in the public service should be about kicking back and enjoying some well-earned downtime.
But Ralph Jaeger says he doesn't want to spend his retirement sitting in a chair waiting to die. And even though he is a golfer, Jaeger admits he couldn't stand playing every day.
Instead, the 70-year-old has put his energy into bringing the flavours of Cajun cooking to New Zealand dinner tables.

After researching the market, he found no one was bringing Cajun products into the country, so three years ago Jaeger began importing a range of authentic spice mixes and pre-packaged meals from a family-run business in Louisiana.

For Jaeger, a New Orleans native, it's the taste of his childhood and even after more than 40 years living in New Zealand his passion for the unique taste of Cajun cooking remains strong.
Jaeger's own chef-quality Cajun cooking has friends and family demanding he prepare gumbos, seafood jambalayas and fried chicken when they visit.
Even his three grandchildren are fans of his "special rice".
Jaeger says Cajun flavours are based on onion, celery and capsicum, with black, white and cayenne peppers added for seasoning, reflecting a mix of African, Native American and French cooking.

10 Literary Restaurants for Hungry Book Nerds Around the World

What’s even better than drinking while reading? Eating while reading, of course 
(hint: you can have a drink, too). With the news that Biblio, a book-themed eatery, 
was popping up in Williamsburg, Flavorwire took to the Internet to put together a guide
 to a few amazing-looking literary-themed restaurants from around the world.
Indulge your eyes (and, if you’re close enough, your stomachs) at these bookish

Philly for Foodies


Heralded as one of the country’s best vegan restaurants (and restaurants period), Vedge is bringing some serious culinary clout to the city of brotherly love. Today we speak to the chefs/owners (also husband and wife) Kate Jacoby and Richard Landau about their much-talked about restaurant, get their insider foodie guide to Philly and preview a recipe from their upcoming cookbook.

Q&A with Kate & Richard of Vedge

Q: Rather than being a really great vegan restaurant, it seems Vedge has succeeded in being a really great restaurant that happens to be vegan. Was this part of the plan?
A: Yes, thanks. We wanted to be inclusive, not exclusive. So, we focus on the food (vegetables) and not the diet (vegan). Everyone, or nearly everyone, eats vegetables. People know they should eat more of them, and people are fascinated by all the cool heirloom things showing up at farmers' markets and in their CSAs (community-supported agriculture, meaning a veggie box scheme that comes directly from the farm to the customer). We've been able to reach a really wide audience, and it's great. Our forthcoming cookbook takes the same approach.

Q: Many vegan/vegetarian restaurants tend to shy away from cocktails. How does your bar fit into the restaurant's ethos?
A: I understand many people think that people are vegan and veg for health reasons and that those folks might not drink. But I love wine (and cocktails and beer) because I love dining, and I see it as an integral part of the dining experience. Our wines are "natural" wines from small producers, our beers are also smaller, craft brews, and our cocktails are approached the same way we think about food - fresh and made from scratch. 


Father's Day in UK - Jamie Oliver has some suggestions on how to spoil your old man.

Make Father's Day

Think of all the food your dad loves. Well, to spoil your old man rotten this Father’s Day (Sunday June 16th), we’ve put together a load of recipes using all those dad classics.

From burgers to bangers and from lasagne to a lovely roast chicken you can find it on We've also added a couple of videos to make life just that little bit easier. So go on, show your dad how much you care with a perfect foodie treat.
Recipes & Videos