Monday, May 18, 2015

Proscuitto with Havoc Farm Pork

I put a good leg of pork away to cure last week so that we can hopefully enjoy some Proscuitto in the New Year of 2016. It takes at least 6 months to hang and dry-cure properly. A good time to start is now (May/Autumn) so I can start the dry-hanging process in my front sunroom while I have cold days and nights that aren't above maximum temperatures of 15C.

Step 1: Salt cure

Really good quality free range pork leg between 7-10 kilograms, aitch bone removed, and 'trimmed so it looks like a fine instrument'.
3kg salt and a good container with a lid

Place some salt in an esky or chilli bin that can be secured tightly with a lid

sit the pork leg on the bed of salt

salt it really well

Salt the pork leg making sure salt gets right around the hip bone as this is the most likely spot for problems to occur later.  Weight it down with something heavy that is clean (I used my pasta roller with a plastic bag). Leave it to sit curing for 3 weeks, turning it over every few days.

Step 2: Preserving and hanging

Muslin cloth
Pork lard
cayenne pepper
black pepper
horopito leaves dried and crushed (native NZ pepper tree)
hanging twine

20 June 2015 
Today I washed the leg in water and dried it with an offcut piece of new muslin. I hung itcto dry for a couple of hours then proceeded to paste on the lard and spices, then wrap in muslin and twine, then hang from the rafters in the front room of the studio. This location is ideal as I am right next to a beautiful rainforest creek, and humidity is important as well as cool airflow. The photos show the steps today.
Now to wait six months! 

~ to be updated

Caramelized Garlic Bread

I planted some garlic the other day on Jon and Kristina's property and was so excited about garlic I made some bread for them with about 50 cloves in it.
Prepare a Ciabatta dough, or a Foccacia dough.
Peel the cloves and fry in some butter on very low heat for about an hour.
After this, add a pinch of salt and pepper, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and stir not to let the sugar burn.

Fold the caramelized cloves into the ciabatta dough. They should be like caramel with a bit of sauce.

Shape bread and bake according to the dough recipe.

The Studio at Purakaunui

I just moved into my new home in the studio at Jon and Kristina's property in Purakaunui. I love it here.

back door to the native bush

There is a beautiful rainforest creek next to us with old Rimu, Totara, Fuschia, Horopito...

Local sand flats where we take Manuka and Rama
The inlet is tidal and has nice track beside it that winds around to the open ocean past little bays

Manuka looking back south towards Mount Mopanui and home.
Purakaunui inlet main channel
Purakaunui inlet meeting the ocean

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bitter chocolate, almond and coconut tart

A really nice rich bitter chocolate tart to have on a special occasion with some double or thick whipped cream.
Ingredients and method
Mix the following together for the crust, then press into a nice flat bottomed pottery dish (can cook for a drier crust in the oven, otherwise just use raw)
  • ½ cup (40g) unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1 ½ cups (190g) almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt
Whisk the following together for the ganache, pour over crust, then refridgerate
  • 1 cup (240ml) canned coconut milk, refridgerated, cream scooped out and heated (drink the leftover coconut water)
  • 340g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkle on top
  • handful toasted coconut flakes
  • handful roasted unsalted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • pinch of sea salt flakes

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lebanese Easter cookies - maa’moul

My friend Jean-Luc gave me a wonderful sweet pastry last week, made all the way in France by his mother. It is a Lebanese Easter cookie called 'maa’moul'. A lovely delicate pastry with nuts or dates inside.

I found some recipes and while not essential, traditionally a maa’moul mould is used to shape them, which is made out of wood. I am making one with Rimu wood and my dremel. I made some maa'moul on the weekend.


400 grams fine semolina,
200 grams frozen butter,
10 grams refined flour,
1 tsp baking powder,
100 grams icing sugar + extra for dusting,
2 tbsp milk,
1 /2tsp orange rind,
Filling 1:
175 grams of a mixture or walnuts and pistachios,
50 grams sugar,
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp. rose water
Filling 2:
300g  pitted dates (if dry, soak them with some hot water for 30 minutes then drain)
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
1 tbsp. rosewater


Mix together the semolina, flour, baking powder and icing sugar in a bowl.
Cut the frozen butter into cubes and add it to the dry ingredients and work it in with your fingers till it resembles bread crumbs. Add the milk and orange rind and make a dough. Let it stand covered for about 3-4 hours. This is an important step as it makes the dough workable.

Preheat the oven to 180oC.
Filling 1: Blend the nuts, rosewater, cinnamon powder and sugar 
Filling 2: Blend the dates, rosewater, cardamom and cinnamon
Take two dough balls one small and one big. Take the bigger dough ball and flatten it into a disc and make a slight depression in the centre. Flatten the smaller dough ball into a disc too. Place some filling in the depression of the bigger disc and place the smaller disc on top and seal the edges. Shape into a flat cookie.

If you want to dust the finished cookies with cinnamon sugar (for a sweeter cookie) then make ridges on the cookie using a fork or traditional maamoul wooden mould.

 Bake for 25 minutes at 180oC

Paua from the Catlins coast

Jacks bay

3 Paua
salt and pepper
juice of 3 lemons
6 cloves garlic chopped finely
1 small onion diced
100ml chardonnay
300ml cream
200ml chicken stock

salt and pepper the Paua
heat butter till browned in a skillet and sear the Paua for 1 minute on both sides
Set aside then slice thinly.
Saute the onion and garlic in a pan with olive oil and then add the other ingredients.
Reduce the sauce while cooking some fettucini
add the Paua back into the cream sauce and mix with the fettucini
garnish with parsley and parmesan

Monday, March 16, 2015

Collection of kitchen ideas

I love to establish a kitchen and good pantry with minimal waste. I like a welcoming, good smelling kitchen with spicy sections and a view out a window to living things; a garden. I like the smell of drying chillies and garlic on the windowsill, the everpresent infusion of tea to the air, the smell of fresh baked bread coming from the oven often!  Really good sharp knives are oiled in their home; a knife rack specially handmade. The are used every day and kept sharp to cut beautiful home-or locally grown organic vegetables. A sink is outside to wash and cut vegies and feed extras to the chickens. Beneath everything; there is also a slight hint of the raw smell of uncooked meat, the compost almost ready to be taken out to the chickens, pig or compost heap, piquant red wine residue still in the bottom of a glass, lemon rind and honey, and gentle cinnamon lingering. Honeycomb from the bees would sit in containers ready to be cut onto fresh bread as a tea break from work outside.

I love home made furniture, places to do craft, home-made cushions, rugs, natural bush colours, tea mugs, pots hanging on hooks, I like to see them. Other useful items like pottery and cookbooks lining the underside of benches. On winter mornings sun streaming in through north facing windows like in my childhood home, and on winter nights an aromatic stew would slowly braise on the stove. In spring, rain is comforting on the roof at night, maybe sleep in for once and have a tea then read in bed a bit longer... The smell of fresh cut grass and nectar would enter through the windows or beneath doors once the sun came out. During summer there will be pottery bowls full of fruit ripening and smelling, there will be baskets and jars full of berries. Warm sourdough often rests on a wooden chopping board many nice mornings of the year, each time I like making it a little different. Things are tidy and well organized but still, herbs hang and tea ingredients dry, prosciutto and bresaola are curing hung from the ceiling, and its a kitchen where no-one is worrying about 'mess', just living and being connected with the land outside and being deeply content in this.