Sunday, 30 November 2014

More bugs...

This Giant Swallowtail caterpillar has been feeding on my lime tree...

It is known for looking like a bird dropping as a defence....

This is it's chrysalis...

This is it's expected outcome... Talk about the ugly duckling syndrome!

Worth the loss of a few lime leaves! (Hope I get to see my one hatch?)


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Eggplants...

are plentiful at the moment.  We get a few different varieties here.  Love that purple colour...

This weekend found these great looking baby ones...

so found a recipe that made the most of their cute shape...

Stuffed Baby Eggplants with Lamb Filling
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 4
Plump baby eggplants stuffed with a Middle Eastern inspired ground lamb filling seasoned with cinnamon, pine nut, mint and feta cheese.
Ingredients
  • 4 baby eggplants, about 3-4" long each
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 lb lean ground lamb
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch hot pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ chopped fresh mint
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise. Using a grapefruit spoon, gently scoop out pulp from eggplant halves, leaving ½" thick shells. Roughly chop the scooped-out pulp and set aside. Sprinkle inside surfaces of eggplant shells with salt, and place face down on a paper towel to drain for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper, and continue sauteeing until onion is golden and peppers are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ground lamb and chopped eggplant, and cook until lamb is browned and eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cinnamon and red pepper flakes, stirring until just warmed through.
  4. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and lots of black pepper, then stir in the tomatoes, pine nuts and fresh mint.
  5. Pat the shells dry with paper towels, removing any excess salt remaining on the surface. Brush with remaining 1 tbsp oil and arrange in a baking dish, cut side up. Divide the lamb mixture among the eggplant shells, mounding the filling slightly, the top with crumbled feta cheese.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the eggplant shells are tender and filling is bubbling and golden.

Finished product...





Saturday, 22 November 2014

A promo!

I love "Fresh As" products...!!


Got these in NZ. For anyone living on an island and missing their summer berry fix, these are fantastic!

So far I've used them in muesli, smoothies, and sprinkled the powder on top of icing for a neat effect and zingy taste.

They are freeze dried so the flavour is intense. More so than the normal dried fruit, so don't have to use as much...


Bill Granger's Blueberry and Almond Toasted Muesli (substituted the dried blueberries with Fresh As)
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/magazine/article3149502.ece



Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Campaigning Solomon style...

Elections are a bit of an eye opener here.  Seems like all the rules are broken...  For example, safety becomes second to drawing attention to the political party of choice.  These are all moving vehicles...



Sunday, 16 November 2014

Local wedding

A lovely couple of friends married on the weekend...



  








Thursday, 13 November 2014

Belgium Slice

Fortunately, Solomon Islanders as well as our expat friends like eating sweet things! 
So I get to obsessively bake but don't have to try and eat it all!


Recipe:

Ingredients
120g butter
½ c white sugar
½ c brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 egg
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
about ½ c raspberry jam

Method
· Cream butter and sugar, then add golden syrup then egg
· Mix in dry ingredients
· Roll out half of the mixture to cover the base of a 18 x 23cm slice tin
· Spread with raspberry jam and then cover with the other half of the 
  mixture rolled to fit (this patches really well)
· Bake at 180c for 20 minutes

Once cold ice with plain white or pink icing (I used about 2 c icing sugar, 1 tsp butter and enough milk to make a smooth icing, then I added a couple of drops of red food colouring). Sprinkle with raspberry jelly crystals.




Friday, 7 November 2014

Pizzoccheri...

We were given some wonderful foody presents by our Italian friends on holiday...

1. This rustic pasta (pizzoccheri). As you can see by the box it has survived
many weeks of travelling...



2.  Some gorgeous Italian Parmesan - the real deal...


3. This special herb from the mountain area of northern Italy...


We got to try the original version of the pizzoccheri pasta with a family 
in the Italian alps near the Swiss border. This is it:


This is the family:


Here's the New Zealand/Solomon Island version:

Yummy!

Recipe for 2:

Ingredients 
250g pizzoccheri 
100g butter
1 clove garlic
100g cheddar cheese
Grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper 
150g cabbage or spinach (we used choisam)
2 potatoes cut in small cubes

Instructions
Put the diced potatoes and green vegetables in a large pan of salted water, bring to the boil. When the water boils add the pizzoccheri and cook for a further 10 minutes. Drain. 

Arrange a layer of pizzoccheri, then cover with small pieces of cheese and sprinkle with Parmesan. Repeat until all ingredients are used.

Season with a sauce of melted butter with garlic, diced onion and fresh sage. When golden brown pour over the prepared dis and season with freshly ground pepper (we used the pesteda). 

Decorate with a sprig of sage.


Monday, 3 November 2014

That was fast...

Planted mesculin on Friday... By Monday it's sprouted!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Getting back into baking...

My new acquisition!


So that means donuts...


That was fun!




This was more of a cakey style recipe. Next time I'll try a yeast one.  The recipe comes from here: