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Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 7
ast week we were invited
to a ‘pot-luck’ dinner.
“P lease bring a casserole.”
I wondered if anyone else
was going to provide a
Tex-Mex casserole — beef
and beans — but knew they probably would
not add tamarillos. We ended up with
two beef casseroles and two vegetarian —
unfortunately all rather similar.
However, it was a fundraising event and it
was fun. Casseroles are perfect for sharing
especially in winter. Long low-heat cooking
mellows the flavours and enhances colour.
And vegetables can be baked at the same
time if the casserole is oven-cooked.
Casseroles cooked on the hob were once
differentiated by the old-fashioned name
‘stew ’. It is best to employ a heavy, cast
iron pot on the hob and use a low cooking
The cast iron diffuses the heat and the
ingredients cook more evenly. With thinner,
lighter saucepans the ingredients often stick
to the base providing an unwanted barbecue
There is much debate when making a
casserole over whether to brown the meat
and vegetables first before adding the liquid.
I believe prior sauteing of the ingredients
does improve the flavour but if time is
scarce then the ‘all in together’ method is
fine as long as the cooking temperature is
kept low allowing for robust flavours to
Vegetarian casseroles are the exception to
the rule. They should still be cooked on low
heat but as soon as the vegetables are tender
the casserole should be served.
To add extra interest to a casserole, ser ve
bowls of sour cream and chopped spring
onions as toppings or sprinkle the top with
corn chips or potato crisps and chopped
Tex-mex beef with
3 tablespoons olive oil
1kg stewing beef, cut into 3cm cubes
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon each: plain flour, black treacle
1 teaspoon each: ground cumin, chilli
3 large tamarillos, peeled, thickly sliced
400g can each: diced tomatoes, black
1 cup beef stock
Preheat the oven to 180degC. Heat the oil
in a heavy saucepan suitable for the oven.
Brown the beef in batches and place aside.
Saute the onion until softened then add
the garlic. Return the meat to the saucepan.
Stir in the flour. Add the remaining
ingredients. Bring to a simmer then cover
and place in the oven. Cook for 11⁄2 hours.
Potatoes could be baked in the oven during
the last 45 minutes of cooking.
Great ser ved topped with sour cream, corn
chips and chopped spring onions. Serves 6.
1kg lean pork steak
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons each: plain flour, olive oil
3 rashers bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
140g tomato paste
400g can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon each: dried basil, oregano
1⁄2 cup each: red wine, water
Cut the steak into 3cm cubes. Season with
the black pepper and dust with flour. Heat
the oil in a large heavy saucepan. Saute the
pork in batches, until coloured. Remove
from the pan and set aside.
Add the bacon to the pan and saute, until
cooked. Add to the pork. Saute the onion
and garlic gently, until softened. Add the
remaining ingredients, mixing well. Stir
until boiling. Return the pork and bacon to
the pan, cover and simmer gently for about
1 hour or until tender. Ser ves 6.
Red wine lamb shanks
6 medium lamb shanks, trimmed
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 x 39g packets oxtail soup mix
1 cup each: red wine, water
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
400g can diced tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 160degC.
Place the lamb shanks and onion in a
large, heavy casserole. Combine the soup
mix, wine, water, thyme and tomato paste in
a bowl. Stir in the tomatoes and juice. Pour
over the lamb shanks and onion.
Cover and cook in the oven for 21⁄2 hours,
stirring once after about 1 hour.
Excellent ser ved with baked potatoes.
Ser ves 4-6 .
1kg skinned and boned chicken thighs
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1⁄4 cup each: finely chopped parsley, mint
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 tablespoons each: olive oil, lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 strips orange peel, pith removed
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
400g can each: chickpeas (drained), diced
200g pitted fresh dates, halved
Cut the chicken into 3cm cubes. Place in
a large bowl with the onion, garlic, parsley,
mint, cardamom, oil and lemon juice. Stir
to coat well. Marinate for several hours,
Preheat the oven to 180degC.
Place the chicken and marinade in a
casserole. Add the cinnamon stick and
orange peel, the flour mixed with the stock,
salt and pepper.
Cover and cook for 1 hour. Stir in the
chickpeas, tomatoes and dates. Continue
cooking for another 30 minutes.
Remove the cinnamon stick and peel
before ser ving. Great ser ved in shallow
bowls over rice or couscous, garnished with
fresh mint. Ser ves 6.
ou should not drink beer out of a
bottle or a can.
You are missing out on two of
the three things you should be
enjoying when you drink beer —
how it looks, how it smells and how it tastes.
To get all the interesting aromatics in a beer
you have to pour it into a glass and have a good
whiff and compare it with the taste.
So the first thing is to pour the beer into
a clean glass and look at the bright alluring
amber colour, or it might be a cloudy wheat
beer or a red or a dark. Look at the bead, the
streams of fine bubbles rising up from the
centre of the beer and forming a head on
top. Some beers are fiery some almost flat
and everything between. If there are bubbles
attached to the inside of your glass, it is not
Next you smell the beer. You are smelling
fermentation of yeast malt and hops. Yeasts give
aromas of citrus, spice, banana, custard, flowers.
From the malted barley you are getting
caramel, bread, toast, nuts, coffee, chocolate.
Hops give you herbs, flowers, resin, spice.
Finally you have a sip, roll it around your
mouth, swallow it and have another sip and the
taste will reinforce some of the smells, plus you
will get the malty sweetness on the tip of your
tongue and the hoppy astringency at the back
of the tongue.
You can now decide whether the beer has
a good balance between the malt sweetness
and the hop bitterness. Is it strong, medium
or weak in flavour? You also get the texture
and mouthfeel now. How thin or how thick
and dense is it? How are the bubbles, the
carbonation — faint or lively?
After it has gone down your throat, how long
do the flavours linger? This is known as the
aftertaste or finish. Is it long or short?
There sure is a lot to think about when you
The Red Red Wine Vineyard Tour with
UB40 is happening in six months and the
tickets are on sale now. Waipara Hills, January
16, is the only South Island venue.
The classic English spirit, gin, is making a
comeback and exports are up 40% but there is
a problem. Gin has to be flavoured with juniper
berries other wise it cannot be called gin.
Juniper bushes are in a serious decline due to
the warming climate, air pollution and rabbits.
It is heading towards extinction according to
the experts, and farewell to gin.
Into a shaker put some cracked ice cubes,
30ml gin, 15ml vermouth, 15ml pernod, tsp
grenadine and shake till a frost forms and strain
into a cocktail glass.
Date Smoothie: Into a blender put a sliced
banana, 100g stoned dates, 50g berries, 5tsp
honey, 250ml orange juice, ice cubes and blend
at medium speed and pour into a tall glass.
A Baptist minister and a Catholic priest went
to visit their friend, a Jewish rabbi. The rabbi
offered them each a glass of wine, a pinot gris.
The priest accepted his but the minister said,
‘I’d rather commit adultery than let that evil
liquid pass my lips’. The priest handed his wine
back to the rabbi saying, ‘I didn’t know we had
How to drink beer
Tex-mex beef with tamarillos.
Red wine choice
Villa Maria Pinot Noir 2013 Cellar
Selection — A fine Marlborough
wine with aromas of plums and spice
that entice your senses into the taste
of strong cherry spice backed by a
bright acidity and light tannins. It
hangs in there to a long aftertaste.
Excellent wine that gets consistent
gold medals in the competitions.
Drink now till 2017. Dry. $23 to
Hofbrau Original — A
German classic from Munich
with golden amber colour,
good head, grapefruit and
caramel on the nose, toffee
malt flavours on the palate
with an easy going hoppiness
and light astringency. Typical
international lager. 500ml.
Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay
2014 — Bright golden colour,
aromas of stonefruit, oatmeal
and vanilla and then you taste
the Marlborough ‘golden mile’
of stoney ground that gives that
intense peachy butterscotch and a
long finish of a gentle acidity and
subtle minerality. Drink now till
2019. Dry $19 to $24.
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