Home' Greymouth Star : November 25th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Be careful — it’s
apas and nibbles are essential
accompaniments when you are
enjoying a festive tipple.
Many little bites can be prepared
well in advance and served at room
temperature or reheated and served
Tapas originated in the bars of Spain. Drinks were
lined up on the counter and covered with a small
slice of bread to prevent insects from diving in for a
dip or sip. Then small portions of food were placed
on the bread — such as slices of chorizo, olives,
cheese or ham.
Tapas are served either in small or substantial
portions and these days, a selection can make up a
Skewered foods can be presented in a variety of
combinations and they can be eaten with one hand
with the greatest of ease.
Combos are limited only by imagination: twists of
pastrami skewered with cubes of fresh melon; sliced
smoked salmon twists with small cubes of creamy,
basil-flavoured feta; cherry tomatoes and stuffed
olives; or grilled prawns and roasted red capsicums.
Ser ve a variety of dipping sauces for the skewers
such as horseradish, chutney or soy sauce and
Char-grilled peppers (capsicums) are a great
standby. They are available loose from deli counters
or in jars from supermarket shelves. I like to puree
them and combine with a little mayonnaise to serve
as a dip or a topping for chunky vegetables or little
skewers of cold chicken. Store char-grilled peppers
drizzled with a little oil in a sealed container in the
refrigerator and use within a week of opening.
Hummus is always a popular dip or spread but add
your own innovations to store-bought product using
diced Kalamata olives, capers, crushed garlic and
diced spring onions or grated kaffir lime peel and
Roasted pumpkin and
These tasty treats can be frozen and reheated in the
oven at 160degC.
475g pumpkin, peeled and seeded
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3 sheets savoury short pastry
100g creamy feta cheese, crumbled
125g creme fraiche
Preheat the oven to 190degC.
Cut the pumpkin into 1cm dice. Combine with the
onion, rosemary and seasonings in a roasting pan.
Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Stir to coat.
Bake for about 15 minutes until just tender. Cool.
Brush 2 x 12 hole mini muffin pans with the
remaining oil. Cut 24 x 7cm circles from the pastry.
Line the base and sides of the holes. Fill with the
cooled roasted pumpkin and top with the feta.
Place the eggs and creme fraiche in a large jug and
whisk, until smooth. Carefully pour into the tartlets.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until the filling is set.
Cheeky cherr y tomatoes
1 medium avocado
salt and pepper to taste
dash Tabasco sauce
3-4 tablespoons ranch dressing
8-10 cherry tomatoes
chopped chives for garnishing
Peel, stone and mash the avocado. Season and add
enough dressing so the avocado can be piped.
Halve the cherry tomatoes. Take a sliver off the
bases if necessary so the tomatoes will stand upright.
Squeeze out the seeds. Pipe the avocado mixture into
the tomatoes. Garnish with chives. Makes 16-20.
Goat ’s cheese and
Add salt and pepper to the cheese if serving as a
starter or a little icing sugar if serving as a sweet
6 medium strawberries
200g soft goat ’s cheese
1⁄2 cup finely chopped lightly toasted hazelnuts
Cut the strawberries in half or thirds, depending on
their size. Take a good tablespoon of the cheese and
roll around the strawberry to enclose. Roll between
your palms to make a smooth ball. Roll in the nuts.
Repeat to make about 6-8 balls. Chill for at least 30
Cut in half before ser ving. Makes 12-16 half balls.
Asparagus and bacon
3 rashers streaky bacon
18 asparagus spears
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Cut each rasher of bacon in three. Trim the
asparagus to 8cm lengths. Use the tip ends only,
reserving the off-cuts for salads or stir-fries.
Take 2 pieces of asparagus and wrap the bacon
around to secure. Repeat with the remaining
asparagus and bacon. Place on a foil-lined baking
tray. Brush with the combined garlic and olive oil.
Cook the nibbles under a pre-heated grill for 2-3
minutes, until the bacon is crisp and sizzling. Makes
A Thai take on Spanish tapas.
3⁄4 cup desiccated coconut
large leaves from 1 bag young spinach
1⁄2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
1⁄3 cup each: finely grated root ginger, diced shallots,
1 lime, cut into peanut-size wedges, (peel and flesh)
6 chillies, seeded and finely sliced into rounds
Thai dipping sauce
1⁄2 cup desiccated coconut, lightly toasted
1⁄4 cup each: roasted peanuts (chopped) palm or
2 tablespoons Thai-style fish sauce (or to taste)
1⁄2 cup water
Toast the 3⁄4 cup of coconut by placing in a heavy
non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Stir until
the coconut is an even golden colour.
Arrange the spinach, the toasted coconut and
remaining filling ingredients attractively on a large
ser ving platter.
Toast the coconut for the sauce as above. Grind
the coconut and peanuts separately using a pestle
and mortar or as finely as possible in a small food
processor. Place in a small saucepan with the sugar,
fish sauce and water. Bring to the boil, then simmer,
stirring frequently, on low heat for about 5 minutes
or until thickened. Transfer to a bowl. Cool to room
temperature before serving.
To eat, take a spinach leaf and fill it with a little
bit of everything, top with a dab of sauce and roll or
wrap up and enjoy. Serves 6.
e are coasting
slowing down to
the end of the
year. Then we will have a holiday, then
it will all start again.
We need to mark these endings and
beginnings with celebrations, with
parties. For that to happen we have to
drink alcohol to get into a happy state.
And that is fine, but it is drinking too
much that is not so good.
So you have to have a strategy, a
plan, a way to control your drinking,
a way to pace yourself. Some people
will have a glass of water after each
drink or a coke after each rum and
coke. You can stick to light beer or
light wine. You can change to non-
alcoholic wine or beer or soft drink
after a certain number of drinks.
Your liver processes the alcohol
at one drink an hour if you are an
average sized man and 2⁄3 drinks if you
are a woman. So if you stick to one
standard drink an hour you will not
get more intoxicated. That is 300ml
(12oz) beer, 100ml wine or 30ml (2
Get into the nibbles. That will help
you to slow down because it shuts
off the outlet from your stomach so
the food can be partially digested.
So the drinks stop there, too, so you
feel fuller and you naturally slow your
If you forget what your plan was or
where you are at with it, you should
stop because your judgment has gone,
you are under the influence and you
will get drunk and you might regret it.
You may not wake up in the morning
to find yourself in a strange place with
no passport, no money and no cards,
but your head will be hammering,
your mouth will feel like the sole of
your shoe and you will not remember
what you said or what you did.
There are no hangover cures. Do not
try the hair of the dog — it will slow
Rehydration helps: drink lots of
liquid with salt and honey or sugar.
Eggs are supposed to be good for
liver repair. Milk thistle is an ancient
herbal cure for livers so that would
work, if you believe in ancient herbal
cures. You will recover in time but
your reputation may take longer.
Bloody Mary — Pour into a
highball glass filled with ice cubes
30ml vodka, 75ml tomato juice, 10ml
lemon juice, dash Worcestershire
sauce, celery salt, pepper and-or
Tabasco, and stir well. Garnish with a
stick of celery.
The cheapest places in the world to
buy a beer are Krakow in Poland and
Kiev in Ukraine for £1.07 a 330ml
bottle. The British research company
Go Euro annually checks the price
of five commonly imported beers
and the main local beer in 75 major
cities. Third is Bratislava at £1.09,
then Delhi £1.13, Ho Chi Minh City
£1.15, Mexico City £1.26, Belgrade
£1.27, Bangkok £1.28. Sydney is 62
out of the 75 costing £2.88 . The most
expensive city is Geneva at £4.08
which is four times the cheapest for
the same basic beer. New York is
£3.36, Hong Kong £3.97, Singapore
£3.31, Helsinki £3.16 and Abu Dhabi
“If intoxicating substances induce
experiences that are similar to
religious ecstasies, so much for
religious ecstasies: we can make no
distinction between the man who eats
little and sees heaven and the man
who drinks much and sees snakes.”
— Bertrand Russell, 1955
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 7
bites Roasted pumpkin and feta tartlets, goat ’s cheese and strawberry balls, cheeky cherry tomatoes, asparagus and bacon nibbles.
Huntaway Syrah 2013: Swirl
this ruby red wine around in your
glass to get air and flavour into it
and you can see the glinting colour.
Then it is around your mouth and
down your throat and you are left
with the lovely taste of berries,
plums, spices and tannins that
make up a fine Hawke’s Bay Syrah
from a great vintage, 2013. Drink
now until 2017. $15.
Henkell Alkoholfrei: Pale yellow
colour with good sparkle, light
fruit aromatics and a pleasant
taste of limes and apples with
a bright acidity. The alcohol is
removed from the wine by passing
it through a super cooler and a
vacuum which is much better
than the old heat treatment which
wrecked the flavour. This tastes as
real as any 13% bubbly. Good stuff.
Medium dry. $18.
Super juice Morning Rescue
Milk Thistle — Dense purple
colour, lovely perfume of ripe fruit,
strong tastes of fruit and veggies
that must be good for you as the
back label says ‘there’s nothing
like the night out with friends,
your jokes are funnier and even
tequila seems like a good idea,
until the morning. Not to worry —
Morning Rescue is 20% veggies so
will go easy on your tummy while
the milk thistle does its work’.
Clausthaler 0.5% lager:
Light gold colour with light
effer vescence, excellent aromas of
malt boosted by a good caramel
malt flavour on your palate
followed by a gentle grip of hops as
aftertaste. The only thing missing
is the body, the density, the mouth
feel that alcohol gives. 330ml.
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