edited by Sue Courtney
e-mail address: email@example.com
Late autumn in New Zealand, it’s now May and the weather is still balmy except for a wet reminder of what lies ahead, as the first weekend of the month displayed. That quickly passed. The harvest is almost over, just the late pick varieties left on the vine. I'm going to make the most of the autumn scented garden - the herb flowers like pineapple sage and the divine loquat blossom. Camellias are flowering and the spring bulbs are pushing their green foliage high. It's hard to believe that it will be winter soon, but when the cold snap hits, I'll be ready. Here are a few recipes, several which were made to match specific wines including those mentioned as Wine of the Week. Try and enjoy.
This month's recipes include* Spiced Pumpkin Soup
* Baked Grated Carrot and Persimmon
* Pan Fried Crispy Skinned Salmon with Feta Cheese Sauce
* Pork Hocks Braised in Ginger Ale
* Pork Butterfly Steak with Apple and Fig Sauce
* Baked Apples stuffed with Figs, Pumpkin Seeds and Honey
Spiced Pumpkin Soup
This recipe serves two with enough for seconds.
You will need
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
- a tablespoon of butter
- a tablespoon of oil
- 1 teaspoon of chicken stock powder
- 1 teaspoon of curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 4 cups of water
- cream and chives for garnish
Melt the butter and oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and onion to saute for 2-3 minutes until the onion becomes soft and golden.
Serve with baked garlic bread. I keep bread rolls in the freezer for such an occasion. Slice the rolls diagonally and butter with a butter paste into which 2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic have been added. Wrap in tinfoil and pop into a pre-heated 180 degree Celsius to cook for about 20 minutes too.
Grated Carrots and Persimmons
You will need
- 1 peeled 'almost-ripe' persimmon
- a knob of butter
Grate the carrot and the persimmon, mixing the gratings together in a glass casserole dish, which is what I prefer for microwaving carrot as the carrot tends to stain the plastic-type microwave dishes.
Serve with one of the main courses below.
Pan Fried Crispy Skinned Salmon with Feta Cheese Sauce
My Feta Cheese Sauce is basically a schoolbook cheese sauce using Feta instead of grated cheddar, and cooked in the microwave instead of on the stovetop.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a microwave proof glass jug. Remove from the microwave and stir in a heaped tablespoon of flour and stir well until the mixture is smooth and yellow. Measure out 250ml of milk and add a little at a time to blend in with the flour/butter mixture. When all the milk has been added, return the jug to the microwave and cook on high for a minute, then stir. Cook again for another minute and stir well. The sauce should be starting to thicken up. Now add 100 grams of Feta cheese that you have cut into small cubes. I used the Bouton Dor brand Coriander and Lemongrass flavoured Feta. Stir to mix in. Return to the microwave and cook a minute longer. Remove. Stir well to get the Feta cheese well integrated, without too many lumps. If the sauce looks like it is becoming too thick, you might like to add a little more milk. Cook another minute if you think it needs it. Serve an accompaniment to the salmon with fresh coriander leaves as the garnish.
Enjoy with a richly flavoured herbaceous sauvignon blanc. I matched this to Cloudy Bay Te Koko and it matched well to the recently released 2001 vintage, as well as to the slightly older 2000 and 1999 vintages.
Gingery Pork Hocks with Potato and Apple Mash
I was driving home from work the next day and a light lit up in the brainwave department. "Ginger Ale", I'll cook them in ginger ale. And so I did. I was sure I wouldn’t have any ginger ale at home so popped into the dairy and picked up a bottle en route. The idea was to cook the hocks slowly ginger ale, cool them down then bake them in the oven with apple. But I didn’t have time for that idea and when I complete the first process, they tasted good enough to eat anyway.
This recipe is very simple. You will need
- 1 x1.25 ml bottle of Schweppes Dry Ginger Ale
- One onion
- Two large potatoes
- 1 apple
- a knob of butter
- cornflour for thickening
- salt and pepper for seasoning if desired
Place the pork hocks into a saucepan – top and tail for best fit.
Cover with ginger ale.
Bring to the boil and simmer for three hours, turning the hocks over every half-hour and topping up with extra ginger ale for the first hour as it starts to evaporate.
Nearing the end of cooking time, boil or microwave the potatoes and stew the peeled and chopped apple in a little butter.
Pour off most of the liquid the hocks cooked in, into a small saucepan. I had very little fat on my liquid, but put it through a fat strainer (like a mini watering can with the spout at the bottom of the jug) anyway. Bring to the boil and reduce for about 10 minutes to thicken slightly and if necessary use a little cornflour to thicken further. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.
Mash the apple and potato together a little of the remaining cooking liquid for moisture.
T o serve: Pile the mash onto the plates.
There is so much flavour in the ginger ale, that the dish need little else.This was absolutely divine with the Cloudy Bay Te Koko 1999 vintage and also pretty good with a smooth creamy chardonnay.
Pork Butterfly Steak with Apple and Fig Sauce
One the Left: Pork Butterfly Steak served with
Apple and Fig Sauce and Grated Carrot and Persimmon.
On the Right: Baked Apple with Fig, Pumpkin Seed and Honey.
Squeeze enough oranges or tangelos to make half a cup of juice and heat this in the microwave to warm up.
The fried sage leaves were put aside and used later for the garnish.
Cook the steak for 2 minutes at a high heat, then lower element and cook a further 2 minutes each side.
The sauce worked a treat with the sweet Chenin Blanc. I was worried that the dish was going to be over the top sweet but there was enough tartness from the apples and savouriness from the herbs and the mustard to balance it out.
Baked Apples stuffed with Figs, Pumpkin Seeds and Honey
You will need
- one or two dried figs per apple, depending on the size of the figs.
- liquid honey
- toasted pumpkin seeds
Peel and core the apples. Roughly chop the figs.
Place the apples into a deep-sided glass dish, cover with its lid and bake in the oven at 190 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.
In New Zealand right now, the pineapple sage herb is flowering with brilliantly coloured red, nectar-filled, edible flowers. If you have any of these, they are the most delectable garnish for the apples. Enjoy.
Sue Courtney's recipes are all original creations unless otherwise stated. Recipes are inspired by the season and by the wine matches.
Kia pai te kai
© Sue Courtney
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