Monday, December 2, 2013

Simple Stuffed Pork Loin

Why hello there!

Long time, no post!

Sorry about that...

I've been having a funny old time of it... After returning to New Zealand in February this year, and spending a lovely, but woefully unemployed 4 months at home with my parents - I returned to Wellington and got a job as a research assistant at a market research company... I had a fantastic time and got to learn all kinds of things about what New Zealanders think! I'm now sort of unemployed again (fixed term contracts will do that to a girl) - but I'm about to be included in a 3 week stint as a web-tester, which I think will be a lot of fun, and something new again!

Being back at the dreaded cooking for one has been a bit of a drag - but with an exciting new boyfriend to be cooking for - things could be looking up for me! :)

In the mean time, here is an example of a rather fantastic Kat-in-Sweden staple... Stuffed Pork Loin.

Here we have, clockwise from the top: Pork loin stuffed with feta, red onion and oregano, red(something) leaves and baked potato with tzatziki (supermarket styles!)
In NZ pork loin would be a pretty crazy think for students to buy... But my local ICA had Danish pork loin for a crazy-low price (maybe $10/ kg?!) so I. Bought. That. Shit. UP! It was yummy... :)

I made this dish a couple of times, swapping for different fillings (honey, walnut and goat's cheese was a serious hit!) but only photographed my first attempt... The reason the photograph is kind of pallid and un-appetising is because, although I browned the loin a bit before baking, I did bake it in tinfoil so that it wouldn't unwrap! In later iterations I made tinfoil "string" by fold tinfoil into long strips and sort of twisted them around my stuffed loins to secure them... Resulting in a much browner, prettier loin!

The method is pretty simple:

For each person:

Set the oven to 200C. Slice a (10cm [4"] ish) piece of pork loin almost, but not quite all the way through on the horizontal. Stuff with your chosen filling, something slightly moist so as not to dry out the pork is best! Tie with string or tinfoil ;) and season to taste with olive oil, salt and pepper. Brown a little in a frying pan before baking in the hot oven until the pork is cooked through (usually about 20 mins for me...)

Serve with whatever on the  side and enjoy!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Totoro Bento and Hot-Dog-Opuses

 I can haz interwebz?

So - I did the moving to the Wellington. Yay! And the finding a new job. Yay! And the re-connecting with friends. Yay!

And then the internet decided that it no-longer loved me and wanted to be somewhere else. Not yay!

And then my new flatmate, Mark fixed it!! And now I am re-connected with the world, and it is most exciting! :)

Bento is totally cute, and after a long time spent watching YouTube videos - I decided to try my hand at making my own fancy bento lunch!!

It was surprisingly easy, and enormously filling... But, in practice, not something I do every day...

I chose Totoro because I looove him! (Although the Catbus is technically my favourite...)

I made him with brown rice and ground up black sesame and nigella seeds... Stuffed him with a little pulled pork and put his little cheese and nori features on...

It was all easy enough - and doesn't really require any specialist equipment! But, if you're gonna be bento - making full time you might wanna invest in some!

I also made a moulded egg and the most adorable little hot dog octopus!!

I'll just link you to Ochikeron's video for how to make Totoro Onigiri... Because I'm lazy. But below are the instructions for the cute hotdogopuses...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Taste & Create: Prawn Scampi

This was a tasty little pasta dish I whipped up for Taste & Create this month...

I was once again paired with the lovely Tamy of 3 Sides of Crazy... I was entranced by her recipe for Lemon Garlic Shrimp Scampi... and you should be too!

The finished dish was light and refreshing, easily whipped up after a long work day!!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Souper Thursday: Asian-Esque Beefy Broth

So; I mentioned last week (on what would have ideally been last Thursday; but was, if fact, last Friday... Whoops!) that it's a Swedish Tradition to serve soup on Thursdays. Which is awesome.

I'm using my love of Sweden and Swedish culture to influence what I am now referring to as "Souper Thursday" wherein I force my family to eat soup every Thursday. Thus far, this proposition has gone down remarkably well. It is coming into winter in NZ, after all.

I like soup.

This is an easy soup. It looks fantastic and classy.

Look at that classy soup. With that fancy, mixed focus photography.
But all it is is beef stock boiled with a couple of star anise and a few, whole cloves before being poured over vermicelli noodles and thinly sliced beef (here I used schnitzel)... Topped off with some bean sprouts and julienned carrots and cucumber, a soft(ish) boiled egg and sprinkled with fresh coriander and finely sliced chilli and spring onion.

And that's it. Honest.

In other news I'm about to move (back) out of home and down to my beautiful capital city... in the hopes that being in the city I want to work in will improve my chances of being actually employed.

I'm excited because this will be my first time cooking for one in my "natural" (or rather "familiar") environment! I will now be able to augment my previously "flat friendly" meals with meals and baking designed for one. Because, although I am no longer a student (I graduate in December - WOO!), I will still be on a budget, and cheap, flavourful and healthful food will still be my aim!

Here's to an exciting, if unknown, future together: you, me and this blog!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Taste & Create: Broccoli Soup

Did you know that in Sweden it is traditional to have soup on Thursdays? Specifically; yellow split pea soup because yellow split peas are associated with Thor and Thursday is, after all Thor's Day!

This recipe is not for yellow spilt pea soup. This recipe is for Broccoli Soup. This is because we had approximately a million (AKA 2) broccolis and no spilt peas (I used them making soup for last Thursday!)...

This soup that I made for Taste & Create this month is simple, tasty, vegan (if you let it be, I didn't) and requires very few ingredients. It's fantastic for Students and Real People alike! It also came out the most fantastic shade of green:
I fried the cumin seeds and garlic in butter as PJ of Seduce Your Tastebuds recommended in butter because I like butter. And I think garlic tastes better fried in butter, over oil... But, as oil is such an easy substitute; I still think it's fair to store this recipe as a vegan option.

The potato gives the blended soup a creamy texture without the addition of milk or cream. PJ pressure cooks her potatoes and broccoli; but I don't have a pressure cooker in my student kitchen so I boiled my potato and steamed the broccoli over it... Feel free, however to boil your broccoli and potato together; bearing in mind that the broccoli won't need quite so long to cook as the potato and over-cooked broccoli is a kinda funky colour...

I really enjoyed this soup, and hope you do too!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Taste & Create: Thali - Tomato Riata

This is my penultimate Taste & Create Thali recipe from Seduce Your Taste Buds... :)

It's a year, one month and 23 days since I posted my original review of 6 of PJ's delicious recipes... and today I will tell you, in greater detail about the 6th: Tomato Riata...

I really loved all the colour matching going on with the riata in this particular bowl...
Now, you may be like me, and of the belied that riata always contains cucumber. And cumin. And mint. Yes? No? Well; it turns out - we're wrong. Shocking, I know!

If you check out PJ's Menu page and scroll half way down (ish) she has a whole HOST of riata dishes! Only one of which contains "cucumber" in the title... So there. You learn something new every day.

This riata is a little more acidic tasting than its more conventional contemporary - but tasty none the less! I recommend giving it a go even if only to say that you have...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Taste & Create: Thali - Sambar

Taste & Create Thali recipe from Seduce Your Taste Buds #4!!

For today's Sambar recipe, you will need 3 teaspoons of yesterday's Sambar Spice powder recipe...

Hand ground Sambar Spice
Sambar, as a general rule is not my favourite way to serve lentils. I chose to make this recipe in the hopes that making my own Sambar, completely from scratch, would teach me otherwise.

It didn't.

Don't get me wrong! This Sambar is lovely! My friends and family think it fantastic! It's just not to my taste...

The original recipe called for "drumstick" which is not something I'd encountered before... PJ offers a variety of alternatives at the end of her post; I used peas because that's what I happened to have at the time.

So today, I will provide you with the recipe and encourage you to come to your own conclusions...

Clockwise from top left: Garlicky Spinach Rice, Aloo Fry and Sambar

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Taste & Create: Tahli - Sambar Powder

You're going to need today's Sambar Spice recipe for tomorrow's Sambar Curry Recipe... It's pretty simple, really - just the ingredients together and away you go!

The quantities listed here will make more than you need for the Sambar; but the spice powder will keep will in an airtight container for future use...

I had a great time blending these all together by hand with a mortar and pestle! But use a spice blender, if you have one... or whatever else you have available to you. :)

You'll need:

1/2 cup coriander seeds

1 Tbsp gram dhal
1/2 Tbsp fenugreek seeds
Red chillies, to taste (I used 1)
1/4 tsp Asafoetida (hing) - this is an anti-flatulence herb and won't affect the taste of the Sambar Powder if you can't find any to use.
1-2 tsp oil

Dry roast the coriander seeds until fragrant.

Add the oil and the rest of the ingredients and fry briefly until all oil is absorbed.

All to cool before grinding into a fine paste.

Store in an airtight container until needed.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Taste & Create: Thali - Garlicky Spinach Rice

Further catch up on my rather delayed Thali collection today... and this instalment is Garlicky Spinach Rice!

This rice comes out the most extreme, green colour - it's fantastic!! As I have mentioned before spinach is my favourite food; so this dish was always going to be a winner!

The three chillies ground into a paste (with more garlic, fresh ginger and water) give it a bit of a bite... So either label it as not for the faint of heart, or use fewer chillies to dial it down a bit...

This recipe is fairly similar to a Greek one I've presented previously; only with extra garlic and chilli and ginger added... Puréeing the spinach also make this final dish much greener than the previous one! I'd be hard pressed to pick a favourite out of the two; the Greek dish being much richer and this being more punchy - you should try them both out and see which you like better!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Taste & Create: Thali - Aloo Fry

Hej, hej!

Remember my Thali from Taste & Create way back? Well... I've been paired with PJ of Seduce Your Tastebuds once again and I feel this is the optimum opportunity for me to finally get around to posting the full recipes I made last time... thus reminding both you and me how awesome they are! (It's a sign from the Gods, I tell you!)

Top: Tomato Riata, Aloo Fry, Garlicky Spinach Rice
Centre: Black Sesame Chutney
Bottom: Sambar made with home-made Sambar Powder
Although I really liked (most) of the dishes I made... Far and away my favourite (and the one I've made most often since) was PJ's Aloo Fry...

The crunch provided by the whole spices and slightly crispy fried potatoes in this dish really blew me away. Think; pan roasted, Indian spiced roast potatoes!


Most of the spices required here (mustard seed, cumin seed, coriander seed) are not all that "unusual" and if, as a student, you were to go out and buy a packet - I'm sure you'd find many reasons to use them again and again. (Packet curries very rarely stand up to their homemade counterparts). The fenugreek (kasuri methi) leaves are a liiitle bit more unusual... and although they definitely add an enjoyable extra dimension to the dish; I hope I'll be forgiven for suggesting that you can probably get away without them if it's beyond your means.

Do try this dish out! I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kitchen Sink Quiche

 This is one of those dishes that is so easy and such a part of my everyday life that it never even occurs to me to photograph and post it...

Not the prettiest thing ever, but still pretty damn tasty!

I call it "Kitchen Sink Quiche" but it could just as well be "Fridge Scraping Quiche"... Kitchen Sink just sounds... nicer ... to me, y'know? And Kitchen Sink or Fridge Scraping it's a great way to use up any left over bits and pieces you don't know what else to do with!

The recipe it technically "self-crusting" which means you don't need to worry about a pastry case and the batter is made with both wholemeal flour and bran flakes (although you can leave out the bran flakes or substitute for plain, all-purpose flour if that's more your jam...) so it's full of fibre!

I'll attach the recipe (almost) as I found it in the (old) Edmond's Junior Cookbook... but this is just the humble beginnings of what could be a great dish! The original is vegetarian, but the photographed one here had bacon in it as well...

Or; sub out the cheddar cheese and mushrooms and chuck in smoked chicken, brie and apricot for a rather more up-scale quiche!

The only things limiting you are your imagination and the contents of your fridge!

Younger Brother was hungry and couldn't wait for me to snap a posed photograph...
So what are you waiting for?! Dig in!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Nigella's Mexican Scrambled Eggs

I'm starting to detect a theme here...

I feel that I have yet to learn how best to photograph scrambled eggs...
These scrambled eggs are pretty fantastic Nigella totes these as the ultimate hangover cure; even going so far as to suggest that they're worth deliberately hanging yourself over for... I'm not convinced anything is "worth" a hang over... but they're still pretty dang good!

There's something about eggs and chilli that just works for me! The kind of remind me of "Parsi Eggs" which are a spicy, Indian style of scrambled eggs my whole family enjoys... at some point I shall have to make and photograph 'em for y'all!

Now, Nigella calls for corn tortillas in her recipe; to the best of my knowledge you can't get corn tortillas in New Zealand... In fact, I've never seen a corn tortilla in the flesh my whole life! (Sheltered much?) I used the easily available flour tortilla to provide the crunch for my eggs... and to that end they worked fine! :) You could use the bottom few chips from a bag of corn chips, or even toast to the same effect, I would imagine...

A word on scrambling eggs: when I was first "taught" how to scramble eggs (ie; sans microwave) at school we were told to cook them reeeally slowly over a very low heat, stirring all the time 'else they'd go rubbery. This leads to very soft, but slightly grainy eggs, in my experience, not a texture I particularly enjoy. What I like to do is to crank the heat right up on a non-stick pan, melt a knob of butter and whip the eggs into a bubbly frenzy. Then I pour the eggs into the hot pan and allow them to set on the bottom before slowly pushing them 'round (wrinkling them, really) with a silicone spatula. Once you've wrinkled the first layer of egg, stop and let the next layer set on the hot pan before wrinkling again. Continue until all the eggs are neeearly cooked. Then turn off the heat and tip out onto a plate/piece of marmited toast... smother with HP Sauce and you're away (although I'd skip the marmite/HP sauce for Mexican eggs...)!

You don't want to cook the eggs all the way in the pan because they'll continue to cook in their own heat off the pan... over cooking eggs WILL make them rubbery!

The point of all this, I think, is scramble your eggs in the way that makes you most happy!

Click on for the ingredients...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Taste & Create: Chicken Acapulco

(sorry guys, this is super late)

For Taste & Create this month, my first in aaages I was paired with Sid of Sid's Sea Palm Cooking. SSPC is a really interesting blog with an eclectic collection of recipes from the Southern USA, Mexico and Denmark... I really enjoyed looking through the Danish recipes and trying to work out what they were for without first clicking the link for a translation. Swedish and Danish are quite similar, and I was fairly successful! :D

Ultimately though, I chose to make a Mexican recipe: Chicken Acapulco with Pico de Gallo!

(thank  you, blogger for re-flipping my images. I am most grateful. Not.)
Mexican recipes are kinda hard to get right in my neck of the woods (suburban NZ) because we simply don't have access to authentic ingredients... But I love almost anything that comes in a tortilla so I chose to give it a whirl! And I'm glad I did!

At it's most basic, this is what I would call a chicken burrito with cheese melted over the chicken while it was still in the pan... but the result is so much more than that!

Cheesy, cheesy goodness!

I had a slight issue in that Sid called for a specific meat marinade but I was able to google the name of the company and check it's listed ingredients... I made my own marinade using the ingredients listed and although the result might not be the same as the packet (I have no way of knowing!) it was still pretty darn good! Kinda sour and salty with a bit of heat from the mustard powder and paprika.

Soy sauce, paprika, mustard, lemon juice, garlic and onion whizzed together with cider vinegar, oil and water; it's a winner!
And that Pico de Gallo! Wow! It was so fresh and fantastic! And perfect accompaniment! Don't do as I did thought, and attempt to whizz it all up in a too small blender - be intrepid and cut your own... I ended up with mush. It didn't detract from the flavour any, but the texture was kinda weird.

Thanks Sid and Min ; this was a lot of fun!

Raw chicken will never be the prettiest; but it turns into some pretty tasty things!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Red Lentil and Tomato Soup

So guys, guess what? I'm still around!! Can I get a woop, woop?! :)

This is a recipe inspired by the delicious soup my cousin, Vicky served me while I was staying with her in England... It requires very few, very cheap ingredients but with the lentils providing protein and the tomatoes providing their fantastic anti-cancer qualities it's an excellent soup to keep away the Winter (or the it-really-ought-to-be-spring-by-now?!) Blues...

Gorgeous, terracotta soup garnished with crumbled feta and a drizzle of olive oil!

If you use vegetable stock (and skip the feta I sprinkled on my serving!) this soup is easily vegan/vegetarian... but because I'm perfectly happy to have animal in my diet - I made my soup with powdered chicken stock!

The recipe I used is based on this one from's Low Fat Cooking Section... Because I was in Sweden for only 6 months - I was unwilling to buy all the spices I might ordinarily have in my kitchen - so I chose ground cumin over ground coriander - but use what you've got! Cooking should be a fluid action...

This was quick, easy, hearty and delicious... and it lasted for AGES (you can decide whether that last point is a pro or a con...)... I really encourage you to try it!!