Tag Archives: leek

If I only knew what that ‘something’ was

God has all the time in the world.
~ Antoni Gaudí

Medley ingredients:
Roasted kumara with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Leek rings sautéed with butter.
A handful of fresh pomegranate seeds.
Feta cubes.
Baby spinach, gently wilted.
Fresh mint, chopped.
Squeeze of lemon.
Black pepper.

Something was still missing. Or something that shouldn’t have been there was. Anyone know what? Penny for your thoughts…


Winter + oven =

It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption.
~ Edward Bunyard, The Anatomy of Dessert

I chanced upon this delightful post by Chef Millie and it sounded too delicious not to make.

So last night I made a slightly modified (to suit what I had in my pantry) version of this roasted pear, leek and chicken salad – and… tonight, I made it again (admittedly again modified to suit what I had in my fridge). I don’t think I have ever cooked the same thing twice in a row when cooking for others – but try it and you may just decide to make this for dinner every day for the rest of the week. Or month? ;-)

I actually felt a little guilty when John, Fran and Heather complimented me on this dish because it was really so easy. There is no real need to measure anything, and ingredients can be substituted. Everything goes into a baking tray, which goes into an oven – and you can read a book or take a shower then sit down for dinner and have just one tray to wash afterwards. Magic!

Last night, I roasted leeks, pear wedges and chicken breasts and plated it individually atop a bed of baby cos/romaine lettuce with toasted Turkish bread on the side.

Tonight, I baked yellow capsicum pieces, pear wedges, half a leek and chicken thighs and placed the tray on the table for everyone to help themselves. Along with this I toasted ciabatta with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper on each slice, and served up bowls of Nigel Slater’s pumpkin, tomato and cannellini bean soup for us all. I still had a bottle of sparkling Sauvignon Blanc from Mindfood magazine so that found its way to the table too…

Main modifications with this recipe: I used different parts of the chicken; smeared wholegrain mustard on the chicken and left out mustard seeds; added in rosemary last night, thyme tonight; changed the goats’ cheese to feta; used more garlic. I also left out the step at the end to heat the fat on the stove and deglaze with red wine vinegar, even though it sounded divine – purely to save time, will have to try it next time!

So I already knew that chicken + mustard + herbs + salt + pepper + oven is often bound to please, but baked leeks and pears together? – a revelation for me. The leeks went slightly pink and so sweet and melting; and pears – they are a total pleasure to eat raw, but when cooked – they are like a golden crown, a fancy something. I really like cooked pears – they make a meal special, somehow. Oh, and fennel seeds – I wish I had discovered them sooner. Now I have to actively restrain myself from this wild urge to spray them liberally on everything…

Pasta spirals with leek, mushrooms, and buffalo mozzarella

If only we’d stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time.
~ Edith Wharton

Hi. Cooking inspiration levels have been low, as you may have picked up from the lack of cooking posts on this blog – but a crack of sunshine rained down on me at my first walk to the supermarket here. I came home and made something that was not scrambled eggs or yoghurt in a bowl! Also, I bought my first ever tub of buffalo mozzarella and I fear there may be a repeat of this incident in the not-so-distant future :-O

Tonight’s dinner was simple, but nice nevertheless – and I do feel better than I did yesterday… cooking must do for me what shopping does for some people! I now look forward to hosting a dinner party or something sometime soon…

Anyway, my eyes are hurting from a long day of staring at the screen at work… so bye and hope you are all having a great Monday there!

PS. My friend Rosie has started a yummy blog! Yay! Go check it out

    Pasta spirals with leek, mushrooms, and buffalo mozzarella
    Olive oil
    2 cloves garlic
    100ml white wine
    1 leek
    2 flat mushrooms
    1/2 lemon
    1 tsp sugar
    Dried basil
    Chilli flakes
    Buffalo mozzarella – however much you want, sliced into circles
    Tri-colour pasta spirals, or pasta of your choice
    Heat a saucepan of water over medium-high heat, and add in a few teaspoons of salt. Bring the water to a rolling boil, then add in enough pasta for you.
    Meanwhile, smash, peel and chop the garlic cloves. Separate the leaves from the stem of the leek, discard the leaves and slice the stem into rings. Clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth and slice them. Zest the lemon half and retain the lemon for use later.
    Dribble some olive oil in a small skillet, set it over medium-low heat and swirl the pan around to spread the oil around the base. When the oil is sufficiently warmed, add in the garlic – watch it sizzle. Once you can smell the garlic, add in the leek rings and white wine and saute for 2 minutes. Add in the mushrooms, a spoonful of sugar, a shake of chilli flakes and the lemon zest, and continue to fry – adjust the heat if necessary. Add in a pinch of dried basil, rubbing it between your fingers as you go. When the vegetables are cooked and the wine has nearly evaporated, squeeze in the lemon juice and turn off the heat. You can add in the buffalo mozzarella at this point, though I chose to decorate my plate with it instead!
    When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and put it on a plate. Add the vegetables and buffalo mozzarella (if you haven’t yet added it into the pan), and serve immediately. Great with a shivering glass of white wine!
    Yields one serving.

Magical leek pasta

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
~ Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Sound of Music

“Pity those who don’t love the sweet taste and delicate texture of leeks. Eventually, you probably will,” writes Madame Mireille Guiliano, author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat”. I remember well the initial revulsion I felt when I first read her recipe for magical leek soup… yeesh! I could not imagine anyone trying to eat leeks cooked in nothing but its own juice and some water.

I did try ‘magical leek soup’, but ended up adding a whole lot of ingredients to it, thus arriving at a soup I wouldn’t recommend to anyone trying to lose weight :-)

I have indeed come to enjoy this fragrant vegetable though, on the few occasions I now eat it (none of my flatmates over the last few years have liked leeks at all, unfortunately, so I’ve tried not to cook them for dinners).

I bought myself a leek last night, and bore it home triumphantly. I had leek, lemon and herb pasta for breakfast today… and I have to say it was pretty good!

Basically, I washed, drained and chopped about a third of a leek, fried the leek rings with some handy garlic butter I had in my freezer, salt, pepper, thyme sprigs, fresh rosemary – and sprinkled in lemon zest and lemon juice shortly before they were done. This went on top of some linguine I cooked till al dente.

I was faintly regretful that I had such a hearty breakfast when we got to Westpac Stadium for the Food Show this afternoon… seriously, gluttony is not to be envied in the slightest.

Jeremy, John and I spent a good few hours traipsing through the stadium with lots of people, sampling limoncellos, Fair trade coffee, gourmet avocado oil, chocolate, Manuka-smoked chicken, who knows what else… some of the food tasted great, others I frankly wouldn’t feed to my worst enemies. I also didn’t enjoy the crowds, to be honest! I ended up just buying 2 packets of Gravity plunger coffee which I shall look forward to using with my new colleagues.

Oh yes, and there were some pretty amazing birthday cakes on display too… check out this Alice one! Gorgeous, no?

Finally, Nish and I went to try Cosa Nostra Trattoria on Tinakori Road tonight. I always love hanging out with Nish anyway, whatever we end up doing or talking about – but I also love the fact that we both dig good food. Cosa Nostra is delicious, homely, rustic, warm, with the most friendly staff you could ask for – exactly what we needed on this cold wet night. She had spaghetti with seafood, chilli, garlic; and I had ricotta-stuffed tortellini with a creamy ham and mushroom sauce. I made the mistake of thinking I could eat dessert too… though the tiramisu was smile-inducing (a mascarpone, espresso, fairytale melt-in-the-mouth affair) – I had to take some of it home.

Haidee and I are planning to check out City Market tomorrow (I was inspired by Millie of a very delicious blog, Gusty Gourmet)… afterwhich I think I might suggest to Mr. Food that we break up for awhile while I start dating Mr. Exercise…

Cosa Nostra – 324 Tinakori Road, Thorndon, Wellington – Phone: 04 473 3005