Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Salmon, eggplant and goat's cheese stacks

So over here in the Land of the Long White Cloud is not only the world's best Sauvignon Blanc, but also the best hot-smoked salmon. I'm talking big fat oily slices of salmon that have been smoked gently and fragrantly so it falls apart when you smile at it. 

Best part is you can buy top quality smoked salmon in the supermarket which I do when I'm pressed for time. But I prefer to pop out to Petone (for the uneducated like me, it's not pronounced Pet-One, like a pet shop or a Kardashian offspring, but the rather more refined "Pee-Tony" like a pretend Italian). 

John's Fish Market, right on the esplanade, is not much chop inside, but it really does have some gorgeous fresh seafood. I like to buy sashimi salmon from him. When he sees me come in, he pops out to the back fridge, and brings me half a salmon and tells me it was caught just a few hours ago. Totally yum. 

I must admit I miss seeing the acres of green and cooked prawns that I was so accustomed to in Brisbane. But the array of salmon, fish like gurnard and tarahiki, and of course oysters, make up for it. 

We have a fantastic view of Wellington Harbour from our lounge/dining room so it makes sense to have people over, cook something fabulous, open a bottle of something, and enjoy. 

Here's what we did recently. This is from Marie Claire's "Lunch". 

Serves 4


1 big fat purple eggplant
Olive oil, for brushing
Packet of fresh lasagne sheets
1-2 fillets of hot smoked salmon (or trout, I guess)
200g goat's cheese (or one packet)
150g sun-dried tomatoes

For the sauce:
50g butter
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (I used curly)
1 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons lime juice
ground pepper


Cut the eggplant into thick slices, say 1cm. Lightly brush with olive oil and grill both sides until golden brown.

Cut the lasagne sheets into 12 8cm squares. Cook in batches in a pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain well.

Put one sheet of lasagna on the center of each plate.

Top with a slice of smoked salmon, a slice of eggplant, and a slice (or crumble) of goat cheese.

Top with another sheet of lasagna and layer as before.

Finish with a bit of smoked salmon, a crumble of goat cheese, and a sprinkling of sun-dried tomato.

(It's usually a good idea to drain the sun-dried tomatoes on some paper towels first, it gets rid of a lot of the oil.)

To make the sauce: heat the butter, parsley, stock, lime juice, and some cracked black pepper in a saucepan. Drizzle over the stacks.

You can easily make this for two people by using the same quantity of ingredients and only put out two plates.

Now get yourself some friends and a harbour view. Although it is worth noting that this recipe works just as well when you're on your own and watching tv. Sometimes that's a good enough view too.

Enjoy xo

This is our view. I know.

This is our view at night. I know. 

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Peas, beans & feta

This is so incredibly easy that it's almost boring. It is also so incredibly fresh and tasty that it's the opposite of boring. It's the ideal thing when you're looking for something kind of healthy and kind of fantastic to put with your steak and potato. I reckon you should ditch the potato, and just do the steak (just medium rare) with this groover on the side.


1 leek, sliced (white part only)
1 tablespoon olive oil
250g asparagus, halved both down and across
1 cup shelled edamame
1 cup frozen baby peas
75ml vegetable stock
100g feta cheese, crumbled (I use Danish, it's so creamy)
Handful of mint leaves, chopped
½ lemon, zested

Bill Granger, Australian chef and my future husband

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks and asparagus, season with sea salt and cook for 5 minutes to soften.

Add the beans and peas, pour in the stock and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are just tender and the stock has reduced.

Serve topped with the feta, mint and lemon zest and a grind of black pepper.