1. Robert Rodriguez’s Puerco Pibil

    June 20, 2008 by

    Dave, Banana leaves and Robert Rodriguez's Puerco PibilWhile I didn’t think too much of the movie “Once Upon a Time in Mexico“, I have the utmost respect for Robert Rodriguez’s 10 minute cooking school in the DVD extras for the movie. This dish is the one Johnny Depp’s assassin character (Agent Sands) is always eating in the movie and ends up ‘whacking’ the chef of some exceptionally good Puerco Pibil.

    Ever since seeing the snippet, I’ve wanted to cook this dish and recently at my 30th birthday I finally did, and with great result. Everyone seemed to love it, and it disappeared pretty bloody quick.

    We didn’t get a photo of the end result because it disappeared waaaaaaay to quick. So here’s me, the banana leaves from down the back of the yard, and my marinaded pork that I had ‘set aside’ earlier.

    In New Zealand, getting hold of the key ingredient (besides the pork) was a bit of a mission. I found the Annato seeds from Mexi Foods in Dunedun and orders a descent size bag for $10 (although I didn’t use the credit card form, because they don’t t say what company takes the payments – they possibly just email your credit card info to themselves, which isn’t too good, but that’s just my assumption).

    Then, once you’ve got those (and some banana leaves from my back yard) you’re good to go. Here is the 10 minute cooking school clip from youtube. Although, whoever uploaded this cut out the scene when Robert tells us to marinade the pork overnight.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    Sticky Tape
    Oh wait, that was the idea I wanted to send in to play school.

    Here’s what you’ll really need:

    For the Achiote Paste:

    5 tbsp annatto seeds
    2 tbsp cumin seeds
    1 tbsp black peppercorns
    8 pieces allspice
    ½ tsp cloves

    In a spice grinder/mill grind all the ingredients for the Achiote Paste into a fine powder.

    The the dish itself:

    2.6kg of pork shoulder or scotch cut into 5cm cubes (Americans say 5lbs pork butt, cut into 2 inch cubes – those crazy yanks)
    banana leaves
    ½ cup fresh orange juice
    ½ cup white vinegar
    2 tbsp salt
    Juice of 5 lemons
    8 cloves garlic
    2 habanero peppers, chopped (habanero’s are pretty hard to find in New Zealand, just use 2-4 available chillies according to taste – although how you taste a chilli I’m unsure)
    1 shot (or so) of the finest quality tequila you can manage

    The method:

    1. In a blender, blend annatto paste (spices), garlic, orange juice, vinegar, lemon juice, chillies, tequilia and salt until smooth and well mixed.
    2. In a large zip lock bag, add pork and the blended mixture and jiggle until evenly coated.
    3. Leave in the fridge overnight to marinade.
    4. Preheat oven to 175°C 160°C (325°F).
    5. Line a deep roasting dish with the banana leaves, dump the pork mixture into the disk and cover with another layer of banana leaves.
    6. Cover tightly with tin foil so the steam can’t escape and bake for 4 hours.
    7. When it finally comes out, it should all fall apart when you dig a fork into it.

    Serve on a bed of white rice, and some nice crunchy mild peppers, or try shredding the meat and eat it like a fajita in a flour tortilla with lettuce, tomato and sour cream.


    PS: I have loads of annato seeds left if someone close want to try the recipe out 🙂

  2. Jeannie’s Famous Hummus

    June 20, 2008 by

    3 cups cooked chickpeas
    ¼ cup olive oil
    ¼ cup lemon juice
    ¼ cup fresh mint
    ¼ cup fresh parsley
    ¼ cup tahini (or ground up sesame seeds in your mortar and pestle)
    3 tbsp soya sauce
    ½ small onion
    3 garlic cloves
    2 tsp cumin powder
    2 tsp ground coriander
    3 tsp sweet chilli sauce
    water to thin as necessary (approx ¼ cup)

    Place all ingredients except the water into the food processor. Whizz until smooth. Add the water to thin. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Keep covered in the fridge for a few days or freeze.

    • 1 cup of dried chickpeas equals a 3 cups of cooked.
    • Soak dried chickpeas in plenty of water overnight. Rinse, add fresh water and then boil for 40 minutes. Alternately use 2 tins of chickpeas.
    • Recipe can be doubled and frozen for later use
    • If you have some love handles or a fat ass to lose then this is great. 1/2 cup of this hummus is equal to 1 point on the Weight Watchers program

  3. Aunty Helen’s Muesli, To Live For

    May 25, 2008 by

    Auntie Helen gave me this fantastic muesli recipe that I have adapted to my own tastes and nutrition needs.  The exact amount of the ingredients is not really important, so if you stick with the basic quantities of the main ingredients then you can go wild and pretty much add whatever you like.  It makes a large batch, that stores well, is far nicer than any supermarket Muesli that I’ve ever had and you can vary the ingredients so you’ll never get sick of it. So here it is…


    4 Cups of Rolled Oats (I use a mixture of any of the following: Rolled Oats; Whole Oats; Whole Rye Flakes; Quinoa Flakes)

    1 Cup of Wheatgerm (I use fine Rice Bran)

    1 1/2 Cups of Brown Sugar (I use Muscovado Sugar or Pure Maple Syrup, and I think you can get away with about 1 Cup, if you are using dried fruit)

    1/4 – 1/2 Cup  of sesame seeds

    1/4 – 1/2 Cup of Coconut

    1 Teaspoon each of Cinnamon and Mixed Spice (Optional)

    1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

    1/2 Cup of Water

    1/2 Cup of Olive Oil

    Now the fun part!  You can add any of the following or basically anything you want.

    Dried Fruit. (The original recipe says: Sultanas, Apricots, Cranberries, Dates, etc.  I like a mixture of Sultanas, Blueberries &  Currants.)

    Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds.

    Nuts. Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans, Cashews etc ( You can get creative here – chop, crush, slivers or you can even leave them whole)

    Linseed. I crush my own or you can use L.S.A (Crushed Linseed, Sunflower Seed and Almond)

    Puffed cereals add an interesting texture as does Rice Bran Granules.

    METHOD: Put everything into a large roasting pan and combine.  Bake at 160 degrees for about 30-45 minutes or longer, until golden brown.  Stir every 15 minutes or so.  Stir as mixture cools, then store in an airtight container.

    Hint: Dried fruit can go chewy when cooked, so I add mine half way through cooking, along with the crushed nuts and seeds.

  4. Creamy Potato Bake

    May 25, 2008 by

    This potato dish has no measurements for the ingredients, so cook as much or as little as you like, Just follow your instinct with the quantities.  It’s also a great pot-luck dish.

    • Peel and thinly slice potatoes and layer them in a ovenproof dish.
    • Pour chicken stock over and bake in the oven at 180 til soft.
    • Sprinkle chopped/crushed garlic and grated cheese over the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and pour cream over the top.
    • Return to the oven and bake until golden.



  5. Dave’s Scotch Fillet of Beef on Bok Choy

    May 10, 2008 by

    This one is an awesome tasty dish for when you’re busy – and its really simple. The preparation is quick and most of the cooking can happen simultaneously. If you haven’t got a nice cast iron frying pan, you might as well go get some KFC now and save yourself some culinary heartache – no wait – oh never mind.

    What you’ll need for serving 2 (or even three for a light meal):

    2 Scotch Fillet Steaks
    2-3 heads of Bok Choy (The smaller Shanghai variety is the best)
    A handful of pinenuts, or a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, or crushed peanuts, or some chili cashews
    Seasalt, Pepper and preferably garlic flakes (or fresh garlic)
    A glug of oil (for cooking, I use grapeseed or olive oil)
    A drizzle of good quality olive oil


    • Preheat your frying pan (hopefully you have a nice thick bottom cast-iron frying pan or skillet, there is no guarantee your steak will be very nice if you use one of those horrible non-stick aluminum ones, yuk!) and prepare a large pot of salted water to boil the Bok Choy.
    • Season the steaks evenly on both sides with the salt, pepper and garlic flakes. Then thinly coat with oil and let sit until the pan is hot hot.
    • When the pan is hot hot, add the oiled steaks. You won’t need more oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or you’ll suck the life out of your heat and end up with something tough.
    • Cook quickly for a few minutes on each side according to your preference (but turn it only once!). We like ours medium-rare, so it stays nice and tender.
    • Pull the Bok Choy leaves apart and wash. Slice down the middle, so they become long bite-size-esque slivers, and add to the boiling water. Cook for about 2 minutes, then drain in a colander.
    • Remove the steaks and let rest on a warm plate until you’re ready to carve.
    • Thow the pinenuts or mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds into the still hot pan and wiggle around in the juices and oils left from the steak. Careful not to burn them. If you’re using crushed peanuts or chili cashews, they’re okay not heated.
    • Place a lump (there is no better word!) of Bok Choy, heaped, in the middle of each plate.
    • Slice the steaks into thin strips (hopefully the outside is nice and brown and the inside has a nice strip of red) and arrange over the top of the Bok Choy.
    • Sprinkle with the seeds or nuts, a smidge of freshly ground pepper and a little dribble of good quality olive oil and serve.

    The juices from the steak will mix into the Bok Choy as you eat it, and the seeds add a little bit of texture to the dish. It’s soooo good.

  6. Red Lentil Dhal

    May 6, 2008 by

    350 grams split red lentils (organic ones are the yummiest)
    1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    ½ teaspoon chilli powder
    1cm piece root ginger
    2 cloves garlic
    ½ teaspoon garam masala
    1 Tablespoon butter
    Pinch of ground cumin
    1 small onion

    1. Rinse lentils under cold running water and drain.
    2. Put the lentils into a saucepan and cover with 4-5 cups of boiling water.
    3. Add the turmeric and chilli powder and bring to the boil.
    4. Peel and cut the ginger into thin slices and crush garlic. Add both to the pan.
    5. Cover the saucepan and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the lentils are soft and nearly all of the liquid has been absorbed.
    6. Stir in the garam masala and salt to taste.
    7. Cook uncovered for a further 5 minutes or so.
    8. Meanwhile heat the butter and cumin in a small frying pan. Add diced onion and fry gently until soft.
    9. Stir the onion into the dhal and serve with curry and rice.

  7. Prawn Masala

    May 6, 2008 by

    1 medium onion
    2 cloves garlic
    5cm piece root ginger
    2 Tablespoons oil
    2 teaspoons ground coriander
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    400 grams prawns
    200mls coconut cream
    Small bunch coriander

    1. Heat oil in pan, add onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes until softened.
    2. Add the ginger and ground coriander, cumin and turmeric. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
    3. Add the prawns and coconut cream and season with salt and black pepper.
    4. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
    5. Scatter chopped coriander through.
    6. Serve immediately with rice and garnish with coriander sprigs.

    Is lovely served with my favourite, Dhal.

  8. Chicken and Spinach Curry

    May 6, 2008 by

    This is a really mild, creamy curry that we love served with rice and Dhal.

    2 Tablespoons of oil
    1 small onion
    2 cloves of garlic
    About 1cm piece of root ginger
    ½ teaspoon turmeric
    ½ teaspoon cumin
    ½ teaspoon ground coriander
    ¼ – ½ teaspoon ground chilli
    ¼ teaspoon garam masala
    2 ripe tomatoes
    800 grams boneless chicken (breast/thigh, cut into chunks)
    150mls thick cream
    200 grams baby spinach (I use a bag of pre-washed baby spinach)

    1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Fry the chopped onion then add the crushed garlic and finely chopped ginger. Add the spices and cook for a further minute.
    2. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the saucepan. Fry over a gently heat for about 7 minutes, or until cooked down to a pulp.
    3. Increase the heat to high and add the chicken. Fry until pieces turn white.
    4. Season with salt and black pepper, pour in the cream and simmer for about 6 minutes.
    5. Add the spinach and stir until it wilts.
    6. Serve with rice.

  9. Dave’s CousCous Salad with Feijoa, Lime and Coriander

    May 1, 2008 by

    This salad is a random invention where we had too many Feijoas and needed to make our cous-cous more interesting and tastalising.

    What we used:

    2 bags of “boil in the bag” cous cous
    4 feijoas (skinned and diced)
    ½ small red onion (sliced)
    1 lime (zest and juice)
    knob of butter
    bunch of fresh coriander
    good quality olive oil
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


    1. Prepare couscous as per packet instructions (usually boil in the bag in lots of salted water for 1.5 minutes, then drain excess water).
    2. In a small frying pan, gently sweat the onion in a little butter or oil until soft. Try not to brown them.
    3. While the cous cous is still out, place in a bowl and season well (don’t be scared now, season it damnit!), a knob of butter and fork through until combined.
    4. Add onion, finely grated zest of the lime, and coriander and loosely combine.
    5. Add the fejoas – be careful not to squish them – and loosely combine.
    6. Taste and adjust seasoning if required.
    7. Toss a few more coriander leaves on top as a garnish
    8. Mix lime juice and good quality olive oil (1:1 ratio) and drizzle over the salad to suit your tastes.

    Serve with marinated chicken thighs or wings from Sam’s Kitchen and mesculin side salad dressed with olive oil (and lime juice if you have some left over).


  10. Mason’s Delicious Pikelets

    April 30, 2008 by

    At school I was learning about cooking and these are the delicious Pikelets we made. I think you might like them too.

    20 grams of Butter
    1 Cup of Flour
    30 grams of Sugar
    2 teaspoons of Cream of Tartar
    1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
    1 Egg
    1 Tablespoon of Golden Syrup
    About 250mls of milk


    1. Melt Butter
    2. Mix the Flour, Sugar, Cream of Tartar and Baking Soda in a bowl.
    3. Make a hole in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the Golden Syrup and Egg.
    4. Gradually add the milk and mix carefully.
    5. Add melted Butter and stir gently.
    6. Cook in spoonfuls in a hot greased pan.
    7. When cold, add your favourite Jam.

    I hope you enjoy eating!!