Re­heat & eat

These hearty, flavour­some dishes can all be made ahead and are marvellous for feed­ing a crowd, says NZ House & Gar­den Food Ed­i­tor, Sally But­ters. SMOKED CHICKEN, MUSH­ROOM & BROCCOLI PASTA BAKE

Waikato Times - Your Weekend (Waikato Times) - - Weekend Kitchen -

Blue cheese and pesto help make this hearty meal-in-a-dish su­per tasty. Ev­ery­one seems to love it, even those who aren’t nor­mally blue cheese fans, and it re­heats per­fectly.

Cheese sauce:

60g but­ter 50g flour 500ml milk 120g tasty ched­dar, grated 80g blue cheese, crum­bled 1 ta­ble­spoon basil pesto Pinch of freshly grated nut­meg

For the bake:

400g penne pasta 2 ta­ble­spoons but­ter 2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil 3 cloves gar­lic, finely chopped 100g but­ton mush­rooms, finely sliced 1 head broccoli, cut into small flo­rets 1 smoked chicken breast (ap­prox 300g), skin re­moved, roughly chopped 2 ta­ble­spoons pine nuts Ex­tra grated tasty ched­dar for sprin­kling

GRILLED VEG­ETABLE MOUS­SAKA Pre­par­ing the el­e­ments for this take on tra­di­tional mous­saka re­quires a lit­tle time but the scrump­tious re­sult makes it well worth the ef­fort. Grilling the veg­eta­bles re­ally adds to the flavour.

3 kumara 2 medium egg­plants 3 cour­gettes ½ cup olive oil 1 tea­spoon each: ground cin­na­mon, dried oregano Pinch cayenne pep­per 1 red cap­sicum

Tomato sauce:

2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil 1 onion, finely diced 2 cloves gar­lic, finely chopped 400g can whole peeled toma­toes 400g can lentils 1 ta­ble­spoon cider vine­gar 2 tea­spoons brown sugar ½ cup roughly chopped pars­ley ½ cup roughly chopped basil 1 tea­spoon dried oregano

Cheese top­ping:

40g but­ter 40g flour 450ml milk 1 tea­spoon Di­jon mus­tard 100g grated parme­san 50g feta, crum­bled 1 egg, beaten Cheese sauce: Melt but­ter in a medium saucepan un­til it foams. Add flour, take off heat and mix un­til to a smooth paste. Re­turn to heat and cook while stir­ring for a minute. Re­move from heat and add milk, whisk­ing un­til smooth. Bring back to the boil. Take off heat and stir in cheeses and pesto. Sea­son to taste, add a pinch of nut­meg and set aside. Heat oven to 200C. Grease an oven­proof dish about 30cm x 22cm (it doesn’t need to be ex­act). Cook pasta ac­cord­ing to packet di­rec­tions. In a fry­ing pan, heat but­ter and oil over medium heat. Add gar­lic, mush­rooms and broccoli flo­rets and stir-fry un­til broccoli is just ten­der. Com­bine cooked pasta with mush­room mix­ture and chopped Scrub or peel kumara and cut into ½cm slices. Cook in boil­ing wa­ter un­til just ten­der. Drain. Cut egg­plants into ½cm slices. Cut cour­gettes length­ways into thin slices. Heat a grill, bar­be­cue or grill pan. Com­bine oil, cin­na­mon, oregano and cayenne. Brush eggplant, kumara and cour­gette slices with the oil mix­ture then grill them on both sides un­til grill marks ap­pear. Set aside. Mean­while, char­grill the cap­sicum then peel and re­move seeds and cut flesh into strips. Tomato sauce: Heat oil in a pan over a medium to low heat. Add onion and cook un­til just ten­der. Add gar­lic and cook gen­tly for sev­eral min­utes. Add toma­toes, lentils, vine­gar and brown sugar. Bring to the boil then turn to a sim­mer. Cook about 15 min­utes, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally. Add herbs, sea­son to taste and re­move from heat. Cheese top­ping: Melt but­ter in a medium saucepan. Add flour and chicken. Tip into bak­ing dish and sea­son to taste. Scat­ter over pine nuts, pour over the cheese sauce and scat­ter with ex­tra cheese. Bake 30 min­utes or un­til golden and bubbling. Leave to rest for 5 min­utes be­fore serv­ing. Serves 8-10 cook for a few min­utes. Whisk in milk and bring to the boil, stir­ring un­til mix­ture thick­ens. Add mus­tard and cheeses and sea­son to taste. Re­move pan from heat and whisk in egg. Heat oven to 190C. As­sem­ble mous­saka by plac­ing all the kumara in a layer over the base of a large oven­proof dish (or in­di­vid­ual oven­proof dishes). Top with a third of the eggplant, half the cour­gettes and half the cap­sicum. Sea­son with a lit­tle flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pep­per. Spoon over half the tomato mix­ture, add an­other layer of the eggplant, cour­gettes and cap­sicum, sea­son once more then spoon over re­main­ing tomato mix­ture. Add a fi­nal layer of eggplant and spread the cheese top­ping over. Bake un­til top­ping is golden and veg­eta­bles are bubbling, about 50 min­utes (30 min­utes for in­di­vid­ual dishes). Al­low to sit 5-10 min­utes be­fore serv­ing. Serves 6

CHILLI BEEF & BEANS This deeply flavoured, Mex­i­can-in­spired dish can be used as a fill­ing for tacos, to make nachos, served over rice or eaten for break­fast on toast topped with a poached egg. As in a tra­di­tional mole sauce, the dark choco­late adds an in­trigu­ing com­plex­ity but it can be omit­ted and this will still taste great.

1.2kg trimmed stew­ing beef, cut into 2cm cubes 2 ta­ble­spoons malt vine­gar 1 tea­spoon flaky sea salt 1 tea­spoon sugar 2 ta­ble­spoons oil 2 onions, chopped 3 cloves gar­lic, finely chopped 1 tea­spoon each: hot smoked pa­prika, chilli pow­der, ground cin­na­mon 2 tea­spoons cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed 1 bay leaf 2 red chill­ies, seeds re­moved, finely chopped 3 ta­ble­spoons tomato puree 400g tin chopped toma­toes 375g tomato salsa (eg Old El Paso Thick & Chunky) 1 ta­ble­spoon brown sugar 1 cup beef stock 2 red cap­sicum, seeds re­moved, chopped into small dice 400g tin red kid­ney beans, rinsed and drained 400g tin black beans, rinsed and drained 3 ta­ble­spoons chopped coriander leaves, plus ex­tra for gar­nish 2 squares dark choco­late (at least 70% cocoa)

Toss beef cubes in a bowl with vine­gar, sea salt and sugar. Cover and leave to mar­i­nate for at least 4 hours, overnight if pos­si­ble. Heat oil in a large pan or casse­role with a tight-fit­ting lid and gen­tly cook onion and gar­lic over low heat un­til soft and trans­par­ent. Re­move from pan with a slot­ted spoon. In­crease heat and brown the mar­i­nated meat in batches. Re­turn all the meat to the pan along with the cooked onion and gar­lic. Add all re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents ex­cept beans, coriander and choco­late. Bring to the boil, then re­duce heat to a sim­mer, cover and cook for 1 hour, stir­ring from time to time. Re­move lid and sim­mer a fur­ther 30 min­utes. Stir in beans, coriander and choco­late, sea­son to taste and sim­mer 10 min­utes. Store mix­ture cov­ered in the fridge for up to a week. Serves 8-10

THE WRAP`

Port Road Project 719 Port Rd, Whanga­mata Phone: 07 865 7288 Open six days (closed Tues­days); shared plates on Fri­day and Satur­day nights.

For all of my crit­ics who ac­cuse me (of­ten quite rightly) of be­ing a bleed­ing heart lib­eral, this next sen­tence might sur­prise you. I’m not very com­fort­able with the is­sue of trans­gen­der iden­tity.

The en­tire con­cept of it is so alien to me, so far out­side of my own ex­pe­ri­ence, that I have ab­so­lutely no point of ref­er­ence that I can use to get my head around it.

I can imag­ine a lot of re­al­i­ties re­moved from my own – be­ing at­tracted to some­one of the same sex, for ex­am­ple – but iden­ti­fy­ing as a dif­fer­ent gen­der is in­com­pre­hen­si­ble to me.

Two things, I am clear of though; one, I har­bour no fear or ha­tred for any trans­gen­der per­son. And two, I know that I have no right what­so­ever to tell them where they can or can­not go for a wee.

If you’re so self-con­scious that you can’t han­dle any­one dif­fer­ent from you us­ing the same bath­room, then I’m guess­ing you’re the one with the prob­lem.

What are you do­ing in there that you don’t want some­one else to wit­ness?

Shared fa­cil­i­ties are weird enough as it is. The idea of men stand­ing next to each other at a uri­nal, avoid­ing eye con­tact but still some­how com­pelled to make small talk is, quite frankly, bizarre, and don’t get me started on peo­ple who try to chat when they’re in a cu­bi­cle.

So to say that some­one who iden­ti­fies as male or fe­male, re­gard­less of their phys­i­ol­ogy, shouldn’t use the toi­let of their choice be­cause they might make things un­com­fort­able? We’re way be­yond that al­ready.

High school toi­lets, in par­tic­u­lar, have al­ways been mys­te­ri­ous dens of in­iq­uity. From sneaky cig­a­rettes to graf­fiti to bul­ly­ing and phys­i­cal al­ter­ca­tions, they have hosted all man­ner of mis­deeds, and the idea of them ever be­ing a sanc­tu­ary is laugh­able.

But I’d like to get back to my own dis­com­fort. I know, from my own ex­pe­ri­ence, that the most ef­fec­tive way of con­quer­ing peo­ple’s fear or mis­trust of those we consider “dif­fer­ent” is ex­po­sure.

I men­tioned above that I can un­der­stand same-sex at­trac­tion, but that wasn’t al­ways the case. Like most young men, I once thought be­ing gay was, at best, funny.

Then I made sev­eral gay friends, and my mind was changed for the bet­ter. By break­ing down the tra­di­tional bar­ri­ers be­tween the gen­ders, we ex­pose our­selves to new ways of think­ing – not what it means to be male, or fe­male, or other; but hu­man.

I re­cently found out that one of my old­est friends has a child who has an­nounced they are trans­gen­der. I look for­ward to my per­cep­tions be­ing chal­lenged, con­fronted and ul­ti­mately changed as a re­sult of their hon­esty and courage.

Ber­nadette Hogg, Recipes & food styling: Styling: Clau­dia Kozub Pho­to­graphs: Manja Wachsmuth

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