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
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.
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
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
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
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.