Spaghetti vongole is one of the simple pleasures of fresh shellfish – steamed clams with a few additions, combined with pasta to give a salty, sweet taste of the ocean. Here I have built on this simplicity by stirring through a fresh herb paste.
The hot meringue/cold ice cream combination of baked Alaska is a winner, but they can be fiddly to put together at the last minute. Here I have simplified the whole process into a flat slice, so it takes only a few minutes to whip up the meringue and grill the top. If you want to finish the whole thing ahead of time, just gently cover the slice – trying to keep the wrap off the meringue – and freeze for up to three days. Let sit at room temperature for five minutes before serving.
I remember liking beef schnitzel as a small (and obviously very cheeky) kid, but my father likes to remind me of the time I informed my mother, “I don’t call this schnitzel, I call it shit-zel!” Well, I definitely love it now, but it’s quite time consuming to fry on the stove top; oven baking simplifies this. I have used rye bread for crumb in a nod to the Reuben sandwich, but you could use panko if you like.
One of the longstanding favourites in our household was rich shin ragu served with pasta, a dish taught to Mum by our Italian neighbour. While you can never quite capture the unctuous quality that the bone adds to the sauce, this vegetarian version is nonetheless rich and tasty with strong umami flavours from the slow-cooked onions, mushrooms and parmesan, and the added richness of porcini.
I remember liking beef schnitzel as a small (and obviously very cheeky) kid, but my father likes to remind me of the time I informed my mother, “I don’t call this schnitzel, I call it shit-zel!”
Turmeric is everywhere right now – people are drinking turmeric lattes and eating turmeric ice creams! While it may be in fashion, we shouldn’t overlook that fresh turmeric is quite new to the market and much more zingy with citrus and ginger overtones than the powdered version. Its earthiness works well with the spices in apple crumble and it also adds amazing colour. For those who can’t get fresh turmeric, you can increase the dried turmeric to one teaspoon in the crumble; while more pungent, it still adds an interesting layer of flavour.
A twist on the old family favourite of sausage curry. We used to love the very basic combination of sliced sausage browned with curry powder and simmered with a few veggies. This version uses chicken sausages in a fragrant Vietnamese-style curry. If you can’t find Vietnamese curry paste, use Thai yellow or red curry paste and omit the chilli.
Mum often made us shepherd’s pie with leftover roast lamb, minced through the old hand mincer. I didn’t love the texture of minced, cooked lamb, but I love slow-cooked lamb that just falls apart. While this recipe takes time to cook slowly it is very simple, has very little hands-on time and you are rewarded with fantastic slow-cooked flavours and texture heightened with a hit of miso.
Mouclade is a famous – and somewhat surprising – dish from Brittany, in which mussels are first steamed then served with a lightly curried sauce. Of course, this combination works well with other shellfish too, and I especially like it with bigger tuatua.
Serve with crusty baguette as it would be in France, or you could use other types of bread; naan would be great. For more of a main course, spoon the shellfish and sauce over grilled fish and kumara puree or rice.
With tuatua there is nothing nicer than mixing the chopped meat with a simple batter, and frying. Here I have stretched the mix further with cabbage and potato. I use Lauraine Jacobs’ method of freezing the fresh tuatua in their shells so they only get cooked once, or use Cloudy Bay tuatua that are easy to shuck. If time is short mix the seaweed, lemon and togarashi seasoning into good-quality mayo to serve.
"A new take on Korean hot tofu soup that uses pipi with silky soft tofu – served bubbling hot in cast-iron bowls, it’s light and refreshing."
Korean hot tofu soup can be made with a meat base but I have based this version on my sister Meredith’s favourite soup – from the long-gone Korean restaurant at Auckland’s Mercury Plaza – which included little clams. The egg is added at the last minute and thickens the soup as you stir it through. If you are feeling hungry, double the quantity of tofu.