Charring the eggplants directly over gas until blackened gives the most amazing smoky flavor to the babaganoush. However, if you don’t have gas or access to a barbecue I’ve offered an oven grill alternative. You’ll find shallots at most supermarkets. They’re slightly sweeter and milder than a red onion, but if you’d prefer, use red onion instead. To keep this plant-based, use brown rice syrup instead of honey in the babaganoush.
You can find dried hibiscus flowers and rosewater at specialty food stores. Hibiscus is high in vitamin C and makes a great tea if you find yourself wondering what to do with any leftovers. Simply pour a cup of boiling water over approx 1 teaspoon dried flowers and steep for five minutes before drinking. Add a touch of honey or sugar to sweeten if desired. I find you can get two brews from the flowers before they’re destined for the compost.
This dish is packed with flavour and is light but also very comforting. The braised fennel is based on a recipe in Deborah Madison’s cookbook Vegetable Literacy, however I’ve used ghee in place of olive oil and butter, and simplified the dish a little. If you’d like to keep this plant-based, use olive oil instead of ghee – though not quite as flavourful, it’s still delicious. If you’re soaking and cooking dried chickpeas, allow at least one day before cooking to soak.
Lauraine is now food columnist at the NZ Listener, judge of Ora King Awards and Outstanding Producer Awards.
Beautifully cooked vegetables are the best part of a meal for me. This bright fresh vegetable salad with contrasting crunch and flavour adds a real hit of colour to the festive table. Prepare everything in advance then refrigerate it but bring back to room temperature before serving.
The cooking time in this recipe is to heat the ham through completely. If you just want to glaze the ham, allow 45 minutes at 160°C.
Al now owns Depot, Federal Delicatessan and Best Ugly Bagels.
The custard is actually white chocolate brûlée and I make a slightly spicy jelly with the plum juice and a generous addition of port. The plums and rhubarb balance out the richness perfectly.
Today Celia is working as a menu development manager for Air New Zealand, working with consultant chefs and developing menus.
I like to use free-range or free-farmed pork sausages to make my sausage rolls, rather than sausage meat of dubious provenance.
ROAST TURKEY WITH GARLIC SOURDOUGH STUFFING
Ruth now writes the entertainment pages for NZ Life and Leisure. Basting the bird with cream keeps the flesh moist and adds tremendous flavour to the pan juices, which form the base for the gravy. You can stuff the turkey up to two days ahead as the stuffing does not contain egg.
NAOMI'S MUSHROOM & CHICKEN LIVER STUFFING
This is my mother’s special stuffing; it’s very rich and a good contrast to delicate turkey or chicken meat. It’s also my favourite!