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Perfect for spring

Spring is finally here. The sun is out, school holidays are underway and I am anticipating most of the foodie magazines will be featuring asparagus so thought I would get in quick to share two of my favourites recipes. The first one stems from lazy mornings, pre kids tucking in to eggs Benedict (eggs drowning in hollandaise sauce) and the second one is a dish our dad prepares when ever he gets his hands on asparagus or spinach. One is very healthy, you can eat it till the cows come home, the other however probably requires a week omitting butter out of your diet to cancel the effects!
Whatever your poison, give them ago. They look great, don’t take up much time and are really easy.

If you love hollandaise in a cafe, best you don’t find out whats in it, it’s seriously decadent!

I have to admit, I had never made hollandaise sauce before. I have eaten enough of it but always dismissed it as being to time consuming and with the potential to not work. Writing this blog has definitely taken us out of our comfort zone and made us try new things out. This sauce is super easy. I found it in a book called “Brunch, the perfect treat” by Jennifer Donovan.
Usually Ingrid and I adapt, change and make up the recipes but for something like hollandaise, I wasn’t about to even try. I have however added more lemon than the recipe suggested, as I like mine with more zest. (you could even use limes)

The only thing you really need to make this is a food processor or you could try your blender, that should work as well.
Asparagus Spears with Hollandaise Sauce 
What you need
2 bunches of asparagus
3 egg yolks
200grams butter (YES this is not a TYPO)
White pepper (ground not cracked)
Juice form one l lemon (more or less, just taste)
How to make
Add the 3 egg yolks to the food processor or blender with the pepper and blend for a few seconds
Melt the butter in a small pan until its bubbling (be careful not to burn it!)
Gradually and in a steady stream whilst the machine is on pour in all of the butter.
Lastly add the juice of the lemon.
The recipe actually says add some warm water if its too thick, mine was just perfect so I didn’t need to.
Serve warm over lightly steamed/microwaved asparagus. I microwave mine (1-2 bunches of thin stalks for about 3 minutes)

Warning – this is addictive, whilst doing this photo shoot my finger was in the bowl many times!     

The next dish is the total opposite, refreshing and lite on the calories. It looks great, is always eaten up at a BBQ.
Fresh and healthy – always gets eaten at a BBQ!

Zesty Asparagus and Egg Salad
What you need

2 bunches of asparagus
2 lemons
2 generous splashed of olive oil
2 boiled eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
How to make
Hard boil the eggs
Blanch, steam or microwave the asparagus
Cool under cold water
Arrange on a plate – tips facing the same way
Squeeze the lemon juice over the asparagus followed by the oil
Cut the boiled eggs into quarters and arrange
Season with salt and pepper.
Chill before serving
Tip – this recipe can be used with steamed spinach or silver beet. Just make sure you squeeze out any excess water from the cooking process before you dress it.Vanessa
Posted on: September 8th, 2014 by Vanessa and Ingrid 1 Comment


Candied lemons on baking paper

Lemon ideas part three
Lemons or oranges done this way are really really addictive. They make a fantastic garnish on cakes/cupcakes and would even be cute as a garnish to lemon tea at a tea party. A  celebration ham topped with sliced oranges and lemons coated in a sweet whisky marmalade syrup/ golden syrup/brown sugar also works well.

You could even pack them into a preserving jar and keep them for when you need a sweet and sour sugar rush, I imagine they would last quite a while…

All you need to do is slice up the lemons, place on baking paper and add a teaspoon of sugar to each slice. Bake them in a moderate oven for around 20 minutes. Do keep checking them as they can go from soft to crispy pretty quickly.

I used my ones on a lemon and sour cream cake (below) with sour cream icing – delicious.

Lemon and sour cream cake with candied lemons and spring flowers
Posted on: September 19th, 2012 by Vanessa and Ingrid 4 Comments


Ok, so the weather has been pretty unpredictable, ok it’s been absolute pants and summer ain’t been showing it’s face around here enough, but it’s still hot (ok, muggy) and we have flys and ants taking over our house, so it got me thinking about picnic food, and bits of this and bits of that – all thrown together, food designed to mesh quite happily together. So this is the result of what I found in my cupboard one unpredictable wet summers day, when a picnic was made in the backyard just as a glimpse of sun broke through.

ALSO TRY: Lemon juice and ground peppercorns make a great rub on roast chicken
QUICK IDEA: If you don’t have tortillas, just roll one asparagus spear and spread the chicken mix in a slice of fresh sandwich bread, and bake in the oven for a twist on asparagus rolls.

Lemon Pepper picnic tortillas
Serves 4

What you need:
Bunch of asparagus (4 per tortilla approx)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 x lemon
cracked peppercorns
2 tbsp butter
1 x onion (chopped finely)
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 Leftover roast chicken (ripped apart and chopped roughly)
4 x tortillas

How to make:
Prepare chicken

On a medium heat, add butter to a frypan, fry onion until soft, add flour to make a paste then add milk slowly, allowing to thicken. Add leftover chicken to heat through. Squeeze half the lemon and cracked peppercorns.

Prepare asparagus
Chop hard stalks off asparagus. Lay on a baking dish, drizzle olive oil, squeeze half the lemon and cracked peppercorns. Grill both sides. Remove from oven.

Set oven to bake 200 C. Bake tortillas for 3 mins, lay on a plate and spread chicken sauce mix down the middle. Add asparagus. Fold the bottom up then fold each side of the tortilla inwards and tie with a piece of string.

Posted on: January 9th, 2012 by Vanessa and Ingrid No Comments


I love dips especially in summer but has anyone noticed how one pot of gourmet dip bought at the supermarket doesn’t go far? Its really easy to make your own and you can get creative at the same time and devise your own concoctions…
The first dip came about when I was heading to Ma and Pa’s for “Guy Fawkes” night and didn’t have a huge amount to contribute. Of course my parents don’t mind but I always love taking something new for them to try. There was 3/4 of a tin of beetroot slices leftover from the good old “KIWI” burger (for those who don’t know its basically a burger with beetroot, egg, cheese and pineapple as well as the other usual things) and a few gherkins as well as a tub of cream cheese. All I did was blitzed these things together with a touch of lemon juice and some chives from the garden and ended up with a pretty pink dip.

Beetroot and cream cheese dip with crunchy garlic Ciabatta

What you need
300gram tin of beetroot
2 big spoonfuls (tbs) of cream cheese
1 gherkin
Juice of 1 lemon
A few chives or coriander

How to make
Put everything into food processor and blitz until smooth
Serve with anything crunchy!
Hummus – the perfect picnic snack

Hummus is possibly the most popular dip in the chiller at the supermarkets in Auckland. Why? probably because its reasonably healthy as well as delicious. Its between $3.00NZD – $5.00NZD per tub and to be honest a tub doesn’t go far if you like dipping. It’s so easy to make at home, all you need is a food processor. Traditionally hummus has tahini (sesame paste) in it. I never buy it, never use it so improvised with sesame oil (just a dash) and it worked a treat!

Like with the beetroot and cream cheese dip you can get creative and add your own touch. I love spicy food and had a few jalapenos in the fridge so in they went.

Other ideas could be…
Baked pumpkin or Kumara (sweet potato)
Sun dried tomato
Wilted spinach leaves
Roasted carrot

Jalapeno Hummus – addictive!

What you need
300gram tin chickpeas (drained)
Juice of 2 small lemons
2 cloves of garlic
4 tbs olive oil
a splash of sesame oil
4 jalapeno slices (optional)

How to make
Put everything into food processor and blitz until smooth
Serve with anything crunchy!

I ended up making a second batch of this dip because I ate so much of the first batch, there wasn’t enough to fill the bowl for the images!
I also forgot the garlic the second time round (DUH) but am please to announce it still tasted great and full of flavour thanks to the lemon and jalapenos.
Get blending and blitzing this summer!
Vanessa x

Posted on: November 11th, 2011 by Vanessa and Ingrid 10 Comments