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“Grab that machete for me”

The younger man lifted the crook of his arm from his eyes, peeking past the bright sunlight to the older man standing near him.

“Aeh?”

“Grab the damn machete, and get yourself up. We gotta get down to the beach as soon as. Parker is calling the Herd out.”

“What? Why is Parker all fired up?”

The older man stepped over the younger man’s frame and took the machete out of the flax it rested in. The urgency in his voice increased.

“There’s Ockers coming ashore down Tahi Bay way. The Herd is assembling down the valley to push them back. So get your useless carcass up, grab your sling, and, rattle, your, dags boy.”

He glanced around, stepped over the stunned look, leaned into the shed and looked inside.

“Where’s my buckler?”

“Hanging up on the porch up at the house. Should I send the girls up to the Pa?”

“Do it when you get the buckler. Where’s that stone?”

The younger man stood quickly, scampered into the shed he’d been napping on, and with minimal clanking brought out a small whetstone. Handing it to the older man, he took off at a jog up the long, slight hill to a stone cottage.

The older man wet the stone in a rain barrel before propping it on a small table and sharpening the machete in long, quick strokes.  Lifting the blade to the sunlight the edge glimmered, flickering under the slight shaking of his hands.

“Been a long time since Ockers came here…” he muttered.

“What’s that?” the younger man asked. He carried a small wooden buckler, a sling, a bag for stones, a helmet.

“Nothing boy, just wondering how those boats came so far down the coast without those bastards up in the Naki eating them.”

The younger man guffawed as he passed over the buckler and helmet. He slung the shepherds bag over this chest and shoulders, “We can get river stones on the way.”

The older man stopped, glanced up to see the women sweeping up a couple of small children, “Let’s go” he said quietly, and waved.

Be careful the words wafted on the breeze as he and the younger man ran through the bush, Kill them, kill them all dear ones.

Well, this was another of the recipes I was pretty sure I’d absolutely have to make before any steam on this project ran out, and it was a good choice (we are still taking photos, but bloggage has been slow due to a multitude of other need-to-dos). The photo in the book is particularly awesome – but we just had ours with maple and/or golden syrup.

Americans like waffles for breakfast with honey or maple syrup – perhaps an acquired taste early in the day [ed: perhaps the author here was your typical late colonial marmalade on dry toast eater…]. We serve them for a delicious desert, topped with ice cream and caramel sauce, bought or home made. And it is such an easy recipe – everyone can make their own waffles

The ingredients for this one are pretty simple. It’s essentially a batter. You mix it up, then put onto the waffle iron. And therein lies the rub. If you don’t have a waffle iron you’re going to be looking at crepes instead. In this case TradeMe was my friend.

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 60g butter
  • 2 tbsp cold water

We made the recipe this way initially, but have since swapped out the dry ingredients for a gluten-free cake or bread mix. It’s a bit easier on Dad’s stomach.

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Of all the pictures in the Cooking Class there were two that stayed with me. The first was the brandy snaps. I still have a soft spot for them despite knowing they’re basically just cream wrapped in sugar (what’s not to like, right?). The other was the waffles. The shot is a waffle being smothered in what looks like a caramel sauce.

So, after a little hunting about on TradeMe I snaffled a waffle iron, and set to! (more…)

Well, I think the title about says it all.

All countries have their food specialities. But this beef dish from those commies in Russia has become famous on an international scale. It is excellent food to include in your menu if you’re giving a party: noodles or rice are usual accompaniments.

To be honest I was holding out hope for this one.

Here’s what you need:

  • 750g fillet steak (I used some weiner schnitzel)
  • 125g butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 500g small (button) mushrooms
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 beef stock cubes (I swapped this and the water for 1/2 cup beef stock)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 300ml sour cream
  • 1tsp cornflour

And that’s all she wrote. This recipe is a doddle, so let’s get into it. (more…)

The Vanilla Slice, also known more commonly as the custard square or the “snot block” is a tuck shop classic here in good old New Zealand. A conversation with a workmate the other day revealled that her mum used to substitute the traditional puff pastry with Huntley and Palmers cream crackers. The luck coincidence of my having to partially cater a morning tea, and this being a recipe in the Cooking Class Cookbook meant I had the opportunity to share this wonderful recipe with you, dear readers.

With a delicious filling of rich vanilla custard, these are the most popular of all slices. The slices are made with packaged puff pastry and topped with passionfruit-flavoured icing.

Actually… I didn’t have and passionfruit. Also, these were indeed extremely popular, with some people coming back for a second slice. Unfortunately though the recipe is made with a boatload of starches, so half the floor had to go out for a walk at lunch to wake themselves up! I was therefore responsible for a marked decline in productivity…

For the slice you will need:

  • 1 packet of Huntley and Palmers cream crackers
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 1/2 cup custard powder
  • 1 litre milk
  • 60g butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For the icing you’ll need:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon of jam, or, a passionfruit
  • 1 tsp of water

This is a straightforward recipe, with the only real trick being the mixing of the custard – it needs to be as stiff as possible to stop the squares from schmooshing everywhere when you try to eat it. (more…)

Well, this is an interesting one.

“Chasseur” means a sauce containing mushrooms and shallots. it can be a sauce for many meats. Here we have allied it to chicken for a dish with rich, superb flavour. Serve with hot rice or mashed potatoes, crusty bread and separate green salad. Serves four.

In French chasseur means ‘hunter’, and this makes sense when the most important ingredient in this dish is actually mushrooms. I think that means you could likely make a vegetarian version by dropping the meat and adding beans, or perhaps paneer.

Anyhow, the list!

  • 1.5kg chicken or similar
  • 30g butter
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon tarragon (I had none, so substituted sage from the garden)
  • 2 large ripe tomato (I used a tin of Italian tomatoes)
  • 6 shallots (or use the pre-prepared fried Asian ones, they’re pretty good)
  • 2 tbsps chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste

For the brown sauce

  • 125g butter(!!)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 chicken stock cubes (I just used 3 cups of chicken stock for this and the previous ingredient)
  • salt, pepper.

We made an executive decision after the tedium of the Beggars’ Chicken to get a little creative with the ingredients. I’m trying to stay true to the recipes in the book, but we need to actually be able to eat these things! I’ll admit that this may also have been prompted by Second Chef asking, “Why are all these recipes soooo boring?”

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And here in the first of the ‘How to cook from an 80s cookbook’ series is Beggar’s chicken. To be honest I’m surprised they didn’t call this something dodgy, but there you go. Apparently PC was alive an well as early as the mid-80s. And so we begin:

This is one of the renowed dishes of the Orient. The chicken was originally wrapped in lotus leaves, then in clay, then thrown into a hot fire. Supply chopsticks for four lucky people.

You’ll need:

1.5kg chicken

3 shallots (I used a small onion, which was probably a mistake)

2.5cm piece green ginger

1 tsp sugar

3 tbsps soy sauce

2 tbsps dry sherry

1 tbsp water

1/4 tsp five spice powder

2 extra tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsps oil

extra oil

1kg cooking salt (!!)

4 cups plain flour

1 1/2 cups water (approx)

The recipe itself is pretty simple, the first thing to do is to mix all the dough, then stuff the chicken with the surprisingly limited amount of spices, wrap the whole shebang in foil and dough, and cook that thing for a total of FOUR HOURS. You’ll need to pay attention to that last bit.

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