Category Archives: Snacks

Spinach encrusted oven baked oca (New Zealand Yam)

The oca is a funny thing. It’s some kind of Andean tuber. Ranges from dark red to pale yellow on the outside, and red streaked to pale on the inside. It’s sort of potato flavoured, and this recipe works well with potatoes too. The oca looks a bit  funny and noduley but has a nice flavor.

I’ve gotten in the habit of pureeing spinach to feed my picky picky husband. If I don’t cut things up small enough he doesn’t like to eat them. So I just toss things in the food processor. Which seems to go over well. But it also means I often have more spinach puree than I know what to do with.

This is oil, garlic salt, regular salt, pepper, spinach puree and oca spears all mixed in a bowl.

I spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 350-400F (well around 200 C) for 20-30 minutes, until nicely browned.

Then they get eaten which is why there are no more pictures!


This is baby food really. But it doesn’t have to be! I mean, if you added salt it wouldn’t be. Basically.

So, potstickers, dumplings, whatever you want to call them there are two parts. Noodle dough and filling.

Let’s start with the noodle part since that will be the same regardless.

3 cups flour

salt (or not)

about 1 cup of water.

So mix these together in a mixer or with your hands until the dough is not too dry, not sticky, but kind of silky and smooth.

Then let it sit for 30 minutes or more to give the gluten time to let it be a stretchy dough.

While you are waiting you can make your filling. Filling can be whatever you like. It can be cheese or meat or vegetables or all of the above.

Mine is ground pork, fennel seeds, grated carrot, eggs and allspice. What I made was about 1.5lbs pork, 2 medium raw eggs, 1 tbs fennel seeds, a shake of allspice, and half a large carrot. This recipe only used 1/4 to 1/3 of that though so adjust accordingly. If it’s not for babies I thoroughly recommend salt or soy sauce.

Now, the dough. I have a potsticker press, but if you don’t you can crimp them by hand. I can’t show you how, but I hear it’s something people do.

Take a small piece

Roll it out

You can see my press. You can also stretch the dough by hand if you want. It’s pretty flexible.

Add filling.  Now for filling I added about half of a large tablespoon into the center of the dough

Then close it up, however you do it.

And boil them for 5-10 minutes

And done.

It made around 30 of them and I had lots (well over half) of filling left over. I see meatballs in my future.

Refrigerator pickles

The pickles here have been woefully inadequate. It’s that whole halal vs. kosher thing. Pickles tend toward a kosher thing. Not that they don’t have pickles, they are just oddly seasoned and of the slightly rubbery overcooked variety. And there are maybe 2-3 brands (and the store is generally sold out too). Some are ok, but I would probably eat a puppy for some Vlasic or Claussen pickles.

So I’m going to attempt to make my own.

Here is what I did:

3 cups white vinegar

4 cups water

slightly less than 1/2 cup salt. I used sea salt.

1.5 tbs pickling spice

1.5 tbs dill seeds (can’t find fresh-which would be best, or dry dill leaf around)

4 cloves garlic

2 bay leaves.


I bought 2 telegraph and 2…regular. I guess they are English or short? I couldn’t find any pickling at this time of year.

Bring the vinegar, salt, water, garlic and herbs to a boil and take off the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Get your jars ready. I washed mine with soap/hot water right before packing them with cucumber slices and spears. For the 3 jars here I used 1 of my telegraph and both short cucumbers. Which I also washed with soapy water and rinsed before slicing up.

Once the pickling mix is cooled to room temperature or slightly lukewarm pour into the jars over the cucumbers. Try to avoid having the bay leaves go in the jars. You can toss those now. You can also pickle carrots, peppers, onions, zucchini in the same way.

I also spooned some extra seed/pickling mix stuff into the jars as well.

Now, put the pickles in the fridge (there are several methods of making fridge pickles, some involve leaving the pickles out for a few days before popping into the fridge) and in 2 days they should be ready to eat. They must be kept in the fridge and should be good for about 2 months. Maybe more!

Here they are after the 2 day pickle. The telegraph cucumbers were much crisper, but both kinds were good. I think telegraph is probably the way to go if you can’t get actual pickling cucumbers.

As for spices, probably a bit less salt would have been better, but overall very good pickles. I don’t think I’ll buy pickles again.

Part of this very strange breakfast…

I woke up early and had a craving for kumara. It’s a type of sweet potato…thing that the Maori brought with them when they came here.

The easiest way to make it for breakfast was as some type of fried thing, so I went for pseudo-fries.


I chopped it up lengthwise into sticks.

I heated olive oil in the pan and dropped the sticks in


And browned them


And made them part of my partially strange breakfast.


Only partially strange though. Also shown, toad in the hole, with sardines in mustard (yum vitamin D). I eat that every day more or less, though usually with a bit of fruit and or yogurt, and a bit of chicken sausage (which is left over from last night’s dinner).

A lot greasier than what I usually have, but it’s mainly olive oil, so it’s all good.

I still think I want a piece of fruit though…

Peanut butter… uh, peanut butter time.

We tried a few peanut butters here but nothing even holds a candle to Adam’s/Laura Scudder’s natural peanut butters. Which of course we can’t get here. It’s a Smucker’s brand so no presence down under. Everything either has sugar or emulsifiers in it, and the natural food store peanut butters have no salt and aren’t quite oily/spreadable enough for our tastes.

Sad us.

So I got the bright idea to make my own. We can get peanuts (salted-roasted and very tasty) at the bulk store for around $9/kg. So $4.50ish a pound. Ehh. It’s ok. This peanut butter isn’t actually significantly cheaper, or more expensive for that matter, than what we can buy in the store. It just tastes waaaaay better.

You will need:



I bought a lot this time. 3kg! We have some left over for next time. I possibly used about half of what I bought.

Peanut oil


I’d estimate for the amount of peanut butter I made I used around 1 cup of oil? That would put it at around 1/4 cup per jar batch? Not entirely sure since I just pour it in…

A food processor


You can see I thought of taking pictures after I had already started…

So here is what you do.

Take your container you plan to keep your peanut butter in. Fill it with peanuts.


This is a 500gm (1 poundish) jar. This is pretty much the biggest jar peanut butter comes in around here. Crazy!

Empty two containers full into your food processor


I have a little food processor (it’s a blender food processor combo. Note: a blender will also work for making peanut butter but will be a bit trickier to deal with), and I can fit 2 jars of peanuts into it. Add some peanut oil and start blending.

You can add the oil before you start (and you should add some before you start) or after you start blending it. You don’t want soup and in fact your peanut butter should start piling to one side and looking like this after a minute or two of blending:


This means it’s done. If you want crunchy peanut butter with actual chunks you can chop some peanuts and mix them into this by hand. Personally, although I am a huge fan of the crunchy stuff I find this consistency just fine.

I made this much today


These little jars (Sanitarium brand, yes that’s really the name of the company!) originally ran us about $4-5 at the store and the peanut butter tasted vaguely of Crisco due to emulsifiers (no stir additives). This amount is about 2kg of peanut butter and will last us a few months.

There was much finger licking involved in the production of this post.

V for….toad-in-the-hole

Or egg in a basket or whatever you want to call it. I tend to think of it as V-for-Vendetta food. Since I feel a teeny bit revolutionary lately (watching Iran, I even sent some youtube links to graphic videos to the NZ Herald. Madness!) I made some.



Olive oil, bread, egg. Combine, cook, eat.

The eggs here are interesting as 1. they aren’t stored in the fridge in the stores, (something to do with certain pathogens not carried by the chickens here) 2. the yolks are bright orange. Like the color of a carrot. Mainly because the chickens get a decent diet. and 3. the eggs tend to be random sizes and shell colors (not often white) but are smaller than US eggs. Once again, lack of factory farming ftw.

I realized I don’t have recipes or even plans for most of what I eat. I mean, what do you even call couscous with garbanzo beans, cabbage, ground beef and chicken sausage with siracha sauce on it? Beckenese?