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Issue 45

June/July 2012


Herb Roasted Chicken Michael Meredith Masterchef Amaretto Fruit Salad

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For high class drinks Only the best Cienna will do

Contents Food blog

Herb Roasted Chicken


Michael Meredith Masterchef


Amaretto Fruit Salad

Fun with kids Cinnamon Roll Snails On Our Cover Photograph source

http://makingfoodeatingfood.ďŹ les.wordpress. com/2010/03/amarettofruitsalad21.jpg

Healthy drink Orange PushUp Smoothie







Food Blog

Ingredients: 4 cups water 1/3 cup kosher salt 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon dried thyme 1 tablespoon dried rosemary 1 tablespoon dried basil 1 tablespoon fennel seeds 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper 2 bay leaves 6 cups ice water 1 chicken, about 3 lbs, neck and giblets removed 3 tablespoons butter

Herb Roasted Chicken There are many reasons why I enjoy cooking, one of them being the feeling of accomplishment after making a wonderful meal. Many people my age eat out a lot, with the common complaint that cooking at home is just too time consuming. However, what many do not realize is the beauty of taking quality ingredients and creating magic with your hands. Though yes, cooking can definitely be time consuming there are also many recipes that are simple to make with minimal cleanup. This Herb


Roasted Chicken is the perfect example—you marinate it for an hour in a brine and throw it in the oven for another hour. The reason I love this dish so much is that you can use this chicken with anything—pair it with some vegetables (I chose carrots), or use the left overs for sandwiches, salads and even soups! For the brine, combine the water, salt, sugar, half of the dried herbs and bay leaves into a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and

sugar. Reduce to heat to low and simmer for 10 min so the flavors of the herbs can be drawn out. Pour the brine into a deep set large bowl and cool it down with your ice water. Set aside. Clean the chicken by rinsing out the cavity and outer skin and place on a clean surface. Be sure not to contaminate any vegetables or other ingredients, because no one is a fan of salmonella! Place the chicken in the brine, make sure it is completely immersed in the brine. Cover and allow to marinate

for at least an hour and up to 6 hours. Preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the chicken from the brine and place on a clean surface. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel as shown. Separate the skin from the flesh, you can do this by carefully inserting your fingers underneath the skin and gently pull up to create a space or pocket. Take the butter and rub it underneath the skin and flesh— this will make your chicken moist and tender while accentuating the flavor of the herbs in the meat. Coat the skin with te remaining herbs and place in a roasting pan, if more herbs are needed just add more. Bake the chicken for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, basting the chicken half way through and again during the last 10 minutes. To test the doneness of your chicken, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, it should read 165F. If you do not own a thermometer, cut into the chicken and if it releases pink juices it is undercooked. Your chicken is done when the juices are a clear yellow.

You can choose to serve the breasts whole or cut them into thin slices.

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I hope everyone gives this recipe a shot, like I said it used minimal ingredients and theres not much to clean up either! You can save cooking time by cleaning as you go, so at the end you do not feel like you’ve made a mess at all Remember, always keep your work space clean, it makes cooking a lot easier.

A whole chicken

Like I said before, you can use these leftovers in various ways—chop up any leftovers and make a chicken salad, or even shred up the chicken and put it on a bed of field greens.

Fennel seeds

I like to keep the carcass and make a wonderful chicken stock out of it for sauces and soups, either way the options are limitless!

Dried thyme Dried rosemary dried basil Fennel seeds

Black pepper Bay Leaves Butter

Transfer the chicken to a carving board and allow it to rest for 10–20 minutes. This allows the juices to settle into the meat so it does not end up running out all over the board. To serve, begin carving the legsit is easiest to cut at the joints. Remove the wings and then the legs and thighs the same way. To carve each breast, start at the breabone and cut downward and parallel to the rib cage. Then make a deep horizontal cut right above the thigh and wing joints.



Michael Meredith MasterChef Michael Meredith is flavour of the month on Auckland’s quality dining scene–make that year. The selection of his restaurant Meredith’s as Supreme Winner in the Metro Audi Restaurant of the Year Awards 2009 has taken the quietly spoken Samoanborn master chef to the top of an environment that’s extremely competitive, professional and described internationally as world class. The “intricately combined flavours and textures, perfectly cooked individual ingredients and beautifully presented dishes” (judges comments) presented at Meredith’s is a far cry from the corned beef–KFC–high fat foods that have become so ingrained into the stereotypical humour of Pacific people–as well as the stomachs. But INNES LOGAN discovers a chef whose passion for food is matched by his passion for the Pacific and a dream of one day returning home.

Growing up in Samoa gave Michael Meredith a far greater appreciation for food than he ever could have gained if he grew up in New Zealand. “I learnt everything there from burying an umu to killing a pig. You see it all in basic form, you know where your food comes from and you appreciate the sacrifices that were made,” he says. “It gave me an understanding and appreciation for making the most of raw materials that are available, not wasting anything.” Since starting his own restaurant two years ago, Michael Meredith has wasted no time in further enhancing his growing reputation. Meredith was the head chef at The Grove restaurant when he featured in the July/August 2005 issue of The Pantry. He spoke of his life in Samoa and hanging around his mother Metita’s panikeke (pancake) stall at the Apia markets. Metita would

also work for the Australian High Commission in Samoa, preparing food for up to 80 people. Meredith admits he wasn’t much help to his Mum, but being around food nevertheless aroused his interest. He came to New Zealand to live with his uncle at age 13 and also developed a passion for art, which is reflected in the stunning presentation of his dishes, and a taste to match. A scholarship at AUT–Auckland University of Technology–was followed by another that allowed him to study in the United States for the CIA–not the Crime Intelligence Agency but the Culinary Institute of America. His time at The Grove followed stints at renowned Auckland dining establishments Otto’s, Gault’s on Quay, Antoines and Vinnie’s, where he secured his first head chef position. Everything he did pointed towards his life long ambition to run his own restaurant, an ambition

that was achieved in late 2007 when he opened his small dining establishment, at 365 Dominion Road in Mt Eden. The impact was immediate as Merediths was named Best New Restaurant in Metro’s 2008 awards. Its reputation was such that bookings weeks in advance became essential. So did increasing the restaurant’s capacity, which was completed in mid–2009 extending the capacity from 28 to 40.The result? An even greater demand, with bookings well into the New Year already secured. Running his own restaurant that is open for business five days a week (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays) means the demands in his time are persistant. So were we in securing time with Meredith on a Monday morning, where thoughts of his Croatian partner Yosipa and their three daughters Sophia (six years old), Talia (three) and Ella (sixteen months) and the produce shopping he needed to do for the following day remained.

Q&A Many chefs want to open their own restaurant. How did you manage it? I knew when you came to interview me four years ago that The Grove was going to be the last time I worked for anyone else. It’s something I wanted to do when I first started cooking. Having money to put behind it is essential. The only problem was I didn’t have any. But the right

“Dinners come to Meredith’s with high expectation, so I’m always driven to not meet those expectation, but surpass them”

people came along, wanted to help out and decided to become investors to make my dream a reality. They’re silent partners and let me run the business, which is the key to it. At the end of the day, it’s my reputation.

How much more demanding is it owning the business compared to being head chef? It’s a lot harder because you have so much more responsibility. When I was a head chef, I had my team, did the menu costings, but at the end of the day I’d walk away. Now I’m responsible for everybody, including the front of house team. I was always conscious of not wanting wastage, but you become even more so when it’s your own business. Luckily, my partner does all our accounts, pays the bills, handles the money and always keeps me in touch with that side of

things. It is way more demanding, but I always knew it would be and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you work hard and put all your focus at it, things will come your way.

Restaurants are among the first businesses to suffer in a recession. It doesn’t appear to have affected your restaurant, but has it? We’re still getting the numbers, but people don’t spend as much as they used to. Extending the restaurant definitely helped, even though some people were saying we shouldn’t. We just had to because the demand was there and we were missing out. One thing I find frustrating is late cancellations. For those who booked it’s no big deal, but for a small establishment like ours, it is. You’ve turned down other diners,


so when someone cancels at the last minute you’ve got an empty table, and you’re scrambling around trying to fill it. It’s also annoying when less people turn up than were booked. By then it’s too late to change the seating to accommodate others who wanted to come that night but couldn’t. It all costs money and affects your business.

How did you decide on your restaurant’s location on the fringes of the Auckland CBD and its size? Location wasn’t really an issue. I’ve always believed that if you do it properly, the people will come, no matter where you are. We’re still centrally located so it’s accessible from any part of Auckland. I deliberately wanted to keep it small at first and it worked. It created a buzz and you virtually had to book in advance to get in right at the start.

What about the formal black and white décor? I went for the formal classic look because I know it will always stay. If you try to be too modern by introducing the latest colours, it dates too quickly, and restaurants can’t absorb the cost of constantly refurbishing. We had an interior designer for the décor and there’s a lot of expense involved. The interior is French classic. tIt’s appealing, safe and easy


to clean. Ensuring it stays clean involves a lot of time and energy, but hygiene is so important to me. A clean restaurant looks better, makes you feel better and inspires you to create.

Speaking of creating, what inspires you to come up with dishes that look and taste so good? Diners come to Meredith’s with high expectations, so I’m always driven to not only meet those expectations, but surpass them. I want them to have the complete dining experience, so that involves everybody who works here. I love all cooking, but really enjoy desserts. I have a bit of a sweet tooth, and nothing can beat a good creme brulee. Desserts also allow me to experiment a bit, to play with textures. I’ve made these little spring pot plants, where everything inside is edible. I love the surprise it generates, even more when they enjoy the taste. In this business, if you don’t deliver, they don’t come back. Is there a touch of the Pacific in your dishes? A I often introduce ingredients here and there from the Pacific, but to some of our diners, they’re so foreign, so you have to use them in a smart way, not too heavy. Nowadays there are lots of techniques you can use to change

texture and surprise people, you just have to be clever about it.

Do you ever think of going back to Samoa? I do. There’s a part of me that dreams of going back, having a small resort and using lots of the local produce I grew up with. But that’s all it is at the moment, a dream. Right now I’ve got a restaurant to run, it’s going well and the two years we’ve had it have flown by. I’ve also got a young family, so all my focus formnow is on the restaurant and the family.

How did the tsunami in Samoa affect you? Thankfully none of my family was involved because they live on the northern side (Meredith’s family is from Lepea and Vaiala). Growing up in Samoa, it still shocks me just thinking about it. It’s unheard of. I felt I had to do something and auctioning off my services (in October) was the least I could do. It’s extremely sad.

You’re seen as a role model for healthy eating among Pacific people. With the high rates of obesity among the Pacific and Maori population in New Zealand, do you feel that responsibility? I do, but I can understand the barriers that are time and money. It’s a fact that good quality produce costs more, so Pacific and Maori people generally buy the cheaper, fattier, less healthy stuff because it goes further. When it comes to role models, our sports people are top of the pile, not a chef. So when David Tua is asked what he feels like after he’s knocked out Shane Cameron, and he says Burger King, that’s what is remembered. What I will say is that if we spent what we had on quality instead of quantity, we’d be healthier and less heavy. And I believe cooking at home is not only healthier for you, it’s a good thing to do as a family. I was lucky in that it’s what my Mum did. Getting the chance to help her out gave me good habits. My girls are the same. They want to help out and although it can be a bit annoying, it’s good for all of us because they’re learning and we’re spending time together as a family. michaelmeredithmasterchef/

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT MICHAEL AND MEREDITH’S: “Michael Meredith and his small team work their wizardry in the kitchen, producing a succession of exquisite little dishes. The wines are expertly chosen, good humour fills the place and you find yourself participating in one of the great dining experiences of the city.” Metro judges

“Meredith is a huge talent. Auckland is lucky to have him.” Metro editor Bevan Rapson at the awards

“What an experience, we had the degustation meal, 8 courses of pure heaven. The service was fantastic, ambience wonderful and I can’t wait to go back.” Diner on the Menulog website

“We enjoyed great food when dining at Meredith’s and his masterclass is a must. His food is, indeed, cutting edge.” Diner after Meredith participated in Savour New Zealand

“Meredith’s service was superb, with flavoursome comfort food that was impeccably presented. We ended the night with a heavenly, but decadent dessert and coffee. Ooh la la!” Barbara Clark, SPASIFIK Sales Manager


Amaretto Fruit Salad Ingredients: 1 deliciously ripe pear 8 or so strawberries 1 handful dried cranberries A few squeezes fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup organic coconut flakes Teaspoon cinnamon sugar 2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur 1 banana Core pear, cut into eighths, then cube slices. Hull and slice strawberries. Place with dried cranberries in a medium mixing bowl and toss with fresh lemon juice. Stir in amaretto, coconut flakes and cinnamon sugar. Just before serving, peel and slice


cr Sub

banana into 1/2 inch slices and very gently mix in. Garnish with a little extra dusting of cinnamon sugar.

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Ginger Date Pudding Cakes with Rum Walnut Toffee Sauce Cake


6 dried dates, pitted

1 1/2 cups (149 g) walnut halves

1 1-inch piece ginger, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out and reserved 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (254 g) unsalted butter, room temperature 2/3 cup (133 g) sugar 1/3 cup (45 g) candied ginger, finely chopped

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (133 g) unsalted butter 1 cup (227 g) heavy cream 1 1/3 cups (254 g) dark brown sugar 1 1-inch piece ginger, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out and reserved 2 tablespoons dark rum

1 tablespoon orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter eight 4-oz ramekins, or butter and sugar eight 3” high by 2 1/2” diameter ring molds. Place dates, ginger, salt, vanilla seeds and pod, and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add in the baking soda, and cook for another 3 minutesRemove pan from heat, take out ginger slices and vanilla pod from the mixture, and set aside. In a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, candied ginger, and orange zest until light and fluffy. Add in the dates and the cooking liquid, and mix until the dates

are broken into small pieces and the mixture is well combine. The mixture may turn a funny grey or greenish color from the dates but don’t worry, the cake will turn out nice and brown!With the mixer on low, add in the flour and baking powder. Mix until fully combined.Add in the egg and mix until combined. Divide batter among the prepared ramekins or ring molds. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to open the oven too often to check the cakes as this will make them deflate. Cool cakes on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before unmolding.

make the sauce. To make the sauce: Combine butter, cream, brown sugar, ginger, salt, vanilla seeds and pod, and 3 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and let simmer until it becomes a thick sauce, about 10 minutes.Remove ginger slices and vanilla pod. Stir in the walnut halves and return to a boil. Let simmer until it becomes thick and sticky, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rum. Let cool slightly before using.To serve, pour sauce around cakes. Serve immediately

Let them finish cooling as you


Fun with kids


Cinnamon Roll Snails Parents, ready for something fun to do with the kids? Kids, do you want to eat some SNAILS? Well you certainly can if you make these fun and yummy Cinnamon Roll Snails!

Here is what you will need: Cinnamon Rolls, thawed but still cold Cream cheese frosting, included with rolls Toothpicks Miniature marshmallows Black icing

First take your Rhodes Anytime Cinnamon Rolls that are thawed but still cold. Unwrap the end of each cinnamon roll and pull it out a little to make the snails head. My cute daughter wanted to make baby snails so she rolled hers out a lot and cut off the end to make the round parts smaller.

We attached the mini marshmallows to the toothpicks.

Place the rolls on a sprayed baking sheet. You will bake at 350 for 15–20 minutes or until golden brown. While your snails (cinnamon rolls) are baking get your tooth picks and marshmallows ready to make the eyes of the snails.

The kids loved helping make these cute snail

Then dot the tooth picks with some black icing. Once

the rolls are out of the oven, put the toothpicks into the top of the snails head at an angle. We then cut a little

hole in the icing packet to try to use it like a piping bag to control where the icing went.

cinnamon rolls and they loved eating them even more. So try something a little different with the kids and

remind them what little boys are made of: Snips and SNAILS and puppy dogs tails.



No~bake Energy Bites

1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats) 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes 1/2 cup peanut butter 1/2 cup ground flaxseed or


wheat germ 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional) 1/3 cup honey 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1” in diameter) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week. Makes about 20–25 balls. Tips:

Substitution ideas can abound for just about any of these ingredients! Feel free to substitute in your favorite nut butter (almond butter, sunflower seed butter, etc.) for the peanut butter. Method

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.


And you could also add in some wheat germ in place of some or all of the flaxseed.

helps hold things together. Some other fun substitutions for the chocolate chips (or an addition to them) could include: Chopped dried fruit (apricots, dates, raisins, etc.) Dried berries (cranberries, cherries, etc.) Chopped almonds, pecans, walnuts, or sunflower seeds Other chips (butterscotch, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, M&Ms, etc.) Other grains (different kinds of oatmeal, rice cereal, etc.)

I would caution, though, against substituting agave nectar for the honey, as the honey’s thickness

Coconut Cookie Chicks

Ingredients: 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut 1 tbsp whatever flour you wish 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp lite canned coconut milk 3 tbsp agave or pure maple syrup 1 packet stevia 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract tiny bit over 1/16 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a tall dish and microwave 3 minutes. (Or cook on the stovetop until it’s firm enough to scoop out in ball shapes.) Scoop into balls on a cookie tray (I used a

melon baller, but a spoon or icecream scoop will work.) Cook at

360 F for 14–16 minutes. Let cool before removing from tray. Makes around 12–14 cookies.


Healthy drink

Orange PushUp Smoothie Ingredients: 1 can orange juice concentrate, slightly thawed 1 cup milk (half and half, cream, nut milk, soy milk) 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste (you can reduce the sugar or use an alternate sugar substitute such as stevia but it won’t taste as close to classic Orange Push-Ups. Many people use much more than 1/2 cup, myself included. I used about 1 cup in my version) 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups ice, or to taste

Combine all ingredients, except ice, in a large blender or VitaMix and blend until smooth and creamy, taking care the sugar has dissolved and is well incorporated. If desired, add a splash more water or more milk. Add the ice and blend until smooth. Makes approximately three eight-ounce portions. Tips: Pour excess portions into glasses and thaw later and drink as smoothies; pour excess into bowls and freeze for orange sherbet; or pour into Popsicle molds, paper cups, or ice cube trays and freeze for homemade Push-Ups. Or halve the recipe by cutting the can of orange juice concentrate in half and halving all other ratios.



Add 1 to 2 ounces of Rum, Malibu, Vodka, Citron, Marshmallow Vodka, Gran Marnier or similar, per smoothie portion, or to taste. Edited to Add:

There have been people who have made this and report theirs being bitter but believe it may be due to the brand of OJ concentrate they used. I suggest trying the brand of juice I showed in the above photos, Hawaii’s Own, and I used mango-orange flavor, as originally indicated above. I bought it at Ralph’s (Kroger) Grocery store. Also, do not be afraid to sweet this to taste, and that may mean substantially increasing the amount of sugar used, i.e. using

1 cup or more, rather than 1/2 cup, of sugar. I used 1 cup in my version, but have a sweet tooth and some people said they tried 1 cup and it was too sweet for them. Everything is to taste (too bitter, too sweet; it’s all relative and depends on the brand of concentrate used). I appreciate the feedback and everyone who has tried the recipe so far.

Strawberries and Cream Smoothie Ingredients: Makes 1 generous smoothie, about 8 to 10 ounces 1 to 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries (big handful) 1/4 cup + cream (half and half, milk, coconut milk cream, soy cream, etc.) sweetenter, to taste (sugar, stevia, agave, etc.)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Depending on how many strawberries you used, their size, your blender, and your desired smoothie thickness and consistency, you may need more than 1/4 cup cream (I used about 1/2 cup), or add a splash of water, to reach desired consistency. Serve immediately or place any leftover portion in the freezer for later consumption. The smoothie does not change consistency and taste is not effected upon thawing. Suggestions:

If you use fresh berries rather than frozen, the smoothie will not be very cold unless you add ice, which will water it down. Use frozen berries if possible, or toss fresh berries into the freezer for even an hour before making this for better

results. Make this as an “ice cream” or frozen treat. Pour blended mixture into a bowl, freeze until almost solid, and serve. Make popsicles with it. Use paper dixie cups or ice cube trays and toothpicks or wooden grill skewers as the stick if you don’t have popsicle molds. Add rum (and a squirt of lime juice if you have it) for strawberry daiquiris, or Malibu, Citron, Gran Marnier Add protein powder, drizzle with chocolate sauce, add other fruit (bananas, oranges, mango, pineapple, peaches, etc.) to the mixture before blending


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