After Taste presents Sweet New Zealand…….

After Taste is hosting Sweet New Zealand again this month, so get your entries ready!

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This event was originally started by Alessandra Zecchini in 2011 and really encourages food bloggers to share their secret recipes, discover new delights and of course, get to know other New Zealand food bloggers, living both here and overseas. Here are some super simple rules:

  1. This event is open to all bloggers living in New Zealand (even if you are not a Kiwi), as well as all Kiwi bloggers living and blogging overseas.
  2. You can enter anything sweet (as simple or complicated as you like): cakes, biscuits, slices, desserts, even drinks, and you may submit as many entries as you like, including old posts if you like.
  3. Your entry must contain the following: the phrase “Sweet New Zealand”, a link to the host (my blog homepage), a link to this post and include the Sweet New Zealand badge (just right-click and download the image from this post), and if you are submitting an older post remember to update it accordingly with all of the above.
  4. To submit your entry email me at aftertasteblog@gmail.com by 30th May with:

– your name
– your blog name
– a link to your blog
– a link to the post you’re contributing (and name of recipe)
– a photo from your post (not more than 250 kb if possible)

I’ll do a round up of all entries at the end of May. I am really looking forward to seeing all the entries 🙂

After Taste

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Coconut Whispers

A month or so ago I bought what has become one of my all-time favourite recipe books, Ladies, a Plate. This book, written by New Zealand author Alexa Johnston, is jam-packed full of traditional home baking. It gives a fantastic insight into New Zealand baking classics (some of which I did not know) over the years.

Alexa’s interest in old-fashioned recipes began with her mothers copies of the New Zealand Women’s Institutes Home Cookery Book and the League of Mothers Cookery Book, as well as a number of church fundraising cookbooks. She also collects a large number of community recipe books.

The thing I love most is that each recipe comes with a tale, along with a wonderful full-page photograph. At the back of the book is a list of all the places these recipes were sourced from and I’d love to get a hold of some of the originals. Some of the cookbook titles just make you smile..

These biscuits are small and simple. They don’t require expensive ingredients and they don’t take long to make. They are extremely easy, light, and moorish. You can use dessicated coconut, as stated in the recipe, but the only coconut I had on hand was coconut thread and it worked just as well. This is coming from someone who loves the texture of cocunut, so perhaps stick with the dessicated stuff if you’re not so keen.

Her book is full of words of wisdom and helpful hints for successful home baking. Alexa also states and I have to agree:

A cup of tea without a biscuit is a missed opportunity.

On that note…

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Coconut Whispers

  • 55 grams butter, softened
  • 115 grams white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 150 grams dessicated coconut

Cream the butter and sugar using an electric mixer. Mix in the egg and the vanilla. Using a spoon, stir through the coconut.

Place teaspoonfuls of dough onto trays lined with baking paper, leaving space for spreading, and flatten slightly with a wet fork. Bake in a pre-heated 160 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden, and cool the biscuits on the paper on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

New Zealand Lolly Log Cake

Lolly cake or lolly log (as some might know it) in New Zealand is a national institution. It is such a kiwi favourite.

It is found absolutely everywhere here and I would go as far as saying it even makes the  list of my favourite sweet treats. This is the type of food item you’d probably expect to see in every New Zealand bakery, corner dairy, or even your local service station, nationwide. I almost think it is unique to New Zealand as  I have yet to find any reference to its existence that can’t be traced back to a New Zealander’s blog.

It is an uncooked recipe and uses two main ingredients: biscuits and lollies – what could be better?! The mixture is usually pressed into a log shape and rolled in coconut, and then refrigerated until set and sliced up. Sadly I can’t credit anything more than the back of a packet of Pascall Fruit Puff’s for this delightful recipe. Enjoy!

New Zealand Lolly Log Cake
Makes 15 slices

  • 1 packet malt biscuits, crumbs
  • 1 packet fruit puffs or eskimos
  • 100 grams butter
  • 1/2 can condensed milk
  • Coconut

Warm the butter and the condensed milk in the microwave.  Add the biscuit crumbs and either a packet of eskimos or fruit puffs (cut into pieces).  Stir mixture well.  Form the mixture into a log shape or into small balls.  Roll in Coconut.  Put into the fridge for approximately 4 hours.  Once set, cut the log into slices and serve.

Old-Fashioned Sausage Rolls

Sausage rolls – they’re usually a little touch n’ go, aren’t they.

It is fairly rare that I’d go to a cafe to eat a sausage roll these days, but while I’m here I might as well give a little shout out to one of the quaintest little cafes in the Hawkes Bay. That cafe is The Paper Mulberry and you should definitely go there if you are passing through and in need of a cuppa. These guys make great sausage rolls, and fabulous coffee! Either way, you’ll find it well worth slowing down and pulling in.

But if you’re not up that way, check out this recipe.  Although this is only my second ever homemade sausage roll experience, they taste pretty good! Much better than the very first time I attempted a sausage roll which were the days of Home Economics at intermediate school, I was 11. This recipe is based on one I found in The Healthy Food Guide magazine and includes a vegetable or two so probably a bit healthier than your average sausage roll!

They make a great snack, lunch or party food and you can decide how big or small you want them to be. I do have one tip though: make sure you have heaps of tomato sauce or nice chutney to go with them. They really are quite delicious straight out of the oven! Next time though, I think I will experiment with the flavours a bit more. I just discovered a recipe that uses caramelised onions and blue cheese! Amen to that, so watch this space!

Old-Fashioned Sausage Rolls

  • 3 sheets ready-rolled reduced-fat puff pastry
  • 500 grams trim pork mince
  • 2 slices wholemeal bread, made into crumbs
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium kumara, grated
  • 2 courgette, grated
  • 1 tbsp bran
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce, be generous
  • water, to seal pastry
  • 1/4 cup trim milk, for glazing

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. In a bowl, combine the fresh breadcrumbs, herbs, salt, bran flakes, onion, meat, grated kumara, grated courgettes and the sauces. If you have a processor, chop the onion, add the slices of bread and pulse to crumbs, then add all the rest of the ingredients and mix in the processor.

Lay out the pastry on a floured bench. Scoop out the meat mixture and place a ‘sausage’ of mixture along the middle of each strip. Brush one edge of the strip with water, roll the pastry over and seal it together to form a long roll.

Cut into approximately eight sausage rolls depending on how big you’d like them. Place the rolls seam side down on a greased tray. Slash the top of each sausage roll once or twice with a serrated knife to allow steam to escape, then brush each one lightly with milk. You could then sprinkle with a few sesame seeds or poppy seeds or perhaps, sprinkle with a small amount of grated cheese. Clearly I forgot this step! 😦

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until dark golden. Serve with tomato sauce or a nice chutney for dipping.

Bacon and Egg Pie

Most New Zealander’s I know love a slice of bacon and egg pie. I wouldn’t call this so much a recipe as I would an assemblage. There is nothing too challenging about making a bacon and egg pie and you probably won’t ever need this recipe. It does however hold a strong place in my heart so to me, belongs on my blog.

This recipe makes for a really quick and easy lunch or light meal. Combined with a nice salad, you have your self a pretty delicious meal.  My Mum would actually be horrified I am even sharing this recipe because it is literally make and bake.

I used the very easy store-bought puff pastry (Mum would also be horrified at this) but the flaky pastry recipe in the Edmonds Cookery book is pretty easy so if you have a bit of time..

I don’t really have too much more to say about this! Enjoy.

Bacon and Egg Pie

  • 400 gram packet of store-bought flaky puff pastry
  • 200 gram packet of shoulder bacon
  • 5 medium-sized eggs
  • Salt and pepper

Roll out half the puff pastry on a floured board until you have yourself a lovely rectangle. Lift off the board and shape into a sprayed oven dish. Line the dish with strips of the bacon so the pastry is evenly covered. Crack 5 eggs over the bacon and break up the yolks with a knife. Roll out the second half of the puff pastry and lay over the pie.

Bake at 180 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.

Kiwi Chocolate Afghan Biscuits

Home-baked chocolate afghans are nothing new, or flash for that matter. However, they are particularly yummy and seem to go perfectly with a hot drink on a cold day (like today, if you’re in Wellington!). To me they really belong in that “comfort food” category, right next to the ANZAC biscuit…

Afghan cookies are chunky, crunchy and slightly crumbly. And just like the kiwi ANZAC biscuit, Afghans require only a handful of ingredients so they are very easy to make.

The biscuits on their own are not very sweet so the icing is definitely needed and unless you have some extreme allergy to nuts..don’t forget to decorate with a wee walnut. Alternatively you could sprinkle with coconut. Delicious.

Kiwi Chocolate Afghan Biscuits

  • 200 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cornflakes, crushed
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsps cocoa
  • 1-2 Tbsp boiling water

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease or line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Sift in flour and cocoa, stir thoroughly with the butter mixture until combined before stirring in the cornflakes.

Place heaped teaspoonfuls onto baking tray, squeeze mixture together gently if necessary then press lightly with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before icing.

Mix the icing sugar, butter and 1 Tbsp boiling water at a time until combined, adding more hot water if necessary until icing is a spreadable consistency. Ice biscuits and top with half a walnut. 

Feta and Paprika Cheese Straws

It is fair to say, I love a good dip. Cheese ball, hummus, salsa, pesto, or just the well-known kiwi onion dip. Yip, dip rocks! Needless to say I’m often on the lookout for things to dip in dip.

From memory, they were big in New Zealand in the seventies, being cheap and relatively easy to make. I came across this recipe in the one of the midweek papers a couple of weeks ago. To be honest, at the time, I was more caught drooling over the plum sauce recipe than the straws but since I am very much plum-less…I had to make do.

A word of warning – these are very addictive! Pair them with some homemade plum sauce and you’ll have yourself a rather attractive looking snack! They’re best eaten warm from the oven, but if you need to make them ahead, leave them to crisp up in a cool oven before removing to an air-tight container – they’re less likely to soften.

Feta and Paprika Cheese Straws

  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 60 grams butter, diced
  • 1/2 a cup grated cheese
  • 1/2 a cup feta cheese, crumbled

To make the cheese straws, preheat your oven to approx 190 degrees. Grease an oven tray. Sift the flour and paprika into a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. I found I had to add a little more water to the mix at this stage as it seemed a little dry! Stir in both the grated cheese and the crumbled feta cheese.

Next, lightly beat the egg and add to the mixture. Stir until a dough is formed and then roll out on a floured surface. You want to make sure the dough is roughly 5mm thick before slicing into strips. I  found a pizza cutter (if you have one!) was ideal for this part.

Transfer the strips onto a cooked tray lined with paper. Lightly brush with a bit of milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Bake for around 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container.

This recipe makes approximately 16 straws.