So you've grown broccoli, but how do you eat it?  Here's the place to:

  • ask how to prepare your produce using healthy recipes
  • share your healthy recipes or ask how a traditional recipe might be made healthier
  • how to store and preserve your surplus food
  • tips about healthy eating

Views: 4795

Replies to This Discussion

Sofia's Traditional Indonesian Cake

2 eggs, separate the yolk & the egg white
2 tsp of vanilla powder*
pinch of salt
300 grams sugar
200 g glutinous rice flour
300 g dessicated coconut - in Indonesia we use young coconut meat
500 ml coconut milk

Whisk the egg white with vanilla & salt, till it is mixed well & you find some bubbles on it. It does not have to be stiff.

Then put in the sugar, a little at a time and mix until all the sugar dissolved. Turn off the mixer, put in the glutinous rice flour, dessicated coconut & coconut milk, mix well.

Put all the batter into a square baking pan - don't forget to cover the bottom of the pan with baking paper & grease it with some butter or oil.

Bake on 170 degrees. After 15 minutes or when you find that the surface is dry, brush the top with the yolk to glaze it. Then bake until done.


*Vanilla is made from the seed pod (bean) of an orchid that requires a tropical climate - the plant is originally from Mexico (see picture).  Vanilla powder is dried powdered vanilla bean.  You can buy the powder from New World Te Rapa, possibly also from Countdown or Nosh.  You can buy it online from Heilala Vanilla, a company based in Tauranga.  (If you don't have the powder try substituting vanilla essence or perhaps 1 tsp of vanilla paste (depending on how you like the flavour).

Heilala grow most of their vanilla in Tonga in the Pacific Islands, but they also have a small plantation in Tauranga: in 2009 they produced their first 3 kg of NZ grown vanilla!  They use of a geothermal hot water (ie naturally occurring hot water from the ground, like you see in Rotorua) to heat their tunnelhouse.  Pollination is done by hand.

Lemongrass Recipes

Lemongrass is a lemon scented grass.  You can dry the leaves for use in winter. 

Anita uses lemongrass leaves to make tea - soak the leaves in boiling water for about 5 minutes. 

I sometimes tie some of the leaves in a knot and add them to rice while it is cooking, especially if I am making a meat dish that only uses the white part at the bottom of the lemongrass leaves - I hate to waste that yummy flavour!

The Healthy Food Guide has lots of recipes that use lemongrass, such as Kumara coriander and lemongrass soup, spring chicken, Thai curry paste, steamed ginger salmon, gado-gado, yogurt berry rice pudding, fresh lime cordial...  

Yeast is a living thing: it needs food and moisture to grow. Yeast goes dormant (inactive) when it is cold, grows when it is warm and is killed at high temperatures.

You can buy dried yeast in a jar in the baking area of the supermarket: it looks a bit like seeds. Once you have opened the jar, store it with the lid on tight in the fridge for up to 6 months.

If you are making bread in a cold kitchen, preheat your bowls and the flour to save time.
Use flour labelled as ‘strong’ or ‘standard’ for best results – the packet may say that the flour is suitable for making bread.

You rise the dough until it has doubled in size at least once before putting it into the oven to bake: this is called “proving” the dough. The time it takes to your dough to rise will vary depending on how warm it is. Slow rising gives the best results. Avoid putting it in a draught (wind). When you are choosing a warm place to put your dough to rise, you can:

* use your oven set on its lowest temperature - likely to take about 30-40 minutes.
* In a sunny spot – ¼ hour – 1 hour.
* In a hot water cupboard (if your hot water cylinder is not well insulated)
* Over warm water
* On the kitchen bench – 2-4 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.
* In the fridge – 12-24 hours.
Cover the dough when it is rising/proving.

In this recipe the dough doesn’t require punching down, kneading and a second rising like many yeast-based bread recipes, so it is quicker and easier to make.

  1. Put into a bowl:
    900 ml (1 ½ pints) warm water (the kind of temperature you’d bath a baby in)
    Stir in 1 dessert spoon (10 ml) of treacle OR molasses OR honey OR golden syrup
    Sprinkle over 1 Tbsp (15 ml) dried yeast.
  2. Leave to stand for a few minutes – the yeast should start to foam.
  3. Put into a big bowl:
    910 g wholemeal flour OR 4 cups white flour plus 4 cups wholemeal flour*
    1 dessertspoon(10 ml) of salt. (Yes, there is a surprisingly large amount of salt in bread!)
    Mix together and create a well (a dent) in the middle.
  4. Grease two bread tins with a little butter or oil – use the butter paper or a pastry brush. Make sure you grease right into the corners. This is to stop the bread sticking to the tin.
  5. Use a beater to mix the yeast into the liquid.
  6. Pour the liquid into the well in the flour mixture. Mix together and put into two tins. (The mixture will look quite wet.)
  7. Optionally, sprinkle some seeds (eg sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseeds...) or rolled oats or coarsely ground flour on top for decoration and additional goodness.
  8. Leave in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size.
  9. Bake about 40 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 degrees Celsius.
  10. Leave in the tins 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool.

*If you like a crunchy loaf of bread, reduce the flour by ½ cup and add some kibbled wheat or kibbled rye. Or add some seeds (like the toppings) or grains. Experiment with other sorts of flours, eg use 1/2 rye or spelt, etc. Bulk bin shops often have a wide range of flours you can try.

This recipe is based on Pat’s Bread, from a cook book called Mothering Time put out by the La Leche League of NZ.

Tip: I learned to make bread on a REAP (Rural Education Activities Programme) course: if you move to a rural area or smaller town, look out for REAP courses. The courses tend to be quite cheap, and not only do you learn some new skills, you get to meet some local people too.

Foraging: Seashore

In last Sunday's episode of River Cottage Veg Everyday chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall went foraging along the seashore.  Two plants he harvested and used in savoury dishes also grow here in NZ: 

  • dulse (Rhodymenai palmata), a seaweed, which he chopped and cooked in a frypan with grated potato for about 20 minutes until tender
  • samphire(Salicornia australis), also called salthorn and glasswort is a plant that grows between the high and low tide marks, which is harvested in spring before it flowers.  It is crisp and salty.  He used it in a tart/quiche.

There are a number of other seaweeds eaten here, see the Wild-Foods-NZ blog for more ideas.  

One called Venus' necklace (it looks like a string of beads) (Hormosira banksii) is usually eaten raw.   It was often eaten at this time of year by Maori in a kind of relish with chopped kina.  Kina are also known as the common sea urchin or sea eggs (Evechinus chloroticus)

Rachel tells me that her Maori family has the following tradition: 

When the kowhai is yellow (ie flowering) the Kina are fat and yellow and when the kowhai starts to die down and turn brown the Kina also turn brown and usually are skinny.

The yellow part of the kina is the roe, or eggs.  Sea urchins are eaten in many Pacific countries.

Kathy, an intern here, tells me that the kowhai flowering is also tells her family that it is time to go fishing for whitebait, which areseveral types baby native fish that swim up the rivers from the sea at this time of year.  They are often cooked in fritters. 

*Remember: it is illegal to take anything other than people’s rubbish from Marine Reserves! Marine reserves are shown on some maps and there are usually signs on the beach.

There are limits on how much fish you are allowed to gather.  These limits are to try and make sure that there is enough fish for everyone, including your great grandchildren!  There is more information about the rules around recreational fishing on the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) web site.

Photo: Kowhai flower.  Kowhai is the Maori word for 'yellow'.


Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall often goes foraging in his River Cottage TV shows, including his newest, River Cottage Veg Everyday, showing on Prime TV, Sundays at 7:35 pm. Some of the recipes from the show are also available online.

Maxine's early spring Beautiful Backyard Garden Salad

At the NZ Tree Crops shared lunch on Sunday Maxine brought a salad made entirely from out of fresh local ingredients.  Here's what's in it:

Miners lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata), lamb's lettuce (also called Mâche or Corn Salad,Valerianella locusta), chopped parsley, carrot, yacon, avocado, egg, borage flowers, pansy flowers. Served with a little vinaigrette.


Other salad greens she commonly uses at this time of year include:

Fennel tops, puha, young dandelion leaves (finely chopped - they are bitter but very good for you), broad bean tops.

If she was gathering from my garden, she could also include several different types of lettuce, celery, wild onion flowers, rocket ...

Recipes from the Healthy Cooking Class - Vegetable Curry and Easy Banana Cake

Stephanie showed her Migrant Centre Healthy Cooking Class how to make a vegetable curry and an easy banana cake last Saturday.  You can find the curry recipe here.


Easy Banana Cake




125g butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence (this is a liquid)

1 egg

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1/4 cup milk



1. Melt the butter, sugar and vanilla essence in a medium sized saucepan.

2. Remove from heat.

3. Add the mashed bananas and stir through until just blended.

4. Add the egg and mix in well.

5. Stir in the flour, add milk and mix lightly.

6. Put into a greased/oiled cake tin.

7. Bake at 170 C for approximately 40 minutes. 

8. Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool.


How to Cook Kumara Leaves

Most of us are familiar with eating the sweet potato tuber called kumara, but at the kumara workshop last Saturday Stephanie told us that in Taiwan they also eat the kumara leaves.  Wiremu Puke said that Maori people also use the leaves in boil ups

Kumara is a vine - see photo.


Below are a couple of Stephanie's recipes (thanks Stephanie!) 

There is a photograph of one of the finished dishes here.


Stir Fried Kumara Leaves


300 grams of kumara leaves,

Goji berries (some of you might know this as wolfberry) - usually sold dried


Seasoning: 1 teaspoon soy sauce, half a teaspoon fish sauce, a pinch of sugar.


  1. Wash the kumara leaves and drain them well
  2. Heat the oil in a fry pan, add garlic and fry until it begins to go golden
  3. Add the kumara leaves and fry until soft - this will only take a couple of minutes
  4. Finally add soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar to taste.  Garnish with goji berries.


Boiled Kumara Leaves

300 grams of kumara leaves
2 tablespoons goji berries
2 cloves garlic, crushed
sea salt /dash pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Wash the kumara leaves and drain.
  2. Bring a large pot of the water to the boil.
  3. Add the cooking oil, salt and kumara leaves and cook for 3 to 5minutes until they become soft and cooked through. Drain them in a colander.
  4. Serve them sprinkled with the seasonings - garlic,berries, soy sauce etc.


Sometimes you see fruit or nuts lying on the ground under other people's trees, ie private property, so you cannot help yourself.  

Today Rangi shared the tikanga/manners he was taught about asking to have fruit from other people's back yard trees - they are good rules to follow:

  1. Knock on the door and ask if you may please have some of the fruit/nuts (they have the right to say no)
  2. If they say yes, only collect the windfalls - ie the fruit that is lying on the ground
  3. Do not shake the tree, do not climb the tree. 
  4. Say thank you!

Some of my friends return later with something from their garden or a jar of jam as an additional thank you, which is nice if you can manage it. 

Wontons with a Spicy Sauce

This is the recipe from Stephanie's cooking class at the Migrant Centre last Saturday.  There is a photo of a similar recipe here.

Serves 4 to 6


300g ground pork/chicken/beef/sea food
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 teaspoon Chinese seasoning  (Chinese 5 Spice)
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 spring onions thinly sliced
½ package wonton skins

1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon chili oil
2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar or good-quality balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
1 tablespoons spring onion
1 tablespoons coriander

1. In a large bowl, combine the pork, 1 of the eggs and all the other ingredients and mix until everything is well-incorporated.

The filling should be sticky and slightly wet.

2. Crack the other egg into a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork. This egg wash will be used for sealing the wonton wrappers.

3. Angle a wonton wrapper so that it faces you like a diamond. With a pastry brush, spread a thin layer of egg wash along the top two edges of the wrapper. (Keep the extra wrappers covered with a barely damp towel until ready to use, to prevent them from drying out.) Place one heaped teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper.
 a. One easy way to wrap is to form a triangle by folding the bottom tip to the top tip and pinching out as much air as possible. Add a dab of egg wash to the inside of the left tip, fold it over the right tip to overlap  and press together.
 b. For the “boat” version, start by folding the wrapper in half to form a rectangle. Add a dab of egg wash to the bottom edge of the left side and and fold it over the bottom edge of the ridge side, so that one overlaps the other. The end result should resemble a boat, with two tips cradling a puff of filling in the middle.

4. Place the finished wonton on a plate. Keep the finished wontons covered with a barely damp towel while you repeat the process with the remaining wontons.

5. In a medium bowl, mix together the garlic, soy sauce, sugar, chili oil, black vinegar, and Sichuan pepper. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved,add spring onion coriander and set aside.

6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put in the wontons and boil for 3 to 4 minutes, until the wontons float to the top. Remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle the chili sauce over the wontons and sprinkle the sliced spring onions on top.

Fresh Fruit Cake Recipe

1/2 cup oil
1 cup castor sugar*
2 eggs
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup white flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups of any chopped fresh fruit
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

  1. Whisk oil, sugar and eggs together.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder into the mixture, add fruit and nuts. Mix.
  3. Put into a greased ring tin or 8 or 9 inch square tin.
  4. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes - a skewer inserted in the cake should come out clean.
  5. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then turn out of the tin.
  6. Optionally, sprinkle with icing sugar.

This cake tastes even better the next day, especially with tart fruit like fresh currents (in season now!)

*If you are using a sweet fruit like peaches, cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup.

For the cake in the photo I used fresh cranberries, blueberries, walnuts and some lemon zest (finely grated lemon peel).

This recipe is adapted from a recipe published in a NZ Tree Crops Association newsletter.

Reducing saturated fat in baking

The fresh fruit cake recipe (above) originally used butter.  Most nutritional guidelines recommend using vegetable oil over saturated fats like lard and butter.

Generally you can replace butter in baking with ¾ of the amount of oil. I think oil based cakes tend to retain their moistness longer than butter based recipes.

Another option in baking is to replace half the fat with stewed/mashed fruit.   This is what the Healthy Food Guide did in their yummy Chocolate Brownie recipe.

Stephanie’s Spring Rolls

Serves 6


12 spring roll wrappers at room temperature

1/2 head cabbage, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

200 gm bean sprouts

500g ground beef (mince)

6 Chinese dried mushrooms, sliced

6 dried (or fresh) wood ear fungus, sliced*

1 bunch chives

3 spring onions

Salt and pepper to taste



Soak the dried fungus and mushrooms in hot water until softened - about 40 minutes.

Heat a pan and pour-in 1 tablespoon cooking oil.

Add the mince. Cook until the colour turns medium-brown.

Add mushrooms, ginger and carrots. Cook for a few seconds.

Add cabbage, beans sprouts, chives and spring onions. Stir and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in salt and pepper.

Turn off heat. Let the temperature cool down while allowing excess oil and liquid to drain.



(See the attached poster for step by step pictures)

Lay out one spring roll sheet, add about 2-3 tbsp (depending on the size of your spring roll sheets) of the filling towards one corner.

Fold in the end of the corner first and then both sides.

Once these ends are firmly placed, roll up to the end.

For store-bought sheets, it is easy to stick it to the rest of the roll, but if you make your own sheets, then you may need to use some 'adhesive' like egg white to make the end stick.



Heat cooking oil in a deep cooking pot. Deep fry the spring rolls in medium heat until the colour turns light to medium brown.

Remove from the cooking pot and place in a plate lined with paper towels (this will absorb excess oil.)

Serve with your favourite dipping sauce/tomato sauce/sweet chilli sauce...  share and enjoy!


*Wood ear fungus grows wild here in NZ on trees that have died recently (we used to export it to China!). It is quite chewy. Do not collect this (or anything other than rubbish) from the arboretum, Hamilton Gardens, scientific reserves or DoC parks.  You should be able to forage it from other parks or even your garden - there was some growing at Grandview Community Garden earlier this year.  

The photos of wood ear fungus were taken in a public park in Cambridge.   




  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2023   Created by Pete Russell.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service