ideabaker's Profile

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I want to cook for a girl I like. Would really appreciate some thoughts =)

Thanks so much, alkapal... it has been a while... glad to be back :)

Nov 04, 2012
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Calling all brown baggers

OK, gotcha... so if someone makes popcorn but doesn't burn it, is that smell ok? (Just wondering as I've always been amazed at the number of people who are offended by the smell of popcorn... is it only burnt popcorn smell that offends, or ANY popcorn smell?)

Oct 30, 2012
ideabaker in Home Cooking

I want to cook for a girl I like. Would really appreciate some thoughts =)

I'm in agreement with many of the other posters here who recommend roast chicken as your main course. It is easy, inexpensive, yet can be impressive; most (unless she is vegetarian) people will eat chicken, and it goes with so many side dishes (mashed potatoes, veggies, salads) that you have heaps of choices in what to "go with" your meal.

I like this very easy, yet impressive buttermilk roasted chicken recipe because it uses already cut-up pieces of chicken (rather than a whole chicken which can be tricky in terms of timing when it is done; plus it is less work for you), it uses buttermilk (which tenderises the chicken during the 24 hours in which you let the pieces soak overnight & gives it depth of flavour), and it recommends using a kitchen timer so you'll know exactly when it is done: http://pickyin.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02... .

I also like this 8-minutes from start to finish Nutella Espresso Chocolate Mug Cake (yep, you 'bake' it in a coffee mug in the microwave, but check it out, it is beautiful and with Nutella, it's got to be good!) for dessert. http://www.mandyashcraft.com/post/163...

Oct 28, 2012
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Maori in Auckland

While Harbourside restaraunt sounds like it serves delicious higher-end New Zealand food, I think that more traditional Maori "kai"/food dishes (such as hangi- assorted meats, kumura/yams, and other vegetables cooked in an under-ground pit, or bacon bones--traditionally made with kunekune pig--and watercress) could be found in Auckland.

The Saturday morning market in Otara (in South Auckland) tends to have plates of hangi for sale, as well as kaanga wai (fermented corn) and other Maori foods as well as other non-food items such as woven hats and kete/bags.

Also, if any Maori festivals (such as the Ngaa Puhi Festival, or the Tai Nui festivals) are on, there will be plenty of traditional kai!

March is the harvest time here in New Zealand; the end of summer, so plenty of schools will be holding school festivals that sell hangi, fried bread and other Maori foods as fund-raisers.

If not able to find Maori foods in Auckland, certainly Rotorua will have restaurants that sells the traditional hangi (if the OP is lucky, it will be prepared over a fire formed with manuka branches for its distinctive smokey flavour).

Maori in Auckland

I'm living in Northland, NZ & am wondering if "Maori Food" means traditional dishes, or dishes made by modern chefs who are also Maori?

Calling all brown baggers

I have never understood the "no popcorn" rule (though I strictly abide by it). Does it smell too fun for work?

Oct 27, 2012
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving in New Zealand: Far North

Hi NZgrrl... not too late, so thanks on that tip. Perhaps I can find a recipe for a pecan flat shortbread sort of "tart" that could be cut up into squares. Going shopping tonight, can't get to AKL this time as it is three hours away and it's the middle of the school week. Can definitely pull together a pecanish dish... if not for Thanksgiving, then even for pot lucks, which as you know are quite bountiful here! Will definitely check out that AKL market next time I'm there, too! :)

Carrot Cake that Wows... does anybody know this recipe???

Letsindulge, pureeing the carrots sounds like an interesting idea; one that also would not leave obvious strings of carrot through the cake. A couple of questions: does cooking the carrot not change the flavour of the cake to more savoury than sweet? And please pardon my ignorance, but what is vanilla paste? (I live in New Zealand, so if I can't find it -which is likely- I will need a substitute). The cake the student made definitely didn't have coconut in it. Yours sounds like a fun cake to make just to test the tastes. Do you top yours with a creamed cheese topping that is different in any way? Thanks

Nov 06, 2011
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Carrot Cake that Wows... does anybody know this recipe???

Rainey, so true, and if cut finely enough, as Wyogal suggests, they mightn't be too noticeable when shoving the cake into the mouth...

Nov 06, 2011
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Carrot Cake that Wows... does anybody know this recipe???

Fattychalupa, that sounds divine! I'm extremely sensitive to the taste of liquor in my food, so think I would have noticed if Grand Marniere was in it (don't think it was because children were eating it at school). But maybe the orange masked the flavour and the liquor burned away? In any case, your detailed recipe definitely makes me want to make these cupcakes, perhaps for a tea. Scrumptious! Thank you.

Nov 06, 2011
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Carrot Cake that Wows... does anybody know this recipe???

Would I see the pineapple in a cake? I mean if it were crushed really, really well? Because you guys/gals are making me think that the cake might have had it. Also HankHanover- the icing with cream cheese and maple syrup sounds divine. There definitely could have been some of that action going on... but it would have been only a tad as the creamed cheese was still more white/ivory than tan/ivory. Do you happen to have that maple cream cheese icing recipe?

Nov 06, 2011
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Carrot Cake that Wows... does anybody know this recipe???

Thank you Wyogal; this one was not like a carrot fruitcake, though I'm beginning to suspect some very finely chopped dried fruit was in there. Like you, I dislike chunks of anything in my food, and this cake did not disappoint. I didn't see any visible chunks of anything. But that moistness! Would pureeing the pineapple/dried fruit have that effect?

When you say you cook cakes with fruit longer, do you mean at the same temperature, or slightly lower and longer?

Nov 05, 2011
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Carrot Cake that Wows... does anybody know this recipe???

Thanks Rainey, no discernible pieces of carrots, but they tend to incorporate, don't they? The texture was heavier than light, but not heavy/dense like fudge. It was more like a bread than a cake, except far more moist. I ate the second slice with a keen eye, and saw no chunks of any fruit, but did find fragments of walnuts.

Maybe they cut up fruit very very small and mixed it in? Or used a paste? I do not think I tasted pineapple. Maybe apple. I really just tasted "delicious", embarrassed to say. It was a bit spicy, but not cinnamon spicy, maybe a bit of nutmeg/allspice? It's colour was the conventional spicy brown.

The moistness and the lively flavour made the cake special+the nuts. And the icing was pretty incredible too. Just hoping someone will have a good place to start, because there are thousands of recipes out there!

Thanks

Nov 05, 2011
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving in New Zealand: Far North

Hi all;

I'm an American teacher living and working (for three years now) way up in the Far North of New Zealand (three hours north of Auckland). It is rural and we have very limited selections in our food markets. This hasn't been a worry as I've adapted over the years to different food ingredients (and accessibility to multicultural ingredients has improved even in three years). But this one has truly stumped me.

I've been asked to go to a Kiwi family's "Thanksgiving Dinner". They have an(other) American friend who they do a big dinner for every Thanksgiving day. This year, since I teach both of their children, they've invited me as well. It's customary to bring something to a home when invited, and I'd like to bring something home-made.

If I were stateside, I'd make a pumpkin pie (not an option here, pumpkins are out of season now that spring has arrived, and our store doesn't carry canned pumpkin). Or I would do a cranberry dressing (though I did throw a couple of cans of Ocean Spray- gasp- cranberry dressing into my suitcase last trip and could spoon them out into a dish in a pinch). But here, I don't have fresh cranberries, chestnuts, pumpkin pie, or really any of the things that I consider "Thanksgiving-y".

We have all the usual ingredients, flours, sugars, etc. I have the two cans of cranberry sauce, and I also grabbed two shrink-wrapped bags of roasted, shelled chestnuts that I was allowed to bring over because it is processed. We do have the orange sweet potatoes, but I've never made a sweet potato pie before (which, done right, would be lovely). We can assume there will be a turkey and stuffing there. Maybe the basic shop carries something that would go with this? (The closest big shop I can get to is Whangarei.)

Any ideas for something "American" and "Thanksgiving-fare-worthy" to take-- shopping only at a bare-bones minimum stocked New World and Countdown? Perhaps they carry something I am unaware of? I am drawing a complete blank. Hope that my fellow CH'ers can shake me out of this idea vacuum with some suggestions. Nothing major needed, just a nice "American" touch from the new kid on the block :).

Thank you in advance for any ideas!

Carrot Cake that Wows... does anybody know this recipe???

Hi all; so I'm a teacher, and a kid walked in a couple of months ago with a carrot cake made by her Mum for a fundraiser. It was placed in the staff room for a dollar a slice. It looked like a regular old cake, so no one took notice; just a whole lot of creamed cheese on the tops and edges (it was cooked in a Bundt pan). I walked over to my mailbox to pick up a paper that had arrived, and when I turned around there was one piece left, which I grabbed. It was HEAVEN. The other carrot cake brought in by another child sat sadly, mostly untouched.

Now don't get me wrong. but carrot cake has never been my favourite because the cake is usually not all that tasty. The creamed cheese always redeems it. But this cake, my friends, had walnuts, was moist, and had flavour!!! Maybe it had a sultanas in it (can you grind up sultanas so they aren't in chunks?) or something. The creamed cheese on top was whipped and fluffy and sweet and finger licking good, but it was literally "the icing on top of the cake". The cake, and the icing, were perfection.

Needless to say, I asked the student for the recipe. Got the dreaded (yet challenging) "It's a family secret, we aren't allowed to give it out". She then added insult to injury by bringing another one of the same cake to a class party three weeks later. I seriously considered sending a slice out to be laboratory tested.

Ok, kid, I thought to myself. I know my pals at CH can help me out on this one. Surely someone here has made the Carrot Cake to end all Carrot Cakes, the piece de resistance of Carrot Cakes; traditionally inspired, yet somehow unbeatable.

So, the million dollar question... does anyone out there have a similar sounding recipe for Carrot Cake, the Carrot Cake that people fight over, leaving the other desserts in the dust? I am willing to make as many cakes in a row as needed to get to the perfect one, but you folks will have the best places to start.

Thanks in advance to anyone with ideas, suggestions, etc.

Nov 05, 2011
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Delicious Recipes for Diabetic Chowhounds???

MCF, I can definitely do the pureed cauliflower to substitute mashed potatoes... how much butter is allowed ( thought we had to limit fats )... I have a "recipe" of steam/boiling cauliflower slowly with chicken broth, and a bit of butter with a lid on the pot. Cooking it until it is soft. Delicious, and sounds like I can keep it on the menu for my diabetic flatmate.

Is a yam (the white one, looks like a potato) too starchy? Dark chocolate is allowed??

Thanks for your help and please excuse my extreme ignorance on this matter!

Jul 15, 2010
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Delicious Recipes for Diabetic Chowhounds???

The Dairy Queen, have started browsing recipes here, all seem doable... I didn't think potato skins would be "allowed" because of the starchiness... am anticipating learning more on cooking for diabetics. Thank you for the link!

Jun 27, 2010
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Delicious Recipes for Diabetic Chowhounds???

After years of cooking a range of foods from around the world and relishing in assorted cooking techniques and a plethora of cooking styles and ingredients, I may soon be moving to a new home in which I will share responsibilities for cooking-- for a diabetic. I was looking forward to a new cooking challenge, until I just read the diabetic food rules in a Health Department brochure.

Suddenly, I've realised that my cream and butter based sauces, marinades including honey and salts (soy sauce), and other "go to" picker-uppers for food appear to be "no-no's". Looks like a lot of meats are off of the menu for the most part. Chicken is cost-prohibitive where I live (six thighs cost twenty dollars). Fish could work a couple of nights a week, but it is costly too. I think wine in recipes would have to go, not sure. Can't even replace wine with grape juice- sugar...

I've perused "diabetic" recipe books and online sources only to find their suggestions for meals, frankly, a bit bland and uninspiring. Is it possible that I am just looking for 'diabetic-friendly-recipe-love' in all the wrong places?

Last night, I dreamt that I was delighting in the camaraderie of my fellow Chowhounders here and you led me to the light! Why had I not thought of my beloved Chowhound before?

I ask in all humility and earnestness... is there such a thing as truly delicious diabetic main courses, side dishes, or even "football game" snacks that a cook like me would enjoy preparing and serving for friends? If so, would you please share them? This possible move to the world of dry and bland is a bit overwhelming and I need someone to kick-start my creativity in the diabetic dish department!

Thank you in advance for any suggestions, particularly specific winner recipes!

Jun 25, 2010
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Lightweight Healthy and tasty Backpacker/Hostel Meals? Recipe ideas for next time???

This sounds like food, though I am a bit concerned about the healthiness of it (wouldn't they be salty and doesn't sausage have a lot of fat?). I wonder if cutting strips of leaner meat would work (do need the protein)-like steaks, and chicken?

Apr 30, 2010
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Lightweight Healthy and tasty Backpacker/Hostel Meals? Recipe ideas for next time???

Dried crispy fried garlic? Hmmm never even heard of that one. But should be able to locate it in one of the large Auckland Asian Markets. I just hope I can tell what it is (often the packaging is not in English, and workers there don't speak English well... perhaps I should take a clove of regular garlic and try to get the concept of "dried" across by grabbing something dried off of the shelf). Will definitely look for it next time I'm in a city! Thank you!

Apr 30, 2010
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Lightweight Healthy and tasty Backpacker/Hostel Meals? Recipe ideas for next time???

Ha ha, no, Jvanderh-wouldn't be alive to post this if I made that a habit!

At each new location I'd buy a few slices of shaved sandwich meat and put them into the hostel refrigerator. The night before the next day's travel, I'd go to the refrigerator, take out ingredients and make the sandwich(es), re-wrapping it and placing back in the refrigerator. On the next morning, I put the cold sandwich(es) into my insulated lunchbag which fits into my food bag, and carried it as lunch. All backpacker hostels (in New Zealand) have refrigerators...not sure about other countries, though I would think they would have at least one.

Apr 29, 2010
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Using Hot Chili Jams to create savoury sauces for fish/rice?

Caroline, you always make me smile... and salivate, not necessarily always in the same order :).

Thank you for your creative suggestions, and I especially will remember the tip about adding the corn starch concoction or water to adjust the thickness (you just headed off at least one future "confused by sauce-making" posts!).

I just found out that one of the chili jams has tamarind (which I've never tasted alone) in it... do you think that still goes with the sesame, fish sauce, garlic, onions, ginger flavours? The others have tomato and pineapple along with very hot fresh peppers.

I will have a play with some Asian flavours and see what happens. Will post back!

Again, thank you!

Apr 27, 2010
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Lightweight Healthy and tasty Backpacker/Hostel Meals? Recipe ideas for next time???

kleine mocha, thank you for the link. Will see if I can contact someone in the NZ office! Forgot to ask if you found the pre-packaged foods salty at all...

Apr 27, 2010
ideabaker in Home Cooking

New Zealand Coffee Houses... and definitions of NZ coffees?

Thanks for all of the useful info, nzemma! Yes I do realise that something special is going on with coffee here. I only recently started with an occasional cup and now I understand why some folks (who I used to think were simply fussy) absolutely refuse to drink instant coffee! Will be in Wellington in October, and will find one of those places... I did have a lovely coffee at a cafe/bar on Cuba Street where you sit outside near a fountain sculpture that was made of these sort of buckets that dropped the water down from one to the other in a pattern. Perhaps that was Ernesto, who knows (Cuba Street isn't that big!). Will pay more attention next time.

Can't wait to hunt down the Dunedin place, am one of those people who loves pushing the upper limits of my GPS system to find hidden gems.

Still know essentially nothing about Auckland coffeehouses. Maybe there aren't many in/near Ponsoby??

Am having fun compiling a list of must have coffee for my travels, and also very grateful to fellow CH'ers for tips on what to ask for! Again, thank you!

New Zealand Coffee Houses... and definitions of NZ coffees?

Thanks Mr. Gimlet for the reminder about the long macchiato... I think the short macchiato would be too bitter/strong for me without the adequate balance of the frothed milk.

Do you have any specific places that you know of in New Zealand that make outstanding coffee that you'd be willing to suggest?

New Zealand Coffee Houses... and definitions of NZ coffees?

Oh this is so, so helpful! Love the suggestion on the queue... I have unfortunately experienced the weak, heavily milked flat white and now I know why! But have also had great ones too, usually in more upmarket places... never thought to look for a line though!

Any suggestions of specific places to try in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin or Christchurch? (Or for that matter, anywhere in between, I do tend to get around...)

New Zealand Coffee Houses... and definitions of NZ coffees?

Thank you Mr. Gimlet... at the risk of further exposing my complete ignorance on the styles of coffee, would a "short black" be equivalent to an espresso, or is it a regular coffee with a single shot of espresso added?

I can't wait to try out ordering the double shot long macchiato... hope I remember the whole description. Maybe will order it then quickly reconfirm that it is like a short black with an extra shot of espresso and the milk??

Lightweight Healthy and tasty Backpacker/Hostel Meals? Recipe ideas for next time???

Kleine Mocha, I'm in a remote part of New Zealand but do have a U.S. address... do you think the pouches can be purchased online? I can order them in, then either have them shipped to me or pick them up when I'm stateside. They sound brilliant! Thanks!

Apr 25, 2010
ideabaker in Home Cooking

What are your favorite cost-saving cooking tricks?

Cheesecake, THAT's and idea I will definitely try, thanks!

Apr 25, 2010
ideabaker in Home Cooking

Four Frozen Duck Leg Quarters in the Freezer... what to do?

My local grocery had (for some odd reason) a one-off heap of fresh duck leg quarters for a not-to-be-ignored price. So I bought them and tossed them into the freezer about a month ago... they've been sitting there since because it's occurred to me that I'm pretty busy during the week, pretty tired on the weekend, and my flatmate doesn't like spice (which I adore).

So I am trying to think of a creative, yet spicy (not HOT spicy, but flavourful) way to cook these things before they fuse themselves to the side of the deep freezer. Anyone have any (fairly simple, yet tasty) ideas? Thawing them then drizzling them with some kind of a hand made spice paste then baking was my only idea, but surely there must be better ones out there...

Thanks to anyone who wants to pitch in on this one. Am beginning to wonder why I bought duck when I've never prepared it before!

Oh, p.s. it is winter here, so can't use the grill!

Apr 25, 2010
ideabaker in Home Cooking