In the midst of  reminiscing on our adventures in Central America, one needs an interlude. An interlude because the reality that we are no longer in our dreamscape of spanish colonialism and cloud forests is setting in. Staring at the photos day after day is giving me serious wanderlust, and it has only been two weeks.

Costa Rican Rainforest

Rainforest, Mastatal, Costa Rica
A tribute for their 3-1 win against Uraguay in the Football World Cup 2014 as I write this

Larimer Street Denver

Larimer Street, A Fine Day in Denver, Colarado

San Francisco Cable Car

Seeing the City on Cable Car, San Francisco

From the 40°C temperature of Costa Rica, to Denver, to the poolside in a San Francisco summer. To landing our two feet in home soil at 5am two Sundays been, welcomed by a wistfully crisp, chilling wintry day in New Zealand of 6°C. This is why I need a burst of taste inspiration in the realm of fluttering.

Wild Flowers in Monteverde

 

Wild Flowers, Monteverde, Costa Rica

Because, after sporadic travel writing one is reminded that this was first and foremost a wine and food blog, and there it will soon return until our next adventure. Now my goal is simply finding a job and cooking nutritious, gluten free food (for me) and delectably energy rich food (for him). It has to be seasonal: for freshness, for enjoyment and for the budget. What have I made this week?

Bread Amazing

First of all this Amazing Bread Recipe. Flour, yeast, salt, 2 hours total including rising time.

Natural Energy Bites

Little Natural Energy Bites are just pleasantly addictive and great for mid-winter sweets or for pre-workout fixes; mine feature desiccated coconut, some ground wine biscuits, sesame seeds, peanuts and ginger powder which adds a nice ‘zing’.
Panackes Two
Gluten Free Pancakes One
And these beautiful coconut pancakes from over on one of my favourite food blogs, Petite Kitchen. Of course they are gluten and dairy free true to her ethos – perfect for my birthday.

Chicken-Leek-Mushroom-Pie-Slice

Continuing in a birthday fashion, I made my now famous Chicken, Leek & Mushroom Pie from Guy Mirabella’s book “Hungry” of which I wrote about last year.

Red Wine Poached Pears Two
Delicious nashi pears, poached in a mulled wine sauce then topped with decadent chocolate, the inspiration for this copycat recipe comes from a beautiful blog, Feasting at Home.  What differs from the original recipe is the beetroot and pomegranate, which may have added some nice tartness – but my contrast here was the chocolate.

Red Wine Poached Pears with Decadent Chocolate Sauce

For The Pears

6 Pears
1/2 Bottle Red Wine
3/4 C Raw Sugar
Shot of Whisky
1 orange, zest and juice
1 lemonm, juice only
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
3 Star Anise
4 Clove
3 Juniper Berries
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Allspice

1. I heated the red wine and whisky with spices gently on the stove for 10 minutes and then rebottled to infuse for 24 hours.
2. The following day I reheated it on the stove with raw sugar, vanilla essence, juice of 1 lemon, zest and juice of 1 orange.

For the Sauce

100g Dark Chocolate, I used 70%
3/4 cup Sour Cream
40 g butter

Pears Poached in Red Wine
1. Melting slowly over a bain-marie, first the chocolate then add the butter and sour cream.
2. Allow to cool just a couple of minutes then ooze on top to make this little pyramid… when it melts in to the the red wine syrup they actually mix together beautifully.
*Note to self, do not consume following copious glasses of Riesling, the results could be disastrous*
Peanut Butter Spice Chicken Three
This recipe is hardly light. With my other half training intensely and a race pending in two days, this is a hearty meal of divine sweet-crunchy chicken, cheesy new potatoes and the superfood, kale, all with a twist of garlic.

Peanut Butter Spice Chicken, Curly Kale and New Potatoes

For the Chicken
4 Fillets of Chicken Schnitzel, whole
2 Tbs Canola or Grapeseed Oil
1 Tbs Peanut Butter
1 Tbs Golden Syrup
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Corriander Powder
1 tsp Cumin

For the Vegies
1/2 Large Bunch Curly Kale, Spinach or Silverbeet, cut into sections
2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed or chopped finely
6 New Potatoes, quartered
Extra Butter

Peanut Butter Spice Chicken One
1. Boil the jug. Place chicken in bowl with all ingredients. Don’t worry about mixing the ingredients before hand, just throwing them on top and rubbing them round the schnitzels creates pleasing patches of spice and peanut butter crunch.
2. Heat a frypan and place in 1 heaped tsp of butter, and fry the garlic until just sizzling. Be cautious not to burn. When done use a spatula to drain into a small ramekin or bowl and set aside.
3. Put potatoes in a pot of salted, boiling water. When boiling, set timer for 10 minutes.
4. Set the same pan that you cooked the garlic in on medium-high heat with a little oil.
5. Place Kale in a steaming pot on top with half of the garlic butter – if you don’t have a this pot you could use a metal colander with a lid on top. Boil both a further 8-10 minutes minutes.
6. When frypan is hot place in chicken schnitzels. Spend about 5 minutes both sides until done. Meanwhile drain potatoes, season with the other half of garlic butter, sea salt and a little grated cheese. Turn Kale off and set aside.
8. Arrange Chicken, Potatoes and Kale on plate. I love kale as it keeps its form, but if you used spinach or silver beet they will only take 5 minutes to steam as opposed to 10 required for kale.

Bon Apetit!
Ayla
1 Photo “Rainforest, Mastatal, Costa Rica,” supplied by Jaimee Oliver Kemp, 2014