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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Eating with your Eyes,

Just a small preview of a couple of dishes which will be on the new Lakehouse Arts Centre Cafe menu soon, created by Le Chef Grant Kitchen.

When I photograph plates of food like this I enjoy seeing the way the food is composed, so artlessly for the Vietnamese salad  and much more formally for the beef cheek with cauliflower puree. Focusing on the textures, the shapes and the colours is  like eating with your eyes.


Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Beef Cheek in beef jus, served with cauliflower puree, rocket and a whole cherry tomato

Friday, 21 April 2017

Dinner at MeNoPa Restaurant in Stanmore Bay

We had a delightful evening at MeNoPa restaurant in Stanmore Bay this evening. In this cosy restaurant we ordered all of the small plates on the menu. This was plenty for four of us, in fact we were so amply fed that we didn't order dessert.

Chef Lun is known for his love of matching food and wine so we left the choice of red wine up to him. His choice of a full bodied Spanish Tempranillo definitely hit the spot!

An innovative touch was the miso honey butter on the crispy flatbread we had before tucking into our meal,

The food is fusion, definitely more European than Asian as although Chef Lun was born in Malaysia and brought up in Singapore and Taiwan, he spent a considerable time in France honing his professional skills. The food is not overly spicy.

I could have eaten the whole plate of his potatoes roasted in duck fat by myself! 








Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Aloo Gobi



This Aloo Gobi was based on a recipe out of Chop Chop by Brett McGregor (winner of the original NZ Masterchef) . Aloo Gobi is one of his favourite dishes. which became a staple during his time travelling around India. It makes a good vegetarian/vegan dish served with naan ,
The original recipe did not have peas. I added them straight from frozen and let then simmer in the liquid for a few minutes at the end.

The quality of the Garam Masala makes a big difference to this recipe. Newly home made or recently bought from an Indian food market will lift the flavour. While Garam Masala which has been lingering for a few months ( or even years) in the pantry could ruin it.The recipe made a substantial quantity which kept well in the fridge for the whole week.

I had to do some post processing as the colours were not true to life. Some playing around with the colour balance and the brightness and contrast sliders made a big difference.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Lunch at the Lakehouse



A visual symphony and just what I needed. A light lunch salad composed by Lakehouse resident chef Grant Kitchen. 






Pesto Pasta with Halloumi Cheese and Coriander





So easy! Dinner tonight: a few tablespoons of pesto stirred through boiled noodles. Topped with grilled halloumi cheese and plenty of coriander.


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Truffled Mushrooms


The weather forecast was for heavy rain and severe gales this afternoon but it hadn't happened yet!  
There was still time to do a little photo shoot of this truffled mushroom ragu created by Le Chef Grant Kitchen at the Lakehouse Arts Centre before the weather took a nasty turn. The ingredients were mushrooms,leek, cream , thyme, parmesan and a slither of real truffle.

Served in a large white bowl with triangles of wholemeal bread to mop up the juices it was a deeply flavoured autumnal dish, elegant comfort food.Thanks Grant for letting me demolish it.

I took this photograph out on the verandah in natural light. Didn't have much luck with the inside shots where the artificial light left a harsh and yellow tinge,















Monday, 10 April 2017

Morning Muesli at the Lakehouse





Still warm enough to sit outside on the verandah with a bowl of Le Chef Grant Kitchen's home
 made Muesli, followed by a wander around the Lakehouse Arts Centre Garden, a healthy start to the day!

One of the pleasures of shooting this dish was watching it being prepared. Each part of the dish ( the yoghurt, the muesli and a scoopful of diced fruit) was artfully layered and a final garnish of small herby green leaves scattered over the surface.

The frustrating aspect was that that magic time first thing in the morning when the light shimmers over food was already gone.







Thursday, 6 April 2017

Feijoa and Pickled Ginger Salsa




A bag of  green feijoas kindly brought over by a friend, some baby pink Japanese pickled ginger and a  solitary lime left in our fruit bowl provided the inspiration for this fresh little salsa.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Healthy Red Cabbage Salad


We tend to think of red cabbage as a winter vegetable, braised with apples and spices. But although  autumn has arrived and there is a bit of a chill in the air I still much prefer to make it into a fresh , crisp salad,
So I shredded a small red cabbage very finely, added a tin of pineapple chunks and their juice, a few slices of left over pickled Japanese ginger which had been lingering in the fridge and a small handful of toasted sunflower seeds and a few tablesoons of desicated coconut. After seasoning it I garnished it with lots of chopped coriander.s
The sweetness of the pineapple juice was sharpened by the pickled ginger. The sunflower seeds added  crunchiness.It was the kind of salad which is happy to sit around for a while so could be made well ahead of time.
I photographed it inside  on a rainy, overcast day close to a window and used a white reflector to minimise shadows.




Monday, 3 April 2017

A Hearty Pie by Le Chef at the Lakehouse

If I had had more time I might have achieved the perfect shot of  this  hearty pie baked by 'Le Chef' Grant Kitchen at the Lakehouse Arts Centre Cafe. But it was the last remaining piece so was whisked from under my nose and served up to a customer who pronounced it excellent!
Very appropriate I guess as the theme of the Auckland Quilt Guild exhibition in the adjacent Becroft Gallery is "If I only had Time!"
Oh well, time to linger over a latte.







Saturday, 1 April 2017

Happiness is: Brunch at the Lakehouse Arts Centre Cafe



Meeting up with friends for a coffee on Sunday morning.



At the adjoining table this neenish tart, with a hint of lemon, is pronounced his favourite by a customer who spent much of his life in the Navy and has tasted neenish tarts all over the world.
Although this sweet treat appears in the Edmond's cookbook Australians claim it as theirs.  But let's not quibble over who first invented them and just enjoy their deliciousness.


On the menu, a healthy salad sprinkled with crunchy nuts and garnished with whole basil leaves designed by our resident chef Grant Kitchen.


And this Mediterranean inspired  one , reminiscent of a Tuscan Panzanella. .


His custard squares look divine! Hard to stop at one!


I Heart a Latte at the Lakehouse







It's Sunday morning at the Lakehouse Arts Centre in Takapuna. In the Becroft Gallery the Auckland Quilt Makers are busy hanging their beautiful quilts for their annual exhibition which opens tomorrow evening. The theme this year is "Time."

I'll be taking some photographs soon, but first it's time for a latte!