General Stuff

Food Allergies are so common now

It”s really quite  scary how many people have food allergies now

I’m allergic to kiwifruit and latex they have some of the same enzymes in them. I did some filming last year where I had to wear a latex mask, I came out in a dreadful rash all over my face that lasted for about 4 days. Recently I was in hospital and the area around my bed was a latex free area , but the other beds in the room had latex gloves above each bed and I came out in a rash from what ever was being given off by the latex and all the boxes of gloves had to be removed. You may be wondering what this has got to do with food…….. let me explain about  to this to you.

This is becoming a real problem , so many food handlers are using latex gloves when handling food now that it’s actually concerning me quite strongly. Now I dont have a problem if gloves are required, but I do think society has gone a bit overboard with this practice in general for many reasons.

1. Good  glove practices are not always in place for instance:

the amount of times I have seen people handle food , then handle money , or rub their noses then handle food again …… not acceptable people.

2. Food manufacturers/providers ….. please have good food safety practices in place think about the fact that many people are allergic to latex  and replace all those latex gloves with vinyl or plastic gloves. They are often cheaper than latex and are very food safe.

Make sure you train your staff about allergies and allergens and look at things which make your business less of an allergen risk area.

Also train your staff in the processes that go with  wearing gloves, IE: change your gloves regularly, wash your hands regularly , Take your gloves off before handling money or blowing your nose or rubbing your face, then wash your hands again.

3. Have a booklet or a list of  potential Allergens on site so that if somebody askes you if something has a certain product or preparation method that you and your staff (that you just have given great training to) will be able to talk to the customer and reassure them that their food is safe or unsafe for them so that they can make the choice of eating a particular thing or trying something different on your menu.

4.Have good practices in place that keep your foodstuffs separate ie: Gluten free products or nuts are not stored open but in containers or sealed bags so that they dont get contaminated  by things in the air coming from other foods and viceversa.

Since being in my own business I have made many conscious decisions  with my food that I make and the registered kitchen I work in  to make everything as allergen freindly as possible. I do not bring any peanut products in to the kitchen at all as its such a strong allergen.

Any Gluten Free products that I make are made before anything else is produced and kept totally separate and I make a range of allergen free goodies on a regular basis and have started to make a name for being able to cater for special dietary requirements , that may be for religious reasons or for people with allergens.

I do this because I know what its like to have food allergies , whilst not life threatening for me still is enough to make life very uncomfortable for days and I feel that just because  somebody cannot eat particular things because of what ever reason be it religious or allergic reactions they shouldnt have to miss out on eating good food.

So Food producers/Manufacturers please please start thinking about giving your staff good training both in Allergen Knowledge and Information and also Good Food Glove  handling practices and make our eating times better for everybody.

It doesnt necessarily mean that you have to spend lots of money to teach these good practices , and the rewards you will get from your customers with special food requirements will come back to you in more ways than you think.

General Stuff

I have started my own business

This is why I havent posted much on here recently

I have been studying for my Diploma in Culinary arts  This year and that took up a lot of time , it also inspired me to put my ideas for my own business in to action.Last week saw the launch of  Sweet Expectations

This is a gourmet baked goods industry , selling hand made biscuits/cookies , decorated cup cakes, muffins, and other tasty little goodies , all made from scratch and using free range eggs. I am currently selling at Farmers markets and hope to sell to cafes and also online as well. I also will be doing some gluten free products and am thinking of some heart freindly diabetic freindly lines as well as there has been a fair amount of interest in those areas from customers at the markets.

Im currently at Wesley market in Sandringham on Tuesdays and Fridays , and at the Auckland farmers market in Alexandra park on sunday mornings just look for the lady in pink

I will post pictures , Im just having problems loading them up at the moment

Daring Bakers

chocolate valentino daring bakers challenge 2

the back view
the back view

decadent flourless chocolate cake

decadent flourless chocolate cake

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

February’s challenge is a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan. Recipe comes from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan

I used dark chocolate and flavoured the cake with butterscotch schnapps and then made a passionfruit and vanilla icecream . oh myyy this is a super fudgy delicious cake. Its a rich chocolate flourless cake with a really fudgy texture and a brownie texture on the outside. I made a small one and a large one , this was the small one that I used for the picture , my darling man and I really enjoyed this for our dessert after dinner

Daring Bakers

January 2009 challenge

This month’s challenge is brought to us by Karen of Baking Soda and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf.
They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

This was my first challenge with the Daring Bakers and it presented some external challenges for me.

I have just moved house and as we are going to be renovating and turning my kitchen area in to a proper kitchen so I dont have a full size oven at the moment . I just have a small bench top induction oven and have not had it long and had to work out how the temp worked on it , but we got there in the end.

I used the first tuile recipe and paired it up with a low fat yoghurt mixed with a rhubarb puree and served with fresh plums and a strawberry meringue on the side. It was a great dessert for a hot summer night.

The tuile was lovely and crispy and light, I made it a bit thick but it still tasted good and went really well with the rhubarb yoghurt and plums.


Happy new year 2009

Well I hope you all had a good year in 2008  and if not that the year ahead is going to be even better.

Life holds so many new things for me in the year ahead. Im hoping to be a bit more on to it when it comes to posting stuff on here, so keep coming back regularly and check it out.

Went over to some freinds house last night and I cooked  a 3 course low fat dinner silly blonde thing that I am forgot to take pictures of the entire meal  but let me create a word picture for you. You can check out the recipes in the recipe section here.

we started off with a vegetable and dip platter

which had yellow capsicum, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms which i marinated in fresh lime juice and black pepper,courgettes, pita bread crunchy bits,  with a cottage cheese and sundried tomato dip and a pea and basil dip .

The Main course was skinless chicken which was stuffed with a little of the cottage cheese dip and slices of sundried tomato, that was then seasoned with black pepper,balsamic glaze, smoked paprika, and a very small drizzle of olive oil and then bbqed  ,I served this with bbqed corn cobs seasoned with black pepper and a small drizzle of olive oil again. A salad of tomato, red onions , cucumber tossed in a light balsamic dressing  and minature baked potatoes stuffed with baked beans, wholegrain mustard and potato were served on the side.
For Dessert I made a low fat chocolate cake ( I got the recipe from Taste magazine  see the links page)

It was a recipe from the latest issue and it had cherries in it, I switched the cherries for fresh raspberries,fresh blueberries and fresh strawberries , and added a little vanilla to it, it was incredible and with only 5gms of fat per slice, I served this with low fat custard, and low fat greek yoghurt and decorated the top with fresh berries.

My freinds just loved it , we are all doing low fat stuff so I wanted to show how we can make a meal from start to finish using  all low fat products and producing great food that if you didnt know it was low fat you couldnt tell


spicy cottage cheese dip

1x 250gm italian herbs cottage cheese

50 gms sundried tomatoes

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsps garlic crushed

black pepper to taste

chopped fresh parsely (optional)


finely chop tomatoes and then add all ingrediants together and mix till combined

place in covered bowl untill needed, can be used as a dip for raw veges, on crackers, as a toast or sandwich spread,

I also  used it as a dip for raw veges and stuffed it inside chicken breasts with a slice of sundried tomato which was later bbqed


Pea and Basil Dip

1 1/2 cups frozen peas

1/2 cup basil

1/4cup chives

1tsp lime juice

150 mls low fat greek or natural yoghurt unsweetened

black pepper to taste

1/2 tsp chopped garlic

Place all ingrediants in to a food processor and pulse untill mostly pureed, a little bit of chunkyness is fine and it gives it a bit of texture.

If  its a bit thick add a little bit of water , dont add too much though or you will end up with a tasty cold soup.

the peas dont require cooking, when you have made the dip just let it sit on the bench for a little bit as it will be very cold, garnish with a sprig of basil


2008 Christmas Cakes

I made a heap of christmas cakes this year , some were orders and the rest were presents for people

silly blonde me didnt take photos of all of them but here is a link to the ones I did take

check out the 2008 christmas cakes on the right side of the page

General Stuff other foodie sites and bits and bobs

I Graduated this week

We had  our graduation ceremony this week at School. It was held in our Restaurant at School and we were all in our chefs uniforms and the hospitality and hospitality business management students were in Grad gowns

We were all given numbers and had to enter and exit the restaurant in numerical order I was number 34, It was quite emotional for me ….. coming to the end of this chapter of all my hard work over the past year. As we walked in to the Restaurant, everybody was standing, all the staff, family and freinds, VIPS which included the Mayor and they were clapping us in, that made me just want to cry.

We had speeches  and a power point display was shown about the school which also made me bubble up a wee bit. There was a picture of our class in the display, then a picture of a freind of mine competing in a competition and then there on the screen was a great shot of myself with my medal and a blurb about winning big at the competitions.

We then proceeded out the way we came  in and through another entrance to receive our certificates, and Justin the announcer was just calling out each persons name, when it came to me  he made a little speech about me, saying i was one of the celebrities of the school and a great student etc, which just took my breath away and made my very big grin on my face even bigger.

When all the formal stuff was done we had some great entertainment, with  one of the students and her freind playing the most beautiful music on a piano and a cello  and one of our tutors dressing up in all different kinds of things which were very funny.

We finished off with a wonderful lunch prepared by all the cooking tutors  and plenty of wine which was just lovely

Bruce snapped lots of pictures  which I just have to download and will post very soon

General Stuff

Low fat/Low salt = no flavour?……. I think not

A few weeks ago I went to  the Doctors for a general check up and He checked my blood pressure

It was a bit high oooppsss  scary, In my family on my Dads side there is a genetic predisposition to bad things happening from high blood  pressure, this scared the bejeebies out of me big time and I have changed my eating habits and lifestyle.

Getting out and doing regular exercise , using a low sodium alternative to salt , not that I ate much salt anyway,Eating foods that are low in fat, I have reduced down the amount of red meat I was eating before, increased my fish intake , and my vegetable/fruit/pulses intake and cut out things that I was eating before, bad bad things that tasted so good and indulged my sweet tooth. Im feeling so much better and have so much more energy now. The NZ heart foundation has endorsed a huge range of products with the heart tick on them  which means that they are low in saturated fats, low in sodium and sugar and designed for the entire family to be good for them and a really great way to get a good balance in the diets of New Zealanders.

I have been experimenting with lots of different ideas that I have had about making low fat foods and have been able to try some of these out on others , things like heart healthy savoury muffins, heart healthy low fat lasagne,pasta dishes, etc and am currently in the process of making some recipes for low fat low sugar fruity muffins, they just need tweaking a wee bit before they are perfect. I will keep you informed as to how they are going. I have a great group of volunteers willing to be guinea pigs errrr taste testers,  people from the gym (instructors), chef freinds and of course Bruce my champion supporter.

High Blood Pressure is the silent disease , it creeps up on you with out you being aware of it , and Im too young to go off this planet just yet….. I want to grow old disgracefully and besides only the good die young so I will be around forever. So let me just say get yourselves checked regularly even if you think your as fit and healthy as a thoroughbred horse on speed injected carrots because its better to find out if theres a problem and be able to fix it early than to not find out about it and pop off before your ready.