Thursday, September 27, 2007

New Season Asparagus

Asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables and I so look forward to the start of Spring and the beginning of the asparagus season. Last night we had our first asparagus of the season. It was delicious!! I often roast asparagus, as I like the nutty flavour that roasting brings out in it. But last night I used a recipe from Dish magazine as a base – asparagus with romesco sauce. I thought that the romesco would go well with the fish (which I baked in the oven with a topping of wholemeal breadcrumbs mixed with parmesan and wild oregano) and boiled gems that we were also having for dinner.

The gems (I cant remember if they are called sweet gems, golden gems or wee gems!!) are kind of like a cross between a yam and a potato – they look like a very small potato, but have golden flesh like a yam. I actually am not a big fan. Vegetables are my thing – I love them all apart from swede and yams, so the taste similarities between the gems and a yam do not really do it for me. But my husband likes them. The texture is very waxy, so really the only thing you can do with them is boil them. I got mine from Nosh (

The romesco sauce was really tasty. The recipe called for ½ cup olive oil, but I cut that back to just a drizzle. I guess that meant mine was less sauce like, but I liked that. It went well with the asparagus, the fish and the gems.

Romesco Sauce

1 slice sour dough bread, crusts removed
70 g packet whole almonds, toasted
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 roasted red pepper
200g tomatoes (as tomatoes are yucky at the moment, I used ½ can drained whole tomatoes)
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil to taste
sea salt and pepper

- chop up bread, almonds, paprika and garlic in food processor
- add red pepper, tomatoes and red wine vinegar – combine to a smoothish paste (l like mine a little chunky)
- drizzle in enough evo to get the consistency you want and season with salt and pepper

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New cook books and fast pasta

As I have mentioned before, I am an avid cook book collector! I have recently ordered two beautiful new books from (which is a great place to buy books) and they arrived yesterday.

I have only recently learned about Peggy Porschen - cake decorator to the stars! She is one of my new idols! The link to her website is to the right under my favourite web sites. These two beautiful books have the most divine photos of beautifully decorated cakes, cupcakes and cookies. A real inspiration. I know that I am not arty or clever enough to make such stunning creations, but I love the ideas and the inspiration to have a go! It is also a good place to get ideas. I am sure a lot of it is practice (which I don’t really have the time for!). These cakes are not old Nana style decorated cakes, but are contemporary modern art. I can’t wait to give some of these new techniques a go!

Last night for dinner I made pasta with olives, baby spinach, herbs and left over roast chicken. I love the shape of casarecci pasta – the one that looks like two pieces of hollow spaghetti twisted together. I always buy pasta made in Italy as well, as the structure seems to be better than other pastas. Last night’s dinner was loosely based on a Natalia Schamroth recipe from Cuisine, but for me was something quick to make after a long day and also used up some leftovers from the fridge. I made a very quick olive paste from kalamata olives, capers, lemon zest, anchovies and extra virgin olive oil (evo) whizzed together in my mini prep, and stirred that through the pasta with chopped leftover roast chicken (free range of course!), baby spinach leaves, basil, parsley and more chopped olives, evo and lemon zest. Very tasty and very fast!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

new hobby!

My new hobby is making cards from vintage sewing patterns. It is quite fun finding the old patterns and then matching the “girls” with some lovely paper. When I was little I loved cut out dolls and I think that my card making reminds me of that! Here are two that I made last night.

100 x 50 cupcakes

My good friend, Teresa, turned 50 in the weekend and had a big party to celebrate. Nearly 100 people gathered in a bar in the viaduct. I had volunteered to make the cake and made 100 chocolate cup cakes, iced with chocolate ganache and piped with pink coloured chocolate. My icing attempts are a bit wobbly, but on mass they looked pretty good. I used a chocolate cake recipe from the City Cake Company Book – it is a fairly basic chocolate cake recipe using cocoa rather than chocolate, but it keeps really well and is easy to mix together when making 100 cup cakes!

Easy chocolate cup cake recipe

100g butter
180g sugar
2 eggs
30g cocoa
120g flour
2 tsp baking powder
100ml warm milk

- cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time
- add dry ingredients and milk and stir together
- spoon into cup cake cases and bake at 180deg for 18-20 minutes

I iced mine with a simple ganache – I use a ratio of 3:2 chocolate to cream rather than 1:1 as many recipes say – I always find that a bit runny for icing.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Because I am a geek!

I am an obsessive cook book collecting and also cooking magazine subscriber! I subscribe to Dish, Cuisine, Taste and Donna Hay and also more often than not purchase Delicious! I am also a bit of a geek and to keep track of the recipes in Dish, Cuisine and Donna Hay (all magazines which I cannot bring myself to cut up!), I have created my own personal index system. I tend to cut out the recipes from Taste and other magazines and have them all (in a particular order of course!) in one of those boxes designed to keep photos.

To make sure that I actually use all these magazines I buy, I also challenge myself to cook at least one thing each week from each of Dish, Cuisine and Donna Hay and something from a recipe in my box! This week so far it has been chicken baked on leeks from Dish (a bit bland, wouldn’t make again – although used the most divine organic baby leeks that I get from the Takapuna markets), raspberry and coconut friands from Cuisine and a Thai pork mince dish from Taste. I am trying to find something to make from Donna Hay – it may be a salmon dish to eat before we go out on Saturday night?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why wee treats?

I am still getting the hang of this blogging thing, so thought I would try including any image. I don’t have any photos of my recent baking, so thought I would include this one is of some shortbread that I made for my Mum and Dad a couple of months ago for their wedding anniversary (hence the heart theme!). As you can see, I’m not the world’s best icer! But it is all about practice and I just need to find the time!!!

The shortbread also explains why my blogsite is called wee treats by Tammy, as the short bread are some wee treats by Tammy! About 4 years ago I went through a phase where I was a bit disillusioned with being a lawyer and so I thought I could develop my own brand “wee treats by Tammy”! I had already used this branding for wee treats that I gave to friends and family for gifts. Without going into the whole story, I got a new job in a different law firm (where I am now a partner) and I LOVE my job! But I continue to make wee treats for my family and friends. I even have a cute label that I will try to put on the site that my graphic designer friend designed. The wee treats I make include jams, relishes, cookies, cupcakes, truffles etc. Some of my wee treats will feature on this site!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Welcome to my blog! This is something I have wanted to do for a long time ever since I started reading some of the fabulous blogs out there – especially those relating to food! I am a full time lawyer and obsessive cook! I also run, go to the gym and do the odd crafty thing that I may post about. Cooking is my passion and I especially love creating cookies and cupcakes. I am an avid cook book and magazine collector as well, so my intention is to blog about my cooking, my cook books and some of the other little projects I take on.
I must apologise in advance for my technical inabilities! Hopefully they will get better over time, and I will be able to add photos etc to my blog. I want to make it as pretty and interesting as possible, so any suggestions would be welcome!