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Author Topic: WINTER COMFORT FOOD  (Read 541 times)
« on: June 29, 2009, 02:28:30 am »

Comfort food at its wintry best

By PAT CHURCHILL - The Dominion Post | Thursday, 18 June 2009

ONE-POT WONDER: Chicken with brown rice is a terrific winter warmer.  PAT CHURCHILL/The Dominion Post.

ONE-POT WONDER: Chicken with brown rice is a terrific
winter warmer. PAT CHURCHILL/The Dominion Post.

When it's freezing cold and the wind is whipping through the trees outside, it's time to hunker down and enjoy some bowl food.

One-pan dishes that can be served in deep bowls, perhaps with a few greens on top, are good for a fireside meal or an evening in front of the television watching a movie or favourite sports team.

Brown rice got itself a bit of a bad name in the 1960s and yet it has a great nutty flavour and a much more interesting texture than polished rice, and lends itself well to a dish like today's.

There are quick-cook versions of brown rice, so make sure you read the cooking instructions on the packet.


Serves six.


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 750g boneless chicken thighs, halved and skin removed
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, halved lengthwise then sliced
  • 200g small brown button mushrooms
  • red pepper, diced
  • cup chicken stock
  • cup white wine
  • Salt and freshly milled pepper
  • 2 Tbsp lemon thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon


  • Cook the brown rice according to the directions on the packet and drain.
  • Heat a pan, then add the oil and brown the chicken pieces. Removed from the pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, saute the onion and celery for five minutes, then add the cleaned, sliced mushrooms and red pepper and cook for a further two minutes.
  • Pour in the stock, wine, thyme and bay leaves, adjust the seasoning and return the chicken to the pan.
  • Simmer until the chicken is cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the brown rice to the pan and heat through, then stir in the lemon zest and juice.

Serve with wilted Asian greens, spinach, broccoli or asparagus.

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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2009, 02:56:03 am »

Tasty swede cakes

By GRAHAM HAWKES - The Southland Times | Saturday, 27 June 2009

NOT YOUR USUAL FARE: Delicious Swede Cake. — JOHN HAWKINS/The Southland Times.

                 NOT YOUR USUAL FARE: Delicious Swede Cake. — JOHN HAWKINS/The Southland Times.

Southland has many icons and whether they are sporting, music, literature, arts or food they are all important to us and our province.

Our famous "swede" is no exception and while we enjoy them especially during the winter we probably don't recognise them for their real worth.

While the name would suggest they originated from Sweden, there are theories they may have been introduced to the Swedes by the Finns, around three centuries ago.

Known as rutabagas, they were a valuable nutritional source prior to the introduction of the potato in Europe.

They also gained popularity throughout the UK especially Scotland where they are known as "tumshie" or "neeps" and became a favourite when served alongside "haggis" or "mince and tatties".

Before the popularity of pumpkin, swede were carved to create a lantern during the Halloween celebrations when they were known as Jack-o-lantern in Ireland and Tumshie lanterns in Scotland.

Our iconic swede is able to be cooked in many ways although the most popular way of serving it is mashed or perhaps cooked with other root vegetables and then mashed or smashed together with seasoning and butter.

The Finns serve swede in a more adventurous way and while enjoyed mashed or smashed, it is a major ingredient of the very popular Christmas dish Lanttulaatikko. In fact the Finns will introduce swede into any dish that calls for root vegetables.

No matter how you prefer your swedes the thing to remember when cooking them is that they do have a very high content of water, therefore they should not be cooked by boiling in additional water.

The downside of this method means the great flavour of the swede can be wasted into the cooking moisture which is drained at the end of the process. The best way to cook swede is to simply peel and dice it and then place it in a pot with a little butter and quietly cook it with a lid on, on a low heat allowing the moisture in the swede to actually create its own cooking process. When it comes to other cooking techniques the versatility of our iconic Southland swede is yet to be recognised. It is suitable to saute, stir-fry, steam, poach, roast, bake, is great in muffins and cakes, makes excellent chutneys, relishes and conserves and is even wonderful as a savoury jam such as swede and onion jam.

There are many other ways of utilising our iconic swede and you will be able to see some of these this weekend at the Southern Farmers' Market held at Boys High where they are celebrating with Southland Swede Sunday. The stallholders will be preparing and serving swede in as many ways as possible along with many competitions taking place throughout the morning.

This week let's have a look at a very simple, yet very tasty swede cake.



Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 200g grated swede
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cooking oil cup raisins or sultanas
  • cup crushed pineapple with juice

Cake Method:

  • Beat the eggs, oil and sour cream together in a bowl.
  • In a separate bowl mix the sifted flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and mix well.
  • In another bowl mix the grated swede, sultanas or raisins, walnuts and the crushed pineapple.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the eggs, oil and sour cream and mix thoroughly.
  • Add the pineapple, grated swede, sultanas or raisins and walnuts.
  • Pour into a 20cm greased and lined cake tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 160°C for 1 hour 5 minutes or until cooked.
  • Top with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:

  • 250 gm original cream cheese
  • 50 gm butter
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp orange juice

Cream Cheese Icing Method:

  • Slightly soften the cream cheese and place in a mixing bowl and beat in the softened butter.
  • Gradually add the icing sugar and then the orange juice.
  • Spread on the cake.

Note: Any extra can be kept in the fridge and used at a later date.

Bon appetit!

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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2009, 03:03:04 am »

I luuuurve SWEDES....they are one of my favourite winter comfort foods.

Just the thing to warm one from the inside-out if one feels like a change from hot soup.

I grab a swede (or two), cut it up and boil it until soft, then mash with butter, mix in a little bit of milk and some coarse ground pepper, then enjoy. Mmmmmmm....very filling, and it warms you right up on a cold night!  Smiley
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