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Dear Brunch

May 3, 2012

Brunch, according to Wikipedia: A meal is not usually considered brunch if it is started before 10:30 am; such meals would still be considered breakfast. Typically brunch is had between 10:30 am and 2 pm, close to lunch time but still before. Brunch is usually eaten in the late morning.

Dear Brunch,
The topic of Mother’s Day got us up at Urban Harvest talking about you. How wonderful you are, how you are a great treat for mum’s on Mother’s Day.

There are so many things we love about you.

To celebrate you we created a ‘Build a brunch’ category on the website because we agreed that if someone was wanting to get us a gift and were out of town, or even in town but really wanted to treat us –  a chiller bag full of gorgeous local brunch fare (you) delivered to our doors would be phenomenal! I mean, who doesn’t like you!?

Would you rather be delivered flowers or brunch? I choose brunch with flowers.

You can choose the type of bacon you want – streaky or manuka smoked? Eggs – cage free or free range? Black Pudding? Croissants?  Simply Paris Danish? Fresh Fruit? Award winning Te Horo Jam? Smokehouse Smoked Salmon? Fresh Daily Squeeze OJ? This list can go on and on, but you should go and have a geez, it will get your mouth watering and you may even start thinking that you can smell bacon cooking. Mmmm..bacon.

Here are some other love letters to you,  Urban Harvest recipes that our friends might want to try out to celebrate you too.

Green Eggs and Ham

Baked Eggs with Chorizo

Vegetarian Omelette – with Kingsmeade Mt Bruce Havarti

Crepes with bacon, mushroom, spinach and egg

I’m a Harrington’s Streaky bacon and poached eggs on Ciabatta girl myself. With a little fried sage and some sea salt on top. That’s a brunch sure to make me smile.

Thanks for existing, brunch.

Love Urban Harvest

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Getting your seasonal green on –

April 26, 2012

Yes winter is just around the corner but there is no need to be sad. Winter is great! Skiing, snowboarding, fires, casseroles, puddings, rain on the roof putting you to sleep and winter greens! They are in season, here to make you happy and healthy over the winter months so you can be fit and strong for when spring comes along.

Here are some short bites about our new season greens.

Spinach: Popeye was on to it with his spinach. The following list of nutritional value would be bound to make your muscles bulge. Vitamin A (especially lutein which is good for your eyes, skin and disease prevention), C, E, K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betain, iron and many, many other things! It is pretty much the super hero of vegetables. Butter and cream are it’s best friends as said in the link to the recipe. I totally agree (aren’t they the best friends of EVERYTHING?).

Here is a recipe for Spanakopita – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall style

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Chard: superb source of calcium and potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and beta-carotene, as well as two carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin). It is often used in Mediterranian cooking. The leaves are always green but depending on the variety the stalks could be red, yellow or green.

Soup! Chickpea and Swiss Chard Minestrone Soup. Great winter feed.

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Cavolo nero: High in beta carotene, Vitamin K, C, lutein and zexanthin. Unlike other cabbages it grows up with no head! Oh my goodness. It grows much like a palm tree. Best cooked in water with a good helping of salt for 6 minutes at least. Great with strong flavors like garlic, anchovies, black olives or chilli. A lot recipes using Cavolo Nero are for soups, but also used for stirring through pasta. Other recommendations are for stir fry’s and as a substitute for cabbage in coleslaw.

I found this Nigel Slater snack Covolo Nero with sheeps milk cheese and lemon. Image

I can imagine that as a power breakfast with a poached egg on top.

So don’t be afraid of winter. Green vegetables are here to tell us that they want to keep us fit and strong, just be sure to pop a few of those varieties in your Urban Harvest red chiller bag to let them do their thing.

x

Urban Harvest

 

Some School Lunch Inspiration

April 22, 2012

It’s that time again, back to school time. Through some discussions with the Urban Harvest mums I discovered that packing a school lunch can be quite daunting, especially trying to find ways to make it healthy but also delicious for the kidleewinks.

I asked a Urban Harvest friend, Kate Day author of Freddie’s Food Blog for a little advice on the topic. Kate writes about how to make children’s meals exciting, appealing and full of flavour while keeping them healthy with minimal salt and sugar. Perfect for this blog post!

Five top tips for making healthy lunch boxes your kids will love

If you are going to spend time and energy creating healthy lunch boxes for your kids, you want them to come home empty! Here are a few hints and tips that will get your kids gobbling down their lunches and make their lunch boxes the envy of the class.

 

1.     Variety is the spice of life

Try and mix up the foods you give your kid over the week. Just like adults, kids find it boring eating pretty much the same thing every day. Try out different breads (bagels, wraps, pita bread) to make a change from their usual sandwich. For a change from bread based lunches you could swap them for fritters, muffins, sushi, pasties, mini home-made pizzas, Vietnamese rice paper rolls, mini quiches, frittatas or pasta salads.

 

2.     Make it easy to get at

Not only is glad wrap really bad for the environment, little fingers find it really hard to unwrap. Most schools only have a maximum of 15 – 20 minutes of enforced eating time at school before the play bell goes and they rush off to an activity or race around. You want to maximise their eating time so opt for reusable containers or lunch boxes with compartments, that keep the food fresh but readily accessible.

 

3.     Get your kids involved

Kids are much more likely to eat something they have made themselves. It is also a great way to give them some extra independence and help them develop some time management skills. Mornings are a hectic time in most families with everyone busy getting ready for the day ahead but it is definitely worth the time to get a family routine of making lunches together.  Your kids will be more likely to eat their own delicious creations and research shows that kids who are involved in preparing healthy food are more likely to go on to be adults who make healthy choices.

 

4.     Make it colourful

By having a range of colours in you kids lunch box you will know you have given them a great variety of vitamins and minerals. Colourful food is also more appealing to kids. Here are some colourful finger food ideas, ideal for morning tea or lunch, that require minimal preparation:

  • carrot, cucumber or capsicum sticks with hummus or tzatziki
  • grapes (natures lollies!)
  • berries
  • edamame
  • cherry tomatoes
  • sweetcorn fritters
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • fruit slices and yoghurt dip

 

5.     Limit the sugar

All kids want a tasty treat in their lunch box. Just because it is a treat doesn’t mean it needs to be unhealthy. You want your children’s lunch boxes to fuel them for a full-on day of learning and activity at school and you definitely don’t want them having a sugar low mid-afternoon. These banana oat cookies are super tasty and healthy too as they are sugar-free and are also wholegrain. They will stay fresh for a few days in an airtight container or freeze well.


Sugar-free Banana and Oat Cookies

3 medium ripe bananas, mashed

150g softened butter

2 cups rolled oats (I use a mixture of Harraways traditional oats and Uncle Toby’s rolled oats)

3/4 cup wholemeal flour

3/4 cup plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla paste

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup chopped dates

 

Makes: approx. 30 cookies

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

 

Preheat oven to 180⁰C

Combine the softened butter, mashed bananas and vanilla paste in a large mixing bowl.

Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into the banana mixture.

Fold in the oats, chopped dates and coconut.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and arrange the mixture in balls about a tablespoon in size on the tray. Gently flatten with a fork.

Bake at 180⁰C for 20 minutes or until golden brown. They are a moist cookie with a similar consistency to banana bread.

Thank you Freddie’s mum! Make sure you go and visit her at her blog Freddie’s Food – healthy, easy recipes and ideas for hungry tummies.

We will love to hear your tips for school lunches, either post in a comment below for everyone to enjoy or email us info@urbanharvest.co.nz

Happy short week!

x

Urban Harvest

 

Hello Pumpkin

April 17, 2012

Tis the season of our friend the Pumpkin, and we have a multitude of varieties available online! It was a little intimidating at first, all these pumpkins and what to do with them?

Jarrahdale: The Jarrahdale pumpkin has soft, melon-like aroma and delicious deep, bright orange, very firm flesh with very little stringiness. We source them from Zoe’s Garden in the produce dreamboat that is the Hawkes Bay.

They are quite versatile, you can boil, bake or roast them. I found this recipe for a Pumpkin Soup with Gruyere cheese. It has a hint of chilli in it to keep you toasty warm.

The Butternut Pumpkin: I just want to buy it because the name is so cute. Come here you little butternut. This is one of the sweetest pumpkins. It has a hearty, nutty flavor.

Great in soups and baking, like this Pumpkin Cake with brown butter salted caramel glaze. I know right, that sounds like the key to my heart too.

Marina Di Chioggia: large grey-green bumpy heirloom pumpkin which hails from Italy. Grown by our friends at Zoe’s Garden. It has a sweet dry yellow-orange flesh and the flavour improves with storage.

Delicious baked, or in pies, or this Marina Di Chioggia gnocchi. Yum! Love Gnocchi, and although I know it looks like it might be difficult it really isn’t. It does take some time but it is worth it in the end just like most things that take a while.

Long Island Cheese Pumpkin: Is most likely the one that most of us are familiar with. The exterior of the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin resembles a wheel of cheese in shape, color, and texture. It can be roasted, mashed or is great in soups.

Or how about a pumpkin pie! A sweet one that is. New Zealand needs to embrace this amazing invention.

As to storage of your pumpkins before they turn into any of these glorious dishes: store  in a cool, dry, well-ventilated location. Make sure they are not near any Pears, Bananas or other fast ripening fruit, they don’t like each other much. They cause the pumpkin to not live as long as it should. If it is cut, wrap it in gladwrap and leave it in the fridge.

That, my dear pumpkins is our new family of pumpkins online now.

Happy baking.

x

Urban Harvest

KTea for two. Ktea for me, Ktea for you.

April 10, 2012

We would like to introduce you to our friend Katie of KTea Teas (see what she did there! Isn’t she clever).

Katie makes a range of Fairtrade, Organic Certified, hand blended tea’s which we at Urban Harvest have come to L O V E love. We asked Katie a few questions to help you become friends with Katie too and learn more about tea. So here we go on a trip on the KTea train..

How did you get into the tea making business?

  • I started drinking tea when I was at University and fell in love – but I really wanted something that was natural as well as Fairtrade (there is a link here to information about Fairtrade Tea). I didn’t want to worry about where my tea came from. Knowing that our tea comes from Fairtrade and Organic Certified tea farms, with excellent education and healthcare is really great.

Some interesting facts about tea that we should all know about?

  • Tea contains a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight free radical cell damage and inflammation.
  • The Japanese and Chinese have known for centuries why tea is so good for us. Tea is said to help reduce cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower the risk of cancer and improve mental focus.

Do you have a great recipe involving your tea that you love?

Iced ZesTea

(ZesTea is one of Ktea’s Teas that is an infusion of lemongrass, ginger and lemon)

6 cups of water

5 T of KTea’s ZesTea

3t honey

Lemon slices

Mint to garnish

Optional: A splash of vodka

In a saucepan add the water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat. Add the ZesTea to a tea infuser and add to the saucepan.

Add the honey, stir to dissolve and add the lemon slices. Infuse for three – five minutes. Leave to cool, then refrigerate. Serve chilled over ice with a sprig of mint.

Fave meal?

  • It changes all the time! However last week I made fresh gnocchi with a tomato and saffron sauce that was delicious,  so this week I think that is my favourite.

Take us out with your favourite song..

 

Look out for Katie’s KTea Tea’s/Katie’s KTea’s? (I’m not sure which is more appropriate) We sell them online here. Be sure to let her know what you think, that’s what friends do: info@ktea.co.nz.

x

Urban Harvest

Our friend Jo and her Chocolate Factory

April 3, 2012

One of the things we love up over here in Urban Harvest-ville is that we are able to get to know the wonderful people who make our beautiful food. We thought that is was terribly unfair that you weren’t able to get to know them so we created a way that you can participate through internet-ville. Personally I think the food is even more enjoyable when you know the person who prepared it for you.

We would like to start with a ‘seasonal’ choice. The following lovely lady has her own chocolate factory and currently makes some of the most delicious easter eggs I have ever tasted. A big call I know, but I tell you no lies.

Meet Jo Coffey of L’affaire au Chocolat: We love her because she is always smiling, and also because she makes amazing chocolates. She even drops chocolates off for us to try every now and again. I asked Jo a few questions so we could all get to know her a little better.

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Question one: How did you get into the chocolate business?

It was a bit of a strange route as I was keen to make food products using roses, and one of those products was a rose chocolate which everyone loved. Finding a source for organically grown confectionery roses was too difficult so I decided to go to Melbourne to learn how to make chocolates.

Question two: What is one fact about chocolate that you know that a lot of other people may not?

Less than 2% of the worlds chocolate is made locally ie. made in the country that the beans are grown.

Question three: What is your favourite meal and why?

In the summer there is nothing nicer than a huge salad with lots of goodies and some sourdough bread on the side. In the winter a spicy soup or curry.

Question four: What is your favourite song?

Love it also Jo 🙂

Question five: Is there anything new on the go?

I am currently tasting a range of interesting chocolate bars with the view of importing some of them.

We sell Jo’s chocolates online. Here is her stall on Urban Harvest. She also has her own shop in Berhampore on Adelaide Road and frequents the Hill Street farmers market on Saturday mornings. She is one busy lady.

Urban Harvest pick of Jo’s products right now is the Vanilla Blackberry Marshmallow Egg and the Passionfruit Marshmallow egg for Easter, and her boxes of assorted chocolates.

x

Urban Harvest

Easter Quirks

April 2, 2012

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A conversation started in the office last week about how we each eat our Easter treats and we discovered that each of us have a slightly kooky tradition (some of us extremely kooky, but you can be the judge of that).

Firstly the lovely Camella:

  • Camella will have NO hot cross buns or eggs until the week before Easter. The rest of the team are in awe of her restraint. We thought we could ‘crack’ her but her beliefs are too strong. To counteract her restraint she ONLY eats chocolate eggs and hot cross buns all Easter weekend.
  • Every year she makes her own hot cross buns and has them with cream cheese. She also plays a game which involves hard boiling eggs and colouring them in then hiding them for others to find and eat. She got this game from a Swedish friend who traditionally puts caviar on top, but Camella likes them with hot sauce (eggs with hot sauce, a must try!)

Tink Stephenson, well she has some cute quirks too:

  • With marshmallow eggs Tink peels off the chocolate layering bit by bit and eats the marshmallow once her dismantling is completed. She remembers getting a particular type of chocolate covered easter egg that was made in Christchurch which has a thick layering of chocolate that was perfect for picking.

Jo Freeman, the most choccoholic team members (we have a lot of choccoholic’s here, but Jo takes the cake):

  • Easter is Jo’s favourite holiday.
  • Chocolate for breakfast is the norm for Jo’s Easter, and there is no ‘saving for later’, you eat your eggs as quick as you can. If you get a chocolate rabbit for easter, it’s ears first.
  • There is always an easter hunt in the Freeman household.

Seldon has the more manly of easter quirks:

  • The ol ‘forehead smash’: Smash the top of the hollow egg on your forehead and then S L O W L Y pick at it, making sure you get a crisp snap at each chocolate pick off.

and Erin, well she’s a strange one:

  • When she was little (actually she admits that she does it now even though she isn’t so young but it is usually something a little stronger than milk) she would sit with her brother and sister, they would all break open their hollow easter egg, fill it with milk and drink the milk out of the chocolate egg while picking off pieces of chocolate.
  • She always has an easter hunt, and even hides easter eggs for her friends at places she knows they frequent for example a cafe. She gives the friend a clue and they have to go and collect their egg from the staff of the cafe or shop. Most of the time it is well received, one year especially well received because the friend she hid an egg for just happened to have a crush on one of the cafe staff who was in charge of giving her the egg if she found it. They went on a few dates after that. A little bit of match making with some easter hunting doesn’t go astray.

Now you know how weird we all are. We hope you still love us even though we are eggs with our eggs.

If you are planning some activities for your own easter traditions here are some good ideas for how to plan an easter hunt.

And don’t forget to get the easter bunny to order you some L’affaire au Chocolat easter eggs and Brooklyn Bread and Bagels hot cross buns! They will be sure to make easter one your tastebuds will never forget.

x

Urban Harvest