I recently enjoyed my annual visit to Wellington to the Food Show. I should have gone with just a few dollars cash rather than my credit card – I ended up with some impulse buys that have already found the rubbish bin.
However, there are always a few gems that last the distance. This year's find was a mini tortilla baker set. These non-stick metal pans are similar in shape to fluted brioche moulds but are designed so bread wraps can be moulded against the sides and baked quickly until crisp. The baskets are marvellous for serving rice and chilli dishes, or salads. I admired tortilla baskets 25 years ago in the United States, and was delighted to find the moulds to make my own.
The mini tortilla bakers can be used as tins to bake cakes or bread, or mould desserts. The Farrah-brand wraps purchased with the tins are Wellington-made, but available nationwide from supermarkets. They're yeast and dairy-free and don't crack when they are rolled.
Wraps have become a popular everyday lunch treat. Pita bread pockets, mountain bread, Persian naan and Mexican-style flour tortillas all make good wraps. The secret is to warm the breads a little before wrapping or rolling.
Other Food Show gems: Two previous finds that really take the cake include Ezi-Seal discs and Magic Lock bag sealers.
The flat silicone Ezi-Seal discs, of varying diameters, lie snugly over a microwave bowl, saucepan or casserole or for use as a pot stand. They're OK in the oven up to240 degrees Celsius, and easy to clean.
Magic Lock sliding bag sealers are also another favourite.
Instead of tying bags of frozen foods with those little wires that leave the food bunched up, the re-usable, stick-like sealers keep the bags flat, making them easier to store.
They are also excellent for sealing bags of nuts or chips. Both these items are everyday winners.
TEX-MEX CHICKEN BASKET WITH KIWIFRUIT SALSA
4 round multigrain wraps
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
500g skinned and boned chicken, cubed
1 tsp diced chilli
420g can tomatoes with chilli
400g can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup whole corn kernels
chopped coriander or parsley to garnish
4 cups cooked long grain rice
3 kiwifruit, peeled and diced
1 tsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp finely chopped mint
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180C. Meanwhile, warm the wraps through in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until pliable.
Press into non-stick metal moulds to make basket shapes. Bake for about 10 minutes, until crisp. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the onion, chicken and diced chilli. Saute until the onion is limp. Add the tomatoes, beans and corn. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. Thicken, if preferred, with a little cornflour and water paste.
Place the rice in the base of each basket then top with the chicken mixture. Garnish with coriander or parsley.
Serve with the combined salsa ingredients. Serves four.
CAFE-STYLE VEGETABLE TORTILLA STACK
500g each: kumara, pumpkin (seeded)
400g spinach, washed and chopped
3 courgettes, sliced into 1cm rounds
2 tsp canola oil
10-15 mushrooms, sliced
5 x 25cm flour tortillas
250g cream cheese
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
6 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 cups passata or good tomato pasta sauce
100g feta cheese
Peel the kumara and pumpkin. Steam, until tender. Mash separately. Cool.
Steam the spinach until wilted. Cool then squeeze out the excess moisture.
Lightly fry the courgettes in the oil until crisp-tender. Remove.
Fry the mushrooms until lightly coloured.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C.
Place a tortilla in a well-greased 25cm springform cake pan. Spread with the mashed pumpkin. Dot with the cream cheese. Season.
Place another tortilla on top. Spread with the cooked kumara and drizzle with the sweet chilli sauce.
Top with another tortilla. Cover with the spinach. Top with one cup of the tomato sauce.
Top with the fourth tortilla. Add the courgettes and then the mushrooms.
Place the final tortilla on top. Spread with the remaining tomato pasta sauce. Crumble the feta on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Cut into wedges to serve. Serves eight.
EGG & VEGE LUNCH WRAP
2 large eggs, hardboiled
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 large round wrap
6 crisp lettuce leaves, sliced
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 dill pickle, sliced into batons
Peel the eggs. Mash together with the mayonnaise and mustard.
To make the wrap pliable, heat briefly in the microwave or a sandwich maker, or wrap in foil and heat over steam. Place the bread on a flat surface on a sheet of waxed paper.
Spread the egg mixture over the first quarter of the wrap nearest to you. Lay the remaining fillings in lines parallel to the egg to just over halfway. Starting from the side closest to you, firmly roll it up. Spread a little mayo along the final edge to help it hold together.
Cut the wrap in half through the middle. Serves one.
GREEK-STYLE CHICKEN WRAPS & TZATZIKI
1/2 cup plain, low-fat Greek yoghurt
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chilli pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chicken: 750g skinned and boned chicken breasts, cubed
1 small cucumber, seeded and diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill or mint
1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
salt and pepper to taste
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
6 pita breads
Combine the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken and mix well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
Combine the tzatziki ingredients. Cover and refrigerate, until required.
To serve, heat the oil in a large heavy non-stick frying pan. Drain the chicken. Pan-fry in batches, until cooked.
Warm the pitas in the microwave, or wrapped in foil in the oven.
Halve the pitas. Fill with the tomato, onion, chicken and tzatziki. Serves six.
- © Fairfax NZ News