Oily Rag: Classic Kiwi holiday treats for less

By Frank, Muriel Newman

Sun, family, fun - and oily rag feasts. That pretty much sums up summer holidays for many, so we thought we would come up with some classic Kiwi treats.

No Kiwi cook could be complete without knowing how to whip up a tasty pavlova. There are lots of pav recipes but the key ingredients generally don't change. And for those with lots of eggs, it is a low cost treat. All you need are four egg whites (room temperature), one cup of caster (fine) sugar, a teaspoon of vinegar, a teaspoon of vanilla essence and one tablespoon of cornflour.

Set the oven to 150C. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating after each. Beat for another 10 minutes or so, then sprinkle the remaining ingredients in and mix carefully. Place the mixture on a baking paper-covered tray and shape into a circle about 20cm in diameter. Put the pav in the oven turned down to 125C. Wait an hour, then turn the oven off. Leave the pav in the oven until cold or overnight (this forms the crust).

Top your creation with a layer of whipped cream and kiwifruit slices or strawberries.

Talking of strawberries, Katrina from Wellington has a real Christmas treat for children. "To make Santa hat strawberries I cut the bottom off each strawberry to remove the leaves and stem. Dip the bottom into melted white chocolate then dip into coconut. That makes a fluffy white rim of the Santa hat. Repeat for the strawberry's tip to make the fluffy white pom-pom. My kids love them."

To melt the chocolate for dipping, break up a block of white chocolate and put in a metal bowl above a pot of boiling water.

Another treat is the oily rag burger - they are cheaper and bigger than bought ones. All you really need is mince and a couple of buns (and heaps of tomato sauce). Any number of ingredients can be added depending on your appetite and what is available at the time. A while ago we asked the oily rag community what they are putting on their oily rag burgers and this is what they said: toast bread or buns, a big mince patty (whatever is on special), sliced tomato from your garden, fresh lettuce, beetroot, avocado, fried onions, a home-laid fried egg and so on. There's no limit to what you can add.

There are loads of variations.

Tara from Palmerston North writes, "Here's a great trick my mother taught me on how to make delicious cheese for a burger. Slice onions - whole rings work best - and place on the grill (flat grill) then add cheese (edam works well) within the onion rings to melt. Cheese is contained within the onion borders making a cheese patty of sorts and the combined taste of melted cheese and onion flavour is yum yum on a burger!"

Sam from Te Awamutu says, "Buy your buns in the morning. Shops usually have a good selection of day-old bread at a reduced price. You can toast the buns for your burgers and no one will ever know they weren't totally fresh."

Cate from Hamilton says, "When we were both studying with a young family we discovered that adding a good heap of rolled oats to the mince mixture was a fantastic healthy 'stretcher' to bulk up the patties. Even better is to then add grated carrot or zucchini which puts moisture back into the patty and is unrecognisable to those fussy vegetable-averse people."

Bon appetit - and Merry Christmas from the oily rag team.

Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips at www.oilyrag.co.nz

- Hamilton News

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