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Home Front

Episode Nine (00)

Our interior "home truth" item features young deco king, Ruebin, who shows us how to decorate a fabulous student flat with odds and sodds from the $2 shop. We give him $100 and he goes wild! Tips - never choose even numbers, decorate in odd numbers. Lots of things with the same look work. Color, color, color!

Alison Mau finds a castle an hour north of Auckland where you can have a hideaway weekend. It's Matakana Castle, overlooking the sea and set by a vineyard and potter's region in Matakana, near Warkworth.

Val & Ras Sutherland
Tel: 09-422-9288
$250 per room per night.

Pete Cronshaw takes a drive up north of Auckland to one of the many spectacular diving sites of New Zealand. This one was named one of the top ten diving sites in the world by Jacques Costeau - the Poor Knights Island. He goes snorkelling with Dive Tutukaka.

Auckland Wilderness Kayaks
Tel: 09-434-3867 or 0800-288-882

This week, Ray cooks Vietnamese Barbecue Platter with chicken, beef, salad and squid. You can use the meats and salad vegetables Ray's specified, use whatever is available, or make up your own combinations. It can all be prepared in advance, the pieces of meat are small so they cook quickly and the massed presentation is impressive. It is great for feeding a crowd as it is easily expanded.

Chicken: This takes the longest to cook so put it on it first
6 boneless organic chicken thighs, halved
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
3 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 Tablespoon red wine
2 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix everything together well and marinate 20 minutes Shake off excess marinade and grill the chicken on an oiled barbecue over moderate heat until cooked.

400gms beef steak, all fat and sinew removed, diced into 3 cm cubes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cm piece ginger, chopped
1 bulb lemon grass, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoon fish sauce
4 Tablespoon peanut oil

Put the garlic, ginger, lemon grass and fish sauce into a food processor and process to a fine paste.
Toss the beef in the herb paste and set aside 20 minutes
Grill until well browned for medium rare on barbecue over high heat.

5 cleaned squid tubes, opened out flat, inside scored in a grid pattern with a sharp knife
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoon sambal oelek
1/4 cup chopped mint.

Mix everything well and marinate 20 minutes.
Heat the barbecue to very high, shake excess marinade off the squid and cook on high until the squid has lost its transparency and is starting to brown.
Remove immediately and slice.

1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts finely chopped
4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 cucumber, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into strips
leaves from the lettuce of your choice
mint sprigs
coriander sprigs
lime halves

Keep everything in piles on the platter


Nuoc Mam (dipping sauce):
2 Tablespoons sugar or to taste
200mls fish sauce
100-150 mls fresh lime juice
2 dried red chilies, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Mix everything together, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Put into a small bowl.
a bowl of soy sauce
a bowl of sweet chili sauce
enough hot steamed Jasmine rice for 6.

To serve:
Put the cooked meats and squid on a large platter, sprinkle with the peanuts and pile the vegetables, herbs and lime halves around them.
Give each diner a bowl of rice and serve the platter in the middle of the table with the sauces on the side for everyone to help them-self.

Serves 6