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When the moon hits the sky, like a big pizza pie . . .

GarlicFor this week’s recipe(s), lets explore garlic. What an amazing, funky, medicinal plant it is and as can be seen here this week it can be used in a variety of ways. Each with their own merits and each of these three recipes produces and brings out a different nuance of the garlic.

But is it a herb? Is it a spice? Is it a vegetable? I am often asked “What is garlic?”. Technically is it a spice:

  • herbs are defined as ‘the leaf of a plant used for seasoning / flavouring of foods’

  • spices are defined as ‘parts of a plant other than the leaves that are used for seasoning / flavouring of foods’

  • But there again if you use it as a food in its own right (see my recipe below for Baked Garlic Paté) it is also classed as a vegetable.

Other interesting snippets about garlic include:

  • It is supposedly great for the blood and the heart

  • It apparently wards off colds and flu

  • The French will tell you it is also a great aphrodisiac!

  • Parsley has a chemical in it that neutralises the garlic odour; maybe that’s why the great French cooks always put plenty of chopped parsley in garlic butter?

  • Try to hunt out ‘elephant’ garlic bulbs, they are huge and make for easy peeling and no more fiddling with those minute cloves! They have a milder, sweeter flavour too.

As Dean Martin crooned: “When the moon hits the sky, like a big pizza pie, that’s amore” . . . well a special lady in my life is called Amo (Te Amohia to be exact) and she just loves this first recipe and lets face it, garlic really is a food for lovers as long as both of you love this wonderful plant. It makes such a wonderful change to normal garlic bread and cooked on a barbeque, it gives your outdoor cooking skills a little boost. As you will see there are endless options for variations on the same theme also.

For this first recipe fresh garlic is a must, please do not try with those pre-crushed garlic pastes . . . in fact why not make that a New Year’s culinary resolution of your own - never to use that convenience crushed garlic again! Trust me, the flavour of fresh garlic is best and you will not regret the extra two minutes it takes to slice or crush your own . . .

“Never treat cooking as a chore, enjoy the time, savour it as you would the food as it sits on the tongue” ~ Chef Tallyrand


  • Pre- heat your oven and a baking tray as hot as they will go
  • Break it up into small ‘buns’
  • Roll each out into very thin rounds (approximately 1cm thick), do not worry if they are only roughly round, it adds to the rustic look and tells your guests that these are really home made!
  • Brush each liberally with some olive oil; extra virgin is best
  • Thinly slice some peeled garlic cloves and scatter over each pizza round, sprinkle with sea salt and finish with a thin layer of grated cheddar
  • Place carefully (remember it will be red hot!) onto the baking tray and bake for 5 - 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the pizza base is cooked and crisp
  • Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly and enjoy immediately

Chef's Tip

You might not like garlic or cheese, or maybe you like butter instead of olive oil; so here are some of my favourite alternatives, why not try your own :

  • As above but with a little seeded mustard added

  • Finely chopped sundried tomatoes blended with butter

  • Finely chopped olives blended with butter

  • Lemon and parsley butter


This is an interesting use for garlic and as will be seen, it is best if bulbs with large cloves are used or better still use an elephant bulb, use one bulb per person. Do not fret about over powering flavours, baking the garlic sweetens it by intensifying the natural sugars.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC
  • With a very sharp knife, slice the top off each garlic bulb
  • Place onto a baking tray and generously drizzle with ‘extra virgin olive oil’, season with sea salt crystals and freshly ground black pepper
  • Place the tops back onto the bulbs and place onto the middle tray of the oven, bake for approximately 15 minutes until the cloves are nice and soft (adjust time according to thickness of garlic)
  • Place the garlic bulb in the centre of the plate, drizzle a little ‘extra virgin olive oil’ and balsamic vinegar around the plate and finish with a large sprig of coriander or flat parsley
  • Serve it as an appetiser with crisp French bread, crackers or pizza bread (as above but with no topping).

Chef's Tip

To eat, one removes a clove and gently squeezes the flesh out of the skin, eat as is or spread it on the breads


This dish is a popular breakfast dish on many of the South Pacific Islands here, where plantains may be used (special small, green, immature bananas) but any slightly unripe bananas my be used. The garlic clove may be peeled or un-peeled and I suggest trying the dish with each and finding which suits your palate best:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC
  • With a very sharp knife, pierce 3 to 6 holes in each banana just large enough to push a garlic clove in
  • Push a garlic clove through each slit
  • Arrange onto a baking tray and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil
  • Place onto the middle tray of the oven, bake for approximately 15 minutes, the bananas should not be allowed to discolour / brown too much
  • Serve with toast and maple syrup

Join me next week for another great garlic recipe, but until then . . . have a great week and eat healthy.

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

litres   tsp = teaspoon
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

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