Old-school tomato soup with cheese, olive, onion & rosemary toasties

16.8.17



'Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory...' and yes Annie is quite right, apparently the weather is about turn to mega-rainy-crap all throughout the country from today. (Actually I have gotten to know Annie very well over the last fifteen months - she has kindly sung while I've been shooting, cooking, editing, and (very loudly) enjoying a whisky in the evening). So, it feels like we're allowed to make the most of wintry dishes for a little while longer, and this old-school tomato soup is a great, simple, satisfying dish. It is incredibly easy to make - essentially you just cook the onions for a bit then throw everything else in the pot for half an hour, then give it a whiz - but the depth of flavour is fabulously satisfying. Having cheesy toasties with tomato soup seems pretty much non-negotiable, and these ones crammed with caramelised onions, salty black olives and fresh rosemary are - can I say 'next level' - I don't want to because I bloody hate that phrase, but they really are.

Soooo, in other news, my darling Pog celebrated his 22nd birthday in Melbourne yesterday. God, I do miss my lovelies, and never more so than on special occasions. Thank God for the gorgeous Will who spoilt Henry rotten with lovely gifts and a flash dinner out. I am so proud of how he has settled into his new job, but also that he has had the chance to let his hair down on occasion too - we all need a bit of balance! Excellent. Meanwhile Hoob is still hard at it at uni and with sidelines at work, enticing people to vote (he is outrageously well informed with regard to politics), and a hilarious audition yesterday for a TV commercial...more on that if he gets the job, I hope he does, he would be fabulous. He will be heading up at uni break so I will be in a state of high anticipation next week. The thought that both boys/men will be here, and Will too, for the book launch is about the most exciting thing I can imagine just now - the four of us haven't been in the same room for a year...too long for me!!!

Anyhoo, I will stop blathering on and get back to work. This soup - easy, delicious, and perfect for gloomy, rainy weather.




cauliflower, cheese & leek, gnocchi gratin

5.8.17


Happy Saturday morning - it looks like it's going to be another beautiful (freezing) day in Auckland - good timing for a warming, comfort food dish like this one, that I just made for Dish magazine...basically a combination of rich cauliflower with gruyere cheese, creamy leeks and soft, pillowy gnocchi, topped in crunchy breadcrumbs, it is kind of like a mad twist on mac'n'cheese :) I would serve this as-is with just a bitter winter green salad on the side, but it it would also be fabulous with slow-roasted lamb and blanched green beans. In my wildest dreams I would be eating it in a gorgeous cabin in the snow, in front of a roaring fire, red wine in hand after a bracing day of skiing...haha, that would be instead of by the heater, on the couch, watching the Handmaid's Tale on Lightbox (although, bloody hell it is really good, so maybe not such a bad alternative).

Anyhoo - so the advanced copies of Coming UnStuck are on their way and heading out to PR next week which is bloody exciting. Also in the next few weeks I will be showing you a few sneak peeks here on the blog and detailing the low down on how to buy a copy when it goes on sale on September 19th. I have to say that so far I have been over-whelmed with the positive response to the book, so let's hope you like the look of it too! Not much else to report really, I have been enjoying the International Film Festival with my dear friend Netty, and would highly recommend Lady Macbeth, The Beguiled and Call Me By Your Name, while I found Beatriz at Dinner meh, and seemed to be one of the only people not roaring with laughter at The Party, which despite featuring Kristen Scott Thomas (who is one of my all-time favourite actresses), I found essentially, about as funny as an old Benny Hill show...On the other hand Lady Macbeth was the most starkly beautiful movie I have ever seen - I wanted to stop it every second frame to absorb what I was seeing - seriously like art in motion.

And the lovely men-folk - poor old Hoob has another rotten cold in Welly, and is working hard both at work and uni. From a motherly perspective I hate not being able to smother him in home-knitted jumpers, eucalyptus oil and lemon and honey drinks but instead annoy encourage him via Facebook to stay warm and get plenty of rest. Pog is in his regular routine of work, and now finally, having visited, I can picture him arriving home to his lovely flat, to whip up dinner and sit by the fire with Will listening to records - weirdly it makes me feel so much more connected! 

Right then, stuff to do, must leave my snuggy, warm bed and get cracking. Walk today, yoga tomorrow, and in-between work to finish! Have a great weekend :)




Black doris plum clafoutis & plum & apple crumble

29.7.17


Oh my God what an absolutely gorgeous (albeit bloody freezing) morning in Auckland. It is hard not to feel good on a day like today...but that may also have something to do with the fact that I'm still on a high after seeing Henry and Will in Melbourne last weekend. It was so fkng fantastic to see the guys after so long, to visit their new, beautiful apartment, and just hang out like family...no rushing around, just lying on the couch at the flat with the fire going, listening to music and chatting...magic.They also treated me to an incredibly delicious dinner at Tipo 00 on my last night, the food was bloody amazing and I would highly recommend the restaurant to anyone heading that way. It is such a huge deal to move country by yourself, to cope with changes in work, study and accomodation, I am so proud of Henry for making it through so many adjustments, and grateful too that he has the lovely Will by his side. Meanwhile darling Hoob is going gangbusters in Wellington, getting stuck into lectures and even finding time to visit a sick friend making them home-made conchiglione as a pick-me-up...go Rich, you kind-hearted man! So yes - feeling pretty bloody good right now.

To add to that, yesterday I did my first ever 'bit' for TV, filming with the gorgeous Stacey Morrison for Whanau Living. We cooked and chatted, and even laughed (despite my nerves) all with two camera people and a sound guy, lights and extras watching...and thanks to the kindness of the whole crew, it was not nearly as scary as I had anticipated. Anyhoo - it's not airing until the beginning of next year, but I will let you know when it does!

And finally, bloody hell, I got a text at 10pm last night to say the first two copies of the completed cookbook are ON THEIR WAY for approval. Holy shit balls. So, prepare yourselves for some sneak peeks on the blog very soon!!!!! Right I'm off to hang out the washing and go for a walk, see you again soon :)









Mushrooms in pastry (en croute)

20.7.17


Gooood morning, good morning, good morning (said in my head just like Stephen Fry). Right well apparently the weather is about to turn to crap all around the country again, so I thought a wee bit of mushroomy, cheesy pastry was in order. This is such a simple recipe that I put together for my lovely friends at Dish magazine, seriously easy - the only thing you need to watch out for is that the mushrooms are quite dry after cooking, the cheese on the base does a good job of preventing a soggy bottom, but there is a limit to it's water-proofing abilities...the end result is so bloody good, I hope you give it a whirl :) 

And in other news, I have just finished an epic couple of days shooting a little project for Simon Gault - seriously, I know it might not sound very difficult, but shopping, prepping, cooking, styling and photographing recipes and not missing anything can be pretty stressful. But phew - job done, apart from the editing that is, but in my head that's the easiest bit. And now, hurrah, I'm so excited to start thinking about my trip to Melbourne to see Pog and Will - I haven't seen Henry since the 8th of January which feels like a very, very long time. God I wish it was for longer than two days, but it's an expensive business. Meanwhile I got the most hilarious message from Hoob yesterday who was fizzing with excitement sitting in a lecture on the philosophy of psychology - darling man. That's about it really, apart from a very successful quiz night down at the pub the other night - just in case any of my 'rubble-making' teammates read this...you were awesome :)





Fisher & Paykel dinner set winner!

15.7.17



CONGRATULATIONS REBECCA LANEY - with your 'turbo boosted' chilli choice, you are now the proud owner of the gorgeous 21 piece ceramic dinner set that has been hand crafted in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Fisher & Paykel Dishdrawer. If you could email me at fromthekitchen@icloud.com by Tuesday 18th July with your address and phone number, the good people at Fisher & Paykel will organise the delivery of your dinner set. Well done -  and have a great weekend :)




Pumpkin & pancetta pasta bake

14.7.17


Goooood morning - right well I am back to having a very hectic few weeks coming up so thought I would get one quick blog post up before things turn to custard! This is such a bloody delicious, indulgent, cheesy flavour-packed pasta dish, it is perfect for a crappy winter's night. The intense flavour comes from salty pancetta, grunty garlic and earthily sweet pumpkin and kumara, paired with a little nutmeg, a good hit of chilli and finished off with a crumbling of toasted walnuts and the distinctive fragrant flavour of fried sage. Seriously. It really is bloody good!

Meanwhile in other news - Hoob is still in Welly picking up extra shifts at work during the uni break, Henry is slogging away in Melbourne, dealing with the occasional uninvited mouse-guest and I have had a lovely quiet week in the manner of the calm before the storm. Next week I'll be flat out doing a job for the famous Mr Simon Gault before heading off to Melbourne for two nights with Pog and Will - hurrah!!! Back here it'll be down to business again for Fairfax, Cuisine and Dish and finishing off prep for the cookbook launch, which I am thrilled to say involves a wee bit of media coverage around about - keep an eye out, hahaha, but of course I'll be letting you know when it all starts here anyway! First up was an article in Stuff last week, which you can read about here. (Can I please just point out I hate having my photo taken, and I am spectacularly crap at it - I always look like some kind of stiff, stunned possum...). Anyhoo - time to get up, it's a gorgeous morning, I'm off for a walk (yoga tomorrow yippeeeee), and gotta get sh*t done! :)





whisky + winter

13.7.17


There is absolutely no point to this post other than, clearly I am no good with time on my hands ('just chilling' - words you will probably never hear me say), and hello - isn't whisky just made for crap weather? No wonder it means 'water of life'...




Rhubarb & Raspberry Clafoutis


L'il re-post from last year for Bastille day celebrations (la Fete Nationale), I know in the northern hemisphere it is the middle of summer - but for my southern mates I thought a warm pud might be appropriate! I'm aiming to shoot an easy, cheesy pasta recipe in the next few days - so check back in at the weekend for that, and in the meantime - have a good one! :) (Obviously I have always been a sucker for rhubarb and custard...!)

(original post)
I'm writing this a bit later in the day for a change, coffee in hand, weak sunlight streaming in the window and, as hoped, Dougie is snoring gently and intermittently farting in his bed at my feet. (Dougie is Henry's border terrier in case you weren't sure!). He seems to be rocketing along with his recovery, eating well (free range chicken and rice...), taking his meds (kind of), sleeping lots but generally in a pretty perky state. The next step is to have his stitches removed next Wednesday and further blood tests to see if there is an underlying disease which caused his gallbladder issues. Meanwhile - it is all go in Melbourne with Pog finally starting his interior design course on Monday, and I am (fingers crossed) assuming not-much-news is good news from Rich. I started my day with a bloody lovely yoga session, so have no excuse not to now get my act together and have a good day, testing my next lot of recipes for Dish magazine.

This clafoutis recipe is one I put together for my fortnightly Dish web contribution, and I have to say it is damned delicious. I love tart rhubarb, and when combined with the sweet raspberries then topped with soft vanilla custard it really is a great dessert. The clafoutis is super easy to make, and quick too, if you roast your rhubarb in advance. The trick is not to serve it straight away as the custard needs time to set up a little - but then don't serve it cold either, because by then the custard will have set into a slab! Just give it 5 minutes or so, then serve with a lovely big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.







Rhubarb cheesecake custard crumble tart

12.7.17


This is outrageous - it is 8:27am and I am still in bed! As I scroll through my Facebook feed looking at everyone's tropical/American/European adventures, I am 'on holiday' at home - complete with spa treatments (I have a bath and epsom salts), gourmet food (hello kitchen) fabulous nightlife (Netflix), culture (pile of books) and shopping (on-line). Hahahahaha - it's not all bad to be honest...Anyhoo, as I have had a bit more time I have enjoyed getting creative in the kitchen, this tart is one of the recent results created for Dish magazine. Basically it' a load of my favourite things together - a tart, with custard, kind of cheesecake-y, roast rhubarb and short-cakey crumble...bloody fabulous. You can serve it warm or cold, and although it's great on it's own, feel free to serve with vanilla bean ice cream or softly whipped cream. Also - it sounds complicated I know, but it is actually really easy, to be honest I don't ever cook stuff that is super difficult, because - who can be bothered!!?

No other news to report really - I'm trying to lure Hoob up for a few more days in Auckland, unsuccessfully so far, but early days, while counting down to my trip Melbourne to see Pog and Will...eeee, so excited! Other than that, let's see I trimmed the daisy bush (don't go looking for euphemisms) and cleaned the bathrooms yesterday...so perhaps I should leave it there. Have a great week - and do check out the recipe below, you'll see it is completely straight forward.

Oh - and before I forget Saveur are doing their food blog awards again, if anyone feels an inclination to nominate me, you can do it here :)



Spicy Beef Curry

8.7.17


By crikey this has been one hell of a year so far - up until just recently I had had only 1 1/2 days off (including weekends) since the middle of January. I am so bloody excited to say that the cookbook, which has ruled my life for so long, is now finally on the presses and will soon be heading this way - wooooooooo hooooooo!!!!!!!! (If I ever decide to do another one - please remind me of this post!). Anyhoo, as an exciting end to that daily grind, I have just had my darling Hoob up from Welly for two short nights,  it was such a huge treat to see him and gave me a fantastic boost (felt like my old self for a minute there). Now the countdown is on to see Pog (and Will) in a few weeks with two nights in Melbourne. They may be approaching 22 and 20 years old and totally independent, but I still miss my lovely men/boys massively! Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, the temperatures have plummeted and I have been craving a few more warming, slow cooked winter meals. Today's recipe is a spicy beef curry, slow cooked and fragrant, with a good bit of chilli grunt, but also a depth and complexity of flavour which means it's not just 'hot'. Don't be put off by the ingredients list below - they are all readily available and not too much of a bother, and as for the curry itself - it takes just half an hour to prepare, then the slow cooking does all the work of breaking the meat down until it is meltingly tender, while the flavours round out and develop. Trust me - it's worth it. If you're planning on watching the rugby tonight, quick go and get the ingredients now - if you give it a good 4 hours it's going to be bloody perfect by kick-off. (And frankly even better for Sunday night leftovers!)

In other news, I don't know if you've caught up on my Instagram stories lately, but if so you might have seen a particularly fetching set of dinnerware loaded into the flash new Fisher & Paykel Dishdrawers in my kitchen. The ceramic dinner set has been hand crafted in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Fisher & Paykel Dishdrawer - and I am excited to have one of the 21 piece dinner sets to GIVE AWAY. All you need to do is answer here on the blog, in the comments box below - how do you like your curry: mild, medium or turbo-boosted!? The winner will be announced here on the blog and on Facebook on Saturday 15th July, so make sure you check back in to see if you've got a dinner set coming your way!