Lamb and Lentil Salad with Beetroot, Feta, Roasted Red Onion, Yoghurt Dressing and Dukkah


Hiya - this recipe has been in the back of my mind for ages now and I am so glad I have finally managed to make it! When you scroll down you might be a little bit freaked out at the list of ingredients, but I want to reassure you that it's just lots of things like 'cumin' repeated and this is actually a really easy dish to prepare, and the combination of flavours and textures makes it so worth the effort. Also all the prep can be done in advance, so all you have to do at the end is cook the lamb (and even that can be done earlier, and served cold/room temperature) and ta dah - it's all ready to serve. I particularly like the earthy lentils with the sweet beetroot and onion, salty feta, fresh pomegranate and spiced lamb, not to mentioned the pomegranate molasses spiked dressing...yum! I was actually really thrilled with how the combination worked, and I do think it looks pretty damned festive, so I should probably be squirelling the recipe away for Christmas, but it's here and ready to share, watchya gonna do!? Hope you enjoy it too :)

Happy Halloween!!!!!!


 Happy Halloween guys! Wishing you all the best for a fun and creepy Halloween - loving the DIY costume idea, nothing like rustling up a little costume by rummaging through the kitchen cupboards! :) If you're looking for a good pumpkin-y recipe for the day, I've popped some links through to some of my favourites on the blog: 

...and of course there are loads of luscious, naughty recipes in the desserts/baking section!

Have fun :)

Creamy Asparagus Tart


Huh! Well I thought there would be no way I would have another recipe up before next weekend. I have such a lot on my plate at the moment (bit of cooking/eating humour right there!), but as it turns out I made this asparagus tart to bring out to Waiheke for Labour weekend, managed to take a few quick pics of it, and it was so tasty I thought I may as well share it! Basically it is layers of fresh spring asparagus, nestled in a soft cheesy bed encased in a crisp pastry shell. I know it's not so appropriate for my northern hemisphere friends in the middle of autumn - but if you like the idea, you can easily substitute the asparagus for some thing else like mushrooms, as I did here, or a combination of cooked pumpkin, peas and chorizo would be fab too. (If you can't be faffed making pastry, store bought will be just fine!)

Sesame Chicken, Avocado and Mandarin Salad


Labour weekend is here - woo hoo, that means we're we're heading out to Waiheke, but not before the final episode of Project Runway, with a big ole fingers crossed that New Zealander Sean Kelly wins. (And yes he did - such awesomeness!!!!!!) He attended the same university as my Henry in Massey, (and is like his doppelganger) and he really is incredibly talented. Fashion aside (I love fashion) this is the most delicious salad that I got inspired to make when I walked into my local fruit and veg shop and found some spectacular mandarins. When peeled the segments were glorious and plump with juice...and totally coated in pith, so for photographic purposes, I painstakingly peeled every last little bit of pith off those suckers (I was getting very pithed off by the end of it - Dad joke!) so that you could see how luscious and orange they really are. Right, nuff said, it's bloody delicious, guaranteed yumminess.

Banana (or Pumpkin) and Ricotta Hotcakes with Manuka Honey (or Maple) Butter and Bacon


As you will know if you read the words that go with my recipes (there aren't many admittedly) recently we blatted down to Wellington to catch up with Henry (our 19-year-old design student at university) and to go to the World of Wearable Arts show. Seeing as Henry walks everywhere in Wellington (up to 12km or more a day!) I wanted to make sure I fed him and boyfriend Josh up as much as possible while I was in town. To that end we had Saturday morning breakfast at a gorgeous  cafe where Henry and Josh each devoured a mound of pancakes. As always I can't help but be influenced by my experiences, so combine that with a faint memory of Bill Granger's delicious ricotta hotcakes in Sydney, and ta dah - this is my take on those lovely fat pancakes, with the sneaky addition of banana in the batter, topped with manuka honey butter. To my lovely American friends who seem to have a fondness for pumpkin around this time of year, you could easily swap the banana for mashed pumpkin, add 1 tsp cinnamon and change the honey to maple syrup et voila - 'fall hotcakes'! Whichever way you make them, honestly, just give them a go, especially if you have loved ones who need a bit of extra 'filling up'!

St Ali - world class coffee in Melbourne


 It seems like an eternity ago now that I got back from my Savouring Australia adventure,  but sitting here at my desk thinking about Melbourne has me reaching for the car keys to go and buy a coffee. The best I had during my trip away was at St Ali, the place had such a laid-back vibe, I loved it, and Matt Perger the barista was such a honey. He has already placed 2nd and 3rd at the world Barista champs, and I so hope he wins the next one - such a good guy! Off to buy coffee, can't wait another second!!!

Hot Smoked Salmon, Asparagus and Poached Egg on Toasted Ciabatta


I am not even going to attempt a recipe with this - it's just a no-brainer perfect combination for a  spring breakfast or lunch - toasted ciabatta slathered in aioli topped with steamed asparagus, hot smoked salmon and a poached egg. Lots of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and some dill, and you're done. Yum. (For a healthier version swap the aioli for hummus or soft goat cheese or even soft labneh :) )

Mum's Lamb Curry Pies


When I was growing up roast lamb was one of the traditional New Zealand dinners Mum made - and she still does a good one. Often she would cook a big leg and there would be lamby leftovers to use in sandwiches with soft white bread and a good tomato relish (yum), or if there was enough she would turn the lamb into dinner number two as a 'curry'. I use the term curry very loosely indeed, as it was  the 1970s and it was a creation which I suspect bears little resemblance to anything you would ever find in India. It's another of those things like Coronation Chicken that is more like an Englishman's version of a curry. Any old hoo, it is not authentic, but it is ridiculously tasty. It is not however particularly attractive on its own, but bung it in a pie, et voila, pastry enhanced perfection with a good dollop of chutney on the side. (PS - if you've just arrived for the first time via Food 52 - welcome! I hope you have a good poke around the blog, there are over 150 recipes here for you to explore...and do feel free to leave a comment or come over and say 'hi at my Facebook page, I'd love to hear from you! )

Vegan Pumpkin Brown Rice Balls with Hummus or Tamari


Isn't it funny how you end up in the mood for such different foods at different times? If you've ever read my profile page you'll know that I have been advised (probably quite correctly) that I should get an angle for my blog - baking or raw or vegetarian or whole foods or family dinners etc etc, but the problem is I just can't do it because I don't eat just one type of food. Anyhoo that big spiel was just as an intro because these brown rice balls are what I was craving the other day - all earthy, earnest deliciousness - it's such a bonus when something that tastes so good is also so good for you. Hope you enjoy them too! (Great for lunch boxes or on the run, they can be eaten hot or cold).

Mexican Braised Beef Cheeks with Soft Cheesy Polenta


OK - so this is what I wrote a couple of weeks ago - and I have finally re-made it! I am sitting here typing this on my laptop at the dining table feeling a little bit chilly and in need of a shower – this is day two of a massive power-cut in Auckland with initially 85,000 homes affected and now just 18,000 left in the cold – and that would include us! If I could make anything for dinner tonight it would be this!!! However, I will just have to wait until the power is back on and then I will be recreating this to photograph - one of the dinners I was on a promise to make, and did, for Henry on his last trip up from Wellington. You can either serve this with polenta/corn bread balls popped on top, on tacos or, as I like it, on soft cheesy polenta – the choice is yours. (As per the fish taco recipes, forgive me if the recipe is inauthentic, it is merely my interpretation, but I can promise you it tastes bloody good!)