Friday Night Pizza on a Sunday


Hi all - long time, no recipes! I have been meaning to post this super simple pizza recipe ever since Rich was Clyde in the school musical production of Bonnie & Clyde - we had assorted rellies (relatives) around for a quick bite before each show - and this is what I made every time, because it is so incredibly quick and easy, and everybody loves it. As well as this one, topped with tomato paste, grated Parmesan and Buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto I did others with the same cheeses, (no tomato paste) hot smoked salmon, dill and capers with an optional squeeze of lemon. Seriously - they take less time to make than to order takeaways, and taste so much better.

In other news my pterygium operation on my eye went really well - I won't go into all the gory details, but the skin graft where it was removed is healing brilliantly (I think, no doubt the surgeon will let me know what he thinks at my post-op check up tomorrow!) Apart from that Henry is working and studying his arse off in Wellington, Rich has started back to school with much enthusiasm (haha) and Nick flies back to Shanghai tonight...and I have back-to-back work lined up until September, so apologies in advance if the recipe posts are a little less frequent during this time, but I'll be trying! Anyhoo, make these pizzas and I promise you won't be sorry :)

Shanghai Surprise


Oh my God, I can't believe we've already been back from China and Japan for almost two weeks - where does the time go - I need it to slow down for a bit?! Since we've been back Rich has arrived home from his intrepid journey to Madagascar (all in one slightly skinnier piece), I've been to Wellington and back to see Henry and Josh for Josh's 21st birthday party, Nick's been in hospital with a kidney stone mascarading as a lung clot and I've had an eye operation to remove a pterygium - not very painful, but pretty bloody freaky. Phew. So here I sit sorting through my pics from Shanghai, using them as a memory prompt for my frazzled brain...

So - my first time to Shanghai, and I wasn't sure what to expect, my closest comparison was Hong Kong from several years ago, and HK it is not. I arrived at the worst possible time of year, coinciding with the peak of summer's heat, rain and storms - perfect! The first thing that struck me was the huge contrast between Shanghai's history and future, co-habiting, at times uncomfortably, in this heaving, cosmopolitan city. That and the car horns. (And OK, because it was hot, wet and a big city, every once in a while there was a wee bit of a smell - but mostly not). The afternoon I arrived I took myself off for a walk from the hotel and on one side of the street were huge buildings, offices and shops, and the other, small, hundred year old houses being torn down amidst on-going construction. A little laneway was packed with tiny food stalls and eateries selling dumplings, prawns, mysterious but delicious looking fried treats and noodles - and everywhere cars were tooting, people were congregating and chewing the fat while cyclists took their lives into their hands weaving in and out of cars and pedestrians with some kind of reckless faith that a clear path would appear.

If you fancy hearing and seeing loads more, just click on the recipe link below for a tonne of photos starting with the lovely Jade and Jing'an temples...and forgive me for the absence of recipes in the last little while, but I have a couple of fab ones for you next week!

French Onion Soup


Seeing as it's 14th July, I thought a quick Bastille Day / French recipe was in order. I am flat out working at the mo, so no big spiel with this recipe - just a super-easy, super-delicious soup to enjoy - imagine rich, dense onions with a whiff of brandy scooped onto cheesey, toasted bread. I know I could have gone all traditional with the grilled French bread slices on top, but I always find them a bit unwieldy - this way you can manage the soggy factor and dig into the onions as you wish. Anyhoo, must dash, a million things to do - will give you the run down next time!

Mega-Comfort Chicken & Leek Pie with Paris Mash


Well here we all are again then - some of us anyway! We flew back in from Tokyo yesterday morning and zombied around the house, washed mountains of clothes, picked up the dogs from the kennels and went to the supermarket - all that catch up stuff - the only abnormal thing was there were no lovely man-boys in the house. Rich is still in Madagascar until next Wednesday, and Henry, who would normally be in Wellington working or at uni, is in Melbourne celebrating Josh's 21st birthday. It sounds like Rich's adventure has been incredible, one of those life-changing trips that forever alters the way you see the world, while Henry is getting amongst the cool vibe of Melbourne like a pig in mud. Our trip to Shanghai/Kyoto/Tokyo was bloody fantastic, and I have totally fallen in love with Japan - and it's gorgeous people, but more on that later! (Blog post coming soon) In the meantime we have arrived back to an almighty winter cold snap, and I thought it timely to post this update on my Chicken and Leek Pie recipe I put together for Fairfax, complete with really naughty creamy, buttery Paris mash - I am thinking it might be just the go for many around the southern hemisphere this weekend, and also probably for Rich's welcome home meal given he has been living off rice and veges for the last month.

It's good to be back - it might be a day or two (I have soooo much work to do) but a blog post on the big trip will be up soon!

Asian Adventuring


Hi all! Just a quick note to let you know I'm off to Shanghai tonight, then onwards to Kyoto and Tokyo - back in three weeks! I can't wait to share some of my foodie adventures, so check back in when you can - and I will too! See you soon...

Creamy Mushrooms with Sherry, Garlic & Thyme on Soft Polenta


Hi all, the countdown continues:) It has been so lovely having Henry and Josh in Auckland - they are still both sound asleep after a great night out to dinner last night - such a treat to have Nick, Rich and Lil there too, a rare occasion to get all six of us around a table! Tonight they head back to Wellington, laden down with frozen home-made dinners, not that they need them, they are both whiz cooks, but I figure it's nice to have an easy dinner that doesn't take too much effort some nights! This mushrooms on creamy polenta is actually that kind of dish that - super-satisfyng and takes no time or effort to throw together, containing two of my favourite things - creamy, luscious earthy, mushrooms and cheesy, soft polenta - yum. It is a recipe that I put together for Fairfax, but I have been making variations on the same theme for years. The trick to the mushrooms is to cook the cream down with them so that it becomes silky and almost slightly sweet, add to that the zing of the sherry, the hint of pungent garlic and thyme and the result is so very, very good. Obviously this is vegetarian (and gluten free), but if you can't imagine a meal without meat, it would go beautifully with pork and fennel sausages. To me this is right up there with perfectly cooked scrambled eggs in terms of comfort factor. 

This time next week I will be frantically cleaning the house in preparation for my gorgeous nephew Will who is coming to house/dog sit, and packing my bags for the flight to Shanghai....can't quite get my head around that when I still have so much to do. Hopefully I'll sneak one last recipe up before I fly out - and then of course I am hanging out for a truck load of inspiration from my foodie discoveries in Shanghai,Tokyo and Kyoto to share with you on my return...can't wait!

Chicken Leek, and Pancetta Risotto


Well here we go - counting down to multiple 'take-offs'! Rich finished his final night playing Clyde in Bonnie and Clyde last night, and he was bloody fabulous along side a whole cast of incredible talent - I was exploding with pride - woo hoooo! (Last school play ever - sniff - end of an era!!!). Then tomorrow morning I will be at the airport collecting Henry from his Wellington flight, followed the next day by Josh - can't wait to see my big boy, and can't quite get over the fact that at almost 20 (!!!) I should really refer to him as a man now. It will be such a treat to have him here for a few to wrangle the shoot I have set up in his bedroom currently is going to be interesting! Next week is Rich's last week before flying out to Madagascar, so while trying to make sure he is fully sorted, eking out every last moment I can with him, Henry and Josh (before they fly back to Welly on Thursday) and testing and shooting for the next issue of Dish it is going to be huge. Can't even think about the following week yet - Nick flies back to Shanghai on Monday, Rich to Madagascar on Tuesday and me (gulp) to Shanghai on Thursday. Thank you yoga...I will be breathing my ass off to get through it all! In the meantime, I thought this risotto would be an ideal dinner for us during the week - a recipe I developed and shot for the beautiful Italian issue of Dish, the perfect combination of nurturing and flavourful with a pinch of indulgence too. Have a great week all and I'll be back here to say farewell before we all head off :)



Playing around waiting for my migraine to go - after yoga no less - humph! What do you reckon words good, or words dorky...loving this winter light :)

Linguine Scoglio


I can't believe it is over a year ago that Nick and I were in Positano, climbing up endless hillsides and steps, swimming in the sea and eating the most outrageously delicious seafood and pasta - sometimes both together. I feel confident that neither of my darling sons will read this, so will share a little secret with you. If I could do anything in the world for my 50th birthday (2 1/2 years and counting) it would be to take them and their partners for a holiday to this magical spot. I loved all of Italy - the art and history of Rome, the beauty of Tuscany and Umbria, the magic of Venice, the tangled maze of Florence - and always, everywhere the food - but my favourite spot of all was the Amalfi coast. Tanned, laughing young men scooting past on vespas, sunshine, sea air, lemons and vegetable gardens, bobbing boats and fishermen. Heaven. I would like to share a little of that experience with you through food here - this Scoglio pasta tastes of the sea with clams, mussels, prawns and squid, a little heat from the chilli, acidity from the wine, richness from the tomato and grunt from the garlic. Eat in the company of good friends with wine, abandon and plenty of fresh bread to mop up the juices! This is a recipe I originally prepared for the beautiful Dish magazine for their special Italian issue :)

Extra Gingery Gingerbread Loaf


I am completely obsessed with this loaf at the moment, I love ginger overload like this - warm, spicy and sweet - just the perfect slice to have with a good cup of tea or strong coffee. For me a smear of butter is essential, and a drizzle of Manuka honey or a little ginger syrup - phwaor so damned delicious! Current state of the nation (haven't done one for a while!) is that holy crap the salted caramel cheesecake mousses went off like a rocket on Facebook, so that was a bit exciting. In proper news though there is a lot of real stuff happening - this Saturday I am doing my first ever styling and photography presentation for Momento books (an Australian self-publishy recipe book company with a really lovely product) in conjunction with the Auckland Photography Festival. Bloody hell - heart palpitations and sweaty palms, can't wait until it's done...!!! Next up Rich is acting in the lead male role of Bonnie & Clyde, his school's annual musical, so that will be awesome - I am always the dorky mother who goes to every performance and "wooooo hoooo"s for my son at the end! Then, yippeeeee Henry is flying up for a quick couple of days with Josh, can't wait! And on it goes, after that Nick flies back up to Shanghai, Rich departs for his month in Madagascar with World Challenge (holy sh*t balls - panic stations), Henry will be flying off for a romantic holiday in Melbourne with Josh to celebrate his (Josh's not Henry's) 21st - and me? I will be zooming up to Shanghai to join Nick for the first time ever, then we'll come back to New Zealand via Kyoto and Tokyo.

I guess you could say the next eight weeks are going to be EPIC!!! 

So very much in 'How do you eat an elephant? One mouthful at a time" mode I am just looking at what I have on tomorrow every day, and then I think I can just about cope. In the meantime, I will keep gorging on ginger loaf and zoning out at yoga. Take care, stay warm and dry and I probably won't see you again here until next week :)