Stunning Tasmania's Salamanca Markets


One of the best places that I discovered on my recent trip across the ditch with Savouring Australia, is Tasmania. I had heard so many wonderful things before going, so suspected that it might not live up to the hype (you know, when places get over-sold?) well nope - if anything, I liked it more than I expected! Funnily enough it reminded me quite a bit of New Zealand, but then I would pass a beach (white sand gorgeousness) looking nothing like ours, or go for a bush walk and see a walllaby hop by (seriously!) and feel a million miles from home.

The first morning in Hobart I was scheduled to head to the Salamanca Markets, so off I wandered, bright and early.  I had  anticipated there being a couple of local producers gathered together selling a few fruit and veges with a bit of hot food and coffee, but  I could not believe the vast number of tents and stalls – all of them packed with people browsing, tasting, buying and generally making the most of being out and about on a beautiful Hobart morning. The thing that was even more amazing was that this is a weekly event – surely they couldn’t have this many stallholders and punters every weekend? But unbelievably they do! (Is there something like this in Auckland - and if so, where?!).  The morning I was there I wandered around for ages, checking out the incredible local produce, with loads of beautiful home grown, organic herbs and vegetables, cheeses and sausages, fish and baked goods. I loved the range of product – everything from second hand vinyl records to handcrafted wooden bowls and utensils, possum fur-lined hats and fabulous pottery (Henry we need to get back that pottery wheel!). The organic wood-fired pizzas were a hit, and the guys making them so sweet, as were the sizzling sausages and of course the essential coffee. The markets had the most incredible community feeling, with stallholders busily promoting each other and 'Tassie' as much as their own produce, shoppers strolling hand in hand and the sound of buskers in the air - how lovely is the dreaded up guy with the guitar? He was so earnest and his singing was amazing :) The only thing missing was my family - I wanted to point out things and enjoy the discovery together - now they just have to put up with my endless photos instead! :)

Spicy Fish Tacos with Mexican Salsa Verde


OK so before getting into the recipe let me make this very clear (can you tell there has been an election campaign going on in New Zealand...I think it has infiltrated my brain!) I am not Mexican, have never been to Mexico (alas) and am clearly no expert on Mexican food. However - I love to eat it, and I particularly enjoy the combinations of spices, textures and flavours that are so often found in good Mexican food. This then is my take on fish tacos with Mexican salsa verde con aguacate. If I didn't live at the bottom of the world in lovely ole NZ, I might be able to get my hands on fresh tomatillos for the salsa verde recipe, but as it is I am relying on the tinned variety - if you do have access to the real deal, then I understand this can be made by using them either raw, or roasted off, whichever takes your fancy, for either a bright clear or rich muted flavour. Having eaten fish tacos poolside at the stunning One & Only resort on Hayman island, this then is my ideal summer lunch dish. Craziness that I am posting it in a New Zealand spring which is typically cold, wet and stormy, but there you go - I will sit by the heater, close my eyes and eat, pretending I am back on the island...

Coconut & Lime Panna Cotta with white chocolate, fresh passionfruit and toasted coconut

I love desserts (hello - check out the recipe index - blushing!) and love to finish off a meal with a little sweet treat, but when the weather is warm I don't want something heavy and rich. This panna cotta is outrageously light (even lighter than I expected!), the coconut milk has an earthy coconut flavour and the lime and white chocolate are just gently in the back ground - so it is very fresh and natural tasting. If you are used to fake-coconut flavourings you might find it a bit different, but if you like real, clean tastes then I really recommend you give it a go. The zing of the passionfruit, the sweetness of the mango and toasty nuttiness of the coconut threads combine so well with the silky panna cotta, it is really quite elegant! Phwoar!

One & Only - Hayman Island, Australia


Good Morning all! You've probably caught up with the fact that I've just spent a month traveling around Australia with Dish Magazine, creating the Savouring Australia campaign for Tourism Australia. (Check out the Savouring Australia link for all the details!). I'm a bit slow in getting some posts up about the trip - I've been 'flat out like a lizard drinking' (little Aussie reference there!) - but finally have some pics ready for your viewing pleasure. Ta dah!!! How incredibly beautiful is Hayman Island, the One & Only resort and the stunning Whitehaven Beach?! This weekend I'm looking forward to posting a new recipe to suit the location - but hmm, which to choose - spicy fish tacos to enjoy poolside or a cool and creamy lime and coconut panna cotta? Let me know what you'd prefer!

Cauliflower Soup with Blue Cheese and Walnut Toasts


 Well I don't know what the weather is like for you outside your window this morning, but outside mine it is raining, windy, cold and miserable - yay! I love gives me the perfect excuse to make this soup again (featured in a recent issue of Dish magazine) and even though I love the creamy cauliflower soup, it is sneakily the blue cheese and walnut toasts that make it extra good! If you don't have a massive cauliflower, please reduce the stock to 900mls - 1 litre to ensure a really good result. Today I will be finishing off the last of the editing of all of my pics for the Savouring Australia campaign, then I need to get busy on the scripts - crank up the coffee machine, I'm on a mission!!! Have a happy Sunday!

Double Baked Cauliflower Souffle


Hi all - Oh my God, I can't believe I am finally back after a whole month touring around Australia creating the Savouring Australia campaign for Tourism Australia, Yahoo and Dish - phew! It was BIG! Anyhoo, more on that later - in the meantime, it is loooooong overdue time for me to post a recipe and I am so excited to be sharing this one that appeared in Dish Magazine a few months back. It is one of my favourte recipes ever, so please don't be intimidated by the idea of a souffle - it is so easy! It is twice cooked, so there is no mucking about stressing if it is going to rise or not, and lordy, lordy - those soft, pillowy cheesy mouthfuls are well worth any effort required. Give them a go and let me know what you think (added bonus, people will think you are a rock star in the kitchen...)


Let the adventure begin!


Hi all! I just want to do two things - firstly apologise for the scant nature of my posts at the moment - sorry!!! For the last few weeks I have been flat out creating and testing recipes and shooting pics for the spring issue of Dish magazine, and getting ready for my epic adventure which begins on Monday...

...and obviously that is the second thing! Like a secret squirrel I have been working away in the background on this super-exciting trip - I will be boarding a plane around midday on the 11th and heading off to see our neighbours across the ditch (that is Australia for my non-antipodean friends...just in case the map didn't give it away!). I can't tell you too much about it yet, but the pics give you a big clue as to what I'lll be getting up to. Please rest assured that regular recipes will be back very soon, and in the meantime, don't forget to have a fossick around the blog - there are over 100 recipes here already for your cooking pleasure :)

Eggplant Parmigiana


Alrighty then - it's been far two long between drinks as they say, so here for your weekend pleasure are two Italian recipes, both of which we enjoyed on the big trip. First up a true Italian classic, but no less delicious because of it, that we enjoyed in both Positano and Tuscany - Eggplant Parmigiana - layers of luscious eggplant, sandwiched with mozzarella, Parmesan and a basil leaf or two all tucked into a super-easy tomato sauce. I quite often eat vegetarian, so would happily have this with just a massive green salad, but it also works beautifully as a side for meat dishes. This is a real taste of Italy you can easily recreate for lunch or dinner with readily available ingredients - and be instantly transported! Next recipe coming, see below...!

Bucatini with Anchovies and Fennel


Next up is Bucatini with Anchovies, Parmesan and Fennel Seeds. If you are not an anchovy-lover (I am only a moderate partaker of said fish) do not be put off - it's not like you are eating big hunks of hairy, salty, boney fish ( ahem - if you love anchovies, you can totally do this by putting a couple of whole ones on top!!!), it's more like a delicious mass of slightly salty, slightly cheesey, fragrantly fennely deliciousness. On a final note, what I love about this is we are now half a world away from Europe, snuggled up in the midst of a New Zealand winter, but you know what - we can crank up some Italian opera, open up a bottle of grunty red wine, light a candle or two and be transported by our food. Cool. (Little PS - I set this up with two forks romantically thinking it would be good to share, but when Nick got home from a big run and lots of chores he 'went in' to test a mouthful and scoffed the lot...couldn't be happier - success!

Bagel with Melted Gruyere, Ham and a Poached Egg


Bagels with Melted Gruyere Cheese, Ham and Poached Eggs

Bonjour!!!! Happy 14th of July - and may I present my sneaky tribute to the classic French Croque Madame - a plump toasted bagel, topped with melty gruyere cheese, good quality ham and a poached egg. I have nothing against the original in fact I love it and you will find recipes for Classic Croque Madame and Croissant Croque Monsieur on the blog, but sometimes I must confess you need something a little more instant, no messing about with a bechamel sauce, and of course bagels are always a good idea :) If you happen to be watching the football world cup final at breakfast time, like here in New Zealand - this is perfect!

In other news it's been a busy old time on the home front - Rich the 16 year old had his tonsils out on Monday and is recovering in a reasonably stalwart fashion, Henry has once more flown the nest and is ensconced back in the aptly named 'Cube' in Wellington and Nick is back into the routine of work after our European adventure. As for me, I am all set to do my next shoot for Dish magazine (so exciting) and was very flattered to have been interviewed by the team for their website last week - which you can read in detail here. Then today I was both excited and bothered to have rearranged Henry's bedroom - his bed and desk chair are now in the garage - feeling confident that Henry will not be reading this  (if you are, sorry darling!!!)  and I have photographed every inch of his room so that it can be fully reconstructed before his return for the next holiday. In place of the furniture I now have a mini-studio with brand spanking new lights set up to use - woo hoo!!! The only bummer today was that one set doesn't go (!) so will be exchanged tomorrow - then watch out - Nick will have to drag me out of there!!! Anyhoo - on to the recipe...