spicy chicken tacos with lime tomato salsa, grilled corn & margaritas


Good morning from a running-very-late me on this Wednesday morning. Currently I am supposed to be in the car on my way to the beach to visit my lovely friend Anna for a few nights (with dogs and Rich in tow), and yet I'm not - I am sitting here at my bloody computer catching up on stuff! This is what happens when you take your holidays just as everyone is arriving back at work...smart move? No. I arrived back on Sunday night having had three lovely days in Melbourne with Henry and Will. Despite the searing 37˚C (98.6 ˚F) heat we schlepped around the city shopping, visited Henry's new flat and Will's place too, and ate delicious, inspiring food everywhere we went. Pog's room is supremely stylish, God that man has an outrageously good eye - I am so lucky to have him designing my book! Will was, as always, a total darling and it was an incredible treat to see them both :)

But now I am back, having delayed my wee beach trip by one day already due to work, am now going to stick my hands over my ears/eyes (not while driving obviously), to all the stuff I should be doing and leap in the car. I haven't had a swim in the NZ sea since last Christmas, so I really do feel like it is time to fling myself into the tide and wash away the cobwebs. If you happen to be hanging around a beach this weekend, or just keen to keep the holiday vibe going, you might want to give this recipe a whirl. It is one I put together for Fairfax, so appearing in newspapers around the country  and on Stuff today - chilli marinated chicken, grilled on the barbecue then snuggled up with limey tomatoes, siracha spiked mayo, grilled corn, avocado and coriander in a warm tortilla...just add margaritas to serve! (Henry I feel that Gypsy Kings might be compulsory...)

New Year's restorative breakfast - starting 2017 right


Happy New Year!!!!!!!! As you know I have been really looking forward to seeing the back end of last year, so I am bloody beside myself that it is finally 2017. Bring it on is all I have to say. I have a huge year planned with the publication of my first book here in New Zealand, possibly Australia and (with every fibre of my being I hope) in the United States. Last year I had a good few months of eating cheese and crackers and drinking whisky for dinner (the end of a marriage is tough), but was happily just getting my act together by the end of the year. Then Christmas happened and things went rapidly down-hill - champagne at breakfast, cocktails at 4pm, endless glasses of wine - falalalala! Then that kind of rolled on into the holidays, and with the relief of getting to the end of the year and making it through the festive season it was pretty much a free-for-all.

But day 1 of 2017 and this year I am determined to get back to looking after myself, it's going to be super-important with all the stuff I want to achieve. I absolutely love yoga (ohmmm) and going for long walks, but while I love exercise and wholesome eating, I am not into mega-extremes - it is my belief that deprivation isn't necessary to live a healthy life, moderation is. Any waaay, enough words, here you have my healthier take on the traditional fry-up - just as satisfying and nourishing as the old fashioned fried sausages and eggs, but with fresh, spicy flavours: wholemeal grainy toast topped with soft, herby home-made labneh (yoghurt cheese), tender asparagus, creamy avocado, a poached egg and a good sprinkling of fragrant dukkah. So much good stuff! Wholegrain bread for fibre, vitamin rich asparagus and avocado, salmon for it's lovely omega 3s, egg and labneh for protein and (the labneh) for calcium. Wishing you an absolutely stellar start to the new year - wherever you are I hope you are surrounded by friends and loved ones, but if not - you get this brekky all to yourself :)
(PS - as this recipe has a loverly sponsor I also have a $150 prize to give away - head on down to the bottom of the recipe for details!)

Queso fundidio, beer, chorizo, chilli & cheese dip


Helloooo, I thought it timely to share this recipe I put together for the gorgeous Dish magazine earlier in the year...I can't think of anything better for an outdoor, southern hemisphere New Year's get-together. (Actually it would be pretty bloody fabulous in the freezing north too). I have been making variations on this hot cheesy dip for years as it's perfect as a bite with a drink when camping. The beer keeps it smooth and ‘scoopable’, the chorizo, peppers, paprika and chilli give it a kick and the tomato and coriander add a touch of freshness. Best eaten with a massive mound of corn chips.

So this New Year's will be a pretty quiet one for me, with just a few of my nearest and dearest gathered at mine for some drinkies and nibbles by the outdoor fire. I'll be missing the boys, Rich at R&V and Henry in Melbourne, but I will be sending them my love and the traditional midnight text. Rich should be home tomorrow, (crazy that I miss him again after he's only been home from uni for a bit) , and then I'll be counting down the days to my quick trip to Melbourne to catch up with Pog - it's been just four months since he was here for his birthday, but it feels like a lifetime.What a huge year for everyone - Henry establishing his new life, starting interior design, changing flat 3x and meeting the darling Will in Melbourne, Rich getting through his first year at Vic with flying colours while philosophising up a storm, and me adjusting to life on my own - dammit it's been hard. I am so over 2016, I've never been more ready to see the arrival of a new year. Wherever you are, wishing you fun and safe times with good friends - enjoy, have a couple of drinks, a sneaky snog at midnight and if you're old enough sing Auld Langs Syne. But most of all I hope you get the chance to make some fabulous, happy memories tonight, that's what it's all about isn't it?

Merry christmas & happy new year!


I am so excited to finally share my big news with you - yeeeeee ha - 2017 is going to be the year of the cookbook!!! I am thrilled to be publishing my first book which will be due in stores around New Zealand (working on Australia and the US) near the end of next year. It really has been a long time coming, but now I finally know how I want it to be, and I can't wait to put it all together. Just as exciting for me, is that my super-talented eldest son Henry is doing the design. Cheers, and here's to you - huge thanks for coming here so often and giving me the confidence to give it a shot, and to my darling friends and family for their encouragement.

 I'll see you back here in a few weeks, in the meantime, travel safely, make the most of shared times with friends and family and don't forget to have a good old fossick around the blog for holiday cooking inspo...

...alrighty then, that's it from me - 2017? Bring it on!!!

Christmas cinnamon figgy swirl ice cream with praline


Have you got the latest issue of Dish magazine?! If so hunt out this recipe I created for Fisher & Paykel - it is the perfect summer Christmas dessert (she says humbly...!). It is a no-churn ice cream flavoured with the tastes of Christmas - brown sugar, cinnamon and brandy, with a figgy ginger paste swirled through. Falalala...two more sleeps to go...

Christmas & new year inspo


Morning all - racing out the door to start my Christmas shopping (!!!) but wanted to quickly share this first - if you're looking for a bit of inspo for Christmas & new year entertaining check out some of my favourite recipes, and don't forget there are also over 300 recipes in the index for you to check out! Hang in there.....

Fiji - take me baaaaaack!


Bulaaaaaaa! Crikey - how long have I been back from Fiji now? It feels like ages, probably because it has been, and what with Christmas and deadlines I have been running around like a headless chook since my return. I have actually already submitted two stories to other media, and they will be appearing in print soon - so I will endeavour not to repeat myself here, just in case you come across those too. I was absolutely hanging out for this trip, and when you scroll down through the pics, you will see why. 

I was travelling with a team of three other New Zealand food writers and it all began (following our flight from Auckland to Fiji) with a 15 minute helicopter ride from the Nadi airport to the tropical paradise of Vomo Island. I had (of course) googled it assiduously before leaving - but still wasn't quite prepared for the real deal. On a computer you can't feel the gorgeous heat seeping into your bones, feel the gentle sea breeze, see the sun glistening on the unbelievably clear turquoise sea, or feel it's gentle warmth. Forgive me - but if there is a time to wax lyrical, this is it. Having been met by a team of beaming, singing staff we were ushered into our totally jaw-dropping accomodation at The Palms, one of the island's four private residences - right on the beachfront, with a stunning pool, four bedrooms and 16-hour a day butler service (provided in our case by the beautifully motherly Vani), it's no surprise that we were squealing like fourteen year-old girls at a slumber party. First up, we headed for a stroll around to get our bearings - check out the pics below and you will understand why the call of the beach then pool was impossible to resist!

We felt completely indulged during our two-day stay, wining and dining on carefully crafted dishes and exquisite wines, with sunset cocktails and dinners by the pool, enjoying down-time paddling about in the sea and having the opportunity for  a blissful facial at the Kui spa followed by cups of sensational, spicy ginger tea - bloody fabulous! There were a couple of stand out moments for me - the first was finding my way up the Mt Vomo running trail just before sunrise one morning. From the peak I could see a track in the distance leading out to a private yoga spot with unbelievably vast sea views and a specially built platform providing the most incredible 'sun salute' location imaginable. I had been told how to get there, so followed my instructions and arrived just at the perfect time to practice for 45 minutes as the sun rose. It was so magical I made sure to get back the following morning, this time with my camera - and even though I was cringing madly at the thought, I set the timer and snapped a pic so that you can see how amazing the surroundings are. (Cue lots of ridiculous sprinting from camera to yoga deck for sun-salute position, feeling like a complete and utter twat...). It really was an incredibly special place despite my mortifying selfie!

To read on, just click on the recipe link below :)

Dark chocolate, whiskey, sultana & ginger fudge


We're almost there - one week to go and Christmas will be upon us! To date I have not bought a single present, nor I have I given any thought to what I will be serving at Christmas Eve drinks or Christmas Day brunch - bloody hell, this is very uncharacteristic, and adding to my current frenzied state of mind. Meanwhile I have a Cuisine magazine party tonight (I'm taking a dessert - also not planned), a week of meetings coming up, including the Dish magazine party (it's the festive season for sure) and will thankfully be getting the stitches out from three moles I had removed last week by Friday. I couldn't care less about scarring or the slight pain associated with the excisions, I am crossing my fingers for no more melanoma-news (obvs), but not being able to go to yoga or have lovely big baths is really doing my head in. 

But I know it'll all be OK - I will think of dessert shortly (South American themed...maybe bitter dark chocolate/dulce de leche swirl ice cream with toasted almond crumble in mini waffle cones...also quite summery and festive?), make some Christmas lists (gift vouchers galore), Christmas Eve - a big platter of buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, basil and olive oil with mushroom bruschetta, pesto pizza bites, smoked fish arancini with lemon aioli and this fudge slice for dessert. Brunch of berry bircher muesli, salmon and salad as per my latest Dish spread...haha, right - bloody sorted!!! Have a great weekend - and if you're scratching your head for a sweety-treaty gift to give at this time of year - this slice packed with whiskey-soaked sultanas, ginger, dark chocolate and gingernuts is quick, easy and mega-rich. The gold flakes (if your local gourmet food store has some) are really expensive but you only need a tiny sprinkle, they look a bit flash, and they last for ever!

Right, can't go to yoga (sniff), but I can go for a walk...have a great weekend...falalalala....

Indian spiced lamb & lentil burgers with easy tomato kasundi


God I am so sick and tired of this year - I have to say if there was an 'annus horriblis' this has been it. (No not horrible anus, you know - horrible year...) Being left after 26 years of marriage is a pretty rough gig and my self-esteem has taken a total beating. Thankfully, even though I am having a momentary set-back (long story), after loads of sessions with a lovely psychologist and a ton of yoga, I am feeling so much more like my old self, and with that comes a sense of freedom and happiness, even my beaten up old confidence is starting to slowly recover. All I need now is to kiss 2016 goodbye and get stuck into 2017! Anyhooooo - I have many exciting kick-arse plans for next year which I will share with you before Christmas, but in the meantime this is a great early summer, weekend-gathering kind of recipe - Indian spiced lamb and lentil burgers with rich tomato kasundi (kind of like a relish). The kasundi can be hotter or milder depending on your inclination, and makes a great condiment for barbecue and holiday season - it's even jolly good on the classic sausage-in-white-bread. Just add a few beersies or a cider or two, and you're all set. I have a couple more recipes to share before the 'big day', so hang in there, don't let the festive stress get to you, and I'll see you here in a few days :)

Easy Like Sunday Morning - Poached Eggs with Hummus, Avocado & Dukkah


Just re-posting this little beauty from a while back...can't help myself, it's raining, I don't want to get out of bed...wish it was Sunday morning! :)

Feeling easy like Sunday morning, thanks Lionel Richie, and thanks yoga, which seems to have some kind of calmative effect on me so that when I finish, I can float off ready for the day ahead. Yesterday as I was in my savasana at the end (flopped out lying on my back), trying to be present and in the moment etc etc I was feeling super relaxed and fabulous, but also sneakily planning to make this as soon as I got home. Thank God no-one else can see inside your head when you're lying there, I feel like everyone else around me is wafting around on a cloud while I'm thinking about food. Never mind! Do you need a recipe for this - probably not - you can see what it is. A piece of delicious Vogels (wholegrain) toast topped with garlicky hummus, avocado, a perfectly poached egg and a sprinkling of dukkah. Where to start in my rave about this perfect breakfast - I love the crunch of the toast, earthiness of the hummus, smooth avocado, the silkiness of the egg and the texture of the spicy, nutty dukkah...totally delicious. I'll include the dukkah recipe below and some brief instructions just in case they come in handy. Wherever you are, southern hemisphere in the midst of freezing, grim snow or rain, or northern with a gentle spring kicking in, this is sure to set you right for your Sunday morning. Have a wonderful day :)