Asian Adventuring

25.6.15


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

18.6.15

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

14.6.15


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 nights...how 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 :)




Winter

12.6.15

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

9.6.15

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

7.6.15


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 :)



Dark Chocolate Tart with Sea Salt

4.6.15


A long, long, long time ago when I first started this blog I posted a recipe for a dark chocolate tart and at the time I was really happy with the pics which I merrily posted on social media thinking they were bloody awesome. Now I look back at those pics which still appear endlessly on Pinterest and want to stick pins in my eyes (OK - not quite) but oh my God I had no idea what I was doing, and I now think they are soooo average!!!). I am still learning every single day, every shoot, every recipe, every edit - and I still have a long way to go - but just for the moment, I do quite like the update on what has turned out to be an extraordinarily popular recipe. (No doubt in another six months I will be cringing and ready to shoot it again!) The original had a topping of blackberries and praline, but I have to say I am completely addicted to the combination of super-dark chocolate with sea salt which somehow deepens the flavour and makes it really special. You might think this looks tricky, but I promise you it is so easy to make - seriously simple. Thanks again to Fairfax for giving me the freedom to write recipes like this and share them with you :)








Stormy Night Carrot, Cumin & Coriander Soup with Red Lentils and Dukkah

3.6.15


Could it rain any more - I hope someone is busy getting the ark sorted...?! Crikey I was going to post this later in the week, but I feel that this is a soup emergency. On the way home from work grab some carrots and some dukkah and delicious bread (also check the ingredients list in case you need anything else. This is going to take 40 minutes to cook, so throw it in the pot before you change into your snuggy trackies and warm jumper. Pour yourself a glass of wine, find something good to watch, read or listen to you, and let the soup do it's job!



Salted Caramel Cheesecake Mousse


Yes indeed a totally luscious, creamy, caramelly, cheesecakey mousse toppped with liquid gold caramel and caramel popcorn and a final sprinkling of sea salt (basically a pot of completely delicious calories). This recipe is for special occasions or for when emergency decadence is required and then Oh My God...phwaor!!!!! This is another recipe I developed for Fairfax and I must admit when I was testing, making and shooting them I would just have a morsel to check that I had the flavours right, and then perhaps a touch more to check they weren't too sweet...and how about the texture? Dammit - another one gone, and seriously I usually have pretty good self control! (Back to yoga asap). 





Rhubarb, Raspberry and Rosehip Deliciousness

29.5.15


And now for something bright and breezy - I had so much fun shooting these cocktails and recipe for my mystery beverage client - mwahahahaha!!! All will be revealed as soon as the product hits the stores, and then I will also be able to link you to the recipes :) I love my job - especially when I get to work with such a totally fabulous product :)