Brown Sugar Apple Crumble Tart


Good Friday morning - just a very quick post of this apple crumble tart recipe that I recently put together for Dish magazine. It's basically got a brown sugar short pastry, topped with a wee bit of sweet jam, filled with loads of tart apples and then a sweet brown sugar crumbly topping. Basically all the good bits put together! You really need to serve it with softly whipped cream or ice cream to make the most of it - cool and creamy with all that fruity crumble...

Super brief state of the nation - Pog has just switched direction in Melbourne and is now lined up to go from graphic design to interior design, which as any one who knows him will attest, will suit him down to the ground. I have no doubt he will be bloody brilliant. Meanwhile Hoob has exams looming in a bit of stressy pressure to deal with - but so far he's had amazing essay results. That man/boy is more capable than he realises! And I've just finished shooting my next spread for Dish, some really delicious recipes and (I think) pretty decent pics, so hurrah :) Anyhoo - wishing you a happy (if damp) weekend...

Loaded Lamb Meatballs with eggplant hummus, yoghurt, pine nuts, coriander & mint


Check out these lamb meatballs, not bad hey!? I just put the recipe together for Dish, and they're a real winner. As it's only me at home I delivered the whole lot, with all the extra bits, to my sister's house last night, and they got a resounding thumbs up from the whole fam :) I love things eaten together which all compliment each other so beautifully like this - so first up you have the delicious spiced meatballs (great as left-overs cold in lunch-boxes etc), but load them up with garlicky eggplant hummus, salty crumbled feta, sharp red onion, creamy yoghurt with lemony pomegranate molasses, crunchy cumin spiced pine nuts, fresh bright mint and coriander and they're basically just bloody amazing!

Phew - it's been a weird old time lately, but such an incredible treat to head back to Melbourne last weekend to spend Mother's Day with Henry. His flat is hilarious, both unbelievably rumpty and super-cool at the same time - and in typical fashion Pog has transformed his bedroom and the living room into urban-chic magazine-worthy spaces. I also got to see where he will be working from today (now yesterday), and spend a bit of time with the lovely Will, rounded out with lots of eating out and a tiny bit of shopping! Meanwhile down in Welly Hoob has been getting stuck into his uni work, going to the gym, (even doing yoga), handing out his CV and is generally on an awesome proactive roll - woo hoo, go Rich! So, having been away, and not really with the program last week, it's now time for me to get my sh*t together - lots of work to do, time to get busy :)

Pear & Date Bundt Cake with Caramel Mascarpone Sauce


Well this makes a change - for once I am neither propped up in bed nor at my desk, but at the hairdresser! (Loving the wifi :) ) You may have been wondering if perhaps I had been abducted by aliens given the length of time between posts. The truth is far less exciting - I have been having a bit of a rough time lately for one reason and another, which I won't go into here, and am only just starting to poke my head back above the parapet. (No drastic worries - it's not health related).

So, here I am, waiting for my hair colour to do it's thing and anticipating escaping to Melbourne this weekend to go and have a visit with Henry for Mother's Day. Luckily I had a good catch up with Rich when he was home on uni break - but I will miss not being with both the boys on Sunday - them's the breaks hey? I will miss seeing my Mum too, but had her over for a girls' night recently, making her a twice baked pumpkin souffle (work in progress), and vanilla rhubarb layer cake which we had with a few wines and then collapsed on the couch to re-watch The Dressmaker. If you are planning a catch up with your mum this weekend, this might be just the cake for you. It took quite a bit of testing to get it just right - sweet, but not too sweet, moist but not 'sinky' and the caramel sauce lightened with a little mascarpone is just the thing to finish it off. Go give your mum a hug this weekend (even a virtual one) - you know she'll love it!

The Ultimate Lamb Burger and Rosewater Rhubarb Eton Mess


Greetings from magnificent Waiheke! God I love being out here - it is worth every moment of frazzled, rushed preparation to make the last car ferry out with one vomitous and one fretful dog to arrive to a spectacularly clear, still evening, crackling fire, fresh fish and chips and a cheeky l'il glass of wine. So here I sit now (next day) at the Waiheke Library using their  lovely free internet and getting a bit of work done for Fairfax (Mother's Day baking- coming soon). 

Meanwhile we are actually here to take advantage of the long weekend in recognition of Anzac Day (to honour the fallen soldiers of New Zealand and Australia, on the day that troops landed at Gallipoli in 1915) - and I figure these lamb burgers (that I also put together for Fairfax) are a pretty perfect Anzac meal to share with friends: good quality lamb mince, flavour-packed with cumin, coriander, garlic and chilli is moulded to fit Turkish bread roll shapes. Once cooked they are sandwiched with ripe tomato, creamy avocado and iron-rich spinach, fresh vibrant raw beetroot and a creamy, minty cucumber and yoghurt dressing. To follow, a decadent little glass of Rosewater Rhubarb Eton Mess - crumbly sweet meringue, tart rhubarb and pillowy cream flavoured with fragrant rose water and topped with Turkish delight and chopped pistachios. Seriously - the whole lot is bloody delicious, if I say so myself!

Now, time to go and savour Waiheke a bit more - we all followed our usual routines this morning: I went for my monster walk, Nick took the dogs to the beach, and Rich (up from uni in Wellington for semester break) slept. So now I think a wander around the shops is in order, then back to the section for a big cup of tea and a few hours reading on the deck. Wish Pog was here too, but by crikey that man/boy has been busy transforming his new room in Melbourne into a lux haven - such an amazing 'eye'! See you again soon...have a great weekend :)

Spicy Fish Tacos


Good morning to you from my normal blogging location - in bed with a morning cup of tea :) With the long Anzac weekend ahead for Australia and New Zealand I thought it timely to post a couple of relaxed entertaining recipes. First up is this one for spicy fish tacos which I put together a while back for the beautiful Dish magazine. The fish is coated in a spiced flour with a good l'il smoked paprika and chilli kick, cosied up with a crunchy slaw, creamy avocado, sweet mango and zesty, lime and garlic crema all wrapped up in a warm tortilla. A few coriander leaves (that's cilantro to some) on top and every mouthful is exploding with vibrant flavour. Before the grim reality of winter wet weather kicks in, gather up a few friends, put everything out on the table and let them help themselves. (And on that note, there is a bit of prep to be done but then it is too easy - lay out toppings/warm tortillas/cook fish - that's it!).

Aaaand in other news, I'm trying to shake of the tired grumpies from too little sleep seeing as for the last two nights the dogs have woken me up around 2am barking and hassling some poor wee hedgehog in the garden. There is no let up until I drag them back inside, and then my brain is in turbo-mode and sleep is out the window. Bloody dog door - middle-of-the-night wake-ups or pee's getting to be a close choice! I'm sure my morning walk and a few coffees will help - and then in a flurry I'm shooting for Fairfax, Nick arrives home from China/Blangladesh/Hong Kong, Hoob arrives from Wellington and we all head out to Waiheke! Ta dah! Just spirit me to 7pm on the deck with a glass of wine... No Pog unfortunately, but the good news is he has found and moved into a new flat (hurrah!) in Melbourne, and is in room transformation mode. Right: up, walk, coffee - and keep an eye out for another new recipe coming in time for the weekend!

Super-green Pizzas with zucchini, mozzarella, broccoli, watercress, rocket & avocado


I am sitting here in a wee satisfied glow having just finished a shoot for the Wine Friend company (such a good idea, they deliver wine that suits your taste so that you get introduced to new wines via their recommendations, without buying duds), and not only do I love the shots (hurrah!), but I didn't spill a drop (see a few posts back for my last wine spilling drama...). Not only that but it's Fridaaaaay tomorrow (now today - even better), so just 'yay' anyway, and after three weekends in a row of being away, I am at home this weekend. Drinks with girlfriends Friday - excellent. Saturday, big walk and (long overdue) garden tidy up and house clean, then friends for dinner...oooh feeling like some kind of autumnal loveliness - possibly a porcini-rich mushroom pasta dish or pumpkin, kumara and pancetta risotto :) Sunday is all about taking it easy, so I'm thinking a big walk then reading my book with a chilled afternoon!

As you may know we are total pizza fans in our house, and usually head straight for toppings such as prosciutto and mozzarella or smoked salmon and capers – but given that I am flying solo at the moment, I'm going to ask my vegetarian big-sister over on Sunday night to share this totally green version - my new absolute favourite. Surprisingly packed with flavour it's really 'naughty and nice' with a crispy, cheesy base that gives way to sweet just-cooked zucchini, flash roasted broccoli, peppery rocket and watercress and creamy avocado – but the thing that makes it sing is the lemon and garlic spiked oil and sprinkling of basil leaves – bloody delicious! And seriously, you don't have to be vego to like it, Nick and I had it before he flew out, and he loved it too, the flavour and texture combination is irresistable :)

Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Mousses with Plums and Hazelnut Cookies


Hello-lo as my sister would say! I'm tapping away, about to go and 'put my face on' and head off to mother-in-law's sister's wedding (as you do), and thought I should get this ready to post. Look at these lovely, luscious beauties!!! This is just my kind of dessert - creamy, smooth, milky Frangelico-spiked chocolate mousse topped with a crunchy crumbling of hazelnuts and a plump, tart plum. I used tinned Watties Black Doris plums for mine, but of course if you fancy, you can preserve your own! (I'm a sucker for the tinned ones - nostalgia maybe..?). Anyhoo, I love the bit of sharpness the plums add to balance out all that rich chocolatey goodness - and the fact that they are an absolute doddle to make - seriously quick and easy - but look so pretty. I served them with some little homemade tuille-esque hazelnut biscuits, but they would be just as good with your choice of thin dessert bikkies. This is also one of my fortnightly recipes for the lovely Dish magazine, feel free to check out my Tuck In section on their website! :)

Feeling a bit nervous about the afore-mentioned wedding at which I have been enlisted to take photos - errrp - it's a bit like a barbecue master taking over the patisserie section...hope it all goes OK. (After this many years I feel pretty relaxed shooting any plate of food you fancy - but people - at night time - using my flash...cross your fingers for me). Anyhoo - current quick state of the nation before I go and get busy with the concealer - Henry is moving flat in Melbourne, or more precisely, is moving out of his flat, but hasn't quite got a new one lined up (breathing very calmly about that), and still working away at Nique, Rich is getting into the swing of uni life and actually phoned me for a chat today - I just about had a heart failure thinking there must be some emergency but luckily it was just for a lovely update, and he's also coming up for his semester break next Thursday (yippee!), aaand Nick is back up in China doing what he does at the Shanghai office. So, yes that leaves me and the dogs. And my book. And girlfriends for sanity-restoring chats. And wine. And chocolate :)

OK - better go - have a great end-of-your-week, and keep an eye out - another new recipe coming for the weekend...

Pear and Almond Frangipane Tart with Honey Semifreddo


Omigod - let me tell you (very quickly) about my morning...well I was up super early and primed to shoot a gorgeous recipe I have coming soon which I did for Bonds (vibrant green pizza - the topping is green not the base, it's not some broccoli base...). Anyhoo, 7:30am, shot set up, camera ready, tethering working (long story), pizza in the oven looking delicious, aaaand then I bumped a reflector board which bumped a backboard and hey-ho dominoes, dived to save my camera while a glass of red wine tipped over and slo-mo glug glug glugged into the carpet and spattered up the curtain. Arrggghhh. So, camera all good, arm scraped and a wee bit tender, carpet stained and curtain ruined.  All by 7:45am. I contemplated a bit of a chin wobble then thought 'stuff it', cleaned it up as best I could (oh lordy the curtain...) and rang the carpet cleaners who said they'd be with me by 1:30pm. Back on track I looked forward to seeing the cleaners until they phoned around 3pm to say they wouldn't make it today. Blergh. Big glass of wine coming up (I'm writing this Thursday evening not Friday morning), and I shall be getting that big glass to my mouth with a steady hand and no spills!!!

Right then - to the you may know I’m a sucker for tarts of any kind, big, small, sweet, savoury – you name it, I’m in. This recipe is one I shot for Fairax, and a real favourite, perfect for this time of year with a bit of an autumnal vibe. I’m not quite ready for a steamy hot pud, but I do crave something with a little more comfort factor and the sweet soft pears nestled in almond frangipane achieve it perfectly, topped with the honey semifreddo the result is outrageously good. The pears can also be served whole once poached, with a little of the semifreddo, and if you boil the poaching liquid for an extra 15 minutes once the pears are removed, you will have a lovely pear syrup to pour over them too! If you can't be faffed with the semifreddo just serve with a little vanilla bean ice cream :)

Quick Prawn Curry


Hello, hello - this is going to be a super speedy wee note to go with this super speedy prawn curry recipe! I have just arrived back from Melbourne and my long weekend with Pog (Henry), and thanks to the Easter break, Melbourne and heading away again on Friday to Hawkes Bay with Nick, I have ten days work to do in three. Ooooh it was so lovely to see Henry, what a gorgeous fella, working hard, looking wonderful, but living in, it has to be said, a total cesspit of a flat - the only decent room is his bedroom which he has transformed into a stylish haven. Anyhoo, we ate, shopped walked and talked and it was bloody lovely - just so sad to leave knowing I won't see him for another four months! As an added bonus I had a fab outing with my aunt and cousin visiting the Nicholas Gardens with lunch at The Piggery and all three of us snapping away, I feel that perhaps the photography thing might be a family obsession passion!

Right then - prawn curry - this is a recipe I put together for Fairfax, and is a great little week-night saviour, and also perfect to take a long to a pot-luck curry night. It is way more aromatic than you might expect, with an earthy base and a zesty finish! All you need is some store-bought naan or paratha and freshly cooked rice to serve. And possibly a beer. Enjoy, and I'll be back soon! :)

A Waiheke Easter


Gooood Morning from the airport! I'm so excited to be heading over for a weekend in Melbourne to visit Henry - woo hooooo! As usual we headed overseas (haha) to Waiheke for Easter and had a wonderful few days with Hoob up from uni in Wellington, and beautiful island weather to enjoy. Sadly Pog couldn't get time off work in Melbourne, but I plan on making up for it when I see him with some mum-money dinners! Our Easter feast this year was made on the barbecue - two slow roasted legs of lamb, studded with garlic and cooked on a veritable bush of rosemary. To go with it a salad of rocket, baby ripe cherry tomatoes, cucumber, feta and avocado with a herb and yoghurt dressing, and couscous with roasted red peppers, caramelised onions and pine nut dukkah. No pics of that lot I'm afraid, I was way too busy cooking, talking, laughing and drinking wine to get any good photos! We had friends and rellies with a good dose of young people to hang out with - bloody perfect. Thanks to Easter, there are no new recipes on the blog this week (whaaaat?), but fear not, I shall be back and on the case with more next week. In the meantime, hope everyone had a safe and happy Easter break, and I'll see you soon....!!! :)

(A couple more extra sneaky Easter-on-Waiheke pics below)