gruyere cheese & bacon tart with celeriac & cauliflower soup


Helloooo - God it feels good to be back into the swing of things, getting blog posts done, actually doing a bit of house tidying, and generally speaking not working every single minute of every day...well not quite any way! Today's recipes are two I put together for Fairfax - a gentle, creamy celeriac and cauliflower soup and richly indulgent gruyere cheese and bacon tart. They are both bloody good, eaten either individually or together, but that tart...I usually give a lot of food away so that it doesn't go to waste, but I sliced the tart into wedges and froze it to make about seven dinners for myself! The pastry can seem like a bit of a nightmare while you are making it and wrangling it into the tin - but I promise you it's worth it :)

Meanwhile not much else to report. Henry and Will are ticking along with daily life in Melbourne, and Hoob is counting down to his next semester break in Wellington. I am really getting to the tail-end of book production with the final read-through next week - then, files will be uploaded, plotters out, approved (I hope without too much issue) and onto printing. I can't quite believe it's almost done! Any hoo - the wind is howling around outside but it's time for me to haul arse out of bed and take the dogs for a walk (and me too). Don't forget if you're a regular visitor (or a new one - welcome!), you can always say hi here on the blog, or pop in over at my Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. See you again soon...

Pulled lamb, rosemary & cheese pie


Wait, what, didn't I just post a pie? Well yes...but this is a different one! I don't know, I couldn't help myself - it's pie and rugby weather, what can I say? This one (or two actually) I put together for my lovely mates at Dish magazine, and is made from super tender, slow roasted lamb leg which is then shredded, folded in a little intense gravy then tucked in a pastry shell with some melty mozzarella for maximum indulgence. Basically - bung the lamb in the oven for 5 1/2 hours, shred it and plop it in pastry. There is a tiny bit more to it, but really not that much! I love this with a good tomato chutney on the side, served with a creamy mash and either peas or blanched beans. Comfort food extravaganza :)

Right then - crikey it's been a busy time. I zoomed down to Welly to see Hoob last weekend and it was such a treat. He was bloody fabulous in Chicago, I am so very proud of him! The after-party was a bit of a hoot too, drinks, followed by more drinks and a bit of a boogie 'til 3am...haven't done that for a while. Next morning brekky, basketball (Rich not me obvs), then I was back on the plane. It was just the ticket after being house-bound for so long - like a little holiday! I can't wait 'til I get the chance to hang out with Henry like that again - I haven't seen him for six months which is such poo. I'll get there soon Pog - promise, I'm hanging out to see your new work, the incredible-looking apartment, lovely Will and your gorgeous self :)!

Since then it's been back to work, work, yoga, work with my darling nephew Rupert staying a couple of nights, and a few lovely friend catch-ups along the way. The book is on the cusp of being done - the second cover sample is under way (I bloody love it - let's hope you do too), the foreword and index are being written and I can see the finish line...I can't quite believe it! Meanwhile I've also just shot my next spread for Dish and am about to start working on the next issue of Cuisine. No rest for the wicked...I must be very wicked...right then, stuff to do, have a great weekend!

Beef, Barley and Vegetable Soup with Parsley, Rocket and Walnut Pesto Toasties


 Quick l'il re-post of this perfect winter soup, originally posted waaaay back in September 2015!

I am writing this as I watch the weather forecast on TV, and despite the fact that it is now officially spring in New Zealand, the weather forecast is predictably grim: 0˚ or 1˚C degree lows in many places over night (-2˚C in Christchurch!) and rain all over the country in the next few days. Soooo even though the shops are full of spring fashion - this is a good option for lunch or dinner over the coming weekend! This soup (which I put together for Fairfax) reminds me of my childhood - it's very similar to one made by both my mum and paternal grandmother...minus the pesto :) The irony is that even though it sets me off into fits of nostaligia, it is also just the soup for budding hipsters, made as it is with a bone broth stock. Bone broth - hee hee - to me it's just stock and reminds me how everything old can be new again, ideas go in cycles (whole foodies, of which I am kind of one - erm - check out the 70s, Mollie Katzen and Moosewood!), but I do love it that ideas that make sense stick around.

Apart from that I am also bursting with pride (next morning addendum) after having watched Rich appearing as the character Kash in last nights episode of the NZ comedy/drama Step Dave. It was his first time acting for TV (apart from a KFC ad), and I thought he made the transition from stage beautifully - go Hoobie! :)

Chicken, leek & mushroom pie & mini spiced lamb & eggplant pies


Oh my God I can't actually remember the last time I typed out a blog post sitting in bed with a cup of tea - it feels like an eternity ago! But here I am, second cup in hand, thinking you might like to give these recipes a whirl for the weekend. Who doesn't love a good pie? These two variations are ones I put together for Fairfax so appearing in newspapers around the country today - the first is a traditional chicken, leek and mushroom pie, swathed in flaky, buttery pastry and the other a batch of mini spiced lamb and eggplant pies, studded with crunchy pine nuts. Both are perfect for eating while watching the rugby with a few mates so good timing with the Lions tour kicking off (pun much?) this weekend.

Crikey, where to start on latest seems like a lot of time has passed but the majority of it has been spent finishing of the cookbook. It has been a massive mission (ahem, perhaps slightly more challenging than first anticipated), but it is almost, very nearly finished. I am so f*kng excited. Both to be finishing, 'cos let's face it, I haven't had a day off since mid-January, but also, because, unusual for a semi-perfectionist such as myself, I absolutely love it. I will be able to share more details with you soon, but meanwhile I am eternally grateful to Henry and my gorgeous NZ designer for all of their hard work...they have made it beautiful. In addition to working on the book Pog has started a new job with uber-cool furniture store, Space, in Melbourne and been throwing gorgeous little dinner parties with Will - table set, fire crackling in the grate and record player spinning. Those two make it look easy, even when it's not, I'm so proud of them! Meanwhile back in Welly Hoob has done an absolutely stellar job of juggling uni, work, basketball and acting in a local production of Chicago. I have been so impressed that he has managed it all so well, and seriously enjoyed reading the odd essay on American politics along the way. I am flying down to see the final night on Saturday and can't wait to see my darling 'baby'...eeeeee, I'm so excited!

Right then, must get up - try the pies if you have a minute - I promise they are both bloody easy to make and delicious. With the chicken pie, if you can't be faffed with the base, just spoon the filling into a dish, top with the pastry lid and you have pot pie. If you must.

Mother's Day pot roast chicken with fennel & apples - Le Creuset competition!


Woooooooo! Competition time for Mother's Day - I am so excited to have three of these absolutely gorgeous Le Creuset Stoneware Heritage Oval covered dishes to give away. I have long been a fan (and collector) of the brand, and I can't think of a more special gift for any mum...and it is too easy to enter. All you need to do is reply in the comments below, telling me what quality you love most about your mother - for me it is my mum's unshakeable faith that things will always work out in the end! I'll be choosing three lucky winners and announcing their names on the blog Wednesday 10th May at 5pm. (See below the recipe for further details).

I had so much fun playing around with the dish and decided that my perfect Mother's Day lunch or dinner would be this pot-roasted chicken with fennels and apple. I stuffed it with lemon, garlic and fennel stalks, then nestled it on a bed of onion, fennel and pancetta. It is started covered to lock in all the lovely moisture, then finished with a good blast uncovered to get the rich, burnished skin. I would serve this with a mound of mash, some green beans, and a bowl of creme fraiche swirled with dijon mustard on the side. A few glasses of bubbly never go astray when it's time to say thank you either...

Wishing you a great week, and happy time spent celebrating your mum next weekend - I so wish I had my lovely men/boys to celebrate with, but I'm lucky to be catching up with my mum instead! Thanks so much to the lovely team at Le Creuset for their support - and don't forget to enter below!

Cheesy stuffed giant pasta shells


Well hello there - you are definitely justified in thinking I have dropped off the face of the earth, but I'm still heeeeere! It has been a seriously long while, but I am so fkng excited to say I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with the book. I can't believe it - I have been helped and supported by so many amazing people, for a 'solo' endeavour it has been a massive team effort. Any way, I still have six weeks to go, so mustn't get ahead of myself, I'm just starting to feel like this book might actually really happen.

Meanwhile - cheesy goodness squashed into pasta shells and baked in a tomato passata - not much more to say really, other than it is really bloody good. To prove that miracles do exist my 'sausages-and-mash' man Rich has become fully vegetarian over the last year - and this is one of the dishes that he requests when he is home, (and that I have sent frozen in containers to his flat!), I guess because it has that same feel-good, comfort factor. Dear old darling, he has taken on a mountain of commitments in Welly - what with study, work, basketball and acting in a local production - I am full of motherly concern! Across the Tasman Henry's life has been given a full shake up - having had his course at Mercer Design School suddenly cancelled (grrrrrr) his employer has now gone into receivership (ffs) so he is now also without a job. So - the mother of all double-whammies. I am so proud to say he has barely faltered in his stride, and instead is looking at an exciting new enterprise while doing some final touches to the (almost finished) book. Thank God for the steady Will at his side!

Right then, because I am the world's most pedantic perfectionist (yoga flow let-it-go stuff not withstanding), I am off to re-shoot two recipes for the book this morning. Dammit if I only ever do one, I may as well get it right....(or at least 90% anyway...ommmmm).

Potato Latkes with Smoked Salmon, Feta Cream Cheese Whip & Quick Pickled Red Onions


L'il re-post of this recipe from October last year. My apologies but I have been so flat-out with the book and work, that things have been a bit quiet on the bloggie front lately. Counting down to final deadlines and then it will be back to business as usual :) I can't wait to give you a few sneak-peeks from the book in the coming months...but in the meantime, these latkes are bloody good!

Good morning from an overcast but not unpleasant Wellington. I am lying here (in bed in the hotel with a cup of tea as usual) wrangling my blog format - for some reason it has been glitching lately...a bloody nightmare! (Hence the bollocking great indent above - I have been trying to remove that gap for the last 15 minutes - why is it there? It is not usually there? Arggggghhhh...and now it is no longer there, thanks so much Philip Sole Wed Design!). Any waaay, I am in Welly to see the beautiful Hoob who turns 19 years old today! Unbelievable that my gorgeous little man, such a cheery, enthusiastic perky sausage is now a man, 6 foot and strapping, almost through his first year at uni and basically 'out in the world'...God I wish I could go back in time for five minutes just to smell his stinky little feet and give him a massive cuddle... 

Due to his study commitments and my workload it is just a super fleeting visit to wish him a happy birthday - last night we hung out at Mexico drinking margaritas and blindly adding the hottest sauce they have (that would be me) to the soft shell taco (with slow cooked lamb, ancho & coffee adobo, corn mayo, spiced chickpea), and this morning we're heading down to Olive for Brunch. Gah - it's so weird - I've already been through this with Henry but round two with Rich is no think your babies are grown men is so strange, and in these new adult bodies that they present to the world, I can still see their 7-year-old selves. I couldn't be prouder of them both.

Right, to the food! It seems appropriate that today's recipe is a brunch-y one (although I would definitely eat this for dinner), inspired by a meal I had on my recent trip to Brisbane. Crispy potato latkes shallow fried in a wee bit of coconut oil, with a side of thinly sliced smoked salmon, quickly pickled red onions and a very versatile feta and cream cheese whip - so you have crunchy spuds, sharp, vibrant onions, salmony (haha) salmon and slightly salty, creamy whip topped off with aromatic crunchy dukkah and a few sprigs of fresh dill. If you fancy top everything with a gently poached egg...not essential but it'd also be fab. I popped the recipe together for Fairfax - so given that it will be in the newspaper in Welly today, I will actually be able to see it in print! Have a good one...

Easter Slow Roast Lamb with rosemary, garlic, & vine tomatoes


I feel a bit sheepish (l'il lamb joke) to be re-posting this again, but it is such a good Easter recipe it seems silly not to...hope everyone is enjoying a happy Easter :)

Zucchini & Pea Fritters with Feta Yoghurt Whip


Goooood morning - and I hope that if you are in New Zealand, you are hunkered down somewhere safe and dry as we await the arrival of the 'biggest storm in 50 years'. Bloody hell - not good timing with people travelling around the country to visit loved ones for today's recipe is my version of sunshine on a cloudy day (thanks Temptations) - with pea and zucchini fritters given an extra kick with chilli, mint and zingy lemon and my favourite - the salty feta smear on the side. Feel free to amp things up with sides - poached eggs, bacon and avocado would all work well with the fresh ripe tomatoes. The recipe serves 2-3 but is really easy to double or triple to feed more. 

It's going to be very much a head down bum up Easter round my place - I am on a mission to get as much work done as I can over the break - and while I will miss my babies (the 6 foot tall ones) desperately, I know that Henry will be like a Pog (pig) in mud in his lovely new flat with the darling Will, and that Hoob will be zooming up to Auckland before too long. Poor darling, his bloody incessant cough is back and worse than ever...I hate not having him here to uber-mother with hot baths, lemon honey drinks and scrambled eggs on a tray. It sucks. Meanwhile I will annoy the crap out of him with messages and be hoping that he feels better very soon.

Sending a big Happy Easter to everyone who pops in here on a regular basis - and if you get bored over the next few days, check back in and I'll be sharing a selection (reminder) of some of my favourite recipes and recommendations to give a whirl while you're stuck indoors :)

....and oh my God I totally got - 40 days of yoga in a row - done - wooooooohoooo, it was bloody fabulous!

Roast root vegetable salad with feta & semi-dried tomatoes & walnut, parsley & basil pesto


Holy moly did it rain last night (in Auckland) or what??? Happily I am still tucked up in bed with my cup of tea and heading to a slightly later yoga session today - that would be for day 36 in a row - wooooo - almost at my 40 day target! Actually I love the rain (the humidity I'm not so fond of), the feeling of hunkering down while the elements rage outside is just my cup of tea :) As is this salad (segue right there) - it has all of the lovely comfort factors that you need in an autumnal salad - sweet roasted beetroot, carrots, parsnip and kumara (sweet potato), paired with intense semi-dried tomatoes, salty feta, bitter greens and crunchy fresh walnuts. My favourite part though is the pesto made with walnuts and a basil/parsley new favourite. It is both hearty and healthy, and bloody delicious, so I reckon pretty bloody perfect for the moment!

Hm - what else for today? Rich returned from his trip to see Henry in Melbourne last night - it made me so incredibly happy to think of the two of them together, and by all accounts they had a lovely, jolly time - hurrah! The downside for Hoob is being plonked back in a flat with eight others and a uni assignment due - not exactly unusual, but not the most fun ever either. Meanwhile the countdown is on for Pog and Will to move into their new flat - I am so excited for them both, such a wonderful grown up adventure. Meanwhile I have been working on my latest Cuisine spread (shot yesterday), and wrangled with one bloody recipe with seven tests...not one to be included I feel! However I subbed it for another and the whole thing looked beautiful - so phew. Apart from that I am feeling so good at the moment, is it the yoga, the rain and change of seasons or just a state of mind - who cares, I am going to enjoy it! Back to the book for the rest of the week - see you again soon with a wee Easter recipe before the holiday break :)