Roast cauliflower salad with eggplant hummus & walnut dukkah


Good morning from a chilly, clear-skied Kinloch (just down the road from Taupo). I'm going to make this quick as I am staying with my lovely sister and her fam and the plan is to go boating shortly, so I have just made myself a cup of tea and snuck back to bed for 5 minutes. This recipe is a great one for the long weekend, perfect to serve along side roast lamb or chicken with a pile of couscous - with a bit of a springy vibe, but still nurturing and earthy. The cauliflower is roasted with honey, olive oil and cumin so has a lovely slightly nutty aromatic flavour. It is then layered up with sweet sticky dates, fresh mint, smooth creamy Greek yoghurt and topped off with spicy home made dukkah. The pomegranate seeds at the end add a vibrant lemony zing - but if you can't get your hands on a pomegranate finely grated lemon zest will do the trick :) It is served on a big smear of homemade (super easy) eggplant hummus, so that as you scoop up the cauliflower you get all of that lovely extra texture and flavour along with the salad. If you make couscous to go alongside, stir through some caramelised onion, drizzle with a little olive oil and top with loads of chopped parsley or coriander and toasted walnuts or pine nuts - add your roast and dinner is sorted!

Right, must get up. I am planning a grand water skiing come back. Given my last attempt was aged ten, and I spent most of the time skiing under water (I kid you not), this should be interesting. Wish me luck....

Asparagus, Prawn and Zucchini Bites with Sesame Mayo


Wooo - Friday with a long weekend ahead - bring it on! I am quickly finishing this before heading off to yoga (Ohmmmm - did first proper one-arm, no-cheaty side crow recently - yeah baby!) so that you can get the ingredients sorted for this recipe today. Even if the weather doesn't behave, these nibbles that I put together for the gorgeous Dish website, will bring a springy vibe to drinks with friends or family - the prawn, zucchini and asparagus combination works so well with a hit of toasted sesame, a decent blob of Japanese mayo and a sprinkling of spring onions, I would serve these with Asahi beers and a bottle (or two) of riesling or pinot gris...perfect!

...and not a lot else to report really. I have finally moved my darling Henry's bed and special belongings up to my old study, created a proper studio/office for myself and done a bit of general re-arranging. Now everything feels light and fresh, and would be bloody fabulous if the dogs could just stop peeing on stuff for five minutes. I mean ffs I woke up this morning and Dougie had done a mega-wee on one of my leather club chairs. We're talking swimming pool rather than a puddle. Blergh. Any way, they are off for a lovely little holiday at the farm dog kennels for the long weekend, so may they pee liberally wherever they wish and come back refreshed, clean, and slightly dehydrated.

Lovely Henry is busy designing his interior design logo (watch out for crazy nepotistic (possible word) son endorsement when he starts working for himself in the coming years, and Hoob is staring down the barrel of exams - that's such a lovely way to describe it hey...not scary at all! I have faith that he will be steady and work his way through the end of his year in fine fashion. Anyhoo, must get 'to the mat' - have a great weekend, and watch out for another recipe tomorrow :)

Over 350 recipes for your cooking and baking pleasure


I can't believe that there are now more than 350 recipes on the blog - holy crap, time flies when you're in the kitchen and behind the camera. There are loads of ways to check them out - by clicking on the season in the side bar, by meal type eg: desserts, by using the search function by ingredient or - just head on over to the recipe index page and go wild. Have fun! :)

No-bake Nutella Choc Cheesecake


Goooood morning, crikey it feels like it's been ages, but perhaps not that long (only a week!) - and I am happy to say I have five recipes lined up ready and waiting, so plenty more to come over the next little while. This is one I put together for the Dish magazine website, and it does seem to have gone rather well, what with the allure of Nutella and the ease of making a cheesecake with no baking required. The thing to know is this is a subtle Nutella flavour, (basically if you want hard-core Nutella as your dessert then you probably just need to hand around small jars of Nutella with spoons), instead it is rich, luscious, soft and chocolatey with a hint of tell-tale hazelnut - phwaor did I mention rich? It is super easy to make, and looks pretty damned impressive. If you give it a whirl just take it out of the fridge a good half hour before serving so that it is at it's luscious best.

And in other news - God anyone else completely over the American can a country with so many people end up with the ghastly Trump and Clinton as their options!? The nature of campaigning is so ugly too - it's all about deciding who is worse than the other...

On the upside the lovely Henry and Rich are going well :) Pog is nicely settled in his new flat and even planting out the garden while Rich is on the home stretch to uni exams and the end of year. Fingers crossed Rich and I will be able to co-ordinate ourselves to get over and pay Henry a visit in Melbourne before Christmas as he will be staying there (for work) over the festive season - and having Christmas with the gorgeous Will and his family. Woah - not sure how I am going to cope without having my babies together for Christmas, I'll have to think of some new traditions to create for a new era :)

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


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...

Braised Fennel & Pork & Fennel Sausage Pizza


Hello on another soggy spring morning in Auckland. It is 1 minute to 6am and I have been awake for an hour, stressing over the details of a shoot today, stupid really, there is not much I can do right now! The whole process of creating is such a tricky business - I find the recipe development the easiest part, probably because I have been cooking since I was about 13 years old, so it is something I have been passionate about, and working on for a long time. The styling is a very weird aspect, as what I think looks good might look like bollocks to someone else, and while I am angsting over something I feel doesn't look quite right, others may not see a problem. Taste and style is a bloody mire of opinion. Then there is the photography, which has both style and technical components, so much so that when flicking through my favourite food magazines, I can always identify the photographer of a spread by the look and feel of it. I have been toiling away at my photography for about four years now, and whilst I know can always achieve an acceptable result, I still beat myself up in pursuit of the perfection of my food photography idols.

So there you go, that's all a bit heavy for a Wednesday morning isn't it!? It is what it is, and all jobs come with their own set of challenges! back to the food - this pizza is frigging delicious. The fennel is braised in wine and olive oil with a little garlic for grunt and some lemon zest for a bit of zing - the result is gently sweet and soft. Paired with melted cheese, a crisp pizza base and good quality pork and fennel sausage the result is a brilliant combination of soft, smooth, crunchy and sweet - then with a sprinkling of chili flakes for heat and some fennel fronds for a final fresh finish, you have my current favourite wet-night-in-Auckland dinner. Enjoy the rest of your week...less rambling next time, promise! :)

Congratulations for winning a NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® coffee machine!


Big congratulations to Monica Martinez-Aviles you are the winner of the NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® coffee machine and will now be able to whip up your own cafe-style coffee at home with the push of a button! Please contact me via direct message on Facebook so that we can arrange delivery of your machine. Thank you so much to everyone who entered the competition, I really appreciate your enthusiastic entries. Thanks to Monica's entry I will be re-inventing the classic cheesecake in the next two weeks - but I was so excited by the response to this competition I plan to overhaul the good ole Kiwi lamb roast and pavlova and post them before Christmas too! Hope everyone has managed to stay dry this weekend, and have a great week :)

Cauliflower & Chickpea Vege Balls with Parsley & Coriander Pesto plus Jambalaya Chicken & Pork Balls with Spicy Sauce & Prawns


Helloooo - I just wanted to share two of my favourite pics and recipes featured in the latest issue of Dish magazine. The vege balls are my sister's favourite recipe that I have ever made, and the jambalaya prawns can have as little or as much chilli kick as you like. Dish is available to buy in New Zealand and Australia, and via subscription here.

Chickpea & Sweet Potato Fritters with Cumin Spiked Caramelised Onion & Garlic Yoghurt


Goooood morning - hmm another vego recipe today, but fear not there will be some meaty and some sweety stuff coming soon! Sweety not sweaty, please don't read that wrong. In the meantime these fritters are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner - wholesome and delicious with sweet kumara, earthy chickpeas, a bit of spicy grunt from curry, cumin and turmeric and freshness from the coriander and watercress. The best bit though is combining them with the cumin spiked caramelised onion and some cool, garlicky yoghurt! Every mouthful is flavour-packed :)

Not much else to report at the mo...I am flat out with work, which is great, although I must say a day off soon would be rather nice! This week there are so many things in my head with deadlines swirling (I kid you not) for Fairfax newspapers, Cuisine and Dish magazine's Christmas issues, one other l'il Cuisine shot, the Dish website and a wee sponsorship collab. So...breathing is good! Pog is having a few days reprieve from his non-stop commitments of uni 3 days: work 4 days per week (that man works so hard) with a uni break, and Hoob is playing bball, going to uni and I suspect having an internal freakout about those distant-but-looming end-of-year exams. And Dougie smells (scabby-back-skin-condition - gross) and Maggie keeps peeing on the carpet (those are the dogs in case you were wondering), so all pretty normal. Best I get to it - I have a giant pot of home made chicken soup bubbling away on the stove for an unwell friend which needs attention...

Kumara & Blue Cheese Balls with Honey Toasted Walnuts


Alrighty then - this is not my standard kind of recipe in that it was literally made with left-overs I had in the fridge, and therefore I can't give you the exact quantity of potatoes and kumaras required to make your mash - but I can give you the precise amount of mash:cheese ratio and what else you need to do, as well as the gig for the honeyed walnuts (detailed when you click the recipe link). I love recipes like this - when you open the fridge door and are forced to get inventive, and with such delicious results. The sweet, fluffy kumara mash has a lovely fried, crispy exterior but an oozing, melty blue cheese centre - sprinkle with a little sea salt, pop a couple of sticky, crunchy honeyed walnuts on the side and a bitter leaf or two, and call me happy :)

As it is Saturday morning I am posting this from my usual spot (in bed) with my second massive cup of tea. The weather is looking decidedly grim outside so I'll be off to yoga rather than a walk this morning, then it'll be back home and into prep for Monday's Cuisine shoot, as well as a wee bit of other work to be done...I suppose it is the advantage/disadvantage to living alone, there is never really a time when I'm not working - apart from yoga/walking. Not much else to report really - life is settling down for Pog now that he is in a new routine at his latest (and last for a while I hope) flat and Rich is doing yoga (three from three!), exercising, studying and raising money for Leukaemia research by doing Shave for a Cure - by shaving his head. That doesn't sound too dramatic, except that his hair is well past shoulder length, long, tawny blonde, cascading and - a big deal! If you fancy checking out what he is doing the link is here. Right then, up and at 'em - have a great weekend. Oh - and don't forget to check out my competition to win a Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee machine here.