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

23.4.17













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 easier...to 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

15.4.17



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

13.4.17


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 Easter...so 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

5.4.17


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 combination...my 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 :)










Mini pesto, proscuitto, & kumara loaves with walnuts & semi-dried tomatoes

31.3.17


Good Friday morning - woah that just made me think about Easter coming soon - where is this year going?!? Today's recipe is one I put together for the lovely Dish magazine, and it's an ideal super-easy autumn weekend baking project. The mini loaves (or you can make them as muffins) are moist and flavour packed with herby pesto, Parmesan, sweet kumara (sweet potato) and semi-dried tomatoes and prosciutto, with the nubbly crunch of walnuts for texture. They freeze well but are best eaten warm with an afternoon cup of tea or dunked into hot soup - and in my head the perfect scenario is after a bracing wind-whipped walk along a beach by a stormy sea! But playing cards and listening to music or lying on the couch watching Netflix will also do...

Anyhoo - what else is happening? Henry has had a gorgeous romantic weekend with the darling William to celebrate a year of dating, and very soon they will be moving in together in a fabulous new (old historic) flat in Melbourne. I have asked Pog to take before and after pictures of the apartment as I can't wait to see how he transforms those lovely old bones. Meanwhile Hoob is getting on with the business of uni life in Welly - I love the tiny glimpses into his days I get via random pics - helping a mate with a uni film project, sitting in a lecture theatre - or very impressive home-made pizzas cooking away in the oven. Thank God for the ease of communication via social media, I miss my lovelies enough as it is, I don't know how I'd cope with a fortnightly postcard or phone call!!!

And me - yoga (day 31 in a row today, please no more utkatasana/chair pose my legs are shaking at the thought), and book, Cuisine, Fairfax and Dish work fill my days. The one stellar outing I had recently was to see Adele in concert, singing her heart out in torrential rain in Auckland. She is so bloody amazing, so warm, vibrant and real with that unbelievable voice and music. It was fantastic. Oh I and how can I forget (it's becoming a dreadful habit Aida!) I had a hilarious night out with a dear Sydney mate and her lovely husband - great food, (Amano - always brilliant), many glasses of wine and late-night rum cocktails with plenty of deep and meaningful talk (that'll be the cocktails) and much laughter. Such a huge treat. And my darling nephew Rupert (how good is his name?) stayed for a week while my big sister celebrated her birthday and a long over-due change of work with her hubby James in Brisbane. I think that's all my scrambled brain can remember at the moment, so that's me over-and-out...the next recipe will be up on Wednesday. See you then :)








harbourvore

25.3.17

Hello lo (as my sister would say) and welcome to the weekend. No recipe today - no, wait - don't go - I just wanted to quickly share some pics from an amazing day out yesterday and give you the heads up on some awesome places to eat...As you can see I was super lucky to get invited to join a team of like-minded foodies (and wine-ies and beer-ies and designers) on a culinary cruise on Auckland harbour - aptly named Harbourvore. We sailed from the viaduct marina on Yonder Star ( a loverly 87 ft yacht) about 2pm and blissfully headed out to anchor just off Motutapu island. During the afternoon the clouds came and went, there was a lovely fresh breeze that kept us lively and the food and drinks were never-ending. We were presented with Te Kouma and Kaipara harbour oysters, trevally and kingfish sashimi, salt and dill cured gurnard, crispy flounder on perilla leaves and coromandel lobster sliders - and that was just for nibbles!


As the afternoon wore on we feasted on grilled whole Terakihi, Cloudy Bay cockles, grilled eggplant, baby corn and snake bean salad then finished off with Waiheke island Phutukawa honey & coconut milk creme brulee and Marou chocolate and blackberry pots de creme. Miraculously, I didn't feel full to the gunnels (little boaty reference right there), as the food was so light and supremely fresh, and packed with flavour thanks to the use of grunty, vibrant herbs and minimal interference. We were lucky enough to have the delightful Lek (Wichian Trirattanavatin) from Saan restaurant on board, cooking, chatting and laughing and talking passionately about the origins of his recipes - all passed down from his chef parents and grandparents. His excitement about being able to cook with such amazing New Zealand produce was infectious, as was his pride in the Thai heritage of the dishes. I should also make mention here of the amazing beverages on board - luscious Pandan Punch cocktails, Hallertu beers, Poderi Crisci, Kumeu River Estate and Man O War wines. I was a total pig in mud but just managed to keep myself tidy, by crikey if ever there was a food and drinks line-up to make a girl throw caution to the wind, that was it. So today, still licking my lips, it's back to yoga, work and reality...but damn it was good!

This series of Harbourvore cruises was hosted by the trimuvirate of Saan, Cafe Hanoi and Xuxu - three of my favourite Auckland restaurants, so essentially there was no way it could be anything other than magic. If you're an Auckland local, keep an eye out for future events, based on yesterday I would highly recommend it! 

Slightly lighter chicken katsu & Asian Slaw

22.3.17


Hello there - I'm feeling very guilty as I write this as I should be just home from yoga, but when the alarm went off at 5:15am this morning I pulled the covers over my head and hid in bed instead. Consequently I am off to a 9:30am class (bad, bad, bad for my work-day flow!) and have been working since 7:30am instead. Anyhoo, I am taking ten minutes to quickly share this wee gem of a recipe with you, it's one I put together for Fairfax so appearing in newspapers around the country and on Stuff today. Basically it is my slightly lighter version of katsu chicken served on seasoned sushi rice, with a vibrant, flavour-packed Asian slaw on the side. To season about 2 1/2 cups (measured before cooking) of sushi rice I just whisk together 1/4 cup of  rice vinegar, a tablespoon of caster sugar and about 1/2 teaspoon salt, then stir it through the rice once cooked, while still warm - it gives it a fabulous flavour boost. The slaw also makes a great lunch without the crumbed chicken, just add some flaked hot smoked salmon or cooked prawns for protein instead.

Not much else to report at the mo, I had the world's quietist weekend, and this week it's (yoga aside) all business. Meanwhile Rich appeared on Te Radar on Saturday night looking gorgeous as ever (stand and deliver!) and had a fabulous time at Womad, while Henry and Will have secured an amazing flat in Melbourne - roll on moving day and Henry's consequent miraculous apartment makeover. In not-so-good news Henry's design course in Melbourne has been cancelled (long story), so he has the bloody conundrum of deciding what next having already completed two years of graphic design and one of interiors - blergh, poor darling, what a total pain!





lamb & chickpea balls with hummus, olives & semi-dried tomatoes

17.3.17


Good Friday morning - today's recipe is an easy l'il weekend dinner of spiced lamb & chickpea meatballs served with grunty harissa-spiked hummus, intense, soft semi-dried tomatoes and briney black olives - the trick is to get a little bit of everything in one mouthful for the full flavour hit. They're also great for getting even more fibre into the meal and lightening up on the meaty component but have a heartiness well-suited to the autumnal nip in the air. It's a recipe I put together for my friends at Dish so appearing on their website now too here :)

Aaaand - you're probably on the edge of your seat waiting to hear how the 40-day yoga challenge is going (!), so I am happy to report I have good news and bad news - the good news is I did Day 17 in a row this morning (wooo!), the bad news is I also have a slight pulled hamstring (what exactly made me think I could get quite that far down into the splits...?) and a bung big toe. The toe injury wasn't from yoga but from dropping a billion kilo piece of concrete on it yesterday (bloody prop backgrounds) - cue bleedy nail and throbbing pain, so today's yoga effort was fairly artistic and interpretive dance-like when it came to some of the poses. Such fun! Other than that - Hoob is head down bum up in Welly, and Pog is pretty much the same in Melbourne. The exciting things for them currently are that this Saturday night Rich will be featuring in Te Radar on TV One at 8pm (that's the 18th in case you're wanting to tune in) and Henry's latest fabulous column for NZ House & Garden is up at Stuff. (Also he is moving in with the gorgeous William which is bloody lovely too). I'm so proud of my men (was going to say babies, but you know...), they are both going for it and doing brilliant things! Right, time to get to work...have a great weekend :)






Fridaaaaaaaay!!!!

10.3.17


Woooooo hoooo - looking forward to the weekend. Happy Friday - have a good one :)






Oaty caramel slice & banoffee banana cake

8.3.17


Holy moly did it rain in Auckland last night or what? This year we seem to have slid straight from a dismal spring to a momentary summer and have already hit autumn...but I suppose at least we have comfort food to look forward to :) These recipes are two that I created for Fairfax so appearing in newspapers around the country today. The first is for an old-school oaty caramel slice, which literally takes no longer than 10 minutes to make, and the other is a banoffee banana cake, a moist dessert cake layered with caramel, bananas and whipped cream, then topped with brown sugar icing and caramel sauce - phwoar. Both are great little weekend projects - the slice is perfect for transporting (school/uni/work/picnic), while I wouldn't advise trying to zoom around too much with the cake - I delivered half of it to some dear friends, (a big thumbs up from them) only just managing to stop it collapsing on the floor of my car before I got there...

And in other news - same 'ole same 'ole really! Rich sent me some hilarious pictures of himself in full soldier kit during his day of filming recently. As the hours passed he seemed to morph from a bright-eyed young soldier to an ornery and heavily injured, moustached one - vaguely reminiscent of Freddy Mercury. Meanwhile Henry is flat out as usual, with work, design school and penning his latest column for House & Garden - down-time is scarce indeed. Oh, haha, and in yoga news - so far so good - 7 days straight and counting...there'll be a new recipe up again next week, so I guess we'll see if I'm still hanging in there then :)