Easy Like Sunday Morning - Poached Eggs with Hummus, Avocado & Dukkah


Just re-posting this little beauty from a while back...can't help myself, it's raining, I don't want to get out of bed...wish it was Sunday morning! :)

Feeling easy like Sunday morning, thanks Lionel Richie, and thanks yoga, which seems to have some kind of calmative effect on me so that when I finish, I can float off ready for the day ahead. Yesterday as I was in my savasana at the end (flopped out lying on my back), trying to be present and in the moment etc etc I was feeling super relaxed and fabulous, but also sneakily planning to make this as soon as I got home. Thank God no-one else can see inside your head when you're lying there, I feel like everyone else around me is wafting around on a cloud while I'm thinking about food. Never mind! Do you need a recipe for this - probably not - you can see what it is. A piece of delicious Vogels (wholegrain) toast topped with garlicky hummus, avocado, a perfectly poached egg and a sprinkling of dukkah. Where to start in my rave about this perfect breakfast - I love the crunch of the toast, earthiness of the hummus, smooth avocado, the silkiness of the egg and the texture of the spicy, nutty dukkah...totally delicious. I'll include the dukkah recipe below and some brief instructions just in case they come in handy. Wherever you are, southern hemisphere in the midst of freezing, grim snow or rain, or northern with a gentle spring kicking in, this is sure to set you right for your Sunday morning. Have a wonderful day :)

Summer spaghetti with broad beans, asparagus & hot smoked salmon


Ohmmmmmmm - good morning from a much calmer, more zen-like me after a fabulous yoga class. Friday - and bloody hell - turning 49 tomorrow. Which is weird because to be honest I feel 50 already. Is it wise to be sharing my age with you? When I worked for New Zealand's most famous Wanaka/Auckland TV cook her age was a state secret. Pathologically guarded. And you my lovelies - range in age from 20 to 60+, with quite a few of you around 25-30...so will you gasp in horror and never come here again when confronted with my vast age...we shall see.

Thank God I finally decided on my menu for tomorrow night - inspired partly from the Asian issue of Cuisine which is just about to come out, and partly from my tropical story for an upcoming issue of Dish, we are have a mad-arse Asian melange...kokoda on baby poppadoms, a variety of steamed and fried dumplings, a rich, slow cooked beef curry, a green and herby prawn curry, paratha, mango coconut ice cream in white choc and coconut dipped mini waffle cones and tropical mojitos. Should be a bit of a hoot, especially if my lovely friend Anna fulfils her wish of keeping me from (as is my wont) spending all night in the kitchen!

Right then - this is (quite clearly) a bloody easy little recipe which suits the current (long may it last) fine weather. If you can't be faffed making pesto use store bought, then combine it with the al dente pasta, sweet and vibrant broad beans, tender asparagus and rich smoked salmon. Add a few pine nuts (or toasted almonds) for a bit of crunch and you're done. I took the remnants of this to my sister and was really happy to hear that they actually scoffed it cold - which she said was equally good. Hot or cold, let me know if you give it a whirl!

Shakshuka with homemade cumin labneh


Morning all - for once, not from bed with my mug of tea (been there done that), it is 7:22am and I am tapping away at my keyboard in my office instead. Generally speaking I am not a fan of people who always arrive late, flapping about, gasping for air and talking about how busy they are - in a grumpy old lady kind of way I usually just wonder why they can't get their sh*t together. As penance I have turned into that person. At this time of year magazine and newspaper deadlines are converging, I have a travel story for Dish to (re)write which I really want to be good, it's my bollocking birthday on Saturday (lovely friends coming for mystery - in that I have no idea what it is yet - dinner), and stupidly timed dentist, dermatologist and mammogram appointments to fit in. (The end of the year is not an optimal time to start trying to be medically organised, surely this is a start of the year thing to do..?).

Anyhoo, I should stop fluffing, tell you about the recipe and keep going. So - this is shakshuka, eggs poached in a spicy, fragrant tomato sauce, served with toasted cumin-y Turkish bread and a smear (or blob) of cumin spiked labneh. The tomato sauce can easily be made in advance and just kept in the fridge, and the labneh is one of those dead-easy and moderately impressive things to serve, a quick home-made soft cheese. If you fancy, stir some fresh spinach through the hot sauce to wilt before adding the eggs, and if you have it in the cupboard, a sprinkling of dukkah would also be nice. As with any hearty breakfast recipe it is also great for lunch or dinner :) Right, off to wrangle that story...

Rhubarb & Strawberry Vanilla Frangipane Tart with Spring Sheep Milk Gelato


As you know I have been doing a few collaborations lately - but I am such a nerdy-britches that I have some self-imposed criteria that I always stick to when doing any sponsored posts. So anyway, I was recently approached by the Spring Sheep Milk Company and asked if I was keen to work together. I asked if they could first send me the product so I could try it, then decide, (see nerdy McNerdy face that I am...) and I truly love it. They sent me both vanilla bean and dark chocolate gelatos to try, and the vanilla was my favourite - it has such a silky, clean, fresh mouth feel that I immediately wanted to pair it with rich roasted spring/summer fruit. As far as I understand it is also gentle on the stomach which is an added bonus for people who are sensitive to cow's milk, so definitely worth a try.

Anyhooooo, on to the tart - look at this glorious thing!!! I have an issue with fridge-cold, not quite ripe enough strawberries, so in this recipe I have first roasted the tart/sweet rhubarb then added the strawberries at the end to finish off in all the luscious juices, taking them from early season averageness to gorgeous, intense full-on fabulous.  (So many adjectives today...) The base is a crisp short pastry, filled with vanilla frangipane, then topped with the fruity business, and served with the clean vanilla bean gelato. I will definitely be making this again, quite possibly for the Christmas table as it has that kind of festive vibe. If you wanted you could always dust it with a wee bit of icing sugar, but personally I love it just the way it is.

Spring Asparagus, Pea & Zucchini Tart with Light Herb Mayo


Morning all. God what a weird few weeks, first Trump elected President in the states and then earthquakes here in New Zealand. I don't remember us having such regular 'shaky isles' in the past, and feel so sorry for anyone having to live with both the fear during the quakes, and the crappy aftermath of cleaning up and trying to keep going. I can't believe there are sh*ts that would steal from houses left empty during this time, but know that the number of good people lending a hand outnumber them by miles. If you are living in a quake-affected area, one easy way to help (if you are able) is to get cooking or baking - a warm meal or a piece of cake and a cup of tea seem insignificant, but in that moment they do bring a sense of normality and pleasure to the recipient. There are hundreds of recipes right here for a bit of neighbourly inspiration, just head to the index page for the run down if you feel inclined :)

Despite the fact that the weather is still bloody dismal, this spring asparagus, pea & zucchini tart could be a good place to start. It is a recipe I put together for Fairfax (so appearing in newspapers around the country today), and is super-easy with a soft savoury feta and cream cheesy filling, brightened with lemon, a wee hint of garlic and fresh veges. I like to serve it with ripe cherry tomatoes and a herby pea mayo on the side. If you can't be faffed making the pastry (but it is a reaaaally good one...) just use store bought savoury short pastry instead. Wherever you are, I hope the rest of your week goes well, and I'll see you back here at the weekend!

Brie & Mushroom Pithiviers (melty cheesy mushrooms in pastry)


Ohhhh Sunday morning - the luxury of lying in bed while the bloody incessant spring wind blusters around outside is so delicious. Especially with clean sheets. So that's me right now propped up in bed with my cup of tea, but shortly I will be getting up to take advantage of that wind by putting the fifth load of Rich's washing on the line...with about another five loads to do. (Where did all of the clothes come from...and has he in fact not worn anything twice for the last semester and just put them all in suitcases as he goes?) It was fabulous to welcome him home yesterday, the house has become so quiet lately that the contrast is huge. And now I have my lovely big, long-haired (can't cut it until he hears back about an audition) baby mooching around with sarcastic asides and a gorgeous wide smile - makes me so happy! Wish Poggy was here too...

OK, to the food. This is such a brilliant combination – intense mushroomy goodness (thanks to the addition of reconstituted, dried mushrooms), and intense, gooey melted cheese encased in golden flaky pastry. A pithivier is a French flat pie (kind of), and this is so incredibly delicious and, I promise you, easy to make. It is a recipe that I put together for a recent issue of the beautiful Dish magazine, and brilliant to slice into wedges and enjoy with a few drinks, especially at this time of year when the weather is still so crappy, but we're all trying very hard to pretend summer is coming, and keen to get into the festive swing of things. The recipe makes two pithiviers, and seeing as there are about a mullion bullion (Pog's Will (as opposed to nephew Will) are you reading this?!), I would make one and bung the other one in the freezer. Unless of course you have 12 people coming, then bake both!  I am planning on posting heaps more Christmassey (or Thanksgivingey) recipes in the next month, so make sure you keep checking back in, and in the meantime,  pleeeease don't be nervous to make this one, you won't be sorry! :)

Dish Christmas issue 2016


Hey all - I just wanted to share with you some of my favourite pics from my Christmas brunch spread in the latest issue of Dish magazine. Above you will see roast salmon with pomegranate glaze and herby mayo, avocado, broad bean and goat's cheese salad, Christmas mince brownie and festive bircher muesli with praline toffee. I have served this exact menu with great success :) The latest issue subscriber copies are arriving now and the issue goes on sale around New Zealand (and parts of Australia) next week. Have a great weekend!

Roast Rhubarb & White Chocolate Baked Cheesecake

Friday - where in the bloody hell did the week go?!?! This is the one teeny tiny little downside to going away, while you escape into the travel twilight zone/parallel universe, merrily escaping normal life, normal life just keeps going - waiting for you to return and then requiring you to catch up immediately. Remember that feeling as a kid of luxuriating in having a few days off school when sick, but freaking out at all the work you were missing...that's me right now. I don't know why I'm whinging though, Fiji was beautiful, and I have my lists to tick off, so I really just have to get cracking. Hoob arrives tomorrow, so that is fabulous - I will have my lovely stinky-bum (and his mountain of washing) at home, and I have a list of his favourite foods to make, as well as a request from him for some cooking lessons. First up I think stuffed conchiglione shells, he wants to learn how to make a Japanese curry, then a simple pesto...

...but I digress. This gorgeous monster of a cheesecake is an absolute favourite. Previously I have made it with raspberries, but I actually prefer this version with the tart acidity of the rhubarb off-setting the rich, creamy sweetness of the cheesecake. It is not cloyingly sweet, rather mellow and soft and dense, in a good cheesecake manner. It would be a brilliant Christmas dessert, but also makes a decadent finale to any festive gathering. Do be extra careful to melt the white chocolate gently, that is the only thing you need to give extra attention to, and then it's a doddle. Have fun - and please feel free to come on over and say hi at my Facebook, pinterest (a sneak peek at the inner workings of my brain) or insta accounts (or by way of a comment here!), I love hearing what you have made and enjoyed. Have a fabulous weekend :)

Sesame Prawn Sliders & Mini Fish Bites with Spicy Mayo


Morning all. Well I'm back from gorgeous, tropical Fiji and slightly hyperventilating at the thought of all the work I have to do - but it's all good, I have made a list (actually about 4), and as long as I work through it I know I'll be fine! Fiji was so beautiful - I had completely forgotten what that level of heat and humidity is like - the feeling of having the air sucked from your lungs as you slow down and move as though walking through treacle. The heat seeps into every fibre of your body - heaven. And then the sea - crystal clear, incredibly, vividly blue, warm and teaming with life. Anyhoo, I won't wax lyrical too much yet as I'll have a blog post coming up... In the meantime I am so excited that Rich will be back up from uni this weekend - yay, can't wait to have one of my babies home, and I intend to lavish him with a bit of hard core motherly nurturing!!! As soon as I can I'll also be booking my flight to Melbourne so I can check in with my biggest baby - Henry works so hard I worry that he doesn't get enough time to just chill out - given his high intensity personality, relaxing can be difficult for him at the best of times!

...and as the world reels with shock that an orange muppet has been elected president of the United States, perhaps you might need a few drinks to recover. If so, gather some friends, pour a drink and whip up a batch of these most excellent fish bites with spicy mayo and sesame prawn sliders, two recipes that I recently put together for Fairfax. The fish bites have a pleasing crab-cakey kind of vibe topped with a dollop of spicy mayo, while the sesame prawn sliders are addictive - with soft brioche buns, crunchy lettuce, mellow, smooth avocado and prawns given a sesame chilli kick. When I trialled these with two of my dearest girlfriends they went down a treat - I hope you enjoy them too. See you again soon with the best bloody cheesecake in the universe. Quite probably.

New World Wine Awards - Roast Chicken with Braised Baby Leeks, Peas & Fennel


Gooood very early morning, I am quickly getting this sorted before heading to the airport for a flight to Fiji, wooo hoooooo - bring it on, I can't wait! I can't believe how quickly the last six months have flown by, and now Christmas is fast approaching - I swear time goes faster every year. I must say I am hanging out for this trip - it is for work (and of course a blog post), but also for the opportunity to take a few moments just to sit quietly (fingers crossed) in the warm air, swim in the sea and just literally escape for a few days. I know when I get back, this is exactly the kind of meal I will be looking forward to - a classic herby stuffed roast chook with sweet braised baby leeks with herbs and fennel - a perfect welcome home dinner :)

When I was approached by New World to do a l'il collaboration as part of their 14th annual New World Wine Awards I was hardly going to say no - are you kidding, I may not be an expert but it would be fair to say that I do love wine! So - every year 13 wine judges blind taste over 1,300 wines sold for under $25 and award gold medals to the very best. In a secret squirrel fashion I was sent a list of the top 50 to choose from - three wines that I would normally happily buy, and to pick one which I would then create a recipe to match. I selected the Giesen Riesling 2015, Clearview Estate Beachhead Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 and Sandalford Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 - and then realised I had made my decision very difficult indeed, given they are three such different wines. I really struggled because I seriously loved all three (and I still want to make some mini crab cake bites to go with that riesling, it is utterly delicious) - but in the end I decided to go with the chardonnay. These days (observationally) I would say that chardonnay is just starting to gain a little popularity again after years of being overshadowed by sauvignon blanc. The Clearview one I selected (which was also the category champion) is described as having 'ripe, sweet stone fruit and warm tropical fruits, integrated oak and a long creamy textured palate' - and I can confirm is jolly fine indeed. Anyhoo - getting to the point - I decided to match it with a recipe that suits late spring in New Zealand, a crispy skinned roast chicken packed with aromatic herbs served with sweet, braised baby leeks, fennel and peas. The combination was perfect - totally luscious...and easy! 

In exciting news I also have a fab and super easy COMPETITION for you! To be in to WIN a $150 New World Voucher (think of all the loverly ingredients you could buy for your pre Christmas entertaining!) all you need to do is comment in the ‘post a comment’ section below, telling me your favourite recipe from From the Kitchen. The lucky winner will be drawn on November 19th, so don’t forget to check back in here (or at my Facebook page) to see if you’ve won!