Loaded Four Cheese Pizzas with chilli, rocket & lemon


Fridaaaaay! Yay - and finally a beautiful blue-sky day in Auckland - fantastic! Today's recipe is for a crispy thin-based pizza loaded with cheesy goodness then finished off with a little chilli kick, fresh peppery rocket and some fresh zingy lemon. It is a great vegetarian option, but for other suggestions you can also checkout my super-green pizzas, asparagus and mozzarella pizzas, and smoked salmon pizzas with capers and dill,  pizza with braised lentils hot smoked salmon and pea puree, prosciutto, mozzarella and basil pizza, mushroom pizza for two, Moroccan pumpkin and eggplant pizzas with dukkah, or Waiheke pizza with figs, grapes, blue cheese and prosciutto! Woah I had no idea I had done so many pizzas :) Whatever way you like your pizza, hopefully you'll find some inspiration here for the weekend.

In other news - I am about to start doing a wee bit of promotional work via the blog, my instagram account and Facebook page. No need to freak out - the blog is not going to be suddenly over run with pictures of branded packaging and me waxing lyrical about a particular type of baking paper or can of chickpeas...rather I will be looking to work with brands with whom I have a real affinity. I can't stand fake bollocks, so there'll be none of that! To see more you can check out what I do here :)

....aaaaand Rich is home - yippeeeee! Well I say 'home', actually last night he spent the night with mates at Omaha, but he is in this city. Every time I see him I get a bit of a shock - his hair is so long, and he is so bloody man-sized, I can't believe he is my baby. Meanwhile Henry is recovering from his lurgy and back hard at work. Right well that is enough words from me, but before I go, I don't know if you have a minute, but if you fancy Saveur are currently running their annual blog awards, details here.

So many links today, it's a link-fest! Have a great weekend :)

Over-night whole grain oats with chia seeds, fig and date puree, Greek yoghurt & honey toasted nuts


I'm back in my usual blogging position (in bed with a cup of tea) listening to the rain pattering away outside - dammit there goes my morning walk! Today's recipe is one I put together for Fairfax: wholegrain jumbo oats and chia seeds soaked overnight with dates, quickly cooked in the morning into a big bowl of nourishing porridge. To serve, you can stir through a lovely big blob of fig and date puree, and top the lot with smooth, creamy Greek yoghurt and crunchy honeyed nuts. I don't know whether you've noticed this but I usually detail what flavours and textures you can expect in each recipe - to me those combinations (and their balance) are so important. Anyhoo - balance or not, it's nutritious, hearty, and will sustain you for hours...and tastes good too! (Also the ideal start to a wet, cold winter's day..)

In other news, I'm so excited that Rich arrives back from his visit with Henry in Melbourne today - and has eight nights in Auckland before heading back to uni in Wellington. Hurrah! I have no doubt that he will want to spend a minimal amount of time being uber-nurtured by his enthusiastic, son-starved mother and will be more keen on catching up with Auckland mates...but I will grab the moments that I can and make the most of them! (That may be sitting drinking tea while he plays play station, but that'll do!). Meanwhile poor old Pog has developed a crappy cold, but is being ably looked after by the lovely Will who arrived on his doorstep last night with pizza and flowers - perfect! (Ohh, the rain has stopped, up I get!!!)

Left-overs Roast Lamb & Vege Tart


God here we are again then - where does time go? It seems to just slip by so quickly that before you know it months have passed in the blink of an eye. Pshh - haven't got enough time for blathering on, I have to be out the door in half an hour and haven't 'got my face on'! This tart is an ode to the Sunday roast - or rather a way to use up left-overs that doesn't involve bread (not that I don't love a white bread sandwich with left-over lamb, salt, pepper and tomato chutney), and which extends the whole lot into dinner round 2. But - it is also a great flavour combo, with an extra hit of fresh rosemary, a pillowy base of creamy Parmesan and a couple of fresh mint leaves at the end to give it a fresh lift. Add the ubiquitous mint jelly or tomato chutney on the side, and it really is a winner :)

While I fluff around making roast tart, the man/boys are together in Melbourne - hurrah! I got such a kick out of seeing Hoob for 10 minutes the other day - by delivering him from the domestic terminal to international on his way from Wellington to Melbourne to visit Henry. If anyone knows of the old classic film/TV show The Odd Couple - that pretty much sums up my gorgeous sons. One immaculately-groomed, stylish force of nature and one free-spirited, long-haired, philosophical cruiser. Would love to be a fly on the wall during their week together - or maybe not!!! Anyhoo - I'm wishing them a super-happy week, because they might be outwardly chalk and cheese, but their common link is being pretty bloody fabulous and loving. Right, better hit it...!

Hot smoked salmon & leek pies with aioli


Another (rainy?) Saturday, another All Black rugby test - and another pie! But today's is completely different to last week's meaty extravaganza while still being totally addictive and indulgent. These ones involve sweet soft leeks, flaked firm white fish, rich hot smoked salmon, aniseedy dill and sharp lemon zest all tucked up together in flaky pastry - a decent blob of aioli and a few sharp capers or caperberries on the side, and the result is so bloody delicious! Also - they are incredibly easy to make, can all be done in advance, are loved by all ages and perfect for everything from a ladies' lunch to rugby-watching.

Unbelievable - even though it is only 7:30am on a weekend morning I am about to head out on my walk having already taken delivery of my new, orthopaedically sound, yet soft and lovely mattress, and directed the delivery guys up and down stairs and around corners and back down to the garage with the old one. I am ridiculously excited after having woken every day for the last 12 months or more with a sore back, to finally have the old rock hard mattress replaced. Yeeee ha! (God - so old, so enthusiastic about sleep...). Meanwhile Rich has made it through his psych exam and now just has to round things off with his (favourite) philosophy - the subject he was pretty much born to - and Henry is back into the daily grind in Melbourne and on the count down to the start of his interior design course, followed shortly thereafter by a trip home to celebrate his 21st birthday. I have managed to book myself in for a ton of work coming up, but will try and head back here in the usual once-a-week manner to share the recipes (like this one I prepared for Bonds Australia) that I think you'll like.

Rustic Apple Tart with Whiskey Ginger Ice cream


Good morning :) Right - now that it is actually proper winter, we can can fully justify some hard core comfort food action - like these really simple apple tarts with ginger & whiskey ice cream that I put together for Fairfax. The ice cream isn't as sweet as you might imagine, but has a subtle smoky background that works perfectly with the little nuggets of crystallised ginger. Similarly the apple tart has a comforting apple-y feel good factor without being overly sweet (depending on how heavy handed you get with the icing sugar), and a pleasing flaky pastry base to support the big wodge of ice cream you'll want to put on top. Both recipes are an absolute doddle, and only take minutes to throw together - seriously.

Not much else to report, Henry is back in Melbourne after his romantic Tasmanian get-away, while Rich has exam number two at Victoria uni today - psychology. (Hoob, the chance that you will read this is a solid 1% - but just in case - good luck!!!). I am about to haul arse for a walk, then it's a busy day of zooming into Dish magazine to drop of pics, finish editing my next recipe for Fairfax and basically trying to get my act together. Oh, and how could I forget - huge congratulations to my gorgeous nephew and his lovely fiancee! Well done Ted and Maddy, you are a beautiful couple and I am so excited for you, wishing you a happy, fun time planning your wedding - woo hooo!

If you are reading this from the States - I feel for you, how bloody awful to be living in a country where idiots like Trump get media oxygen, and where gun laws are patently ridiculous. I can't bear thinking about the events in Orlando - how do you cope? Be nice to each other!

Beef, bacon and mushroom pies with mozzarella and caramelised onions


Morning all - as you see I have a particularly decadent wee pie here for you, just in time for the weekend. As you want with any good pie the base is crisp and holds together, while the top has a good bit of flaky action. The filling is lush - layers of melty mozzarella, earthy mushrooms, tender beef and sweet caramelized onion - all harmonizing together in every delicious mouthful! This is my latest recipe for the Dish magazine website, and ideal for enjoying with the rugby on Saturday. I would strongly suggest making the beef filling the day before - the longer all of those flavours can hang out together the better - but in emergencies, being made in the morning will suffice :) Grab the stuff on your way home from work - the beef bit only takes about 10 minutes to prep and 15-20 minutes to get cooking, then you just leave it for 4 hours - et voila - all done. If you can't be faffed making caramelized onion, bought will do just fine - and the pastry is all made for you too, so really, just a bit of work at the beginning, a bit of work in 'construction' and you're all done. Serve with a good chutney, a pile of creamy mash and a bitter green salad. Or not. Haha - up to you!

Very brief state of the nation - Pog is off for a romantic weekend in Tasmania with the lovely Will (adventures!), Rich is actually swatting for his uni law exam (I have seen video evidence) and I am spending a night at a girlfriend's batch anticipating a flurry of crosswords and code crackers, a walk or two and a fair bit of whiskey. Have a good one - go the ABs - and hope you enjoy the pies :)

Deep, dark spinach, feta & ricotta tart


Forgive me for not having many words at the moment (maybe it's a blessing?), but I just wanted to quickly share this recipe for a deep, dark spinach, feta and ricotta tart I recently put together for Fairfax. It is so dense and iron-rich, a really satisfying spinach-packed tart, but with the little lift from ricotta and slightly salty hit from the feta...not a bad way to start junk-free June? Have a good one :)

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 Welly...so 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!