Roast plums with no-churn plum ice cream


Morning all, and a very happy Valentines Day to you. Hm - I must confess to originally feeling a bit poo bummy about posting a recipe for V Day, but then I thought - how bloody ridiculous! This dessert which can be made for your love, but also for a bunch of mates, is perfect for this time of year, making the most of lush ripe tart/sweet plums with a scoop of creamy, plummy ice cream on the side. The whole thing is too simple - basically you just cut the plums in half, dot with a wee bit of butter, sprinkle with sugar and bung in the oven. The ice cream takes five minutes to make (then just needs time to freeze) and uses my favourite tinned Black Doris plums. If you want to make this in a hurry, just buy vanilla bean ice cream, allow it to soften slightly then drain and remove the stones from the tinned plums, mash and swirl through the ice cream and refreeze for 2-3 hours - ta dah!

...and in other news, not a hell of a lot to report really. The dogs are at the kennels at the moment, which is a revelation (the freedom, lack of yapping/walking/poo patrols/wees on the carpet - heaven), so I was able to zoom over to Waiheke unfettered to stay with some great friends last weekend. Hilarious how you can feel like you're having a party with just three people - fabulous. Other than that its business as usual. Friday I am super excited to be flying down to Welly for the day to check out Rich's new abode - he seems to have settled in beautifully, having unpacked, found a job, been cooking up a storm and got stuck in, in just a few weeks. Meanwhile Pog is hard at work at uni, Kit & Ace and on the book - I am so grateful to have his unparalleled eye working it's magic on the layout and design, and inch by inch we're making progress! So that's it really...have a great day, and I'll see you here again soon :)

Iced Coffee Ice Cream


Helloooo - I feel like it's been a while again - I must confess to feeling a little overwhelmed with work and the cookbook at the moment and consequently haven't been on the blog as much as I would like, a state which will probably continue until the beginning of June. Busy but exciting times. I will still do my best to get back here at least once a fortnight, so its not panic stations just yet :) Todays recipe is one I put together for Fairfax, old-school proper ice cream with a custard base and a rich coffee hit. It has such a great smooth texture, almost like gelato, and is wickedly addictive on its own but would also be great with espresso poured on top as affogato. Well worth giving it a whirl - promise.

And in other news - Rich has re-flown the nest (via the Tongariro crossing) and is busy getting himself sorted in his new flat in Wellington. I can't wait to nip down there and check it out to see where it sits on the hovel didn't look tooooo bad in the pics. So yes, we shall see. It was fabulous having him here, he is such a fascinating soul, so intelligent and laid back, funny and sincere - I will miss him. Meanwhile Pog has started back at design school in Melbourne, having already landed himself a regular design column for Stuff - by crikey, I am so excited for him - I feel like this is the tiniest little tippy tip of the ice berg of where his talent will take him. Obviously I will be sharing links to all of his columns here. (Whoop here is the second one!) Not much to report with me, I am just hitting the mat at yoga and beavering away as usual. Some days everything turns to crap in a basket - the pics are horrible and I'm not happy with the recipes, and others it's glorious angels singing, (well Spotify playing) beautiful photos and luscious food all round. I just need a few more of the latter. I did manage to escape for one half day recently, having only been back to Waiheke once in the last nine months I couldn't resist the urge a few days ago. I can't tell you how bloody fabulous it was to sit on the ferry on a blue-sky day, surrounded by happy travellers, arrive at the island and walk up into the village and then down to the beach to fling myself in the sea. It was so fabulously rejuvenating, I just need to make the effort (and find the time) a little more often. 

Mini spinach pies with rosemary, lemon, pine nuts & feta


Good morning from the comfy old blogging ground of my bed, complete with second cup of tea. Today's recipe is one I put together for Dish magazine, perfect for summer drinks parties, picnics, lunch - whatever really - they are gorgeous little pastry parcels filled with iron-rich spinach, salty feta, nubbly pine nuts and sweet currants, with a little kick from spices and fresh, enlivening rosemary. I like them dipped in tomato chutney, but they would be equally good with Greek yoghurt spiked with garlic and lemon. Anyhoo - a tasty, satisfying but still summery vego option :) (Actually they would also be bloody good in winter).

Well the start of the year has been a flurry of activity, and consequently my body is telling me to slow the hell down with four migraines in a row (mostly the arcing eye shimmers and less headache). Blergh. So alright then NO exercise today, not even a walk...but I do have a shoot for Fairfax to get done and one for the book to do, so it's not exactly total rest for the wicked. I am so excited at how the book preparation is going, the response from everyone I have shown the concept to so far has been incredibly generous and encouraging, so now it's just up to me to make it happen. Meanwhile Rich is still here for a wee while yet, so I continue to have his wry smile and teasing banter to enjoy along with NBA instruction, comedy discussion and his excellent taste in music. Over in Melbourne Henry has had his first taste of recognition for his incredible design aesthetic with a feature in NZ House & Garden on-line at Stuff which you can see here. I am so proud of him, and excited too - I know he is going to be a massive success, this is just an early indication of a super-exciting future! Right - enough from me - time to get up and gently and calmly get cracking. Haha - yeah right.

Crumbed fried eggplant with burrata, tomatoes & olives


Hello - here we are again then :) As a long weekend is looming I thought it would be timely to post a recipe that would suit casual summery entertaining. That is assuming that summer presents itself this weekend, having been thus far pretty much absent. (Summer, any time you're ready...). Its a recipe I put together for Dish, and perfect to enjoy with a few glasses of wine or a couple of beers - angled rounds of eggplant with a crunchy, crisp exterior and soft luscious interior topped with creamy, soft and melty burrata, sweet ripe tomatoes and briney black olives. Add a good sprinkling of sea salt and a few basil leaves and every mouthful is bloody fabulous!

And in other news - there isn't much lately. I am just massively 'head down bum up' working on the book in between my regular contributor work. Henry has done such an amazing job with the design, it really is now just up to me to fill those pages with my favourite recipes and hope that I can make the photos beautiful enough to do it justice. No pressure then. So while Henry is hard at work on the book and in his dear little garden in Melbourne, Hoob has been filling in his last few days before disappearing back down to Welly. I will miss his lovely self hugely, but less so the mounds of washing (where does it come from, does he change, what, four times a day?!), and grotty pit of a bedroom...good thing he is such delicious company. Right then, second cup of tea finished, light streaming in the window (wait, summer - are you here today then!?), so time to get moving.

spicy chicken tacos with lime tomato salsa, grilled corn & margaritas


Good morning from a running-very-late me on this Wednesday morning. Currently I am supposed to be in the car on my way to the beach to visit my lovely friend Anna for a few nights (with dogs and Rich in tow), and yet I'm not - I am sitting here at my bloody computer catching up on stuff! This is what happens when you take your holidays just as everyone is arriving back at move? No. I arrived back on Sunday night having had three lovely days in Melbourne with Henry and Will. Despite the searing 37˚C (98.6 ˚F) heat we schlepped around the city shopping, visited Henry's new flat and Will's place too, and ate delicious, inspiring food everywhere we went. Pog's room is supremely stylish, God that man has an outrageously good eye - I am so lucky to have him designing my book! Will was, as always, a total darling and it was an incredible treat to see them both :)

But now I am back, having delayed my wee beach trip by one day already due to work, am now going to stick my hands over my ears/eyes (not while driving obviously), to all the stuff I should be doing and leap in the car. I haven't had a swim in the NZ sea since last Christmas, so I really do feel like it is time to fling myself into the tide and wash away the cobwebs. If you happen to be hanging around a beach this weekend, or just keen to keep the holiday vibe going, you might want to give this recipe a whirl. It is one I put together for Fairfax, so appearing in newspapers around the country  and on Stuff today - chilli marinated chicken, grilled on the barbecue then snuggled up with limey tomatoes, siracha spiked mayo, grilled corn, avocado and coriander in a warm tortilla...just add margaritas to serve! (Henry I feel that Gypsy Kings might be compulsory...)

New Year's restorative breakfast - starting 2017 right


Happy New Year!!!!!!!! As you know I have been really looking forward to seeing the back end of last year, so I am bloody beside myself that it is finally 2017. Bring it on is all I have to say. I have a huge year planned with the publication of my first book here in New Zealand, possibly Australia and (with every fibre of my being I hope) in the United States. Last year I had a good few months of eating cheese and crackers and drinking whisky for dinner (the end of a marriage is tough), but was happily just getting my act together by the end of the year. Then Christmas happened and things went rapidly down-hill - champagne at breakfast, cocktails at 4pm, endless glasses of wine - falalalala! Then that kind of rolled on into the holidays, and with the relief of getting to the end of the year and making it through the festive season it was pretty much a free-for-all.

But day 1 of 2017 and this year I am determined to get back to looking after myself, it's going to be super-important with all the stuff I want to achieve. I absolutely love yoga (ohmmm) and going for long walks, but while I love exercise and wholesome eating, I am not into mega-extremes - it is my belief that deprivation isn't necessary to live a healthy life, moderation is. Any waaay, enough words, here you have my healthier take on the traditional fry-up - just as satisfying and nourishing as the old fashioned fried sausages and eggs, but with fresh, spicy flavours: wholemeal grainy toast topped with soft, herby home-made labneh (yoghurt cheese), tender asparagus, creamy avocado, a poached egg and a good sprinkling of fragrant dukkah. So much good stuff! Wholegrain bread for fibre, vitamin rich asparagus and avocado, salmon for it's lovely omega 3s, egg and labneh for protein and (the labneh) for calcium. Wishing you an absolutely stellar start to the new year - wherever you are I hope you are surrounded by friends and loved ones, but if not - you get this brekky all to yourself :)
(PS - as this recipe has a loverly sponsor I also have a $150 prize to give away - head on down to the bottom of the recipe for details!)

Queso fundidio, beer, chorizo, chilli & cheese dip


Helloooo, I thought it timely to share this recipe I put together for the gorgeous Dish magazine earlier in the year...I can't think of anything better for an outdoor, southern hemisphere New Year's get-together. (Actually it would be pretty bloody fabulous in the freezing north too). I have been making variations on this hot cheesy dip for years as it's perfect as a bite with a drink when camping. The beer keeps it smooth and ‘scoopable’, the chorizo, peppers, paprika and chilli give it a kick and the tomato and coriander add a touch of freshness. Best eaten with a massive mound of corn chips.

So this New Year's will be a pretty quiet one for me, with just a few of my nearest and dearest gathered at mine for some drinkies and nibbles by the outdoor fire. I'll be missing the boys, Rich at R&V and Henry in Melbourne, but I will be sending them my love and the traditional midnight text. Rich should be home tomorrow, (crazy that I miss him again after he's only been home from uni for a bit) , and then I'll be counting down the days to my quick trip to Melbourne to catch up with Pog - it's been just four months since he was here for his birthday, but it feels like a lifetime.What a huge year for everyone - Henry establishing his new life, starting interior design, changing flat 3x and meeting the darling Will in Melbourne, Rich getting through his first year at Vic with flying colours while philosophising up a storm, and me adjusting to life on my own - dammit it's been hard. I am so over 2016, I've never been more ready to see the arrival of a new year. Wherever you are, wishing you fun and safe times with good friends - enjoy, have a couple of drinks, a sneaky snog at midnight and if you're old enough sing Auld Langs Syne. But most of all I hope you get the chance to make some fabulous, happy memories tonight, that's what it's all about isn't it?

Merry christmas & happy new year!


I am so excited to finally share my big news with you - yeeeeee ha - 2017 is going to be the year of the cookbook!!! I am thrilled to be publishing my first book which will be due in stores around New Zealand (working on Australia and the US) near the end of next year. It really has been a long time coming, but now I finally know how I want it to be, and I can't wait to put it all together. Just as exciting for me, is that my super-talented eldest son Henry is doing the design. Cheers, and here's to you - huge thanks for coming here so often and giving me the confidence to give it a shot, and to my darling friends and family for their encouragement.

 I'll see you back here in a few weeks, in the meantime, travel safely, make the most of shared times with friends and family and don't forget to have a good old fossick around the blog for holiday cooking inspo...

...alrighty then, that's it from me - 2017? Bring it on!!!

Christmas cinnamon figgy swirl ice cream with praline


Have you got the latest issue of Dish magazine?! If so hunt out this recipe I created for Fisher & Paykel - it is the perfect summer Christmas dessert (she says humbly...!). It is a no-churn ice cream flavoured with the tastes of Christmas - brown sugar, cinnamon and brandy, with a figgy ginger paste swirled through. Falalala...two more sleeps to go...

Christmas & new year inspo


Morning all - racing out the door to start my Christmas shopping (!!!) but wanted to quickly share this first - if you're looking for a bit of inspo for Christmas & new year entertaining check out some of my favourite recipes, and don't forget there are also over 300 recipes in the index for you to check out! Hang in there.....