01 Apr.2017

Simple Dinner or Sunday Lunch

Daylight Savings ends tonight so autumn is truly upon us!! I love those long summer evenings but the replacement for that is some really great hearty food that you can indulge in that can also be quite light! This Open Savoury Tart is just that. The pastry is what gives you that ‘cosy’ autumn/winter feel and the filling although has those cooler month flavours of pumpkin and sage it is lightened up by the cottage cheese. It is the perfect combination. So give this a try and let me know what you think! You can always try different combo’s for the filling – perhaps honey roasted kumara with sesame and spinach – or for the meat lovers out there a combination of chorizo and pancetta with cherry tomato and mozzarella – really the choice is yours!! Indulge in this for a quick dinner with a salad or a light lunch with friends or family!

Open Savoury Tart - Pumpkin Sage & Cottage Cheese


2 cups flour
100g butter
2 egg yolks
30-40 mls cold water
400g diced pumpkin, roasted
15-20 sage leaves
500g cottage cheese
1 ½ cups parmesan, grated
salt and pepper
2 tbsp milk


Preheat oven to 200C Place flour into bowl, add butter and rub until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg yolks and water and mix to a stiff dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place pumpkin, cottage cheese, sage leaves, and 1 cup or grated parmesan and very gently fold together and season with salt and pepper. Toll out pastry on a lightly floured surface, to form a large circle 3mm thick, and transfer to a lined baking tray. Place pumpkin filling onto pastry leaving a 3cm rim. Fold rim over top of pumpkin mixture. Brush pastry with milk. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

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05 Dec.2013

Layered Pavlova

Long summer days running through Gran and Pop’s sprinkler was my NZ summer. That, and picking berries well into the evening as we squeezed the last little bit of sunlight from the day. Many of these berries ended up on the family pavlova, which we would eat every Christmas, and throughout the summer when friends would come over for special evening get­ togethers. So it’s no wonder that, for me, pavlova brings up so many fond memories. Berries scream summer anyway—life is just so much lighter and brighter when the sun is shining. And it doesn’t get much better than enjoying it with pavlova served with fresh berries and cream.

Layered Pavlova


4 egg whites, at room temperature
2 tbsp water
1 ½ cups caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla essence
whipped cream (aprox 500ml)
2 cups fresh mixed berries
Passionfruit pulp optional


Preheat oven to 160C

Place the egg whites in a large bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Add the water and beat well. Gradually add the sugar, beating constantly. Continue beating until thick and glossy.
In a separate bowl mix together cornflour, vinegar, and essence. Add to the egg white mixture, and beat for a further 5 minutes.
Line baking trays with baking paper and mark three circles 18cm in circumference.
Divide the mixture into three even portions and place on a lined baking tray, keeping the shapes as round as possible.
Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off oven, and open the door slightly and leave them to cool.
Once cooled place on serving platter and decorate with whipped cream and fresh berries, layering as you go.


30 Aug.2013

Smokin’ ……..

No-one smoked fish like my Pop. He was the best in town, which is why the smell of smoked fish is so strong in my memories of childhood, and why smoked fish pie evokes such fond emotions even now.

I remember the regulars who would drop in at Pop’s place to be the first to get their hands on his fish.

I would often play hide and seek in the yard with my cousins … and it didn’t matter where you hid, you could always smell the fish smoking away! Beautiful times.

So, smoked fish pie was a regular meal in my childhood. It is really quite easy to put together. And to add variety you simply try different types of fish.

Smoked Fish Pies


500g Potatoes, peeled and cooked
500g Kumara, peeled and cooked
100g Butter
Salt and Pepper
1/3 cup Flour
1 ½ cups Milk
1 tablespoon Parsley, chopped
1 Onion, diced
500g Smoked Fish, flaked
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated


Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
Mash potatoes and kumara — add 50g butter, salt and pepper, and a little milk to create a smooth, creamy consistency. Set aside.
Melt 50g butter in a saucepan. Add onion and cook until soft. Add flour and mix for a few minutes on a low heat. Gradually add milk. Stir until mixture thickens and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add parsley and, lastly, smoked fish. Mix to combine.
Divide mixture into round tins and top with mash. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Note: Alternatively you can place the fish mixture into a large casserole dish, place the mash on top and sprinkle with cheese — cook for 25-30 minutes.


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23 Jul.2013

Pear and Ginger …….. Fred and Ginger

Pear and ginger … they go together so well, like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers! Totally made for each other.

It’s a great season for pears right now, which makes this cake especially perfect for a morning tea when friends drop in, or as a surprise gift to that favourite family member. It is exquisite served warm with fresh cream.

This recipe is also very easy to make, and it never fails. Perfect for trying out with the kids during school holidays or wet weekends.

You can use apple instead of pear if you like. Mum used to make it this way for us, and it’s just as good.

Pear & Ginger Cake


2 cups self-raising flour
½ cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 cup sugar
185g butter, melted
½ cup water
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 pears, peeled and sliced
1 pear, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup whipped cream
60g Butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg


For the cake:

Preheat oven to 180degrees. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin and set aside.

Place wholemeal flour in a large bowl, sift in flour, sugar and spices. In a separate bowl mix together butter, water, grated ginger and eggs. Pour liquid mixture into the dry mix and fold together, lastly folding in pears.  Pour into tin. Decorate top of cake with extra pear.

For the topping: melt butter and mix in dry ingredients. Pour over cake mixture and cook for 1 – 1 ½ hour on 180degrees. Serve warm with whipped cream

THANKS: Antiques of Epsom / Yvonne Sanders Antiques

20 Jun.2013

Soup that warms the heart ……..

Who doesn’t love a beautifully thick bowl of pea and ham soup when it’s pouring with rain outside and the fire is roaring? Heartwarming, filling, delicious and easy to make, pea and ham soup is a perfect way to come together with friends and enjoy a special night in from the cold.

Most recipes call for split peas, but I love to use a combination of fresh and split, if only because I have such fond memories of eating peas straight from Pop’s veggie garden. But fresh peas are so sweet and juicy and really do make a difference when combined with the split peas. The thyme butter with the bread adds a very nice twist. You could also try your favourite herb with some warm, toasted bread—mouthwatering. The only problem … your friends will never want to leave!

Pea & Ham Soup


500g split peas
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions
2 cloves garlic
1 carrot, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
1 large ham hock (approx 1.2KG)
4 litres of water
2-3 cups peas


Rinse split peas with water until the water runs clear and set aside.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Cook for 5 minutes or until onions and softened. Add split peas, ham hock and water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 2-2 ½ hours, or until meat is tender and falling away from the bone. Remove bone from pan and remove the meat from the bones. Coarsely chop and set meat aside.

Add peas and simmer for a few minutes. Place 1/4 of the mixture into a food processor or blender and puree in batches. Return to the pot, add meat and bring to the boil. Serve hot and add peas to garnish if desired.


Thyme Butter

250g butter, softened
4 tbsp fresh thyme

Mix together in a bowl with a fork. Serve with desired bread.

THANKS: Madder and Rouge / Antiques of Epsom / Freedom Furniture Link Drive / The Home Store Newmarket

04 Jun.2013

Apples never fall far from the tree……

Apples never fall far from the tree …


Apples still evoke very strong memories of childhood for me. I remember running around Gran’s orchard and picking them off the ground for her to use in all sorts of recipes. And that’s the beauty of apples—they are so versatile! And I remember how amazing the smell was when Gran stewed her leftover apples from the season and bottled them. She would let me take what I wanted from the preserve cupboard, and for me it was always the apples.

This recipe is VERY easy—and it melts in your mouth the way a perfect shortcake should. A lovely reminder not to overlook the simple things in life!

Apple Shortcake


Granny smith apples peeled and cored
Zest 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp Sugar
125g butter
1/2 caster sugar plus 1 tbsp
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting


Cut apples into thin slices place in saucepan with zest sugar and 2 tbsp water.
Cover and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes.
The apples should be cooked but not mushy.
allow to cool.
Cream together butter and 1/2 cup caster sugar until fluffy and smooth.
Add egg and mix well.  Sift flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir until combined.
Turn out and knead to a smooth ball. This only takes few turns.
Divide into 2 balls, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Preheat over 180
Roll out each ball to a round, approx. 20 cm across.
Press 1 into cake tin lined with baking paper.
Spread apple mixture leaving a small boarder. Sprinkle with extra tbsp sugar.
Place remain round dough on top and press the edges together.


BAKE for 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool in tin before removing.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream.

THANKS: Flotsam & Jetsam / Antiques of Epsom / Farmers / Romantique / Living and Giving
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30 Apr.2013

Silence speaks louder…

This dish is one of my favourite combinations. I guess you could call it a ‘deconstructed’ rhubarb crumble, to use a modern buzzword. But put back together as something truly beautiful.


The heart of this dish is the vanilla bean semifreddo. I love trying other flavours too—you could give berries or nuts a try—but for me, the vanilla bean is the way to go. I dished this up to the family and the house went silent, one of those silences when you’re never quite sure if the verdict is good or bad. When I couldn’t stand it any longer and asked what they thought, I was told ‘Shhh, I’m eating!’ That hardly ever happens, so what can I say? I knew I was onto a winner.


The ginger in the rhubarb is a beautiful combo. And the crumble topping is a delicious contrast to the smooth semifreddo—they go together like the perfect romance. Yum, a love story served up as a dessert—I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!



3 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 vanilla bean pods, scrapped
¾ cup caster sugar
2 cups pouring cream

Place the eggs, vanilla bean & caster sugar in a large heatproof bowl and mix with an electric beater over a saucepan of hot water for 6-8 minutes or until the mixture is thick and pale in colour. Remove from the heat and beat for a further 6-8 minutes until it is cooled. Fold in the whipped cream and pour into a metal tin or similar – approximately 2 litres. Leave in the freezer overnight or for at least 6 hours.


1 cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup crushed round wine biscuits
¼ cup pistachio nuts, chopped
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup sliced almonds
100g melted butter cooled to room temperature

Preheat oven to 160°C. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Spread on oven tray and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
While the crumble is cooking stew the rhubarb as directed below


600g fresh rhubarb, diced
1 ½ tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp water
1 cup sugar

Place rhubarb, ginger, water and sugar into a pot. Slowly bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 or until sugar has dissolved and rhubarb is cooked.

Once cooked and the crumble is cooled serve in a glass jar or bowl. Starting with the rhubarb, followed by semifreddo and then top with crumble. I like to serve the rhubarb and crumble at room temperature as the semifreddo melts quite quickly.

THANKS: Antiques of Epsom / The Homestore Newmarket / Freedom Furniture Link Drive