Sunday, July 26, 2015


Make 24 hours before required. A nice Christmas salad. 

3 heads of raw broccoli
1 bunch of spring onions, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds, roasted
1/2 cup sunflower seeds,roasted

4 tablespoons of lemon juice or cider vinegar
1 cup of creamy mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of sugar, optional

Chop broccoli, spring onions, onion and cranberries finely. Place in serving bowl.
Put dressing ingredients into a jar or "shaker"and mix well, if to thick add more liquid. Pour over salad. Cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring every so often. This allows the broccoli to soften a little. Before serving stir and sprinkle on the almonds and seeds.

I don't chop the cranberries. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015


I would suggest making this cake in advance, perhaps the day before you need it, to give it time to firm up and make it easier to cut into layers
It's a big cake, serves at least 12 and is a little fiddly, but not difficult to make. Read through the recipe before you start.

Preheat oven to 180c. Grease and line base and sides of a 20cm loose bottomed cake pan.

175 grams butter
450 grams sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons Wilton No Taste Red colouring Gel, or tablespoons red liquid colouring.*
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
375 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon each: baking soda , vinegar

*Use the gel preferably, the liquid has a nasty aftertaste if you use too much. If you are going to make this delicious cake, perhaps ask at a cake supply shop which to use, I used gel and liquid, but it took a lot to get a nice red colour.


90 grams Kremelta (Copha) at room temperature
90 grams butter at room temperature
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
150 grams full fat cream cheese

In a large bowl,beat the butter with electric beaters or a mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat the mixture until it is pale and light. Don't worry if it splits. 

In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk,food colouring,vanilla, and cocoa powder, mix well.

In a third bowl, mix the flour with the salt

Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the butter mixture in batches, folding thoroughly between each addition.

In a small bowl, mix together with baking soda and vinegar and fold into the cake batter while it is still fizzing.

Pour the batter into prepared tin and bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until it is risen and springy and a skewer comes out clean.

Cool cake in tin. Storing it now in the fridge will make it firmer and easier to cut into the three layers, but it's not essential.


Beat Kremelta and butter together until fluffy. This will take a lot of beating, at least four minutes.
Add the icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition, then add the milk.
In another bowl, (yes another) put cream cheese and beat with electric beaters until soft. Add to butter cream and beat well until mixed in. If too firm add a drop more milk.

Cut the cake into three layers. 

Spread frosting on the top of the bottom and middle layers working from the centre out. Stack one on top of another on a plate or cake stand. Add the third layer of cake. Place a generous quantity of frosting on the top, and using a spatula or palette knife, gently spread it over the top and towards the edges, adding more frosting to the middle and working it out and down the sides. Don't plaster it on the sides, you'll end up with crumbs everywhere, just work it gently from the top and down the sides, nice and smoothly.

If you want it smooth, dip spatula in hot water, dry it, and run flat side around the cake sides.

Cutting the cake: A freshly made cake will be crumby when cut, so better to put in the fridge overnight to firm up, or at least make the day before.
Use a ruler to measure the levels and mark with toothpicks around the cake. Cut with a serrated knife .

Friday, July 24, 2015


Having a group over for an impromptu casual meal can sometime be a bit stressful if there's a vegetarian in  the mix. These would be ideal for just that situation, with the potato replacing the meat, and everything else is just the usual taco fixings.

Firstly,preheat oven to 220c, peel a whole head of garlic, 10-12 cloves, place on a piece of foil, season with salt and pepper and a tablespoon of oil and wrap tightly. Cook for 25-30 minutes.

Peel 1 1/2 kilos or there abouts mashing potatoes, cut up and cover with cold salted water. Bring to boil and cook until tender. Drain, return to pot. Add about 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup sour cream, roasted garlic, salt and pepper, 1/2 small grated onion and 1 grated clove of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Mash until smooth, adding more milk if needed. Add 1/4 cup chopped spring onions. 

And that is it. Now just assemble your usual taco bits

4-6 servings

  • 8 to 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 kilos potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons  butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 grated small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ cup sliced spring onions
  • taco shells
  • 2 avocados mashed with the juice of 1 lime
  •  tomatoes, diced
  • iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salsa

Thursday, July 23, 2015


I had to change the name as people get funny and won't eat them when you tell them the real name. These are Lactation biscuits, wonderful things for helping increase milk supply in breastfeeding Mums. If you aren't a breastfeeding Mum, you won't suddenly grow massive boobs with the ability to feed the starving masses, not even a little bit. Perfectly safe for everyone , even men!
The magic ingredient is brewers yeast, a by product of beer making, an excellent source of B vitamins and protein. It must be BREWERS yeast, not BAKERS yeast. The other one is linseed or flaxseed meal, they are the same thing, and is high in Omega 3. Both these things are available in most supermarkets or healthfood shops. Keep in the fridge or freezer. 

225g  butter 
 1 cup sugar
 1 cup brown sugar
 4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons linseed (flaxseed) meal
 2 large eggs
 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
 2 cups flour
 1 teaspoon baking soda
 1 teaspoon salt
 3 cups rolled oats
 1 cup or more chocolate chips
 2 tablespoons of brewers yeast(be generous)
You can also add some dried fruit if you want, raisins, sultanas, cranberries, chopped apricots etc.

Preheat oven at 375 degrees F, 180c. 
Mix together 2 tablespoons of linseed meal and water, set aside for 3-5 minutes. Cream butter and sugar.
 Add eggs one at a time, mix well.
 Stir linseed mixture and add with vanilla to the butter mix. Beat until blended. Sift together dry ingredients, except oats and chips. 
Add to butter mixture.
 Stir in oats & chips and fruit.
 Scoop onto baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Bake 8-12 minutes, depending on size of cookies.
Serves: 6 dozen cookies (a huge batch)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


These are really nice, great for lunch with a nice bowl of soup or a school lunch. I've found it's better to grease muffins tins really well rather than use liners, as they tended to stick.
Use whatever vegetables or herbs you have on hand.

2 cups of self raising flour
3 cups vegetables; grated carrot,zucchini,onion,corn,shredded spinach,spring onions,grated kumara.
1 1/3 cups grated tasty cheese
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
60g butter, melted.

Preheat oven to 180c and grease a 12 hole muffin tin
Place flour,cheese and vegetables into a large bowl and mix well.
Mix eggs, milk and cooled melted butter together and add to flour mixture.
Mix until just incorporated
Divide amongst muffin tins and cook 25-30 minutes until browned and cook when tested with skewer.
Cool in tin before turning out.


1½ cups brown sugar
2/3 cup oil (not extra virgin)
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2½ cups flour
2 cups diced rhubarb
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
Grease and line 2 loaf pans approximately 11x22 cm. 
Combine the brown sugar and oil in a bowl. Stir well until smooth. Stir in egg, buttermilk, salt, baking soda, vanilla and flour. Blend until moist.
Fold in rhubarb and nuts.
Put into pans
Sprinkle with a little sugar if you want.
Bake 180C until a skewer inserted in centre comes out dry, 50 to 60 mins.
Turn out onto rack. Cool before slicing

Friday, July 17, 2015


Fish pie is another of those recipes where everyone has "the best". I think it's really just how you like them. I like them stuffed with more seafood than fish, but others may not and just want "fish"pie with nothing else. Whatever you want, be gentle and don't overcook and season well, it usually needs a fair bit. Also, the topping, traditionally mashed potato, but no reason not to use pastry, buttered breadcrumbs or pieces of bread. Again, this recipe isn't set in stone,change it around to suit .

You'll need 2-3 hard boiled eggs and  1 cup or more (depending on size of dish) of mashed potato (if using) and a bouquet of herbs, bay leaf, parsley, chives and a bit of lemon peel, so do all  this first.

Amounts are approximate

400gms white fish, (cheap, chunky, something like monkfish, hapuka,groper)
100gms smoked fish fillets
1 1/2 cups of milk (or more as needed)
Pinch of cayenne
50gms of butter
1 thinly sliced leek
1/4 cup plain flour
extra seafood if using, prawns,calamari rings or cut how you want,scallops,surimi.

Heat oven 180c.
Put fish and smoked fish in a saucepan or frypan. Add milk, herbs and cayenne. Bring up to simmer for maybe 2 minutes. Turn off and remove fish to a plate, leave milk and herbs to stand.
Melt butter in another large pan, add leaks, cook stirring , on low heat, until leeks are soft and transparent. Stir in flour so it all comes to a paste. Gradually add milk (discarding herbs), and whisk while bringing back to boil , until sauce is thick and smooth. Add more milk if needed, but keep it quite thick. Add salt and pepper.
Chop fish into largeish chunks and scatter into buttered dish with roughly chopped eggs. . Add seafood to sauce (raw) with a little chopped parsley and pour over fish. Mix carefully, don't overfill dish. Put dish on oven tray, it does tend to spill over.
Add layer of mashed potato, (not too much) or other topping. and fluff up with fork. Dot with a little extra butter and cook until crisp and brown.

If using pastry, cook at 220c for about 25-30 minutes, turning down to 180c if browning too quickly.