Saturday, December 02, 2006


The raspberries in the garden are coming into season. There's nothing to beat sweet, freshly picked raspberries - either on their own or with cream or ice-cream.

At least half of them don't even make it to the plate - they are eaten as they are being picked!

This time of year in NZ is berry season - so sometimes we combine them with a "berry salad" of strawberries and blueberries.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Lemon pudding

50g butter
Rind of two lemons
Juice of two lemons
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs separated

Beat butter, sugar, egg yolks and rind together.
Stir in the milk, lemon juice and flour.
Beat egg whites separately until they form peaks.
Fold the egg whites into the mixture.
Pour into ovenproof bowl.
Place bowl into ovenproof dish and pour water into dish - about 1 cm deep.
Bake at 160 degrees C for around 35 minutes until pudding is firm and the top is golden.
Serve with cream or ice cream.

Lemon roasted chicken with noodles

There were a few lemons on the lemon tree so this main course and dessert are based on them.

1.5 kg chicken.
Packet (or two) of instant noodles
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 onion
Garlic and ginger
1/2 cup chopped up peanuts
Diced cucumber
2 spring onions cut up
1 cup water

Stuff the chicken with a cut up lemon.
Place in an ovenproof dish,
Cut the onion into quarters and place in dish.
Squeeze the lemons over the chicken and place the pieces in the dish.
Sprinkle with garlic and ginger.
Pour the water into the dish.
Roast at 180 degrees for about an hour or until chicken is cooked.
Cook the instant noodles as per instructions. Stir in the soy sauce.
Place the noodles on the bottom of a bowl, mix in the peanuts, spring onion and cucumber and place pieces of the chicken on top.

Boerewors with onions and tomatoes

1 onion
Garlic and ginger
Tin tomatoes
1/2 cup water

Brown the onion, garlic and ginger.
Spoon on the bottom on an ovenproof dish and place the boerewors on top.
Cover with the tin of tomatoes and water.
Cook at 170 degrees for around 30 minutes.
You can prick the boerewors if you like - the fat flavours the sauce.
Serve with crusty bread to mop up every bit of it.


Some background on the main ingredient of the next recipe.

Boerewors is a Southern African sausage. It comes in a long roll and can either be cooked in the oven or on a BBQ. When you cook it, cook it whole - don't cut it up into smaller pieces. It contains very little fat so you don't want any to escape otherwise it tends to be dry.

We get ours from Janssens in Brown's Bay.

Aside : Vegetable display at the Ellerslie Flower Show

The Saturday kids went along to the recent Ellerslie Flower Show where they particularly enjoyed the erupting volcano - smoke and all!

Every year they have an exhibit made entirely from vegetables.

Aside : Saturday kids featured in "Digital Life" on NZ National Radio

Radio New Zealand has an afternoon program called "Afternoons with Jim Mora" which also has a podcast. It has a Digital Life slot with Helen & Chelfyn Baxter of Mohawk Media.

They have a blog where they blog the contents of each fortnightly slot. The Saturday kids blog is mentioned here.

Aside : Roses in the garden

As summer fast approaches, the roses emerge from their winter hibernation and present a stunning display - cut flowers all summer long.

Fudge self-saucing chocolate pudding

1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup milk

1 Tbsp cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water

Sift flour and first measure cocoa.
Add the first amount of sugar.
Stir in milk.
Spoon over bottom of ovenproof dish.
Mix second measures of sugar and cocoa and sprinkle over.
Using the back of a spoon, pour the boiling water over the mixture.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 40 minutes or until centre is firm.
Serve with cream or ice cream.

Chicken pie

1 sheet puff pastry
500g chicken breasts
1 onion
Garlic and ginger
1 can chicken soup
1/2 cup cream
Tin tomatoes
Frozen vegetables

Cut chicken into cubes and brown together with the onion, garlic and ginger.
Stir in the soup and the cream.
Add the tomatoes and vegetables and warm through.
Spoon into a pie dish, sprinkle with parsley and cover with the puff pastry.
Bake at 200 degrees C for 30 minutes and then bake at 180 degrees C for another 10 minutes or until pastry is golden.

Aside : Broccoli in the garden

A head of broccoli just before picking. Pick, wash and then stir fry - what could be fresher?

Thai green curry

500g mince
1 onion
Garlic and ginger
Tin tomatoes
Thai green curry kit - sauce and Singapore noodles

Brown the mince and the onion.
Add the garlic and ginger.
Add the tin of tomatoes and warm through.
Add the sauce.
Add the mizuna and cook until limp.
Soak the noodles in boiling water for 2 minutes.
Place some noodles on a plate and cover with the green curry mixture.

Aside : Mizuna in the garden

It's really quick growing. Use as a salad ingredient (like lettuce) but we prefer it in a stir fry.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tarte Normande

Sheet of sweet pastry
70g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
50g standard flour
100g ground almonds
3 Tbsp cream
Tin pie apples
4 Tbsp jam (Traditionally this recipe uses apricot jam but we prefer strawberry).

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Line an oven proof baking dish with the pastry.
Bake the pastry blind for 15 minutes, then remove the blind and bake for another 4 minutes.
Beat together the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs, almonds, flour and cream.
Spread over the baked pastry.
Cover completely with apples and then spread the jam over the apples.
Bake for 30 minutes or until filling is set.
Serve with cream or ice-cream.

Oxtail stew with winter vegetables.

1 oxtail
Ginger and garlic
Herbs and spices
1 onion
2 carrots
3 parsnips
1 large leek
1 swede or turnip
1/2 bottle red wine
Frozen winter vegetable mix
Crusty bread

Oxtail needs to be gently summered for a long time. A pressure cooker is ideal for this.
Brown the oxtail, onion, leek, garlic and ginger.
Add the herbs and spices.
Add the carrots, parsnips and swede / turnip.
Add the red wine and bring to the boil.
Pressure cook for an hour.
Allow to cool and skim off the excess fat.
Lightly mash the vegetables - this makes the gravy much thicker.
Add packet of winter vegetables and warm through.
Serve with sprig of parsley and bread to mop up the delicious gravy.

And another picture from another winter!

Blueberry tart

Sheet of sweet pastry
2 eggs
4 Tbsp sugar
200 ml cream
About 10 sponge biscuits
Tin blueberries (or fresh if available)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Line an oven proof baking dish with the pastry.
Bake the pastry blind for 15 minutes, then remove the blind and bake for another 4 minutes.
Beat eggs and sugar together.
Add cream and briefly beat.
Break up the sponge biscuits and add.
Spread the filling over the pastry base and place the blueberries on top.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 45 minutes or until filling is set.
Serve with cream or ice-cream.

Slow cooked Moroccan chicken with lemon

Chicken drumsticks
1 onion
Garlic and ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 lemons

Spread the onions, garlic and ginger over the base of an casserole dish.
Cover with drumsticks and sprinkle with spices.
Pour over stock.
Bring to boil and then gently simmer for around 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked.
Slice the lemons, add to the dish and simmer for 10 minutes.
Before serving, skim off excess fat.

Aside : St Joseph's lily in the garden

Must be spring! The garden is coming alive after a long, dreary, grey cold winter.

Aside : Azalea in the garden

Must have been a cold winter because they don't bloom every year but when they do, they are stunning.

Aside : Silver beet in the garden

Mainly a winter vegetable in NZ. Used in stews in much the same way as spinach.

Jelly with fruit

What could be simpler?

1 packet jelly
1 tin fruit - fruit salad used in photo.

Mix the packet of jelly with 1 cup boiling water.
Stir until the jelly is dissolved.
Pour the fruit juice from the tin into a cup and top up with cold water.
Mix with the jelly.
Stir in tin of fruit.
Refrigerate until set.
Enjoy with ice cream.

Aside : Daffodils in the garden

Daffodils are one of the annual signs of spring in NZ and are associated with Daffodil Day - use to raise funds for cancer research.

Pork slices with cumin and coriander

500g pork slices
1 onion
Garlic and ginger
400g tin peach slices
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Place onions, garlic and ginger in an oven-proof dish.
Cover with the pork slices.
Sprinkle with the cumin, coriander and soy sauce.
Spread over the peaches and juice.
Bake for 1 hour or until slices are tender.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Aside : Peach tree in blossom

Spring is here and the blossoms are everywhere in the garden!

Tarte Tatin

4 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup sugar
Large tin pie apples
1 sheet sweet pastry

This needs to be cooked in an oven-proof dish that can also be placed on a hot plate e.g. a skillet. It's the classic upside-down tart.

Spread the butter and sugar over the bottom of the dish.
Place the pie pieces in the dish so that the whole surface is covered and there are no gaps.
Cook over high heat until sugar starts to melt.
Reduce heat to medium and cook for another 30 minutes. The purpose of this is to caramelize the apples.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Roll the pastry to fit over the dish.
Place the pastry over the dish tucking in the edges and pricking with a fork in a few places.
Bake until pastry is golden brown - about 30 minutes.
Remove tart, rest for 5 minutes and then invert over a large dish.
Re-arrange apples if needed - serve with cream or ice-cream.

There are two pictures showing the tart before and after inversion.

Aside : Koru in the garden

The Koru is an iconic symbol of NZ.

Jam tart

Sheet of sweet pastry
475g jar of jam

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Line an oven proof baking dish with the pastry.
Bake the pastry blind for 15 minutes, then remove the blind and bake for another 4 minutes.
Spoon jam onto pastry.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Allow to cool.
Serve with cream or ice-cream.

Quick stir fry with noodles

500g mince
1 onion
Garlic / ginger / herbs and spices
Packet frozen wok stir fry
Packet wok sauce mix
2 - 3 cups shredded cabbage
1 1/2 cups crispy noodles

Heat wok or deep saucepan
Brown mince, onion, and flavourings
Add the frozen wok stir fry mixture and cook for 4 minutes
Add the cabbage and the sauce and cook until cabbage has wilted.
Sprinkle with noodles before serving.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Balsamic vinegar

For a lot of the stews and mince mixtures, we often add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Adds a piquant, unusual flavour and leads to "What's that taste I can't identify?"

Use the best you can afford - the real deal - not the cheap stuff made by adding caramel to the base vinegar.

Chocolate bread pudding

This is a variation of the previous recipe. If you look at the picture, you will see little pieces of "chocolate chip". This happened when we added the warm, melted chocolate to the cold milk and the chocolate mixture solidified!

Also the bread and pastry is a bit of an overkill.


No pastry
6 slices bread
200g (70% cocoa) dark chocolate

Warm the milk before adding to the bread. Now when you add the chocolate, it won't solidify.

Rest of recipe as described.

Yummy - perfect for cold winter's nights.

Chocolate and bread tart

Sheet of sweet pastry
4 slices bread, cubed with crusts removed
2 eggs
350 ml milk
150g (70% cocoa) dark chocolate
50g butter
4 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp cocoa

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Line an oven proof baking dish with the pastry.
Bake the pastry blind for 20 minutes, then remove the blind and bake for another 4 minutes.
Cover the bread with the milk and leave to soak.
Melt the butter and chocolate and add to bread mixture.
Add vanilla essence and cocoa and stir.
Beat eggs and sugar separately and then stir into mixture.
Reduce oven to 180 degrees C and bake for 35 minutes or until set.
Serve with cream or ice cream.

Green Thai chicken curry

500g chicken breasts cubed (skin removed)
1 onion
Garlic and ginger.
Herbs and spices.
Tin Thai green curry mixture (Check coconut cream is part of the ingredients otherwise purchase separately)
Frozen vegetables
2 Tbsps fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Cooked rice

Brown chicken, onion, ginger, garlic and spices in a frying pan.
Add herbs and stir through
Add fish and soy sauce and stir through
Quickly soak the vegetables in boiling water, then drain and add the vegetables.
Add the green curry mixture (and coconut milk if required) and bring back to boil.
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve over rice.

Chocolate and coffee pie

Sheet of sweet pastry
180 ml cream
2 eggs
1 Tbsp instant coffee
50 ml milk
200g (70% cocoa) dark chocolate
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Line an oven proof baking dish with the pastry.
Bake the pastry blind for 20 minutes, then remove the blind and bake for another 4 minutes.
Cream together milk, cream and vanilla.
Add chocolate and warm gently. Remove to cool slightly.
Whisk sugar and eggs and add to mixture. Add instant coffee and stir through.
Reduce oven to 160 degrees C.
Carefully pour filling into pastry base.
Bake for another 20 minutes or until set.

Cheesy mince and pasta bake

500g mince
1 onion
Garlic and ginger
Herbs and spices
1 tin savoury tomatoes
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup cheese
Cooked pasta

Brown mince, onion, spices, garlic and ginger in frying pan.
Add herbs.
Add tomatoes and bring to boil.
In an oven-proof dish, layer the pasta and mince mixture.
Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese and scatter over the dish.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes or until topping is golden.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Don't drop the chocolate

When melting chocolate and butter over a double boiler, ensure that the small dish cannot drop into the bigger one! If it does and boiling water gets into the melting mixture, you are guaranteed to have a mess.

And always use chocolate made with at least 70% cocoa. It's a bit more expensive but the difference is well worth it. Spoil yourself!

Rhubarb crumble

50g butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 to 4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 tsp vanilla

75g butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup ground almonds

Combine butter and sugar.
Stir over medium heat until starting to brown.
Add rhubarb.
Cook stirring all the time until mixture starts to thicken. (Approx. 12 minutes)
Remove and stir in vanilla.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
Cream butter and sugar.
Combine flour, almonds and oats.
Gradually add butter mixture and rub until crumbly.
Pour rhubarb mixture into baking dish.
Sprinkle crumble over the top.
Bake for 25 minutes until cooked and the top is brown.

Aside : Camellias in the garden

To celebrate the first day of spring, a dash of colour!

Chicken and penne bake

500g penne pasta
400g chicken breasts
Garlic and ginger
Herbs and spices
1/3 cup chicken stock
Tin canned tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine

Cook pasta.
Brown onions, garlic, ginger and spices.
Add chicken and herbs and brown.
Add stock and white wine. Bring to boil.
Add tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add pasta and warm through.
Serve with crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices.

Baked custard tart

Sheet of sweet pastry
4 eggs
2 cups cream
1 1/2 cups milk
3 Tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line an oven proof baking dish with the pastry.
Bake the pastry blind for 20 minutes, then remove the blind and bake for another 4 minutes.
Cream together sugar, milk, cream and eggs.
Carefully pour filling into pastry base.
Bake for another 45 minutes or until set.

This is one of those standard recipes with a million variations. Grated cinnamon or nutmeg can be added when the tart is removed from the oven.

My kids like to roll the pastry and line the dish. The leftovers are rolled and cut into strips and then baked at the same time as the "blind" pastry and then enjoyed as a taster.

Fish and pumpkin in korma sauce

2 cups coarsely chopped pumpkin
500g firm fish fillets
Jar korma sauce
Garlic and ginger

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
Brown onion, garlic and ginger.
Add pumpkin and fry for 5 minutes.
Reserve and brown fish on both sides
Place the pumpkin into a baking dish, cover with the fish and cover with the korma sauce.
Bake for 20 minutes.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

How not to make a quiche

The "glue" that holds the quiche together is a "custard" of egg and milk. If you forget to add the milk, you get a dish that doesn't hold together, is as dry as the Sahara and takes ages to scrape off when you wash up.

Be warned!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Mince and pasta

500g mince
Garlic and ginger
Herbs and spices
2 cups pasta
Tin of tomatoes
1 onion
2 cups frozen vegetables

Pre cook the pasta
Put the frozen vegetables in a jug and cover with boiling water.
Pre heat oven to 160 degrees C.
Brown the mince, onions, garlic, ginger.
Add herbs and spices.
Drain the frozen vegetables and stir into the mince mixture.
Layer the pasta over the bottom of an oven proof dish.
Cover with the tin of tomatoes.
Cover the tomatoes with the mince mixture.
Cook for 15 minutes in oven until warmed through.

This recipe is an example of not having much in the fridge and trying to come up with a tasty dish. The layered effect make a nice change from mixing everything together. The recipe can be endlessly adapted e.g. use rice instead of pasta.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Using leftovers

So you have a fridge full of leftovers and don't want to bin them. Check out


Just type in the leftovers and let Mr. Google give you a few tips!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Recipes as a base

A lot of the recipes you will find here aren't actually "real" in the sense that they were published somewhere - they are generally inspired by a recipe that we noticed.

Half the fun is adapting and experimenting

e.g. the corn bread recipe - you could leave out the fluid in the can that you top up with milk and substitute something like beer or maybe even fruit juice. Yech you might say - but if you don't try it how will you ever know? And you may just discover something that really works. Chocolate with chicken breasts is an example - doesn't sound like it matches but the chocolate results in a really rich, intense sauce. It also confuses guests because they know the taste but don't make the association!

Or substitute something in the menu that you don't have in the pantry with something that you do have in the fridge that you want to use before you have to bin it!

Give it a go - that's how you learn.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Creamed apple pie

Sweet pastry
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup cream
Tin pie apples

Roll the pastry and spread over pie dish. Trim - reserve cut-offs.
Mix sugar, eggs and cream. Add apples and combine. Spread over crust.
Cut reserved pastry into strips and layer over top of mixture in a criss-cross fashion.
Bake at 200 degrees C for around 30 minutes or until set.

Macaroni bake

300g macaroni
Pack of ham
Can tomatoes
Herbs and spices
Frozen vegetables
2 eggs
Cup grated cheese
Cup milk

Cook the macaroni.
Place the frozen vegetables in a jug and pour boiling water over them
Cube the ham.
Drain the vegetables after 5 minutes.
Season and place above ingredients in an oven-proof dish.
Mix together the eggs. cheese and milk and pour over the pasta.
Cook at 180 degrees C for around 35 minutes or until set.

Golden dumplings with syrup

30g butter
1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
Pinch salt
1/4 cup golden syrup
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup syrup
1 1/2 cups water

Sift flour and salt and gently rub in butter.
Combine syrup and milk and mix with dry ingredients.
Simmer sauce ingredients for 5 - 7 minutes. Drop small portions of batter into syrup and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes.
Serve with sauce and cream or ice-cream.

Beef and beans

500g mince
1 onion
1 green pepper
400g can tomatoes
400g can mild chili beans


2 cups breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon garlic

Brown the onion, pepper, leeks and celery. Add the mince and cook until brown.
Pour over tomatoes and chili beans.
Add herbs and spices. Simmer for around 5 minutes.
Spoon into ovenproof dish.
Mix the breadcrumbs and garlic. Spread over the mince mixture.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes.

Corn bread

300 g tin of corn - not creamed
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs

Drain liquid from tin into cup. Fill up with milk.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt.
Make a well and mix in beaten eggs and liquid.
Add corn.
Bake at 180 degrees in a cake tin for around 20 minutes.
Place on rack to cool.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Simple meal

So time was short.

Preheated the oven to 160 degrees C, made a marinade of lime juice and coriander, poured this over some tender lamb chops, cleaned up some potatoes and baked the whole caboodle for an hour. 5 minutes before serving added a tin of whole baby beetroot and warmed them up. Cooked some frozen vegetables in a waterproof pot. Served with a packet of onion gravy.

Delicimondo! So simple but totally delicious.

Baked custard

1/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.

Heat the milk, sugar and vanilla essence until warm. Break the eggs into a separate bowl and slowly whisk the warmed milk in until the eggs are warmed up.

Pour the mixture into an ovenproof bowl and place in a shallow pan of water.

Bake for an hour or until set.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The mess

One of the problems with cooking with kids is the mess. Grit your teeth and enjoy it. It's all part of the fun - although mum and dad have to wash up when the little ones are fast asleep!