Saturday, December 10, 2011

Magical Lamb Tagine

so hungover yesterday, I couldn't even hold down water.

Magical Lamb Tagine
A "Food in a Minute" recipe that is surprisingly good.


  • 5-6 tsp Gregg's Moroccan Seasoning (I used turmeric, cinnamon, and chilli as I had none)
  • 6 lean lamb chops
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 1/4 c chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 c Wattie's Bit on the Side Spiced Apricot Sauce (optional)
  • 2 tbsp corriander
  • 2 sliced celery sticks
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 1 tbsp oil
1. Combine 3 tsp Moroccan seasoning with flour, mix well, toss lamb pieces in seasoned flour.

2. In a tagine or deep non-stick frying pan with a lid, heat oil and brown chops on both sides, set aside.

3. Reduce heat, gently fry onion, carrots and celery in the remaining oil, until just tender. Stir in remaining Moroccan seasoning and cook for 1 minute.

4. Pour over Wattie’s Chopped Tomatoes in Juice with stock, stir to combine. Return chops to the pan, scatter over apricots, cover and simmer very gently for 50-60 minutes, or until the chops are tender.

5. Stir through Wattie’s Bit on the Side Spiced Apricot Sauce, season with pepper and coriander. Serve with couscous.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Delicious Lemon Cake

 250g butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream/greek yoghurt
4 tbsp lemon rind

Cream butter and sugar and add eggs one at a time. Mix thoroughly. Fold in remaining ingredients and bake at 160 degrees for an hour.

For the lemon buttercream, mix 100g softened butter, 200g icing sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon rind and 100g cream cheese. Add 1-2 tbsp water to thin the icing down if too thick (it will pull the cake and you will end up with crumbs all through the icing).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ultimate Chocolate Brownies

Let us now make an ontology of "Things You Will Be Grateful For."
Item number one: This Chocolate Brownie Recipe.

This is the winning recipe for "New Zealand's Favourite recipe." I usually halve it unless I have a particularly large crowd to feed but it has always come out perfectly and I sneakily added a teaspoon of espresso-ground coffee to the cocoa and butter mixture in this batch. Genius.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bagel Time

Admittedly, I'm mildly hungover. Everyone knows what that means.

Bagels a la Alison and Simon Holst
3 tsp Surebake yeast
1¼ cups warm water
2 Tbsp honey
1½ tsp salt
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 Tbsp gluten flour
2 cups high grade (bread) flour

Mix the first five ingredients together and mix to form a messy gloop and leave, covered in clingfilm, in a warm, dry place for 15 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix to form a soft dough.

Knead for five to ten minutes. The dough should be velvety and smooth and spring back when you push it.

Divide the dough into eight and form into sausage shaped, then stick the ends together with a little water to bind and leave on a baking-papered tray while you do the next step.

Bring 5-10cm of water to the boil and slide the bagels in with a fish slice. Cook each bagel for 30 seconds and then return to the baking-papered tray.

Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with seeds. It's traditional to use poppy seeds or sesame seeds but I only had sunflower seeds so used those instead. They were delicious!

Bake 10 minutes at 220 degrees celsius.

YAAAAAAAS. We have cream cheese and smoked salmon in the fridge. GUESS WHAT I'M HAVING FOR LUNCH!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie & Sticky Date Pudding

Had the Engineering ball last night so accordingly cooked things that took a little more effort for dinner. Hungover Elese = large amounts of cooking. I did these wonderful chicken and leek pot pies (Donna Hay recipe) and little sticky date puddings with a caramel sauce. DELICIOSO.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Caramel = !!!!!!!!!

Amazing new revelation whilst making this simple caramel and pear tart for dessert tonight: dipping salted pretzel sticks into the caramel tastes 999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 good.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW WHERE DEM GIRLS AT

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lemon Meringue Greatness

I made an amazing beef casserole with creamy mashed potato on Friday night, followed by a perfect lemon meringue pie. I love desserts that have multiple components, they are much more exciting to make! The beef casserole was wonderful, I have an extreme aversion to the horrible store-bought beef stock so used marmite, worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce instead and threw in a few bay leaves and a generous dose of pepper (as well as the standard onions/garlic/oil or butter/salt base). It was ha-mazing. Mashed potato may be the ultimate comfort food. It's the kind of thing I crave in winter, and you can't do a proper mash without butter and cream.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hippy Food Supreme

Magical "Probably-Not-That-Bad-For-You" slice. I just threw together random amounts of walnuts, cashews, linseeds, sunflower seeds, chopped dates, coconut, and rolled oats then boiled butter and honey to a kind of soft-ball stage, mixed them together, pressed it in a pan and BAM. Recipes are for suckaaaas.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Magic Chocolate Cake

I think it is safe to say that I have mastered the chocolate cake.

My favourite chocolate cake recipe, I think it might be one of those popular New Zealand ones that no-one has any idea where it's originally from but it's usually in your recipe book under "(insert Aunty/Family Friend's name)'s chocolate cake." In my case, this is "Rebecca's Chocolate Cake." Thanks Rebecca, whoever you are, you're a legend.

2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of sour cream/yoghurt
3/4 cup cocoa (I always add a bit extra)
200grams butter, softened
2 tsp baking soda
1 &1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups self-raising flour
1 cup boiling strong coffee

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla, then add all the rest of the ingredients. You can honestly just chuck this thing in the food processor and it comes out amazing. Then you cook it at 160 degrees celsius for around an hour and voila, you have a ridiculously rich chocolate cake. Delicious filled with jam or cream and strawberries/banana and iced with ganache or chocolate buttercream.

In this case I whipped up a quick chocolate buttercream and drizzled grand marnier and chocolate sauce overtop. HA-MAZING.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake

I tried this at work today, Paula had made an amazingly delicious one and there were leftover bits which I promptly gobbled up. So so delicious. Naturally, I got home and made one.

Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake
(Donna Hay Kids Magazine, Winter 2011)

1 1/2 c water
100g butter
1/2 c cocoa
3 c plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 c caster sugar
3 eggs
3/4 c buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Stir butter, water and cocoa over a low heat until butter is all melted. Pour into the pre-sifted dry ingredients along with the sugar and whisk. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and whisk again. Cook in two 20cm cake tins at 160 degrees celsius for an hour.

100 g butter, softened
500g cream cheese
2 c icing sugar
1/2 c cocoa

Beat butter and cream cheese till pale and creamy. Add dry ingredients and beat for six or seven minutes. Smear all over the cake as desired and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I spent the past three weeks procrastinating for my exams by cooking tons of Frenchy things. Here, for your viewing pleasure, dear reader, is a bunch of food porn.

Although I didn't actually bake this bread or make the hummus, this was a ridiculously delicious anniversary antipasto-y thingy that J and I had earlier this month. Sopresso salami, Serrano ham, hummus with dukkah, balsamic vinegar and oil (for bread dipping, so noms), basil pesto stuffed olives, havarti, artichoke hearts and roasted capsicums! HOLY NOMS BATMAN.

I had a couple of attempts at making croissants, admittedly with the same dough, one lot I was impatient with and after having already taken 11 hours to make them I didn't let them rise very long and they didn't go very enormous. In saying that I did do half triangles so that they were more mini than Julia Child had perhaps intended.

MACARONS. My god these things are amazing. First few batches of chocolate came out amazing, the rosewater buttercream lot had a different texture and consistency but were still very delicious and softened up a bit the morning after I had made them. SO SO SO SO SO SO GOOD.

I may or may not have made traffic light jelly.

I made ridiculous amounts of bread, I have perfected the basic recipe and decided it does best with a teaspoon of salt and runny sugar eg golden syrup/honey as opposed to white sugar.

The above lot of rolls had parmesan and black pepper on top and were turned into the delicious hamburgers below, the only way they could have been more homemade was if I had grown the ingredients.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Been on a serious Pastry Rampage. It's so serious that it requires capitalisation. Above is a caramel and apple tart, part of a pastry batch that also produced some mini antipasto quiches. This week I've also produced croissants and two batches of macarons, which I think I'm becoming reasonably pro at. So many photos to come!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I Did It Again.

I made another rodini. I don't even know what you call this thing, it's just a magic basic bread dough, really. It needs the addition of salt, however, otherwise the bleach-y flavour from the flour comes out too strongly.

Soft and fluffy! It came out well. I put mixed herbs through it (dried herbs, ugh) and finely chopped raw garlic, which is supposed to be ridiculously good for you. I brushed the top with olive oil and chucked on some colby cheese (higher fat content, melts better).

I highly recommend that you try this if you haven't already. See recipe here, but note that I only use the basic bread recipe, not the entire cornmeal-and-crap one. I first made it in this shape because Baker's Delight do this round, foccacia-like bread which they call "rodini." Jonny's family love them, so one night I adapted the shape in the form of focaccia. A quick google search shows that as being some kind of tribe in Pakistan, and it doesn't seem to be an Italian word, so I'm not really sure what its origins are but they are great nonetheless. You will love it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

I have wanted to make brioche for a long time now yet haven't really had the time. It's easter! There's a big holiday! Town is closed! Get drunk! Cook! Maybe not at the same time! There's nothing else to do! Accordingly, I adapted a basic brioche recipe, adding spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamon, ground cloves) and sultanas, which I soaked in hot water for a few hours to make them plump and juicy.

As you can see, it kind of came out ridiculously well.

Brioche is a very rich bread, you make it with eggs and butter (not usual additions to basic bread dough) and it is DELICIOUSO. You should probably try it. They come in many shapes and forms, traditionally they are made in brioche tins which are fluted around the edges, and they have a little round ball on the top, like this:

Here is a basic recipe:

1/2c warm full cream milk
3 eggs
3 tsp surebake yeast
1/4c sugar
3c flour
75g melted butter
1 tsp salt

Mix eggs and milk together and sprinkle yeast over top. Let stand 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except 1 1/2c flour and salt) and leave to stand, covered, in a warm place for 15 minutes. Add the remaining flour and salt and knead the dough for around 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. It will be very sticky so you will probably have to use a lot of additional flour. After this, roll the brioche in flour and put it in a bowl covered in glad wrap and leave in the fridge OVERNIGHT. When you wake up, knead the brioche for a minute or so, shape it and place it in the tin you intend to bake it in. Leave it to sit for an hour in a warm place. Bake at 180 degrees and insert a knife to check for done-ness. I don't usually time anything I cook, rather I just keep checking on it. It seems to work okay!

Happy easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dinner Party Fare

I am going to a dinner party tomorrow night and seeing as I have Deadmau5 and Skrillex tonight I thought I'd crack onto the baking today because I won't wake up before 4pm tomorrow. Accordingly, I've started off a lemon (and lime) meringue pie, base is baked and lemon curd is in!

Lemon curd is so delicious and ridiculously simple. You can make it yourself at home and it is more delicious than even the Barker's stuff, and probably a lot cheaper, depending on whether you have your own lemon tree or not.

1/4c cornflour
1c sugar
1/2c lemon juice
2T lemon rind
3/4c water
Put these ingredients in a pan and heat gently, stirring constantly with a whisk. Eventually, when you have lost all hope and are about to tip the mix down the drain, it will start to thicken! Magic. When It is completely thick and lemon curd-y consistency, add three egg YOLKS and a tablespoon of butter. Mix it in and voila! Lemon curd. Delicious on toast, in tea cakes, between two melting moments, in the middle of a muffin...

Obviously this lemon meringue pie still needs meringue-ing (which I will do tomorrow night). I whipped up some chocolate chip easter cookies for the dinner party too. To be honest, I had this ball of raw cookie dough in my freezer because when I make the recipe I leave it unflavoured and freeze half. It will last you for a while in the freezer, then when you need to whip something up unexpectedly you can chuck in a few extra ingredients (ie lemon zest, cranberries, dried apricots, almonds, pistachios, chocolate chips etc), roll it out, cut out shapes and bake them for around ten minutes for a quick and easy cookie solution!

For this batch I finely chopped up some Whittaker's 50% Dark Ghana chocolate (any kind of chocolate found in the cooking/baking aisle of the supermarket is not worth even looking at) and threw it in the mix, then baked them at 180 degrees for around ten minutes, cooled them and dipped them in the remaining dark chocolate with about a tablespoon of butter. The butter ensures that the chocolate doesn't crack and go everywhere when your guests bite into them. Ingenious huh?

BASIC COOKIE DOUGH (so easy you'll remember it by heart)
250g soft butter
3/4c caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 1/4c flour
1t vanilla

Cream butter and sugar, mix in egg yolk and vanilla. When all this is thoroughly mixed, add flour (and any additional flavourings/ingredients) and mix till a soft dough is formed. Refrigerate for around half an hour, or till firm, then turn out on a floured board and roll and cut your cookie shapes. Bake at 180 degrees for ten minutes or till browned.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Magical Choco-Pie

I saw this amazing pie at and HAD to try it. It is a chocolate salted caramel hazelnut pie, but I've got it down in my recipe book as "magic choco pie" BECAUSE IT IS.

It is essentially a chocolate pastry base with roasted hazelnuts and caramel on the first layer and then a dark chocolate ganache layer on top of that. AH-MA-ZING.

This is the pie post-caramelling. You basically just boil up some condensed milk, butter and brown sugar and tip it over the roasted hazelnuts. Voila.

Post-ganaching, I sprinkled it with hazelnuts and sea salt. DELICIOUSO.

Le final product. I have a quarter of this pie in my fridge. U mad?


Sunday, April 17, 2011


We went to Prego in Ponsonby on Friday night for Josh's birthday, and it was, as expected, nothing short of excellent. I had pan-fried snapper with coriander, dill & chervil risotto and a glass of Bellbird Spring Pinot Gris which I am now going to look out for because I don't usually go for white wines. It was excellent. Although I just discovered it was $30 a bottle so perhaps that'll be one for special occasions. We were too full for dessert although I did spy chocolate fondant on the menu which I might have to go back and try. I also had some ridiculous lychee cocktail which was delicious.

On Wednesday night Jonny and I had a slightly poncey dinner, partially because I got a Lodge cast iron skillet (see link) and HAD to cook steak in it because cast iron and steak go together like Bonnie and Clyde. Cast iron browns meat in the most amazing way and stays super hot, so it cooked the BEST. STEAK. EVER. Being a student, the budget stretched only to sirloin but the cast iron made it ridiculously good sirloin. I usually leave the steak-cooking to Jonny (apart from cooking steak, the last time he had to cook an actual meal was probably around October last year) but I took it upon myself to do it this time, with his help of course. We managed to produce perfectly-cooked medium rare steaks, which I then served with mushrooms in a red wine jus. Not bad considering we were through the first bottle of wine before the meal was even served. Good one.

Tonight Gordon cooked spag bol for him and Jonny, I didn't really fancy anything until I trawled through a million and one food blogs and had the urge to cook. Gordon pointed out that I'd said I wasn't too keen on having carbs for tea and that wasn't rice carbs? I said yeah, I just felt like making risotto. He told me I was retarded. I don't think the boys understand the concept of not-cooking-solely-for-the-purpose-of-eating.

When I cook a meal I usually have only a basic idea of what I'm going to do and it all kind of comes together at the end. I knew that I was going to do a mushroom risotto, the rest of it kind of just fell into place.

To make risotto, you need aborio rice. You can get this at the supermarket in the "sun rice" packs for around $3.00 per 500g, I think. To make your risotto, start out by finely chopping garlic and dicing up some onion and chucking them into a saucepan with a little olive oil. After the onion becomes translucent, throw in a handful of aborio rice per person and then stir it for a minute or so to stop the rice sticking, then pour in around a quarter of a cup of liquid (wine or stock usually). Then you just keep adding small amounts of liquid until the rice has the right kind of bite to it and the sauce is all simmered down (the sauce will keep reducing as the rice will obviously keep absorbing the liquid).

I used to be intimidated by risotto but once I tried it I was kind of blown away by how ridiculously simple it is. The beauty of it is that you can have absolutely nothing in the pantry but a few herbs and maybe one or two different veges in the fridge and you have the base for risotto. You could do it with lemon juice and parmesan, tuna and veges, white wine and asparagus, almost anything. In my case I had a third of a bottle of red wine (a rarity in this house), a bunch of button mushrooms and some thyme.

Et voila. Mushroom, thyme and red wine risotto.