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Emigrated from America to New Zealand and never looked back. Couldn't have asked for a better husband, family & life!


One thing about me is, that I never really enjoyed fish unless it once inhabited a shell. I have since discovered the whole new world of Kiwi cuisine and lovely fish recipes my entire family enjoys, but now and again I still revert to my old ways and buy some sort of crustacean.

The other day I was clearing the freezer to make way for a Kiwi-giant-sized tub of ice cream, since the good flavours don’t seem to be sold in any smaller amounts, and I came across some flash frozen prawns. “Hmmm…a few lovely scallops might be nice too, but how do I want to fix them?” I pondered. “Aha, I have it!”

My daughter hates mushrooms (weirdo!) and she’s not too fussed on prawns either, so I can make something to combine the two of those things for my hubby and I to enjoy, and wrap the scallops in bacon for her! Voila! A nice green salad on the side and we have an all-around winner!

Now, since they are separate preparations, I’ll post them individually here
(see Bacon Wrapped Scallops post).


2 Tbsp Butter
1 Cup Sliced Mushrooms
1-2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
*Crushed Sea Salt
*Freshly Ground Pepper
2 Tbsp Balsalmic Vinegar
2 Tsp Chives, finely chopped

*Amounts Vary – Season to Taste


Heat butter in a wide chef’s pan or simmer pan and when it’s bubbling & hot, add the mushrooms.

Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally and when they begin to go soft, add the garlic and cook an additional minute.

Now add the salt & pepper and the vinegar and stir well to absorb all of the liquid.

Now, sprinkle with chives and remove from heat. I added them back into the prawns after the fish was well cooked.


2 Tbsp Butter
500 Gm Prawns
(about 1 Lb)
1-2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
*Crushed Sea Salt
*Freshly Ground Pepper

*Amounts Vary – Season to Taste


Thaw prawns in warm water, then rinse and pat dry.

Heat butter in a wide chef’s pan or simmer pan and when it’s bubbling & hot, add the prawns.

Cook for 2-3 minutes and when they begin to go pink, add the garlic and cook an additional minute, or until prawns are completely done, but don't cook too long or they become rubbery.

Now add the salt & pepper and stir in the mushrooms.

Serve immediately.

I served the concoction on vermicelli with olive oil and garlic butter, alongside the Bacon Wrapped Scallops and a lovely salad. It was truly delish and there was none left at the end of the meal.

I guess I’d best hit that treadmill again if I don’t want to gain back the kilos I have worked so hard to lose!!! Bugger! ;o)


One thing about me is, that I never really enjoyed fish unless it once inhabited a shell. I have since discovered the whole new world of Kiwi cuisine and lovely fish recipes my entire family enjoys, but now and again I still revert to my old ways and buy some sort of crustacean.

The other day I was clearing the freezer to make way for a Kiwi-giant-sized tub of ice cream, since the good flavours don’t seem to be sold in any smaller amounts, and I came across some flash frozen prawns. “Hmmm…a few lovely scallops might be nice too, but how do I want to fix them?” I pondered. “Aha, I have it!”

My daughter hates mushrooms (weirdo!) and she’s not too fussed on prawns either, so I can make something to combine the two of those things for my hubby and I to enjoy, and wrap the scallops in bacon for her! Voila! A nice green salad on the side and we have an all-around winner!

Now, since they are separate preparations, I’ll post them individually here (see Balsalmic Mushrooms & Prawns).


12 Med-Lg Scallops
(more or less)
250 Gm (about ½ Lb) American Streaky Bacon
4 Stripped Rosemary Sprigs
(or short bamboo skewers)
2 Tbsp Sav Blanc
(or other white wine)
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
*Crushed Sea Salt
*Freshly Ground Black Pepper

*Amounts Vary – Season to Taste


First, move oven rack to first or second position and preheat oven to 200 C (400 F), or higher for broiler/grill. Insert a shallow baking dish to get hot in oven.

Rinse scallops and pat dry.

With kitchen shears, cut bacon strip in half and use a half strip to wrap each scallop, pinning the bacon ends together by skewering the bacon & scallop with the rosemary sprig or bamboo skewer.

Skewer about 3-4 scallops per sprig.

Carefully remove baking dish from oven and place the skewered scallops into the dish and drizzle with oil then sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until bacon gets crispy on top, then deglaze the pan with the wine and leave for an additional minute.

The scallops are tender and juicy and the bacon is a lovely companion to the fish. The rosemary sprig gives off a wonderful aroma that does not overpower the fish. My daughter said she liked them, but chose to eat a rather significant portion of the prawns as well. Perhaps someone is growing??? In any case, bon appetite!


If you love soft and chewy cookies (biscuits to you Kiwis out there) then you will love these. This recipe doesn’t over sweeten the cookies as some recipes tend to do, and the texture & taste is similar to a shortbread/sweet shortcake biscuit here.

One thing to note whan making these though, is that they do NOT brown like chocolate chip or sugar cookies. They are meant only to go slightly golden around the edges, so here is how you make them.


125 Gms (4 ½ Oz) Mascarpone Cheese or Softened Cream Cheese
1 Cup Butter, softened
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
1 Tbsp Milk
½ Tsp Almond Extract
(Almond Essence or Flavouring)
2½ Cups High Grade Flour
1 Cup Sliced Almonds, toasted


In a large bowl, beat the cheese, butter and sugar together until fluffy.

Blend in egg yolk, milk and almond extract.

Gradually mix in the flour until well combined.

Gently fold in the almonds.

The dough is very thick and sticky, but needs to be divided in half. To do this, tear off two sheets of baking paper approximately an arms length long (1½ to 2 feet more or less) then place half the dough onto each sheet.

Working through the paper, shape each half into a log roll about a foot long
(30 cm more or less).

Whilst still rolled in the paper, refrigerate until quite firm. This recipe makes approximately 4 dozen cookies, so you may even opt to seal one half in a freezer bag to store frozen until you are ready for another batch of fresh cookies.

When ready, Preheat the oven to 160 C (325 F) and cut roll/s into ½ cm (approx ¼ inch) thick slices and place the slices onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the edges are golden – do not cook until brown.

Let them sit for a minute to cool on the baking sheet, then shift them to cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

A Kiwi classic for sure, is a meal of lamb shanks served with rice or potatoes, fresh veggies and of course a mint sauce. Now, being very naïve in the Kiwi ways before I arrived here, I thought mint sauce and mint jelly were the same thing. I pictured this congealed green sugary slime and could not fathom why on earth anyone would put it on his or her meat (unless, in the case of lamb, to cover up the horrible cooking smell as the lanolin’ish aroma wafted about the kitchen). In any case I was mistaken. The true mint sauce is more of a thin minty vinaigrette…sort of.

To kill the cooking lamb smell, I use coffee and red wine as a marinade with other spices and onion, which at least leaves the kitchen aromas more tempting to my palate. The mint sauce accompaniment is actually quite mild and a nice touch. I have always loved mint as a sweet food…in hard candies or combined with chocolate, or even in biscuits (cookies to the yankee doodles out there). It wasn’t until a dear Vietnamese friend introduced it to me as a savoury herb, that I began to open my eyes and consider its versatility.

I suppose no matter what your take is on lamb or on mint, you should try it at least once made as I have done here to decide for yourself.

Lastly, there are two schools of thought on how shanks should be cooked. They can either be roasted in the oven or, left in a Crockpot until they fall apart. Either way, I’d eat them but hubby likes his slow cooked to perfection. I’ll describe both methods and you can choose for yourself.


3-4 Lamb Shanks (approx 2 kilos/4.5 Lbs)
1 Large Onion, chopped
1 Cup Strong Black Coffee
(instant or freshly brewed)
1 Cup Red Wine
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cloves Crushed Garlic
2 Sprigs Rosemary
1 ½ Tsp Dry Mustard Powder
2 Tbsp Flour
Salt & Pepper


Marinate the shanks (overnight if possible) in the first 7 ingredients inside of a Ziploc freezer bag.

Remove the shanks and either put them into a roasting dish (one that has a cover) or, into the Crockpot with about a cup of the marinade.

In a small dish, mix the mustard powder, flour, salt & pepper together, then using a small spoon or sieve, gently sift the mixture evenly over the meat.

If you are oven roasting, the oven needs to be preheated to 175 C (350 F) and you cook them uncovered for the first half hour, then cover and continue until they are done. Below is a guideline for cooking time:
  • Rare 20-25 minutes per 500 Gms (per 1 Lb)
  • Medium 30-35 minutes per 500 Gms (per 1 Lb)
  • Well Done 40 minutes per 500 Gms (per 1 Lb)

Now, if you chose to use the Crockpot method, you still sprinkle them with the flour & spice mixture, but cover the pot immediately and cook about 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. You will know when they are done because the meat will fall off of the bone.


¼ Cup Mint, finely chopped
½ Cup Boiling Water (more or less)
½ Cup White Vinegar
1 Tbsp Sugar
Salt to taste


In a small measuring cup, put in your mint and cover with boiling water only just to the ½ Cup mark.

Now add the vinegar, sugar and salt and mix well.

That’s it – couldn’t be simpler really!

Now serve up your lamb shanks with fluffy rice or your favourite potato preparation and a green veg. You’ll have a beautiful and tasty healthy meal.


I found this challenge at Cooking Down Under and thought it might be fun for my foodie friends to try, so here it goes. I’ll copy from her intro below, but the foods listed and marked will be my own. (I'll post the Lamb Shanks with Baby Carrots & Asparagus later...)

“Now here’s a bit of fun for those of you who are game to give most food a try. Andrew, a sometime journalist and full-time eater who lives in South London and blogs at
Very Good Taste has come up with the Omnivore's Hundred - 100 things he thinks every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. It’s a mix of fine food, weird food, “different” food and some downright nasty food.

He’s called on his fellow bloggers to engage in a little interactivity and to:

  • Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
  • Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
  • Italicise any items that you would never consider eating.
  • Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.”

I have completed mine, and found I’ve tried 71½% of his list.
(The ½ is because I have tried Congnac, but would never smoke a cigar)

As for the rest, I haven’t tried them because I have never heard of them, or pretty much because I don’t have a death wish!

Let me know how you get on… If you don’t have a clue as to what something is, just Google it.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper

27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac
with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs

67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

How do you rate?...


This is a very simple and light & tasty dressing that I “borrowed” from Maggie Beer of The Cook and the Chef. I had to post it because it is a really, really simple dressing and is far less pungent than most vinaigrettes I have tried. (This one is for you, Linda – I have the verjuice if you want to try it before investing in some yourself.) This dressing has a very slightly sour and lovely smooth taste because there is no vinegar in it and it doesn’t give off a heavily oily taste either. This is the mildest and tastiest dressing I have made in a long time (at least that didn’t include mayonnaise).

These measurements are for a relatively small salad, so increase them to suit your own needs.


1/3 Cup Riesling Verjuice
1/3 Cup Walnut Oil
2 Tsp Wholegrain Mustard
1 Tsp Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Dash of Sea Salt (to taste)


Combine all of the listed ingredients above in a shaker or other airtight container and shake vigorously to mix well.

That’s it! Hardly anything to it really, but another good use of the verjuice you ran out to buy to try the pumpkin risotto, right?… Paul Newman’s got nothing on our near and dear
Maggie Beer! She rocks!

Cheers, and kia ora mates.


PREP TIME: 10 minutes

Plus...20-30 Minutes to Marinate
COOK TIME: 6 minutes

One more recipe for the Quick-N-Easy category, and it’s quite a tasty one at that! Tuna steaks are really best grilled on an outdoor BBQ, but we are still slogging through Spring at the moment and have not yet dusted off the good ole’ outdoor grill. As an alternative, a stovetop grill pan or even grilling in the oven will work in a pinch. Also, try to use sushi-grade tuna for the very best flavour.


½ Cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Wholegrain Mustard
3 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Clove Crushed Garlic
3-4 Fresh Tuna Steaks
(approx 600 Gms or 1-1 ½ Lbs)


Combine the first 5 ingredients in a shaker or other covered container and shake to mix well.

Rinse & pat dry the tuna steaks then put them into a Ziploc bag (or other leakproof container) with the honey-mustard mixture.

Seal the bag and let marinate for about half an hour (20-30 minutes is sufficient) at room temperature.

Brush the grill (or grill pan) with the olive oil and heat thoroughly before adding the fish. Grill the tuna over high heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until done as desired.

Remove the tuna from the marinade and pour the marinade into a small saucepan then bring it to a boil. Now remove it from the heat and set it aside until the fish is done.

Drizzle the hot honey mustard sauce over the steaks and serve immediately with a gorgeous baby-green salad and/or rice.



I love the smell of freshly baked holiday-style loafs and cakes, and this one is one of my all time favourites (right up there with bananna nut bread and carrot cake). There is just something about the sweet cinnamon & clove aromas that just say to me, "Thanksgiving is nearly here!" or, "Christmas isn't far off now!".

Kiwis don't celebrate Thanksgiving because it's really just an American tradition...or so I thought. Some of my formerly Canadian, now Kiwi, friends have pointed out that Canada actually has their own version as well. Good on 'em, I say!!! For those of you who don't really know what it means to us, it's basically a day to be thankful for all you have...your health, friends, family, and anything else you can think of. A common question I get regards gift-giving... We do not exchange gifts until Christmas, but usually the invitees bring something to go with the main holiday meal or else bring a dessert. Some folks bring salads or their favourite side dish, others bring the traditional pumpkin or pecan pies. The host usually roasts a stuffed turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy, however not being a huge turkey fan, I sometimes opt for a honey-baked style ham or a leg of lamb is nice provided it's prepared well.

In any case, for many Americans, Thanksgiving is just a test-run for holiday recipes before Christmas, as the feast is usually similar as are the guests often times. My grandmother was an amazing cook and came up with all sorts of goodies. Even when my family lived far away, we could always count on some christmas baking in the form of a black walnut & cinnamon Christmas tree-shaped stolen and some homemade fudge & divinity.

The loaf I made here, the Zucchini Bread, is a favourite with many Americans. To you Kiwis & Aussies out there unsure of what a zucchini is - you call them courgettes! This loaf is very similar to carrot cake or bananna bread, so don't be afraid to put veggies into your baking now and then.

In my own version here, I sometimes add carrots and various nuts (whatever I have in the pantry, usually), so this one was made with carrot and pistachios rather than only courgettes and/or walnuts. It's a thick batter and makes one large loaf or two medium loaves, so I usually split it into two just to keep my loaf pan from overflowing!


2 ½ Cups (315gm) High Grade Flour
1 ½ Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
½ Teaspoon Ground Cloves
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 ½ Cups (375gm) Sugar
¾ Cup Salad Oil
3 Eggs
2 Cups (500gm) Unpeeled Zucchini
1 Small/Med Carrot Peeled & Grated
1 Cup Finely Chopped Nuts
(Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds, or Pistachios work well)
1 ½ Teaspoons Vanilla Extract


Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) oil-spray loaf pan (22 ½ x 12 ½ x 7 ½ cm) then line with baking paper cut to fit pan. (Baking paper is optional, but I found it very clean & easy to use.)

Sift together – Flour, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a separate mixing bowl, with heavy wooden spoon or electric mixer, combine the sugar, oil and eggs and beat until smooth.

Slowly add in sifted dry ingredients until well combined and smooth.

Now add grated zucchini and carrot, vanilla extract and nuts.

Bread will rise, so carefully pour batter into prepared loaf pan/s leaving approximately 1 cm of space at the top, then bake 60-75 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean (I cooked mine 70 minutes).

Allow the loaf to cool in the pan at least 10 minutes prior to turning out onto cooling rack/wire bread rack.

Décor Ingredients (optional):

½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ Cup Sugar
10 Walnut Halves

If desired, before serving combine ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and ¼ cup of sugar.

Turn the loaf upside down to decorate edges with cinnamon sugar then use approximately 10 walnut halves to decorate the top.

This bread is lovely served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. It is also nice just served warm or cold with butter or margarine.



Risottos are always a bit time-consuming to make, but this one it certainly worth the wait. The pumpkin is roasted with olive oil & sea salt first, then blended into the risotto to the point of nearly dissolving into a smooth and creamy delight.

I must mention once again that prior to moving 'down under' pumpkin was never on my radar. It's not a popular edible squash in America and is generally used more for decoration where I came from. Some people to cook the orange 'jack-o-lantern' pumpkins in the States, but most who really enjoy their winter squashes choose a less stringy and softer fleshed variety (such as the Dickinsons Winter Squash used for American Pumpkin Pie).

Here in New Zealand, the staples are the whitish-grey crown pumpkins (like the one I used) or the long neck butternut squash. I don't think I have yet seen an orange pumpkin here except perhaps in the mini squash bins.

This particular recipe is one that I originally saw on The Cook And The Chef with Maggie Beer and I thought it looked really nice at the time, so I wrote down all of the ingredients quickly, so as not to forget, then managed to remember how to fix it (pretty much) as she did. There are a few differences though...I didn't have any verjuice (on the shopping list) so I used a 50/50 lemon juice and water mixture instead. I also added a bit of garlic and extra Parmiggiano Reggiano because I find that both risottos and pumpkin can be a bit 'plain' sometimes. I then added some lemon thyme from my garden which gave the risotto (and the chicken) a lovely flavour, so perhaps mine is even better than Maggies??? Well, just as good, anyway.

Does the type of rice really matter??? Yes, absolutely! Just as with Sushi or with Pilafs, the type of rice makes a huge difference. I never liked rice when I was growing up...probably because I hadn't tried anything but instant or mushy overcooked rice for the most part. I guess I am pretty picky, but my family eats well as a result.

Let's dig in!


1.5 Litres (6-6.5 Cups) Chicken Stock
1 Large Onion (finely chopped)
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
75 Gms Butter (approx 2.5 oz)
400 Gms (14 oz more or less) Pumpkin (cut into 2-4 cm cubes)

400 Gms (14 oz dry/uncooked) Arborio Rice
1 Cup Verjuice (or 1/2 C Lemon Juice and 1/2 C Water)
100 Gms (3.5 oz) Parmiggiano Reggiano Cheese (finely grated & FRESH)
1 Tbsp Lemon Thyme
1 Clove Crushed Garlic
Freshly Ground Pepper


Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F).
Cut up pumpkin into 2-4 cm (1-2 inch) cubes and arrange pieces in a baking dish in a single layer. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the pieces begin to go brown and caramelize.

Once caramelized, add a few tablespoons of verjuice (or substitute) to deglaze your pan and cook for a further 3-4 minutes before removing from the oven.

Save the pumpkin and the pan liquid (if any) for later use.

In a large chef's pan or other wide-bottom pan tha can hold 8 cups or so of cooked risotto...heat the oil & butter and start to cook the onions. Do not brown the onions, just cook until they start to soften. Adding a bit of salt now will help to sweat the onions.

Whilst the onions are cooking, you will need to boil the stock and keep it hot in a smaller saucepan until it's used up.

When the onion starts to go clear, add the rice and stir to coat well. It will almost look "glassy" and transparent on the grain ends when well mixed. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Now increase the heat and add the rest of the verjuice (or substitute) and stir until the liquid soaks completely into the rice.

Reduce the heat again and begin adding the hot stock to the rice pan one cup ad a time. Stir constantly and only add the next cup after the previous one has been absorbed into the rice. Repeat this until 2/3 of the stock is gone. This takes about 20 minutes - stirring constantly.

Now add in the pumpkin with any reserved juices, garlic, & thyme and then increase the heat once again.

Add the last 2 cups or so of the stock one cup at a time, as before and stirring constantly (about 10 minutes) until the risotto is smooth & creamy.

Taste for seasoning and check that the rice is cooked through.

Finally, remove from heat and stir in the parmiggiano and you are done!

You may wish to serve this with an extra drizzle of EVOO and cracked pepper, however I found that only the pepper was really necessary. I belive Maggie also topped hers with chopped parsley and more baked pumpkin pieces topped off with more cheese after that, but I prefer to keep it a bit simpler in my kitchen and it was really quite tasty. Even my picky daughter (who claims to hate rice) loved this one!

I also made a Lemon Thyme Chicken to go with the risotto and a bit of extra baked pumpkin I had. This would also be great with a fresh green salad. It takes a while to make, but it's SOOO worth it!


Lemon chicken and lemon pepper chicken are lovely anytime, but I have fresh lemon thyme in my back garden and I decided last night to put some of it to good use. I also made a very simple glaze for it, much like a sweet & sour (mostly sour) lemon sauce.

This is an easily customizable recipe that anyone can modify to suit their own taste. I made my pumpkin risotto first and served them together - great combo!

This is another recipe using verjuice (unripened non-fermented grape juice) but if you don't happen to have any, you can use a diluted vinegar solution or, my own substitute, 1:1 ratio of lemon juice to water.

Here we go...


1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
600 Gm (about a pound) Chicken Breast Meat (boneless & skinless)
1-2 Cloves Crushed or Chopped Garlic
1 Tbsp Lemon Thyme
Salt & Pepper to Taste
2-4 Tbsp Verjuce
1 Tbsp Corn Flour (Corn Starch)
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Water
1 Tsp Sugar


Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F)

Rinse chicken & pat dry, then season with garlic, thyme, salt & pepper.

Oil the bootom of a baking dish (I used the one I roasted some pumpkin in), and arrange chicken pieces in a single layer.

Bake for about 18 minutes then deglaze with verjuice in the baking dish (cooking 1-2 additional minutes).

Remove chicken (once thoroughly cooked) and use the pan liquid to make a lemony glaze.

Heat the lemon juice and sugar with the liquid from the baking dish.

Mix the corn flour and cold water together to use as a thickening agent once the lemony liquid begins to boil.

Once you add the corn flour mixture to the hot liquid, quickly stir until the glaze thickens and remove from heat immediately.

Now serve the chicken with the glaze on top (a little goes a long way) and with a nice healthy serving of the pumpkin risotto. A lovely fresh green salad would be a lovely acompaniment and there you have a healthy and delicious meal!


PREP TIME: 5 Minutes
COOK TIME: 35-45 Minutes

(One-Egg Cherry Cobbler)

This is a family favourite going waayyyy back! I think Mom obtained this recipe from one of her sisters in Arkansas. It's truly a "quick-n-easy" if ever there was one. I actually make two versions of this with any number of different fruits.

The one-egg version, is fluffier and more cake-like...the two-egg version is flatter and more like a European fruit slice with a more custard-like texture to it.

In any regard, they are both wonderful with the traditional peach and/or any berry variation you want to dream up. My personal favourite though, is cherry (of course). Another nice combination is peach and blueberry together.

I do think in this recipe, canned fruit is nice to use (juice and all) but freshly stewed fruits are even better. I had a lovely large jar of Morello Cherries in my pantry yesterday and, with a friend over for a visit, I couldn't resist making this for her. I probably could have eased up on the cherries (as this one used almost double the fruit required) but why??? When more is better (when it comes to cherries anyway).

So, here we go...


75 Gm Butter (approximately 2-3 ounces or 1/3 Cup)
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Cup Milk
1 Egg
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Can of Fruit of Your Choice Including the Juice/Syrup (Approximately 2-3 Cups)


Preheat oven to about 200C (390-400F).

Slice butter into thin pats (or smear thickly) to line the bottom of your baking dish. A 9x9 square pan or a small lasagne dish will work well. A Clear dish is best as you will be able to see the colouring and take it out of the oven just as the sugar around the edges begins to caramelize.

Sift dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl and blend together well.
Add all of the wet ingredients EXCEPT the fruit and whisk until well combined and not lumpy.

Pour batter into butter-lined baking dish then gently pour or spoon in your fruit over the top. The fruit will sink to the bottom but will bubble into the batter during the cooking process (much like with a "dump cake").

Carefully place it into the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the edges start to show good caramelization.

It's best to let this cool to almost room temperature before serving - it holds together beautifully.

TWO-EGG VERSION - only difference is that you add another egg to the batter and leave out the baking soda.

(Two-Egg Boysenberry Cobbler)

I whip up a little topping for mine with about 150 Gms of mascarpone cheese (that's about 5 ounces), a cup of icing sugar (powdered confectioner's sugar), a capful of vanilla and a few drops of lemon flavouring. A bit of lemon zest is always a nice touch too - goes especially good with boysenberries and blueberries. I would typically add amaretto flavouring for a cherry cobbler though.



When the weather turns colder and you are looking for a comfort food recipe, this is always a nice one to have handy. One nice thing about this recipe is that you can cut up everything ahead of time the night before, then get everything into the slow cooker (crock pot) first thing in the morning, and let it cook all day while you are out. No worries, mate!

One pot, one pan, healthy veggies, tasty tender beef in a rich Guinness gravy...who could turn that down? Especially if it's served up with some tasty cheese scones or homemade bread? Mmmmm....

Well, this is how I make it, but feel free to make modifications to suit your own taste.


1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Brown Onions, cut into med-large chunks
1 Lb (500-600 Gms) Lean Chuck Steak, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 Tbsp Flour
1 Cup Beef Stock
1 Can Guinness (Approx 2 Cups)
2 Carrots, chopped
2 Parsnips, chopped
2 Med Potatoes, diced
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
4 Cloves Garlic, crushed
2 Tsp, Oregano
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce


First, heat the oil in a large pan and sweat onions with a bit of salt until they begin to soften.

Dump the onions into the crock pot and return the pan to the stovetop to quickly fry the meat off on high heat.

Cook the beef just about 2-3 minutes until browned, then add the flour and stir in for approximately half a minute.

Now put the meat into the crock pot and add the beef stock, Guinness, and all of the rest of the ingredients.

Cover the crock pot and cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 4-5 hours.

Taste and season with salt & pepper to taste.

I love the traditional American style buttermilk biscuits or even the Kiwi style cheese scones with this stew. The leftovers are always a hit too!



I know many people who have an aversion to lamb, and when asked why they aren't so keen on it, their answer is usually the same as mine used to be. It's the strong smell that permeates the place!

Well, in 1989 I had the good fortune to visit New Zealand with my family, and on a holiday farmstay in Havelock North we learned a wonderful recipe for roasting lamb without the very pungeant "lamb" smell.
(Thank you ever-so-much Mrs. MacKenzie!)

I have since added rosemary and red wine, but the outcome is still wonderful and I hope you enjoy it too!

1 Leg of Lamb (Approx 5 Lbs / 2 Kilos minimum)
2 Cups Strong Coffee (brewed or instant)
2 Cups Merlot (or other red wine of your choosing)
4 Cloves Sliced garlic (or 2 Tbsp crushed) more or less
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
*Mustard Powder
2 Onions, chunky cut
2 Carrots, sliced
2 Large Potatoes, diced
4-6 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
* Indicates there is no precise measurement


First, combine coffee, wine, onions, and some of the garlic to make a marinade.

Rinse the meat and pat dry with paper towels, then use a knife to poke holes to insert garlic slivers into. If you prefer to use crushed garlic, a herb syringe can also be used to inject the full marinade into the meat.

Put the meat into a ziplock bag with the marinade and leave at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 170-180 C (340-360 F)

Now, take the leg out and rub with oil before sprinkling with salt, pepper and mustard powder. Make sure to season all of the surface and be generous with the seasoning.

In a roasting pan, lay a rack at the bottom first to keep the meat off the bottom of the pan (if you don't have one, use 3 or 4 whole carrots and/or celery stalks instead). Lay the rosemary sprigs crossways on the rack to prevent them going through the bars.

Now gently put the leg directly on top of the sprigs and add the veggies around the meat and pour in your marinade liquid.

Place uncovered into the oven for 35-40 minutes, then baste the meat withe the liquid in the pan.

Now cover and continue cooking until the core of the leg meat reaches 77-80 C (180 F).

Generally, it cooks about 30 minutes per pound (per half kilo) so if it is a 5 Lb (approx 2 Kilo) leg, it will need about 2 and a half to 3 hours depending on how well done you like your meat. I like mine medium, but hubby likes it well done, so I try to compromise and he gets the shank meat which cooks faster than the other end.

I had so wanted to get a really lovely photo of ours, however it was already being carved by the time I had remembered to grab my camera. Oh well, c'est la vie!

It was lovely, and even my friend's two teenage sons enjoyed it, so I must have done something right, eh? The pan liquid is great for a rich gravy, and this dish is lovely with a fresh green salad and vinaigrette dressing as well.

Bon appetite!

NOT for everyday consumption...
Unless you are trying to bulk up!

One guilty pleasure I have missed since moving abroad is the rare treat of a Cinnabon at the local shopping mall. As far as I know thus far, there is no comparable offering anywhere here that I have found.

Yes, some good Kiwi bakeries and/or cafes do have a cinnamon "pinwheel" that is more bread-like, but none of them even come close to the good old American cinnamon roll. Not only are my cinnamon rolls "to-die-for", the icing is darn near the same as Cinnabon's version. I think my family, friends and neighbours who have sampled them would tend to agree that I am not being overly boastful here! ;o)

One caution to all who attempt this recipe though...they are not a healthy treat to enjoy daily for log periods of time and are likely to contribute to weight gain, increased cholesterol, and heartburn if overindulgence occurs. This recipe makes a relatively large batch too, so be prepared to share with your favourite people!!!

I will list ingredients and directions for the rolls, filling and icing in separate sections below to make it easier to follow...for those brave enough to try!

Rolls first...

2 Packets Dry Yeast (approx 4 Tsp)
1 Cup Warm Water (not hot - warm when dripped inside your wrist like testing baby bottles)
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Warm Milk
2/3 Cup Butter, melted
2 Tsp Salt
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
5-7 Cups Flour (more or less)


Activate the yeast in a small bowl by adding the water, sugar, warm milk, melted butter, salt & eggs. Set this aside whilst you go to the next step.

In a larger bowl, sift about 3 Cups of the flour and add 1 cup of it to the yeast mixture. Ideally, this should be covered and set aside in a warm place to foam up for up to an hour or so.

Once your foam has frothed up a bit, begin to slowly pour it into the larger bowl with the sifted flour.

Mix this together well and continue adding flour a bit at a time until the dough can be turned out onto a floured work surface.

Knead the dough about 10 minutes to activate the gluten in the flour then place it into a well oiled bowl big enough to hold twice the mass, and flip it over to oil both top & bottom of the dough ball.
Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours. The dough should double in size.

When ready, punch down the dough and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before proceeding to roll it out flat on a floured surface to about a 1 cm (or 1/2 inch) thickness. I only use half at a time because each half makes about 12 LARGE rolls which can be stacked and frozen for baking later if tightly sealed in plastic wrap first. This 5-10 minute rest is a good time to make the filling...


1 Cup Butter, melted
2 Cups Brown Sugar
4 Tbsp Cinnamon
2 Cups Walnuts or Pecans, chopped (optional)


Mix together butter & sugar then slowly add in the cinnamon & chopped nuts. You may also opt to add raisins at this stage, but I don't like mine cooked, so I leave 'em out!

Once dough has been rolled out flat, sprinkle filling over entire surface evenly. You may opt to save a little for topping if you have enough at th end.

Now carefully log-roll the dough in a jellyroll or sponge log fashion then pinch the edges together to seal it.

The roll is rather "smushy" and soft, so my trick for cutting the rolls is to get a length of dental floss and slide it under the log, then cross end over end and pull tight to cut a slice without squishing the whole log with a knife. Pretty clever, eh?...

Now, butter a baking dish or just arrange the slices on a silicone baking mat. Put them close together so they don't lose their shape in the oven and, they should puff up nicely.

Cover and set the rolls aside once more in a warm area to rise for about 1 hour.
Once the rolls have risen and just about doubled in size again, preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until they brown nicely.

1/2 Cup Butter, melted
200 Gm (8 Oz) Mascarpone Cheese
3 Cups Icing Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla
1/8 Tsp Lemon Flavouring (just a few drops, really)

Blend cheese and butter with electric mixer on low to cream. Add icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time and combine well.

Add vanilla and lemon flavour and mix approximately 1 minute then refrigerate.

Be sure to ice the rolls while they are still warm. There's no comfort food much better than a gooey, warm, cinnamon roll on a cold day! Save any extra icing for reheating with the leftover rolls...10-20 seconds in the microwave softens them right up to perfection again.


Makes about 4 (1-Litre) bottles

I know that for some of the Kiwis and Aussies out there, it may be difficult to imagine, but I generally don't drink alcohol. I have an amazing uncle in Oregon who is an award-winning winemaker for Willamette Valley Vineyards, and yet I probably don't fully appreciate his work. As generous as he is, I usually just ask for him to bring "the sweet stuff" like rieslings, muskats and Müller-Thurgau...the rubbish of the wine world, but my favourites nonetheless. Beer usually gives me headaches with the first sip, so I never tried the "hair-o'-the-dog" remedy.

There are a few liqueurs I do enjoy on the odd special occasion...Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, etc.... My personal favourites are probably, Kahlua, Creme de Menthe, and good ole Irish Cream. I have recipes for all three, but I have so far only tried out this one. Creme de Menthe might be next, as I would love to post a 'Grasshopper Pie' or 'Grasshopper Shake' recipe at some stage too.

Kahlua and vanilla ice cream are made for each other too, so...let's get going on this one so we can try some! (It still takes about 4 weeks or so to fully develop the flavour though...bugger!)


7 Cups Water
1.5 Kilos (3.3 Lbs) Sugar (about 1 small bag)
1/2 Cup Instant Coffee (Dark Roast or Espresso Strength)
6 Tbsp Vanilla
4 Vanilla Beans, split (optional)
2 Bottles Vodka (2 Litres total)


First split vanilla beans and scrape the goo from inside each bean with a knife. Add the scrapings to a stock pot with the water, sugar and vanilla (extract/essence). Put the split beans into sterilized bottles for storage later.

Bring the pot of water, sugar and vanilla to a rolling boil for approximately 10 minutes (just long enough to dissolve all of the sugar).

Remove the pot from the heat and slowly stir in the instant coffee until all of the coffee is completely dissolved.

Now let it sit (covered) until it reaches room temperature.

Once completely cooled, add vodka and pour into bottles (with airtight seals) immediately.

These bottles are great for gifts, but please remember that it will take about 4 weeks to fully develop the flavour. For added smoothness, I understand a teaspoon of glycerin can be added, but I, personally, don't find it necessary.